Series: The Raven Files #1
Published by Philomel Books on April 12th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller, Romance
Buy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, The Book Depository
If Jason Bourne were a teenaged girl…
Jocelyn Steely was kidnapped as a child and raised in North Korea as a spy. When her agency sends her to the U.S. to infiltrate the very group her parents once worked for, Jocelyn jumps at the chance to turn double agent and finish off her kidnappers once and for all. She convinces the head of the American spy agency to trust her, but it’s not quite as simple as that: Jocelyn has to fight the withdrawal symptoms from the drug that the North Koreans used to keep her in line, and her new fellow spies refuse to trust their former adversary. Worst of all, there might be some new information to uncover about her parents - if she even wants to find out.
This action-packed spy thriller is part Gallagher Girls, part Alex Rider, and part Bourne Identity.
Guest post #1
What was the journey to publication like for you and your book? You can speak to the publishing process (working with an editor getting an agent, etc.) or to the writing process (how your drafts/characters changed, etc.)
I first got the idea for Crossing the Line in late May of 2012 after seeing The Avengers. I’m not a huge comic book person, so I had very little context for the movie or the characters ahead of time. But what Joss Whedon writes, I will watch. I ended up completely transfixed by the character of Black Widow. In the movie, she’s a core member of SHIELD, but it becomes pretty clear that she wasn’t always. At some point, she was an enemy of the agency. I became fascinated with the concept of an enemy to ally transition and I knew that was an idea I wanted to explore.
I let the idea kick around in my head and develop for about a month before I decided it was one I wanted to work with. I started seriously moving forward with the story in July after I had lunch with one of my best friends who has always been my first reader. She’s also the person I talk to about my new ideas. Her input and enthusiasm are everything.
From there, I started brainstorming and fleshing out the details. I knew I wanted to do a spy story where my main character was kidnapped as a kid and would now have to reach out to the people she’s spent her life fighting against to escape her kidnappers. But I didn’t know who her kidnappers were. I was mulling over a Russian organization or somewhere in the Middle East, but neither of those were sitting right with me. That’s when I turned to my cousin who has always known a lot about military and espionage tactics, and the world in general. He was the one who suggested North Korea.
After that, I mapped out the story and did a lot of research—my brainstorming process is pretty involved, so it took me about two months to get the details worked out and the story outlined. Then in October I started writing. I wrote the first draft in a month—I tend to draft fairly quickly. Once I had the first draft down, I rewrote and revised until I had a story I was happy with. Then I polished the final version like crazy. I also have an amazing critique group, and other literary friends who read the book at different stages and gave me feedback.
Once I had the book as polished as I could get it, which took about a year, I started querying agents. My first choice was Michelle Wolfson, who had responded to a query of mine on a previous project. She didn’t take me on then, but she gave me some great feedback. She was able to separate the writing from the idea and identify what wasn’t working while still seeing the potential in me, which I really appreciated. Fortunately, she loved Crossing the Line and offered to represent me in July of 2014.
We started submitting the book shortly after, and the first person to respond was Jill Santopolo from Philomel. She ultimately passed at first, but said there was a lot she liked about it, and if the book didn’t sell in the first round of submissions, she’d be interested in seeing a revision. It didn’t sell, so we went back to Jill who had three absolutely killer notes. I had so much fun making the changes! I remember really hoping Jill would like the revision, because I already liked working with her, but I also knew I would be so grateful for her notes even if she didn’t. The book had gotten so much stronger and so much closer to becoming the book I had wanted it to be. Luckily she did like the changes and we got to work together to make it even better! I’m so happy with the end result, and I hope readers enjoy it too!
About the Author
Meghan Rogers has been telling stories since she could talk and writing creatively since she was first introduced to the concept in third grade. She spent her high school years completing her first novel and has been actively writing ever since. After college, Meghan went on to work with high school writers while earning her MFA in Creative Writing from Rosemont College. She is currently living in the Philadelphia area and working on the next Raven Files novel.
BRITTANY’S BOOK RAMBLES–Character Playlist #1–04/11/16
HERE’S TO HAPPY ENDINGS–Top 10 #1–04/12/16
IN WONDERLAND–Guest post–04/14/16
SWOONY BOYS PODCAST–Pinterest board–04/15/16
A PERFECTION CALLED BOOKS–Guest post–04/18/16
Heir of Glitter–Top 10 #2–04/19/16
WINTERHAVEN BOOKS–Character Playlist #2–04/20/16
Reed’s Reads and Reviews–Interview–04/21/16
LIVE TO READ–25 Random Things About Me–04/22/16