Saturday 2 January 2016

Debuts 2016 - Day 2 - Harriet Reuter Hapgood

Day 2 of the Debuts of 2016 and today I am pleased to welcome author, Harriet Reuter Hapgood. 
Harriet will be debuting this May with her YA novel, The Square Root of Summer with Macmillan Children's Books.
What was your reaction when you knew it would be published?
Dead inside. I was exhausted! My writing style is intense all-nighters and bad self-care. I’d been revising for eight months and I wanted a nap and to nurture my inner Gwyneth. Instead, I got three weeks of hysteria – meetings! Pre-empts! All the sugar! Foreign deals! Three auctions! The Hollywood Reporter! For my own sanity, my emotions shut down, so when my agent called to confirm THE deal I said, “That’s nice, thanks” like a dry spinster governess from a Victorian novel. Gemma was all, “When I told so-and-so about their deal, they couldn’t stop crying…?” Me: *eats burrito* Probably I’m a sociopath.

How does it feel to have your name on a book?
Hilarious! Have you seen my name?! I’ve spent a lifetime going “Reuter Hapgood – no, Roy-ter, yes I’ll spell it, R-E-U, no R-E-YOU no, YOU. Yes, like the newsagency, hahaha, then it’s Hapgood, no, no hyphen, yes, two words, mmm it is quite long but somehow I manage” then getting, like, “Renter Hopsgobble” (seriously) and Rooter-Hatgoode. Now the correct spelling will be EVERYWHERE and in HOT PINK and get into people’s heads via osmosis (I’m not super-clear on how osmosis works). I’m hoping each book will come with a little sound card to help with pronunciation. 

How will you spend publication day?
I am going to be ON TOUR in AMERICA! So I’ll wake to white lilies in the toilet and champagne on my cornflakes, a nubile cabana boy will pick out all the green M&Ms out for me, and I’ll roll around in baskets of kittens while hurling lattes in my assistants’ faces. Reality: there’ll probably be an airport, a flight, a hotel check-in, a panel with two amazing writers, meeting lots of awesome teen readers, and me chucking caffeine and Touche Eclat at my eye bags while dry heaving because the book is officially out there, no take-backs.

What is your biggest fear about publication?
That people will read my book. Cross my heart and hope to die, it is straight-up terrifying. I have been actively discouraging anyone from buying it (hi, Macmillan sales and marketing! Love yer! I’m the worst!) This book is so personal, so heartfelt, it may as well be called “Harriet: A Memoir With Wormholes!” Knowing that people will basically be critiquing my LIFE LAID BARE ON PAPER… Brrrrr. I’d rather have everyone watch me go to the toilet, tbh.

What advice would you give to unagented and unpublished authors?
Finish the book! Stop talking about the book. Finish it. Leave the first draft alone for a bit. Stop talking about it. Revise it. Revise it more. I talk to soooo many writers who have eight billion projects on the go, but none of them are finished! You can be all up in #amwriting’s grill but the most important thing is #amfinished, followed by #revisioniscoolkids. Second, third, fourth drafts; sorting your beginning; tweaking; polishing; adding knob jokes – it only happens after you finish. Choose one project. Don’t talk about it. Finish it. Also drink 8 glasses of water a day and always have a wee before you leave the house.
Thank you Harriet! You are hilarious. Good luck from all of us with publication. 

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