Thursday, July 29, 2010
Today, my dearest bloggers, I have a real treat for you (partially to make up for the lack of attention I've been giving you, but mostly because today's guest is awesome). The wonderfully gracious Mandy Hubbard, author and agent extraordinaire, is here for an interview!
"Mandy Hubbard is the author of Prada & Prejudice, You Wish, and five other to-be-published novels for teens. She is also a literary agent for D4EO Literary, where she represents authors of middle grade and teen fiction. She is currently living happily ever after with her husband and young daughter in Enumclaw, Washington." -- from her website.
For more information about Mandy, visit her online at http://www.mandyhubbard.com/.
Yours Truly: You’re a fairly new agent at D4EO Literary and you interned at the Bent Agency before that, what made you want to be a literary agent?
Mandy: In the process of selling my debut novel, Prada & Prejudice, I became more and more involved. I liked knowing where it was going and why. I liked knowing about new imprints that were opening up. I liked knowing everything. When it finally sold, one of the editors to offer had received the manuscript at my request. And when my next book sold, it again sold to an editor I had asked my agent to target. I was very interested in the agenting side of things, so when an internship landed in my lap, I jumped on it. The rest is history. :-) (That's a very cool story! :D )
YT: What are the perks and hardships, for you and your clients, of being a newer agent?
M: The perks, I think, are fairly obvious-- I have a small client list, so they get a lot of attention. And I'm hungry for great projects, so sometimes I take on things another agent doesn't have time for, and work closely with you on revisions to polish it until it is ready.
The downside is, of course, experience-- I've had to work really, really hard at creating and maintaining a massive spreadsheet detailing hundreds of editors and their wishlists, books they've worked on, etc. When it comes to negotiations, I have a very experienced agent at our agency to turn to.
YT: According to the D4EO website, you represent YA and MG fiction only. Why?
M: It's where my experience and knowledge is. I know the imprints, the editors, the runaway bestsellers and the sleeper hits, the trends, etc. I just plain KNOW MG and YA. To branch into adult fiction, I'd have to climb an enormous learning curve. I may do that someday, but for now, I like my bubble. It's where my passion is. (Very understandable.)
YT: You started your publishing career on the other side of the desk as an author, what did you do when you got your agent and when Prada & Prejudice hit the shelves?
M: Oh gosh, I can't remember what I did when I got my agent. My hubby bought me a cute stuffed animal. That was four and a half years ago. When P&P hit shelves, I drove around to local stores and signed stock, then gorged my self on french fries at Red Robin. :-) (That sounds like a great way to do it!)
YT: As a writer, what is the best thing about starting a new WIP?
M: Not knowing where it will end, or how the plot will curve and twist. I love discovering it as I go! Even when I outline, it still manages to surprise me along the way.
YT: You Wish, your upcoming release, is about a girl whose birthday wishes all start coming true. How did you come up with that idea?
M: I'd been actively brainstorming ideas for months. One particular line of thinking I'd been stuck on was wishes being granted-- not necessarily magically or by a genie, but just giving a character something they desperately wanted. As I was falling asleep one night, I thought to msyelf, "At one point, I would have wanted a life sized My Little Pony." Something clicked on-- the idea of giving a character not just a thing she wanted- but everything she ever wanted-- and I got really excited. But then I thought, "There is no way a life-sized My Little Pony is going to make sense by the light of day." I actually forgot about the idea for a couple of days, and then it came back to me. And the idea began to form. (I love that it all comes back to the My Little Pony; that's fantastic!
YT: What is the first thing you’ll do August 5th when You Wish hits the shelves of bookstores everywhere? ‘Cause I’m thinking cupcakes sound good.
M: Ooh, Cupcakes! Probably one or six of those. (I'd have to go with 6. :P )Actually, my master plan is to go float the river in an innertube. The book is set in my hometown, and Kayla, the MC, goes to Flaming Geyser park near my house and goes swimming. So I am using that as an excuse to do it for the first time since *I* was 16.
YT: What are your favorite and least favorite parts of your jobs? I would think that trying to balance your books with those of your clients would be a tad overwhelming.
M: Least favorite will always be rejection. On both sides. It is hard to pass rejection along to my clients. Hard to be rejected when a writer chooses a different agent (if they have multiple offers). Hard to be "rejected" by reviewers who give 1 star reviews. But its just part of the business. (I think we all hate that part, but it's a necessary evil.)
Favorite? Working with people who just really frickin love this industry. They love the books they write, the books they edit, the books they read. And I get to be a part of that. (Yes!)
YT: Do you have any tip or pieces of advice for those who want to be agents, authors, or both (like you)?
M: It is just as hard to be succesful on both sides of the desk. You need to know what you're getting into-- a lot of freakin work, a little bit of pay, but a lot of rewards, too.
And as long as all that sounds good, well, don't let anyone tell you it can't happen. (Great advice! *takes notes*)
YT: Last question, and this one’s for fun, what’s the best book you’ve read recently (published or not)?
M: SLEEPLESS by Cyn Balog rocks Really enjoyed STAY by Allie Larkin. About to start ONE NIGHT THAT CHANGES EVERYTHING by Lauren Barnholdt.
Well, there you have it folks. Write a book so that you can have an excuse to go to the water park and eat cupcakes. I kid, I kid! But that's got to be a nice job perk. :)
Mandy's newest book You Wish hits stores August 5th, and if you can't wait to get a dose of Mandy's fantastic writing, check out Prada & Prejudice now.
About You Wish:Kayla McHenry’s sweet sixteen sucks! Her dad left, her grades dropped, and her BFF is dating the boy Kayla’s secretly loved for years. Blowing out her candles, Kayla thinks: I wish my birthday wishes actually
came true. Because they never freakin’ do.
Kayla wakes the next day to a life-sized, bright pink My Little Pony outside her window. Then a year’s supply of gumballs arrives. A boy named Ken with a disturbing resemblance to the doll of the same name stalks her. As the ghosts of Kayla’s wishes-past appear, they take her on a wild ride . . . but they MUST STOP. Because when she was fifteen? She wished Ben Mackenzie would kiss her. And Ben is her best friend’s boyfriend.