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Author Interviews

A collection of interviews with debut authors and writers. These first-time authors discuss finding their literary agents and getting debuts published.

Author Interview: Lindsay Cummings, Author of THE MURDER COMPLEX


I love interviewing debut authors on the blog. This is because aspiring writers can look at their path to publication and identify what they did right. Today’s featured author is Lindsay Cummings, author of the YA futuristic thriller, THE MURDER COMPLEX (June, Greenwillow Books).

Lindsay Cummings is a 22-year-old author of YA and MG books at HarperCollins. She lives in Dallas, TX with her husband Josh, her hedgehog named Hedwig, her two German Shepherds Hurley and Kai, her wolf cub Kimber, and a draft horse named Dan the Man. Lindsay deals with Chronic Fatigue issues, believes Jesus is the reason for all of her success, and swears that book hoarding is not a problem at all. She’s still waiting on her letter from Hogwarts–it was probably just lost in the mail. You can visit her book blogging website for teens at www.booknerdigans.com. Her other books are THE FEAR TRIALS and BALANCE KEEPERS: THE FIRES OF CALDERON (Sept. 2014). Read more

Author Interview: Alex Myers, Author of the Historical Novel REVOLUTIONARY


I love interviewing debut success stories here on the GLA Blog because I believe that aspiring writers can learn from their journeys. Today’s debut author interview is with Alex Myers, whose novel, REVOLUTIONARY, came out in Jan. 2014 from Simon & Schuster. The novel has been praised by the New York Times, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, Elle, and many other outlets.

GIVEAWAY: Alex is excited to give away a free copy of his novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (UPDATE: kjavic won.) Read more

Author Interview: Nancy Grossman, Author of A WORLD AWAY


It’s time to meet another debut author and learn from their successful publishing journey. Today we meet Nancy Grossman, author of the 2012 young adult debut, A WORLD AWAY (Disney-Hyperion, out in paperback in 2013), a story about an Amish girl who visits the outside world.

After meeting an Amish teenager during a trip to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, author Nancy Grossman imagined what it would be like to take the girl home with her. Eventually those imaginings became her first novel, A World Away, which was named to Kirkus Reviews’ list of the Best Teen Books of 2012. Read more

Author Interview: Russ Ryan, Author of the Novel IT’S JUST A DOG

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In celebration of my 2012 humor book, RED DOG / BLUE DOG: WHEN POOCHES GET POLITICAL (Running Press, July 2012), I am featuring interviews with other dog book writers every now and again. It’s very exciting to shine light on books from other writers who also share a love for canines.

This time it’s Russ Ryan, author of the 2013 novel, IT’S JUST A DOG. Russ has written screenplays with the producers of American Pie, Fireflies in the Garden, and was a writer on National Lampoon’s Repli-kate. This is his first novel. Read more

Author Interview: Karolina Waclawiak, Author of HOW TO GET INTO THE TWIN PALMS

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It’s time to meet another debut author who got their novel published. Reading debut author interviews is a great way to see a writer’s path to success, so you can learn from them. This interview is with Karolina Waclawiak, author of HOW TO GET INTO THE TWIN PALMS (Two Dollar Radio Books, Aug. 2012), a novel Publishers Weekly called “a taut debut” in a starred review. The New York Times Book Review said, “At its most illuminating, How to Get Into the Twin Palms movingly portrays a protagonist intent on both creating and destroying herself, on burning brightly even as she goes up in smoke.”

Karolina Waclawiak is the essays editor of The Believer magazine. Find Karolina on Twitter. Read more

Author Interview: Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton, Authors of HAPPY MONEY: THE SCIENCE OF SMARTER SPENDING


It’s with great pleasure that I share this most recent author interview on the GLA Blog. That’s because I happen to be reading their book right now! It’s a nonfiction guide called HAPPY MONEY: THE SCIENCE OF SMARTER SPENDING (S&S, May 2013), a resource on what purchases give people the most satisfaction. Publishers Weekly said, “Readers cannot help but be charmed by this funny, warm guide to creating the good life from scratch.” Read on to meet authors Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton. Read more



