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Interview with Ava Conway. Ask Deidre (new feature) - Challenges and Rewards of Working Out of Atlanta
The Knight Agency Newsletter: Write. Read. Repeat.

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Top Announcements
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» Gena Showalter's ALICE IN ZOMBIELAND is free on iBooks through August 18 for US and Canada residents.

» Lauren Jameson's LINGER received a fantastic review from  Publishers Weekly.

Top Sales
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» GATED author Amy Christine Parker's SMASH & GRAB, to Chelsea Eberly at Random House Children's, by Lucienne Diver.

» Jules Bennett's WRAPPED IN YOU, to John Scognamiglio at Kensington, in a three-book deal, by Elaine Spencer.

 
In this issue
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Ask Deidre

In this new feature, Deidre Knight will pick a question submitted by Twitter and Facebook users. The person who submitted the chosen question will win any two books of their choice from this page. To submit your question, simply post it on Twitter with the hashtag #AskDeidre.

And now for this month's winning question ...


Does being in the Atlanta area as opposed to NYC make your job harder? What are some of the challenges and rewards of your location?

Great question! I often tell people that, had I launched TKA a couple of years earlier, I would have struggled much more. As it was, I founded the agency in 1996, right about the time the Internet blew wide open, and that enabled me from the beginning to make fantastic connections with editors via email. Ditto with authors and clients. All day long we email with editors around the world, and many times New York editors think we’re in their city until they learn where we are. In the end, as long as we’re reachable via net and cell phone, they don’t care whether we’re in a Manhattan high-rise, a historic home in a cute little southern town, or a sailboat in the Caribbean.

 

Our company is very much built around telecommuting. We have employees in Florida, California, North Carolina, and even Taiwan. We maintain an awesome office just outside Atlanta, and it’s a great hub for contracts and financials and the more “physical” aspects of the agency, but we don’t have to be there all the time. It’s rather a standing joke at TKA, in fact, that though I live half a mile away, I’m sometimes more likely to work at home. What can I say? I love my pajamas—and having my dogs beside me when I work!

 

In all seriousness, I sometimes pose a similar question to myself: “Would I be even more successful if I had established TKA in New York?” The honest answer I have to give is no. There are benefits to being right in the city, but they’re offset by the lower overhead and easier way of life here in a small town. I’m usually in NYC four or even five times some years, and our other agents are often there as well. Plus, we sit down with editors and clients at events like RWA, as well as the London and Frankfurt book fairs. Plus, we have foreign co-agents in virtually every territory, and we deal with film, television, and other contacts in New York and Los Angeles. It’s a global business, now more than ever.

 

The greatest asset to any literary agency is market savvy. That’s the capital in our bank: our understanding of what it takes to discover great talent, nurture it, and help authors break out. If TKA didn’t have great writers and voices—if we hadn’t discovered that talent from the beginning, almost twenty years ago—editors wouldn’t have paid us attention no matter where we were. In the end, this job is all about relationships, and so long as we maintain those, we’ll always be successful. Loved this question and can’t wait to see what everyone asks next month! I’m really thrilled with this new feature that we’ve added to the newsletter.
 

Agents of the Roundtable

Question: What is one thing about you that a writer might be surprised to learn?

DEIDRE KNIGHT: I’m a major television addict. I love long-form story-telling like you get in Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Hell on Wheels, and The Americans. It’s a wonderful escape for me to dig in to a favorite show at the end of my work day—at which point I don’t always want to read anything more.

PAMELA HARTY: I am a huge college basketball fan and I love March Madness and the Final Four.

LUCIENNE DIVER: I live life out loud, so I'm not sure what would surprise writers about me. But let's see ... how about the fact that I would love to have been a dancer, but I grew up severely asthmatic. Therefore I satisfy my thwarted athletic ambitions by watching So You Think You Can Dance, dance films, ice skating/ice dancing, gymnastics and other competitions, my muscles twitching the whole time as though I could help competitors stick their landings from the comfort of my couch.

MELISSA JEGLINSKI: Folks might already know this because I get ribbed about this a lot, but I will read the end of a book first. All the time. Even if it’s a romance and supposed to have a guaranteed a happy ending. And if I don’t like how it ends, I won’t even start it. I blame GONE WITH THE WIND and my disappointed twelve-year-old self.

