#PimpMyBio: PitchWars 2017

So, I’ve decided to throw my hat into the #PitchWars ring. July is the run-up to the contest opening in August, so I’m going to have some fun participating in all the Twitter hashtags and blog hops! (Like #PimpMyBio!)

About Me

I’m Averill. (@averillelisa on Twitter.) It’s pronounced like Avril Lavigne, but with three syllables instead of two. (Av-ER-ill, not Av-RIL) Don’t worry, a lot of people can’t hear the difference, either.

Like Avril Lavigne, I’m Canadian.

avril2

I’m a twenty-eight year old with a day job and a writing addiction. By day, I work with numbers as a statistical analyst. I work in aviation, so it’s a lot of stuff about planes and air traffic controllers. I take all the operational data in the company and . . . Well, this is usually where people’s eyes glaze over.

sleepy eyes

But writing! That I’ve been doing since before I even knew what it was. The very first thing I remember writing was Xena fan fiction before I knew fan fiction was a thing, or the internet existed in a way to share it. (Thank God for small miracles.)

xena

I’ve only been taking writing half-way seriously for the last four years or so, since I started the Ottawa Writer’s Circle. In those four years, I’ve written three books — one of them three times over — and am working on a fourth. All YA, all contemporary, though some are more romance-driven, and others more issue-driven. I’m excited about all of them.

Otherwise?

I read a lot. Here’s my bookshelf that holds all my favourite books:

Photo 2017-07-03, 18 25 05I love ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS so much, I have it in both official languages.

I take care of my cat, Tassy. Here she is being adorable.

Photo 2016-05-25, 10 20 10

I’m a Tom Hanks superfan, enthusiastic hugger, and recent tea convert. I’m a proud Ravenpuff (don’t @ me) and I like to cook, bake, and swim. I love a good quote, and I have various ones all over my house. I live with mental illness, and that definitely influences my writing. I’m in school for my B.Ed. in Adult Education.

About My Book

TNR Novel Aesthetics
My novel aesthetic

It’s called THE NEW ROMANTICS. Here’s the pitch:

Perform on stage. Jump off a cliff. Get a tattoo. Joce Martin’s bucket list is what’s going to get her through her senior year after that disastrous kiss with pretty boy Mathieu Tremblay. Mat says she’s too uptight to be a normal teenager. She’s determined prove him wrong.

Mat Tremblay, on the other hand, is aggressively normal: popular, attractive, and a bit of a screw up. Reviving the tradition of the senior year prank, he streaks through the senior assembly during the principal’s speech. But unlike all the other times Mat’s screwed up, this time he’s not getting away with it so easily.

Mat’s parents, ever creative in their punishments, enlist Joce – their good-girl neighbour – as his chaperone for the year. For Joce, that’s a hard pass; their shared history is something she avoids at all costs. But Mat makes Joce an offer she can’t refuse: he’ll help her with her bucket list if she helps get his parents off his back. As they tackle the missteps and misadventures of senior year together, Mat can’t contain his feelings for Joce. But for Joce, getting lost in him again – and giving him another chance to bring her carefully constructed world crashing down – is scarier than anything on her bucket list.

It’s got the will-they-won’t-they tension of ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS and the adventures and secrets of THE NIGHT WE SAID YES.

This book came to me in fits and starts after listening to a Taylor Swift song. (It’s totally different from what I first envisioned, but the name stuck.)

It was supposed to be Joce’s story, but Mat quickly forced his way into POV-character-status. (My writing buddy helped me see that this was going to happen whether I liked it or not.)

I wanted to write a story about first friendship, first love, and where the two meet. Joce is pretty anxious and Mat is pretty feet-first into everything, and they have a lot to teach each other.

Ultimately, I wrote the first draft very quickly, but spent a year in revisions.

Why Me?

Well, hopefully because you love my book!

I’ve been querying this book since January. I’ve gotten a few partial/full requests from agents, but ultimately gotten the “like it, don’t love it” response. I’ve gotten some feedback, both from the requests and from a SCBWI conference, but it’s been pretty high-level.

