This is a very special Valentine’s Day edition of The Ameri Brit Mom. I am excited to introduce you to my author friend, Kristy Boyce. I first met Kristy at my local chapter of SCBWI. I had no idea that she had been writing a novel about England and once she announced her book deal I was both excited for her and anticipating the release of Hot British Boyfriend.
The Q&A below is based on Kristy’s road to publication. Below she offers great advice for those who aspire to be a published author.
10 Questions with Kristy Boyce
1. Where did you get the ideas or inspiration for your book?
My original inspiration came from teaching a psychology class on “the Self.” We talk a lot about gaining self-knowledge and self-esteem in the class and that led me to write an application multiple-choice question about times when we feel comfortable sharing our “true” selves with others.
I started thinking about how someone would act if they were in a totally new situation for a few months with people they didn’t know. It might be tempting to try acting like someone else because who would know? And you wouldn’t have to keep up the charade forever. Then I decided to set it in England because I love it there! 😉
2. What is your favorite genre to read? How many books do you read monthly/annually?
Well, unsurprisingly, I love reading both young adult and adult romance novels! I also love sinking into a wonderful fantasy series.
I’m not a particularly fast reader so (if I’m lucky) I can finish about one book per week. Oftentimes it’s less than that though.
3. Describe your process of landing an agent.
Hot British Boyfriend was the fourth novel I wrote and the third that I queried. The first time I queried HBB I got full requests followed by rejections. I didn’t know how to improve the book and was about to give up on it, but then I decided to enter PitchWars (a writing mentorship program). My wonderful mentors, Carrie Allen and Sabrina Lotfi, chose me and I’m forever grateful to them. They helped me to rework the novel and then Tara Gonzales with Erin Murphy Literary Agency requested it during the 2019 PitchWars agent showcase and signed me after.
4. What was the process like as you queried publishers?
I did some revisions for my agent and then she sent out the manuscript in early fall of 2019. We were very lucky to hear back from my editor, Catherine Wallace, after about five weeks. I was expecting for the book to be out on submission for a long time, so I was completely shocked when the offer came in!
5. How long did the editing process take? What all did it entail?
Editing with a traditional publisher is an extensive process, even if the manuscript has already been revised many times. My editor and I did two rounds of general revisions, a round of copy edits, then first pass pages and final pass pages.
During the first rounds, I was still changing elements of the plot and working on the emotional arcs for the characters. During copy edits, HarperCollins hired two copy editors to review the manuscript for repetitive words, awkward sentence structure, typos, inconsistencies, and other mistakes. After that, the manuscript was formatted as a PDF and I had two chances to review it for additional mistakes before it went to the printer.
I got my initial offer in October 2019 and I believe we finished all the edits around August of 2020!
6. What tools do you use to strengthen your craft?
I think one of the best things a writer can do is to read both inside and outside their genre so that’s one thing I do. I also beta read for a few friends and that’s always helpful. We can learn so much about writing that way.
7. How did the traditional publishing process enhance your writing?
Traditional publishing isn’t for everyone, but I love that there are so many people invested in making your book the absolute best it can be. Working with my editors has been a blessing and has pushed me to improve my writing immensely. For instance, I think I have a better understanding of pacing, particularly in the first half of the book, and that was something I used to really struggle with when writing.
8. What was it like to open that first box of your books? Describe the feelings and thoughts involved.
It was an incredibly emotional experience. My husband was videotaping the “unboxing” and my son was sitting next to me (and very anxious to see the books himself, lol) so it was definitely a family affair. I was on the verge of tears the entire time, but what tipped me over the edge was opening the book to a random page and seeing my words there. Which is silly because of course my words are printed on the pages—that’s the whole point of publishing!—but holding a “real” book with my dialogue in it was one of the best experiences of my life.
9. What are you looking forward to in your future as an author?
I would love to get to meet some readers in person and talk about the book. Because it came out during the pandemic, I haven’t had any in-person events yet. I’m also looking forward to launching my next book, Hot Dutch Daydream, in 2023!
10. What does your writing practice look like?
Pre-Covid I would often write in libraries or coffee shops, but nowadays I write at my desk at home. I always light a candle and often have a cup of tea by my side. Sometimes I like to write while listening to music—my current favorite is Vitamin String Quartet.
*Bonus Question: What advice do you have for writers who dream of a published book?
There’s lots of advice I could give, but I think my biggest piece of advice is to befriend other writers and hold them close. The entire publishing business can be brutal, and you really need others who understand and can help you through the hard times and celebrate your successes. Some of my closest friends are writers and I’m so thankful for them. I wouldn’t be here without them!
To get your own signed copy of Hot British Boyfriend, use this link (be sure to request the signed copies inthe comments): https://www.covertocoverchildrensbooks.com/book/9780063025912
The Ameri Brit Mom