Jodi Meadows was a writer. This she knew for sure. But what she didn’t know was that her stories fit the young adult genre to a T, in spite of people telling her so.
“When I started writing with a serious eye toward publication in my early 20s, I called my stories fantasy. For Grown Ups. Because I was clearly a Grown Up now. A few of my friends said, 'Jodi, you write YA,' and I said, ‘Sniff! I am a Grown Up.’ And then I realized the books I really, really loved with all my heart . . . were YA books.”
In being told repeatedly that YA was what she wrote, Meadows made peace with her abilities and moved forward with her writing.
“It's a little embarrassing when I think about how long it took me to understand where my stories belong -- and where I belong as a reader -- but I'm definitely glad I finally found my way to my bookhome.”
As for her love of writing, it began in 7th grade when Meadows’ teacher read Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn to the class. While she cannot pinpoint what it was about that particular book that made such an impression on her, Meadows credits it with helping her realize books didn’t appear out of thin air. They required people to write them and that maybe she could, too.
“The first thing I ever wrote was a shameless copy of that book. I didn't get very far. Maybe a couple thousand words? But it felt like Quite The Accomplishment.”
Along the way the way to writing for the masses, Meadows had a few of the stumbling blocks many writers encounter. At 11, she didn’t finish writing her first book when it seemed to be taking longer than a few days to do so. Later, she got to 30,000 words within a few months.
“I'm a novelist at heart. That said, my first stories were never, ahem, finished. The first one I did finish turned out to be only 30,000 words, but back then I didn't know how long books were supposed to be or really much about writing, period. I don't think my word processor even had a word count function on it. It was Word Perfect. I had to type uphill in a foot of snow -- both ways! -- and get off my lawn, you crazy kids!”
But her first real-sized book that she finished finally came to fruition, taking just a year to complete. As for the first real-sized book that was published? Meadows explains.
“Three years for the idea to cook, one month for planning, two months for the first draft, one month for revision, many more months and... I dunno... until it finally landed on the shelves.”
That book is Incarnate, wherein new soul Ana rocks the world of Range, where millions of souls have reincarnated over and over, keeping memories and experiences from past lives alive. However, when Ana is born another soul vanishes and nobody knows why. Her mother thinks Ana is a nosoul and an omen of worse things to come. Ana is kept away from society, and to escape her world and find out whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana goes to the city of Heart, where suspicious citizens are afraid of what her presence means – especially when they are attacked by dragons and sylph. Is Ana to blame?
Sam thinks Ana’s new soul is a good thing, and he stands up for her as their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who might never live more than once? Ana needs to reveal the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, while trying to prevent the threat of destroying the promise of reincarnation for all.
When it came time to hop on the query-go-round, it was not the first time for Meadows, who has the hundreds of rejection letters to prove where she’s been with what is often deemed the most difficult part of getting published.
“I did query. I queried many stories before Incarnate. I have hundreds of rejection letters in my closet and sitting on my hard drive. When I queried Incarnate, I had several immediate requests, two offers, and basically it was one of the most thrilling and terrifying weeks of my life. Ditto when Incarnate (and sequels) went to auction with editors. “
Meadows now makes writing a full-time endeavor, and is currently working a sequel to Incarnate. You can find Jodi Meadows on her website, Twitter and Facebook, and Incarnate here.