Client Spotlight: Rachael Garza

Client Spotlight is a feature on the blog to highlight the incredibly talented writers I work with. I ask them a few questions about their writing and querying process and then they get to turn the tables and pose a few questions to me. Today I'm talking with Rachael Garza.

Agent Asks Author

Tell us about your book!

Ruin and Refuge is a YA fantasy about refugee sisters who must use magic and their wits to escape a civil war and keep their dreams, and each other, alive. It’s about protecting the people you love and struggling against societies that don’t care whether you live or die. There’s magic and dragons, love and sacrifice, two timelines, two verb tenses, and a somewhat unreliable narrator. There’s also a high probability that it will make you cry.

It will most definitely make you cry. I can say that from experience!

What is your writing process like?

When I’m working on a new idea, I buy a notebook and just start brainstorming. I ask myself questions about the world and list all the possible answers until I find one I’m happy with. For fantasies, I also like to draw a map to get a feel for the physical constraints of the world and how that could interact with the plot. This early worldbuilding stage is a really fun time when anything is possible, but nothing is set in stone. Later, as I get deeper into the book, I’ll go back and rework bits of worldbuilding to better suit the needs of the actual story as it develops. Even my maps get redrafted!

I don’t outline extensively before starting to draft, but I do need to know the major story beats I’m planning to hit and usually I’ll have some ideas for other cool scenes I’m looking forward to writing. I’m not a big fan of first drafts, so I like to do them quickly without giving my inner editor a chance to worry about quality. The NaNoWriMo challenge is always good motivation for me to just power through and get that done, and luckily they have events three times a year, so I don’t have to wait for November. There’s also a great website called Write Track that has an adjustable word count tracker. I usually move over to Write Track once NaNo is over and I have to finish the rest of a draft.

Since they’re quick, my first drafts tend to be pretty sparse, but they get longer and longer as I edit and layer in more details and side stories. Editing is what I really enjoy about writing because it’s like working on a huge puzzle, moving lines or scenes around, cutting parts, adding parts, making all the ideas and threads fit together. I think Ruin and Refuge has been through five complete drafts so far, including one which was a major structural overhaul.

 What was your experience in the query trenches? 

This was my second time querying. A little over a year earlier, I’d queried my first novel, which had a good response rate but ultimately no offer. For that novel I only ended up querying about 25 agents before deciding I wasn’t happy with the book anymore and diving into a new one, which became Ruin and Refuge.

This time I started with a round of 12 agents, but other than an early form rejection it was just radio silence. (Which is funny to say because it was actually less than a month. At the time it felt like ages, though.) I was very worried about my query letter and not sure whether it was presenting my novel well, so I spent a few days writing a new version of it. I had just gotten to the point where I was satisfied with the new version and shared it with an online forum to critique when you emailed me.

It had only been about three weeks since I’d queried you, but because you’re usually so fast and because I could see online that you’d responded to other queries from around when I’d queried, I thought you were going to be a rejection. So I was very surprised to get that request and I was so relieved just to get a request at all. I sent you the full that evening and you wrote back saying you got it and that your usual reading time was about eight weeks.

I went to bed satisfied that things were back on track. I hadn’t lost my querying touch. When I woke up the next day, the first thing I saw was that you were suddenly following me on Twitter. I took that as a good sign, but I was still blown away when I finally checked my email and saw that you’d actually stayed up all night reading the book and wanted to talk. All I could think was that this was a lot sooner than eight weeks! I was not mentally prepared for that much excitement so soon!

Whenever time allows I try to sort my queries when they come in: Reject, Request, or Starred. Rejections and Requests get sorted more or less immediately (though sorting is not equivalent to sending a response! Depending on how my week is scheduled, those queries might sit in those folders until I have dedicated time blocked off to respond. And some months--like May--are busier than others!) Starred queries are ones that come in when I'm really, really busy and don't have time to read the full sample chapter, but something about the query has peaked my interest. I don't know enough yet to sort into the Rejection or Request folder, so I star them and come back to them later when I can evaluate them properly. That usually happens at the end of the month. Yours was a starred query, which gives some insight into the three week wait before the request came through!

Tell us about The Call!

Even though we didn’t talk until a few days after you emailed me, I was still in a state of disbelief. I have to be honest and admit that while I’ve always enjoyed writing, getting published was never a life-long dream for me like it is for so many authors. Even when I got serious about finishing my first book, it took me a long time to get comfortable with the idea of pursuing publication. I did all my research and worked hard at querying, but part of me still didn’t really believe anything would come of it. And that was okay.

