Friday, June 04, 2010

Interview with Soon-to-be-Published Author India Drummond!

I am so thrilled to have an interview today with friend and writer India Drummond, who has just signed a contract to have her novel Ordinary Angels published!

India and I 'met' through our blogs and Twitter -- over a year-and-a-half ago now! Through phone calls and emails, we've shared the pain of trying to get published, lots of laughs and a little (OK, quite a bit) of snark, too. India gives the best critiques ever, and she's been so helpful to me in my own journey to get published. I've read Ordinary Angels and I think she has a hit on her hands!

Here's the blurb:

Most of Zoë’s friends are dead, but she doesn’t mind because they died long before she met them. Then one Tuesday night an angel takes her salsa dancing and turns her world upside down. Grim reality closes in when she discovers a body in her company’s boiler room and Higher Angels accuse her best ghost friend of murder. Knowing she’s the only one who can stand against them, Zoë resorts to lying, stealing and summoning. In the end, getting blood on her hands forces Zoë to question herself.

You’re an American living in Scotland writing about angels. Tell us more about how you got to Scotland and the paranormal!

I moved to Scotland nine years ago after marrying a Certain Highlander. We'd met a few years before when we had been working at an American company on their Y2K project (remember those?) and became good friends. A few years later we got back in touch, found we were both single, and he said the single most romantic thing I've ever heard uttered: "I can't let you go again." (Awww!) Actually, the kernel of the idea of Ordinary Angels came from him. He was saying to me one morning after a rambunctious bout of mischief (you have to watch those Highlanders... very mischievous), "What?!?! I'm a perfect angel!" And I replied something along the lines, "Yeah, some kinda crackhead angel you would make." This silly moment made me think about what angels would be like if they were real. The story unfolded naturally from there.

You’re going to have your first book published. What was the process to get there, and what’s it about?

The road to publication has been fraught, as it is for most authors! I had my share of rejection from agents, and then I started doing the math. I realised that most agents want celebrities, people with huge platforms, or experts in a field because they need a book to be a super-seller before they can make much money. Remember they're making 15% of a paperback's 5-10% royalty. That's why a debut author with no sales record is such a risk. So after banging my head against that wall with requests for partials and even fulls that would get "almost, but not quite" replies, I decided to look at smaller presses that would take submissions without agents. This year I sent to three publishers, one of which was Lyrical Press. They offered me a great contract, their authors love them, and their standards are really high (judging from their books I have purchased and read for myself), so I know I made the right choice!

What’s the one thing you found most frustrating about the journey to publication? And what’s the best thing once you have a signed contract?

The biggest frustration by far is the uncertainty. Is my work any good? Am I wasting my time? I felt like the school dork asking the class president to the prom... over and over every day! I can't tell you how great it felt to get a "Yes!" The best thing about having that contract is the surge in confidence it gave me. Making it over that first hurdle told me I could jump all the ones to come. Since receiving that contract, I've really been feeling energised and inspired on my current works-in-progress.

Describe your writing space.

I have a PC in a home office I share with a Certain Highlander. I tend to get up early in the mornings, so I have a couple hours to myself before he comes in and starts bothering me. (I swear it's what he lives for!) Recently, though, I did get a new laptop, and I've enjoyed the mobility. Now I sometimes write in the living room or the bedroom. I'm not as pernickety about these things as I used to be. The more I write, the more naturally it comes... no matter where I am.

What are you working on now? An epic on sheep farming in the Scottish Highlands?

Sorry! No sheep in this one. Will have to work some into a story sometime. I have to admit, I love the sheep. So adorable! I have a few projects that I've been tinkering with, but the one that is getting the most attention is a romantic sci-fi called Wildings. The blurb will go something like this (although it's still rough, I admit): The Overlords have captured Avid, a rogue human, and discovered he has a psychic ability which makes him incredibly valuable in their society. They send him to be trained by Rain, a telepathic slave who is both repulsed and fascinated by the Outland barbarian. He must somehow convince her to give up everything she's ever known and to help him escape before it's too late.

And finally, a question of utmost importance: cupcakes or donuts?

Ooh, that's a tough one! I'm such a tart for pastries. (I know... bad pun. Sorry!) I'd say I'd take either, as long as it came with sprinkles.

Thank you, India, and CONGRATULATIONS! If you can, please hop over to India's blog to say hi!


  1. Thank you so much for hosting my very first interview! I can't tell you how giddy and excited I am, and it's such fun to get to announce the news.

    Thanks also for all the support and friendship. Having supportive writer-friends really makes such a huge difference on those days when I don't want to get out of bed, much less put pen to paper!

    Sprinkles! :)

  2. Great interview. Congrats India for getting your first book in the hands of the right publisher. May you have many more in your future.

