Musa Author Interview: Liz DeJesus
Posted by Dianna Gunn
* * * *
1. Can you tell us a bit about your book?
To make things a little easier I’ll just post the official blurb for the story.
For generations, the Frost family has run the Museum of Magical and Rare Artifacts, handing down guardianship from mother to daughter, always keeping their secrets to “family only.”
Gathered within museum’s walls is a collection dedicated to the Grimm fairy tales and to the rare items the family has acquired: Cinderella’s glass slipper, Snow White’s poisoned apple, the evil queen’s magic mirror, Sleeping Beauty’s enchanted spinning wheel…
Seventeen-year-old Bianca Frost wants none of it, dreaming instead of a career in art or photography or…well, anything except working in the family’s museum. She knows the items in the glass display cases are fakes because, of course, magic doesn’t really exist.
She’s about to find out how wrong she is.
2. When did you decide you wanted to pursue writing as more than a hobby?
Part of me wanted to be like my mom, because she is a writer as well. I’ve always written stories and in my journal (what else is a shy, nerdy girl supposed to do all day?).
But I think the absolute defining moment in my life came when I was 16 years old and one of my teachers read some of the poetry I had written. I remember the look on his face when I came to his classroom the next day. He looked both awestruck and impressed.
“You are a diamond in the rough,” he said. I couldn’t believe he had actually said those words in reference to me. I kept looking behind me to see if he was talking to someone else.
I still remember those words after all these years.
Anyway after that I made it my business to learn everything I could about writing and become a published author.
3. What attracted you to the fantasy genre?
I’ve always loved books about magic and witches. Particularly fairy tales. If it’s a rewritten fairy tale I’m definitely there. I think it has a lot to do with wanting something more out of life. To expect the unexpected.
4. What is the hardest part of the writing process for you and how do you make it easier for yourself?
Finding time to write is always the greatest challenge for me. I have two very active little boys here at home (I’m a stay at home mom) so I steal time here and there whenever I can do get my work done.
5. You’ve worked with several publishers. What made you decide to seek different publishers for your different works?
I’ve always been very curious by nature. And my curiosity makes me do research on different companies because I want to find out more about the ins and outs of the publishing industry.
6. How do you make your submission packages shine?
I pay attention to the submission guidelines. Always, always read the guidelines thoroughly before you send anything in. That’s always the first test.
7. What are your preferred marketing methods?
Business cards. I go to moo.com and get these really nice business cards and mini cards made through them. They have a really great quality to them and I’ve sort of become addicted to the site. I also enjoy scheduling blog tours, I’ve gotten to meet a lot of great bloggers and reviewers that way.
8. What is one thing you wish you’d done sooner/differently in your writing career?
Paid closer attention to the contracts before signing them. As a new writer you get excited over the fact that someone is interested in your work and you don’t read the contracts. You just sign on the dotted line and figure that they will have your best interest at heart. And some people that I’ve dealt with in the past didn’t. I’ve lost novels and some I fought really hard to get back. And others…unfortunately have stayed lost and I’m unable to get the rights back to one of my books. So that was a lesson I had to learn the hard way.
9. If you could give an aspiring writer any one piece of advice, what would it be?
Follow your heart when you’re writing. Listen to your editor. They’re there to help you, to make your manuscript shine. So don’t take it personally, they’re there to help you catch all of the mistakes and plot holes before it goes into print. And read your contract. Sometimes authors forget that publishing is a business. Once contracts, royalties and money are involved it’s all business. Learn as much as you can.
10. What are you working on that readers can look forward to next?
I’m finishing up the edits for Glass Frost (the sequel to First Frost). I’m also working on the third book in the series (tentatively titled Shattered Frost), a new novel, and a few short stories. I also have a few ideas for a steampunk novel.
Bio: Liz DeJesus was born on the tiny island of Puerto Rico. She is a novelist and a poet. She has been writing for as long as she was capable of holding a pen. She is the author of the novel Nina (Blu Phi’er Publishing, October 2007), The Jackets (Arte Publico Press, March 31st 2011), First Frost (Musa Publishing, June 22nd 2012) and Glass Frost (Musa Publishing, Summer 2013). She is also a member of The Written Remains Writers Guild http://www.writtenremains.org/. Liz is currently working on a new novel.
You can purchase First Frost here.