Interview with Author Lisa Desrochers & Contest

Personal Demons
Today we have the privilege of talking with Lisa Desrochers, debut author of the upcoming YA novel Personal Demons.  I was able to read an ARC of Personal Demons this past weekend while I was at RWA and let me tell you, whoever wins Lisa's book this week is in for a treat.  Who can resist a love triangle with a kick-butt heroine, a sexy demon, and a drool-worthy angel?  Seriously--good stuff, people.

Here's the blurb:
If you had to choose between Heaven and Hell, which would it be?

Are you sure about that...?

Frannie Cavanaugh is a good Catholic girl with a wicked streak. She's spent years keeping everyone at a distance--even her closest friends--and it seems her senior year will be more of the same...until Luc Cain enrolls in her class. No one knows where he came from, but Frannie can't seem to stay away from him. What she doesn't know is that Luc works in Acquisitions--for Hell--and she possesses a unique skill set that has the king of Hell tingling with anticipation. All Luc has to do is get her to sin, and he's as tempting as they come. Frannie doesn't stand a chance. 

Unfortunately for Luc, Heaven has other plans, and the angel, Gabe, is going to do whatever it takes to make sure that Luc doesn't get what he came for. And it isn't long before they find themselves fighting for more than just her soul. 

But if Luc fails, there will be Hell to pay...for all of them.

Lisa, tell us a little bit about yourself.

I scribe YA novels. Look for my debut, PERSONAL DEMONS, from Tor/Macmillan on September, 14 2010. My omnipotent uberagent is Suzie Townsend at FinePrint Literary Management. When I'm not writing, I'm torturing some poor unsuspecting patient, lecturing in some less-than-exotic city...or blogging...or maybe just sleeping, but that doesn't sound nearly as cool.

Was Personal Demons the first novel you wrote or are there manuscripts tucked under your bed?
I started writing in the summer of 2008 on a total whim. I wrote a book for my daughter’s birthday and gave that to her in October that year. She’s the only one who’s seen that manuscript. Thing is, I totally caught the writing bug and wrote another book in November of that year, which I’ve since revised for my truly fabulous agent. Personal Demons was my third novel. I wrote it in February and March 2009.

What was your querying process like?  Do you have any advice to those who are about to embark on the querying journey?
I took a few months to clean up Personal Demons and started querying in June. What I realized almost immediately is that I didn’t clean it up enough. I got full requests from the first four agents I queried and panicked because I was suddenly sure it wasn’t good enough. In the end, I sent out 21 queries, had twelve manuscript requests and singed with Suzie in September.
 My best advice to those getting ready to query is 1) Don’t query too soon. Revise and polish until you can’t stand to look at your reflection in your manuscript another second. If your manuscript is as good as it can possibly be, you’ll have no regrets no matter what happens. 2) Research agents. I don’t just mean check their agency profile. I mean find out what they represent already and what they’ve sold. Read interviews they’ve done. Read their blog if they have one. Make sure they’re a good fit for your manuscript.

What’s been the most surprising part of the whole process since you’ve landed your book deal?  The most challenging?  The most fun?
The most surprising part was definitely when one of my very favorite authors, Melissa Marr, recommended Personal Demons. It never occurred to me that an author that was one of my primary roll models would ever read my book. The fact that she read it and didn’t hate it did wonders for my confidence. I don’t know if it really qualifies as challenging, but learning how the whole publishing process works has been a real eye-opener. The most fun is the foreign translation rights sales. We’ve sold Personal Demons in seven territories so far and are in negotiations in two others. It’s fun to think that there will be something out there in the world that I wrote but can’t read. =)

What’s the best piece of writing advice you have ever received?
Write your story. I think it’s easy for aspiring writers get caught up in thinking they need to write a certain type of book in a certain way. The road to publication is rough. It’s rougher if you’re not loving what you’re doing.

Thanks so much to Lisa for spending some time with us today and be sure to hop on over to Julie's blog to see the rest of the interview to hear about Lisa's writing process, the challenge of planning sequels, and how she found her agent.  Also, don't forget to pick up a copy of her book September 14!

And remember, one of the prizes for our TOTALLY EPIC (I just like typing that) contest is an ARC of Personal Demons.  So don't forget to enter.  And if you've already entered, you can still earn an extra entry each day by tweeting our contest.  Fill out the little form below for your bonus entry!

Thanks to everyone who has entered so far and who has blogged/tweeted/facebooked about it.  We really appreciate everyone spreading the word!


**Today's Theme Song (Author's Inspiration for this story)**
"You Found Me" - The Fray
(player in sidebar, take a listen)