  3. Great interview, Talli. Congrats India on your first book. Actually, I learned much from this interview, ie, hadn't thought about a publisher that doesn't require agents. Think Lyrical Press is in the UK, tho. India, I read the most delightful book about sheep that solve a murder mystery. On the western England/Scotland border. Not that I'm suggesting this (too many sheep, not enough murders), but there is something about sheep that adds charm. Good luck with your next book!

  4. Aw, thank you, India! Whatever would we do without the support of writerly friends, who really 'get it'?

    Kitty, I like the sounds of that book! :)

  5. Fantastic interview, both of you! I really enjoyed getting to know India. And your books sound awesome. I can't wait to see them in print. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Congratulations India on getting your book accepted! Yay! This was a fun interview, Talli!
    India, I've talked about 'ordinary angels' for years so was very intrigued to see this post. There was a theatre company called Ordinary Angels too. Fantastic idea!

  7. What a great interview! I love your name, India and I'm sure your 'Certain Highlander' is very proud of your accomplishments.

    I glad you stuck it out on your writing road. I'm glad you never turned back.


  8. Thanks, Talli. Another book going on the list!

    Congrats, India!!!

  9. Now I just feel stupid. How is it that I follow India's blog and I had no idea was she getting ready to be published?!?

    I'm such a goob! Anyhoo....CONGRATS India. That's wonderful news.


  10. Congratulations, India! And you're right about what agents want. Glad I didn't bang my head on that wall for long either.

  11. Congratulations, India, what a huge accomplishment and I love the sound of your book, us Celts love anything with spirits in it, must check out your blog, thanks, Talli.

  12. What a story-wow!! Well the book sounds interesting! Good luck to you!

  13. Talli this was fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing the wonderful gem India!

    Wow what a book, I can see why they took a chance on you, that sounds very good as does your latest work in progress so I'm very excited to see how it all pans out! Just know I'll be on the list to buy one of the first copies!!

    Excellent pastry question! I just had donuts this morning and they were delicious!

  14. Hello India! It's great to 'meet' you. And congrats on your book! I have to tell you that I'm slightly jealous of your Scottish home... and the Certain Highlander you share it with :) There is nothing quite like a Scotsman.

    And thank you for hosting the interview Talli!

    I totally understand the 'not quite there' responses from agents. I've gotten told several times recently that my writing was 'smart' and 'commercial' but they were passing - for valid reasons - but still! Agony. It's great to know that you've had a good experience with a smaller press and without an agent. That's something I've been considering.

    I'm all about pastries myself. America doesn't have them like the amazing concoctions you can get in Ireland. And the meat pies! Oh save me from the bliss that is a genuine meat pie!

  15. Congratulations! Hope I can visit Scotland again someday soon and then I can have my copy signed by the author herself, hee hee! :-)

  16. Thanks girls for the great interview!

  17. Great interview and congrats to India on the book deal. I feel so blessed to be in such great company here in my personal little corner of the blogosphere. :)

  18. Thank you, everyone, for all the kind words and well-wishes. I'm on my way to visit your blogs and get to know you a little too!

    @Kittie: Lyrical Press is in NYC.

    @Jan: The title comes from a line in the book where one of the angels is talking to a human, and something like, "No, we ordinary angels can't do x,y,z." I thought it was a perfect phrase for the title.

    @Justine: Hee! Sorry! I have been keeping it all under wraps while we were still negotiating the contract, just in case everything went pear-shaped. It's been tough though! I thought I would burst trying to keep quiet about it.

  19. Thanks Talli and India. It's always fun to share in another writer's journey to publication. I've been reading a lot about the benefits of small presses, they seem to be really gaining in popularity. The very best wishes with your book!

  20. Great interview. Good luck to India.

  21. Great interview! What a wonderful story about you and your husband :) And it's wonderful how he inspired you to write this novel.

    Good luck with LPI! I've had a wonderful time working with them myself.

  22. Great interview. It's so interesting to hear people's paths to getting published. Her first book sounds great, and her second book sounds exactly like something I'd buy, so I hope she hurries up and writes/publishes it.

  23. Awesome interview - great questions and I loved getting to know a little more about India and that fantastic news!!

  24. CONGRATS India! (that really was a very romantic thing for your Highlander to say:)

    Fun interview, ladies! I adore you both.

    Happy weekend!

  25. I'm sure what sold the book was the writing, but you also have such a unique story line! I love it.

    Straight From Hel

  26. Well done India Drummond!!! good for you for being resilient and determined and doing your research and getting a great contract and all published!!


    Thanks Talli for a fab interview!!

    Go girlz!!! :-)

    Take care

  27. Talli, great interview. This sounds like a wonderful book.

    Best of luck India.

