Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Kim Briggs Interview with WOW

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


Interview With Fall 2013 Flash Fiction Contest Third Place Winner, Kim Briggs

I am very excited to have been the one to chat with our third place winner, Kim Briggs, in the 2013 Fall Flash Fiction Contest. Her gripping story, Deadly Cocktail, held me captive from beginning to end. And she’s got some wonderful insight and advice for you Young Adult/New Adult writers out there. If you haven’t read her story yet, check it out here then come on back for our interview. This is one you don’t want to miss!

It took Kim a double Bachelors, a Masters, three kids, and a house full of laundry before she realized what she really wanted to be when she grew up: a writer.

Kim finds time to write in the early mornings, late nights, and stolen moments throughout the day. She survives on soy chai lattes and dark chocolate, lots of dark chocolate.

Kim is the CO-Regional Advisor to SCBWI Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter. Through SCBWI, she met her writing group, Ink Sisters. The Sisters destruct plot and kill characters all the while cracking her up. Kim’s family gives her the courage to survive the crazy world of publishing.

Chat with her on twitter: @KimBriggs_Write

Check her out at: All Things YA and NA

WOW: Congratulations on placing third in our 2013 Fall Flash Fiction contest! Let’s start with you giving us a peek into your background.

KIM: It all began with the chicken pox. Back when getting the chicken pox was a rite of passage for every child, the red itchy bumps surfaced on my body and forced me into temporary exile. While banished from the third grade, I met my dear friends, Wilbur, Charlotte, and Templeton. Of course, I’m referring to Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, my first endeavor into the world of chapter books. From that point on, I was hooked on reading and knew someday I would be a writer. During my school years, I spent a lot of time staring out classroom windows or doodling in a notebook, trying to figure out the ending to a story I was working on. Bits and pieces of paper became home to many unfinished tales.

Most of my youth and much of my twenties and thirties were spent in constant forward motion. I graduated college with a Bachelor of Science double major in Environmental Studies and Environmental Planning and worked in that field for a while, but I quickly realized something was missing. Given my love for reading and writing, I decided to go to graduate school and become a high school English Teacher. I loved the challenge of teaching and inspiring future generations to read and write, but still, something was missing. After the birth of my son, I stayed home to raise my young family. In 2009, following the birth of my second daughter, I read the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer, and I had my AH-HA! moment.

The night before Thanksgiving 2009, my husband bought me my first laptop. I wrote late into the night. I finally found what I was missing.

WOW: What an amazing background! And Charlotte’s Web is still one of my personal favorites. Which genres are you most interested in and why?

KIM: I tend to write in a Young Adult voice. It comes naturally. Not sure why. Maybe I never grew up. Maybe I'm a glutton for punishment and want to repeat my same mistakes over and over again. Maybe I remember what it's like to be young and free and full of possibility.

High School is all about firsts. First boyfriend, first kiss, first job, first car... It is amazing and terrifying, beautiful and tragic.

That’s why I write YA, but I also write New Adult (NA) too. New Adult allows more freedom in content. Alcohol, sex, and evil combine in all the right ways to create a story I would not write for a YA audience. My NA thriller, And Then He, turns an innocent night of flirting with a handsome stranger at a high school reunion into a nightmare Tiffany can’t escape.

I also love to write Picture Books. They are loads of fun to create, and a nice break from long works of fiction. I haven’t submitted any of my PBs yet.

A few middle grade ideas storm around in my brain, begging me to write, but there’s only one of me and twenty-four hours in a day... So, yeah, I love to write for any age, except adult, I’m not ready to grow up yet.

Oh, wait, you asked what genre I write? I consider myself a chameleon. I write whatever genre strikes my fancy. Thriller, contemporary, fantasy, paranormal romance—I love it all.

WOW: I love your reason for not writing adult books. LOL! I am the same way. The MG/YA/NA genres are right up my alley and I plan to stay there too. Now, as I mentioned earlier, you placed third in our 2013 Fall Flash Fiction contest! Please tell us about your story, Deadly Cocktail, and how it came to be.

