November 7, 2013

Made It Moment: Jennifer Walkup

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 2:34 pm

Second Verse

Only when I finally learned that I was going to be published, did I feel safe in admitting that my debut novel was actually the eighth one I’d written. Before that I felt lame about trying so hard without getting anywhere. I understood what made people hide things about themselves. They’re ashamed. So was I.

When I finally spoke up (my name is Jenny and I’ve written eight novels), I realized what many people who do who are finally able to admit the truth. We’re not alone. All around me, people were saying, “I wrote nine before I got published.” Or seven. Or twelve.

The author of this Moment could join me at a Writer’s Anonymous meeting. Her words brought back all the tedium and discouragement that lies along the breaking-in road. If you’re on it, please keep trudging. The sweet, shining moment at the next juncture will make it all worth it.

Jennifer Walkup

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, penning my first stories as a very young girl, and then slowly getting more serious about the craft as I went through high school, college and  graduate school. The writing was always wonderful. It’s when I felt most alive, and the part I loved most.

Sometime after graduate school, I decided to get serious about publishing, something hopefully beyond the few short stories that had been picked up over the years. Writing was still fun, but I had a goal in mind now. So I set to work, writing novel after novel, trying with each to get published. I came very close with a few, but in the end, struck out.

Second Verse, my Young Adult romantic thriller, was my sixth novel written. I had been working on it for a few years and I felt better about this book than I had the others. This one felt like the one. So once again, I started to navigate the publishing waters.

Before long [ha! How easy to say that now that it’s over! After five failed novels and years of submitting and rejection, the wait was excruciating, I assure you], I had a few houses interested in Second Verse. When I spoke to the folks at my publisher, everything just clicked. I signed my contract with a huge smile on my face.

For me, the moment it first felt real was when I was at Book Expo America (BEA) in May of this year. I saw my advanced copies for the first time and got to sign books on the show floor. Although I’d been working toward this for a while and knew it was coming, that was the moment where the reality of it really hit home.

After that it was all a whirlwind. In the months following, ARCs began to go out to reviewers, things began to move quickly (and after years and years of slow and nothing, quick feels incredibly quick!) Reviews began to come in and things got set up for book launch – interviews, blog tours, events, appearances. It all felt so real!

Second Verse has been out for a few weeks now, and it’s been really fun. Lots of signings and events, and I’ve talked to some readers, which has been amazing. We also just found out that Second Verse won a 2013 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award. It won the Gold in its category: Young Adult Fiction – Horror/Mystery. That was really exciting for me and my book.

Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Jenny!

When Jennifer Walkup isn’t writing or reading, she’s spending time with her husband and young sons, listening to Red Hot Chili Peppers, and coming up with costume ideas for Halloween. She’s obsessed with good coffee and new recipes, and likes broccoli on her pizza, flowers in her hair, flip-flops on her feet, and the number 13. A member of SCBWI and RWA, Jennifer also serves as fiction editor for The Meadowland Review and teaches creative writing at The Writers Circle. Second Verse is her first [published] novel.

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