Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Author Interview: Dene Low

I met Dene Low in 2008 at the Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Workshop. Back then, she had just signed a contract to publish her first book, and now she's a multiple-award-winning author! See, you should go to this workshop. You meet really cool people there.

Anyways, here's Dene-

First of all, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your books?

Thanks for asking, Rebecca. I’ve wanted to be an author since I was in the fourth grade. I wrote the beginning of a book about a mermaid, so you can see that I was always interested in fantasy and science fiction. In sixth grade my principal asked what I wanted to be when I grew up and I told him I wanted to be an author. Since then I’ve written and had published hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles, several short stories, some poetry, and one novel: Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone. That’s the only one published so far. I have written over ten other novels and am currently working on three more.

I understand you found your agent after you signed your first book contract. What’s different now that you have an agent?

I have a great agent, Eddie Schneider of the JABberwocky Agency. Eddie keeps track of my book, its sales, awards, and reviews, and he tries to sell other books for me. Another great thing Eddie does is help me with the books I’m writing.

What have you done personally to market your books?

I’ve gone to book signings and conferences and sent mailers around to schools for author visits.

You have really wonderful, funny characters. Where do you get ideas for those characters?

Yes, the Petronella books do have very funny characters. I got the ideas for those characters from my imagination and from reading other books, especially books by P.G. Wodehouse, Dorothy Sayers, Jane Austen, and plays by Oscar Wilde. Some of my books are very serious, however. Often I think up a character and the story grows around that character. More rarely, I think of a concept and come up with characters to go with the concept.

What is your favorite part of the writing process?

First, it is holding that book, newspaper, or magazine in my hand that has my published work in it. Second, it is interacting with people and talking about books and writing. But other than that, the best part about actually writing is being in the zone and having the words flow and knowing it’s good—really good.

What was the best moment of your writing career?

It was the phone call from Kate O’Sullivan of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt telling me they wanted to buy my book. Now that experience is all jumbled together with the times I found out that my book had won various awards, including being a finalist for the Edgar Award in the YA category. The Edgar is presented by the Mystery Writers of America and I will find out if I won on April 29 at the Grand Hyatt in New York—pretty fancy schmancy.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Write tons and write something every day, read tons (especially in the genre you want to write), get your work critiqued in a writers group or at conferences, go to conferences and network with the people you meet, and learn how to market. Submit. Submit. Submit. Be patient and keep on writing and submitting.

Thanks for the interview, Dene! We wish you the best of luck on the Edgar Award! Be sure and let us know.

Dene's first novel, Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone, has won the following awards: The Children's Hour Best of 2009 in the 12+ category; Literary review bloggers, Nominated for Cybil Award; Historical Novel Society Editor's choice for Fall 2009; Junior Library GuildTop pick for July 2009; Flamingnet blogTop choice; and others! I've also reviewed it on Rebecca's Recommended Reads.

You can find out more about Dene and her books at denelow.com.


  1. Great interview! Congratulations on your book, Dene, it sounds marvelous! I can't wait to read it.

  2. Great interview, Dene! Congratulations on the many awards for your book and I'm very glad it's making a difference for kids everywhere. =]

  3. The book sound great. And the Interview was very interesting. Thanks for sharing.



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