KIM: Thank you. I was so EXCITED whenever I got an email that congratulated me on making it to the next round of the contest, and then when I placed third?!?! Yeah, that was BIG—a major confidence builder.

Each day, thousands of females are put in desperate, compromising situations, filled with horrifying acts of violence. Some victims go to counseling and get the help they need. Others live among us and it’s their random acts of unexplainable behavior that hint at the nightmare they lived or continue to live every day. Dark, yes. Reality, absolututely.

I wanted to turn the victim into something more, something we all imagine doing to an assailant, who takes what isn’t theirs.

Deadly Cocktail began on a scrap piece of paper seven or eight years ago. This past fall, a writer friend of mine, G.G. Silverman revealed her new website, and I discovered she won WOW’s Flash Fiction contest in the summer of 2012, and I thought, “Hmm, maybe I’ll give it a go,” and Deadly Cocktail was reborn.

WOW: I think it was an amazing story. I actually cheered out loud at the end. LOL Can you please give our readers a few tips on what makes a great short story?

KIM: Adults often forget what it’s like to be a teenager, to be young and full of possibility, to make mistakes, and to be in love. Place yourself in someone else’s shoes if it’s too hard to remember what yours felt like.

Make every word count. A work doesn’t need to be 5,000 words. The last short story I wrote was 300 words. Create a snapshot of a scene your reader can see, hear, smell, touch, and feel.

Rewrite. Rework. Recharge whenever you get stuck. See below for pearls of wisdom.

WOW: Excellent advice. Before we let you go today, I would love it if you could share your writing pearls of wisdom with our readers.

KIM: Write and read every day.

Take brain dumps. Exercise. Get the heart pumping to clear out the cobwebs.

Protect your writing time like a ninja. The laundry, the dust bunnies, and the dishwasher can wait.

Join a critique group. My Ink Sisters keep me focused and make me laugh, especially when I want to cry.

Join SCBWI, RWA, SFWA, or whatever group fits your genre. Become involved. Organizations provide invaluable resources and networking opportunities you can’t find anywhere else.

Work hard and be persistent. Rejection is a part of life. Accept it and move on. Kate DiCamillo received almost 400 rejection letters. Lesson learned? KEEP GOING!!

Celebrate your small successes and tell me about them on my blog, All Things YA and NA I will happy dance with you!!

Write on,
Kim Briggs

WOW: Thank you so much for being here today, Kim. I’m sure your advice and tips will prove useful to many of our authors and writers out there. Good luck on getting published and congratulations again on placing in our contest. We look forward to seeing more of your work.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

HOT TOPICS: Drool at the Moon by Kim Briggs

The werewolf.

These terrifying creatures haunted our dreams every full moon. We locked our doors and slept with silver daggers. And who could blame us. I mean look at J.K. Rowling's version of the werewolf. Professor by day, monster by night.

But Werewolves have evolved into something a hell of a lot more scary, but in all the right ways. Modern victims crash into walls, drown in her own pool of drool, and commit random acts of insanity. 

Instead of hair in disturbing and unusual places,

They're lovable balls of fur with muscles in all the right places.

Werewolves change shape, the ultimate shape-shifter. The process of the change is painful and most often occurs as a result of the full moon, but not always.

In The Shiver Trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater, the main character, Grace, watches a pack of wolves every winter from her bedroom window, but when the snow melts and the flowers bloom, the wolves disappear until the ground freezes all over again. One day, Grace meets Sam and discovers that the wolves outside her house change into humans every summer. That is until the call of the wolf becomes too powerful and he must remain in his wolf form forever. 

Twilight werewolves descend from a long line of shape-shifters developed out of a need to protect their families and oversee their land.
Vampire Diary werewolves are born with the curse, but they don't turn until they kill someone--even if the death is accidental.

In most cases, new werewolves turn as the result of a bite from some evil werewolf prowling the streets, searching for new victims to sire.

Most representations of the werewolf follow a pack mentality. Each pack has an Alpha leader, and there is always another wanna-be young Alpha ready to take over. The rest of the pack serves a very specific role.

