Monday, January 3, 2011

Meet your Monday posters!

Kelley Y and Kelley Vitollo will be the posters every alternating Monday. To kick things off, here are three questions each of them answered to help you get to know them!


1. You started out writing primarily adult fiction. What drew you into writing Young Adult?

When I was younger I always wanted to write for teens. As I got older I lost sight of that for a little while. I was reading a lot of adult books and that’s just what I started writing first. A couple years ago I get into reading YA again and it awoke my love of writing for teens. There’s something so fun about those years that I love exploring and living in. I think YA books are fresh and exciting.

2. What type of character(s) do you totally fall all over yourself for, whether in your own work or someone else’s?

I have a thing for those tortured boys. The ones that are broken, but there is something beautiful inside. Gets me every time. I also like those fun, sarcastic guys who think they have everything figured out and then realize how very wrong they are!

3. You recently accepted an offer of representation, congrats! How long did it take from the first book you queried to the one that got you the offer?

I started querying my first YA manuscript in August 2009. It sucked. LOL. I got one request for material and of course, it was a rejection. To this day I still LOVE the concept of the book. I think it has a lot of potential and definitely plan on re-visiting the story with a complete re-write in the future. I think in my excitement, I put the book out when it wasn’t ready. I started querying my second YA book, GOLDEN in June 2010. I got A LOT of requests for it. It was so exciting, but none of them led to offers. I came close a few times, but the offers just didn’t come. I started querying my third YA, WHAT A BOY WANTS the end of October, 2010. I got a good amount of request for this one too. I still hadn’t heard from one agent on GOLDEN so I asked if she wanted WABW too and she said yes. Another agent loved the writing in WABW, but wasn’t sure about the story, so from that query, we talked about GOLDEN and she requested that one. In December I received four offers of representation. One for the agent who liked GOLDEN, two who had WABW and the last agent who had both books!

I think my story shows two very important points.

A) Keep writing other books. Don’t put all your hope on one book. Start the second as you’re querying the first.

B) Querying widely is important. One of the agents who offered in December for GOLDEN, I hadn’t queried when I started sending out for that book in June. Though I am very happy with how things turned out and with my representation, if I would have queried a little more widely, it could have happened for me much earlier.


1. You're stranded on a deserted island with one character from any book you've read, who is it and why? And because you have really bad luck (or good depending on how you look at it) after getting rescued you get stranded on a second island, this time with one character from a book you've written. Who is it and why?

Ohh, good question. Maybe Gale from HUNGER GAMES? Because he can hunt and make me shelter and all that. From my own books, my first thought was Avery from HALF LIGHT, because he could use his magic to do magic-y things. But then I remembered he's a jerk. So I'll say Ridley instead. Again with the getting-me-food-and-shelter thing, because he's too good of a person to tell me no. I'd be completely useless on an island, so I'd need someone good at things like that.

Unless there's another character who would come equipped with sun-block? Put me in the sun for more than a minute, and I'm going to roast.

2. Do you like to read/write stories that are more character or story driven? Why? Any examples of books you've read?

Character-driven. Always. I can read some pretty boring plot-lines but if I love the characters, I can keep revisiting that book for years to come. But if the opposite is true (love the plot/concept, don't get attached to any of the characters) I usually won't read it again.

For the 'why,' that's harder to pin-point. There's nothing I love more than watching a character come to life on the page. Not only that, but watching them adapt and react to their surroundings and learn and grow... It's amazing to me, and it's something I really strive for in my own writing.

THE LAST UNICORN comes to mind in terms of fantastic characters, oddly enough. They were all so distinct and beautifully flawed, and they all grow, mature and learn as the story progresses. Combined with a kick-ass plot (and, you know, unicorns), this book is one of my all-time favorites.

HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE is an MG/YA book I've reread a hundred times because I absolutely adore Howl and Sophie.

3. Tell us about your writing routine. Plot or pantser? Characters or story first? Any writer who inspires your writing?

A little of both. When I get an idea, I'll jot down anything that comes to mind about the world and characters. Sometimes this means several pages of rough plotting or scene ideas to get a feel for it. I'll spend the first 50 pages of the manuscript just writing without thinking too much about it, and from there I'll really try to thoroughly outline to make sure all loose ends will be tied up.