It’s time to meet another author who got a literary agent & book deal — so we can learn from their path to success. This interview is with J.C. Carleson, a former undercover CIA officer. She spent nine years conducting clandestine operations around the globe before trading the real world of espionage for writing about espionage. She is the author of the nonfiction book, WORK LIKE A SPY: BUSINESS TIPS FROM A FORMER CIA OFFICER (Portfolio, Feb. 2013). Success said the book will “make you more versatile, shrewd and savvy, whether you’re a job seeker, salesperson, manager or CEO.” Publishers Weekly said “This quick and enjoyable read offers plentiful nuggets of information, which can be put to good use by any career-minded reader.” Read more

Debut Author Interview: Elizabeth Kiem, Author of DANCER, DAUGHTER, TRAITOR, SPY


It’s time to see how another debut author broke out and got their first book published. Our guest today is Elizabeth Kiem, author of DANCER, DAUGHTER, TRAITOR, SPY (August 2013, Soho Teen). The novel is an IndieNext Pick for the Autumn, in addition to the Amazon pick and Indies Introduce selection.

Elizabeth Kiem studied Russian language and literature at Columbia University and lived in Russia for four years immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Her nonfiction work can be read all over the world wide web. Dancer, Daughter, Traitor, Spy is her first novel. She lives in New York. Read more

Debut Author Interview: W.H. Beck, Author of the Middle Grade Novel MALCOLM AT MIDNIGHT


It’s time for another fantastic debut author interview, where I sit down with a writer and we discuss how they came to find their literary agent and get their book published. These interviews can explain what they wished they knew at the beginning at their journey.

W.H. Beck is an elementary school librarian by day and a children’s author by night (well, actually, very early mornings). She reads and writes in Wisconsin, where she shares her home and books with a husband, two sons, and a sneaky dog. Her first novel is MALCOLM AT MIDNIGHT (Houghton Mifflin, illustrated by Brian Lies), a humorous middle grade mystery starring classroom pets at midnight. Kirkus called the book, “A rip-roaring tale; even rodent haters will have to like Malcolm,” and Publishers Weekly said “Escapades, humor, and romance weave together in this madcap elementary school adventure … A first-rate debut.” Read more

Debut Author Interview: Marcia Strykowski, Author of CALL ME AMY


I love debut author interviews. I think illuminating the journey of these authors can help show a path to success that you can emulate and follow. Today, our interview is with middle grade author Marcia Strykowski.

Marcia works at a public library. Earlier between earning her BS in Fine Arts and raising her children, she worked for seven years in textbook publishing. After numerous magazine and anthology contributions, CALL ME AMY (Luminis Books, May 2013) is her first novel (middle grade). Publishers Weekly said, “Strykowski lovingly captures seaside Maine and the travails of adolescence in her quiet, sweet-natured debut novel.” The book was also praised by Booklist, Kirkus and Midwest Book Review. A second book about Amy is scheduled for a fall 2014 release. To learn more about the author and her books, visit www.marciastrykowski.com. Read more

Author Interview: Corey Haydu, Author of the Young Adult Debut OCD LOVE STORY


It’s time to introduce readers to another awesome debut novelist. I love interviewing writers about their first books, because their advice and path to publication is a good tale and roadmap for others who also seek to get published. Today we meet Corey Haydu, author of the July 2013 young adult debut, OCD LOVE STORY, which has the taglone, “In this raw and relatable romance, Bea learns that some things just can’t be controlled.”

