Mandy Hubbard is the author of Prada & Prejudice, You Wish, and five other to-be-published novels for teens. She is also a literary agent for D4EO Literary, where she represents authors of middle grade and teen fiction. She is currently living happily ever after with her husband and young daughter in Enumclaw, Washington.
Mrs. Vee: In the NY times best seller "Prada & Predjiduce," you've created the character of Callie, who is headstrong with a knack for science. How did you come up with her character?
Mandy: *Ahem*, P&P is most definitley not an NYT bestseller. That's still on the to do list. ;-)
(So...I went out and bought a few more copies and may be giving some away soon :)
Callie was a really, really hard character, actually-- I tried everything with her. The girl she is now is a product of many revision requests.
Mrs. Vee: In your novels you have strong female protagonists that lead your stories. What came first the story or the characters and how did you come up with each?
Mandy: The story/concept always comes first with me, and then I choose a character which will create the most conflict. For instance, with YOU WISH, I knew the story would be funny and flirty and goofy in an over the top, vaguely disney movie style way. So I created a character who could be the polar opposite of that-- dark, sarcastic, and cynical.
Mrs. Vee: Besides your own lead female characters, who are your favorite literary character and what do you like about them?
Mandy: I like strong, intense, but flawed characters. The heroine in GOING TOO FAR by Jennifer Echols is a good example.
Mrs. Vee: How much of your own life experiences, and yourself, do you put into your novels? Is there any research that you had to do for your novels and how did you go about doing that research?
Mandy: I put small aspects of my personality into my books, sure, but 99% of the character is fiction.
On research, P&P was very intensely research oriented. I watched movies, played on google, read books, etc. Remind me never to write a historical again!
Mrs. Vee: How did the author/agent thing come about? Did you fall into it or how did you start agenting?
Mandy: I became very involved with the submissions of my own work and eventually ended up scoring an internship with a great literary agency. The rest is history.
Mrs. Vee: Is the world of agenting like mean girls with the newer agents being envious and fearful of older agents or is it more of a community in which you all help eachother out?
Mandy: VERY community oriented! The veteran agents have been incredibly helpful for me. I had to call one up in the middle of an auction to find out how to handle an unusual situtation.
Mrs. Vee: Why should aspiring authors, like Magan, query a newer agent, like you, and what are you really looking for in new authors?
Mandy: Mary Kole, of Andrea Brown Literary, explained this far better than I could: http://kidlit.com/2010/06/02/newer-vs-established-agents/
As far as what I'm looking for? Spectacular writing.And authors who are willing to work hard and revise.
Mrs. Vee: As an agent and author I'm sure that you have seen your fair share of rejections or had to dole them out. How do you deal with rejection and what is your advice for others on how to deal with it?
Mandy: Everyone handles them differently, and you should do what works for you. As far as me, I just focused on the next thing-- firing off another query letter, working on a new project, etc.
Mrs. Vee: Since we are all anxiously awaiting the release of YOU WISH, (comes out August 5th, four days after my birthday, just saying it would be a great gift,) what can you tell us about the novel? If you got to cast the character in a movie, who would you case in the leading roles? (This includes the Ken doll!)
Mandy: I kind of think Zac Efron would be a hilarious Ken doll. And for Kayla, I'd love Emma Roberts. Maybe Taylor Momsen for Nicole, the bff. As for Ben? Not a clue. ;-)
Mrs. Vee: You and I have talked before about our mutual love for Glee, Gossip Girl, and Simone Elkeles "A Perfect Chemistry." What attracts you to these shows and novel and is this something us writers should take note on?
Mandy: For me, they're either heavily focused on romance, or its pure frothy fun. I love both. :-) Still dying to find that spectacular, intense romance in the slush pile, like Elkeles' PERFECT CHEMISTRY.
Mrs. Vee: Since I tend to get a little fan girl everytime that I talk to you, is there anyone you've talked to that you admit you get a little fan girl for?
Mandy: Oh, sure, I am fangirly for a ton of authors, though they tend to be authors I actually know. Becuase when I love a book, I usually just email the author and talk to them. Love Jennifer Echols, Lauren Barnholdt, Elizabeth Scott.... I could go on.
Mrs. Vee: Are you planning on doing any book tours or signings especially in the midwest? (Just saying I may know a writer who knows a good place for gelato and would love to meet you).
Mandy: Hee, not any time soon! Maybe if my books do spectacularly well....
Mrs. Vee: Favorite food, book, movie
Mandy: Food: Pasta
Book: NO WAY can I say just one. We'll name of OF the many: The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle
Movie: Empire Records
Mrs. Vee: Any famous last words or advice?
Mandy: A published author is an amateur who didn't quit. Don't quit.
For more information on Mandy as an author or an agent, check out her website http://www.mandyhubbard.com/