Monday, December 26, 2011

Strong YA Foundations Start With A Cornerstone

As young adult writers and readers, we may think that the path to publication is paved with gold… provided we snag an agent. But what we don’t know… what we are not told… is that this path has forks in it that can lead to anything but what we thought was the right or “traditional” way to reach our audience.

Young adult author Misty Provencher knows about these forks. She’s been down more than one along the path toward publication, and proven herself as the best bet for you and me reading her book, Cornerstone.
It was almost a fairy princess story for Misty, who entered a contest for a partial read that ended up with an offer of representation. Everything was set, and Misty was thrilled to not only have this brass ring in her pocket, but another agent (the one she wanted most) interested in her – provided she work through a round of revisions without guarantee of representation. When faced with Plan A or Plan B, Misty chose the route that was less-than-guaranteed and took a chance.
“I took the risk. And failed. Cornerstone was ultimately turned down. At that point, seven months had passed and I had barely survived the emotional roller coaster that ended with a horrific pile-up for me. All the waiting really got to me. The anxiety was killer. I had put on about 30 pounds and went through the most severe depression of my life.”
In spite of her dark hero’s journey, Misty believed that Cornerstone was worth taking all the way. She jumped back on “the query bull” and went around again. A few months later, she had four agents interested and ended up with two solid offers of representation. Misty had finally landed an agent.
Sigh of relief? Hardly. Misty’s agent sent her through a round of revisions, asked to see her synopsis – and turned her loose. The agent did not like the mythology in the book, and wanted simple plotting, whereas Misty weaves her stories into complex plots that “end up looking more like Cat’s Cradles – all interwoven and connected and hard-wired with big bangs that end up being just a fluid circle in the end.”
“I was completely worn out,” says Misty.
Having lost faith in being traditionally published, as well as the joy of writing, Misty decided to get off the path and go a different route. She knew it was the one thing that would make her feel good again.
“I decided to release my book, chapter by chapter, for free on my blog. I wanted to find the folks that would enjoy reading it. I posted about eight chapters until I realized I could lose my work to piracy. That’s when I jumped backwards and upside down and self-published. And here I am now, one of the self-published good guys, trying to let people know about the book.”
And what a book Cornerstone is. The first in the Cornerstone Series, it is the story of Nalena Maxwell, a girl everyone calls “The Waste” at school because her mom’s a paper hoarder. Nalena is desperate to find something that will change her life. However, when she receives the “wrong” sign that invites her into an ancient community, everything changes – her family, her life and her future. Then 17 years worth of family skeletons come crashing into Nalena’s life…and the only one who can step up to help Nalena figure things out is the boy with eyes as clean as Jesus (and the one who already knows about her).
Cornerstone is making headways wherever ebooks are sold, with a solid and growing foundation of readers who know what makes a good read, regardless of whether the writer is agented or not. While the road to publication started our rocky at best, it seems that Misty already has things figured out. You can visit her here and purchase Cornerstone in hard copy at Amazon and in digital format anywhere ebooks are sold.


  1. Thank you so much for interviewing me, Julie. You are gracious and you made being interviewed fun and easy. I love the story and I am so honored that you did this. Thanks again.

  2. I won a giveaway from Misty herself and absolutely LOVED "Cornerstone"! I read a ton of books and this immediately joined the ranks of my faves. Kudos to her for chugging on, despite what publishers say. I am a huge fan and can't wait to read "Keystone"!!

  3. I bought Cornerstone and although I'm only a chapter or two into it, the writing is fantastic. Misty is definitely one of the writers I look up to for her courage and tenacity to stick to her guns in the face of publishing adversity.