Werewolves and vampires fascinate me. I love how authors create new rules for the supernatural beings all the time. I wrote a book that deals heavily with werewolves and witches, but I had too much background information. As I've evolved as a writer, I can't wait to go back to it, because I don't believe our hunger for paranormal romance and our love for supernatural beings will end anytime soon.

What say you?

Write on,


Monday, April 14, 2014

Sophomore Year: Best Year Ever! by Kim Briggs

Freshmen are new to high school. They have no idea what high school means and they're just trying to get through the day. Plus they still have traces of that hyperactive middle school-er who is still growing into their body.

Juniors know exactly what's expected of them and just how far they can push the limits without getting in trouble.

Seniors are done with the drama. They're counting the days to graduation.

Sophomores--Best Year Ever.

All sorts of exciting things happen Sophomore year:
  • First job
  • First Driver's Permit 
  • First Real Dates with someone who Drives.
  • Read AMAZING books: Catcher in the Rye, To Kill A Mockingbird, Monster, One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest, Into the Wild... 
They start to find their place in the Social Hierarchy of High School. Jock. Band Geek. Brainiac. Artist. Goth. Politician. Rebel.  

They more or less figure out what's expected of them academically and behaviorally. **Whether they choose to follow those expectations is a completely different ballgame.

Sophomores don't have the weight of expectation on their shoulders about graduation and college, so anything is POSSIBLE.

Mistakes are made both in and out of school, but Sophomores can't let their poor choices define them.  

Sophomores still have TIME to retake that class they failed or break up with the boy who is a jerk or ditch the Mean Girl clique and find some friends who will be there to support them through all the breakups and teenage angst. 

Sophomore year everything is new and awkward and amazing and fun.
Sixteen Candles Final Scene Movie Ending Video

What's your favorite year?

Write on,

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Thursday Rambles: A Tisket, A Tasket

Wednesday is hump day. Friday is fun day, but what is Thursday? It's the day of the week, that tires me out the most, especially this week. I stayed up way too late trying to get writing stuff done, nothing fun mind you, and then I found out the school scheduled me to work this Wednesday and Thurday--forgot to block the days out as Writing Days. Gross oversight on my part. I already blocked out next week:)

I can't wait until Thursday is over and I can veg out and watch my Thursday night shows--Vampire Diaries and Reign. Thursday nights have been my official TV nights since Cheers, Friends, Seinfeld...need I say more?!?!

Anyway, I LOVE to laugh. It makes me feel good and it makes me happy. Here's a few tidbits to get you through your Thursday.

This Quote makes me laugh every time I read it. I'm a geek, I know.
This quote explains why I defend my writing time with a pitchfork and a shovel.

Writing is the only thing that

And I leave you with this eye candy to get you through your Thursday. You're Welcome!

Write on,

BOOK RAP: Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini

Oh, before I begin, if you aren't signed up to follow All Things YA and NA via email or rss feed, SIGN up now. It'll make it easier for you to keep up with blog events and stories, because I have A LOT of interesting and fun and amazing posts planned for the future. So, SIGN up.

Yesterday, I interviewed YA Author Kimberly Sabatini, the author of Touching the Surface. So now you are in LOVE with her and seriously, who wouldn't be?!?! And maybe you already went out and bought her book, Touching the Surface. If you did, give yourself a pat on the back and HAPPY Dance with me!!

But maybe you still need some more convincing before you hit the BUY NOW button.
ICING on the CAKE: I will select a random person from my email list to receive a free COPY of Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini. You CAN'T pass up that DEAL

Okay, here's Touching the Surface's inside book flap and Amazon's Book Pitch:

Experience the afterlife in this lyrical, paranormal debut novel that will send your heart soaring.When Elliot finds herself dead for the third time, she knows she must have messed up, big-time. She doesn’t remember how she landed in the afterlife again, but she knows this is her last chance to get things right.

Elliot just wants to move on, but first she will be forced to face her past and delve into the painful memories she’d rather keep buried. Memories of people she’s hurt, people she’s betrayed…and people she’s killed.

