Interview – Brandy Colbert
1. You’re represented by Tina Wexler at ICM. How is it being a part of such a big company??? 🙂
Being a client of ICM Partners is wonderful, especially since its size and history means the company handles various aspects of the industry through in-house departments. But I think it’s most important to connect with an agent who has the experience, sales, and love for your work—and luckily, I found all of that and more with Tina!
2. Your book, Pointe, sounds absolutely amazing!! Ballerinas, prodigies, abduction!!!! Tell us how that all came together!
Thank you! I’d had an idea for an abduction story for years, but I knew I didn’t want to tell it from the perspective of the abducted child. I then started thinking about the people who are left behind when a child is abducted, and the characters of Theo and Donovan came to me shortly after that. The ballet seemed like a natural fit, since it’s such an intense career path, and I thought it might complement the story nicely if the main character was working toward this huge goal that was interrupted when her best friend returns from captivity.
3. You’ve been blogging for a while now. You talk about editing and ballet and you conduct awesome giveaways. Is there anything you won’t blog about?
I am a bit of a negligent blogger, but I did start my current blog right around the time my book sold, back in 2011. I think part of the reason I don’t blog more often is that there are LOTS of things I won’t blog about. I’m a pretty private person and don’t like to put a whole lot about my personal life out there online, so I’m sad to say the blog suffers because of this. But I’m pretty active on Twitter, which does give a glimpse of my personal life, even if it’s just the dorky, embarrassing snippets I randomly share.
4. You’re a part of the Lucky 13s. How did you get involved with that?
I knew less than a handful of other writers when my book sold, but I was definitely aware of the prior debut YA/MG author groups, such as the Apocalypsies. I thought joining a group would be a good way to connect with other writers and figure out this publishing thing together, and that’s exactly how it worked out! I joined soon after the group had been formed and had only about a dozen members (if that), and now we’re 100+ strong! And I’ve definitely met some wonderful people from the group who are amazing writers, support systems, and critique partners.
5. Do you think having a network like that as a debut author is very important? It seems like a lot of fun!! How do you think it’s helped your career so far?
I don’t know how important it is to success, as I know several writers who opted out of joining groups and are doing quite well in the publishing world, personally and professionally. But for me, it’s been a very good experience, in terms of meeting people, gaining incredible advice, and getting the word out about my book to people who may not hear about it otherwise. But I’d say the most valuable part of joining has been making so many good friends.
6. You wrote an awesome post back in December 2011 about your favorite books of the year. The titles are pretty eclectic. What made you decide to write YA?
Thank you! Even if I only blog five times a year, I love to do the favorite-book roundup in December.
The teen voice just speaks to me, for some reason. I never stopped watching teen shows or movies, though I’m well out of the target age range. About seven years ago, I discovered how much great YA is being published and was immediately drawn to it—the voice, the experiences, the friendships, the romance. It’s all fascinating to me. And even though I loved high school, I still think it’s interesting to put my characters into situations I never would or could have been exposed to at the time. I have a serious love for adult literary fiction, and hope to try my hand at that, along with middle-grade fiction (which shaped me as a reader and writer) someday!
7. You participated in NanoWriMo!!!! So did I! How was that for you? Any advice for first timers?
Oh, that was a long, long time ago, but it was pretty essential to kicking off my writing career. Prior to participating in NaNo in 2006, I’d always worked on stories as an adult and never finished them. I knew joining something official would shame me into doing it, and NaNo totally worked! It was very intense, but I enjoyed the pace and the freedom it allowed me to stop laboring over every single word in the first draft. Which is my advice to anyone trying it for the first time: Don’t get bogged down by the prose or the plot; it has to go somewhere good eventually, but first drafts are allowed and expected to be imperfect. The point is getting the words down so you can work to make them better once the draft is complete.
8. Finally Brandy, what are you doing for your release date? You’re a debut author! You only get one!!! Do you have any special plans??
As of now, I’m still many months out from release, so I don’t have anything concrete planned. But I will have a launch party at one of our great independent bookstores in L.A. around release time. And last I heard, a couple of my lovely friends were already making plans for a post-bookstore celebration. Mostly I’m just looking forward to the day the book will be available and I can see it on a bookstore shelf for the first time.