A bit of a delay in posting this week as our beautiful Montana had another 14 inches of snow...but spring is coming and we're hoping to see the grass one of these days. In the meantime, I'm thrilled to present an interview with another of the Class of 2k11's amazing authors, the talented Amy Holder. (Amy is an artist of great talent, as well as crafting a book that sounds like a true delight.)
Congratulations on the publication of your novel, THE LIPSTICK LAWS. Love that cover! Can you tell us a bit about the story and what inspired it?
Thank you so much, Janet! The Lipstick Laws is a humorous coming-of-age story about popularity gone wrong. I wanted to write a fun take on the ups and downs of high school and the social hierarchies within it. The main character, April, inspired the whole plot to evolve because her quirky voice is the first piece of the story that came to me when I began writing it.
How long have you been writing for children/teens? Have you written other books or is this your first effort?
I have been writing since I was a little girl, but I didn't try to pursue it professionally until after college. That's when I began thinking of writing as more than a hobby. I've always loved children's books, but this love was reinforced even more when I took a job at a Montessori school working with young children after college. I fell in love with the books I’d read to them...and this inspired me to write for children. Eventually that evolved to tweens and teens…and here I am today! I've written too many stories to count over the years, but The Lipstick Laws is the first one that's resulted in publication (so far).
Can you describe your path to the publication of THE LIPSTICK LAWS?
Surprisingly, my path to publishing The Lipstick Laws was pretty smooth! After writing and revising the manuscript, I submitted it to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Luckily I was able to avoid the slush pile by networking (never underestimate the importance of networking). About six weeks later, I found out that they wanted to publish it. I was ecstatic!
My complete road to publication has had its share of bumps, though. I submitted some other manuscripts for younger children and tweens/teens to agents and publishers before this, resulting in rejection letters and/or slush pile drowning. These rejections and bumps along the way made me appreciate the quick sale of The Lipstick Laws even more.
Good for you for sticking with it! Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
Yes! Practice and perfect your writing craft, study the publishing market, never give up, and network like crazy! Talent, perseverance and knowledge of the industry pay off in the publishing world. Also, networking might help you get out of the dreaded slush pile to let your talent do the talking for you.
Can you tell us something about your personal life – inspirations, plans for the future, goals, etc.?
My goal is to expand my writing to include many different genres for various age groups. I’m also an artist, so I’d love to illustrate a picture book someday as well. Some people don’t know that my first publication was of my art and writing in the greeting card market. I think this is a good way for a writer or artist to spread her/his creative wings before taking the dive into the world of book publishing.
(I can attest to the fact that Amy has incredible artistic talent. Check out the design for the website of the Class of 2k11.) Do you have any new writing ventures underway?
I'm currently working on another contemporary YA novel with a bit of a paranormal twist. I also have some other projects for younger readers in the works.
Do you have a website where readers can learn more about THE LIPSTICK LAWS?
I sure do! Please visit my author site at www.amyholder.com. From there you'll be able to read my blog and find out more information about me and my book.