Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Blog Takeover #2: DARK DAYS Author Kate Ormand's Path to Publication

What's this? Two posts in two days? This blog is in danger of becoming positively active again. Well, there's a good reason that I'm posting today, because today is release day for DARK DAYS by my writing buddy Kate Ormand, a book I've been looking forward to ever since Kate asked me to read an early version after it was accepted for publication.

The future world has been divided into sectors--each the same as the other. Surrounded by thick steel fences, there is no way in and no way out. Yet a cyborg army penetrates each sector, picking off its citizens one by one, until no one is left. Behind the sectors' thick walls, the citizens wait to die. Few will be chosen to survive what's coming; the rest will be left behind to suffer. A new world has been created, and its rulers are incredibly selective on who will become a citizen. They want only those with important roles in society to help create a more perfect future. 

Sixteen-year-old Sia lives in one of the sectors as part of a family that is far too ordinary to be picked to live. According to the digital clock that towers high above her sector, she has only fifteen days to live. Sia has seen the reports and knows a horrific death is in store for her, but she is determined to make the most of her final days. Sia refuses to mourn her short life, instead promising herself that she'll stay strong, despite being suffocated by her depressed mother and her frightened best friend. Just when Sia feels more alone than ever, she meets Mace, a mysterious boy. There is something that draws Sia to him, despite his dangerousness, and together, they join a group of rebels and embark on an epic journey to destroy the new world and its machines, and to put an end to the slaughter of innocent people.

And now, over to Kate…

It’s publication day for DARK DAYS and Emma kindly invited me to share my path to publication. Everyone has such different journeys and I’ve always found it interesting to read about other experiences. So hopefully this will be interesting to someone . . . somewhere!

I wrote two YA novels before writing DARK DAYS. I started querying agents with the second.

I suffered through loads of rejection, which can really knock your confidence. And, like me, I’m sure every writer has considered giving up at some point. Obviously, I didn’t, and to keep myself busy while that novel was out and the rejection was coming in and the disappointment was mounting, I wrote DARK DAYS. It was something I’d been wanting to write for a while, so I got started. And not only was I finally writing the book I’d been looking forward to writing for ages, it took my mind mostly off the novel on submission, and I knew I was moving forward, rather than stuck in limbo waiting for replies.

A few months later, most replies had come in from agents. I had two partial requests along the way that didn’t go further, and a whole load of no! So I considered what to do next—to give that one another go, even though it really wasn’t looking good, or to move on and query DARK DAYS. I moved on.

I sent queries out in batches and kept an organised list to avoid contacting someone twice, and to keep on top of where my book was and how long it’d been there.  I used the Children’s Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook this time to research agencies and see if I might fit their list and who would be most suited to my work.

I sent to ten carefully selected agents and the waiting commenced!

After a few days I received my first full manuscript request from Isabel Atherton at Creative Authors Ltd. She was really enthusiastic about DARK DAYS (and still is), and I was delighted when Isabel emailed to tell me she loved the story and was interested in signing. Beyond delighted, actually! I signed in September 2012.

Next came the editing, as Isabel and I discussed the work and prepared it for submission. This took a couple months, then it was time to send out. More rejection followed, as expected, so I started writing another book (THE WANDERERS!).

In February 2013, Julie Matysik at Sky Pony Press made an offer on the title. Now here we are in June 2014, two years after starting DD, and it’s a real published book.  Hooray!

Thank you for having me, Emma!

You're welcome, Kate! 

KATE ORMAND is a YA writer represented by Isabel Atherton at Creative Authors Ltd. She lives in the UK with her family, her partner, and a cocker spaniel called Freddie. She recently graduated from university with a first class BA (Hons) degree in Fine Art Painting. It was during this course that Kate discovered her love of reading YA books, prompting her to try a new creative angle and experiment with writing. Kate is also a member of an online group of published writers and illustrators called Author Allsorts. And she writes children’s picture books under the name Kate Louise. You can see more about Kate and her writing by visiting her website (www.kateormand.wordpress.com) or on Twitter (@kateormand).

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