Monday, June 02, 2008

What's Fresh with Marley Gibson aka Kate Harmon



A fresh new series-the Sorority 101 novels will make every teen girl want to join!

High school is already a distant memory for incoming Lattimer University freshmen Jenna, Roni, and Lora- Leigh. Jenna can't wait to meet cute college boys, Roni can't wait to get away from home, and Lora- Leigh . . . well, Lora-Leigh couldn't care less. She's going to LU and participating in sorority recruitment only to appease her mom. Sorority girls are pretty, rich, and snotty, and Lora-Leigh doesn't want to be one of those girls. So she's shocked to find herself actually connecting with the sisters of Zeta Zeta Tau. And her new friend Jenna can relate. She came to recruitment only because her roommate begged her to, but now she can't decide which sorority to join; she likes them all! Roni, on the other hand, knows which sorority she should join, but she came to LU to reinvent herself. As recruitment progresses and the girls prepare to make big decisions, they'll need to heed the best advice there is: follow your heart. Now where will it lead?

Hi Marley, it's great to chat with you! Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?

Marley: I started writing stories when I was a little kid. I used to write and illustrate them and then “sell” them to my family at an auction where they would bid like a quarter or something. Hmm...sort of prepared me for the publishing industry, eh? Then, in high school, I wrote teen romance stories about my friends and their boyfriends. I wrote throughout college and in my professional career where I’ve been a marketing and events coordinator for (gasp!) twenty years. A lot of press releases, letters, contracts, ad campaigns, newsletters and website copy. I started seriously writing for publication in January 2001.

My first sale came in March of 2006. Because of my agent’s fantastic reputation and track record for YA sales, she received a call from Puffin Books saying they really wanted to do a sorority series and did she have a writer who could come up with a proposal. I worked hard for three straight weeks writing character sketches, plotting an outline and writing the first three chapters of the first book. Well, I took a shot at it and two months later, we had a deal. I wrote the first two books of the series, entitled, SORORITY 101: ZETA OR OMEGA? and SORORITY 101: THE NEW SISTERS, under the pen name, Kate Harmon. Other writers will be taking over from here since I’ll be working now on my own series, GHOST HUNTRESS, under my name that comes out in May 2009.

Readers and writers often like to get a behind the scenes peek of an author's writing routine. It would be great if you could please share your typical writing day schedule.

Marley: When I’m in the blood fever (i.e. writing on deadline or getting revisions done), I work steadily 1-2 hours per week day. I try to take the weekends off, if I can do it. I work a full time 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. job (with two hours total of commuting), so I write during my lunch hour and when I get home at night. I have an Alphasmart Neo that I use when I’m writing and I have a writing room set up at home where I work, as well. I like to play Dance, House or Trance music (as loud as I can stand it) when I’m writing. Because I type about 100 words per minute, I can churn out a good 1,200 words or more in an hour of writing time. The way I write is I see my book in my head like a movie, so then I just belch it out (for lack of a better word) onto the page and then the real writing is in the re-writing or revisions where I go back and straighten and tighten and smooth things out. The biggest part of the routine is I don’t make excuses and never have...I just write.

Please tell us about your latest series and what we can expect from your characters.

Ooo...thanks for asking! I’m so excited about my new series! In November 2007, my fabulous agent sold my GHOST HUNTRESS series in a three-book deal to Houghton Mifflin’s Graphia line. The books are THE AWAKENING (May 2009), THE GUIDANCE (October 2009), and THE REASON (May 2010). They are about sixteen year old Kendall Moorehead who never imagined in a million years that she’d become a ghost huntress. But after moving from Chicago to an historic southern town, she finds herself awakening to her latent psychic powers...and discovering there’s a ghost in her bedroom! With the guidance of a local medium and the help of her new friends and ghost hunting team (including a massively cute skeptic who makes her heart do flip-flops), Kendall must quickly develop her newfound intuitive abilities to talk to the other side and discover why a belligerent spirit is trying to harm her father.

Sounds awesome! What's up next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.

Marley: I’m really focused on the writing the GHOST HUNTRESS books and getting reading for a lot of promotion with them. I do have other irons in the fire, but nothing I can talk about right now. Just enjoying my writing time and my creativity and trying to keep notes on the ideas as they come to me. You know how crazy we writers are with the voices in our heads. LOL!

Thanks again for sharing with us, Marley! I wish you the best with both of your cool series! Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Marley: I’ve been getting asked a lot lately “how do you find time for your writing with a full-time job?” The answer is, I don’t. I make time for my writing because it’s something I have to do. I have characters and stories and dialogue and ideas in my head that want to come out and be heard. I don’t just talk about writing, I back it up with words on the page. It’s not an easy choice to put yourself out there for rejection, possible ridicule, judgment, and critique, but when you have the finished project in your hand and can say “I did that,” well, there’s no better feeling in the world...to me. Just. Do. It. (Thanks, Nike!)

Marley Gibson made her young adult debut in May 2008 with SORORITY 101: ZETA OR OMEGA? and SORORITY 101: THE NEW SISTERS from Puffin Books, writing as Kate Harmon. She holds a BA in Communication from The University of Alabama (Roll Tide!) and has been involved in marketing and events for over twenty years. She works full-time in the financial industry as an event planner. An avid reader, travel enthusiast, and closet gourmet chef, Marley is a member of the New England Romance Writers of America, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and is the Creator and Founder of Chick Lit Writers RWA. Her GHOST HUNTRESS series, under her own name, will debut from Houghton Mifflin in May 2009. She lives in the Boston area with her best friend, personal webmaster, and hubby, Mike. She can be found online at www.marleygibson.com, at her blog www.booksboysbuzz.com, or on MySpace at www.myspace.com/mhgibson.

4 fresh comments:

jennifer rummel said...

I <3 the sorority girls series. And the Ghost Huntress sounds wicked cool Can't wait to read those!!!

C.R. Evers said...

Great interview, and what an interesting story on how you made your first sale!

Good luck with your new series!

Christy
ChristysCreativeSpace.blogspot.com

TinaFerraro said...

Hey, Marley, great to see you here at YA FRESH, and hope you'll keep visiting! As you know, I read your first book and thought it was terrific!

Marley Gibson said...

Thanks soooo much Jennifer and C.R.! Much appreciated. And Tina and Kelly...thanks so much for having me here. = )