Notable Debut Authors

Check out these  up-and-coming debut authors and the highly successful habits that helped them get published. by Jordan E. Rosenfeld
Publish date:

DEBUT BOOK: Salvage (MacAdam Cage) •

“Salvage is a novel about a woman seeking refuge from her paralyzing memories, and the eccentric mother who keeps her on the edge.” WRITING HABITS: “I have two children, so I’m relegated to writing during the preschool hours a couple of days a week.” HOW DID YOU GET YOUR BREAK? “I was fortunate to have the first pages of Salvage read by an editor I met through a close friend. This editor then referred me to a stellar New York agent.” TIME FRAME: “I wrote the first lines in July 2003 and finished copyediting in November 2007.” SECRET TO SUCCESS: “Finding a quiet space far away from my tea kettle and magazine piles.” ADVICE: “Just slog through, even on the worst of days, and don’t judge anything you write until a week later.” INFLUENCES: “I danced before I wrote. Everything my mentor, Marjorie Mussman, teaches about movement—creating focus, taking chances, making an unequivocal statement—is beautifully applicable to the craft of writing.” WEIRD HOBBIES: “Eating Czech pastries and watching the first season of ‘Arrested Development’ ad nauseum.” WHAT’S NEXT? “A young-adult fairy tale, a war novel and a mixed-media-choreographic extravaganza, not necessarily in that order.”

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WRITES FROM: Sarasota, Fla. •
DEBUT BOOK: Fifteen Minutes of Shame (Plume) •

“Fifteen Minutes of Shame is a novel about what happens when America’s favorite TV relationship expert, Darby Vaughn, finds out her husband is cheating—live on national TV.” WRITING HABITS: “On Tuesdays and Thursdays I take my laptop to the beach and work from there.” HOW DID YOU GET YOUR BREAK? “I had lunch with Dutton Editor-in-Chief Trena Keating at BookExpo America to discuss a nonfiction dating advice book, and on a whim mentioned my idea for the novel. She told me, ‘Forget the dating book. You’ve got to write that novel.’ ” TIME FRAME: “I sold the book on nine chapters and a proposal. All in all, it was one year of writing—22 months from start to publication.” SECRET TO SUCCESS: “I won’t let myself imagine any other outcome.” ADVICE: “Get the best writing job you can swing, one where you’re surrounded by writers who are far better than you are.” INFLUENCES: “My friend, the funny and brilliant Lisa Earle McLeod; also Jane Austen, Delia Ephron, Nora Ephron, Michael Alvear, Jennifer Weiner, Sophie Kinsella and Oscar Wilde.” WEIRD HOBBIES: “Like my protagonist, I’m a TV dating expert. And to my knowledge, my real-life husband isn’t planning to dump me on national TV.” WHAT’S NEXT? “I sold the movie rights for Fifteen Minutes of Shame. My nonfiction dating advice book is coming out January 2009, and I’m working on my second novel.”

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WRITES FROM: Toronto •
DEBUT BOOK: Falling Under (Plume) •

“Falling Under is an edgy urban drama about a troubled artist who has painted herself into a corner.” WRITING HABITS: “My toddler wakes me up at 7:30 in the morning, so self-preservation dictates that I write in the morning and early afternoon.” HOW DID YOU GET YOUR BREAK? “I entered Falling Under in some chick-lit writing contests. I was a finalist in two of them but the judges said it wasn’t chick lit—it was too dark, edgy and literary. This gave me the confidence to finish the book without worrying about genre.” TIME FRAME: “Four and a half years.” SECRET TO SUCCESS: “I didn’t censor myself. I allowed myself to follow any tangent, go to dark places, funny places, and play with language and style. That made the story and writing unique.” ADVICE: “Find something you’re burning to write about, get it written and then edit, edit, edit. You’ll need faith, diligence, patience, more faith, perseverance, more patience and a sense of humor.” INFLUENCES: “I love John Irving, Alice Walker, Barbara Kingsolver, Guy Gavriel Kay, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Jane Austen, Marion Zimmer Bradley, W. Somerset Maugham and Robertson Davies.” WEIRD HOBBIES: “I like to move furniture. It doesn’t matter if everything is perfectly arranged; I still need to move it all around every few months.” WHAT’S NEXT? “I’m working on my next book, which is top-secret and making me crazy.”

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