As she pieces together the secrets and mistakes of her past, Elliot must find a way to earn the forgiveness of the person she’s hurt most and reveal the truth about herself to the two boys she loves…even if it means losing them both forever.

A REVIEW From Booklist
Elliot is a third-timer at the Obmil, the afterlife limbo between heaven and hell where people are sent to learn from their previous mistakes. She has returned after causing the car wreck that killed a young man when she reached for her ringing cell phone. This time she will be expected to Delve, an afterlife process that forces a person to revisit his or her previous life; it’s a painful self-examination made more so because Elliot’s Delve involves Oliver, the boy she killed, and his older brother Trevor. How could they both forgive her when she is unable to forgive herself? And why is her best friend, Julia, avoiding her in this third afterlife? First-time-novelist Sabatini has created an intriguing new world for teens, one that speculates about what happens to souls upon death, especially if the death has been traumatic or self-inflicted. It’s a didactic but effective lesson in love, forgiveness, and self-understanding made more palatable by Elliot’s love for the two brothers and the drama that surrounds the other third-timers in the Obmil. Grades 8-11. --Frances Bradburn --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.      

"This gorgeous, lyrical read will sweep you away." --Jessica Verday, bestselling author of The Hollow trilogy --This text refers to the Unknown Binding edition.


Touching the Surface made my heart sing. Written in the first person, I immediately fell into the main character, Elliot's POV.

Through Elliot, I experienced regret and sadness because I ended up in Obmil (the in-between place between heaven and hell) yet again. I met old friends I wanted to hug and other's who made my skin crawl. I met a nice boy I crush on, only to fall for the Bad Boy, who really wasn't that bad.

Kimberly delivers surprises throughout the novel. By the end, Elliot is ready to take the next step in her afterlife (no SPOILERS here). All the loose ends create a beautiful ending with love and redemption but Touching the Surface leaves you hankering for more. Luckily, MORE is on it's way.

Touching the Surface falls under paranormal romance, but really, I've found that GREAT books tell a story the soars far beyond a Genre classification. Go READ it. You won't be disappointed.

READY TO BUY? Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini (Oct 1, 2013)    
Here's the Direct Link to Amazon: 

BUT HURRY, this deal on lasts until Thursday, April 3, 2014 and then this link and the deal disappear FOREVER (or at least until Amazon runs it again)

Write on,

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Up Close and Personal with YA Author Kimberly Sabatini

I met Kimberly Sabatini at the NY SCBWI Conference this year. She's fun, she's young, she loves life, and she's the author of the YA novel, Touching the Surface.

Kimberly Sabatini     Touching the Surface
You were a teacher, right? What came first, the teacher or the egg, er, I mean writer?

The teacher came first, before the act of being a writer, but not before the desire to be one. The truth is, I never believed myself capable of being something so mysterious and wonderful as a legitimate writer. Contemplating a writing career was like asking if I wanted to grow up and be a unicorn tamer some day. It didnt feel possible. But teaching was something very familiar—I’d spent my whole life in classrooms observing the job and the people who did it. I don’t mean it to sound as if I didn’t love being a teacher. I loved those kids like crazy and I was particularly good at working with kids with behavioral challenges, but I’m not sure I would have chosen that profession if I thought being a writer was within my grasp. Now when I do school visits, one of my biggest jobs is to show kids that they have access. Working hard for something is very different than not being capable.

Do you always write YA?

I don’t always write YA. Typically I write whatever comes out of me. I’m the kind of person who makes sense of my world through words. One day it’s a picture book, another it’s a poem. After collecting enough humorous stories from my boys, a chapter book or a middle grade isn’t out of the question either. I tell the story I need to tell and then try to figure out the best vehicle for it. But even though it feels like I’m all over the place sometimes, that gives me room to grow. When I get stuck writing one thing, I have the space to write another. Not all of it is even for public viewing, but it is all instrumental in me being a better writer and a better person.

Why do you write YA?

It just so happens that I had some publishing success with my YA project. And I like the wide open space the novel format gives you to explore big thoughts and feelings. And the audience in YA is amazing and I love writing for them. I also think I got a little emotionally stunted in my young adult years. I was ready to blossom into this articulate person who thought in a much more divergent manner and I squelched that in order to fit in. It gives me a lot of peace to go back and explore thing I buried when I was in the middle of it. 