So, basically, while I had some questions and knew what to do, emotionally I was totally unprepared for The Call. I’m a longtime listener to the Pub(lishing) Crawl podcast, so I was also a little star-struck hearing your voice on my phone, saying such lovely things about my book, instead of on the computer. Between the podcast, my querying research, and a few days of additional online stalking, I felt like I already knew you well. After hearing about your agenting philosophy and your ideas for how to make Ruin and Refuge stronger, I knew before we hung up that I was probably going to accept your offer.

This was the third Call I've made, so I was pretty comfortable during our conversation (over the moon excited and full of hope, for sure! But I felt like I'd found my groove and knew how to describe myself and the way I work, so that part was easier for me). But then a few days later you let me know you had a competing offer! And I was dead certain I was going to lose you. We went back and forth a few times that week and you had a lot of follow up questions (as you should! Writers: ASK QUESTIONS. ANY AGENT SHOULD BE MORE THAN HAPPY TO ANSWER THEM. And if not? Run). I did my best to give you thorough, nuanced answers and be as open and honest as I could. But my husband had to endure several days of me fretting that I was going to lose out on this incredible project. I was so, so surprised and overjoyed when you accepted my offer. I could not believe it.

Author Asks Agent

What was it about RUIN AND REFUGE that made you feel passionate enough to represent it? And in general, how do you know when you’re reading a submission that it’s something you want to represent?

As soon as I read the first chapter I knew that this book was different, and that I was going to fall in love with it. It's true that the worldbuilding in RUIN AND REFUGE--together with its magical conveniences that mirror our existing technology and the fictional parallels to real world crises--is unique and fascinating. But for me books are always about the characters, and I fell in love with yours. I fell in love with them, and was so moved by their story. And so impressed with you for giving them the space to breathe, to try, and to fail, and to feel a vast, honest range of emotion. You give your characters incredible emotional journeys and you treat those journeys with respect. I knew I had to represent this book, and any others that might follow. I just love the way you write. 

And in general? It's cliché but it's true. When you know, you just know. If I can't stop thinking about a book, if it touched me deeply, if it delights me or lights me up or makes me feel something real. There's some kind of kinetic, magic moment. A jolt of electricity. And I just know: I need to be a part of bringing this book into the world. 

When I was writing my query, I tried to be specific and avoid clichés. What are the most common clichés you find in queries?

Oh, there are many. "Everything will change!" is a really common one. It's easy to lapse into hyperbole because space is limited and you're trying to create tension. And I just wrote my first pitch letter and it was HARD! So I sympathize! But be specific whenever possible; that helps. 

You’ve been an agent almost six months now, how has your style or routine changed now that you’re settling in?

Things are definitely different because now I have clients! Only three, so my list is by no means full. I'm still very much aggressively acquiring. But all three of my clients are active; I'm working to sell your books right now. That means editing, cultivating submission lists and strategies, writing pitches, touching base with editors and establishing new contacts, and so on. That stuff takes up so much time! I just sent out my first submission this past Monday, and I spent almost every single day of the month working almost exclusively on it in some respect or another. And then any free time I had was spent editing for my other clients, and then trying to get through my requested reading. I'm still responding to queries that were sent in April!

My days are now spent on client management and editor relationships. Evenings and weekends are for queries and reading. Once I get through this round of edits and subs things will be quiet on the client front and then I'll throw my energy into building my list again. A friend of mine who is also an agent once told me that the work flow will have a natural life cycle of taking on new clients, prepping those projects, selling those projects, then taking on new clients. I'm finding that to be true!

As a writer there are several other writers who’ve mentored me along the way. Do you have any mentors as an agent?

I've got so many publishing and agenting mentors, going back years and years! So many people have supported me and given me advice throughout my career and I'm immensely grateful to them all. At this stage the people I'm leaning on most are the other agents at D4EO--particularly Bob Diforio and Quressa Robinson. I'm also a member of a private group for young (in career, not necessarily age!) agents and it's been invaluable to have that resource to turn to for advice or encouragement or support.

I’ve been a long-time listener to your podcast. What other podcasts about writing or publishing would you recommend?

So many!

