Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Release Day Interview With Jodi Meadows

I couldn't be more pleased than to offer you this interview today.  Jodi Meadows is my writing soulmate. She's walked through my dark valleys and giddy mountains, and I've walked through hers.  She has made an indelible mark upon my writing and upon my life for which I will never be able to fully express my gratefulness.

And having watched INCARNATE's journey from idea to finished, beautiful book, I am as excited as can be for this very special release day.  So without further schmoopy blubbering, I give you INCARNATE -- and a delightful interview with author JODI MEADOWS.

Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

Even Ana's own mother thinks she's a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she'll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are suspicious and afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

Sam believes Ana's new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana's enemies--human and creature alike--let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else's life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life.

AUTHORESS: Of the myriad interviewers who have graced you with their questions, I have the unique perspective of having shared this journey with you from the very first sentence. Literally.

At what point of your writing journey were you when you wrote INCARNATE'S (then ERIN INCARNATE'S) Very First Sentence? Professionally, emotionally, mentally?

JODI: Just before I started working on INCARNATE, I was in a really rough place. I'd been writing full time for almost six years by then, and written more novel-length manuscripts than you can count on both your hands. The responses I consistently got back from agents were consistently complimentary, but still rejections, so over the course of 2009, I slid deeper and deeper into believing my dream was a bust.

In the Fall, I decided that I quit. I quit trying to be published, anyway, and whatever I wrote next would be for me. I wouldn't even try to get an agent with it. (Obviously I was lying to myself!) I started working on worldbuilding and characters for INCARNATE, and I was really enjoying the process. It was new to me; I'd never done so much pre-writing work before. By the time I let myself write the first line, I was in a different place than I'd started out. I felt hopeful.

AUTHORESS: In October, 2009, in the midst of your newfound hopefulness, you sent me the first few paragraphs of your fledgling story. I was hooked! And soon (very soon, really, because you work so fast), ERIN INCARNATE was born. Can you tell us a bit about the querying process? How was it different than the many that had gone before? And what was it like finally hooking up with the delightful Lauren MacLeod?

JODI: Well, I wasn't going to query. Not until I finished the book, realized I loved it above all other books, and . . . suddenly there were queries in my outgoing email. (Because I am Like That, I actually wrote what would be my query letter before the book was finished.)

I queried a handful of agents I liked and thought would like the book. I got lots of requests, a couple rejections, and -- I couldn't believe it -- two offers. I connected with Lauren instantly, and she seemed to get my book and see it in the same way I did. Signing with her was AMAZING.

AUTHORESS: Why, yes, I have your written-before-the-book-was-finished query letter, too!

Talk some more about how the amazing Lauren "got" your book, and what that first, early-morning phone call felt like. What process did the two of you go through in order to get INCARNATE ready for submission?

JODI: Well, let's start with what she did to me. She knew that, at that time, I had a weird sleeping schedule and it wasn't always safe to call me. So she stalked my Twitter feed, waited until I said something, and called. I'd been awake for about two and a half minutes.

I said, "Hello?" in that grumbly just-woke-up voice. She, of course, was adorable, peppy, and had been awake for several hours already. I almost fell out of my chair when she said she loved Erin Incarnate and wanted to represent it. We agreed to talk more the next day, after I'd raised my caffeine levels.

One of the things I loved about talking with Lauren was that she had the same vision for the story as I did. The themes and events that were important to me were also important to her. We saw the story in the same way. She had a few revision notes, so when I said yes (and she said, "WAHOO!"), I got to work. Most of that revision was clarifying sentences, making sure what I saw in my head was also on the paper. As far as revisions go, it was pretty light. We were confident that an editor would love the story, even if it ultimately needed more revisions. (And they always do.)

AUTHORESS: Naturally! And Sarah's revision request was admittedly a bit of a stretch for you at first. Can you talk a little about the changes she wanted you to make, and how you approached those changes?

