Each manuscript provides an opportunity to learn and grow. Your first attempt at writing a story may not be easy, but if you work at your craft, and allow yourself to learn, your work gets better. In today’s W.O.W., Kristy Acevedo shares her journey on the path to publication and explains how taking her time, and allowing herself to mature as a writer, led to selling her debut, CONSIDER to Jolly Fish Press.
Many thanks to Kristy for sharing her journey today…
Amy: What inspires you to write Young Adult Fiction?
Kristy: Teens have always been my natural audience, which is why I also decided to teach at the high school level. My teen years were rather tumultuous, so I want to give back to that age group. Teens also respect honesty, and I’m someone who tells it like it is.
Amy: From reading your bio, I know you are a high school English teacher. How much does that affect your writing if it does at all?
Kristy: Tons. I spend the majority of my time surrounded by teenagers, including AP students and more reluctant readers. When I write, I try to engage both types of readers with fast-paced and thought-provoking stories.
Amy: How many manuscripts had you completed prior to CONSIDER?
Kristy: I completed two manuscripts, one that I received great editorial feedback on but haven’t made all the changes yet. My debut idea begged me to write it. Glad I listened. Prior to that, I worked on two manuscripts that are half complete. Writing those stories definitely taught me how to write my debut novel.
Amy: Was there ever a time you thought about giving up on your writing dream? If so, what motivated you to keep writing?
Kristy: No, but I did put it on hold. I had my daughter when I was only 19, and I left college after freshmen year due to her medical needs. I returned to college a year later and finished my English undergrad degree in record time. Then I started teaching, got married, had another daughter, got my master’s. I was writing during all this time but not on a regular basis. I’m actually glad that I didn’t seek publication immediately; it gave me time to experience life and mature as a writer.
Four years ago, I decided it was finally time to focus on me and my writing dream. I joined SCBWI, attended conferences, found a fabulous critique group, and started a Twitter monthly writing challenge group to keep me accountable.
Amy: What advice did you get early on in your writing career that you still use today?
Kristy: Write in layers. Don’t expect to get everything right in a rough draft. Focus on one aspect and see it through to the end, then go back through and add another layer.
I was also encouraged to join SCBWI and find a local critique group. Both have been crucial to learning about the industry and building my craft.
Amy: If you met a struggling writer at a book signing and they told you they were on the verge of giving up, what would you say to them?
Kristy: One day at a time. On March 11, 2015 I participated in #PitMad on Twitter. One little favorite by editor TJ da Roza led to my two-book deal with Jolly Fish Press ten days later. You never know what’s right around the corner.
(Available April, 2016)
As if Alexandra Lucas’ anxiety disorder isn’t enough, mysterious holograms suddenly appear from the sky, heralding the end of the world. They bring an ultimatum: heed the warning and step through a portal-like vertex to safety, or stay and be destroyed by a comet they say is on a collision course with earth. How’s that for senior year stress?
The holograms, claiming to be humans from the future, bring the promise of safety. But without the ability to verify their story, Alex is forced to consider what is best for her friends, her family, and herself.
To stay or to go. A decision must be made.
With the deadline of the holograms’ prophecy fast approaching, Alex feels as though she is living on a ticking time bomb, until she discovers it is much, much worse.
Kristy Acevedo is a YA author, high school English teacher, and huge Star Trek, Doctor Who, and Harry Potter fan. When she was a child, her “big sister” from the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program fostered her love of books by bringing her to the public library every Wednesday. A member of SCBWI, her debut YA science fiction novel, CONSIDER (Jolly Fish Press, April 2016), won the 2015 PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Children’s Book Discovery Award. In 2014 she founded the Monthly Twitter Writing Challenges (see writingchallenge.org). She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, two daughters, and two cats. She believes coffee and dark chocolate were put on this planet for the good of humankind. For more on Kristy, check out her website or follow her on Twitter – @kristyace.