How Story Works from Chipperish Media's Lani Diane Rich
First Draft with Sarah Enni
Minorities in Publishing with Bev Rivero and Jenn Baker
Shipping and Handling with Jennifer Udden and Bridget Smith
88 Cups of Tea with Yin Chang
The Manuscript Academy Podcast
The Loft Literary Podcast

Rachael Garza Photo by Wes Hope

Rachael Garza
Photo by Wes Hope

Growing up in Northern Virginia, Rachael Garza was the kind of kid who had to fold up her giant, hand-drawn fantasy maps every night before the family could eat dinner. She dreamed of careers in archaeology and diplomacy before finally finding her niche in education. She currently teaches ESL in Tennessee, advocating for children from immigrant families and helping them find their voices. Her career in TESOL also took her to Turkey, where she spent all of her free time exploring ancient ruins and drinking tea. She enjoys taking pictures of her cat, dissecting and crafting stories, all things miniature, and avoiding household chores. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram as @Rachael846.

Client Spotlight: Adrienne Proctor

Client Spotlight is a feature on the blog to highlight the incredibly talented writers I work with. I ask them a few questions about their writing and querying process and then they get to turn the tables and pose a few questions to me. Today I'm talking with Adrienne Proctor. 

Agent Asks Author

Tell us about your book!

My book is a young adult contemporary fantasy about a young art forger named Mara. She paints spells in her forgeries that she uses to rob her clients, and she's on the run from her tutor who wants to use her abilities for her own purposes. There's some kissing with a mohawked tattoo artist, lots of magic...and did I mention the kissing?

You don't write in chronological order, right? Tell us a little bit about your writing process!

I've never been able to write a story from beginning to end. Maybe if I was a little bit more of a plotter than a pantser! But usually when I'm writing, a lot of different steps happen all at once. I'm exploring the character while drafting, going back and editing what I wrote the day before then drafting some more, filling in a structure outline, then jumping from a scene in the middle to one near the end. It's a pretty chaotic process, but it works for me.

For this novel, I started with the idea of spells hidden within paintings. I let it sit in my head for a while until a character started to form around that idea. Since I love antiheroes, I thought it might be interesting to make her an art forger, so I let my imagination play around with that. Then I began to envision her interacting within her world. Once I had a couple specific lines of dialogue and a concrete action, that's when I took pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and began writing. I think I started with a scene where she's breaking into a house, which is currently several chapters in. Then I jumped to the scene where she meets the love interest, several more chapters away, toward the end of the first act.

I love creating the character and the world through this process. My brain just won't work if I'm staring at a blank outline. At some point, usually once I have a fair amount of scenes worked out, I refer to my story structure outline. I'll make sure I'm hitting the right beats, and I can figure out what else I need to flesh out the story.

Why did you decide to query me? 

You seemed perfect for my manuscript, and for me!

I'd queried this manuscript a little bit, and while the idea seemed to interest agents, the writing just wasn't getting any requests. So I made two huge decisions. Well, three. First, I decided to change the book from Adult to YA. I felt my voice possibly read too young and some of themes might be better suited for YA. Second, I changed the tense of the entire manuscript, from first person present to first person past. Once I was finished (and what a tedious job that was!), I saw on Twitter that you'd just opened to queries, and you seemed like an amazing agent.

So my third big decision was sending you my second query for my re-vamped manuscript. And you requested the full WITHIN THIRTY MINUTES!

I did! And then you made me wait THREE DAYS before you sent it! I was in agony. The voice in your manuscript grabbed me immediately. Nailing an authentic, compelling voice is a common struggle for writers; Any tips to share?

Oh, gosh. Voice is HARD. When I was writing this book, I kept asking myself lots of questions. Based on Mara's backstory and experiences, how would Mara view this other character's appearance/demeanor/decision? Are her thoughts something she would voice out loud or would she keep them to herself? Would a particular event resonate on an emotional level or is it something she would barely pay attention to?

I just tried to keep in mind that everything happening in the manuscript was coming through the filter of my character, especially since I was writing in first person.

Also, I would, and still do, refer to books I love and examine how the writer created her own unique voice. Not to copy her style, but to examine the passages that drew ME in, and to analyze what I think makes them effective. It helps me to know what I like and then try to infuse my own writing with those qualities.

Tell us about The Call!

I was so nervous! I'm not usually a phone person, even though my day job is to call clients for hours straight. I had a list of researched questions, and I tried to sound as professional as possible, even though I was jumping up and down on the inside.

