Monday, January 23, 2012

The "Write" Facts Interview: Jodi Meadows

The “Write” Facts is a new weekly post where I’m chatting with a different author every week about everything to do with writing. Here we’ll be discussing the writing process, editing, working with an agent, publishing houses and talking about some of the logistics of book you either already love or will soon be a new favorite!

Jodi Meadows has an exciting debut coming out next week called Incarnate. Read on to find out more about her journey!

Jodi Meadows
Agent: Lauren MacLeod of the Strothman Agency
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins Publishers
Word Count: 80,000
Describe your novel in five words: Reincarnation, newsoul, insecurity, dragons, kissing
Favorite Word: I have lots of favorite words, but since my agent and husband both mock me when I use "keening," I will choose that one today.
Writing is like (fill in the blank): a lot of other things, but more replacement keyboards.

1) Are you a plotter or a pantser (write without a plot to see where the story takes you)?

I'm both. Sort of. I used to be more of an organic writer, with only a vague idea of where I was heading. When I started writing INCARNATE, I did a lot more plotting ahead of time, but I made sure to leave lots of room for the story to grow organically within that structure. Some things, like the masquerade, were completely unplanned until a character brought it up.

2) What are some of the things you do to motivate yourself to write? Do you have any goals set up, rewards or do you not need motivation?

I write with little goals in mind, like getting to 100 words, then 500 words, or reaching the end of the scene/chapter, or getting to a certain part of the story by the end of the day. Whenever I feel like I'd rather go nap, I'm usually really close to another goal, so what's another 50 words? I might as well, right?

Maybe it's like writing "shower" on your to-do list for the day, but it makes me feel productive.

As for rewards, usually there are scenes I'm looking forward to reaching (they tend to involve kissing -- surprise surprise), and I will writer harder just to get to them.

3) Can you tell us about The Call when you got your agent and why you chose them?

The day before Lauren offered, I had the terrifying opportunity to write one of those emails: the kind that says "I've received an offer of representation; please let me know if you'd like to offer, too."

So I was still nervous when I got up that morning. I'd already received one offer I wasn't sure was real and I wasn't sure how I'd manage a whole week without imploding. Then two seconds after I got on my computer and said something on Twitter, Lauren called me. I was still very groggy because I hadn't had coffee yet, so it went kind of like this:

Me, sounding much like a frog: Hello?
Lauren, peppy: Hi, is this Jodi?
Me: Uh huh.
Lauren, peppier: This is Lauren MacLeod. I just finished reading your book and I love it! I want to represent it.
Me: *jawdrop*

It turns out she'd been stalking my Twitter page that morning (because she knew I had a weird sleep schedule), and she wanted to surprise me first thing. (She did.)

Choosing between agents was incredibly difficult, because both who offered were amazing and loved INCARNATE. After a LOT of consideration (I seriously made them wait all week), I accepted Lauren's offer. Not only did we have a great personal connection, she was building her list in the same direction I wanted to build my career. We had similar visions for my book's future and how it fit in the market, and similar visions for my own writing future beyond the INCARNATE books.

There are a lot of things to consider when accepting an agent's offer (I've written a huge blog post about it!), and I was lucky enough to get all my dream agent qualities in one adorable person.

4) When you got your editorial notes from your editor for the first time, was there something that surprised you?

I was lucky enough to have the chance to talk with Editor Sarah before I received my edit letter, so I knew she loved the book and understood what parts were important to me. I knew we had similar visions for it. (I can't stress how important this is when accepting agent and editor offers!)

I'd anticipated something like the best crit partner letter I'd ever gotten, but EVEN BETTER, and that was exactly what I received. I was a little afraid that I'd want to crawl into a hole and never come out after the letter, because I know other writers have felt like that, but I didn't. I was INSPIRED after receiving my letter.

5) Can you tell us how you felt when you got the file for your novel cover and opened it?

Nervous! When the art department asked what book covers I loved, I'd sent gorgeous landscapes and iconic images. The email containing my first cover comp said things like "model" and "photo shoot" and "headshots." By the time I got to the end of the email (I'm one of those rare people who reads the words before scrolling down to the pictures), I was pretty nervous about what I'd find. I'd heard horror stories about authors who hated their covers . . .

Then I saw the girl (not my girl -- a different girl for the comp) with a butterfly mask and all these colors around her and I. Fell. In. Love. Every worry I'd had was gone, just like that because they'd captured my story exactly. By the time they did casting and a photo shoot with Model Susan (who plays Ana on the cover), I was composing love sonnets in my head to the art department. (Fortunately for them, these sonnets were never written down. I'm not a poet.)

6) How do you feel about using online media? Has the effect been over all good or have there been some drawbacks?

I love social media! I love being able to interact with people AND wear my PJs. For me, it's been an overall positive thing. I do sometimes have to remind myself that I blog and tweet for fun, and when it gets stressful, I just back away.

7) What is your best piece of advice for aspiring authors?

Write! And read! And make sure you get up every now and then to combat Expanding Butt Disease, which affects so many writers . . .

Thanks so much to Jodi Meadows for agreeing to do this interview and letting us in on her path to becoming a debut author! I particularly loved hearing about her reaction to the cover!

Next week I've got Lori Strongin!


  1. Hah! I liked the putting "shower" on the to-do list! I do that, too! lol

  2. Good for you, Jodi!

    We seem to have similar approaches to writing (I plot the big stuff out at the outset, but leave plenty of room for the story to grow organically in the writing, which it always does), though my favorite scenes to write aren't the ones that involve kissing. (In fact, a kissing scene is often a good sign that one of the characters involved is going to die. :P)

    Enjoy Release Day! You have earned it!


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