It’s Liz, so happy to have Korina Moss here with us today as a soon-to-be-published author! I met Korina a few years ago at an event I did with a couple of the Wickeds, and since we lived close by we kept in touch and she was kind enough to share her writing journey with me. I was so happy when she told me she’d found an agent, so I invited her here to share her story. Take it away, Korina!
Thank you, Liz, for having me on your blog. I’ve been a fan of the Wickeds for a long time.
One question readers might like to know is how an author gets her start. Well, look no further—Here I am, getting my start!
The idea for my cozy mystery developed years ago when my son was a toddler. I’d been trying my hand at writing young adult mysteries, but I came to realize that I wasn’t familiar enough with teenagers to write for them. YA books are not the Nancy Drew books of my day. But I liked the feeling of a nice hometown, some good friends, and a clever mystery. I’d started to read cozies and discovered I could write the kind of mystery I wanted with adult characters. So I developed an outline about a married mom of a toddler living in a small college town in Connecticut. I figured when my son started school, I’d finally have time to write it. Unfortunately, he had some challenges that were only illuminated by attending school, and everything else got put on hold for the next eight years. When I finally got back to my book, he was ten.
I decided to still write the book I’d envisioned, but I had to make some changes, mostly due to the burst of technology and social media. For example, I had to take smart phones into consideration, since they’re more pervasive now than when I first came up with the story. I also made the main character a mom blogger. Since her son is still four, I now have to dip into my memories of those pre-school years, but I also have lots of parents on Facebook and Twitter who help me keep up on all things toddler.
It took me two years to write the book and then two more in my quest for an agent. The process went like this: Send to agents, get rejected, revise the manuscript, repeat. It wasn’t until I met some generous cozy mystery authors – several were Wickeds, in fact—did I learn that being a writer doesn’t have to be a solitary endeavor. With their advice, I found an editor. With her suggestions, I turned it into a better book. With all of their encouragement, I gained a newfound confidence. This summer, I finally had three agents interested in representing me.
After all these years envisioning nabbing an agent, I confess, I didn’t think much beyond it. It’s like when you’re pregnant for nine months (or in my case, going through the adoption process for nine months)—you only think of when the baby will finally arrive. That’s it. Hurrah! I finally have what I wanted! But as all of us moms know, that’s not the end, it’s only the beginning. The same holds true for a book.
Once you have an agent – or a baby – you’ll work harder than you ever have in your life. And you’ll be more tired, but also more fulfilled. You do things you didn’t know you were capable of.
And just when you think you know what you’re doing, something new arises and you have to figure your way through it. Nerves and accomplishments go hand in hand. Raising a child and becoming a published author are both exciting journeys.
I spent the entire months of July and August revising my mom blogger mystery for my agent. When she finally said it was ready for her to submit to publishers, I knew that I would no longer be able to put my mark on it. It was like sending my son to his very first day of school—No more straightening his collar or wiping a smudge off his face. Just as I’d done with my son, I now had to let my book stand on its own.
My cozy mystery is now being considered by publishing houses, as my son begins his freshman year of high school. My hopes and fears for both my “babies” are the same: Will they connect with people? Will they flourish?
My fingers are crossed for both.
QUESTION: Readers, have you ever left a project for a long time and then returned to it? What changes did you have to make? What were your results?
Korina Moss is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. Her first cozy mystery short story will be included in an Elm Books anthology titled Death by Cupcake due out in spring 2019. She lives in Connecticut with her teenage son and their cat, Carl.
You can connect via her blog www.korinastake.blogspot.com or twitter @KorinaLMoss