Interview with Tegan Wren, author of INCONCEIVABLE!
So, I had the distinct pleasure of getting my hands on an ARC of Tegan Wren's Inconceivable! and I loved it. Here's my Goodreads review if you're curious and want to check it out. Tegan was awesome enough to agree to be interviewed here on my little blog. Read on to discover more about this awesome author and her wonderful book. :)
Tell us a little bit about your book.
INCONCEIVABLE grew out of my desire to fictionalize the story of a couple struggling with infertility. There are plenty of wonderful memoirs about regular folks who go through this agonizing medical challenge, but I thought it would be entertaining to look at it through the lens of a modern royal couple. The idea really came together about the time Prince William and Kate Middleton got married. I thought, "Boy, it would be awful to be modern royalty and experience infertility." To put some distance between my story and Wills and Kate, I decided to create my own fictional country in Europe. That gave me the freedom to develop a new culture, history, and setting where my modern fairy tale could unfold. So, the novel follows the romance between Hatty, a plain spoken gal from Missouri, and Prince John of Toulene. Their "happily ever after" is interrupted when they discover they can't produce an heir. They do get their happy ending, though it's quite different from what they initially imagined for themselves. I like to say that in fiction, as in life, the best happy endings are the unexpected ones.
What was the hardest part of writing Inconceivable?
One of the biggest challenges was making the story fit into the romance genre. It's definitely a mash-up between romance (a beautiful love story), chick lit (funny and heartwarming), and women's fiction (dealing with a women's issue). When I began, I simply started writing the kind of book I wanted to read. I enjoy books in many genres, so I wasn't thinking about genre during the first several drafts. I began tweaking it to make it a better fit for romance after receiving some excellent feedback from a couple of agents.
What’s the most interesting thing you learned about the publishing world while getting Inconceivable published?
As I mentioned, genre is very important because it's the hook on which you hang your hat when marketing a book. I'm a bit of an outlier when it comes to my reading preferences. I love to read Stephen King just as much as I love to read Sena Jeter Naslund and C.S. Lewis. I do marketing for my day job, and I've really learned a great deal about how to market a book. I also learned you don't have to have an agent to get deal with a top-notch independent publishing house. I connected with Curiosity Quills Press while I was querying agents. They found me through the Pitchmas contest. I do hope to find an agent for my next book, but I've found that it's possible to secure a publishing deal without representation.
How did Inconceivable go from being just an idea to a fully published book, can you break down the timeline?
It took me about two years to get the book to the point at which I was willing to show it to a few people. The manuscript had undergone multiple rounds of heavy revisions, and there were more to come. Last fall, I connected with a fabulous critique partner, the very talented Hayley Stone, and she helped me whip the book into shape. About the same time, I began entering contests and found a decent amount of success as measured in interest from agents. When Curiosity Quills offered to acquire my novel, one agent had my full manuscript and several others had partials. Once I accepted the offer from CQ, I worked with an amazing editor, Christina Ferko, who brought such excellent insights to the story. Then, the book went through one round with a proofreader. During this time, we also had the cover designed. The CQ team then converted the book into digital and print advance review copies, and we began distributing those this past summer. Now, it's a race to the finish with INCONCEIVABLE being released November 16!
What’s one thing you want people to take away from your book?
I want people to come away from the book with new compassion for those who struggle with infertility. There are a lot of misconceptions, and I hope my book helps chip away at some of them. For those who have experienced infertility, I hope this book makes them laugh and helps them put their own journey in a new perspective: there is no one-size-fits-all path to parenthood.
Walk us through your average daily writing process.
I wish I could say I get to write every day. As a busy mom to three young children who works a part-time, fabulous day job, I'm fortunate if I get to write five days a week. The vast majority of my writing is done after the kids are asleep. I try to balance my time between writing and spending time with my husband. He's very supportive of my writing and when I've needed extra time to meet a deadline, he's happily taken the kids outside or on an adventure so I could finish a chapter or a set of revisions. For those who wonder how you can write a novel while parenting small children, the answer is simple: make it a priority and find every moment you can to push ahead on your story. And remember...it did take me TWO YEARS to get my manuscript ready to see the light of day.
Can you tell us a little about your next project?
I have completed a contemporary young adult novel. I've entered it in a couple of contests, and I think it has a promising future. However, it's very different in tone and style from INCONCEIVABLE! My other project is a time-travel romance in which an American French professor finds herself transported from a modern day reenactment at Versailles to the court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. She's not the only visitor who's there from the future. There's also a handsome doctor. In the end, our French teacher and doctor fall in love and face a tough decision: attempt to return the present even though one of them may get left behind or stay together in the past. Admittedly, I'm writing a book I want to read/experience because I've always had a love and fascination with pre-revolutionary France.
I just want to conclude by thanking you for this opportunity to talk about my novel, Emily!
Photo courtesy of Tegan Wren