Too Much Awesome for One Day

The title says it all!! I have for you TWO AWESOME THINGS.

1. This week on the YA Rebels, we’re having guest authors. And mine is…

2. It’s time for my next Pay It Forward Interview!! It’s none other than the witty, talented, pixie-haired…


1. Tell us about your book. (Publication Date, Publisher, One or two sentence description.)

BLOOD MAGIC is a contemporary gothic horror love story insane Frankenstein amalgam of a book about two teens who meet in a cemetery and plunge into a dangerous world of dark magic, first love, and the deadly secrets that hide in blood.  It comes out Summer 2011 with Random House Children’s Books, and the sequel CROW MAGIC comes out in 2012. More here:


2. Can you tell us a little bit about your road to publication (finding an agent)?

WELL. I did this weird thing where I would write a book, query 5 agents, and when they would read 50 pages or a full only to say “sorry, nice, but no,” I’d write a whole new book.  Instead of, ya know, trying more than 5 agents.

I did this three times. And finally I had this YA book that I was really happy with and my crit partners (Maggie Stiefvater and Brenna Yovanoff) said, “TESSA THIS IS THE ONE.”  So I wrote a query to Laura Rennert of ABLA, who was also Maggie’s agent, saying that I was Maggie’s bloodier doppelganger and that we should have literary babies (half of this clause is absolutely true). I only sent the book to her, and because she knew who I was through working with Maggie and our fiction website The Merry Sisters of Fate (, she asked for and I gave her an exclusive.

Three weeks later we signed together.  We did some revisions after that, sent Blood Magic out to editors, were slowly and achingly rejected, revised again, sent out again, and then in August 2009 Blood Magic went to auction while I was at a wedding in England. WHEW

It was almost exactly one year from writing the first words to getting the first offer.


3. Was there ever a time you felt like giving up? Why didn’t you?

Only one time. I mentioned above that our first round of submissions failed.  My book went to THREE acquisitions meetings, and still the final answer was no.  I worked with my agent, my crit partners, and my SO to figure out what was drawing everybody in so well, but then ultimately causing them to reject.  It came down to the fact that in the last third of my book I was dealing with to pretty major taboos; queerness and necromancy/suicide/grief.

The queer issues/gender issues were what had caused me to write the book in the first place, but the way the book developed over 6 complete rewrites made those issues less of the focus (to the betterment of the story, I assure you). It became painfully clear that I was trying to do too much. To say too much.  The queer/gender issue had to go. It was too big for the role I’d given it.  

When I quit graduate school to write, I promised myself I’d always try to make a difference with my stories. And I still believe that. But removing that theme from Blood Magic was the hardest thing I’ve ever done with my writing, emotionally and spiritually.  But I truly believe that it is better suited to another story.

The morning I finally made the decision, I shut myself up in a bathroom stall and balled my eyes out. For about 2 minutes I considered quitting.

But I knew if I did, I’d never find the right chance to tell all the stories I’m meant to tell.

4. Bonus: Favorite kind of cupcake? (NO cupcake is NOT an answer O_O)

Red Velvet. Or lemon. Or… red lemon velvet. Does that exist? I should experiment.

Thank you, Tessa! Loved those answers. Everyone, make sure you check out Tessa’s

Here are the other Pay It Forward Interviewers…
Elana Johnson, Lisa and Laura Roecker, Beth Revis, Leah Clifford, Kirsten Hubbard, Susan Adrian, Dawn Metcalf, Carrie Harris, Amy Holder, Kathy McCullough, Gretchen McNeil, Kim Harrington, Tiffany Schmidt, and Suzette Saxton/Bethany Wiggins.

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17 thoughts on “Too Much Awesome for One Day

  1. soniag says:

    Love the vlog from Kami Garcia! She’s so charming.
    And I’d read bits of Tessa’s journey before, but I didn’t know — until now — what she had to cut from BLOOD MAGIC. Wow. So difficult and brave. Don’t worry, Tess! You’ll be able to revisit queer/gender isssues in a future bestselling novel, I just know it!
    Great post, V!

  2. lynseynewton says:

    I love Tessa to bits and I cannot wait for her book to be released!! She’s gonna be great! I find it really interesting to hear about all the rejections though and lessons authors learn along the way! Definitely share these with us! Thanks for a great interview Victoria.

  3. elanajohnson says:

    I love this story! Thanks so much for sharing, and I can’t wait for next summer. So many great books coming out.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Tessa, what a great book description! But not coming out until 2011? Aww, man. That’s too long to wait. Well, make sure you give a shout-out around here right before it’s due out. 🙂
    –Linda G.

  5. Tessa,
    A) Your website IS ridiculously pretty
    B) Your pub tale is fascinating — thanks so much for sharing it
    C) I can’t wait to read BLOOD MAGIC
    D) Red Velvet-Lemon does NOT sound like a good combination
    E) Isn’t V fabulous? (Great job, Victoria)

  6. lisa_laura says:

    I love reading about your road to publication! Can’t wait to read this one–great interview ladies!

  7. shvetufae says:

    Great interview, Tess. 🙂 I’m sure it was hard to give up the queerness theme, but I know you’ll find the perfect book for it, and I’ll look forward to reading that book, too.

  8. daisywhitney says:

    Really enjoyed Tessa interview

  9. tessagratton says:

    Thanks, Sonia. I hope so. If it’s ever right, I’ll jump on it soooo fast. 😀

  10. tessagratton says:

    LESSONS? I was supposed to learn LESSONS from all this?! 😉

  11. tessagratton says:

    I love this story too bc it has a HAPPY ENDING. (um, so far.)

  12. tessagratton says:

    I know! It’s FOREVER FROM NOW! *angst*

  13. tessagratton says:

    Thanks! I have an awesome designer: CKLAROCK.
    Red velvet with.. lemon icing? maybe? no?
    😀 (Yes, V is totally fabu.)

  14. tessagratton says:

    Thanks. I sure hope so. It’s lurking in the back of my head, waiting to pounce, that’s for sure.

  15. tessagratton says:

    I love hanging (virtually) with V!

  16. Fabulous interview with one of my very favorite up-and-coming authors! So eagerly awaiting 2011!

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