Wednesday, September 2, 2009
I want to welcome Tess Hilmo today. Applause please! :) No the frog is definitely not Tess. :)
I am pleased that Tess agreed to do this interview. Thank you Tess for joining me today.
Thanks, Robyn. It’s my first ever blog interview, which is super fun!
Tess has decided to do a give away in honor of her first blog interview. What must you do to win? And what do you get as a prize? The sweet stuffed NoJo Jungle frog that you see at the top of this post and a $10 Amazon gift certificate. To win, just give us a comment on the interview. After twenty four hours has elapsed, I will use Random.org to determine the winner. Then I'll notify the winner and the winner will contact Tess and she will send you your prize. And why a frog? Tess's book, With A Name Like Love has a character who is a herpetologist (that's the study of frogs). How does all this sound? Like great fun? Let's start the interview.
Tess, we know that you recently signed with an agent. I know that was an exciting time in your life. What was your reaction the first time you answered the phone and it was your agent?
We had communicated through e mail a few times prior to ‘the call’. He said he was interested in discussing the novel with me and we arranged a time that worked for both our schedules. So, there was no real ‘surprise element’ to getting the call. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t nervous, though! I had a list of questions all ready, but we just chatted about the novel and the market and ourselves and I didn’t ask a single one of those fancy questions!
Did your agent offer advice for revisions?
After signing the contract, we discussed some revision ideas. They were relatively minor things, adding to characters or scenes. I tend to write very directly and he wanted more ‘layers’ put in. We then sent it out to a couple of editors who gave even more feedback, offering to review the novel again if I chose to complete the revisions. Like I was going to say no! I guess the most interesting thing I’ve learned is that revision ideas are often WAY more general than I had expected. Things like, ‘could this character be more vulnerable?’ or ‘could the town have more of a journey?’ Why don’t they tell me exactly what to write and let me do it? Sheesh, that would be so much easier!
Have you and your agent discussed marketing plans?
Not really marketing plans, per se. I guess he’s just interested in getting the dang thing sold and then we’ll move on from there. He is was happy that I keep an ongoing blog and my statcounter shows him coming over and reading through the posts and comments from time to time. That’s always fun to see.
What is the best and most difficult part of having an agent?
The best part is having someone who is invested in you as a writer. Who is interested in what your next idea and work will be. The most difficult part is having someone who is interested in what your next idea and work will be. Don’t get me wrong. I am so blessed to be working with Steven and he is a great agent. Still, as writers, we are often solitary in our craft. Opening your mind and laying out your ideas for critique can be daunting. It’s something I had never considered prior to this point. Having an agent invites a business partner into your private writing world. It’s wonderful, but also an adjustment.
What do you think about social networking? Besides your blog, I'm talking twitter, facebook, etc.. Do you think it's important for authors to do it?
Not if they don’t want to. There is a certain level of transparency that I am not comfortable with. I mean, who cares what I ate for dinner or who is standing in front of me in line? TMI, IMHO (hehehe). But, we do need to be available. We need to have some sort of web presence and it needs to be updated regularly. Editors/Agents look. They Google your name. You want them to find something.
Did you get a lawyer to go over the contract? Do you think that is important?
I didn’t. It was contract language, but it was all very understandable. Nothing terribly unexpected. I had researched Steven prior to querying him. I was comfortable with his reputation and didn’t worry too much about the contract details. They were all pretty straight forward.
Do you jump every time the phone rings?
No, but I get a little pulse of excitement every time I see a new e mail in my inbox. He communicates about 85% through e mail, but is happy to call if I am feeling a need to really discuss something. He always sets an appt. with me if he is to call, which is something this mom of 3 appreciates!
Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed!
Sure! Do you think anyone will read it?
May the commenting begin!
Posted by Robyn Campbell at 7:29 AM