Hi everyone! Thanks for dropping by the YA Blog Takeover. Today we have the crazy, off-beat, simply irresistible, Jamie Ayres. Yaaaayyyy! If you’ve missed any of the previous YA author blog events, you can catch up here, here, here, here, here, here and here. (that’s a lot of catch up)! 🙂
Okay, Jamie, now that I got everyone’s attention, take it away!
Hi, ya’ll *waves* Big shout out to Jenny for hosting me! Let’s get this party started . . .
My name is Jamie, my closest friends call me Jaim-O, hubby calls me Sporty Spice, daughters call me Big Mama (I try to get them to change that to “Hot Mama” but they said nobody would believe that), my students call me Mrs. Ayres or Mrs. A—I’ll basically answer to anythingJ
I’ve been blogging for two years and made the transition from Wannabe YA Writer to Bona Fide Published Author just last month. It all happened through a contest at the end of May—so if you don’t think contests are worth it, pay close attention. The contest was a call to submit our query + first 500 words to YA acquisitions editor Krystal Wade of Curiosity Quills, whom blogger buddy Sharon Bayliss had just signed a contract with. I thought, what the heck? I’ll start my summer off right with a contest and hopefully gather some valuable feedback. Everyone rocked with their comments and I got a request for the first 3 chapters from Krystal. I was excited but also kinda disappointed I didn’t get a full request. *She later told me she wasn’t going to request it at all but liked the changes I’d made based on the comments* I sent Krystal the manuscript on a Saturday morning and when I checked my email on Monday, I had a message from her requesting my full!! I got one of those really good feelings but remained only cautiously optimistic until another 2 days later, I received an offer for a publishing contract!
My first novel, 18 Things, will be published later this year as part of the My So-Called Afterlife trilogy. I didn’t set out to write YA paranormal love stories, but I guess that’s what I enjoy reading the most so that’s what flowed out of me. I love coming-of-age stories . . . that time in our lives when we’re figuring out who we are and often falling in love for the first time and kinda getting away from the watchful eye of the parentals and the vulnerability that stems from all of that. Makes for great writing material!
It’s in high school when I really discovered I wanted to be a writer. Teaching was tugging on my heartstrings too so that’s what I majored in, with the intent to write in my ‘spare’ time. Well, that’s the thing. When you’re in college, you don’t realize you won’t have any spare time when you grow-up. So that’s why it took me until the summer of 2009 to start this journey. That’ s when my wonderful husband started snoring and keeping me up at night. Since I couldn’t sleep, I wrote! I penned two cringe worthy novels and received 55 rejections until I really honed what 18 Things is today . . . guess the saying is true: Third time’s a charm! Failure was never an option for me. I have two young daughters and students (past & present) looking up to me. If I give up on my dreams, how can I turn around and tell them, “Dream big or go home!”?
I’m supposed to leave you with some parting tidbits of wisdom (hmm . . . perhaps Jenny forgot who she was talking to, lol). I’ll keep this simple with my top 5; otherwise my convoluted thoughts will take over: Be yourself (variety is the spice of life, right?) Never give up (you never fail until you quit—some smart person said that—not me)! Trust your gut (instinct is untaught ability—another smart guy named anonymous said that—not me)! Don’t stress (your novel/blog will still be there after you take off a day, a week, or even a month—take care of you first. Thanks to Jenny for being a good example on this one). And believe every rejection in life just means God has something better planned for you down the road
Aww, Jamie, thanks for the mention. I love your upbeat voice and can’t wait to read 18 Things. I have to say, your method of landing a publishing contract was a bit out of the ordinary. It doesn’t happen to most authors, so big congrats for that! It just goes to show that every aspiring author needs to explore every avenue in writing from contests to blogs. Who knows. You may end up in shoes similar to Jamie’s. You just have to try.
I would love to post a picture of Jamie’s novel but because it is soooo new, the publisher hasn’t released one yet. I can, however, give you a nice little exciting blurb.
Description for 18 Things:
Can eighteen things save a life? Olga Gay Worontzoff thinks her biggest problems are an awful name (after her grandmothers of course) and not attending prom with Conner, her best friend and secret crush since kindergarten. Then Conner is killed in a freak accident and Olga feels responsible. The sarcastic, nerdy girl who never missed a day of school is suddenly lost and unable to deal with the emotional pain. When she downs an entire bottle of pain pills, her parents force her into counseling. There, her therapist writes a prescription in the form of a life list titled 18 Things. Eighteen quests to complete the year of her eighteenth birthday. Olga enlists the help of her friends and becomes a catalyst for healing in their own lives as they eagerly offer suggestions. Alls she has to do is fire-walk, try out for the cheerleading squad, break a world record, and err . . . go on her first date. Good thing Nate, a new hottie in town, enters her life with perfect timing. He brings the fun factor to her list and helps her discover the beauty and strength inside herself, then complicates things by falling in love with her. Maybe it’s time to put into practice the lessons her list has taught her. Just as she’s finally embracing the joys of YOLO, her therapist reveals a big secret and Olga’s world is shaken. In the past year it took eighteen remarkable things to change a life, but nothing she believed about her mission is true. Now she doesn’t just risk losing her true soul-mate forever, she risks losing her very soul. There’s only one thing she knows for certain. Her choice will affect their future for all eternity.
Doesn’t that sound like a great read! Please free to leave a comment here for Jamie or at any one of the following links. I’m sure she would love to hear from you and chat up her new book!