Hi readers. I’ve invited fellow 2016 debut author Michelle Osgood to come and chat with me about the publishing process! We are both new authors with Interlude Press, having submitted our novels during their Open Submission period in June of last year, and this post will focus on how we navigated our first time through seeing a book from submission to final product. We’ve already discussed a bit about developing our novels and submitting in the previous post on Michelle’s blog and now we’re going to focus on the editing, publishing, and preparing to launch a book out into the world.
FT: Michelle, what was the most difficult part of the editing process for you? I think the hardest part for me was entering back into the world of The Star Host after having a long break from it. I submitted it in June and I think I received my first edits around November. That was a long time for me. And in those months, I had worked on other projects. Delving back into the world of the novel, and getting back into the character’s heads took a few re-reads. Now, however, after all the editing and reading, I can quote portions of the story in my sleep.
Michelle: Oh yeah, the break between submitting and editing was tough. For me, I’d never worked with Track Changes on Word before, preferring in the past to edit off of handwritten notes. Getting used to having the notes on screen, especially when it got to the point that there were about four different colours of notes and edits, was tricky! Thankfully it didn’t take too long to master.
Michelle: I had to add a few extra scenes into The Better to Kiss You With that weren’t in my original manuscript. At first I was a bit intimidated, but once I got into the writing I found that it was super fun–and actually felt a bit like writing fanfic to me! I knew the characters so well because I’d spent so many months with them that it was exciting to be able to jump back into that world. FT, was there anything you found surprisingly easy or fun about your edits?
FT: Oh, I had to write a few additional scenes myself. And that was a fun break, actually writing instead of editing. I think the most fun was seeing all the comments within the manuscript and the reactions of the editors. Yes, I had plenty of comments on things to change, but I also had fun little notes about dialogue someone liked or a piece of description they enjoyed. Having that mixed in with the edits was like a small surprise each time I found one.
Michelle: I love that we both are writing Scifi/Fantasy stories. The Star Host is so clearly scifi, a fact that is beautifully illustrated by the cover, by the way. What drew you to that genre, and how conscious were you of writing Young Adult science fiction?
FT: To make an epic answer short, I’ve always loved sci-fi. I am a long time member of my college’s Science Fiction and Fantasy club (Skiffy) and in fact, the book is dedicated to that group. But even before college, I loved sci-fi in all it’s forms – movies, books, tv. I loved being able to travel and experience different worlds, be it an alternate past or a far flung future. When I sat down to plot The Star Host, I knew it was going to be sci-fi. The young adult part came at the very end of the plotting process. Around that time, I made the decision to age my two main characters down a few years. I made that decision because I knew my protagonist, Ren, was bisexual, and I decided that the representation of a bisexual teen on a space adventure was important to the young adult world.
Michelle: As for me, I’ve always enjoyed reading paranormal fiction, and one of the things I like most about it is how contemporary a lot of works in that genre are. I find it fascinating to explore the collision of the paranormal, something that always feels ancient and enduring, with the relatively new technology of today. In the world of smartphones and mobile games and the Internet how do supernatural creatures fit in? Do they embrace it or abhor it?
FT: And lastly, is there anything you want your future readers to know about your work? For me, I hope that I can instill a love of science fiction to the next generation of readers and I hope they take away something from the novel that inspires them.
Michelle: I want my readers to know that my choice of bad guy was very deliberate. For the majority of The Better to Kiss You With, Deanna is harassed and stalked online by an anonymous person, known only as “crywolf”. He terrorizes her without ever needing to be in the same room as her. I think that now, especially in light of Zoe Quinn dropping her case against her abusive ex because the harassment only worsened for herself and her family, it’s important to acknowledge that online stalking and harassment is violence. And it’s overwhelmingly violence against women. And that is not acceptable. Something needs to change, and in order for that change to happen we need to start taking online threats and harassment seriously.
FT: What was has been your favorite part of the creative process thus far?
Michelle: Working with editors was wonderful. It was such a positive experience for me to see my story become that much better with the help of several amazing women. It really felt like we were a part of a team, and I knew that each of us only had the story’s best interests at heart. Having never gone through formal edits before I hadn’t been sure what to expect, but it wound up being so much fun.
FT: I did not expect that answer because editing is my least favorite part. LOL! I think my favorite part of the process is yet to come. I can’t wait to share the novel with everyone. I hope the readers have as much fun experiencing the world of The Star Host as I did creating it.
Michelle: I can’t wait to read it!
The Star Host is a young adult sci-fi adventure novel, featuring a M/M romance and a bisexual protagonist. It comes out NEXT WEEK on March 3, 2016 and is now available for pre-order. You can follow me, FT, on Tumblr, Twitter, Goodreads.
The Better to Kiss You With is a new adult paranormal romance with queer girls, werewolves, and gaming. It comes out April 21, 2016 and is up for pre-order! You can find Michelle on Tumblr, Facebook, Pinterest, and Goodreads.