Monday, August 1, 2011

Parenting to Publishing: Abbi Glines

Let’s see how Abbi is doing it all.     

CW: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
AG: When I am being forced up a mountainside with a backpack weighing me down and the fear of bears hammering in my head or when I am being hauled out into choppy waters holding on for dear life afraid I will be pitched over at any moment, I wonder why it was exactly I married my crazy husband. Then again having an adventurous if somewhat insane spouse has been the best muse a writer could ask for. My debut novel BREATHE was released May,17, 2011 by Wild Child Publishing  and it was thanks to one of those spur of the moment boat trips that sparked the idea for Breathe. I've been writing all my life but it wasn't until I tried my hand at YA fiction that I found my groove. Apparently I never really grew up, which may explain my marriage to a dare devil. I've recently signed the contract on my second YA novel Existence and I am currently writing my third novel. I am a Twitter junkie and I am now on Google +

CW: When did you start writing? 
AG: Well, I began writing actual stories when I was nine. I knew I wanted to be a writer. I loved making stories up.  I wrote for a county wide newspaper when I graduated from high school and quickly realized I didn’t much care for the real world. However, I continued to write freelance for parenting, travel, and family magazines. I tried writing chic lit but it didn’t really go anywhere. Something wasn’t clicking. Then the idea for my current novel Breathe hit me and before I knew it, I had a YA novel on my hands.

CW: What genre do you write? What is your book about?
AG: I write YA fiction. Breathe is about a young girl, who hasn’t been handed an easy path in life, finding herself immersed in the private world of America’s favorite teenage rock star. Sadie has a pregnant irresponsible single mom who relies on her to fix all their problems. Jax Stone is the golden boy of the music industry who has escaped for the summer to the coastal southern town of Sea Breeze, Alabama. Jax knows Sadie will never fit into the life he leads but he can’t seem to stay away from her. When his fame splashes their “summer fling” all over the media, Jax leaves in hopes of saving Sadie from the harsh spotlight. Broken hearted Sadie’s life spirals out of control. However, she holds the rock star’s heart in her hands and he soon realizes without Sadie he can’t breathe.

CW: Tell us a little bit about your journey to getting your agent. What were your query stats? What is the most memorable feedback (good or bad) you have received about your book?
AG: I didn’t have a very long journey looking for an agent. I sent out twenty query letter to agents and three to smaller publishing houses that didn’t require agents. I received seven partial request from agents and a contract from two publishing houses. The first publishing house wanted me to promise to buy a certain number of my books. I didn’t want to pay anything to get Breathe published. Wild Child Publishing would send Breathe to ebook and then to paperback later. I had to make no promises to buy anything. It felt more legit to me. So, instead of dealing with agents and rejections I chose Wild Child. They had several successful authors and I really like working with their editor in chief Marci Baun. Most memorable feedback would have to be the first review I received from someone I did not know at the time. Debbie from I HEART YA reviewed Breathe on her blog and gave it an excellent review. I think I went back and reread her review a thousand times that week.

CW: Most writers dream about getting published. Tell us how it works? How amazing did it feel to hold your book for the first time? 
BreatheAG: You edit A LOT! Once you sign the contract edits begin. You edit and edit and edit. It is grueling. Not my favorite part of the writing process. Designing the cover is the fun part. Wild Child assigned me an artist to work with and I absolutely loved deciding on the perfect cover for Breathe. As for holding the book I haven’t done that just yet. I am waiting on Breathe to go to print. However, it does feel pretty darn good to hold my Nook with my book opened up on it.

CW: Can you describe your writing routine? Any certain music, food, smells or atmosphere that get you in the mood to write? 
AG: I spend at least five hours a day writing. I require silence and a large bag of tropical flavored Twizzlers. Nothing really gets me in the mood. Somedays I don’t feel like writing but once I force myself to start I quickly find my groove.

CW: What is your favorite writers’ resource?
AG: My favorite author’s blogs. I read them daily. I follow their tweets. Soaking up knowledge from a writer you admire is the best resource out there. Thanks to the world of blogging it is very easy to do.

