I have no idea how I got so lucky. Kate McKean took me on back in 2009, after a query for a novel about party-hearty teens, who get in way over their heads. At that point, I had already lost two agents, and I was as gun-shy about repeating the process as you’d expect. But after THE CALL, I knew I was in good hands. Kate is down-to-earth and relaxed, and managed to guide me through the disappointment of not selling the novel I had queried, toward answering the question, “What else are you working on?”That answer was Tap Out, but it wasn’t in the glorious condition it exists in today. It was a mess, but Kate had no problem digging in and beating the story and me into shape. That process was one of the most difficult of my life, but also the most rewarding. I learned the two most important mantras from Kate for my writing: 1. The stakesmust be high from the start, and they must stay that way. 2. The clock hasto be ticking from page one.Clearly this advice is not advisable for all forms of literature, but for the kind of high-octane YA lit I write, it is quintessential. And now, whenever I write, I have those two constants running through my head, and they have proven worthwhile: Dare Me and Press Play are evidence.
I know many agents aren’t as hands on, aren’t as involved with the editorial process. I don’t know if Kate is this way with her other clients, but she was with me, because I needed it. And I am forever grateful, because Kate’s career has vaulted since she took me on. I couldn’t even query her today if I wanted to. She’s closed for submissions. Yeah, she’s that awesome. Howard Morhaim Literary Agency is as lucky as I am to have her.
And in addition to being an awesome agent and champion of my work, she is also a writer. She is currently finalizing a YA novel and has had multiple articles published, including this beautifully nostalgic memorial to her father for The Toast.
Do I gush? Yes. As I should. And I hope for all writers that you find an agent with whom you can believe in as much as she or he believes in you. Kate is the person you hope for in an agent, and I don’t ever want to disappoint her. And that, right there, is the sign of a beautiful working relationship.
Want to know more about this rock-star agent? Links are below.
First thing you should know: no one’s making a movie out of any of my books. Not yet, at least. My wife and I posted pics from the book trailer for PRESS PLAY on Facebook, and a fair amount of people have reached out to say, “What? I had no idea!”
That’s my fault, because as my wife said, “No one outside your book world understands that book trailers are a thing.” She’s right. And so I apologize. But know this, that trailer will be released in September, online. During October 24th through the 30th the trailer will be playing in the Regal theaters at Colonie Center. Along with boring ads, you’ll get to see my exciting trailer on the big screen 🙂 Barnes and Noble will also be running a cross promotion for my novel, which releases on the 28th. I have a signing scheduled for the 26th as well.
Now, the reason I haven’t posted recently shouldn’t surprise any of you. I’m neck deep in end-of-the-year exams and grading at work, but I’ve also had my nose to the grindstone on a current project. And when I write, there’s barely room for the rest of my life. The filmmaker, while in between takes was asking about my schedule, and I told him my standard, 4:30-6:30, Monday through Friday, during the school year. He thought that was good, until it dawned on him later that I meant AM. 4:30 AM. That, he thought, was insane.
I don’t. I love it. And I love that my ten or so hours a week are going to explode into as many as I’d like because of July and August and being a teacher. I look forward to finalizing this one project and returning to another, all while considering and then starting the next. And so maybe the filmmaker’s right, maybe I am insane to look forward to going from part-time to overtime. So it goes.
I’m thrilled for where my writing is going and what is on the horizon for all of you––stories that only my agent and I know. Trust me, they will be worth your while. And in the meantime, I am starting to get my head around signing dates for the fall, and the conferences I will be attending, like the unbelievable opportunity of being invited to ALAN.
It’s all good, and I look forward to sharing it with you. Feel free to get a jump start on pre-orders for PRESS PLAY. I’m asking people to avoid Amazon because of their recent, nasty dealing with the publishing industry. So reach out to Market Block or The Book House or Barnes and Noble.
In the meantime, I have exams to grade, and a summer vacation to plan, and miles of writing and dreaming.