This week, we have Megan Frazer, who studied English literature and creative writing at Columbia University. She lives with her husband in Maine, where she is a high school librarian.
A little about, Secrets of Truth & Beauty:
Secrets of Truth & Beauty is the story of a former child beauty pageant winner turned overweight teen, who struggles with family secrets and her own sense of self over the course of a transformative summer on a goat farm with her estranged older sister.
Now let’s start the interview. When you received your offer, what happened?
There were several publishers interested, so I kept getting update calls from my agent, Sara Crowe. She had mentioned going to auction, but then Donna Bray and Emily Schultz pre-empted. I expected to be a crier and a screamer, but I think most of the conversations with Sara consisted of me saying “Uh huh, okay, okay.” I’m still amazed at it all.
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?
Honestly, and I imagine many AOTVs will answer similarly, I still don’t feel official. I feel like someone could take this away from me at any moment. I keep waiting for it to feel “real.”
Tell us a little bit about your path to publication.
I had been writing for adults, but then a couple people suggested I try YA. Once the idea for the novel came to me, I just ran with it. I can’t say the writing was easy, but Dara’s voice came easily to me. And writing it was joyful. Once I finished, I queried agents, which led me to Sara Crowe at Harvey Klinger. She offered representation two days before my wedding – that was a good week.
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?
Do you mean by agents or publishers? This was the only book that I’ve had sent to publishers, and I’m not sure how many rejected it. As for agents for all books, that’s got to be. . .
Tell us about one of your most heart-breaking rejections and about one of your best.
I think they are the same. I got a personal rejection from The New Yorker. It hurt to come so close, but also felt really good because, you know, it was The New Yorker.
How long did it take to sell your books, from putting the first words on the page to receiving an offer?
- 0-3 months
- 3-6 months
- 6 months to 1 year
- 1 year – 2 years
- 2 years – 3 years
- 3 years+
- The manuscript has been around longer than I have.
Prior to selling your books, you were …
Working a full-time job in the writing industry
Well, it wasn’t exactly in the writing industry, but in the book industry: I was, and am, a librarian.
What are some of the new things you worry about now that you have a contract?
I am a champion worrier, and could write paragraphs and paragraphs about my neurosis. I will spare you and just give you the top three:
3. My reviews will be terrible.
2. I won’t get any reviews.
1. I won’t get published again.
Any advice for aspiring authors?
There are some people who I read that I am so jealous of – the way they put words together just amazes me. It’s important to realize that no matter how much you admire someone, you can’t be that person. You need to develop your own voice and play to your own strengths.
Aside from WRITING FOR CHILDREN AND TEENS<—shameless plug, are there any other books on craft you recommend?
On Writing by Stephen King. It’s part memoir, part inspirational, and part nuts and bolts. It’s one of those books that make me want to go right to my computer.
Finally, Snoop wants to know: What’s your favorite kind of cheese?
Why thank you for asking, Snoop. I’m sure you know that cheese plays a big part in my novel, so of course I’ve given the topic of cheese a lot of thought. Of course you can’t be a good sharp cheddar, and goat cheese makes me swoon, but I’m going to go with delicious fresh mozzarella. For today, anyway.
This concludes our interview with our latest author, Megan Frazer. We wish her much success with her debut novel Secrets of Truth & Beauty.
To see what Megan is up to these days, visit her website at http://www.meganfrazer.com.