Debut Author of the Month:
"I probably always knew in the back of my mind that I wanted to be a writer," Kristina Springer says in the long version of her bio on kristinaspringer.com. "But, it didn’t hit me really hard until about 10 years ago." After years of reading and writing (technical, TV, and a little bad poetry), Kristina began writing young adult fiction in earnest. Her debut novel THE ESPRESSOLOGIST was published by FSG in October 2009.
"The publishing process for THE ESPRESSOLOGIST was so great-- every step along the way was fun from the first line edits through getting the final cover. I finally found exactly what I want to do and it's an awesome, awesome thing."
Tell my readers about your debut book THE ESPRESSOLOGIST.
THE ESPRESSOLOGIST is about Jane, a 17-yr old part-time coffee barista at a Chicago coffee house. Jane has a notebook where she's been recording what type of drinks people order and she notices a trend--the same type of people always order the same type of drinks. One day she tries to match up a customer whose favorite drink is an iced vanilla latte with another whose drink is a dry cappuccino and they're a hit. She tries it a couple more times, with success, and then her boss finds out what she's been doing and turns her into the store's holiday promotion, causing a love and latte craze.
You wrote the entire manuscript for your book from the same table at your local Starbucks. Is the Starbucks culture conducive to writing non-coffee-themed books, too?
Oh yeah. I'm on book #8 now and I've written all of them in coffee shops. Though, I have been fancying Caribou lately--I can't lie.
You had offers of representation from two agents and then your first book went to auction. How did you get to that point?
Mostly just let rejections roll of my back and kept on going! I was inching toward the 100 agents queried mark with my first YA book (I've since buried that book. RIP Book #1) while writing THE ESPRESSOLOGIST. I felt really good about THE ESPRESSOLOGIST and was so excited to start querying it. Once I did, things happened really fast. Suddenly there were a number of agents reading it, two offered, and then maybe a week or so after I signed with one of the agents the first offer from a publisher came in. There were more interested publishers so my agent set up an auction. It was all very exciting!
You have four kids under 7. How do you juggle life and writing life (and don’t say lots of coffee).
I won't say coffee (but it helps!). It is a bit of a struggle. OK, it can be a lot of a struggle some days but I manage to pull it off. Basically, the kids can get loud and cranky so I always attend to their needs first. But if there is a moment that I can sneak to the laptop and post a blog here and there I'll take it. If an idea for a chapter I'm working on hits me I'll write it down anywhere I can. Of course then my notes end up in e-mail drafts and on post-its/receipts/mail/kids' homework/you name it. I do all business calls between 1 and 2 PM (a.k.a. naptime at the Springer house). And I write after the kids go to bed. Usually my husband will get home from work at this time and I can make a dash for the coffeeshop to write. I do promotional type stuff (signings, panels etc.) primarily on the weekends when my husband can take over with the kids.
THE ESPRESSOLOGIST has been out for several months. What have you done in the way of promotion? Online presence? How is it going?
I do as much as I can! Online I blog/tweet/facebook a lot. I'm at kristinaspringer.blogspot.com and I also blog with a great group of writers at author2author.blogspot.com. Our group posts five days a week so we're very active.
I've tried a couple of ads on various sites and I've done lots of giveaways. It's especially nice to group up with other authors for giveaways too, Like Kristin Walker (A MATCH MADE IN HIGH SCHOOL) and Rhonda Stapleton (STUPID CUPID) and I did a fun one for Valentine's Day. We asked people to write us a poem and we picked a random winner to receive an autographed copy of each of our books, candy, and handmade Valentine cards.
In person I go to as many events as I can. I've done a number of signings, a YA panel, the yearly Anderson's Children's literature breakfast, an author fair, and a school visit so far. I have a teacher's appreciation luncheon coming up this weekend and another author fair right after that so I try to keep busy on the weekends.
I don’t drink coffee. Does it make sense that I’d marry a Jewish psychologist who’s a java junkie?
No. That makes no sense whatsoever. Um, maybe it's an opposites attract thing? Perhaps you've yet to succumb to the delicious addiction and you'll eventually pick it up? I wouldn't eat salad until I was like 18 and now I love it. Maybe you'll come around.
How many reviewers have called your book “frothy”?
Too many to count! I've seen lots of "cute," "sweet," "frothy" and lots of people talking about reading it while getting cozy by fireplaces/christmas trees/with a blanket/whatever else you like to get cozy by or with. I totally love that people get that from the book because that's what I was going for--the warm fuzzies.
Tell us about your second novel that will be published by FGS later this year.
I am insanely excited about my new book! It's called MY FAKE BOYFRIEND IS BETTER THAN YOURS. It's about two 7th grade BFFs who each think each other's "boyfriend" is a fake. It becomes competitive (like if one says her boyfriend sent her carnations the other says her boyfriend sent her roses) and hilarious. It will be out in the August 31st.
Finally, can you offer some advice to other debut authors? To those pursuing publication?
To other debut authors: Don't read the reviews! Ok, I know you'll read some of the reviews-- especially from the bigger reviewers. But don't read ALL of the reviews. Like all the goodreads and Amazon and random reviews that pop up online everyday. People's opinions vary so widely and if you start reading everything you might let it affect your thinking and possibly your writing. One person may say OMG, this is the BEST BOOK EVER!! Um, no it's not. And another might say OMG, this is the worst thing ever written! Again, not. It's better to not obsess over what everyone is saying and just work on your next book.
To those pursuing publication: Don't give up! You'll be rejected. A LOT. But you can't let it stop you! You need to believe in your work and keep on trying.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Debut Author of the Month:
Thursday, March 11, 2010
A Catching Up Post...
Hopefully you've missed me, dear readers. My blog has been quiet for a bit as I was home in bed for a week taking Vicodin and watching Law & Order reruns with frozen edamame in my pants. And one should not post in that state.
But I'm back at work now, almost all better and pretty much caught up on my work. Now to catch you up...
- My birthday was a week ago Wednesday, but I rescheduled it due to the situation described above. (So if you asked me, I'll tell you I'm still 41.) I've decided it will officially occur on March 20th, at which time I will be in New York to catch the end of the NYC Teen Author Festival. Click here for the event schedule posted on the readergirlz blog. There's all kinds of stuff going on all over the city, including the World's Biggest Book Signing in the World! at Books of Wonder (where they also sell cupcakes). Look for tweets from me during the events and a post or two when I get back.
- SCBWI announced their 2010 Golden Kite Award recipients. Their award for fiction went to SEA OF THE DEAD by Julia Durango; nonfiction to ASHLEY BRYAN: WORDS TO MY LIFE'S SONG by Ashley Bryan; picture book text to THE LONGEST NIGHT by Marion Dane Bauer (illustrated by Ted Lewin); picture book illustration to GRACIAS THANKS illustrated by John Parra (written by Pat Mora). Honor award recipients were also announced. The winners will be honored at the Golden Kite Luncheon at the SCBWI Annual Summer Conference in LA (July 30-August 2) which will be covered by SCBWI TEAM BLOG.
- This weekend is our first WD Editors' Intensive of 2010. If you can't make it to this one, mark your calendar for September 11-12 when we'll be offering another weekend of information and critiquing featuring yours truly as well as a raft of other awesome WD editors.