Today fellow Astraea Press author, Krysten Lindsay Hager, is sharing her Path to Publication Story.
Without further ado, here’s Krysten…
I started making up stories as a little kid and my mom always brings up how I “won” my first writing contest in the first grade. It was a “Name the Teddy Bear” contest that was open from kindergarten through the eighth grade and somehow my essay won. I still remember I started the piece with, “We should name the bear Taffy because he’s sweet like candy.” I know, take a moment to bask in that brilliance, right? But I won a little stuffed clown for that and my love of writing grew.
I wrote stories all through grade school, but it was my fifth grade teacher who told my parents that she thought I’d become an author. Mrs. Bostwick continued to tell me about writing contests even after I finished the fifth grade. My character in True Colors, Landry, has her teacher, Mrs. Kharazzi, enter one of her stories into a writing contest and I was thinking about my experience when I wrote that.
When I enrolled in the University of Michigan-Flint, I was lucky to have great professors that were very encouraging of my writing. I took extra literature classes even after I had fulfilled my English degree requirements because I learned so much about writing from studying the authors. I was nervous to take my first creative writing class and be critiqued each week in front of the class, but it helped me so much. One of my creative writing buddies, David, passed away a few years ago. He was a great supporter to me. He would always share my columns with people and encourage me when I was stuck on a story we were working on in class. Being around people who were as passionate about writing helped me a lot.
I started writing for the university’s newspaper and the editor, Keith, let us write a test column and I almost passed out when mine was published. After that, I started writing columns regularly for the paper and I enjoyed that. It also prepared me for public response to my writing as well.
I had always started novels, but had issues finishing them. Taking writing courses in college helped, but it was when I went on to do an independent writing course that I finally finished a book. That is the hurdle a lot of writers have trouble with—finishing. After that I began working on a YA/MG book idea that eventually became True Colors.
I took the first chapter to a conference and had a professional critique of it. Then, I got a request to see the whole story, so I began working on the book. I ended up rewriting it and changed a few major parts of it over time. It was a challenge balancing writing and submitting with everyday life and I learned my experience in journalism was key in helping me deal with rejection. You have to have a very thick skin to be in this business and it’s hard to get so close time after time and still be waiting.
I actually stopped submitting the story for a long time because I was doing more journalism work and then I moved twice—once overseas. When I finally moved back to the U.S. I was working on another project and I happened to go to a book signing in town with a football player, Tim Green. I was just there as a football fan, but I mentioned I wrote and he asked if I wrote middle grade/YA, too. I thought, you know it has been a long time since I sent True Colors out, so I submitted it to three places and it got picked up.
I really don’t think the book would have come to be had it not been for all the experience I got from college (and grad school) lit courses and the many critique groups I’ve been in over the years. You can never learn enough about literature or this business.
Every day I walked down the sidewalk to school and wished I were one of the interesting popular girls who ran up with exciting news. Just once I’d like to be one of those girls instead of the being the one who didn’t get invited to things because people “forgot” about me.
Landry Albright gets pushed into trying out for the American Ingénue reality show modeling competition with her two best friends. She doesn’t think she stands a chance, but she advances to the next level in the competition and her friends ignore her when they get cut.
Enter the gorgeous Devon, who also makes the first cut and includes Landry in her clique. Devon becomes the perfect best friend, but can their friendship survive the competition?
Landry hopes her big break could come at any moment, but soon sees there’s much more to modeling than getting your hair done and looking pretty. She begins missing out on being with new friends like Ashanti, a girl who truly has Landry’s back. Landry also has the chance to have a boyfriend when she meets a boy named Vladi from another school.
Part of Landry wants to be famous (and have her hair look good for once), but part of her just wants to be accepted. She learns about friendships, being true to yourself, and that a good hair conditioner doesn’t hurt.
Krysten Lindsay Hager is an author and book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and also writes middle grade, YA, humor essays, and adult fiction. TRUE COLORS is her bestselling debut novel from Astraea Press. She is originally from Michigan and has lived in South Dakota, Portugal, and currently resides in Southern Ohio where you can find her reading and writing when she’s not catching up on her favorite shows.
Connect with Krysten:
Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96jxcUH54hU
Amazon author profile: http://www.amazon.com/Krysten-Lindsay-Hager/e/B00L2JC9P2/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1