Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Rock N' Roll of a YA Writer

I've known Debra Schubert by way of Twitter since 2010, and in that time I've seen her take on many things. A story, an agent, and freedom. Her story is extraordinary to me, having lived a rock n' roll kind of lifestyle myself for about 18 years. She is proof that rocks do roll where they intend to, especially in the world of young adult fiction. Here is her interview.

Is writing your life, or do you live to write?
I am lucky that I currently get to write full time.

When did you first know you wanted to write? What did you enjoy writing at the time?

I started writing my first book in 1995. It took me twelve years to finish. Since then, I’ve completed four novels and began two others. My first book began as a ridiculous collection of poetry and essays and ended up as a humorous semi-biography. The most embarrassing thing about that book (entitled, “Little Pearls”) is that I actually handed a copy of it to Lemony Snicket (Dan Handler) and asked him to read it. He had the decency to mail me a hand-written note thanking me for the book. (And I use the term, “book” loosely!) Chatting with him on YALITCHAT a few months back, I reminded him of this fabulously humiliating incident. He said, “Oh yes. I seem to remember a steamy sex scene.” I had included a completely fictional and, what I thought was hilarious, rendition of losing my virginity. I assume that’s what he was referring to. Dan is, without a doubt, the most brilliant writer I’ve ever met and a very kind (and, hopefully, forgetful!) guy.

Did you start out writing long stories, or short?


Why led you to write young adult fiction?

Actually, I’d written two women’s fiction and one mystery before I wrote my YA novel. I’d had this vague idea, and when I pitched it to my former agent, she loved it. I wrote the first draft in six weeks and edited it ad nauseum for the next two years.

How long did it take to write your first book? How did it go when you queried your first story? Please tell us about your experience.

I briefly queried Little Pearls. Thankfully, I was smart enough to realize it wasn’t ready for prime time. Of course, this was a decade ago when you had to buy the big, fat Literary Agent books at the store. Everything was typed and snail-mailed. I don’t miss those days at all!

How did you get your agent? Are you currently looking for an agent?

I am currently seeking new representation. Here is a link to the post on my blog from when I got my first agent: http://debralschubert.blogspot.com/2009/11/did-i-mention-ive-got.html

What are you writing now? Do you write full-time?

I am currently editing a women’s fiction book that I hope to query soon. Yes, I currently write full-time, which is an enormous blessing.

Be sure to check out Debra on her website, Write On Target.


  1. I loved reading about Debra's work. I think anytime a writer or artist can add personal experience to their work, it adds elements the reader can relate to and that make the reading more compelling.

  2. Marshall, Thanks! I certainly have interesting things from my life that I add to my books. I also find writing songs and books can be quite cathartic, even though the books are "fiction"...! Glad you enjoyed the interview. Julie did a great job.

  3. I remember that post of Debra's when she got her agent! I can't remember how I found it though; a link from another site, I think. That was when I discovered there were writing blogs out in the virtual world of computers and other writers who were no different than I. Thousands of them! I was in heaven.

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