Sales Roundup
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» German rights to Natasha Boyd's EVERSEA and FOREVER JACK, to Lyx, at auction, by Thomas Schlueck Agency on behalf of Elaine Spencer.

» GATED author Amy Christine Parker's SMASH & GRAB, to Chelsea Eberly at Random House Children's, by Lucienne Diver.

» Jules Bennett's WRAPPED IN YOU, to John Scognamiglio at Kensington, in a three-book deal by Elaine Spencer.

» Kerrie Hughes and Jim Butcher's FIERCE (including stories by Jim Butcher, Seanan McGuire, Mercedes Lackey, Rob Thurman, Kat Richardson, and others), to Anne Sowards of Roc, in a very nice deal by Lucienne Diver of The Knight Agency and Jennifer Jackson of the Donald Maass Literary Agency.

» Gena Showalter's THE NYMPH KING, to Steve Feldberg of Audible, by Deidre Knight.

» Cooper Davis's BOYS OF SUMMER, TAKING YOU HOME, and BOUND BY NATURE, as well as the upcoming historical fantasy, A KING UNDONE, to Steve Feldberg of Audible, by Deidre Knight.

Sales Roundup is a selective sampling of TKA's deals for the past month. For more info on our recent sales, visit www.knightagency.net/recent-deals.
Agency News
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» Gena Showalter's ALICE IN ZOMBIELAND is Free on iBooks through August 18 for U.S. and Canada residents.

» Nexus, by Ramez Naam, is a finalist for the Endeavour Award, given to the best science fiction or fantasy book written by a Pacific Northwest author in the previous year.

» Lauren Jameson's LINGER received a fantastic review from  Publishers Weekly.

Interview With Ava Conway
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At fourteen, Ava snuck her first romance novel into bed and read it by flashlight. There she met her first "book boyfriend," and she has been hooked on reading ever since. She often prefers book-boyfriends to the real thing, and believes that a gooey fudge brownie is a little piece of heaven on earth.

When she's not writing, she's stumbling through her Zumba class (have to work off those brownies somehow), obsessing over the latest song by Pink, or feeding her addiction for reality television.

Ava also writes erotic romances for her over-eighteen fans as Suzanne Rock.

 

TKA: After having so much success writing erotic romances as Suzanne Rock, what prompted you to be begin the New Adult series Perfect Little Pieces?

Ava: I've always loved the erotic romance genre. I still do, but over time the stories were starting to become harder to write. I was losing that passion, that drive that keeps a writer at her computer, forgetting to eat, at 2:00 AM. I wasn't getting lost in the worlds anymore and knew that, for a writer, this was not a good place to be. While readers love an author who is predictable, writers themselves are creative. We love to push boundaries and experiment with new ideas. We need to keep changing things up or risk losing that passion that brought us to writing in the first place. I was bored, and boredom is like the kiss of death to the creative process. When that creative fire starts to wither and die, the artist begins to die along with it.

HOLLOW is my story—sort of. I wanted to change up my writing, but was afraid to do it. Would readers like my stories without the kinky sex? I hesitated, until a series of events in my life caused me to change my mind. One cousin was diagnosed with brain cancer. A second cousin was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. A close friend had died of a heart attack at age fifty-two. Someone else close to me was rushed to the emergency room and diagnosed with severe, chronic depression. Writing HOLLOW was therapeutic for me on so many levels. It gave me a place to process what was going on around me, and helped me find the strength to push forward. It allowed me to rediscover the joy in writing and challenge myself in new ways. When death and depression knocked on my door, HOLLOW gave me hope and passion. It gave me LIFE.
 
TKA: Much of HOLLOW is set in a mental institution, and the scenes are very vivid. What kind of research was involved in making things so true-to-life?

Ava: In the beginning, I read books and watched a lot of movies that took place in mental institutions. Then I spoke with a close friend who works in the industry, and threw out a lot of what I had learned, lol. She told me the ins and outs of working with patients and gave me a bunch of links on where I could find accurate information. It is from her and her links that I get most of my research.
 

TKA: Have you ever personally faced any of the situations you describe in HOLLOW?