JODI: Yep. Originally, the book had two points of view: Ana and Sam's. One of Editor Sarah's requests was to remove Sam's POV. Admittedly, this stung a little. I'd put so much work into it! He had taught me so much about the world, and offered a different view of Ana.

But like most writers, my first reaction is always "No no no, my precious book!" Once I get over that, I can think about the comments without sounding like Gollum in my head. And since Sam only had only a few scenes, I decided it wouldn't be hard to try taking out his POV. If I liked it, hurrah. If not, I didn't have to stick with that version of the book.

Ultimately, removing his POV made the book much stronger. When I reread the draft before sending it back to Editor Sarah, I was incredibly pleased with the result.

AUTHORESS: I agree that the book is much stronger from Ana's POV!

So, it's been a remarkable journey since then. Can you share with us what the past roughly-year-and-a-half has been like, as you've gone through the process of signing to edits to copyedits to ARC to release? Has it been the "fairy tale" it must seem to those on the outside looking in?

JODI: The last year and a half has been amazing! Seeing my cover art for the first time, the page design, ARCs and final copies -- it's been truly fantastic to work with such a thoughtful and enthusiastic group at KT Books. I couldn't be more pleased!

But the hard work doesn't stop once the contract is signed. I'm constantly amazed by how much other stuff there is, like taxes (ew), interviews, posting promotional materials. It's rewarding work (except for the taxes -- ew), and while I knew all this was coming, I don't think I really understood how much work it is. I imagined sitting in my PJs all day (okay, I totally do that), writing book after book. And . . . some days are like that. Those are weekends. Most days involve a lot of work email, too.

AUTHORESS: Now that you've embarked upon your Writerly Dream, what words of encouragement/wisdom/affirmation/warning/complete nonsense can you offer to aspiring authors who are hanging on your every word?

JODI: Yep!

Keep going. Keep reading, writing, and trying to improve your craft. There's always room to improve, and if you don't reach your goal with this manuscript, get started on the next one.

I know that's pretty standard advice, but it really is some of the most important to keep in mind. Because even when you've reached one stage of your dream, you'll discover there's more beyond that, whether it's an award, reaching a bestseller list, getting great reviews, or just plain staying published. All the hard work leading up to getting published prepares you for what lies beyond. (More hard work.)

AUTHORESS: Jodi, you are one of my favorite people in the whole world and I wish you the GREATEST SUCCESS, not only with INCARNATE but with everything you do for the remainder of your writing career (a.k.a. life).

I love you, Jodi Meadows!

You can order INCARNATE today at any of these locations:

IndieBound  Amazon  Barnes and Noble  Book Depository  Books-A-Million  Powell's


  1. What a great interview! I love that you get to ask such deep questions. Jodi, thanks so much for sharing your journey with us! Best wishes <3

  2. Hooray for my imprint-sister! Can't wait to read it!

  3. Thank you so much for this interview ladies. So many writers think the process of getting from first draft to ARC should be seamless and straight forward. More and more writers are learning that isn't the case. To see this beautiful book (gorgeous cover) out now, after so much trying, trial and error, it's a reminder to stick to it and persist.

  4. What a great interview! Thanks for sharing the process of publication. I can't wait to read the book!

  5. Wow! That was honestly the best, most forthright, and perceptive author review I ever read. It gives me a whole different perspective on my novels and the (long, arduous, thankless) writing process. Thanks to Jodi for the words of wisdom, and thanks to Authoress for asking all the right questions.

  6. Wow, great interview! Thanks to Authoress and Jodi!

  7. This was such a great interview! I'm (not-so-patiently) waiting for my pre-ordered copy of INCARNATE to be delivered as we speak :)


  8. Congratulations, Jodi! Your book sounds amazing -- I can't wait to read it!

    Thanks, Authoress, for the inspiring and informative interview.

  9. I love this interview.

    Happy Release Day, Jodi.

  10. Happy release day Jodi, and great interview Authoress. Jodi, if you're reading these comments, I'd love to hear how and why the MC's name changed. Oh, and brilliant cover!