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New Books, Debut Authors, Plus Series Author Matt Goldman

Continuing on my quest to interview all the ITW Debut Authors each year, I’m pleased to present Kit Frick and Tristan Drue Rogers. So happy to have them spend some time with us and talk about their new books. If you missed the first interviews of the 2017/2018 Debut year, visit my post by clicking here. As an added bonus, author Matt Goldman joined us to talk about his award-nominated series and a brand new standalone. Read Matt’s Debut Author Interview by clicking here.

The Author

Kit Frick is a novelist, poet, and MacDowell Colony fellow. Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, she studied creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College and received her MFA from Syracuse University. When she isn’t putting complicated characters in impossible situations, Kit edits poetry and literary fiction for a small press, edits for private clients, and mentors emerging writers through Pitch Wars.

Her debut young adult novel is See All the Stars (Simon & Schuster / Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2018), and her debut full-length poetry collection is A Small Rising Up in the Lungs (New American Press, fall 2018). A second YA novel, All Eyes on Us, will follow in 2019.

For more information about Kit, you can find her on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook

The Book

See All the Stars is a story about first love and big loss and even bigger guilt—and an epic breakup between best friends. The story takes place in two timelines that alternate between the past and present as Ellory tries to focus on her future. It’s a contemporary suspense about accepting responsibility for the things you can’t change and then learning to move on.

You can find the book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound

The Interview

Describe your publishing journey:

I had years of writing and publishing poetry under my belt before I got serious about writing fiction, which was a challenge I’d been fascinated by—and terrified of—for ages. I got the idea for See All The Stars in late 2014 and spent all of 2015 drafting and then revising with the help of beta readers. It was the second novel I’d written; the first manuscript was an ill-timed and ill-fated dystopian that I didn’t seriously query. (Only one?!?! That’s fantastic! -E)

I queried See All the Stars for about three months and received three offers of representation. Once I signed with my agent, Erin Harris at Folio, we dove into further revisions before putting the manuscript on submission. See All the Stars sold to my editor Ruta Rimas at S&S/McElderry in October 2016. And twenty-two months later, See All the Stars hit shelves on August 14 of this year!

What inspired you to write this novel?

I’m drawn to complex characters, and my writer-brain delights in putting them in very tough situations and empowering them to dig their ways out. The idea for See All the Stars began with a “what if?” question: What if a girl lost all her friends and her boyfriend in one fell swoop—and what if she was partly responsible for what happened? Ellory’s story unfolded from there.

What are you working on now?

My next book is another stand-alone YA thriller, called All Eyes on Us. It’s about two girls under unbearable pressure from their families and communities—and what happens when an anonymous texter threatens to uproot their lives. I turned in copyedits over the summer and should be seeing page proofs soon—very exciting! All Eyes on Us is scheduled to release in May 2019, also from S&S/McElderry, and I’ll be able to share a lot more later this year!

Fabulous! Looking forward to hearing more. Thanks for hanging out with us.

The Author

Tristan Drue Rogers continues to misspell his middle name despite it appearing that way on his birth certificate. He is a husband and an author. A self-described “ever-student,” Tristan prefers to learn as opposed to master, disbelieving in absolutes.

His stories, especially his characters, represent this idealogy well, with a keen commentary on the lives of people today, he attempts to bridge the old with the new, the fantasy with reality, the anxiety with heroism, and the horror with beauty. Deepening wounds and reevaluating their power is the name of the game. His recently released novel Brothers of Blood is available anywhere books are sold.

The Book

A band of merry murdering highschoolers decide to make senior year the ride of a lifetime by stalking their least favorite individuals. While a knock from an unexpected visitor swerves the boss’s plans, dissention in the ranks causes a commotion that may truly test her hold over it.

Laugh, cringe, and cry as Belle Whynecrow leads this unlikely brotherhood into a series of terrible crimes that will shock and awe you in Brothers of Blood.

The Interview

Describe your publishing journey:

The way that I discovered my publisher Black Rose Writing was a pretty perilous journey for me. Two years had went by after the five year ordeal that was writing it. After so many rejections, I honestly felt that I was never going to be able to find someone to read it, let alone publish it. A simple bit of serendipity hit me when my girlfriend at the time, now my wife, Sarah, had mentioned my story to a co-worker and he apparently was a writer as well.

This is the horror author C Derick Miller, who told Sarah to give me his email. After years of being on the verge of giving up, Miller shot me with a jolt of lightning that reenergized me by giving me information for a now defunct literary agency that was able to, as their last act as an agency before closing, find me a publisher in Black Rose Writing. I was lucky as all can be for the entire experience.

What inspired you to write this novel?

So many things inspired this novel. I wanted to make a hip hop concept album, but in book form. This is sorta my Marshall Mathers LP, I guess. Of course, as I wrote the beast, I became inspired by so much more, 20 pages in I couldn’t stop. Then by 100 it really feels like it could be something until you realize you’re nowhere done and then the story needs an end, so you march on.

It was a heck of a ride. Mostly, I wanted to write a novel where the characters speak the way my friends do. I think I did that. The world isn’t as it seems and the child that I was before this book was written – years before – was sure that it was filled with evil of the worst kind at every corner. Writing BOB helped me let that part of me and my past go. Or I hope it did.