Ava: Not personally, although two people who are close to me suffer from severe, chronic depression. They are managing it with medication, and are now living normal lives. Both of them had to walk a long path to get to this point, however, and watching their daily struggle was part of the inspiration for Lucy in HOLLOW.
Now, have I ever dated a bad-boy alpha male like Jayden McCray? Oh yes, I think most women have a Jayden or two in our past. Jayden is the type of guy who loves to buck the system and is so charming when he does it. It’s easy to see how Lucy gets caught up in his world.

 

TKA: Tell us a bit about your agent, Deidre Knight. How long have you been her client, and what do you like best about her style?

Ava: I’ve been Deidre’s client for a little over a year now. (Wow, how time flies!) It doesn’t seem that long because it’s been a little bit of a whirlwind. Within the first four months of our relationship, Deidre negotiated three multi-book deals for me (Elloras Cave, Simon & Schuster, and MacMillan), and we have been off and running ever since.

My favorite thing about Deidre is how well she communicates. She’s always available to answer questions, give advice, and brainstorm ideas. Her enthusiasm is contagious, too. After spending six years fending for myself in the publishing world, it is a relief to have someone so knowledgeable in my corner. We truly are a team.

TKA: How many books do you have planned for the Perfect Little Pieces series, and do you plan on continuing to write as Ava Conway once it wraps up?

Ava: HOLLOW is the first book in the Perfect Little Pieces series. It follows Lucy and Jayden through the ups and downs of their budding romance and their own personal recoveries. In this story, we’re introduced to a multitude of quirky characters that I know readers will love. Two of these characters, Flynn and Mia, will share their story in SHATTERED, due out January 5th of next year (available for preorder now). I am currently planning on more books in this series. The number of books after SHATTERED will depend on reader interest.

 

Follow Ava on Twitter
Like Ava on Facebook
Visit Ava's Official Site
Order HOLLOW

Author Tip of the Month
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Faith Hunter is the New York Times bestselling author of the Jane Yellowrock novels, which include the upcoming BROKEN SOUL, as well as the story collection BLACK WATER.

GOALS

As writers, we don’t have bosses, time clocks, or long commutes. Jogging to work, for me, is about twenty feet to the right and down one flight of stairs. Because we can go to work in our jammies (and often do), writers often begin to think that we have all the time in the world to finish a project, and therefore become complacent and lazy about deadlines. Or worse, we stay tuned in to the computer screen twenty hours a day, ignoring the rest of our lives. Professional writers can’t give in to either easy mindset. We have to be self-motivated, self-starters, and able to focus deeply and widely on a project to the exclusion of all else. For me, this means having goals: long-range, short range, and oops-I-have-an-unexpected-deadline goals.

For me, because long-term goals are terrifying, I break them up into short-term ones. I keep a calendar with each day’s activities planned out in advance. Each day has something on it that pertains to a larger life goal or a work goal.

1. Three days a week, my calendar says exercise. It may be yoga, hard walking, a long paddle on a Class II or III river, resistance exercise with an elastic band, or working out on our old weight system. Regular exercise has resulted in a lot of improvement in my weight, stamina, and activity level, as well as an overall improvement in my short-term memory. It has been baby steps, but important baby steps. This has also helped with all the hours, unmoving, BIC. (butt in chair.)

2. Order. I need and crave order in my life. Order in my physical world results in a clearer mind for writing. Today’s calendar says: clean writing room floors/rugs; buy groceries, bake bread, slow cook meat for the weekend. (I cook in bulk so I can throw food together at meal times without the hassle of thinking and planning each and every meal. And since I am trying for better health, that means more cooking at home.)

3. I’m a type-A personality. I would work 20 hours a day, 7 days a week if I could. But that is detrimental to my health, productivity, and family life. Time away from the BIC is necessary. One day a week I’ll paddle a river with the Hubby. This week it’s Saturday.

4. Write every day. I have to write every day now, in order to reach my goals. I note on the calendar every single day how many WOP (words on paper) I attain.

This is how I cope with the dread of deadlines, and keep sane to live a good life. Everyone has a method. If you don’t, and if you are drowning in worries and fears and disorder, buy a calendar. Plan out one week—just one—and follow your schedule. It might help you the way it has me. Who knows, you might become a dedicated scheduler!

For more information about Faith Hunter and BROKEN SOUL be sure to visit FaithHunter.Net, as well as Faith's official Facebook page.

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