06 August 2012

Katie McGarry is Pushing the Limits (Dare You To!)

Today's interview features Katie McGarry, author of PUSHING THE LIMITS (Harlequin Teen, July 31, 2012) and DARE YOU TO (coming in 2013). Learn more about Katie's writing on her website, or visit one of the two blogs to which she contributes: Ya Fusion and The Apocolypsies.

Q: Tell us a little bit about your path to publishing... when you started writing, how you found your agent/editor, etc.

A: Writing has always been a passion of mine, but I didn't start pursuing it until a few years ago. I'm a stay at home mom of three active children (twins and a younger child). When my youngest child began sleeping through the night, I began writing.

After I finished my first manuscript, I was interested in finding out what I needed to do to become published. I joined my local Romance Writers of America chapter and realized I had a lot to learn when they asked me what genre I wrote and the only response I could give was, "I write books."

To help me, they then asked where I would consider my book to be shelved at a bookstore and the light bulb flashed on when I answered, "The Young Adult section." My RWA chapter mates taught me how to seek an agent, write query letters, and about entering writing contests. I floated my first manuscript into a contest and discovered that while there were some aspects of my story that were good, there was a lot I needed to work on.

I focused on reading craft books and taking on-line classes offered by other RWA chapters. I learned a lot and decided to start a new project. This project turned into PUSHING THE LIMITS. I began querying agents in the spring of 2010 and landed my agent, Kevan Lyon, the following fall from a slush pile query. After reading the query, she requested a partial, then eventually the full. Shortly after I accepted her offer of representation, Kevan submitted my manuscript to several publishing houses. Within a few weeks, my manuscript went to auction and was acquired by Margo Lipschultz at Harlequin Teen.

Q: Your debut, PUSHING THE LIMITS, just hit bookshelves. What has the experience been like... preparing for the release, any promotional activities, seeing your book on shelves and reviews coming out?

Katie McGarry
A: Exciting! Terrifying. Exhausting. Busy.  And a whole slew of other emotions thrown in for kicks.

Over the past few weeks leading up to launch, I've been quite busy filling out blog interviews or guest posts. My motto has been to say "yes" to whatever promotional idea has come my way. I'm treating this as a once in a lifetime opportunity. I'm so blessed to have a book being published and I want to look back and know I took advantage of every opportunity placed in my path.

As for seeing my book on shelves…it's been a surreal experience. The first time I saw PUSHING THE LIMITS on the shelf was by accident. A bookstore had shelved it early and I was chasing one of my kiddos through the store and the book caught my attention. I stood there like a deer caught in headlights. I just couldn't believe that my book was on a shelf…in a bookstore!

Q: You write contemporary love stories. I'm curious to know what you most like to read. Do you have other favorite authors in this YA romance genre?

A: I'm a huge fan of Simone Elkeles and Jennifer Echols. They are brilliant writers. Stephen King and S.E. Hinton have been favorites of mine since high school.

Q: Tell us about DARE YOU TO, your next novel scheduled for publication sometime in 2013. Where are you in the publishing process with that book?

A: DARE YOU TO follows the story of Beth, a secondary character from PUSHING THE LIMITS. Beth is one of Noah's (my hero from Pushing the Limits) best friends.

My editor and I are currently in the revision stage of this book. We're fleshing out some of the big picture issues in the novel, then we'll tackle smaller things. I have to mention that it is an unbelievable honor to work with Margo. She is brilliant, funny, friendly, and easy to talk to.

Q: You contribute to two blogs, YA Fusion and The Apocolypsies. Tell us how you got involved, how often you write for these blogs, and if you've found them to be effective promotional tools.

A: I founded YA Fusion a few months after I accepted the offer from Harlequin Teen. I belong to a critique group and one night I asked if they were interested in forming a group blog and they jumped on board. We've extended out from our original group and we're thrilled with how the blog has grown. I post once every thirteen weeks for YA Fusion.

Someone, and I wish I could remember who, told me about the Apocalypsies. We are a group of debut YA, middle grade, and children's book writers. After the suggestion, I found their website, sent an e-mail to the group explaining that I was also a 2012 debut, and they soon welcomed me to their family. I've posted twice on this blog.

YA Fusion has been helpful in teaching me how to craft entertaining blog posts and it has been a blast collaborating with my fellow bloggers.

As for the Apocalypsies…oh my, they have been fantastic! We are extremely supportive of one another, whether we are helping each other by tweeting about a new book cover or by offering each other encouragement.

Q: Final question: What are you working on now/next?

A: I'm currently focused on promotion for Pushing the Limits and will soon be directing my attention back to revisions for DARE YOU TO.

Thank you, Katie!