Authors on the Verge: Meet Mandy Hubbard, young adult novelist

Mandy Hubbard
Mandy Hubbard

This week, we have Mandy Hubbard. Mandy grew up on a dairy farm outside Seattle, where she refused to wear high heels until homecoming and hated them so much she didn’t wear another pair for five years. A cowgirl at heart, she enjoys riding horses and quads and singing horribly to the latest country tune. She’s currently living happily ever after with her husband (who, sadly, is not a Duke) and her daughter (who is most definitely a princess). Prada and Prejudice is her first novel.

Here’s a little bit about PRADA & PREJUDICE, Razorbill, June 2009.

Prada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard
Prada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard

Prada and Prejudice is about a teen girl named Callie who buys an expensive pair of Prada heels in an attempt to impress the cool girls on her class trip abroad-only to trip, conk her head, and wake up in 1815!  She stumbles about until she meets the kind-hearted Emily, who takes Callie in, mistaking her for a long-lost friend. Sparks soon fly between Callie and Emily’s cousin, Alex, the maddeningly handsome-though totally arrogant-Duke of Harksbury. Too bad he seems to have something sinister up his ruffled sleeve…

Now let’s start the interview. When you received your offer, what happened?

Almost couldn’t breathe. Seriously, I had to breathe through my mouth until my heart rate went back to normal. I called everyone I knew and then popped some champagne that night to celebrate. I also used my book deal as an excuse to buy pretty much any book I wanted, since it would be tax deductible.

So now that you have a contract, what’s it like to be on the other side-on the verge of publication? What does it feel like to be official?

It’s fun to feel like I am suddenly a “legitimate” writer. I think we writers have a hard time proudly declaring ourselves writers unless we are published, and that’s a shame. We all work hard to perfect our stories! But talking about my book to people has been really fun, like I have something valuable to share with people.

Tell us a little bit about your path to publication.

Everyone said getting an agent would be really hard, so when I got an agent quickly I was sure my books would sell just as fast. It ended up being 2 1/2 years from my first agency contract, two separate books on submissions totaling 38 rejections, 9 drafts of PRADA & PREJUDICE… it was not at all an overnight sale as I had imagined. But I think there are far more stories like mine than people realize, but authors don’t like to share how difficult it can be. I think that’s sad, because it is so encouraging to learn that others faced hardship before succeeding!

And here’s our favorite question. How many rejections did you receive in general (not just for this book) before you landed your first major publishing contract?

51-100

Tell us about one of your most heart-breaking rejections and about one of your best.

My hardest one was from an editor who truly loved my book and wanted to buy it, and got tons of people at her house on board, but got turned down at the last minute when they decided their program should only publish paranormal books. I swear to you I spent a good hour trying to figure out if I could add a ghost to PRADA & PREJUDICE! Aside from that, the other 25 rejections weren’t so hot either. I think every house in NYC rejected me, until I rewrote the book from scratch and received two offers after less than two weeks later. One of those offers came from an editor who had rejected me twice already!

How long did it take to sell your books, from putting the first words on the page to receiving an offer?

2 years – 3 years

Prior to selling your books, you were …

Working a full-time job unrelated to writing

Now that you’ve sold some books, you plan to …

Not change a thing

What are some of the new things you worry about now that you have a contract?

Sales. I worry no one will read it, or that the big chain stores won’t stock it, which can kill your career before it gets off the ground.

Describe a typical day in your writing life.

I write on a laptop on the train (thirty minutes to and from work) and after my daughter has gone to bed–after 9PM.

Any inspiring quotes you live by?

“A published author is an amateur who didn’t quit.”   It was on my blog before my sale, reminding me of my goal, and I have kept it there, reminding me of what it took to get here.

Any advice for aspiring authors?

Never give up. I firmly believe that anyone can be published if they dedicate the time to learning the craft, and they refuse to take no for an answer.

Finally, Snoop wants to know: How did it feel to see your cover for the first time?

I freaked out. I didn’t realize when she called it a ‘cover comp’ that it meant it wasn’t the actual cover, but a mock-up of the general design. The legs they had put on the original cover looked like they’d ben run over by a car. Once I realized they were doing a photoshoot for my actual cover, I breathed a sigh of relief, and the final product turned out beautifully.

This concludes our interview with our latest author Mandy Hubbard. We wish her much success with her debut novel PRADA & PREJUDICE.

To see what Mandy is up to these days, visit her website at www.mandyhubbard.com.

2 thoughts on “Authors on the Verge: Meet Mandy Hubbard, young adult novelist

  1. I loved this interview! So many truths here. We share the same favorite quote, I have it at the bottom of all my emails. I love her advice, I truly believe if you never give up you will get published someday. A lot of people give up along the way because it is such a discouraging job where people don’t take you seriously unless your are published.

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