Kristi agreed to let me
torture interview her. Here’s how it went down…
So let’s get this party started. What made you decide to enter Pitch Madness, and how did you feel during the contest?
Hey, Brenda. Thanks for having me on here. I actually entered Pitch Madness on a whim. Lots of my CP’s were entering, so I thought I might as well. I’d just entered Sun Vs. Snow and had received 4 requests from that and I didn’t know if I should enter Pitch Madness or not. Then, I thought, what the heck. During the contest, I heard a rumor that entries from SVS wouldn’t make the cut, so I basically shrugged it off and thought that was that.
I’m so glad you entered! And which blog were you on and what was the title of your entry? How many requests did you get? Any other details you’d like to share?
I was on Summer Heacock’s blog, Green Team and my entry title was: KARMA KHULLAR’S MUSTACHE. I received 4 requests, 3 partials and 1 full. Details: I met another amazing American writer living right here in Singapore! We’ve lived 5 minutes from each other for the past 10 years, but only met on the Green Team in March! So crazy, right!?
We all loved that entry! So you sent in your request to your agent. Was it a partial or a full? Tell us the details of the submission and wait time you had before Patricia Nelson with Marsal Lyon asked for the Call?
Patricia Nelson requested the full, so she had priority for the first 24 hours. I sent her the full on 5th March. She contacted me on the 6th asking what other projects I’d been working on. That was a Friday, so I told her I’d pull together some samples of my other manuscripts to send her on Monday. Tuesday she emailed to set up the phone call for Thursday. It was a real whirlwind and instead of celebrating for 2 days, I spent the 2 days prepping questions and convincing myself she was just calling to say she liked most of it, but there was too much work to be done and she was going to pass… I know, I know, but that’s just what my crazy brain does.
I think we all wrestle with doubt when we get an email from an agent asking to schedule a phone call. Okay, this is my favorite part *sits at the edge of her seat*. Tell us about THE Call.
Ha! I laugh whenever someone asks me about the call. I think I should give the “How NOT to make The Call” tutorial. Thankfully I have amazing CP’s who’ve recently signed. They posted links to blogs and sites with lists of questions to ask and how to prepare, etc. I dropped my kids at school, but my husband was home making a conference call (totally throwing me off my game). I locked myself in my daughter’s room and nervously waited for the phone to ring. There was nothing to be nervous about because Patricia immediately started gushing about Karma and talked about how she works and what she envisioned and about the agency and seriously just ticked right through all my questions. I’d had just a few reservations before the call, but within the first 30 seconds of our conversation, those flew right out the window.
Can you tell us a little about your book?
Karma is starting middle school and her world is really turning upside down. Things at home have changed, her relationships with family and friends are weird and then, to top it all off, she’s super self conscious of the mustache that sprouted over the summer. It’s embarrassing to talk about and so many people in her life have changed, she’s really struggling to figure it all out.
Aww, the pains of growing up. Such a great premise. And how long had you been querying before you got your agent?
I’d queried Karma a total of 10 times early 2014. Then, I spent most of the rest of 2014 reworking it with a critique partner. I entered SVS and Pitch Madness really with the hopes of tightening my query and pitch so I could start aggressively querying after… It worked, because the querying is done!
Okay, let’s have some fun. Coffee or Tea? Oh man…. I love both, especially the masala tea here in Singapore. BUT I’m drinking coffee right now, so, coffee.
Potato chips or chocolate?
What’s your favorite cookie?
Vegan chocolate chips (my specialty)
Oh those sound great. I must get this recipe! Which vacation would you prefer: camping out in the wilderness or shopping in a quaint town?
Shopping in a quaint town.
Where do you write?
Home, mostly. I do have a favorite place outside in a small coffee shop, but mostly I get more done at home.
I hear you on that. It can get distracting in a coffee shop. I work better at home, too. So whose work inspired you to start writing?
I wanted to be Judy Blume when I was a kid—I still do! I love to read all genres, but definitely contemporary was what I read and related to the most when I was younger.
What author would you like to spend the day with, and what would you do with him/her?
She’s no longer with us, but Madeleine L’Engle is my hero. I would have loved to just hang out and walk the streets of NYC with her, picking her brain on everything from raising kids to writing to religion.
Yes, it would be amazing to hang out with her. What book character or movie character best describes your personality?
I always identified with Claudia from The Babysitters Club. I’m not sure how much I’m really like her in personality, but I lost both my grandmothers when I was around middle school, so I loved Claudia’s Sad Goodbye.
And the big question, are you an outline or panster type?
I’m a planner, for sure. Not detailed outlines, but I definitely have a general idea of where I’m going with something.
Before I untie you from the chair, do you have any advice for those seeking representation? Anything you wished you’d done differently?
I think everyone has their own journey and what works for me isn’t going to work for someone else, but the important thing is to surround yourself with people who share similar goals to you. I met most of my group of CP’s during 2014 WriteOnCon. We’re all serious about publication and the process. I wouldn’t have entered or even known about all the amazing contests out there if it hadn’t been for them. I also wouldn’t have had a very polished entry if it hadn’t been for all of their eyes on my work!
Thanks for taking the time to do this interview. I can’t wait to hold the actual book when it comes out. Congratulations, and here’s hoping you sell tons of books. And now it’s time to celebrate!
Yay! Thanks so much, Brenda. This was so fun! x