21 January 2011

Kiera Cass - The Interview

Everyone, I give you the fabulous Kiera Cass.  Kiera is an author to keep an eye on (or both eyes if you fancy... she is gorgeous after all).  I swooped in there to get the lowdown on the next big thing to hit our book shelves. So without further ado...
Hi Kiera!  Firstly, congratulations on snagging yourself a fantastic agent like Elena Roth.  Tell us a little about your agenting process
I did it the old fashioned way. I queried, and Elana saw something she liked, and I couldn't be happier with how it all worked out. All in all, it felt pretty fast. I sent out 13 queries, and then got to choose between Elana and another agent. It was a drastic contrast to querying The Siren, which took forever and didn't get great reception.

You self published your first book, The Siren.  Do you think that helped you make the step up to Mainstream publishers? 
Well, I wasn't thinking of it that way at the time. I knew I had a small fan base, and I had this book I loved, and all I wanted to do was make it so they could get it if they wanted to. Really, it was just about making the book available. But I learned some valuable lessons about promoting myself and just being fearless when it comes to talking about my projects. I don't think my self publishing made me any more or less attractive to my agent or editor, but I'm glad I did it. It really makes me appreciate what I have this time around. I can't begin to express how lucky I am!

Speaking of mainstream publishers, you got yourself a three book deal with HarperTeen for The Selection!  How long did it take for your agent to sell your book, and what was the process like? 

Elana actually did a really great post about the timeline from query to contract on the CJLA blog: http://www.johnsonliterary.com/blog/2010/6/23/the-speed-of-things.html. It wasn't a speedy thing exactly, and I was worried that maybe nobody liked me. But I knew Elana was excited about it, and I had a lot of faith in her energy. People who doubt their need for an agent are nuts. I didn't look at all my rejections, I think I only saw two. But they were both very positive, and that was encouraging as well. When I found out that HarperTeen was even an option, I was beyond giddy. The Luxe series and the Wicked Lovely series are some of my faves, and to know that their home could be mine too... it was more than I hoped for.

Your editor is Erica Sussman, one of the best editors in the business and is also editor to Aprilynne Pike and Kiersten White.  How do you feel being in such amazing company?
Well, gee, now that you mention it... Gulp. No, really, Erica is a rock star at what she does, and everything I've gotten back from her is truly shaping the story into something amazing. And she's so encouraging. I haven't actually chatted with Aprilynne, but that Kiersten is one funny lady. I'm not sure I would have spoken to her without us both knowing Erica, so I have to thank my editor for the strange perk of making me friends!

What can we expect from The Selection, and more importantly, when can we get our hands on it?
Well, you might have heard people referring to it as "The Hunger Games meets The Bachelor", and that's a pretty good description. There's a rigid dystopian society and a whole lotta romance. I'm kind of a nerd for a good love story. I wish I could just tell you everything, but it's still a ways away, so you'll just have to hold on a little bit longer.
And I don't have a specific month yet, but I know it's coming in the Summer of 2012.

You’ve been sharing your publishing experience through video on your website www.kieracass.com, they’re hilarious by the way! Is this you just having fun, or do you feel it helps you connect with your readers?
Oh, YouTube. The video thing started about three years ago when my best friend Liz and I decided we wanted to make Twilight parodies. So the TwiCurls channel:  http://www.youtube.com/user/twicurls?blend=1&ob=4 was born. I love all of our videos! From the vampire friendly workout we made to our interpretations of favorite scenes, every last second was a blast to make. 
After a while, I wanted to make other random videos, so I decided to make my own channel. Really it was all about me having fun, but as I went through the process of self publishing and then traditional publishing (oh, and also being pregnant and a new mom), I got lots of questions from people. I'm pretty open so if people want to know something, I'm happy to share. I feel kind of nerdy though, since most of my videos are of my son doing silly things. My family watches too. I'm trying to keep everyone happy!
I’ve noticed from your videos that your book shelves are rather full of glorious books, but uniquely, you have the arranged by colour! How on earth do you find anything? LOL. 
Yes, I arrange my books by color. I get lots of mixed reactions about this. I know it sounds crazy, but I recently tried to arrange them like normal people would, with series together and genres in the same place, and I was so disoriented, I could barely stand to be in the same room! My husband gave me a little test on this recently and yelled out things like "Water for Elephants?" and I'd call back "Red!" I know where everything is. I mean, we all know what the covers of our favorite books look like, so it's just easy for me to find things that way.
I have this great ambition of arranging them autobiographically a la High Fidelity. Like The Little Prince would go in my Spring 1999 space because my high school choir teacher gave it to me, and Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes would be in my Fall 2001 space because I saw it in my college bookstore for an English class I didn't have, but it looked good, so I bought it. Things like that. I don't know if/when I'll ever do it, but I aspire to.

I read somewhere, you like cake! What’s your favourite and if I give it to you, what kind of bribes are you open to?

Wait, you have cake? Where?  *sniff sniff* I do love cake! Good old vanilla with butter cream frosting or yummy red velvet... oh that's good stuff. How much cake do you have? For the right amount, I'll hand over my manuscript... we'll talk.
Thanks Kiera, and yes, we will talk. I've a huge vanilla cream sponge here with your name on it.  I quite fancy a sneaky peak at the manuscript, though I'm not sure how happy HarperCollins would be.  Lets stuff our faces and not tell anyone, what do you think?