Before we spoke, I was almost certain I wanted you as my agent. Then you hit the ground running with your offer of representation, and it took everything I had not to blurt out I ACCEPT! The same thing went for the end of the call. I hung up knowing I was going to say yes. I was looking for an editorial agent like you, and you spoke so enthusiastically about my writing that I knew you'd be a strong advocate for it. I had other queries out, and I gave them the requisite week. But I'll tell you, that was the longest week of my life!

Author Asks Agent

Assuming you have some time for personal reading, what recent books have you read and loved?

The lack of pleasure-reading time is one of the only truly hard things about this job, but I make sure to prioritize it when I can. For the year 2017 (with the obvious exception of client manuscripts and other work-required reading) I've committed to reading and purchasing books written exclusively by authors from marginalized or oppressed groups, including but not limited to POC and Native authors, authors with disabilities, LGBTQIA authors, those from underrepresented countries, cultures, and religions, and neurodiverse authors. I've been trying to diversify my reading for a long time now, and was never able to achieve a good balance, so I decided to go all in. My favorites thus far have been THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas, WINTERSONG by my dear friend S. Jae-Jones, and AMERICAN STREET by Ibi Zoboi. Next up on my list is THE GAUNTLET by Karuna Riazi. 

What advice would you give to aspiring agents? Or what was the best advice you've ever gotten?

Agenting is about more than loving books. Of course loving books is a huge part of agenting, and the publishing industry in general. We all love books. That's why we're here. But loving books is not going to be enough to sustain you. Agenting is hard work, most of it done upfront for no pay (remember, agents don't make money until the author makes money.  We are answering queries and reading requests and editing manuscripts and calling editors and pitching books all before we ever see a paycheck). Agenting is about books, yes, but also about establishing relationships and match-making. It's about sales and career management. It's about contract negotiation and advocating for authors. The reading and editing is only a very small sliver of what agents do, and I think a lot of people enter this profession without knowing how truly difficult the work is, and how much hustle it requires. So, I would tell aspiring agents to think holistically about the job, and then embrace every aspect of it. You've gotta love books, yes, but you've gotta love authors more. You have to be willing to go to the mat for them.

And the best advice I've ever been given was from the infamous Janet Reid, of course. Way back in 2008--when I was just a publishing baby, an assistant at a literary agency--I somehow ended up having drinks with Janet and a mentor of mine. I was fantasizing about my future career as I sipped my craft cocktail and Janet asked me what I liked to read and what I'd want to represent when I started building a client list someday. I gave a very earnest answer about how I just loved literature of all kinds! All books are so beautiful and precious and I just love them all! And Janet shot me the stink eye over the rim of her glass and said something along the lines of, "That's an amateur's answer. Nobody loves everything. Cultivate taste. Figure out what you care about. Then work your ass off." I popped like a balloon and spent the rest of the evening mortified, but of course she was right. I didn't really love everything then, and I don't love everything now. Figuring out my taste and where that taste sits in the market was crucial. It helps me ensure that I connect with authors for the right reasons and can advocate for them to the very best of my ability. 

What is the most unexpected thing about being an agent, so far?

Imposter syndrome. Even with my resume, I still sometimes wake up and wait for someone to say, "Wait a minute! That's not a literary agent, it's three toddlers in a trench coat!" I didn't expect to feel that way after all my time in the industry, but I guess that's the thing about imposter syndrome: it doesn't care who you are or what you've done. It comes to get you anyway!

I'm a huge procrastinator. And you're able to get through hundreds(!) of queries a month, on top of the rest of your professional obligations. Do you have any strategies to share for time management?

Time is my enemy! I never feel like I'm managing it to the best of my ability, but I think I'd always feel that way no matter what. There's just so much to do! Organization helps. I sort my email into folders. Whenever possible I try to sort queries right away: Request, Reject, or Maybe. I don't actually respond to queries as they come in (unless it's a request, which usually happens quickly) but sorting them for later helps. I also try to carve my days up into blocks of time. Each day is different, but starting with a To Do list and a schedule helps keep me on track. 

I also live and die on external validation (Gryffindor forever) so being accountable to my clients, to editors, and to querying authors helps keep me motivated. If I have to do something for myself I tend to drag my feet, but when I have to do something for someone else I'm on it! Transparency is an important value for me as an agent. I want to be open about the things I'm working on because I think it's an important way to maintain trust. So I post monthly #querystats here on the blog so that querying writers know where I'm at with those, and I check in with my authors so they know what I'm working on and what is coming down the line. 

