EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN: Agent and Editor Interviews!

Evidence of Things Not Seen by Lindsey LaneThis week, we Emus are absolutely thrilled to be celebrating the launch of Lindsey Lane‘s debut young adult novel, EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN! A twisty, turny, super-smart story about a teenager who goes missing and the people in his small Texas town who are affected, EVIDENCE is an unputdownable read that will be out in the world on September 16.

Here’s a more detailed summary:

When high school junior Tommy Smythe goes missing, everyone has a theory about what happened to him. Tommy was adopted, so maybe he ran away to find his birth parents. He was an odd kid, often deeply involved in his own thoughts about particle physics, so maybe he just got distracted and wandered off. He was last seen at a pull-out off the highway, so maybe someone drove up and snatched him. Or maybe he slipped into a parallel universe. Tommy believes that everything is possible, and that until something can be proven false, it is possibly true. So as long as Tommy’s whereabouts are undetermined, he could literally be anywhere.

Told in a series of first-person narratives from people who knew Tommy and third-person chapters about people who find the things Tommy left behind—his red motorbike, his driving goggles, pages from his notebook—Evidence of Things Not Seen explores themes of loneliness, connectedness, and the role we play in creating our own realities

Want a signed ARC of EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN, and a T-shirt? Just leave a comment on any post this week for a chance to win!

We’ll have a new post every day this week, delving into the fascinating world of this book, and today we’re kicking things off with interviews of two very important people: Lindsey’s agent, Erin Murphy, and her editor at Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Joy Peskin.

Interview with Agent Erin Murphy

Erin pictureTara Dairman: EVIDENCE is not your typical YA novel. What about it grabbed your attention when Lindsey queried you with it?

Erin Murphy: Well, first of all, Lindsey herself grabbed me. We’d met a few years earlier, when she was just going into the program at VCFA, and I really liked her then–her energy, her focus–but I felt she should wait to sign with an agent after she was through the program, because it can change a writer so much. When she approached me after she graduated, I appreciated how READY she felt. She sounded sure and steady.

And the manuscript itself–the concept was intriguing, in a could-fall-flat-or-could-blow-the-doors-off kind of way, and it blew my doors off. The different voices carried me away. It had incredible potential, and it was one of those situations where I had complete and utter confidence that the writer could take it to the next level. It certainly helped that while she was waiting for me to read it, Lindsey had time to step away from it herself and come back to it anew–and then she did something completely unorthodox: She read it through and wrote herself an editorial letter, and sent it to me to see if I concurred with her thoughts on what needed work. I did, although I had some thoughts to add to the mix, too. I loved that she did that. It showed me how hard she’s willing to work, how self-motivated she is, and how clearly she can see her own work.

TD: Did the unique structure and premise of EVIDENCE make it easy for you to decide which editors to submit it to, or more difficult?

EM: It made it easy. It went to editors I knew would fight for it despite the unusual form if they fell in love with the writing. (And how could they not fall in love with the writing?) I focused on editors who were known for taking chances to good effect, and who were well established. I think if new-ish editors had gotten a manuscript like this, it would have been harder for their team to trust them to have a vision for it–although if we hadn’t seen success on the first round, I would have definitely broadened my thinking about that. Joy Peskin at FSG read it quickly and fell in love with and had a strong vision for it, and worked fast to put together a preempt so we’d take it off the table elsewhere. She and Lindsey spoke and hit it off so well that it felt like we’d found the best possible home for the project, so we accepted the offer. I had thought that because of the unusual structure, we might find just one editor who was interested–the right editor, the one person who really got it. But it turned out that if we hadn’t taken the preempt, we would have had quite a lot of interest from others, too. Editors really are looking for something they’ve never seen before, something completely fresh and new.

 

joy peskin photo may 2013Interview with Editor Joy Peskin

TD: Most novels have one or two protagonists, but in EVIDENCE, there’s a new protagonist in every chapter. How did this affect the editorial process?

Joy Peskin: That’s a good question. Lindsey’s skill with the range of protagonists is one key thing that drew me to this book. Oftentimes, authors struggle to give multiple narrators (even just two!) distinct voices. But Lindsey was able to create this wide cast of characters and each voice was immediately different. I never got one character confused with another. One thing we did work on in the editorial process was lengthening the book, because when it came in it was a little short. And the way we did that was to weave in a few all-new characters and also to elaborate on some of the stories of the existing characters.

For example, in the original draft of the manuscript, the chapter called “Ritual” didn’t exist. The main character in that chapter, Tara, showed up in the chapter called “Lost,” but she played a minor role. Lindsey decided to give Tara her own chapter, and to tell more of her story, and we ended up with one of the most powerful chapters in the book. So the wide range of characters gave us a unique way to extend a manuscript. Instead of telling more of the story overall, we looked for supporting characters who demanded more of a starring role.

