Welcome, Jenny, and thanks for stopping by! Tracked is your debut novel, and like many authors, your publication journey wasn’t all smooth sailing. Can you tell us about your road to publication? (Was this the book that got you your agent? Were there any roadblocks you hit that made you want to give up? etc…)
Hi, Erin! Thanks for having me on Pub Crawl, one of my favorite sites!
Let me preface my answer by saying…this is for all the struggling writers out there—those who are facing rejection and are almost ready to give up. I hope my story encourages you, and gives you hope. I want you to know you’re not alone.
I started writing novels in 2009. In 2010, things seemed to be going pretty well. I’d already snagged my first agent, the good old-fashioned way, through a cold query. But truthfully, I wasn’t ready. My project had the tiniest glimmer of spark, but I didn’t know how to revise it or level up as a writer. I floundered so badly. But lucky for me, shortly after parting ways with my first agent, I signed with Sara Crowe. And that made all the difference on my path to publication.
You see, Sara is the perfect agent for strugglers like me. She doesn’t give up. If she believes in you, she’ll stick with you, even when you’re knocked to the mat, a time or two. When our first project didn’t sell, we tried another round. When it still didn’t sell, we tried another book. When even that didn’t sell, she remained tenacious and steadfast, encouraging me to start a new project. So I did. I wrote Tracked in 2011, and it sold in 2012, after quite a bit of editorial revision.
But the wait didn’t end there. Tracked was bumped, and then bumped a second time, and then nearly bumped again. (It’s nobody’s fault. It just business, and it happens more often than you might guess.) But now, nearly three years later, that book—the one that almost wasn’t—is here, and I couldn’t be more excited and thankful! It’s such a sweet victory to see it out in the world at last; I’m so proud of Tracked, and how far it’s come, thanks to everyone who believed in it and helped me nail down that final draft.
So the moral of the story is to just…keep…writing. Always be writing the next book. Always, always, always!
Such great advice. And thanks for your honesty. The internet can turn into a highlights reel where people only share good news. It’s easy to forget that every writer has their ups and downs.
Tracked is the first in a series, correct? Are you working on the sequels now? Something else?
I am working on the sequel. Final edits are almost here, and I’m so happy about this book. I’ve come so far, and so has Phee, the protagonist. I can’t wait for readers to see what happens next. This next chapter in her journey…It’s going to be so satisfying and bittersweet, I promise.
I’m also working on a new project, a dark, twisty, heartbreaking horror-slash-love story. I love this main character so much, and I can’t get him out of my head. I hope to share his story with readers someday soon.
You had me at horror-slash-love story! I can’t wait to read it! So what’s a typical writing day for you? Do you have any writing rituals?
Ha! I wish I could say I had a typical writing day, but between full-time work in the library and a full-time family, I just write whenever I can, wherever I can, especially on nights and weekends. And while I can write anytime, anywhere, I do tend to favor 10 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. drafting sessions in my big, comfy, red chair. 😉
You’ve already shared so much great advice, but do you have anything else to share with aspiring writers?
I have two favorite bits of advice, and the first comes from my dear friend and fellow author, A. Lee Martinez. He says that artists only need two out of three things to succeed: Luck, Talent, and Persistence. So even if you’re luckless, if you keep honing your craft, and you never give up, something good is bound to happen.
The second piece of advice comes from my heart: No matter how many times you’re knocked down, always get back up. Get back up, and keep writing.
So true! You can’t succeed if you don’t keep writing! Now for a few quick Pub-themed questions… There’s a creeper at the pub! What are you reading to avoid him?
Why, Fine Cuisine for First Dates by Hannibal Lecter, of course.
Bahaha! And uh-oh. PUB BRAWL! What weapon are you wielding and why?
Unless I’m allowed to borrow Thor’s Hammer, I’d think I’d have to go with my dog-eared copy of Jeff Herman’s Guide to Publishers, Editors and Agents, 2010 edition. It’s pretty thick; one good hit to the head would probably do the trick, actually.
Thanks so much for asking me to visit, Erin. It was a pleasure, and it’s an honor to have your name on Tracked’s jacket!
And I was so honored to provide it!
To our Pub Crawl readers: Trust me, you do not want to miss this book. Here’s what I had to say about Tracked:
Deeply inventive, Tracked is an action-packed sci-fi with heart. Martin has crafted a world that feels familiar yet fresh, and her spitfire heroine shines as the galaxy’s newest street racing star. Sequel, please!
—Erin Bowman, author of the Taken trilogy
If that still isn’t enough to convince you to pick up a copy, check out the official synopsis:
The Fast and the Furious gets a futuristic twist in this action-packed debut!
On corporately controlled Castra, rally racing is a high-stakes game that seventeen-year-old Phoebe Van Zant knows all too well. Phee’s legendary racer father disappeared mysteriously, but that hasn’t stopped her from speeding headlong into trouble. When she and her best friend, Bear, attract the attention of Charles Benroyal, they are blackmailed into racing for Benroyal Corp, a company that represents everything Phee detests. Worse, Phee risks losing Bear as she falls for Cash, her charming new teammate. But when she discovers that Benroyal is controlling more than a corporation, Phee realizes she has a much bigger role in Castra’s future than she could ever have imagined. It’s up to Phee to take Benroyal down. But even with the help of her team, can a street-rat destroy an empire?
To celebrate Tracked‘s release, I’m giving away a copy to ONE lucky reader.
If the winner has a US mailing address, he/she can choose to receive a hardcover copy OR an ebook. For international addresses, this giveaway is for an e-copy only. Use the rafflecopter widget below to enter!
Happy belated release day, Jenny! I’m so happy Tracked is finally in the world and that readers can fall in love with Phee just as I did. Can’t wait for book #2!
JENNY MARTIN is an author and Texas school librarian. She lives in the Dallas/Fort Worth area with her husband and son, where she is an active member of the YA publishing community. Tracked is is her debut book. You can visit her online at readjennymartin.com.