If you are like me you prefer your bad news first. But before I get into that, have a little information to share.
A piece of advice I always passed along to the younger cohorts at Wilkes was that you always listen to your mentor. They are your boss, and even if you don’t agree with what they tell you you need to do with your project, you do it anyway. If it doesn’t work they will tell you to change it anyhow.
This past week I was at the AWP conference and had a chance to chat about the challenges that were facing me with Kade’s town and she had a number of suggestions. At first I wanted to say. that won’t work, but I try to take my own advice, so I decided to sleep on it.
I didn’t sleep. My brain went wild with the new ideas and by the time I did finally pass out I knew what had to be done.
I went to see Kaylie after her morning panel and said I have good news and bad news, which would you like first.
Bad news of course.
Bad news is I have to start from scratch on the third book.
Okay whats the good news.
I am almost done with book four.
Extra, extra, read all about it…
My protege has her first publishing credit in Akashic Books Fri-Scifi. Check out her flash fiction piece here:
To tell the story of how proud I am of her for this next step in her writing career, I have to go all the way back to the beginning.
Breanna, or as I call her Tali(We are both huge Mass Effect fans), got stuck with me about five years back. At the time I was finishing up my MFA and was literally owned by the great and lovely Kaylie Jones who had me 40 hours a week on an internship and an additional 20 as a graduate assistant. One day while slaving away at building the ground work for Kaylie Jones Books in my mother’s basement(I know such a writer cliche), I get a phone call from Kaylie.
As had become my custom I watched the phone ring for about ten seconds pondering what task was about to get added to my list that I had titled First Thing Needing Done(The list had well over 40 things on it at one point). I took a deep breath and answered that call.
“Justin, I have a couple of young writers here who like writing sci-fi. I told them I don’t know shit about that but I know a guy who does. Would you be okay with me giving them your information?”
Of those young writers, Breanna was the only one with the fortitude to survive me. I put her through the paces(Good old Stephen King’s On Writing) and kicked her writing teeth in when necessary. Somehow though she has stuck around. I was always tough on her and explained that a day would come when she’d face down publishers and editors(worse yet, reviewers) who don’t care about the blood, sweat, and tears a writer puts into their work so if she didn’t have thick skin she wouldn’t make it.
Over the past five years Breanna has become a nearly daily correspondent in my life, and has grown from fledgling writer into a valued friend of mine. I’ve told her from the beginning that my goal was to give her everything I learned, and to make her better than me. With this short glimpse for the world to see her brilliance, I do believe we can all agree the student is closing in on the mentor.
Proud of you, Tali.
Well folks, today I signed my first contract for the opening novel of The Primal Age Chronicles titled: Foamers. I look forward to introducing all of you to my characters. I am thrilled to be taking such a big step down this path, and can’t express enough thanks to everyone who has helped me along the way. Special thanks to my mentor, Kaylie Jones, and Akashic Books for making this possible. Please check back often for updates(or other fun things) on the site. Thank you again to everyone.