1. What is your name and where do you call home?
Anita Grace Howard, and I live in Texas.
2. Do you have a pen name?
AG Howard for my young adult novels, and then my real name for my adult literature.
3. What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 20 or less words, what would you say?
SPLINTERED : A spinoff of Alice in Wonderland, in which Alice Liddell’s granddaughter has to face the darker side of Wonderland’s whimsy.
4. Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
SPLINTERED has second book potential (and I have that idea plotted out), but I ended it in such a way that it can stand on its own. I have a two book deal with my publisher, so not sure if I’ll write the second SPLINTERED for the next book or if they’ll ask me to do that later if the first does really well. They might have me concentrate on one of my other ideas first. I’ve been playing with a Phantom of the Opera YA spinoff that my editor really likes. They get to choose which book I write next, so we’ll see!
5. What or who inspired you to start writing? And how long have you been writing?
The writing bug didn't bite me as a child, as it does a lot of authors. Sure, I dabbled in goofy "stories". I wrote them with map colors and kept them stashed under my bed. But I never took the ability too seriously. Not until years later, after I'd married, had two children, and lost my grandfather to brain cancer. The night he died, I sat down and wrote a two page tribute to him and his life that was later used for his eulogy. In all honesty, I hold him up as my inspiration, as the end of his journey was to be the beginning of mine.
6. Do you gift books to readers for book reviews?
I’m hoping to get enough copies to do that!
7. How did you come up with the cover? Who designed the cover of your book?
My cover was designed by Amulet’s in house designer, Maria Middleton, and given life by the amazing artistry of Lady Symphonia.
8. Would you have different book covers for different countries?
I kind of hope to, because it would be fun to see all the different versions, and how different artists and designers might perceive the story.
9. How did you come up with the title for your book?
I originally planned to call it THROUGH A SPLINTERED GLASS; then I saw how many YA novels had short, intriguing titles, so I went w/SPLINTERED for short. It fits the book for three reasons: First, Alyssa (my MC) thinks she's going crazy like all of the women in her family in the beginning. She refers to it as her sanity being splintered. Second, the looking glass she steps through is cracked and splintered. And third, the Wonderland "fairytale" that she finds waiting for her is a splintered and warped version of the Lewis Carroll tale.
10. Do you have a book trailer? And what are your thoughts on book trailers?
I do! It’s right here. And I’m a very visual person, so I love book trailers. In fact, on my blog, I’ll spotlight ones that catch my eye from time to time.
11. Are you a self-published / Indie author?
No, I’m being published with Amulet books, best known for THE DIARY OF A WIMPY KID series. But I fully support Indie, and am considering self-publishing some of my earlier books one day if I can’t find traditional homes for them.
12. Have you ever read a book just based on its cover?
YES! I’m very tempted by eye candy. Hee. It was WICKED LOVELY, actually. :) Turns out she was also a wonderful writer.
13. Has the quality of the cover of a book ever put you off of reading it?
Again, I’m fickle when it comes to my ocular senses, so yes. I’m not often drawn to books that look very cartoonish on the front, as if they were designed purely w/computer graphics. But that’s just a personal hang-up, and one I would overlook in a heartbeat if I knew the author.
14. Do you have any advice for other writers?
I actually have five rules to remember when you’re braving the publishing waters:
1. Don’t try to stand out. The only way your query should catch an agent’s eye is with a unique story premise and polished writing. Everything else needs to be standard and professional.
2. There are a lot more steps to getting published than just writing a book. Educate yourself on those steps (read agent and writing blogs) and ace them. It will give you an edge over the millions of other writers out there trying to get in the door.
3. Agents are people; they have limited time, ergo, they have form letters to help them do their job. Don’t begrudge their process. Treat them w/respect if you expect it in return.
4. Your first agent may not be your last. Sometimes, your career grows away from your agent. You might not find your literary soulmate until round 2 or 3 or 4. What's important is to be willing to make changes that resonate, but stay true to your voice and vision. Have the courage to do what's best for your longtime career.
5. An agent's tastes can change over time, just as your writing will. Never be afraid to try to query an agent again, especially if you have a few more books under your belt. Chances are, one of you has changed enough to make a connection. You certainly won't know unless you try.
And what’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing?
I did some stupid things when I first started out, but someone once said the only way to fail as an author is to stop writing. That really stuck with me. Now I'm about to finally see my dream come true. It can be that way for everyone aspiring to be published. Never give up, and it will be your turn to sit on the shelves one day soon.
15. Where can your readers follow you?
Here are some links where I can be found online:
Thankyou so much for taking the time to do this interview and allowing us a glimpse into your writing world!