I think passion and organization are the best tips I have to offer. Find a way to care about whatever it is you need to do (even if it sucks, find some way to connect to the task), and create organizational tools that help you function as seamlessly as possible. And don't be afraid to chalk up a loss. Some days suck and nothing gets accomplished. Just don't let that bleed into the next day. Try to always start fresh. 

Adrienne Proctor is a fantasy writer working in Richmond, Virginia. When she's not writing, she enjoys archery, playing board games with her kids, and taking care of her insane chickens. You can follow her on Twitter @almccall and sometimes you can find her on her neglected blog.

Client Spotlight: Kayti Nika Raet

Client Spotlight is a feature on the blog to highlight the incredibly talented writers I work with. I ask them a few questions about their writing and querying process and then they get to turn the tables and pose a few questions to me. Today I'm talking with Qurratulayn Muhammad, who writes under the pen name Kayti Nika Raet.

Agent Asks Author

Can you tell us a little bit about your book?
BLOOD AND BREATH is a young adult historical fantasy set in a 1920's style magical world about a girl who hires a devil to get revenge on the people who tried to kill her.

Plus some other stuff. And some romance ^_^

What's your writing process like?
I try to write a thousand words a day and have a first draft completed in 3 months, with a nice clean version finished by 6 months.

BLOOD AND BREATH turned out a little differently. I started it during National Novel Writing Month back in 2015. I didn't win, but I did end up with 23,000 words, which stayed on the back burner until I finished my dystopian series. I was worried I would have trouble getting back into the world but that was do NOT the case! Jack and Evan were super talkative, and I love them for it.

A thousand words a day is incredible! And I can definitely testify to the truth of that; you turned in your first round of revisions in two weeks! Why did you decide to pursue traditional publishing after self-publishing your first series?
I wanted to try things differently. With self publishing, it's very hands on, and you wear many hats. As someone who likes to learn as much as possible I enjoy that aspect, but that also means I want to try new things and with BLOOD AND BREATH I get a chance to find out how things work in a more traditional route.

What made you decide to query me?
As soon as I started the query process I gave myself a limit of 50 agents to query. You were the 52nd (good thing I didn't listen to myself!) A friend of mine Madhuri Pavamani (her book DUTCH, which is seriously amazing, comes out April 4th and I make a brief cameo!)  tagged me in your tweet where you announced that you were now open to submissions.

I swear, you were the fastest person to ever ask for a full (TWENTY MINUTES!) and I spent the weekend going KYAAAAAA! and also cautioning myself to calm down.

You queried me the first day I announced that I'd opened to queries! I knew immediately that I wanted to request the full manuscript. Your opening chapter had me desperate to read on and find out what happened next. I'm surprised it took 20 minutes; felt like 20 seconds! It actually felt like my world was collapsing in on itself as everything clicked into place for me. Not only did I know I was going to request the full manuscript right away and probably extend an offer of representation, I also knew with certainty that making this career switch was the right choice. Needless to say, I'M SO GLAD that you didn't stick to your 50 agents cap. Proud number 52 forever!

Obviously, I devoured your manuscript and loved it. So tell us about The Call!

My thought process was "be calm, be professional, stop sweating... ASDFGHJKL!"

So I'm sure I came off just the tiniest bit stiff, but I was grinning from ear to ear the whole time. Also the fact that you got my name on the first try earned you instant bonus points.

I was 95% sure I wanted to sign with you by the end of the call but I still had some fulls out and was referred to an agent so I wanted to let them know.

Cue longest week ever! But it was one filled with random happy dances. I still break out into them on occasion. I can't wait to see where things lead.

Author Asks Agent

What were your favorite books to read growing up and does that influence what you look for?
Oh, good question! I was a voracious reader as a kid, and read everything from Baby Sitters Club to Jane Eyre (which I read when I was 12 and it kinda messed me up for a bit!). We had a family tradition of reading aloud which carried on until I was a freshman in high school. The book I remember most, that had the largest impact on me, was THE SECRET GARDEN because we read it when I was around 7 years old and I remember that it was the first time I was allowed to take a turn reading. It felt like a huge rite of passage to me. 