Touching the Surface addresses a number of different issues including the idea of reincarnation and second chances. What inspired you to write such a book?

My dad died. And the funny thing is that I didn’t even make the connection between the book and his death until after it was written and revised a million times. I mean—it was a book about a teenage girl—not my father. But when it was done, and someone asked me this very same question, it was if a light bulb went off in my mind and I could see it all so clearly. He was gone and I'd needed to understand what I believed had happened to him—I just had to come at it without making direct eye contact because loss is hard. And it’s even harder to manipulate your mind to find the gift woven into the tragedy.

You wrote your book, then what?

There was a long period of revision because I had no idea how to revise. (I’m not kidding—I didn’t have a clue.) Luckily, I was going to conferences, connecting with great critique partners and reading books on craft. Eventually my skills improved. Then there was also the "trying to find an agent thing" which took about two years. There is a learning curve involved with that adventure also. Then it was finding the right publisher/editor and selling the book—followed by all the crazy, wonderful, scary, joyful steps of being a debut author. Then, just when you have it all figured out, *snort* you have to do it all over again. And here’s the kicker—it isn’t any easier the next time. It’s crazy—really, really crazy. But I believe if your inner compass is pointed in the right direction, you're dedicated to the art of writing and you have a willingness to use rejection as a platform—good things will happen.

Were you involved in contract negotiations or did your agent handle everything? Did you research sample contracts? How long did the process take?

Blessedly, my agent handled everything. I am not the best negotiator. Me: You want to publish my book? Them: Yes we do. Me: Yay! Them: And we’d like to pay you this much to do it. Me: *jumps up and down* Whatever. *runs across meadow singing silly publishing song* Agent: Pay no attention to the twit in the field. 

You sent off your baby to the editor. What happened next?

From the time you sell until the time you publish there are peaks and valleys. One day you are on the biggest high of your life, the next day—nothing much is happening. First there were multiple rounds of edits. And one of the earliest and best things I did was to join the debut author groups the Apocalypsies and the Class of 2k12. If I can recommend you do one thing as a debut author, joining a debut author collective is a MUST. I never would have made it without these friends to support me. We still all stay in touch and help one another out. I also was spending lots of time preparing blog interviews, sending out post cards to indie books stores and libraries, getting my website set up and blogging. If I could do one thing over—I would have written more of my next project. I think one of the wisest things you can do in the middle of the whirlwind is put your head down and keep writing the new stuff. Reality check: there is no bottom to the well of social media. You can market yourself 24 hours a day and it will not be enough and it’s hard to see that when your in the middle of it. You must be a savvy social media user and an even smarter writer. Balance is very important and having people to help you sort through all of it is important too. 

How did you handle the criticism? Did you take all the editors advice?

 I was kind of worried about this. I usually STINK at taking criticism. It’s not like I’m confrontational—more of a weeper—a real head case. I take it all too personally in real life LOL! But much to my surprise, I’m pretty good at this type of criticism/rejection/advice. Maybe because I’ve rarely thought of it as as a knock down. Instead I’ve always felt I was gaining something through the process. Being open to that has helped me to write better books.  

How long between signed contract to publication?

I signed in February 2011 and TOUCHING THE SURFACE was published October 30, 2012.

Did you spend a lot of time on social media pre-publication?

I think I may have implied that social media is a gift to the writer AND a black hole of doom. But it’s all about how you use it. You’re a healthy social media user if you’re making time for your writing and you enjoy your time online. The key is authentic personal interaction. If you can say yes to these things you’re probably a balanced and healthy person. :o)

How much time do you spend on social media post-publication? And what platforms do you use? Where can we find you online?

I post on my blog on Tuesday/Thursday. I used to do it on M/W/F but it got to be too much because I also blog once a month at YA Outside the Lines and I’m a member of the Bookanistas and blog once or twice  a month for them. I also help mentor at Adventures in YA Publishing/First Five Pages. I’m regularly on Facebook and Twitter and I also keep a presence on Tumblr, Google +, Linkedin, Pinterest, Goodreads, Wattpad, and Figment.

