Angie Azur is a YA Sci-fi Writer.
Writer for PALEO Magazine.
Former Intern at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
SCBWI & COWG Member.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Interview with Marcy Collier: Children's Writer

I met Marcy at a writer's critique group in PA a few years ago. I remember being utterly overwhelmed with the talent in that group, nervous about reading my work, and worried about critiquing any of theirs. 

Marcy helped me to get over my fears and show my work with confidence, and to take criticism, understanding that it would only make my work better. 

Marcy also had a very interesting novel she'd been working on. Back then it was only in the first few chapters, but already it had strong characters and a strong plot. 

I recently reconnected with Marcy through facebook, and learned that her novel is in revision and she's getting ready to query agents. I'm sure you'll be reading about her positive publishing outcome in the next year to come.

Below are the questions I asked her:

1.    What genre(s) do you write? 

I write YA, but I’ve also published non-fiction magazine articles for the children’s market.

2.    What's the one reason you write? 

I love using my imagination to create stories and develop characters that skip along the right side of my brain.

3.    What's the most embarrassing thing that happened to you as a kid? 

I can remember taking swimming lessons in grade school. I made a wrong turn and walked into the boys changing area. I ran into one boy I knew, (fully dressed) and I ran out completely embarrassed.

4.    Are there any classes you would recommend to newbie writers? 

SCBWI offers some great sessions to newbies at conferences and workshops. Writer’s Market and some other publications host webinars that can be helpful to new writers. Go to your library or bookstore and read books on writing and in your genre.

5.    Where was your latest publication? Title? 

The Chocolate Chip Cookie Mistake” in Hopscotch for Girls Magazine

6.    Describe the novel you are working on in 5 words. 

Gifted, snarky, truthful, choices, survival.

7.    What's the funniest line you ever overheard? Going to use it in a book? 

The other day my 5-year-old asked me to join The National Potato Brother’s Club. To join the club, you have to wear underwear on your head and eat cookies and brownies. I loved that and could see fitting it into a book someday.

8.    What was it like working in television? Do you miss it? 

Working in television was a lot of fun. Every day brought a new adventure. But journalistic writing is quite different than fiction writing. Freelancing has allowed me to write the stories I want to write.

9.    You are the editor of the SCBWI Western PA's newsletter. What does that entail? 

We put out a quarterly online newsletter, The Golden Penn. I solicit articles from other members that will encourage or help writers and illustrators to hone their craft. 

I also make sure the latest news for our region and the industry is reported in the publication. Once I edit all of the material, I send it off to our talented illustrator (ChrisAnn) to do the layout and find the artwork for each issue. A lot of people come together to help make each issue a success.

10. Would you recommend SCBWI to newbies? If so, why? 

I would definitely recommend SCBWI to both writers and illustrators. SCBWI is instrumental in educating both newcomers and established professionals in the field of children’s writing. It is also a great way to connect and network with other writers, illustrators and industry professionals.

11. You are a contributing writer for Route 19 Writers. What do you write for that blog? What subjects does it cover? 

The Route 19 blog is made up of children’s writers who live in and around Route 19 near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We try to establish a theme each month and write about the craft of writing, book reviews, industry news and anything that is kidlit related.  

12. Working with such a published group of writers, how does it help your writing? 

It’s great working with seasoned writers who have been in the business for a while. We all seem to have our own unique strengths in writing and critiquing. When we meet in person, each member brings valuable advice and feedback. Their advice has helped me to polish my own writing.

13. Ever wanted to quit this career called writing? If so, why did you not give up? 

We all have bad days. You work and work and work on a manuscript then beat yourself up thinking it will never be good enough to send out to an editor or agent. But because I am so passionate about writing, I don’t think I could ever quit. I love it too much, even on those tough revision days.

14. Where do your story ideas come from? Do you start with an outline or just let your fingers fly on the keys? 

When I have a story idea, I jot it down in an ideas file in my computer. I probably have way too many ideas that will never become stories. It’s when a story idea stays with me and percolates in my head for a while that I know I have to get it down on paper. 

I always know the beginning and the end of a novel when I start. It would probably save me time if I outlined first, but I enjoy the excitement of watching each new scene unfold.

15. What does your writing space look like? Anything that MUST be on your desk? 

(see pic) Coffee!

17. What one word describes you? 


18. How can my blog readers help you to become an even bigger success? 

You can follow my blog ( <> ), follow me on twitter @marcycollier and hopefully buy my book one day.
19. What time do you get up and what do you eat for breakfast? 

I try to get up around 5:30 a.m. and write before my kids get up for school. I eat breakfast around 7:30 a.m. and usually have an egg and cheese sandwich on a gluten-free English muffin.

20. Have you submitted your novel yet? If no, why? If so, what feedback have you gotten? 

I have not submitted my novel yet. I am revising the last half of the novel and hope to submit it to agents soon. 

I met a lot of great agents at the Rutgers One-On-One conference in October, but want the novel to be as perfect as I can get it before I begin the querying process. 

I have received a lot of helpful feedback from my critique group, a few beta readers and from my mentor at Rutgers.

21. Query letters: what do you think about them? Needed? Tough to write? 

Query letters are tough to write. I have attended many conferences over the last year to try to get to know agents better and get a feel for the type of manuscript they want. 

Whenever I fall in love with a book, or find a novel where the writing style is similar to mine, I always check the acknowledgments to find out who agented the book. 

Query letters are important because if done correctly, they will show the agent or editor that you've done your homework and are submitting to them because you think your writing might be a good fit. It also gives them a quick preview of your credentials as a writer and a snapshot of your manuscript. 

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