It's a WONDERFUL WEDNESDAY and I'm delighted to welcome the lovely Megan E. Freeman to the blog to help celebrate the release of her brand new book, ALONE.
ALONE is a middle grade delight! It's powerful and gripping read and I highly recommend it to everyone!
Photo credit: Laura Carson
MY INTERVIEW WITH MEGAN E. FREEMAN
Did you always dream of being a writer?
I first wanted to be a writer in elementary school. My school participated in young authors festivals and we made handmade books out of construction paper and cardboard and I loved it. I also had wonderful teachers who encouraged me and believed being a writer was entirely within the realm of possibility. That made a huge difference. I ended up studying a lot of other things and I had a long career as a teacher, but I never stopped writing. I started publishing poems in literary journals and anthologies in the early 2000’s, and I published a collection of poetry in 2015. ALONE is my first novel.
When did you start pursuing traditional publishing?
I started querying ALONE in 2014 and I joined the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, where I learned a lot about traditional publishing. I also took a lot of classes on different aspects of writing and publishing through Writer’s Digest and other online resources.
How long did it take from sending that first query to getting an offer of representation?
I sent my first query in 2014 and I signed with my agent in 2018. In between, I took some long breaks and completely rewrote the novel. It was originally written in prose and third person voice, and I revised the whole thing into verse and first person voice.
Did you go on submission soon after?
I did a small revision for my agent after I signed with her, and then she sent out the manuscript about three months later. She does a lot to lay groundwork with editors and publishing houses before she sends out submissions.
How long did you wait until your book received an offer from a publisher?
We got our first nibble about two months later and that nibble turned into an offer. It was a thrilling moment when I got that email.
What's been the hardest part of publishing a book so far?
As you know, there is a LOT of wait time. Long weeks or months with no word from the publishers. The conventional wisdom about using that time to work on the next book is really true. I completely revised one manuscript and wrote an entirely new one in the time it’s taken to publish ALONE.
And the easiest, or most enjoyable?
I love the collaboration with all the people working on the book. I love working with my editor and the copyeditors and marketing folks. I also love the community of writers I’ve become a part of. Writing is a very solitary endeavor and I really relish the parts of publishing that involve other people.
What's next for you?
I have a few things in the pipeline. I’m hoping to have more good publishing news to share soon, and I’m actively revising my work-in-progress. I’m also excited to do school and library visits and connect with young readers who find their way to ALONE.
What's one piece of advice you'd give to writers just started their pursuit of publication?
Keep showing up. Everything I’ve learned or that I’ve been able to make happen took place because I kept showing up. Whether it was showing up at my desk every day to write or showing up at conferences for workshops and critiques, I made myself go even when I was tempted not to. I often registered or applied for opportunities that had a built in deadline to submit work, even when I didn’t have anything ready at the time of registration. Having those external deadlines motivated me to keep working, and then when the deadlines arrived, I’d have ten polished pages or fifty or a manuscript ready to submit. Opportunities present themselves all the time, but if you don’t show up, they’ll only benefit other people. Get out there and learn about the industry and do the work necessary to hone your craft. Pay attention, stay open to growing as a creator, and keep showing up.
Some quickfire answers...
Last book you just read?
Afterlife by Julia Alvarez
What book are you reading now?
PAWS by Kate Foster
Best book you've ever read?
I love Fannie Flagg. And Charlotte Bronte. And Kate DiCamillo. And I’ve had a forty-year-long crush on John Irving.
Best moment of your writing life?
Reading and talking about poetry as a guest poet in a class with men incarcerated at the Sterling Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison here in Colorado.
Name of your newest WIP?
If not an author, what would be your dream job?
Working in a flower shop.
Perfect for fans of Hatchet and the I Survived series, this harrowing middle grade debut novel-in-verse from a Pushcart Prize–nominated poet tells the story of a young girl who wakes up one day to find herself utterly alone in her small Colorado town.
When twelve-year-old Maddie hatches a scheme for a secret sleepover with her two best friends, she ends up waking up to a nightmare. She’s alone—left behind in a town that has been mysteriously evacuated and abandoned.
With no one to rely on, no power, and no working phone lines or internet access, Maddie slowly learns to survive on her own. Her only companions are a Rottweiler named George and all the books she can read. After a rough start, Maddie learns to trust her own ingenuity and invents clever ways to survive in a place that has been deserted and forgotten.
As months pass, she escapes natural disasters, looters, and wild animals. But Maddie’s most formidable enemy is the crushing loneliness she faces every day. Can Maddie’s stubborn will to survive carry her through the most frightening experience of her life?
Want to guest blog or be interviewed? Got a cover reveal or book coming out?
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