Monday, April 19, 2010

Fabulous New Fiction: 2k10 Debut Author Rhonda Hayter

I'm so pleased to introduce yet another debut novel - this one middle grade, funny, quirky - a must-read for teen girls. It's THE WITCHY WORRIES OF ABBIE ADAMS by Rhonda Hayter, and she's here to talk about the novel.

Congratulations on the publication of your novel, THE WITCHY WORRIES OF ABBIE ADAMS! I loved it - so kid-friendly and fun that I know it will be a hit. Can you tell us a bit about the story and what inspired it?

Why thank you Janet. (And from your mouth to God’s ears about my Abbie being a hit.) I really got the idea for the book from my younger son when he was little. He was the most sweet-natured, adorable little cherub you ever saw, golden curls, rose petal lips, chubby dimpled arms, the whole bit...but ya see, he had a little problem with um, shall we say, processing big feelings. So on those occasions when he got upset...the roof would come crashing down and there’d be terrible, hour-long screaming meltdowns. When we were in the midst of one once, I sweatily turned to my stressed-out husband and whispered, “My God, it’s like he turns into a werewolf or something.” And that gave me the idea for a little boy who might really turn into a werewolf when he got mad...and for a big sister who might have to cope with it. That’s what the Abbie Adams family grew out of. (Incidentally, we’re all through the meltdown stage now. Whew.)

I have to laugh - having lived through the same experience. Good for you for turning it into a novel! How long have you been writing for children/teens? Have you written other books or is this your first effort?

I’ve been writing for kids ever since my own kids gave me a bunch of ideas and then got old enough to give me five minutes to myself. And this is the first book I’ve had published.

Can you describe your path to the publication of THE WITCHY WORRIES OF ABBIE ADAMS?

In a word, torturous. Ah heck, let’s spend another word...endless. After more than a year of trying to get an agent I finally got one and she sold the book to a Canadian publisher (I’m Canadian by birth). Then just as it was going to the copy editor...they went out of business. Picture me devastated. It took some time, but she sold it again, to Harcourt here in the States...and then we started reading the business news saying Harcourt was lookin’ kinda peaked as well at the time. Picture me eaten alive with anxiety. Then my editor informed us she was leaving Harcourt...(don’t even try to picture me, it’s too scary) but she took me with her to Dial. Unless something terrible happens in the next two weeks...and you never know...Abbie should finally hit the bookstores on April 1.

And she has - yay! Do you have any advice for beginning writers?

Yup. Tell yourself it’s brilliant and then get a few people you love to read it and tell you it’s brilliant too...until it’s all finished. Then you can take notes on it without breaking your tiny tender heart and derailing your courage to invent. That’s how I do it anyway. My husband knows a thousand and one ways to tell me what a genius I am.

That kind of support is so important. Can you tell us something else about your personal life – inspirations, plans for the future, goals, etc.?

How nice of you to ask. I have two boys, now 15 and 12, a very nice supportive husband and a mop-headed little dog. By the way, my 12-year old has implemented a lot of the organizational tools he learned from an awfully helpful book, Get Organized Without Losing It. Ever heard of it? For my day job, I read for a movie producer here in Los Angeles, and since I’ve put my own writing out there I feel a lot better about picking apart other people’s writing all day. My major goal right now is to someday develop a decent discipline about writing every day.

Wow! I'm really touched that you used "GO" - thank you! And I'm delighted it helped. So, do you have any new writing ventures underway?

I’m toiling heroically on the fourth revision of Abbie 2. That girl’s a lot of trouble.

I'm sure it'll be a hit! Do you have a website where readers can learn more about THE WITCHY WORRIES OF ABBIE ADAMS?

I most certainly do. Thanks so much for talking to me Janet.

Thank you, Rhonda!

1 comment:

Denise Jaden said...

So glad to hear there's an Abbie sequel coming! And I don't envy you on all the struggles on your way to pub, Rhonda! You deserve much success!