CW: How do you feel about conferences? Have you been to any? Do you have any suggestions as to which conferences are good? 
AG: I have never been to a conference. I have three kids and their social lives and activities don’t leave me room to go to conferences. I do hope to attend them someday.

CW: What are you currently working on?
AG: After I finished Breathe I had a paranormal idea running through my head and immediately wrote my next novel Existence. I began writing my second paranormal around the time Breathe was released. However that was soon put to a halt after the influx of readers requesting a story for “Marcus” the other guy in Breathe began to pile in. So, right now I am writing Marcus’s story.

CW: What are you reading now? What is your favorite book? What is your favorite movie? 
AG: I am currently reading The Peachville High Demons series by Sarra Cannon. My favorite book ah... that is a hard one. My favorite classic is Pride and Prejudice. I can’t pick out just one book out of my current reads. Favorite movie would have to be Sweet Home Alabama.

CW: Tell us a little about your kids, husband and home life. 
AG: I have three kids. Austin is 12 and obsessed with football. I thought he was going to be my book lover because he was a complete Harry Potter fanatic but football entered his life and it became his first love. Annabelle is 10 and my dancer. I’d like to say she is a graceful ballerina but she is all hip hop. Where the child got her moves I have no idea because her father nor I can dance. Ava is 6 and my gymnast. She can flip and bend in ways that should be illegal. At any given moment the child will flip and land in the splits. My husband is a photographer. He has had his work published in the Wall Street Journal. He also is an amazing videographer. Check out my rocking book trailer ;)  We live in Fairhope, AL but spend a good portion of our summer in Orange Beach, Alabama. My kids are water rats. They learned to swim in the Mobile Bay instead of a swimming pool.

CW: What kind of support do you have from friends and family when it comes to writing?
AG: If my family didn’t support me then I wouldn’t be able to write. My kids and husband deal with the messy house and fast meals during writing intervals. They don’t complain and understand. My friends also are great about not taking offense when I don’t answer their phone calls and become a recluse when writing. They make up an awesome support group.

CW: How do you balance writing and family life?
AG: During the school year this is easy. All three of my kids are in school so I get them off then spend  five hours writing, an hour or so cleaning and then I’m ready to help them with their homework or take them to their after school activities. Summer is a whole new ball game. I do most of my writing at night when they are asleep. I work during the day on my social media which is a must for writers. That is something you can get interrupted and then come back to without a problem. I don’t get as much writing done in the summer as I do during the school year. Remembering you are Mom first can be hard to balance.

CW: What has been your biggest challenge in writing so far? Any solutions?
AG: Lack of sleep. When a story is in my head I can’t seem to stop writing. It keeps me awake. And a sleepy Mom is a grouchy Mom. I have found keeping a notebook by my bed to jot down ideas is  a way to ease my active brain.

CW: What is your guilty pleasure? Tell me something people wouldn’t guess about you.
AG: Planning Disney World trips. Weird, I know. I literally plan trips I know I can’t take. When I have a trip in the future I will plan that sucker to death. When I don’t a a trip in the future I plan one anyway. I’m obsessed with the place. I could go five times a year.

CW: Any advice you can give to writers? Also, any helpful tips, tricks or websites? 
AG: If you plan to ever be published then make a name for yourself online NOW. Blog regularly, get involved in the Goodreads community, TWITTER OMG I can NOT stress this enough. Twitter is invaluable. Make friends, make connections, get to know blog reviewers, get to know readers who read your genre. I can not tell you the connections I’ve made that have made all the difference in getting word out about Breathe. Being published by a big dog in the publishing field means nothing if you don’t know how to market yourself. Online presence is absolutely a must. You can’t ignore it. Did I get my point across? LOL!

Abbi, thank you so much for this great interview.  I personally could relate to this interview, being a Disney over-planner myself. I also find it hard to write in the summer while my kids are out of school.  I loved reading about your road to publication and cannot wait to see more from you.

Follow Abbi Glines on Twitter, visit her website, watch her awesome book trailer and check her out on Google+.