I'm author ELLE STRAUSS and welcome to my website!
I write fun, lower Young Adult (teen) fiction to do with whimsical things like time-travel, fairies and merfolk.
When my serious side peeks out, she's called LEE STRAUSS. She likes to write upper YA about real things that have happened in the past, or made up things that could quite possibly happen in the future.
This blog is about books, mine and other fab authors', but occasionally I'll share about other topics.
Thanks for dropping by!
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Debut Author interview with Robin Mellom!
ES: I’ve heard your book, DITCHED, is The Hangover for teens. For those of us who haven’t seen the move The Hangover, can you share a bit more?
RM: So the thought of describing the plot of The Hangover just makes me giggle. Tee-hee! I can do this... In the movie, some guys go to Las Vegas for a raging bachelor party and they wake up the next morning with absolutely no memory of what happened the night before. The rest of the movie is spent piecing together what happened so they can find the groom (they lost him somehow!) and it involves an incident with Mike Tyson. After I had written DITCHED, my husband and I rented The Hangover and I was like, “Oh my gosh, I think I just wrote the teen version of that!” In my book, a girl wakes up in a ditch the morning after her prom with no memory of what happened. She walks down the road toward the 7-Eleven and her memories start to flood in. She ends up befriending the cashier at the 7-Eleven and telling her the story of how she ended up in that ditch. The story alternates between the past (the night before) and the present (in the 7-Eleven). So it’s a little different. And also, there’s no Mike Tyson scene, but that totally would have rocked.
ES: How long did it take you to write it?
RM: About 5-6 months.
ES: Who is your agent and how did you find her?
RM: Jill Corcoran of The Herman Agency. I met her at the LA SCBWI conference--before she was an agent--and I knew she had a great personality. When she put out her announcement of what she was looking for (funny stuff) two writing friends immediately emailed me and said, “You HAVE to submit to her!” I’m glad I did—she loved a middle grade book of mine and signed me within about 2 weeks.
ES: According to your blog, (and PM) you got a two book deal? Since DITCHED isn’t a series book, can you tell us how that works?
RM: Somewhere during the rounds of meetings at Disney-Hyperion…editorial meetings, acquisitions meetings, sales & marketing meetings (it takes a lot of meetings to get a book sold!)…the editor asked if I had any other ideas percolating. I pitched a couple of ideas and one of those they loved, so they bought it, too! Woohoo! I’m about half way through the first draft of this second book. (I ADORE it and can’t wait until I can give details!)
ES: You also mention on your blog that you had to wait a couple months before you could announce your deal—how was that for you?
RM: Like I was secretly pregnant and could only drink water when everyone was handing me wine. I wanted to spill the news so bad! So those two months were kinda excruciating. It was particularly hard to blog during that time. I’m sure my posts were stilted—what the heck did I talk about!? But it was sooo worth the wait…seeing the announcement in Publisher’s Marketplace made it all feel VERY real.
ES: So the nitty gritty that all aspiring authors want to know: time from query to agent? Agent to sale? Sale to publication?
RM: I will preface this by saying that Jill is my second agent. I’ve written four other middle grade novels and have gone through rounds of meetings, got close several times (even did some revisions for publishing houses) but nada. So this whole process has taken, you know…years. When I first started out, my husband and I agreed to give myself five years to pursue this dream of getting published.
Luckily he kept giving me one-year extensions because it took eight.
ES: Okay, give us the nitty gritty:
RS: Query to agent: Two weeks
Agent to sale: A year (we subbed two other projects before I wrote this one)
Sale to publication: Just under two years…which is code for forever? (Nah…I’m hoping it will sneak up on me and I’ll wonder how the time passed so quickly. Um, right?)
ES: What kinds of things do you like to do when you’re not writing?
RM: You mean I can not write? Huh. *scratches head*
No, for real, I love hanging with my family and going hiking and kayaking—we live on a bay. I’m also obsessed with GLEE and what Anderson Cooper is wearing (he wears the cutest shirts when he’s on assignment).
ES: Have you read any good books lately?
Yes! BEFORE I FALL by Lauren Oliver (for my serious side) and A MATCH MADE IN HIGH SCHOOL by Kristin Walker (for my lighter side). Loved ‘em both!
Thanks, Robin! So great to get to know you better.