1. Tell us a bit about your writing journey. How did you get started, and how did you get to where you are now?
My journey was not a quick or simple one, but I was determined to be published traditionally. In 2009, I decided to pursue this goal. After a lot of writing and revising and querying, and then more writing and revising, my debut novel, Who R U Really?, was published in September 2014. For the entire story, please check out: “How I Got My Agent” on the Writer’s Digest Blog.
2. Anything you would’ve done differently if you could do it all over again?
If I had it to do all over again, I would read more books on the craft of writing before querying agents. Some of my favorite books include:
THE FIRE IN FICTION by Donald Maass
SAVE THE CAT by Blake Snyder
THE STORY BOOK by David Baboulene
SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS by Browne & King
3. What advice would you give to new and aspiring writers?
Revise. Revise. Revise. Finishing the first draft of your manuscript is an awesome accomplishment, but do not stop there. Revise it. Find a fellow writer to critique it. Revise it. Find another person to critique it. And revise again.
4. Is there any book you’ve written that is particularly special to you? Which one and why?
Who R U Really? is special to me because, years ago, my daughter was nearly abducted by an online predator. After a counseling session one day, my daughter and I played the “what if” game. What if “this” had happened instead of that? What if “this” decision had been made instead of this one? And a novel was born. There are many true scenes in the book along with many fictional ones.
5. Who would you say is your favorite character(s) from your books, and why? What is it about this character that makes him/her tick?
Thea is the main character from Who R U Really?, and she is a naïve, tender-hearted teenage girl who hungers to be loved by a boy. When things go wrong with the boy she likes at school, she falls for Kit, a guy she meets in an online role-playing game. She ends up lying to her parents and her friends, because she’s convinced she’s in love with Kit, and she’ll do anything for him. Her world falls apart when she learns that Kit is not who she thought he was. Thea has to figure out who she can trust in order to save herself in the end.
6. Tell us about your new book. What can we expect from it?
Who R U Really? is a rollercoaster ride of thrills and chills. I hope that you read it in one sitting, and I hope that you reevaluate your online habits after you close the book.
7. Are you self-pubbed or traditionally published? What made you go for this model? What advice/tips can you share with writers working towards the same goal?
I chose the traditional publishing route, because it felt like the right choice for me. I wanted the editorial input of a talented agent, and I wanted the business expertise of a publishing house. My advice for writers working toward being published via the traditional route is to make sure your manuscript is as polished as possible before querying agents. Then when you receive feedback from agents or editors, consider their advice carefully and improve your manuscript based on the feedback you’ve received.
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Author Bio: Margo Kelly is a native of the Northwest and currently resides in Idaho. A veteran public speaker, she is now actively pursuing her love of writing. Who R U Really? is her first novel. Margo welcomes the opportunities to speak to youth groups, library groups, and book clubs.
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