Every writer has their own path to publication. Some are long and winding. Others are a straight shot. No matter the tale, the journey always involves ups and downs, caution signs, and for some, serious roundabouts. Through all of this though, what always remains is the writer’s commitment to their craft and their enduring dream to see their work on bookshelves one day.
In bringing you the W.O.W. series, I hope as a writer you will learn that no dream is unfounded. That with time, patience, perseverance, and commitment to your craft, it is possible to cross that finish line and share your story with the world.
Today I am pleased to share K.C. Held’s writing journey…
Amy: When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
K.C.: I have a collection of “books” I wrote as a kid so it was pretty early on. But I don’t think it occurred to me that being a writer was a possible career choice until one of my favorite authors, Zilpha Keatley Snyder, visited my elementary school and made being a published author an actual, tangible goal I could aspire to.
Amy: How many completed manuscripts did you query before one garnered interest?
K.C.: I queried a middle grade fantasy before HOLDING COURT that resulted in an R&R, but I ultimately decided to shelve it and move on. I still have feelings for that book though and someday I hope we can work things out. 🙂
Amy: I love that you have a background in costume design. How did you know you wanted to include that element in HOLDING COURT?
K.C.: I knew I wanted my main character, Jules, to have a super cool job so originally I gave her one of my mine-costume shop assistant! But then I discovered the existence of the Mad Maid of Kent and realized that was the perfect job for Jules. So I gave Geoffrey, the Master of the Wardrobe at Tudor Times, one of my dream jobs-recreating gorgeous historical costumes with an unlimited budget.
Amy: Did your query for HOLDING COURT come easily or did it go through many revisions?
K.C.: I feel like the query came fairly easily, but I did run it by my critique partners who helped me fine tune it before I sent it out. Having gone through the process before certainly helped.
Amy: From beginning (first draft) to end (signing contract), how long was the process of getting a deal for HOLDING COURT?
K.C.: I started writing HOLDING COURT on May 20, 2013 and I got my first offer on September 26, 2014.
Amy: Did you have critique partners for HOLDING COURT? If you did, how critical were they to your writing process?
K.C.: I have several treasured critique partners who are definitely critical to my writing process. I’m part of a local writing group that meets once a month and we share our work once we’ve completed a first draft. I also have several critique partners I met though the Nevada SCBWI Mentor program and we send each other work whenever we need feedback.
Amy: What can you tell me about your call with your agent, Kathleen Rushall? How did you know she was the right fit for you?
K.C.: I met Kathleen when I inadvertently sat next to her at my first SCBWI LA conference. One of her clients had literally just suggested I query her with my first book and then I happened to sit next to her, having no idea she was the agent we’d just been talking about. What are the chances?! She ultimately passed on that first book, but I was impressed with her kindness (she referred me to another agent) so once Holding Court was ready to go I knew I wanted to send it to her. It was the middle of December so I figured I wouldn’t hear anything until after the holiday season but on the day after Christmas I received an email from Kathleen requesting a phone call. BEST. CHRISTMAS. PRESENT. EVER!!
Amy: Was there ever a time you thought about giving up on your writing dream? If so, what motivated you to keep writing?
K.C.: I never thought about giving up on writing, but I did worry that my dream might take a backseat when my first child was born. It was actually quite the opposite, my daughter made me more determined than ever to fulfill my dream of becoming a published author someday. Because how could I convince her of the importance of dreaming big if I didn’t follow my own advice? Although it will be a few years before she’s ready to read it, she owns the very first copy of HOLDING COURT I signed. It’s inscribed “Dream BIG.”
Amy: What advice did you get early on in your writing career that you still use today?
K.C.: Treat your writing like a start-up business, not a hobby. Invest your time and money like you’re running a business, knowing that it might take a while to see a return on your investment, but making its long-term success your primary concern.
Sixteen-year-old Jules Verity knows exactly what’s in store at her new job at castle-turned-dinner-theater Tudor Times. Some extra cash, wearing a fancy-pants dress, and plenty of time to secretly drool over the ever-so-tasty–and completely unavailable–Grayson Chandler. Except that it’s not quite what she imagined.
For one, the costume Jules has to wear is awful. Then there’s the dead body she finds that just kind of…well, disappears. Oh, and there’s the small issue of Jules and her episodes of what her best friend calls “Psychic Tourette’s Syndrome”–spontaneous and uncontrollable outbursts of seemingly absurd prophecies.
The only bright side? This whole dead body thing seems to have gotten Grayson’s attention. Except that the more Jules investigates, the more she discovers that Grayson’s interest might not be as courtly as she thought. In fact, it’s starting to look suspicious…
K.C. HELD was born and raised in California with stopovers in Honduras, Mexico, and France. Married to her high school sweetheart, and mom to two avid bookworms, she holds an MFA in costume design and has worked as a freelance costumer in opera, theater, film, and television. Although she once spent a summer working in a castle, there were no dead bodies involved.
For more on K.C., find her on these social media sites: