Wendy Higgins is the latest inkpop sensation to land a coveted contract with HarperCollins through the writers community. She shares with us some insights into her publishing journey so far.
Would you give us an insight into SWEET EVIL and how you came up with the idea?
What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences? This is life for sons and daughters of fallen angels in SWEET EVIL.
Anna, a tender-hearted Southern girl, was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She’s aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn’t until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage, and her will-power is put to the test. He’s the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.
A cross-country trip forces Anna and Kai to face the reality that hope and love are not options for their kind. When it’s time for Anna to confront her demons, will she choose to embrace her halo or her horns?
This is the hardest question to answer [how she came up with the idea], because it was a ton of little things, and I don’t know where to begin. Basically, once I’d decided I wanted to write for teens I began brainstorming, just for fun. I’d never written fantasy, so I assumed I’d take the realistic route. But then angels and demons popped into my head because of an adult satire I’d read the week prior. I’m fascinated by angels, so it was fun to throw ideas around in my head. It came together very quickly. Within that same day I’d created the main characters, what their powers/specialties would be, and the fact that there’d be a road trip. It came together like a puzzle over time.
Tell us a bit about your experience writing and querying prior to inkpop?
I was impatient, like most writers, and I started querying after my first draft, long before the manuscript was ready. I’d only let my best friend read it at that point. I lost track of how many rejections I received. I deleted the emails and threw away the paper rejections because they were bad for morale, but they were also a reality check. I needed serious critique from fellow writers. I started searching online, and that’s how I came across inkpop.
What was your first impressions of inkpop when you joined up?
I joined during the days when MIC (Morgan Shamy) was the Top Trendsetter. She was the first to pick my book, and then it spent a few days on the top three picks. At the time I didn’t understand exactly what that meant, but I thought it was super cool to see my cover on the home page, haha. J A lot of people gave me free reads, all of which I returned right away. My first impression was that Inkpoppers were very giving and encouraging. It was an awesome experience to feel immediately welcomed into the fold. I’m friends with Morgan to this day.
Describe for us the feelings when you found out you were going to be published by HC?
Shock, disbelief, then joy. When I wasn’t contacted by HarperCollins right after my review, I put the idea of it behind me and moved on. I was absolutely not expecting to ever hear from them, so when I did I was almost confused at first, like there’d been some sort of mistake!
Tell us a bit about the editing experience you’ve had for SWEET EVIL?
I had about six serious critique partners who read my whole manuscript when it was ANGEL PROPHECY, and again after major revisions. They sifted through a lot of crud and helped me whip it into shape before it got into the hands of my actual editor at HarperCollins, Alyson Day. Alyson’s notes to me mostly consisted of places where the content needed to be clarified, condensed, or expanded. I ended up cutting about 10k words, and adding back 8k in new scenes that she’d advised. Currently the story is with copy editors, so that will be the next and final step.
What’s left to come for you in the publishing process and what are you looking forward to the most?
There is a ton of behind-the-scenes stuff, which I’m not always privy to. The folks at HC are putting together a marketing plan now. I’m excited to get the book on Goodreads. But what I’m most looking forward to is seeing what cover art they come up with! I can’t wait! [Neither can I!]
How important do you think social networking is for writers in today’s market and what are you doing on that front?
I think it’s important, but I also think it can be a hindrance. There needs to be a good balance. Authors who are accessible online and personable will reap the benefits of building those relationships. But you also don’t want to flog yourself to death and make people sick of you. Right now I’m on twitter, I have my website, Facebook, and group blog, but I’m honestly not very good at social networking because of the time it requires. I hope to be better at it when my kids are in school.
How do you think writers’ communities are going to affect the publishing industry?
Trends definitely show their faces in writing communities, and publishers pay attention. Self-publishing and online manuscript sharing are becoming huge right now. Maybe it’ll be the next big thing; you never know.
Rapid fire questions:
Angels or Demons
Angels (What, no Nephilim? *winks*)
Paper or Computer
Computer (although my 1st draft of SE was handwritten because I didn’t have my computer yet, ugh!)