Do you participate in many events? What type of events and who schedules them?

I love to do school visits. So far I’ve done all local events and one Skype where my cat jumped on the desk and started throwing up in front of the book club I was talking to. *head thunk* I’ve also done some bookstore events, and book fairs. Almost everything I’ve done I’ve arranged personally or coordinated with friends. 

Do you try to stay local or are you willing to travel?

As of right now, because of my three boys, I’m mostly local. If there is an event on the weekends I have more flexibility or I can Skype. I’m also trying to expand into writing conference faculty. It can get a little overwhelming at times. I remind myself that I still need to be writing and having genuine interactions as I attempt these things. I’m learning that publication is a marathon—not a sprint. 

What's your event calendar like since your book release?

Periods of craziness and periods of vast emptiness. Very typical publishing typical ups and downs. 

Do you receive sale updates from the publisher? If so, how often?

 My publisher has an on-line one-stop-shop to help me share info with readers, view some aspects of sales and stay on top of anti-piracy activity. My agent is in charge of the rest. Additionally, I'm in touch with editors and marketing support as needed. 

Were you in a critique group before publication? Are you in one now?  

Yes! Critique partners are a must. My main group is not local—we see each other as often as we can, but we work on line. I also have other writer buds who are local and online—a wealth of support. 

You’re a busy person. Describe your typical day and how do you find the time to write?

Right now my days are anything but typical. I just moved in January and my kids recently had a horrible experience being kicked out of their previous school district.  It’s been a bit of an emotional roller coaster. But we are starting to find ourselves on more level ground again.

Weekdays I'm up at at 5:45 to get my 13 yo on the bus at 6:40. Then I drop the other two boys off at 8:15. I’m back to pick them up at 3. So in between I try to balance writing, exercise, the never ending unpacking, new house related activities and then all the cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping etc… Once the boys are home it’s after school events, homework, reading together and they even demand I feed them. Sometimes I have a bigger chunk of my day for writing and sometimes I get it done while sitting at a jujitsu place. And unfortunately there are some days where the other stuff takes over and I’m only plotting and daydreaming in my head. BTW—this still counts as good stuff.

Any tidbits of wisdom you would like to part with?

I am loaded with tidbits—I am the tidbit queen. But you don’t have all day, so I’ll pick my best and share them with you.

*Read a lot of books in your genre, outside your genre and related to craft. There should never be a time when you are too busy to read. If you have to or in my case love to—get an audiobook and listen in the car or while you’re folding laundry. READING INFORMS YOUR WRITING.

*Put positive messages out into the world. Don’t spend all your time telling the universe that you want a book deal. All you’ll end up with is a lot of want. Instead picture where you want to be and then run that movie through your mind at least once a day.

*Make goals that you can control. Instead of saying I’m going to sign with an agent by the end of the year, you should say—I’m not going to quit until I’m good enough to get an agent. There is a big difference between these two statements.

*Writing the next big thing means writing something different. Writing something different means that, odds are, a huge amount of people are going to think you’re nuts—until you are the next big thing.

*Most overnight success never happens overnight.

*Know what your purpose is as a writer and as an author. I call that my inner compass. YOU WILL GET KNOCKED OFF COURSE OVER AND OVER AGAIN DURING THE PUBLICATION PROCESS. You can always find yourself again and get back on track if you know who you are and what your purpose is.

*The best success is always born out of failure. Today is the day to understand that you are the only one who controls if you quit.

*Love what you do.

Inquiring minds want to know, what projects can we expect to see in the future?

 I’m currently working on my 3rd YA and planning out my 4th. I’m also writing all those other crazy things that come to me.

Here's where you can find out more about Kimberly Sabatini:

Adventures in YA Publishing:

**It's really a shame that we can't find Kimberly Sabatini ANYWHERE:)  Go Check her out!

Thank you so much for having me on the blog—it is such and honor.

Well, I loved having you and here's a chocolate bar for the drive home:)

Write on,