I'm so pleased to be able to introduce you all to Lia Riley, author of the upcoming New Adult contemporary romance, UPSIDE DOWN. Lia's book will be published by Grand Central/Forever on August 5th 2014. I love "How I got my deal" stories and Lia's here to share hers. Take it away, Lia.
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Pub Life: Guest Post with Lia Riley, Author of Upside Down, "How I Got My Deal"
How I Got My Deal
For the last few years, I’ve read “How I got my agent” or “How I got my book deal” posts with broad smiles (and occasional sniffles). The lucky person in question was clearly so awesome and talented. They surely did everything right. Me? I was straight up faking it. Yes, I sat down to write every single day, but did I believe actual people would read my actual words? Yes, sort of. In the same way I believed in Santa Claus until I was ten years old. I wanted it to be true, desperately, fervently, but I’d be lying to say I didn’t harbor doubts.
Last June, my super star agent and I were brainstorming projects. I made an off-the-cuff reference about how my exchange semester to Australia changed my life (and yielded me a husband). I was surprised there weren’t any New Adult study-abroad stories. She went quiet for a second and was like “Maybe go play with that idea.” I sat down for a week and composed an outline (I’m a total pantser). I started writing and within a day had two entirely new characters and a whole different story. Pantsing works for me. I sent my agent three sample chapters and a synopsis.
Here’s a rough transcript of our next conversation:
Agent: I couldn’t sleep last night because of this book.
Me: Woo hoo! Wait. Is that good? Or did I give you nightmares?
Agent: I loved this. I don’t know what to do with you.
Me: I don’t know what to do with me either.
So I kept with the story while she shopped the proposal. I’ve never been published. I ranked my chance for success between slim to none. Still, I had a blast. For the first time in my life, I wrote faster than my internal critic. Some days I’d think, “Oh. Em. Gee. That was the most hilarious scene ever.” And delete it the next morning positive absinthe-swilling zombie monkeys had eaten my brain. Other times I’d stress, “What am I doing? A scene about an art exhibit in an underground museum in Tasmania? I am either drunk or need to be drunk.” But the scene would magically end up working.
I finished the book while visiting my family in Michigan. It was a crazy cluster storm first draft, but I’d written a book in six weeks. I’d only finished one other book before and that endeavor had taken 1.5 years. The next day my agent called unannounced, the only time that’s ever happened. I feigned calm, but knew there was either big news or she’d decided that I sucked (I think in extremes). She said Lauren Plude, an editor at Grand Central, had read my sample pages and wanted to acquire me for the Forever line.
That moment I’d imagined five squillion times? Yeah. It’s a vague mess of shaking, tears, and jumping into a lake fully-clothed. Afterward, I scuttled back to recheck my phone because what if I hallucinated everything?
Turns out sanity was on my side. I landed a three-book deal with my dream house and an editor who has a sincere affection for my book boyfriend, Mr. Edward Rochester.
Does any of this story feel real? Absolutely not.
For the record, I still love listening to other people describe their writing successes and always think, “Wow, they must really know what they’re doing.”
You can connect with Lia on her website, www.liariley.com.