Friday, January 8, 2010

TENtalizing Tidbits: Julie Kagawa

Here's one of the coolest authors I have ever had the pleasure of talking to. Let's welcome Julie Kagawa, author of The Iron King! Hit it, Julie! (Click on the picture of the cover for an up close and personal look at its awesomesauce.)

So, Liyana asked me to do a guest post this week to show off my new cover, and I said “sure, no problem,” really before I realized I’ve never done a guest post before and therefore had no idea of what to talk about. (I even Tweeted her about this. I think my tweet went something along the lines of “I don’t know what to guest post about! Haaaaaaaaalp!”)

(Also, may I add that you shouldn’t ask for serious help on Twitter, as you get people telling you to post about sushi and tapirs. Or sushi eating tapirs. Don’t ask.)

Anyway, moving on. This is the month of November. To most people, November is the month of thanks, of turkey and stuffing and relatives, and eating so much food you swear you can’t even look at food for as long as you live. Or at least until dessert. But for many authors, writers, and thousands of aspiring novelists, November is the month of something else entirely.

Four letters. Four simple letters that can strike terror into the heart of the staunchest writer, that can make the bravest novelist weak with fear, loathing, and self-doubt. N.A.N.O.

Better known as NaNo Wrimo, or National Novel Writing Month. If you are one of the thousands of brave souls that signed up for NaNo Wrimo, I salute you. At the time of this post, we are nearing the end of our month long endeavor, and you might be looking at your manuscript with a kind of vague horror, thinking a bunch of chimps beating on several typewriters could’ve produced something more coherent. You might be thinking you’ll never be an author, much less a person who has produced something people actually want to read. If you are entertaining these thoughts, let me clue you in on a secret. Most, if not all, authors started out exactly where you are now. We all come to the field with very few skills, knowledge, or anything but the desire to write and perhaps get published one day. Want to know what separates a published author from a non-published one? I can sum it up in one simple word.


Yes, talent plays a part. Yes, knowledge and writing skills play a big part. Even luck plays a part. But writing is a craft you must learn, and you can only learn if you keep writing, no matter what. Know that it won’t come immediately, or all at once. Know that if you send your work to publishers, you are going to be rejected, and rejected often. It’s all part of the journey. But, if you keep practicing, if you keep learning and writing and striving to become the best writer you can be, one day there will be a ‘yes.’

It took me ten years to get my first book published, but I don’t regret the journey at all. The journey is what makes it possible to get to that ‘yes, we want to publish your book.’ But you have to keep going. Even if you’ve received a million ‘no’s, that one million and one could be the answer you’re looking for. In the words of Calvin Coolidge:

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.

And, let me add my own words of wisdom, something someone told me long ago, and I believe wholeheartedly. “If you want something bad enough, you’ll get it. If you didn’t get it, you didn’t want it bad enough.”

So what are you waiting for?

--Julie Kagawa
THE IRON KING, Harlequin TEEN Feb. 2010

Find out more about The Iron King here. Check out an excerpt while you're at it, too; you'll come back asking for moaaarrrr.

Cross-posted at: LiyanaLand! on 24 November 2009.


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