Corey Ann Haydu grew up in the Boston area but now lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she drinks mochas and uses a lot of Post-it notes, habits she picked up while earning her MFA at the New School. OCD Love Story is her first novel. Find out more at CoreyAnnHaydu.com. Read more

Debut Author Interview: Susan Spann, Author of the Mystery CLAWS OF THE CAT


Today’s debut author spotlight is with Susan Spann, author of the July 2013 historical mystery, CLAWS OF THE CAT. Tasha Alexander, New York Times bestselling author of Death in the Floating City, said of Susan’s book: “Susan Spann skillfully transports the reader to Samurai Japan and serves up a feast of intrigue and suspense in a well-drawn exotic and unforgettable world. Claws of the Cat is a delicious adventure and a remarkable debut.” Read more

Debut Author Interview: Peter Clines, Author of EX-HEROES and EX-PATRIOTS


Author Peter Clines works fast. That’s probably why it’s tough to call him a debut author. His debut, EX-HEROES, came out in February 2013, and was praised by Wired.com. Ernest Cline, author of Ready Player One, said of it: “It’s The Avengers meets The Walking Dead with a large order of epic served on the side.” Clines’s second novel, EX-PATRIOTS, was released in April 2013. The third book in the series (yes, I said third book in a year!) is EX-COMMUNICATION (July 9, 2013).

His work is a mix of fantasy, science fiction and horror. Clines has published several pieces of short fiction and numerous articles on the film and television industry. He lives in Southern California. Read more

Debut Author Interview: Kristiana Kahakauwila, Author of THIS IS PARADISE


It’s time to meet another awesome debut author who found success and explains how you can, too. This newest debut author interview is with Kristiana Kahakauwila, author of the literary short story collection, THIS IS PARADISE, which was chosen as a Barnes & Noble Summer 2013 selection of the Discover Great New Writers program as well as for the Target Emerging Author program.

Kristiana is a native Hawaiian, was raised in Southern California. She earned a master’s in fine arts from the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s degree in comparative literature from Princeton University. She has worked as a writer and editor for Wine Spectator, Cigar Aficionado, and Highlights for Children magazines and taught English at Chaminade University in Honolulu. An assistant professor of creative writing at Western Washington University, Kristiana splits her time between Bellingham, WA, and Hawai`i. Read more

Debut Author Interview: Jennifer Zobair, Author of the Novel, PAINTED HANDS


I love interviewing debut authors on this blog. I think talking with first-time authors can help illuminate paths to publications for people who are writing their books and trying to find agents and get published. Today’s spotlight is with author Jennifer Zobair, author of the June 2013 debut PAINTED HANDS (Thomas Dunne Books).

Jennifer Zobair grew up in Iowa and attended Smith College and Georgetown Law School. She has practiced corporate and immigration law and as a convert to Islam, has been a strong advocate for Muslim women’s rights. Jennifer lives with her husband and three children outside of Boston. Read more

Debut Author Interview: Jesse Klausmeier, Author of OPEN THIS LITTLE BOOK


Anybody who reads this blog knows that I love interview debut authors and novelists. It’s a special treat to get to know debut author Jesse Klausmeier today, because 1) she is a debut picture book author/illustrator (and finding such a debut writer is not easy!), and 2) she used my very own guide, the Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market to get published. How cool! So if you are writing picture books for kids or may in the future, listen to what Jesse had to say about her journey to publication.

Jesse Klausmeier is the author of the debut picture book, OPEN THIS LITTLE BOOK, illustrated by Suzy Lee, which was named an Amazon Top Pick for January 2013, and received a starred review in Kirkus Reviews, as well as many other very positive reviews. Find her on Twitter. Read more

Debut Author Interview: C.L. Clickard, Author of the Picture Book VICTRICIA MALICIA


It’s time for another awesome debut author interview — illuminating the pathway of a first-time author who got their book published. Blog interviews like these are designed to show what writers did correct and how their books came to life. Today we meet picture book author C.L. Clickard and her book VICTRICIA MALICIA: BOOK LOVING BUCCANEER (2012, Flashlight Press). Publishers Weekly said of the book, “Rollicking, sea-chantey verse and slapstick humor make this a promising readaloud.” Read more

Debut Author Interview: Melanie Crowder, Author of the Middle Grade Novel, PARCHED


It’s time to meet another debut author whose first book came to life recently. Debut author interviews are great to read because their paths to success are a roadmap for others who want to follow in their footsteps. Today’s interview is with Melanie Crowder, author of the debut 2013 middle grade novel, PARCHED. Melanie Crowder is a ceramist, painter, and sculptor who received her MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College. She lives in the foothills of the Rockies. Read more

