I met Kimberly via Facebook. I reached out to her for an interview after checking out her latest book, Touching the Surface.
And, I also fell in love with Kimberly's smile. (see her picture below) How can you not want to get to know her better? I'm glad I did. She's full of helpful hits for writers at all stages in this game of words.
Below are the questions I asked her:
1. You wrote this book after your father passed. What is the one thing you’d like him to know about this book?
Awwww great question. I'd like him to know I was brave. That in his honor I stepped outside my comfort zone to be a better person--I don't think I could have done it without him.
2. Describe your book in 5 words:
What I NEEDED to write.
3. How does your background in teaching special education help your writing?
I'm not so sure that my background in teaching is a dramatic help, writing is more of an extension of what what drew me to teaching to start with. I've always wanted to be the kind of person who makes a difference in the lives of children. I want to have a positive impact on the people around me and the coolest people I know are kids.
4. Why do you belong to SCBWI?
The SCBWI is my tribe. I've learned just about everything I know about writing from the members of the SCBWI--I am so proud to be a part of such an amazing group of people. I look back now and wonder how I made it through most of my life without these amazing people in it. Finding them was like coming home.
5. What time do you get up, and what do you eat for breakfast?
I get up way too freakin' early for a night owl. My oldest son gets on the bus at 6:20 so that means I need to be up at 5:31 in order to snooze for 9 minutes before I get him up in time to nag him to get dressed and eat. LOL!
It's not all bad--I usually get to see my husband for a couple minutes before he heads out and since my son still gives me kisses and hugs--completely worth it.
Breakfast depends on the day and the season. If I'm running, I might have a hot chocolate and and a ZICO coconut water before I go and eat when I get home. If it's summer, I've gotten into making veggie/fruit smoothies with the Vitamix. On a regular day I'll have a bowl of Kashi or oatmeal or yogurt crunchy, fruity thingy. On Sunday I love a good omelet. Yum!
6. How did you land your literary agent? Any secrets? Good connections?
My agent is the fabulous Michelle Wolfson of Wolfson Literary. *blows kisses to Michelle* She pulled me out of the slush pile. I sent her my query and she immediately asked for a partial and then I didn't hear from her for about ten months.
She had a very valid reason for being off the grid and we reconnected when I was in the middle of a big revision. I then sent her the revised manuscript and we had a call and then more revisions. All in all we danced around each other for almost a year and a half, but I signed with her on December 6, 2011 and she sold my book on February 11, 2011.
As for tips--I followed her and her clients on twitter for some time and it became obvious very quickly that she had a wonderful reputation and that I would be a great fit with her and her clients. Because of my research, when it came time to make a decision, I knew exactly what I wanted to do and I've never regretted it. Love her and the Wolf Pack.
So, do your leg work and make those personal connections ahead of time--in a nonstalkerly kind of a way LOL!
7. Any words of advice for other writers?
This is a hard business--no matter what stage of it you're in. You have to know how to find your own true north on your compass and be able to return there every time someone knocks you off course. The highs are incredible, but the lows are hard.
8. What was your acquisitions process like?
Once I signed with my agent, the acquisitions process went fairly easily. After a phone call with my editor-to-be I outlined how I would make some of the recommended changes and then very quickly I had a book deal. I was very lucky--this was the quickest part of the publishing process I've experienced so far.
9. What did you do when you first heard you were to be published?
I know this sounds silly, but I jumped. I was home alone and I stood in the office and jumped up and down. Then I had to pick up my kids at school that day, so I jumped in the lobby with the kindergarten teacher and the school psychologist. They just "got" the whole need to jump and joined in.
My husband got my message and wanted to know if I wanted to go out to dinner and I declined--asking for a little more time to just jump. *grin* What can I say--it's the simple things. Besides I never could have sat through dinner at that point.
10. Is there anything on your writing desk that is a MUST have for you?
LAPTOP!!!! My Mac Book Pro is like my 4th child, but with a lot less laundry and I don't have to feed him.
11. The day you finished the last word in your novel, did you cheers yourself? Cry? Scream? Call someone? Sleep?
I put my head down on my desk and cried a river. I hadn't known how it was going to end and I found my own answers right along with Elliot. I felt like I'd just finished running an emotional marathon. I was jubilant and wasted all at the same time. And I think I finally understood what it meant to finish something--something hard. I'd walked away from a lot of things out of fear and this--this I looked in the face and I stared it down. It felt brave and I was proud.
12. Who is your biggest cheerleader?
I am lucky--I have a fleet of the biggest cheerleaders, but my husband NEVER gets enough credit. There are aspects of me that are so stinkin' easy to live with, but artistic, moody, writer me is not one of them. He also has more socks and underwear than anyone person should because the laundry is, at best, sporadic. But, despite living with the constant threat of no clean under garments, he is super supportive and proud and I can feel that. It's a lovely thing.
13. If you could sit down with any author, dead or alive, who would that be and why?
I would love to sit down with Anne Frank--she wrote because putting words to paper saved her and I can relate to that. I am fascinated by that.
14. Who are you reading right now?
Ummmm I'm an all over the place reader. I read up to four books aloud with my boys, they also have one going in the car on audio. I have my own two audio books going (one fiction and one on the craft of writing) right now. Additionally I have a book or two that I'm working on on my Kindle/iPad, plus a book on marketing and one I'm using to jump start some thoughts I have about the next book I want to write. But, I will tell you that what's attached to my book light right now is an ARC of MIND GAMES by Kiersten White and it's sooooo good!
15. If someone said, “Your book changed my life.” What would they be referring to?
They would be telling me that they've discovered that they are not alone. I can't control "what" connections people make when they read my words but I'd like to think that I put enough of myself between the pages that they no longer feel alone with the things that resonated with them. The truth is that I wrote the book that I would have wanted to read when I felt like I was all alone in my thoughts and feelings.
16. Are you a coffee, tea, chocolate, or strictly water writer?
I'm a hot chocolate kind of a girl. *grin* Although I do drink all of the others too.
17. How can my blog readers help you to become an even bigger success?
What a generous thing to ask. Thank you. In my mind the success of an author comes from word of mouth. All I could ever ask for is that if you love the book, feel a connection with what I've written, that you take the time to spread the word. You could ask your local or school librarian to buy it for their shelves. You could tell your friends about it--share your copy or give it as a gift. You could even write a review and post it on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. It comes down to this--no matter how much marketing I do, the book's voice truly comes from it's readers. What you have to say is just as important as what I had to say.
*If any of your readers would like some swag to share with their friends and community, they can reach me here...http://kimberlysabatini.com/contact/
18. Do you have any writer’s classes, or conferences that you would recommend to the newbie writer?
I know this sounds redundant--but join the SCBWI. And there are a lot of fabulous books out there. Right now I'm rereading ON WRITING by Stephen King and I love BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamott. Also a fan of THE FIRST FIVE PAGES by Noah Lukeman.
19. What websites do you recommend for writers?
I'm a big advocate of Verla Kay's Blue Boards. http://www.verlakay.com/boards/index.php
This is a fantastic online community with a trove of resources and an amazing support group. I also recommend following the agents, editors and authors you love--they are a wealth of knowledge.
20. What one word best describes you?
21. What’s your blog about?
Come and find out...
22. Any big news?
My book launches in about a month...it doesn't get bigger than that.
Angie--thank you so much for these questions. They were so thoughtful and I really enjoyed answering them. You are such a sweetie. (((hugs)))
(XO's back at ya Kimberly!! You rock!)