    Thoughts in Progress

  28. That's really interesting that India had such a good experience with a smaller press--a good reminder that there are so many roads to publication and it's important to find one that suits you. Very cool! Thanks, Talli

  29. Nice interview, Talli & India. Your premise sounds like it feasibly could lead to more than *Ordinary Angels*. You're both troopers! Well done!

  30. how cool!! what a fantatsic interview!

    best of luck to you both :D : D

  31. Such a wonderful interview! Loved the fact that she felt like the school dork there for awhile while waiting for publication. Such a great analogy.

    Thanks for sharing this with us!

  32. Wonderful interview, Talli! Congratulations, India, your book sounds fantastic!!!

  33. Great interview, Talli! I love the hard-hitting question about cupcakes vs. doughnuts. ;)

    India, congratulations times 100! I hope someday soon I'm able to be in your published shoes. :) I have to admit, although I'm super-happily married, I'm a little envious that you get to live in Scotland and hear that delicious brogue every day. *swoon-sigh* ;)

  34. Congratulations, India! The blurb sounds absolutely intriguing, and I will definitely have to check it out when it comes out. :)

    Thanks for a great interview, Talli.

  35. Great interview!!

    And that book sounds amazing! I'm going to have to checks that out when it's published! Thanks!

  36. Congratulations (again), India! Yaaaay so excited for you! Thanks for doing the interview, Talli, it was such fun to read!

    I've said this before, but the book sounds awesome and I am dying to get a peek at it! *bats lashes sweetly*

  37. What a great interview. After writing for 20 years I still love to read about writers.

  38. Excellent interview, thanks both. (I was nodding away there at the 'uncertainty' thing.

    Congratulations, India - and very best of luck with it! I'll be buying a copy - can't wait!


  39. India well done on not bursting! And congrats again :)

  40. Congrats, India! You book sounds wonderful! Great interview. I'll go visit your blog.

  41. Great interview and advise on why researching publishers is so important! Looking forward to seeing India's book.

  42. First of all--Talli, OMG I CAN'T BELIEVE I WASN"T FOLLOWING YOUR BLOG. I totally thought I was. Major #ShannonFail

    Second, great interview. Thank you so much for introducing me to another great writer. Hopping over to make sure I'm following her blog too.

    Happy Friday, and have a great weekend!

  43. Great interview. Congratulations India. I'm looking forward to the book.
    Off to check out the blog now. :)

  44. Nice interview, and wonderful wonderful news. Will the book be available in the States?

  45. Ah Talli, this is why I love blogging, there are such good stories like this one. Lovely interview ladies! I am looking forward to reading your book, India! I am a softee for Angels. Now, will hop on over and check out your blog! ;)

  46. Congratulations, India - can't wait to read the book.

    Great post Talli.


  47. The book sounds marvelous - lots of fun with a unique concept. Love it! Congrats again, India!

    Thanks for hosting, Talli!

  48. Talli,
    Funny question about an epic on sheep farming!

    Really enjoyed learning more about this book and the writing habits of India.

    Wish I had 50 hour days so I could spend half the time reading all these books I'm learning about on blogger alone! Really, there are so many talented writers out there.

    Congratulations to India to getting published and her next book sounds just as intriguing!

  49. Fabulous interview! Thanks for posting, Talli, and congrats to you, Ms. Drummond!

    I cannot wait for that "surge in confidence" you were talking about. It's not that I don't think my work is good (I love my work!) but I'm still just as doubtful as to its likability as every other new or unpublished author. And I know all too well about feeling like a dork! : P

  50. Interesting interview! I love reading author interviews like this one because it's great to read about how newly published authors "made it". I especially liked the author's comparison of writing to "the school dork asking the class president to the prom...over and over every day", because I think we can all relate to that sense of uncertainty and fear that comes with writing.

  51. @JMStrother: Yes, Lyrical Press is a US publisher. The book will come out first in a eBook version, to be followed later by a print release in the US. I've been told the book will be available worldwide, but I don't know as much about their non-US distribution yet.

    To everyone else.. WOW! Thank you all so much for taking the time to read this and the announcement on my own blog as well. It's been wonderful to get to spend the day here at Talli's, and getting to know all of you a little bit too by visiting your blogs as well.

    And special thanks to Talli for inviting me for my very first interview as a soon-to-be published author.

    You've all made me feel like a star!

  52. A big thank you Talli for this wonderful interview.

    Loud clapping and hip hip hooraying to India and congratulations on your publishing deal. I anxiously look forward to the release of your book. Have added it to the my must read list.

  53. Great interview! I love India - she's the best! :)

  54. Great interview, Talli.

    I love hearing more about you, India. And I love hearing your love story. Great line from your guy!

    Congratulations on your book deal. I wish you much success.


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