Author Interview: Steve Duno, Author of LAST DOG ON THE HILL

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This dog author interview is with veteran pet behaviorist and author Steve Duno, who has to date authored 19 books and scores of magazine and web articles. He has covered a wide variety of subject matter on both dogs and cats, including basic training, aggression, environmental enrichment, behavior modification, breed profiling, trick training, and pet health care. His list of recent books include The Amazing Dog Trick Kit Book (Chronicle, 2007), Last Dog On The Hill: The Extraordinary Life of Lou (St. Martin’s, 2010), and Be the Dog: Secrets of the Natural Dog Owner. Read more

David Carnoy: Read an Interview With the Author of KNIFE MUSIC and THE BIG EXIT


What were your 1-2 biggest learning experience(s) or surprise(s) throughout the publishing process?

I was a little bit surprised by how publishers are dealing with e-book pricing. As an “unknown” author, it’s very difficult to sell e-books for over $9.99 (it’s hard even at $9.99). I know a lot about the e-book industry because I cover it as part of my day job. So I’ve been very vocal about offering affordable pricing for the digital versions of my books and to his credit, Peter Mayer, the founder of Overlook and former head of Penguin for many years, has listened to me… Read more

Brian Kimberling: An Interview With the Author of SNAPPER


Brian Kimberling’s debut, SNAPPER, details the brief but romantic career of a backwater birdwatcher. It won the 1st Annual Janklow & Nesbit Prize, and will appear from Pantheon (April 2013) and from Tinder Press (UK, May 2013). In a starred review, Booklist said of the book: “Told with precise and memorable prose in beautifully rendered, time-shifted vignettes, Snapper richly evokes the emotions of coming to adulthood … Kimberling writes gracefully about absurdity, showing a rich feeling for the whole range of human tragicomedy. A delightful debut.” Read more

Debut Author Interview: Kenneth Kraegel, Author of the Picture Book KING ARTHUR’S VERY GREAT GRANDSON


It’s rare to get to sit down and chat with a debut picture writer. It seems that because picture books are sometimes a tough sell, finding a true blue debut is not the easiest task. But today I am lucky to sit down and talk with Kenneth Kraegel, author of the 2012 debut picture book KING ARTHUR’S VERY GREAT GRANDSON (Candlewick), which features the title character seeking out adventure and facing down monsters. Along with getting a starred review in Publishers Weekly, the book was a New York Times Notable Children’s Book of 2012 as well as a Wall Street Journal Children’s Book of 2012. Read more

Author Interview: Eric Devine, Author of the 2012 Young Adult, TAP OUT


Today’s Author Interview is with young adult novelist Eric Devine, whose second novel, TAP OUT, was released in September 2012 from Running Press.

Also the author of This Side of Normal, Eric Devine is a high school English teacher and education consultant. who married his high school sweetheart, and together are raising their two daughters in Upstate, NY. Eric is represented by Kate McKean of the Howard Morhaim Literary Agency and is currently working with editor, Lisa Cheng, on his next YA novel with Running Press. Read more

Mike Jung: An Interview With the Author of GEEKS, GIRLS, AND SECRET IDENTITIES


How did you find your agent?

Mike: EMLA agent Ammi-Joan Paquette contacted me after reading whatever lunacy i was spouting on my blog back in 2009, and I ultimately signed with her in June of 2010. A few months earlier I’d already hurled my manuscript onto Arthur Levine’s slush pile in a fit of megalomaniacal optimism, and in August 2010 I took Arthur’s master class at the SCBWI summer conference. We hit it off, and shortly thereafter Joan called to tell me that Arthur wanted to publish my book. So the final offers of representation and publication happened in kind of a whirlwind. Read more

Debut Author Interview: Anna Loan-Wilsey, Author of A LACK OF TEMPERANCE


It’s time to meet another debut author and see how they found their literary agent and got published. These interviews are a great opportunity to see what debut writers did right on their journey as well as what they wished they did different. Today, we meet novelist Anna Loan-Wilsey, author of the historical mystery A LACK OF TEMPERANCE. Read more

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