Thursday, June 12, 2014

Interview and First Kiss Story with Susan Hawk!

Hey guys! 

I'm so excited because today I get to interview my fabulous agent, Susan Hawk! She saw something in my book and helped me revise it until it shined (she sent me a five page revision letter full of great ideas and happy faces - I love her!). And then she sold my book to the amazing Jen Klonsky at HarperTeen. So, basically, she makes all my dreams come true, and if you have an awesome book, you should be querying her right now! 

And if that wasn't enough to keep you reading, Susan is going to tell us a first kiss story (YAY!). And now, on to the interview :)

What do you look for in a book?
I want to be moved!  There are lots of ways to do that – make me laugh, make me think, make me cry.  But no matter the reaction, I want to feel something; I’m looking for books that make an impact on me. 

Is there anything you're particularly excited to see at the moment?
See above.

Just kidding!  Other than what I described above, I am especially focused on finding more great YA and middle grade novels right now.  Earlier  this year, I posted on The Bent Agency blog about what I’m looking for:

In addition to that list, lately I’ve been craving:
-          A novel in verse that’s FUNNY
-          A YA Joy Luck Club
-          A middle grade contemporary with siblings that have a good relationship, that isn’t all about arguing and funny quips

Oh, I would love to read a YA Joy Luck Club too! Next question - what's the best book you've read recently?
Aside from your new novel you mean?  GUYS: you are going to LOVE Rachael's new book -- it's sooooooo good!  I don't want to give too much away before it's out, but stay posted!

If you're looking for something you can read right now, try Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith.  I loved the wild mix of things that this book is – romantic and tender, funny, sexual, honest – all that wrapped up in a crazy end of the-world-as-we-know-it adventure.  I loved how inventive it is, how clearly this is a book that only one person could have written.

Aw, thanks, Susan! And I've been hearing great things about Grasshopper Jungle. I will definitely be picking that one up. Next - who is your book boyfriend and why?
I don’t know how many people know this book, but I fell IN LOVE with Peaceable Sherwood from The Sherwood Ring by Elizabeth Marie Pope (who also wrote The Perilous Gard), in high school and am in love with him still.  Don’t let the cover of this book scare you off!  It’s a total pleasure from start to finish – alternating between present day Peggy, who’s spending the summer at a creepy old family mansion in New York state, and Peggy’s Colonial ancestor Barbara.  Barbara visits Peggy as a ghost to tell her the story of her romantic past, and how she fell in love with a young British spy, Peaceable Sherwood, right under the eye of the Revolutionary Army, quartered nearby.  Dashing, daring, witty Peaceable!  No one can catch him, no one except for Barbara, of course.  How could anyone resist?

I haven't read that one, but Peaceable does sound quite dashing :) (Side note: I love that name!) And now for the last question (and my favorite!) - do you have a first kiss story you can share with us?
The first time I met H was at a friend’s house.  He didn’t live here, was at grad school in Boston and visiting for the weekend.  To celebrate his visit, our mutual friend decided that a group of us needed to read a very long novel (exactly what it was escapes me, for reasons that will become clear shortly) out loud to each other, from start to finish, all night long.  From the minute I saw H, I couldn’t stop noticing him.  Noticing the way he laughed, the way he read, the way his eyes sparkled, the way he sat in a chair!  He was mesmerizing.  I felt a connection.

That connection was solidified when we realized, the next morning, that we were the only two to fall asleep before the reading was over.

But the next day he went back to Boston, and I went on with things in NYC.  Six months rolled by and my friend mentioned that H was coming back for the summer.  By that point, I was putting all my energies into a different guy.  Yet everywhere I went, H was there, part of the group – in the park, at the corner bar, backyard party.  And every time, we spent most of the night talking to each other.  He started calling me and we’d stay on the phone for hours.  Finally, he suggested that we go out, just the two of us.  Of course, it was the night before he was leaving New York. 

Once again we spent the night talking and laughing and I realized how much I didn’t want him to leave the city, but I couldn’t tell what he was thinking.  Finally, we had to go.  In a burst of nervous anxiety, I bounded to the corner and flagged a cab, thinking that I’d dart away before any awkward handshake goodbye ensued.  I threw open the heavy cab door, almost knocking H over, and just as I was about to duck in, he grabbed my hand, pulled me close and kissed me.  I can remember the feeling of his lips on mine to this day.

Luckily, his kisses don’t live only in my memory.  H and I will be married for twenty years, next September!

Awww, I love this story! I love that she noticed "the way he sat in a chair" and also I think stop-you-before-you-get-in-a-cab kisses are the height of romance :) I hope you guys have as much fun reading this interview as Susan and I had doing it! Thank you so much, Susan!

Day 12 of the 17 days until 17 FIRST KISSES countdown. Other posts here.


  1. I love love love this story! Its not every day you get to read a story like this about your own agent. (Susan reps me, too!) And congrats, Rachael!

  2. Thanks to Marcie for pointing out this post. So romantic!

  3. Yay! Agent sister stopping by! I'm glad you guys liked this interview because I had a lot of fun reading it too :)

  4. Swoon! What a great story and interview.

  5. I am wiping away the tears right now. Forget about all the great agenting nuggets...THAT is a love story! Thank you for sharing such a beautiful and intimate story.