Hi, everyone! I am so excited to get the ball rolling for Weblogs and Wikis. So, that said, here we go. A post that will tell you way too much about me.
My name is Kelsey Sutton. I am a writer, which is one of the biggest parts of my life. I could babble on about where I’m from or what kind of toothpaste I use, but talking about my writing is the best introduction I can think of. There has never been a time when I was not creating stories. As a child I would come home from school, pull out my plastic bin full of markers and paper, and arrange everything around me in a circle. I would then fold some paper in half, staple the side three times, and proceed to fill the white spaces with words and pictures.
Since this is an introductory post about me, I’ll go all the way back. The first novel I ever finished was so thick it could have served as a doorstop. It was about Victorian vampires. It was 2008, and I was sixteen years old. I’ve always been a huge fan of Libba Bray’s, so I decided I wanted to follow in her footsteps in every way. Logical, right? So I did research on how to get a book published. I discovered what a literary agent was. And I promptly wrote a query to send to Barry Goldblatt, Libba’s agent.
Understandably, that awkward, snail-mail query received no reply. As the days turned into weeks I reconsidered my approach. I concluded that maybe this manuscript wasn’t the one I wanted to show the world. So I took another year and wrote a completely new novel, a contemporary-suspense kind of story. It was 2009 and I was seventeen.
By this time I had realized that agents accepted e-mail queries, and Barry Goldblatt wasn’t the only one in the world, so I sent off a new query to a list of them. Beth was among that list. After a long, enlightening journey, I again shelved a manuscript. Time passed. I graduated high school in 2010, and immediately afterwards ran off to California and wrote another novel. Then I came back to my beloved Minnesota and got responsible, enrolling in college and finding a job. I would dive back into querying soon after this.
Unfortunately, I didn’t know enough about the process when I first started to keep track of the numbers. I do know the lists of agents were long, and the rejections piled up. I queried for over two years and shelved two manuscripts. Which, yes, seems easier than what others have gone through. What most of the world doesn’t know is that during this time – okay, something I’ve never put online before – is that I was very much a teenage nomad. I was moving from place to place, trying to work two jobs and pass my classes, basically just focusing on getting by. Surviving. Though I love my mom and we still talk often, she wasn’t in the picture much. So, in many ways, writing saved me. In circumstances that could have driven me to a much darker place, I put all my efforts into the stories. Into publishing.
I hesitate to put this out into the world, because I don’t want it to seem like I had it all bad. I have fabulous friends, and a great family, and everything has turned out okay. The reason I share this now is for those writers – as young as I was or older – who are dealing with difficulties that make dreams like writing feel impossible. Whether you come from a solid home or you’re spending some nights in your car, don’t give up. It may take months, or years. But sometimes having that goal, that thing to work towards… that can make all those hardships endurable.
Anyway! Enough with the seriousness. Violin player, you may cease.
It was in the beginning of 2011 – soon after I got back from California – that I queried Beth again. I was eighteen years old, with a story that was new and strange and exciting. I had written it during a time when I was living with people I didn’t know that well, in a place that was a little frightening, during a time when absolutely nothing was certain. That third query I sent out – the one that ended with me signing a contract – looked something like this:
I am seeking representation for SOME QUIET PLACE, a young adult paranormal romance. The novel is complete at 88,000 words.
The very definition of humanity is the quality to be humane. Ironic, since Elizabeth Caldwell appears every bit human, yet sorely lacks in the latter. As a child she somehow lost the ability to feel any emotion. While her best friend slowly dies of cancer and her father comes home in drunken rages, Elizabeth searches for the truth.
Among her other abnormalities, Elizabeth has the ability to see the unseen. Emotions are personified beings. They’ve all stopped seeking her out, save one: beautiful, stubborn, adoring Fear. Fear wants the truth just as much as she does. There’s a stranger in town that might know something.
It soon becomes evident, however, that there’s something more pressing out there besides the mysterious stranger and the haziness of Elizabeth’s history. Creatures are fleeing Edson in terror, and people have begun to discern that something is amiss with Elizabeth. Will she have enough time to put the pieces together? What’s coming for her? And is finding out the truth really the key to survival? Secrets are buried for a reason…
I can be reached at 000-000-0000, and my e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.
Beth quickly got back to me. The subject of her e-mail read, RE: Query: SOME QUIET PLACE. The rest, as they say, is history.