I am so thrilled to have an interview today with friend and writer India Drummond, who has just signed a contract to have her novel Ordinary Angels published!
India and I 'met' through our blogs and Twitter -- over a year-and-a-half ago now! Through phone calls and emails, we've shared the pain of trying to get published, lots of laughs and a little (OK, quite a bit) of snark, too. India gives the best critiques ever, and she's been so helpful to me in my own journey to get published. I've read Ordinary Angels and I think she has a hit on her hands!
Here's the blurb:
Most of Zoë’s friends are dead, but she doesn’t mind because they died long before she met them. Then one Tuesday night an angel takes her salsa dancing and turns her world upside down. Grim reality closes in when she discovers a body in her company’s boiler room and Higher Angels accuse her best ghost friend of murder. Knowing she’s the only one who can stand against them, Zoë resorts to lying, stealing and summoning. In the end, getting blood on her hands forces Zoë to question herself.
You’re an American living in Scotland writing about angels. Tell us more about how you got to Scotland and the paranormal!
I moved to Scotland nine years ago after marrying a Certain Highlander. We'd met a few years before when we had been working at an American company on their Y2K project (remember those?) and became good friends. A few years later we got back in touch, found we were both single, and he said the single most romantic thing I've ever heard uttered: "I can't let you go again." (Awww!) Actually, the kernel of the idea of Ordinary Angels came from him. He was saying to me one morning after a rambunctious bout of mischief (you have to watch those Highlanders... very mischievous), "What?!?! I'm a perfect angel!" And I replied something along the lines, "Yeah, some kinda crackhead angel you would make." This silly moment made me think about what angels would be like if they were real. The story unfolded naturally from there.
You’re going to have your first book published. What was the process to get there, and what’s it about?
The road to publication has been fraught, as it is for most authors! I had my share of rejection from agents, and then I started doing the math. I realised that most agents want celebrities, people with huge platforms, or experts in a field because they need a book to be a super-seller before they can make much money. Remember they're making 15% of a paperback's 5-10% royalty. That's why a debut author with no sales record is such a risk. So after banging my head against that wall with requests for partials and even fulls that would get "almost, but not quite" replies, I decided to look at smaller presses that would take submissions without agents. This year I sent to three publishers, one of which was Lyrical Press. They offered me a great contract, their authors love them, and their standards are really high (judging from their books I have purchased and read for myself), so I know I made the right choice!
What’s the one thing you found most frustrating about the journey to publication? And what’s the best thing once you have a signed contract?
The biggest frustration by far is the uncertainty. Is my work any good? Am I wasting my time? I felt like the school dork asking the class president to the prom... over and over every day! I can't tell you how great it felt to get a "Yes!" The best thing about having that contract is the surge in confidence it gave me. Making it over that first hurdle told me I could jump all the ones to come. Since receiving that contract, I've really been feeling energised and inspired on my current works-in-progress.
Describe your writing space.
I have a PC in a home office I share with a Certain Highlander. I tend to get up early in the mornings, so I have a couple hours to myself before he comes in and starts bothering me. (I swear it's what he lives for!) Recently, though, I did get a new laptop, and I've enjoyed the mobility. Now I sometimes write in the living room or the bedroom. I'm not as pernickety about these things as I used to be. The more I write, the more naturally it comes... no matter where I am.
What are you working on now? An epic on sheep farming in the Scottish Highlands?
Sorry! No sheep in this one. Will have to work some into a story sometime. I have to admit, I love the sheep. So adorable! I have a few projects that I've been tinkering with, but the one that is getting the most attention is a romantic sci-fi called Wildings. The blurb will go something like this (although it's still rough, I admit): The Overlords have captured Avid, a rogue human, and discovered he has a psychic ability which makes him incredibly valuable in their society. They send him to be trained by Rain, a telepathic slave who is both repulsed and fascinated by the Outland barbarian. He must somehow convince her to give up everything she's ever known and to help him escape before it's too late.
And finally, a question of utmost important: cupcakes or donuts?
Ooh, that's a tough one! I'm such a tart for pastries. (I know... bad pun. Sorry!) I'd say I'd take either, as long as it came with sprinkles.
Thank you, India, and CONGRATULATIONS! If you can, please hop over to India's blog to say hi!