Sunday, July 21, 2013

A2A Chat: Lisa Tiffin and the THEFT OF THE STAR TRACKER

Tip of the Day: If you get requests for partials and fulls but no offers of rep from the first couple dozen agents you query, keep going for a few dozen more! It only takes one.

Today I would like to welcome Lisa Tiffin, independent publisher of Apple Cart Books and author of the Eagle Ridge Prep middle-grade novels, starting with her first release, THEFT OF THE STAR TRACKER! And yes, this book is available now through!

(Isn't this cover fabulous?)
What is THEFT OF THE STAR TRACKER about, you may ask?
When their highly technical science project is stolen, brothers Drew and Alex Richfield are thrown into an action-filled battle with bully, Brett Larson, who always seems to be just one step ahead of them.
Drew and Alex must learn to work together to stop Brett from registering their GPS Star Tracker as his own in the Annual Science Fair. At stake are the brothers’ reputations, their relationship and the Grand Prize!
Full disclosure: Lisa is one of my critique partners and a reason I have grown so much as a writer these past few years. I read THEFT OF THE STAR TRACKER as a draft and knew it would have an audience. Now that it is available as an ebook, I am thrilled to see it find its readers!

And onto our A2A chat!

1. Tell us a little about yourself. An About the Author if you will.
Sure, start with the hardest question! I think story was always part of my life. When my siblings and I were young, instead of reading to us our dad would make up stories to tell us. Later, I got involved with theater. I loved to bring a story to life through a character to entertain an audience. I suppose writing is similar though hearing and seeing the reactions are a bit delayed. In my work as a freelance writer, I often have to get a message or a brand across, but when I write fiction, I can focus more on entertaining readers. And that all ties back to what our dad did for us – entertain!

2. What was your initial idea for
It all started with a conversation with my older brother. He was frustrated with the lack of great books for his boys. As a mother of twin boys, I knew my own sons would soon be in the same position as their older cousins were. Somehow that conversation ended up with my brother challenging me to write the kind of books that we both wanted for our sons: entertaining, smart adventures capable of holding a boy’s interest.

I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into, but I outlined and wrote and wrote. I actually sent each section to my nephews with questions for them to answer about the characters, plot and interest level. I paid them with Legos, if you can believe it! After that, the book went through a revision workshop, my critique group, and several industry professionals before it was ready for prime time.

3. What made you decide to self-epub?
This book is really close to my heart. Maybe because my family was the catalyst that propelled me into writing it, maybe because it is the book that taught me I really do love science (as long as that science is technology related!) or maybe because it was the book that really sealed the deal for me as a children’s author.

The book has come really close to traditional publication (it was once under contract with a small publisher) and has had a lot of good reviews, so I just felt like it was time to get it out there into the world. I’m hoping lots of kids will enjoy the story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

4. What else do you write?
I’ve written a few picture books, other middle grade novels and short stories for adults. In fact, I love short stories and am working right now on a YA book of short stories about Haiti. I’m not sure how that will ultimately play out, but I like what I have so far. In my day job I write newspaper articles, essays, magazine articles and lots of business copy like Websites, brochures and newsletters. So pretty much everything. J

5. What are your thoughts on self-epubbing and traditional publishing?
Great question! With our economy in tenuous shape and the ever-changing landscape of traditional publishing, I feel like agents and editors are all looking for that one, breakout, NYT best-selling novel. Unfortunately, a lot of competent and even brilliant writers are penning good quality, midlist, dependable novels. I think self publishing and e-publishing open the field for authors to get their books into the public’s hands. Most readers don’t care who published the book if it’s something they want to read, something of quality and something that will entertain and enlighten them.

6. Any last thoughts for our readers?
Thanks for having me and thanks to all the readers out there who care about books and what they represent. Our culture thrives on stories, and I love the interdependence between writers and readers. I’d love to hear your comments or answer questions about that relationship, e-pubbing vs. traditional pubbing, my book or anything else!

Thank you, Lisa! And you heard her, readers: What questions do you have about the various types of publishing?

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing


Kate Fall said...

Great interview! I'll definitely be following Apple Cart Books with interest.

Lisa Tiffin said...

Thanks, Kate!