Friday, March 9, 2012

Our First Forever Waiting Guest is Natalie Whipple!!

The world of publishing can be molasses slow.
As my critique partners and I wait for the molasses to thin, we often joke we're passengers on a ship christened Forever Waiting. There are soooo many people on this ship, so today I thought we'd visit with Natalie Whipple, long time passenger, and author of TRANSPARENT which will be out Summer 2013 by Harper Teen.

Here's a brief synopsis of TRANSPARENT:

On the run from her mind-controlling father, the infamously invisible Fiona McClean hides in a small town, hoping to finally rid herself of the crime world she has always known. But playing at “normal life” with a mother she hates, a brother she can't trust, and a boy she can't stand proves more difficult than she ever imagined. Soon her father is hot on her heels, and it’s up to Fiona to protect not only her family, but the friends who’ve taught her that life doesn’t have to be as lonely and cruel as she thought. 

So Natalie, I went back to your first blog post, My Adventure, dated October 10, 2007. It wasn't until 2011 that TRANSPARENT sold to Harper Teen. In between this time, you faced many rejections, got an agent, your agent left publishing, got another agent, and you started Happy Writers Society. Can you describe in a nut shell what your journey has been like?

Wow, you've done your research! I think you've pretty much covered all the rough spots, but I think I would describe my journey as a real trial-and-error type path. I winged it, maybe too much, and it took me a lot of time to figure out how everything worked.  

I met one of my critique partners through your Critique Partner Classifieds. Can you tell us how your critique partners play a role in your own writing and the journey to publication? 

I'm SO happy to hear you found a crit partner through my experimental classifieds! I've found crit partners to be not only helpful in improving my writing, but also vital to my sanity while pursuing publication. For me, it seemed like no one but other writers understood how rough the journey was, and having friends in the field who got my struggles helped me push forward and ultimately achieve my goals.

Things have changed a lot over the last several years with my crit partners as our paths have taken different turns, but we remain friends and we always support each other where we can. 

What inspired you to write TRANSPARENT?  

I've always loved superheroes, the X-men being a favorite since I was little. So part of the idea definitely comes from growing up with cartoons, comics, anime, and manga. As for the specific story, I really wanted to write "superheroes" in my own way. I was really drawn to writing an invisible MC. It seemed like a cool challenge and I wanted to explore what it might feel like and how someone would be treated if they were really invisible.  

TRANSPARENT is the story about a girl who can become invisible, if you could have any superhuman power what would it be? 

Actually, TRANSPARENT is the story of a girl who is PERMANENTLY invisible. She was born that way and has never been seen. She has no idea what she looks like and struggles a lot with who she is as a person. No easy "go visible whenever you want" invisibility here:)

That said, I think if I could pick a superpower I'd go for teleportation—Jumper-style. I have so many writer friends across the country, and it constantly annoys me that I can't visit them whenever I want to.

Even though you've signed with Harper Teen and are working with your editor, what is the next thing you're waiting to happen with your book? Cover reveal? Blurbs?  

That's the thing about publishing—you are ALWAYS waiting. It doesn't change after you sell a book. Heck, it doesn't even change once the book debuts. You can always find something to wait for if you feel like it. At this point I've stopped letting The Wait get to me, and I'm just focusing on my writing and what's in front of me.

But as for Next Steps, there are still quite a few for me before publication. I haven't seen my cover. I don't have an exact release date. I still have copy edits and galleys and blurbs to face. Hopefully I am able to sell some foreign rights. Who knows? Right now I'm happy to let these things come when they do, and I'll enjoy them when they get here. 

How agonizing is it waiting for summer 2013 to roll around? How do you pass the time?  

I don't know about agonizing. I guess it is if I let myself think about it too much, which I try very hard not to do. I've kept myself busy in the usual way—writing and editing! I've had lots of revisions to do from my editor and agent. I have more ideas for books to write, and that is plenty to keep me busy and happy. As long as I focus on writing—not publishing—I seem to be much happier in general.

To add to that, I have two kids and one on the way, and they certainly keep me on my toes. I also watch much anime and Korean drama, cook and bake, garden, read, quilt, draw, and have recently acquired a goldfish that is still living! I've learned that the best way to "pass the time" is to just live a fun life doing the things I enjoy. Writing used to be my sole focus, and that made me kind of miserable. Now that it's one part of my life, I'm able to enjoy it more, as well as do more things I love.

Thank you so much for spending time with us Natalie! 

If you haven't already, check out Natalie's very fun and informative blog and I highly recommend following her weekly inspirational Happy Writers Society posts.


  1. Sounds like a great twist on the superhero tales - love it! :)

    Crit partners really are vital to our ability to grow and learn. Can't imagine doing this without them!

    1. Yes! Couldn't do it without my crit partners.

  2. Sounds like a great book. And Congrats on both and book. =)