Happy Friday, everyone!
We are continuing with our pre-Spring: Nature’s Revised Draft conference interviews in preparation for the big day on March 29, 2014! Missed our previous interviews? That’s okay, you can catch up by clicking the following links:
- Giuseppe Castellano, Art Director at Penguin Group USA
- Debra Hess, Author, Senior Editor of Highlights for Children
- Tara Lazar, Author
- Sara D’Emic, Agent with Talcott Notch Literary
- Rori Shay, Author
Today we have agent Christa Heschke of McIntosh and Otis, Inc. Literary Agency in the cyber chair! (Twitter: @ChristaHeschke, Blog: http://christaheschke.blogspot.com.) Christa graduated from Binghamton University with a major in English and a minor in Anthropology. She started in publishing as an intern at both Writers House and Sterling Lord Literistic, where she fell in love with the agency side of publishing. Christa has been at McIntosh and Otis, Inc. since 2009 where she is looking for picture books, middle grade and young adult projects and is currently building her list.
She will be leading a presentation on Fantasy Writing: From World-Building to Querying: How do you come up with unique ideas for a fantasy project and create compelling characters in today’s competitive market? Christa offers her ideas along with tips on world-building and writing within the genre for middle grade and YA audiences. The difference between writing for adult and middle-grade/teen audiences within fantasy, and suggestions on querying, word count, etc., will also be addressed.
And now that she’s ready to go with her favorite coffeehouse beverage, a skinny vanilla latte or the pumpkin latte in the Fall at Starbucks…
And her favorite snack … keeping with the Starbucks theme, their cake pops, especially red velvet…
… let’s begin! First off, Christa, what was your favorite book as a child?
That’s a tough one…Well, a couple of my favorite picture books were Corduroy (Don Freeman) and The Paper Bag Princess (Robert Munsch). When I was a bit older I enjoyed Nancy Drew, The Babysitters Club and Into the Land of the Unicorns (Bruce Coville).
You magically find a $100.00 bill in your box of cereal. In what frivolous way would you spend it? (Key word: Frivolous!)
Buy a new pair of shoes or tickets to a Broadway show or concert.
You’ve been locked in a bank vault Twilight Zone style, so you finally have time to read! Your glasses are fine (whew!) so what’s the first book you crack open?
Graceling by Kristin Cashore. I have heard for years from multiple editors and friends that I should read and would love this book. I just hadn’t had the time yet.
If you followed the career path you chose for yourself in high school, what would you be doing for a living now?
I’d be a marine biologist, likely working with dolphins.
For one day, time travel is a reality and you can visit any famous deceased author you want. Who do you pick?
J.R.R. Tolkien. I’d love to pick his brain about what it took to create a language (elvish) and how he came to write The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. I just can’t imagine the time is must’ve taken!
If you could sum up your best advice for new writers or illustrators in only four words, what would it be?
Read for your audience.
As a writer, you should always be reading published works in the genre and age group you write for. That way you can see what’s working, what’s been done many times (and you should likely avoid, unless you have a unique twist), what there’s room for etc. Just remember when a book is sold to a publisher it generally takes 12-18 months to actually publish, so if you are seeing a lot of a certain genre or subject matter now, there’s a good chance editors have already filled that need on their lists for the time being.
Awesome, thanks for stopping by, Christa! We’re looking forward to seeing you at the conference.
Happy writing and drawing, everyone! And remember – registration deadline for Spring: Nature’s Revised Draft is March 19th!