How They Got Here: 2009 Debut Author Mandy Hubbard

This post is part of a year-long series of blog interviews I’ll be hosting with my fellow 2009 Debut Authors, called "How They Got Here." 

It should be an especially helpful series for teens who write, teachers, and anyone who wants to write for kids.  2009 debut authors will be dropping by to talk about how their writing in school shaped the authors they are today, what teachers can do to make a difference, how they revise, and how they found their agents and editors.  (You’ll even be able to read some successful query letters!)  If you know a teacher or two who might be interested, please share the link!

Today…Mandy Hubbard, author of PRADA AND PREJUDICE!

Fifteen year old Callie just wants to impress the popular girls when she buys a pair of Prada heels on her class trip to London. She didn’t plan on tripping, conking her head, and waking up in 1815! Now she’s wearing corsets with her designer pumps, eating bizarre soups, and breaking up engagements. If only the nineteen year old Duke of Harksbury wasn’t so bloody annoying, she might have a little fun in Austen-Era England…

Welcome, Mandy! Tell us about the first thing that made you think you might be a writer.

It wasn’t until I was 20 and wrote a novella called WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE? that I thought I was a writer. It was super melodramatic and half-true-half-fiction. I’m glad it has ceased to exist.

What books did you love when you were a kid?

THE TRUE CONFESSIONS OF CHARLOTTE DOYLE, HATCHET, Z FOR ZACHARIAH, and SHILOH.

Is there a particular teacher or librarian who was a mentor for you in your reading and writing life?

My sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Hughes, used to read aloud to us for the last 15-30 minutes of every day. That was my absolute favorite part of the day! She read us Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh, The Black Stallion, and countless others.

Moving on to the here and now, most writers admit that making time to write can sometimes be a challenge.  When and where do you write?   Do you have any special rituals?  Music?  Food & beverages?

I mostly write on the train (a 30 minute ride) to and from work, or after 9pm when my daughter is asleep. I find that I dont really need anything specific around me, but I do love Diet Coke!

Do you have a favorite strategy for revision?

I use track changes and mark up the manuscript. Then I tackle the small things first, so the "to-do" list seems smaller, then the large items. Then I re-read it again.

What’s your best advice for young writers?

A published author is an amatuer who didn’t quit. Don’t quit.

What’s special about your debut novel?

I think the time travel and Jane Austen make it fun and very accessible for reluctant readers.

What were the best and worst parts of writing it?

The worst part? the revision requests that led to rejection! It’s always crushing to work hard on something for an editor and be rejected. The best part? Even at draft 9, I still loved the story.

How did you find your agent and/or editor?

I queried my agent. My agent found me my editor!

Thanks for joining us, Mandy!

You can read more about Mandy at her website. You can pick up your copy of PRADA AND PREJUDICE at your local independent bookseller, order it through one of my favorite indies, Flying Pig Bookstore (they ship!), or find an indie near you by checking out IndieBound!

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