Happy Monday, guys!
We're interviewing Kit Grindstaff on the blog today, who is going to be a part of Bookitcon 2016! She's stopped on by to talk about The Flame in the Mist, what life is like after your debut has come out, and more!
MMGM is a feature hosted by the fabulous Shannon Messenger on her blog every week!
A Q&A with Kit Grindstaff:
Author of The Flame in the Mist
April 2013, Delacorte
We're so honored that we finally have a chance to sit down and chat with you! You were one of the blog's first mutual Twitter follows back when we first started, and it's been awesome seeing your career progress.
1) It's been three years since The Flame in the Mist was released - a book I loved, by the way - and it's received incredible recognition around the nation.
I know that authors tend to see books as belonging to readers after being released into the world, but do you have any specific thoughts about watching Mist take hold of readers and grow?
That’s a cake, however, that takes a lot of preparing and baking, after which the debut year of promo can be exhausting: Tons of travel, presentations, online promo… So the reactions of readers is also a tremendous energy boost; that really helped me through those times.
2) As you've progressed along your publishing journey, what are some assumptions and/or preconceived notions that you've had about publishing, which have changed three years after publication?
So a lot can change after a book’s been signed – whole story lines, chapters cut out, others put in. I’d naively imagined that, after the ink had dried on my contract, my editor and I would sit down and go over everything that needed revising – in one meeting. The reality was about 4-5 months in all of back and forth between us, then with 2 copy editors, then more at the proof reading stage. One meeting? Um. . . hardly!
Then there’s promotion. I wasn’t prepared for how much most authors need to do on their own: local book signings, school visits, etc. Even in the case of big authors, a lot is often in
3) So, backstory: I first discovered you via Elsie Chapman, who directed me to The Lucky 13s. I went back to the site to research for this interview, and was struck at
1) not only how far all of you have come, but
2) also how much your interactions as writers - e.g. your support for one another; your push for each other's books; your interaction with readers - have really set the tone for how subsequent years of debut authors of reacted and interacted both with each other on digital platforms.
How does it feel knowing that you've really helped shape how MG/YA/publishing is viewed both digitally and in the real world, and what kind of advice do you have for up-and-coming authors?
So the Luckies were an invaluable asset, and I’d recommend that any new author join a similar group. Authoring can be a lonely venture, and to make friends on the same journey makes all the difference. We had a private forum where we could share news, good, bad and ugly, and vent if called for, knowing that others would jump in with advice, or similar experiences. It’s comforting to know, in the down moments, that it’s not just you.
The other thing I’d advise is to be selective about events. I threw myself into everything I could, wanting the experience – but it was exhausting. It’s good to push one’s boundaries, for sure; you never learn, otherwise, and if I’d stuck in the safe zone I’d never have done a school visit, as speaking in public terrified me. I overcame a lifelong fear in taking that on, and love giving presentations now!
So, see it all as opportunity – but make sure you get enough rest to recharge your batteries. You don’t have to say Yes to everything! Saying No occasionally is not going to make or break your book.
4) I've noticed that you're very involved with writing events, but are also involved with advocating for other timely concerns as well. What's one issue that you'd want the writing community to support?
Also, of course, there’s my passion for music. It’s been shown that learning music ups academic scores in things like math, and also has an unquantifiable affect on development and, I believe, happiness. Yet when funding is cut, music is often the first thing to go. So many more children these days are being treated for stress and depression, which is…well, depressing. Bring on the songs! Songs, as well, can connect us to our past, our culture, a sense of belonging.
Ok, I shall hop off of my soap box now. . .
5) What's next for you?
Short term: My husband and I are going in August to visit family and friends in England and Denmark. We’re also going to my school reunion, which happens every 5 years, which will be fun!
It’s another fantasy, very different from Flame, set between a future version of London and Tudor England. Boy protagonist this time. And that’s all I’m saying for now. :)