Friday, May 27, 2016

Dare Mighty Things: Guest Post by Heather Kaczynski

  Recently, author Heather Kaczynski announced a deal with HarperTeen for her YA sci-fi duology, the first book, Dare Mighty Things, slated for release in Fall 2017. I'm always thrilled to hear of good news in the publishing world, and when I realized DMT was about a brilliant Indian girl who competes in the last astronaut slot for an experimental mission to space, I knew I had to read the book. Goodreads calls it "Contact meets The Selection". But I read it (muwhaha to all those who must wait another 16 months) and I say it's Contact meets brilliant teens in a Divergent style bootcamp set at NASA. YASS. Action, brains, deadly competition, heart, and a twist at the end. Also, I like that this book is clean and isn't fraught with brooding love. This character has some serious ambition! I mean, space! You guys! SPACE!

  Heather and I instantly bonded over our geeked out love for NASA. Since PitchWars is coming up this summer, and I'm a PitchWars mentor, I asked Heather to guest blog about her experience in publishing. We all have different journeys, some hard and resilient, others quick and enviable. Whatever the case, never stop, never give up. Because this can happen with just...one...more...try:

Heather:

  It was around January last year when I was thinking of giving up. I'd been querying off and on for about two years. I'd gotten close a few times, but nothing had panned out. Now I had a newborn baby who had so completely taken over my life that it seemed nothing else could fit into it. I hadn't written in months. Nor had I slept. I was so very, very tired. Writing seemed like a silly dream I'd once had, but now it was time to grow up and move on with life.

  But this is why writing friends are so important. Without my writing friends, who had read and believed in my book and who had patiently waited out my three months of near-radio silence during the early weeks of my child's life, who were urging me to get back into the game, I would have given up.

  One of these friends encouraged me to send out one more query. Just one more. To an agent who I'd always admired, but who was so far out of my league I had never even considered querying. It was just inconceivable to me that I had any chance at all.
  But I sent one anyway.

  Somehow, that query eventually led to an email from Kristin Nelson. And then another. And then one where she told me she had finished my book, loved it, and wanted to call me as soon as she got back home from traveling abroad. 

  So that's how I ended up sitting in my car, parked in my driveway (leaving my husband inside to take care of the baby) listening to Kristin Nelson tell me how much she loved my book. It was and remains one of the most surreal moments of my life. 

  After a summer of edits, we went on sub just after labor day. I expected to wait a few months to hear anything and tried hard to go about my normal life.

  Thus, one random Tuesday morning, I was at work when I got an email from Kristin: "Can I call? Some really exciting things are happening."
  Thank goodness the library was closed for renovations and I was in a temporary location where I had my own office, because there was no way I was going to be able to concentrate on anything for the rest of the day.

  My phone rang. Kristin told me there was an offer on the table.

  I died.

  Actually, I said: "Are you kidding?"

  Kristin: "I never joke about things like this!"

  We ended up going to auction, which was so far beyond my realm of expectation that I had no idea what was going on. I floated through the next week thinking any moment I was going to wake up from this fabulous dream. 

  I'm still waiting to wake up from this impossible dream.

  It's crazy to think that at the beginning of that year, just a few months prior, I didn't even have an agent - that I had gone from nothing, not even hope, to this moment. So if you're where I was last year, I'm gonna tell you what my friends told me: don't give in just yet. You never know what's around the next corner.
  Go send another query.
                                       
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You can visit Heather's website for more information on her debut!