Today we're chatting with a brilliant writer currently on the rise. Let's welcome Kristan Hoffman.
Hi, Kristan. So glad to have you here. Tell us a bit about yourself.
Recent activities: querying agents, coming up with tons of new ideas, and eating a lot of cookie doh. I mean, dough.
Sounds like you've got your hands full, lol. Let's talk about Twenty-Somewhere. How did you get started writing it?
I started writing Twenty-Somewhere completely for fun. I had no idea where it would take me. But I was hitting a lot of mental walls with my novel, and I desperately wanted something I could see, something I could share, something I could finish! Something that would bring a smile to my face, you know, and hopefully to the faces of readers. So I thought, Why not write about the misadventures of 3 twenty-something girls? Obviously I knew a bit about that.
What are the webisodes about?
Twenty-Somewhere tells the story of 3 best friends: beautiful and confident Sophie Lin, goody-goody aspiring writer Claudia Bradford, and boy-crazy nerd MJ Alexander. They were inseparable throughout their schooling, and then suddenly they’re graduating and going to new places all over the country and even the world. 20SW really shows what modern friendship is like, across thousands of miles and several time zones – how hard it is to keep connected, but how special it can be too.
And of course there are cute guys, and relationship drama, and career problems, and all that good life stuff.
Can you tell us more about the New Adult genre?
Now, the explanation: “New Adult” is a term coined by one editorial team at one publishing house (St. Martin’s Press). They believe that there is a need for more literature that deals with people approx. 18-26 years old, who are transitioning out of adolescence and into “the real world.” Of course, that’s fairly broad criteria and covers a large landscape. “New Adult” could be literary, fantasy, mystery, etc. “New Adult” could be anything.
I hate to plug myself, but for more information I recommend checking out my guest post at Guide to Literary Agents, as well as Uncreated Conscience, the blog of St. Martin’s editorial assistant Sarah Jae-Jones.
When did you decide to make your books available on Amazon?
August openly discussed the process of formatting and publishing “The Variant,” as well as the results (i.e., purchases).
Now, August had his clout as a screenwriter to help sell his work without additional marketing efforts, and of course I didn’t. But I still wanted to see what it would be like to put something out there for people other than my friends and family (who, at the time, were the majority of my blog audience).
The reality is that self-publishing to Amazon was not a financial success for me, but that’s not what I was looking for. What I got out of the experiment was worth much more than money: I got experience. After 20SW went live on Amazon, I went to forums (at Amazon and KindleBoards.com) and “publicized” it a bit. A very little bit. Enough to get feedback from people about what they liked (the idea, the characters) and what they didn’t (all the episodes they had to download). Enough to reconfirm that I didn’t want to go this journey alone; I want an agent and a publishing house to stand beside me and my books.
Understandable. So then, what's your next step?
YALitChat), and to my surprise they were interested. After reading the full story, they have asked me to create a proposal for turning the episodes into a more traditional book. That’s what I’m working on now, and I’m very excited! Through these revisions I am delving deeper into Claudia, MJ, and Sophie’s characters, raising the stakes in their stories, and really honing in on what makes life in your twenties so significant.
Do you have a critique partner or beta readers?
What’s the hardest part of writing that you've struggled through?
What’s the hardest part? All of it!
No no, I’m kidding. Well, mostly.
Time. Time is the hardest part. It’s hard to get, and then when you do get it, it’s hard to make good use of.
Yeah, I keep hearing about this mysterious thing called "time" but I have yet to find it. *wink* Any tips you’ve learned about writing you’d like to share?
Wow, brilliant advice. Who are your inspirations?
My mother. My father. My boyfriend. They’re all tireless workers, I don’t know how they do it. Plus they give me guidance and encouragement, and they’re such good people, you know?
My closest friends (you know who you are). They believe in me so completely. And they don’t mind when I borrow from their real lives. (Not that I ever do that…)
I happen to own a LOT of her books, and I agree with you. Let’s get to know you on a deeper level. What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing.
Truthfully? Not much. Either my computer, or a pen and paper. I don’t have any rituals or lucky underwear or anything like that.
So boring, I know, but it’s all I got!
LOL, not boring. It's obviously working for you.
I examined the tadpoles in the tiny tank and then looked up dubiously at the merchant of Serendipity Sea Life. He had a dirty mustache and a lazy eye, and they made me uncomfortable. I shook my head. “I don’t believe you.”
He shrugged. “Fine. Some other little girl can become a princess then.”
He started to take the tank away, but I put my hand out to stop him. “Wait!” I grimaced at the thought of kissing some slimy toad, but wasn’t it worth a shot?
I dug into my backpack and pulled out all my piggy bank money. Coins and bills dropped noisily onto the counter. “I’ll take two,” I said. “Just in case.”
Wow, it's like a mini story. I love it! Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Who would you like to give a shout out to?
Oh crud, I did that already, didn’t I? Well, I’ll add Riley, my crazy little panda-faced pup. Because he’s adorable and cuddly, and every writer needs someone like that.
How adorable! And finally, where can people find you online?
Everywhere, haha, which is probably a bad thing. My website (kristanhoffman.com – writing dreams into reality) is the central hub, though. From there you can go to my Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Amazon author page, etc.
Oy, I’m sort of an internet junkie…
Aren't we all? *wink* Thanks so much for chatting with us, Kristan. It was great having you here, and good luck with publication!