Monday, April 23, 2012

Blog Ring of Power: Interview with Jessica Khoury

Jessica Khoury
The Blog Ring of Power is back with another progressive interview. This time, we're interviewing Jessica Khoury. I'm the last interviewer this time, so you can find the About You, The Writing Life, The Creative Process, and About Your Current Work by following the links. We'll finish up with some Words of Wisdom.

Tell us about your route to success –how did you land your agent/publisher? 

The usual way: query letters. Many query letters. And waiting. And phone calls. And agonizing decisions about what agent to go with (and I definitely made the right call; I absolutely love my agent!). Once I had an agent, she handled the submission to publishers. The whole process was a whirlwind. I had my agent within two weeks of sending the first query letter. I had my publisher in than a week after my agent submitted the manuscript. It was crazy, especially since everything I read told me the process took months and months. I guess I just got lucky; we did hit a sweet spot for submitting to publishers, just before the Frankfurt book festival.

What are the most important elements of good writing? 

There is so much to say about this, but I’d say it comes down to the most basic: your idea. You can be a great writer, and even if you’re not, you can learn. There are plenty of books and courses and workshops designed to help you hone the craft. But even if you write the most glorious, captivating prose this planet has seen, it won’t get picked up if your idea isn’t good. Focus on the core concept of your novel: is your idea new? Is it interesting? Will people care? What’s the hook? What’s the zing? With Origin, I tested the waters before I wrote the book. I posted my initial concept on critique sites in the form of a query letter, and when I saw a positive response, I knew I had something worth writing.

What tools are must-haves for writers?  

On Writing by Stephen King. A trustworthy computer (back EVERYTHING up). Time. A solitary place to which you can retreat while writing. And a whole lot of gumption.

Do you have any advice for other writers? 

 Keep writing and keep reading. Don’t stop, whatever you do, and don’t give up. A friend of mine wrote ten novels before her eleventh was picked up and became a NYTimes bestseller. Not every book is going to be a hit, and if it isn’t, don’t waste time. Put it away. Start another one. Keep your forward momentum.

What do you feel is the key to your success? 

Before writing Origin, I’d just finished querying a high fantasy novel I’d spent four years writing. I loved that book, and still do, but I realized that if I was going to make it into bookstores, it wouldn’t be as a high fantasy writer. So I changed genres. That made all the difference in my writing. I discovered a whole other side to my writer-self I never knew I had, and if I hadn’t let go of who I thought I was as a writer, I would never have discovered who I truly was. You have to be willing to try something new, something different, something crazy.

What are your current / future project(s)? 

 I have several projects on the table right now, all of them potential YA novels or series. But nothing definite yet. I will have more news on that later this year. For now, I’m focusing on Origin and just enjoying the journey to publication. It’s an adventure I never dreamed I’d get to live, and I’m so thankful and blessed that it’s been made possible.

Cover of Origin
Jessica Khoury is 22 years old and was born and raised in Georgia. She attended public school followed by homeschooling, and earned her bachelor's degree in English from Toccoa Falls College. She lives in Toccoa, Georgia with her husband Benjamin, two terrible dogs, and an abundance of books, shoes, and sweet tea. When not writing, she's usually directing stageplays or coaching soccer. Origin is her first novel.

Facebook page:
Goodreads author page:

What format is your book(s) available in (print, e-book, audio book, etc.)? It is available for pre-order for hardcover and Kindle at the moment.


mooderino said...

That's a great book cover. Great interview too.

Moody Writing
The Funnily Enough

Sandra Almazan said...

I agree, mooderino. The cover is intriguing.

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