Meet author and past Pitch Wars mentee Meghan Molin. Meghan is a writer, photographer, toddler wrangler, equestrian, singer of songs, lover of food, and corgi cult member. She is represented by Joanna MacKenzie at the Nelson Literary Agency.
Tell us about the manuscript you entered into Pitch Wars 2016, DRAG NET.
DRAG NET was a plot bunny that happened while I was *supposed* to be revising another project. I just couldn’t stop thinking about my main character, MG, and her geek-tastic story just sort of wrote itself. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had writing a book… it’s got kissing, costumes, comic-cons, capes, Drag-Queens, and comic books all wrapped up in a caper! It was a *blast* to write.
Once you decided you wanted to enter, how did you go about preparing to enter? Did you have any critique partners go over DRAG NET?
I’d gone to a writing conference in April, and while agents weren’t super keen on my finished work, they asked what I was working on. I responded with the premise of my WIP, and without fail, ALL of them perked up and asked me to send it when I was done. I went home from the conference, tossed aside the editing project, and dove in to DRAG NET. I completed the rough draft in 5 weeks! At that point, I only had non-writing friends to beta read, so I got some comments, revised, and queried the agents from the conference. Out of 5, I got 5 full requests, but all of them wanted revisions to the MS. By this time I’d heard of PitchWars through a 2015 mentee friend of mine, and decided that this was the *perfect* opportunity to take my “almost good enough” book and really chew through where it could be better.
What’s the first story you can remember writing about?
I wrote this ridiculous book when I was in 5th grade called “DINNER”. It was some sort of mystery that involved horses and, as I recall, the villain was the lawn sprinkler installer. I don’t remember what the mystery was, only how proud I was of coming up with a hard-to-guess bad-guy! I think I entered it in a writing contest, and won some sort of award. Thus began my …er, 30 year bid to write a “real” book? Haha.
Have any specific books inspired or flamed your desire to be a writer?
I sincerely love Anne of Green Gables. The idea that a book can be a girl-centric adventure AND that romance can be a slow-build, and make sense for the characters still inspires my goals as a writer. I’m a huge Harry Potter addict, and enjoy the books no matter how many times I’ve read them—I find something new to love, and that sort of nuance is so inspiring. The Alchemist, Watership Down, Angle of Repose, Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight, The Dragonriders of Pern… I’m a voracious and widely-interested reader.
During Pitch Wars you did a lot of revision work including rewriting half your book and doing a ton of line edits. How did you go about tackling your revisions? Did you set aside time specifically dedicated to revising?
Oh my. I ended up re-writing my entire book, essentially. I went from past to present tense. I scrapped 1/3 of the chapters to write in a new mystery. I changed the “bad guy”, and the ending! I started by reading my mentor’s letter twice through, and sitting on it for a day. Then I started loosely writing out ideas for the changes (big picture stuff). She and I had two marathon skype sessions where we hashed out the new mystery (our brains huuuurt!), and then I made a chapter-by-chapter outline where I wrote in specifically where I’d make the changes in the chapters, and where the new chapters would go (and what they would include). I also created a digital mind map timeline for the MC, and the secret-superhero, so I would know where everyone was when big things were happening. Very complicated, but it was the only way to make sure it all worked! I wrote in the mornings and in the evenings (I have a 2 year old), and my husband hardly had a wife for a month while I did it!
I actually never subbed to Joanna, isn’t that funny?! I sent my query to Danielle Burby when she moved to Nelson in January, and she requested my full shortly afterward. While she had my full, I received my first offer from a PitchWars agent (so if you’re counting, that’s 5 months after requesting from PW! Don’t give up hope!), and nudged Danielle. She wrote back saying she loved the book, but that her co-worked REALLY LOVED my book, and wanted to make an offer on it if I was open to hearing from Joanna. Joanna and I just…clicked. Right off the bat, she was an old friend, and in the end I was incredibly settled and delighted with my decision to accept their offer over my others.
Did anything about being a Pitch Wars mentee surprise you compared to what you thought the experience would be like?
I figured it would be a lot of work, but it was A LOT OF WORK. The thing I hadn’t counted on though was how much my mentor would mean to me. Kelly is amazing, and her willingness to share the good and bad about writing career has meant everything to me, and how I’m managing my personal and writing development. I also think perseverance and the ability to write in the face of extreme anxiety (Will I get PW requests? Will any request my full? Will I get an agent offer? Will I go on sub? Will my book sell? The road to publishing is paved with all these moments that can de-rail our writing) is a muscle I developed in PW, and still work on. It took way longer than I expected to hear back from agents… I had several “almosts”, but in the end I was settled for the long haul.
You’re also a photographer. Did any of your photography knowledge wind up in DRAG NET? Do you plan to use your photography knowledge in any future books?
One of my best friends is a costume designer for Drag, so the majority of my inspiration came from her, haha. My own geek-knowledge was the basis for MG’s passions. Someday maybe I’ll use photography in a book, but it’s not nearly as glamorous as people assume =) I think in the end, my careers (Architect/Designer, photographer, equestrian, writer) all just make me want to write strong, complex female (or male) characters where their career is more than just a thing the story it needs. Especially the creative careers, it’s a part of who you are, and how you operate. And it’s important for girls to understand that there’s room for strong, smart girls in every field – math, science, architecture, photography, costume design, home-making, sports…we need allllll of these represented in fiction, and to show the challenges women still face in some of these fields so we can work on normalizing! (okay, I’ll get off my soap box!)
Want to know more about Meghan? You can find her on Twitter @megfuzzle