What are you working on now?

I am working on a billion short stories, but my main focus has been a political novel based about 20 years into the future. It focuses upon an America where kings have been recently reinstated until some big hullabaloo happened and just as quickly the presidential format of ruling government was welcomed back. It stars a young black man working his way through school in North Texas and his struggles living in a world of fallen kings, royal or otherwise. It’s been a real headache!

It may be a headache, but it sounds fascinating! Keep us posted.

The Author

Matt Goldman is a New York Times Best Selling author and Emmy Award winning TV writer. His debut novel. Gone to Dust has been nominated for The Nero Award and a Shamus Award.

Matt’s television credits include SeinfeldEllenThe New Adventures of Old Christine, and Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.

Learn more about Matt on Twitter, and Facebook 

The Books

“Private-eye novels can be an acquired taste. Not so with Gone to Dust, the captivating debut of Seinfeld screenwriter and part-time Minnesotan Matt Goldman… This Scandinavian noir page-turner proved so popular that Goldman already has a second novel, Broken Ice, set for release this summer, and a third for 2019.”

Minneapolis-St.Paul City Pages, “Best Book of the Twin Cities”

“A clever mystery that starts with a unique crime scene, mixes in a package of red herrings, and tops off the plot with Nils Shapiro.” (Broken Ice)

—Phillip Margolin, New York Times bestselling author

“With his wry, observant eye and quick wit, plus a pressing need to follow the truth into dark, uncharted places, Shap is a more optimistic version of Ross MacDonald’s Lew Archer. Readers will look forward to his next investigative adventure.” (Gone To Dust)

Publishers Weekly

Buy the books: Gone to Dust & Broken Ice

The Interview

How did your experience of writing a novel change between writing book one and book two?

My experience changed in two ways. On book one, Gone to Dust, I was thrilled to create new characters and simply to be writing a novel. I also had four months uninterrupted, so I could live, breathe and sleep the story. It was a luxurious process. I felt more responsibility on book 2, Broken Ice. Responsibility to readers, the characters, and to my publisher, who had contracted for the book before I wrote it.

I was also working full time on a television series while writing Broken Ice, so I had to juggle time and creative space. And I didn’t want to repeat Gone to Dust, so I moved my characters forward in their personal lives, and told a different kind of story. I felt more like a professional writer on Broken Ice, and that really helped my approach to book 3, The Shallows, which will be published in June, 2019.

You wrote for television prior to launching your first novel, how different are those processes? What did television teach you about writing a novel?

Television writing helped me a great deal. I learned character, story, relationships, dialogue, and series architecture. I worked in rooms of talented writers and benefited from their knowledge, style, and experience. The processes are quite different. In TV, you get constant input from other writers, producers, actors, directors, studio and network executives. It’s easy to lose the thread of your original idea, for it to get transformed into something else, and that something else usually isn’t for the better because the voice gets watered down or lost.

In TV, I had to expend a great deal of energy to answer other people’s notes. Sometimes they were good notes, sometimes not. But it left me little time to answer my own notes. Or to sit with something long enough to realize what I felt needed improving. In novel writing, it’s all the author, at least for a few drafts.

Your first novel, Gone to Dust, was nominated for both a Shamus and a Nero and made the NY Times Best Sellers list. How much pressure has that early success put on you as you write your next book(s)?

It hasn’t put much pressure on me. I have an intrinsic drive to work hard on my books. I’ve also been around writing and awards and television long enough to know accolades come when they come—you can’t chase them. I’ve seen plenty of writers chase awards and popular reception—it doesn’t go well. A writer’s job is to keep their head down and write. Some books or shows or episodes will be hits. Others won’t be. The important thing is to keep writing. (Great advice, Matt!)

Broken Ice continues the story of Nils Shapiro, private detective. What challenges did you find to build a character arc in an existing character? Was it an advantage or disadvantage to work with the same protagonist?

I love series. I love reading them and love writing them. It’s a joy to build characters who live and breathe and grow. The challenge in my series is they’re narrated by one person, Nils Shapiro, my protagonist. So I’m in his head the whole time. I like being there, but I don’t want it to get old for the reader. I have to work to develop stories and other characters that push Nils forward.

What are you working on now?

I’m just finishing a second draft of a stand-alone set in 1922. It’s about an extended family who loses their liquor business to Prohibition, and how they cope with that loss. The Eighteenth Amendment created strange allies. For instance, suffragettes found themselves on the same side as the KKK, who were against alcohol for different reasons. The suffragettes fought the damage alcohol did to families. The KKK hated African Americans, the Irish, Italians, Jews, Slavs, and others and wanted to criminalize their traditions.

The Nineteenth Amendment also created an interesting dynamic. Women won the vote but they had just begun the fight for equality in the home. Crime and criminals are a tangential element in this book, and I have no idea if it will get published. Next month I’ll start writing the fourth Nils Shapiro book, which will be published summer of 2020.

I’m thrilled for your continued success, Matt! Thanks for spending time with us here today.

Header Photo from Pexels


Elena Hartwell

Author and developmental editor.

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