Today at the Eastern Penn Points Café Laura is joined by Lisa Maxwell, author of the New York Times Best Seller The Last Magician. Lisa will be joining our faculty at our annual Pocono Retreat in April (for more information on the retreat click here).
Laura: Hi, Lisa! Thanks so much for stopping by the Eastern Penn Points Café. It’s great to have you here. What can we get you to drink?
Lisa: Coffee with cream would be great.
Laura: Would you like anything to munch on to go with that?
Lisa: I mean, you can’t go wrong with cake, right?
Laura: Coming right up! We’re very excited that you’ll be joining us at our annual Pocono Retreat in April. Can you tell us a little bit about what you’ll be presenting there?
Lisa: I’ll be doing a couple of presentations. Right now, I’m planning on my keynote on persevering in this really tough industry. I’ll be talking a little about my own experience and giving attendees some ideas for how they can keep going toward (or on) the path to publication. And for my breakout, I’ll be talking about raising the stakes in your fiction, especially with character and plot.
Laura: I’m looking forward to both of those presentations. Tell us about the moment you found out The Last Magician hit the New York Times Best Seller list.
Lisa: I was avoiding the internet. I wasn’t exactly sure when the list was announced, but I knew it was on a Wednesday. There had been a bunch of buzz on release day, and I didn’t want to get my hopes up—it still seemed too impossible to think that my little book could make that kind of splash. My editor called and she had the entire editorial staff on the phone, and it was just kind of unbelievable.
Laura: Congratulations! What did you do to celebrate?
Lisa: We went out on a big progressive dinner to some of our favorite places in DC. It was great.
Laura: That sounds amazing. Do you have any advice for querying writers?
Lisa: First, I’d say don’t query until you’re done with the book. Be sure that you’re ready to move on to something else, rather than still wanting to tweak things here and there. You have to be ready to send it away and let it go. Then I’d say you really need to do your homework. You need to treat querying like a job: do research about what a good query letter looks like, research agents and what/who they represent. You need to write a really strong query letter and let other people read it before you send it.
Laura: What can your readers look forward to seeing from you next?
Lisa: Right now, I’m working on the final book in The Last Magician series. I also have a middle grade that should be coming out in the next year or so.
Laura: Okay, get ready for flash favorites. What is your favorite . . .
Ice cream flavor: coconut
Month of the year: June
Fictional place to visit: Hogwarts
Actual place to visit: Anna Maria Island
Childhood Halloween costume: Jem!
Sea creature: Dolphin
Laura: Whew! Thanks so much for stopping by the Eastern Penn Points Café. We are so excited to see you in April at the annual Eastern PA SCBWI Pocono Retreat.
Lisa: Thanks so much for having me! I’m really looking forward to meeting everyone at the retreat!
Lisa Maxwell is the New York Times Best-Selling author of The Last Magician. The book is being translated into ten languages and has been sold in eleven territories. Her other books for Young Adults include the award-winning Unhooked, as well as the critically acclaimed Sweet Unrest and Gathering Deep. She has a PhD in English and is a professor at a community college outside of D.C. She drinks way too much coffee and has a soft spot for loud music and fast cars. When she’s not teaching or writing, you can probably find her catching a live band or going on adventures with her husband and two boys.