Characters always come first for me. I struggle with plot and story, so while I might get a flicker of a concept for something, I never ever get a script before my cast, so to speak. HALF LIGHT started with a girl who can see ghosts, Noel. HUSHED started with a boy who kills people for the girl he loves, Archer.

I'm not sure if I have any authors who really inspire me to write, exactly, though there are plenty who I admire. George R. R. Martin is the first one who comes to mind. Not only are every single one of his characters fleshed out and real, but his ability to weave plots together is nothing shy of absolutely stunning. His series, A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, is a work of art. I would kill to have even an inkling of his talent.


Kelley Vitollo is giving away a ten dollar Barnes and Noble giftcard to one lucky commenter. She'll draw a name at random. Please add your email to the comments for a chance to win! The winner will be posted Monday January, 10th. You must be a follower to enter!


  1. Awesome blog! Thanks for the giveaway : )

    swordsforfighting at yahoo dot com

  2. Whoot! haha! I like how you both spell your names the same! I've never met a Kelley with two e's, but now I've seen two! :o ha!

    Anyway, 'tis my email: MiniMenzel08 (at) aol (dot) com.

  3. I love what Kelley said about "tortured boys"! They make the best characters!

  4. Elizabeth, Thanks!!

    Evie, I was surprised when I met Kelley Y too. Usually people don't spell their name the way I do.

    Lexie, Yes, I just love those tortured boys!

  5. It's nice getting to know a little more about you ladies :) Looking forward to reading lots more at YAtopia in the future!

  6. Hey, Melanie! Thanks for stopping by.

  7. I love the tortured boys too! I love the idea of this site, and will be visiting lots.

  8. Kelley - great interview! And good advice, as always!

  9. Alexis, Thanks!

    Jolene, Glad you liked it. SO excited for a certain book I just read :)

  10. I agree with the character-driven aspect (nice choice!). A story can be as good as it can, but without a good character influence, the story as good as fails. The Last Unicorn seems beautiful ^_^

    Haha, tortured guys? They're so attractive!! I can't decide between the tortured one of the funny one.

    Oh, and thank you for the giveaway, I could use the book-money! And thank you for the entertaining interview!


  11. I like the way Kelley Y. thinks with picking Gale to be on a deserted island. I'd probably pick him too :)
    Have a great week!


  12. Haha, the two Kelley's posting on Monday :)
    I agree 100% with Kelley Y. about the plot having to be character driven. There's nothing I love more than strong characters that stay with after I put the book down. And I'm with Kelley V. about the boys! :)

  13. Great opening post guys! I'd take Gale on a desertered island too.

  14. Great start, ladies. Loved the questions . . . and the answers, of course.

  15. Great first post girls. I guess I'm not allowed enter the comp? LOL.

  16. Great post! Thanks for the advice

    jpetroroy at gmail dot com

  17. Fabulous! Thank you

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  18. Great new blog!
    throuthehaze at gmail dot com

  19. Kelley V - Thanks for sharing about the querying process. That's really helpful to writing hopefuls out there (including me)! Also, I share your love of tortured boys... So great to read about.

    Kelly Y - I'm with you on revisiting books because of the characters.

    jlelliott08 AT gmail DOT com

  20. Kelly, I've got a thing for the tortured souls too! Haha!

    Thanks for this awesome giveaway!

    hilarystlaurent At gmail DOT com

  21. Thanks for posting. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with for your posts.

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  22. I think I am going to enjoy this blog. Thanks for the great new blog and giveaway.

  23. Thanks for the giveaway. As far as the tortured boys are they from broken homes or rich boys who were ignored?
    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

  24. Tabita, either! As long as they're really tortured and for a good reason.

  25. Awesome blog! Thanks for the giveaway : )


  26. Thanks for the awesome giveaway!! It was fun getting to know a little about you. Even from the little descriptions it looks like I have some more books I need to check out. :)