I feel like I have something with THE NEW ROMANTICS, but I don’t know how to take it to the next level. That’s where I’d love for you to come in, tell me to burn it all down, and help me build it back up.

I’m pretty easy-going but a hard-worker, and love Joce and Mat like crazy. I want to make this book the best it can be, and I’m totally willing to put in the time and effort.

So, like, pick me?

big smile

Check out the other #PimpMyBio participants here!

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On Nerves and Being Ready

It’s been about three months since I’ve posted anything on this blog. To be honest, I’ve been having mixed feelings about having a blog. I feel very nervous, exposed, and frankly silly. It’s scary to have people read it. And lately, I’ve been a bit of a mess.

mess

However! I am just returning to life after two weeks of vacation. It was fantastic. Really relaxing, refreshing, and just helped me get my head back on straight. During it, I didn’t do much writing or editing, but I’ve let myself off the hook for that. I needed the time and it worked wonders.

relax

In book news, I’m getting to quite an exciting time. In about six weeks, I’m planning on being ready to start querying THE NEW ROMANTICS to agents. I also have the opportunity to send it to an editor before the end of October, hence the timeline. I have some changes I have to make in the next week or two, then it’s polish, polish, polish. I have a great beta reader helping me out, plus a buddy helping me get my query letter up to snuff.

happy-dance

I’ve been posting snippets from my book on Twitter, too. Here’s my favourite line I wrote recently, during revisions:

Still, I’m nervous. I’m not convinced I’m ready. I’m not sure I’ll ever actually be ready. I know rejections are going to come – everyone gets them – but it’s still putting this thing that I made out into the world and asking people to like it. Scary!

breathe

But, as everyone worth anything has said some variation of, if you wait until you’re ready, you’ll be waiting the rest of your life. (Daniel Handler and Hugh Laurie come to mind.)

I took this blog down for a while because I was nervous what agents will think if they come looking for me. I’m worried about what my Twitter looks like, too. I’m generally anxious about everything to do with querying and being online and being a writer. But, a conversation with a great writing buddy of mine who recently started her own blog (Hi, Joy!) encouraged me to put it up again.

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So here I am. I’m practicing putting things out into the world and asking you to like them. I’m not ready. It’s hard. But I’m trying.

Thanks for reading. ❤

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Book Updates

Hello all,

Long time, no see. Sorry I haven’t updated in a while. I’ve been working away but there hasn’t been much news.

writing

I’ve received responses from all the agents I queried, save one. All rejections and I’m taking the last one’s silence as the same.

crying2

In all honesty, though, it’s fine. IT GIVES A LOVELY LIGHT isn’t up to snuff yet. I’m actually a little ticked at myself that I queried at all since I can’t requery those agents I’ve done already. Sigh.

I’ve been putting IGALL through critique circles. It’s already gone through one and it was almost done in my general fiction circle. Well, my big climax chapter got absolutely torn apart in that general fiction circle. Like, it was painful.

kill me

So, it turns out, I have to completely chop off the last five-ish chapters and go at them again. Fun times. I’ve decided to shelve it for a few months and get my passion back for the project. I’ll come back to it. I hope.

On the front of my second novel, code named THE NEW ROMANTICS, I’m making excellent progress. I’ve completed the first draft at about 63K words. Then, I plotted it out, found some holes, and I’m working on fixing those. The second draft I’m expecting to come in between 75K and 80K for word count. By far the longest thing I’ve ever done.

happiness2And I have novel number three percolating away in the back of my mind. My bestie/writing partner says it’s because I want to avoid editing. During the editing stage, I always get an idea for a new novel. Hence the birth of TNR.

Anyway, that’s what’s happening with my writing. The group is going fantastic and I appreciate all my writing buddies in whatever form you take. I’ve been posting lines from my works in progress on my Twitter! Go check that out and give me a follow if you like it!

Thanks for reading. ❤

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