Sunday, February 5, 2012

What's new with New York Times Best Selling Author LESLEY KAGEN

Lesley KagenQ.  Can you tell me about what you are working on now?
A. My newest story is called THE MARE'S NEST.   
Q.   How does this book differ from your other books?
A. I have written four books. Three with child narrators, and one told through the eyes of a young woman with brain damage. This time out, I wanted to try my hand at a tale told from an adult point of view. Specifically, a mom's.  Mothers and daughters, their relationship can be complicated.  I wanted to explore the bond I have with my daughter, and also the one I had with my mother.
Q.  What are some of the challenges that you face when you start a new book?
A. Doubt.  It's always the biggest hurdle.  Can I get what's in my head and heart onto the page?  Will I improve as a writer through the telling?  Will readers fall in love with the characters?  The setting?  The story?
Q.  What are some of the challenges you are facing with your newest work?
A. THE MARE'S NEST is based on a true story and primarily set in the horse world. Being a great mom has always been at the top of my list, so coming to terms with some of my past parenting mistakes had me wishing for a do-over.  I've adored horses my whole life, and they're my daughter's passion as well, so remembering the ways our love was batted around by some pretty evil cats---hurt.  And made me see red all over again.  THE MARE'S NEST is a redemptive tale, but also a cautionary one.  As the title suggests, the horse world can be a tangled mess of duplicity and not at all what it seems. The story also gives a behind the scenes look at some of the aspects of the sport, that to the best of my knowledge, haven't been brought to light.  So I'm also wondering what the repercussions will be, if any.
Q.  Can you explain what happens to a manuscript after it is written?
A. I like to send my initial draft to a carefully chosen six or seven first readers. This time round, I needed to get other moms' feedback.  (Like yours:)  I also wanted to hear from a few non-horse people. When you've been involved with these critters as long as I have, it's critical to keep in mind readers who know nothing about the world. It was important to me to make the story appealing to them as well. And my daughter, I needed to hear what she had to say, of course. I can always count on her to give me the whole truth and nothing but.  I wish my mother was still alive. I would've loved to have her take on it as well.  After I consider the first readers criticisms and comments, if I think they're valid, I use them.  I then send the manuscript off to my agent.  She reads and offers suggestions, which I consider, and, once again, if I think they're spot on, will incorporate her thoughts.  When we have something she thinks a publisher would be interested in, she submits the manuscript to a list of editors.  (This is the part of the process during which authors clean their kitchen floors with toothbrushes or eat box after box of chocolate covered cherries.)  If we're lucky, and an editor makes an offer, hopefully, a good one, my agent and I accept. From that point on...the editor and I work on the story together.  When we get it to the point that both of us are mostly happy---there is a lot of compromise---we put it to bed. In around a year, the book will be released.  And then the work of getting the word out begins! 
Q.  What can readers do to help their favorite authors get great books onto the bookshelves in their favorite bookstores?
A. Support books you love. Write reviews on Amazon.com, B&N.com and Goodreads, or wherever you can. Tell your friends!  Word of mouth is the best advertising.  Ask a bookstore owner or manager if they would be able to host an author. I love visiting stores, and attending events at my local bookshop.
Q.  Can you explain to us the importance of book sellers to authors?
A. It's all about the personal touch.  Book sellers share their knowledge, provide a cozy place to learn about new books, and support writers with reviews and events.  It's a community that I love and cannot imagine not being a part of. 
Q.  Anything you want to say to the followers of Mrs. Mommy Booknerd?
A. I'd like to thank them for their support, their encouragement.  Their kind words mean the world to me.  Hugs.

See more on Lesley HERE
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Buy Lesley's books HERE


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