Pay It Forward! – Kiera Stewart

Pay It Forward Week continues with our third guest, a pretty rocking woman who is my editor-mate, the fabulous…


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

FETCHING, December 2011, Disney-Hyperion.
(Stealing the PM description here: A crew of middle school nobodies secretly use dog training techniques on their classmates to go from eighth-grade underdogs to leaders of the pack, only to discover being top dog isn’t all they expected it to be. 

2. Can you tell us a little bit about your road to publication (finding an agent)?
*lays down on couch and prepares to re-live harrowing journey*
It started innocently enough. I made my lists, devised a strategy (three or so agents at a time), got all chuffed up about my query letter, told myself I wouldn’t let the rejections get me down, and then BLAM! The first rejection stung more than I expected. The second had me questioning my writing ability, my story, and myself as a whole. And the third? Well, the third brought me to tears because it wasn’t just a standard rejection. It was a request for a full, which overinflated my heart with hope, and only THEN turned into a polite rejection, therefore effectively sticking a pin into that overfull heart. 
The following months saw much of the same cycle of hope and despair — both speedy rejections and requests for fulls. Then, one day, an agent emailed me to schedule a call. We talked for a long time, and she said all sorts of fantastic things about my writing, nearly causing me to faint with joy. She asked me to tweak a few things in the story, and I did, quite happily. But then a month later, the crushing pain arrived via email. The revision didn’t move her, she said, and the market sucked even more than it did the month before. STAB! It felt like a terrible breakup, and I was tempted to take to my bed for about a month, waking only to write a few lines of bad poetry here and there.
Thank God for the Verla Kay blueboards. Very few people outside of the writing world really understand the misery. After a few days of whining, crying, and okay, posting anonymously about my strife, I forced myself back into the game. The upside to this? I became a little jaded. Rejections were like paper cuts rather than the full-on assaults they used to be, and interest felt more like little snack-bites of hope rather than organ-altering, head-swelling promises. And then, when I least expected it, I got THE CALL. One of the best memories of this whole experience was being able to send an email to other interested agents with the words, "I HAVE AN OFFER" in the subject line. And yes, in all caps. 
And then it got even better. People wanted to buy my book! And we had a sale! I feel so fortunate that things worked out the way they did. I have both a wonderful agent and a fantastic editor, and all that angst along the way? Was totally worth it.

3. Was there ever a time you felt like giving up? Why didn’t you?
For a while, querying did seem like an "all signs to point to no," type of situation. But my best friend/chief beta reader kept saying, "I can’t imagine someone not loving this book." And she’s the type of friend who will tell me (and often does) when I’m being stupid, clueless, naive, or basically any form of ass clown. The Verla Kay boards, like I said, were also an infinite source of support from smart, experienced, helpful people who really know what they’re talking about. And I think stubborness played a small role in it too.

4. Bonus: Favorite kind of cupcake? (NO cupcake is NOT an answer O_O)
Now, this changes from time to time, but I can say that I can really, really appreciate a really well-done vanilla. *ducks* But hang on! I’m not talking about let’s-just-add-sugar-and-a-teaspoon-of-the-synthetic-stuff and pass it off as vanilla, but the really, really GOOD stuff. The kind of cupcake you can huff and actually start hallucinating about warm, exotic places. Pure Ugandan Gold.
Or, wait. Do they make ice-cream cupcakes? Because that would totally work as well.


Kiera, thank you so, so much for sharing your fabulous answers, and everyone, be sure to check out Kiera’s BLOG!

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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25 thoughts on “Pay It Forward! – Kiera Stewart

  1. Anonymous says:

    Way to go Kiera!
    I’m a fellow blue border (Scribble), and it’s great to hear about your success. I’m in revisionland and dreading the query process, but good to see you got some light at the end of the tunnel with yours.
    Great interview Victoria, thanks for posting it up.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I am loving these interviews, especially the ones like yours, Kiera. It’s so nice to know that persistence pays off in the end. Congrats on your success! 🙂
    –Linda G.

    Sorry. I just had to share that. 😀
    Great interview, Victoria and Kiera!

  4. lynseynewton says:

    I’m also loving these interviews and congratulations to Kiera on her success! I love hearing the “road to publication” stories. They are nice reminders of the hard work you have to put into being a writer and getting published. Even the best people were rejected at some stage and I think we all need to remember that 🙂

  5. dawn_metcalf says:

    YAY, Kiera! And thank G-d for the Blueboarders — a lifeline if ever there was one. YOU WIN!

  6. soniag says:

    Oh, Kiera! I so enjoyed reading this. And you know, I mentioned in my interview that Verla Kay’s bboards were hard for me during the times of rejection, but I forgot to mention how supportive the “no-newsers” were! It truly is an inspiring place.
    basically any form of ass clown
    HA! This is, like, the definition of “Sonia.”
    Yay Kiera and Victoria!

  7. sruble says:

    Great interview! I especially loved reading about your quest for an agent. Can’t wait to read FETCHING! It sounds great.

  8. elanajohnson says:

    All signs point to no! That is too funny. I mean, not really, but yeah, it is. So glad you didn’t stop! Congrats on the agent and the deal and all of it. Your book sounds amazing and you’ve inspired me with hope. 🙂

  9. keim_comley says:

    Dog training tecniques? I might end up in a padded room if I admit how many times I have been tempted to use dog training on people. I have to buy your book as soon as it comes out. Great interview.

  10. sharigreen says:

    Loved reading your story, Kiera. Thanks so much to you & Victoria!

  11. I agree that the Verla Kay boards are great — especially if you’re in a panic about something. This is a great story — and I’m so glad it has a happy ending because the book sounds so much fun.

  12. kierastewart says:

    Hi Scribble! If I said everything I needed to know about children’s publishing I learned on the blueboards, it probably wouldn’t be an exaggaration. Sounds like you’re already off to a great start. Best of luck querying! 🙂

  13. kierastewart says:

    Awesome!! Even though it sounds like a legal version of crack to me, I’m totally going to find a Coldstone Creamery and partake. Thanks!!

  14. kierastewart says:

    Hi Lynsey! Thank you for your kind words. Someone wise once told me that rejection is just an important part of the process. Which makes sense. But I also think that wine and chocolate are important part of the process. And maybe (given Kristin’s news, above) ice cream cupcakes. Good luck!

  15. kierastewart says:

    Thanks, Dawn, my fellow Elevensie! All hail Verla Kay!! 🙂

  16. kierastewart says:

    Ha! For the record, anyone reading, I have met Sonia G., and can attest that she is the EXACT OPPOSITE of an ass or a clown!!

  17. kierastewart says:

    Hi Elana! So glad to hear it! Thanks so much!

  18. kierastewart says:

    You’d be in good company in that padded cell! Thank you, Keim!

  19. kierastewart says:

    Hi Kathy – I always love that no matter how neurotic the worry/concern, you can search the bboards and find someone else who’d been there and some great advice to boot. 🙂

  20. Anonymous says:

    Great interview, looking forward to reading the book! Glad to find you and put a writer to the blog comments I’ve seen 🙂 I’ll be coming back regularly. Check out my blog when you have a free moment

  21. randyrussell says:

    >>And I think stubborness played a small role in it too.>>
    Endlessly giggling.
    FETCHING is a terrific concept novel, Kiera, and it’s going to blow the doors off bookstores.

  22. kierastewart says:

    Thanks, Randy! Hope you’re right!!

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