QueryTracker Blog

Helping Authors Find Literary Agents

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Catching Up with Our Now-Published Contest Winner

Amy Sue Nathan was one of the five winners in our April 2010 contest with agent Jason Yarn. She went on to become one of Jason's clients, and her first novel, The Glass Wives, came out yesterday. We're pleased to be able to find out how far she's come since our last interview with her!

Tell us a little bit about your novel and where people can learn more about it and where they can get it. 

THE GLASS WIVES is about Evie Glass, a divorced mom whose ex-husband dies suddenly leaving her the only parent of ten-year-old twins. Then, when Evie finds she’s strapped for cash, she takes in her ex’s widow and baby, so they can share living expenses and childcare. Troubled by this decision, Evie’s friends and family try to intervene, forcing Evie to walk out on long-time friendships until the widow causes a ruckus of her own. That’s when Evie has to decide who she can trust, and what really makes a family.

On May 14th THE GLASS WIVES became available in bookstores (indies and Barnes & Noble) as well as at Target stores. It's also available online everywhere books are sold.

What inspired you to write The Glass Wives? Where did the idea for this story come from? 

Like my main character, Evie, I’m a divorced mom in a suburb where everyone is married. And like Evie, my ex-husband passed away suddenly. When I divorced, I felt that some people were uncomfortable having a single mom for a friend. When my ex-husband died, well, they just didn’t know what to do with me, or my kids. We didn’t fit into any of the fixed suburban circles and frankly, I think the sadness in our lives overwhelmed them. Writing this novel allowed me to put this kind of discomfort—and its ramifications—on display and show that families are equal no matter their parts, and that the term broken home is outdated. There may be a few cracks in our walls, but broken? No way.

The sales aspect of writingproducing a good pitch and query and providing a great excerptcan be very challenging for some writers. How did you learn to produce such catchy material? Were there any particular resources you used?

I have always belonged to writing groups and online forums, but I'd say in the years leading up to up querying my novel, the best resource was Backspace, where traditionally published authors (Karen Dionne, Randy Susan Meyers, Keith Cronin, and A.S. King, for example) and a few literary agents, were kind enough to give me tips, guidance, and advice that I always took to heart.

Do you have a writing routine?

When I'm on track I write fiction in the morning and non-fiction—essays, blog posts, interview questions, and interview answers (like these)—in the afternoon and evening. Working at home and being a single mom means I have to be flexible. Today my daughter had a doctor's appointment in the morning, so I did my fiction writing in the afternoon.  But my preference will always be morning. I'm an early bird!

What is the single best piece of writing advice you've ever gotten?

Recently, while working on the beginning of my new novel, I kept thinking about best-seller trends and what my editor would be looking for.  I considered fitting elements like magical realism or a heated romance, into my new story. And then Therese Walsh, author of The Last Will of Moira Leahy and co-founder of Writer Unboxed told me something very simple: separate the craft from the business. I wrote it on a sticky note and stuck it to my computer. She was right. I couldn’t worry about whether the book would sell, all I could do, at that moment, was to tell the story I needed to tell. And for me that story does not include zombies or a hot shirtless hero. At least not today.

What has been the hardest or most surprising thing you've learned on the journey between the time Jason began submitting to editors and your publication date?

That patience in publishing is not simply a virtue, it's a necessity.

What is the most important (or surprising) thing you've learned about publicity as you near your publication date? Do you have any advice for others on publicity?

I've learned there's no such thing as too much publicity. I'm not sure about "any publicity is good publicity" adage, but we'll see!  My advice would be to seize every opportunity to build relationships with readers and other writers because in the long run that will go farther than hundreds of "buy my book" tweets.

Are you working on any new projects? Can you tell us anything about them?

Absolutely! I'm always working on a few things, and right now I'm writing a novel about a blogger who tells lies online and keeps secrets in real life and what happen to make her finally truth. I'm also jotting down notes for two more book ideas I'm excited about. I know if I don't write down my ideas I'll lose them. Sometimes my best scenes are written on the backs of envelopes or napkins while I'm standing in the kitchen or parked in a parking lot!

Visit Amy Sue Nathan on her website, Twitter @AmySueNathan, or Facebook!

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