TD: One of the most striking aspects of EVIDENCE, to me, is that some chapters are in first person, while others are in third. Was that something that changed during the editorial process? How did you and Lindsey decide which POV was the right one for each chapter?

JP: Lindsey decided to put each chapter that comes from someone who actually knew Tommy in first person—his classmates, friends, parents, etc.—and to put each chapter that comes from someone who finds something Tommy left behind in third person. I think that worked out really well. I imagine the first person chapters almost like monologues, which makes sense because Lindsey is a playwright. I also imagine that the characters in these chapters are talking to an investigator who is off the page. And the third person chapters are almost like short stories. You may begin reading one and think, “Wait, what does this person’s story have to do with Tommy?” But then you keep reading and see the character find something that belonged to Tommy, and it makes you think about the seemingly random ways our lives overlap. As Tommy wrote, “We leave pieces of ourselves everywhere,” and part of the thrill of reading this book is seeing who found all the pieces Tommy left behind.

TD: What do you think really happened to Tommy?

JP: I hate to say it, but I think something bad happened to Tommy. Maybe he was abducted? It actually really bothers me to say that, because I like Tommy so much, and I wish I could say that he slipped through a wormhole into another dimension. But in my heart of hearts, I don’t think it’s possible.

 ***

Thank you so much, Erin and Joy, for taking the time to give us all some behind-the-scenes insight into this incredible book. And congratulations, Lindsey, on your debut!

You can get your own copy of EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN from your local independent bookstore (find one here), or order it from your favorite national or online retailer such as FSG, BookPeoplePowell’sB&N, or Amazon.

Please comment here–or on any post this week–to be entered to win a T-shirt and a signed ARC of EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN by Lindsey Lane!

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16 Comments

Filed under Agents, Book Promotion, Editing and Revising, Interviews, Launch, Publishers and Editors

16 responses to “EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN: Agent and Editor Interviews!

  1. Love the concept of this book! And it was great reading Erin’s and Joy’s interviews . Have a happy release day!

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  2. Huge congrats, Lindsey! Wonderful interviews and I can’t wait to get my hands on this book! XD

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  3. Oh my goodness, I CANNOT wait to read this. This sound simply amazing.

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  4. Wow! This sounds amazing! Add it to my “must read” list!

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  5. Joanna

    Wow, just from a writer’s point of view I want to read this to see how well she pulled off the multiple. POVs. And then, the story sounds completely intriguing, too!

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  6. kevanjatt

    I can’t wait to get my hands on this!!

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  7. Gail Wallat

    I am so proud of you Lindsey and also can’t wait to read this one. Happy week to you…….the first of many to come!

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  8. tamaraellissmith

    Lindsey…it’s an understatement to say that I CAN’T WAIT to read this. So many congratulations to you…and love.

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  9. Cynthia Levinson

    I canNOT wait to get my hands on this book–luckily for me, direct from Lindsey’s hands. Congratulations, Lindsey. I’m looking forward to celebrating with you.

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  10. Not only does the book sound like something I would delve into, but the insight of how Lindsey and the team worked together to make the book come to life. I just listened to Anne Lamont’s Bird by Bird, and my eyes were opened again to how much love and passion you have to have for the writing and the story to return many times to get it right. Sounds exhilarating and it must be painfully exciting to see work emerge to the point of that’s it, it’s here. Congratulations.

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  11. donnabowmanbratton

    Oh, I love this post! How fabulous to hear the pre-book perspectives. I am so cartwheely happy for you, Lindsey Lane!

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  12. Thank you so much to Tara, Erin, and Joy for pulling this post together. I love, love, love this book, and I loved learning a bit more about the backstory of its development. Congratulations all around–but most especially to Lindsey–for bringing such a daring, thought-provoking, and beautiful book into the world!

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  13. Great post! I’m so happy I’ve gotten to experience this book. Lindsey’s writing is amazingly great! Evidence is a book that will stay with me forever! And that last question: “What do you think really happened to Tommy?” That’s a haunting question and I’ll always wonder because I feel like I know Tommy. (And, yes, I know this is fiction…but it felt very real!)

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  14. I like what Joy says about the voices. Because I think those voices got to all of us who have gotten to read it.

    Congratulations, Lindsey.

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  15. Yay, Lindsey! So glad to be your agent sibling, and can’t wait to read your book!

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  16. This article is all about several things I love dearly: Lindsey, Joy, Erin, and VOICE! And truly, the many unique voices in EOTNS blew me away. Most authors struggle to find just one voice for a book! Wowsers!

    Like

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