I don't think the books I read in my childhood really influence what I'm seeking because, honestly, the publishing landscape for children's fiction has changed so dramatically in the last 20 years! There's such a depth and richness to children's fiction now. And YA didn't even really exist when I was growing up. There was Judy Blume and then a vast expanse of nothing. Which is why I read a lot of adult books at a young age. So instead I seek books that tell the stories I wish I'd had as a kid, or stories that I want my daughter to have as she grows up, or stories that touch me now, right where I am in my life. Books for me are about connection and identity; I read to feel something, and to better understand people and the world and my own self. 

I love your blog and how you give us a peek at things from the agent perspective (So. Many. Emails.) What made you decide to become an agent?
I actually started my career at a literary agency way back in 2007 when I still lived in New York, and I knew right away that it's what I wanted to do. Up until I got my first internship I'd never really considered publishing as real jobs that people do. Despite intellectually knowing better, it always sort of seemed to me as those books sprung onto bookshelves fully-formed, a la Athena from the head of Zeus. I never thought too much about the massive teams of people responsible for putting books out into the world.  

I was a Writing major and an English minor, which meant I was either going to become a teacher or a novelist. Turns out I really like starting drafts and don't so much like finishing them. And while I have the utmost respect for teachers, I wasn't equal to the bureaucratic hurdles that come with working in education.  So when I discovered literary agencies, it was a perfect fit. Creative, critical work that has the power to make a difference in people's lives. 

Unfortunately I moved to Minnesota in 2009 and I sort of set my dream of agenting aside to work in publishing houses instead. I learned so much, and I'm so grateful for the experience I gained on the publishing side of the fence. I really missed working more intimately with authors, though, so I started teaching some publishing-related courses on the side. But rather than satisfy me, teaching just made me realize that advocating for authors was the only thing I wanted to do for my career. Luckily, the landscape of publishing has changed so much in the last ten years; working remotely as an agent is viable now in a way it wasn't back when I left NYC. And because I'd continued to work in the publishing industry gaining new skills and areas of expertise, like contract negotiation and management, I knew I'd be an attractive candidate for a literary agency. Then it was just the matter of finding the right place! I'm so thrilled to have connected with Bob and come on board D4EO. 

How was your first day as an agent like? Did it go how you expected? Any surprises?
To be honest, it was surreal. I work out of my home, and on my first day I didn't even have a desk set up. I worked on my bed. I was terrified. I remember opening up my laptop and thinking: what if no one queries me? What am I going to do all day? What if I've made a terrible mistake? 

Because the other part of this is that agenting is a lot of work upfront for no pay. Agents don't get paid a dime until their clients get paid (and if any agent tries to tell you differently, RUN). I resigned from a well-paying publishing job to become an agent, and it was frightening to walk away from a steady salary. I'm really fortunate that my family is financially stable, and my husband is incredibly supportive of my career ambitions. But we have a small daughter, and I have to tell you, there was a few moments on that first day when I was sure I had just totally ruined my entire life. 

But then queries started coming in and all my fears faded. There was of course, one other annoying voice. A voice that told me I couldn't possibly request a manuscript on the first day. That was preposterous. Well, shut up, voice, I do what I want! And since that manuscript was BLOOD AND BREATH I'm so glad I did!

What was The Call like on your end?
I. was. terrified. I spent the entire morning taking notes. I have about four pages of hand-written notes, front and back, about your book and why I loved it, and about my experience, and my skill set, and my vision for your career. As a brand new agent with no sales record I knew it would take a big leap of faith for an author to sign with me over a more established agent. But I knew I had a decade of career experience in my favor, and I thought if I could just convince you how desperately I loved your book I'd have a chance...

I still didn't have a desk at the time, so I pulled a little folding table into my bedroom and sat on the edge of my bed and made the call from there! I have never felt imposter syndrome like I did for that hour on the phone! But fortunately I made the right impression. When you emailed me a week later to accept I literally jumped up out of my seat and started screaming!

Thanks so much for talking with me, Kayti! I can't wait for everything the future holds for you and for BLOOD AND BREATH! (PS. I have a desk now).

Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Kayti Nika Raet moved down South when she was 11, where she was bitten by the writing bug, as well as other, less friendly insects. She is the author of the Outsider Chronicles, a five book series starting with NIKO and set in a world where the rain burns like acid and flesh eating monsters roam. She's also a reviewer for Readers' Favorite and has her own Youtube Channel: Kayti Edition. When she is not hard at work on her next book she has fun reading, listening to K-pop, and photography. Kayti lives in Milledgeville, Georgia.  You can find her on twitter @KNRwrites.