Kristen Lippert-Martin’s debut novel, Tabula Rasa is still eight months away from publication, but Lippert-Martin say it feels – and we quote – “pretty #$!%*@ awesome.”
As awesome as it feels now, Lippert-Martin admits her journey to publication was nothing short of excruciating.
“I’d signed with my wonderful, patient, awesome, smart agent, Molly Jaffa, for a previous book that didn’t sell. After a year of revising that manuscript and being on submission, I needed to put it behind me and move on. I started writing Tabula Rasa about two months after I’d had a baby, and it was crazy hard to generate that first draft on zero sleep. Plus I had to do a lot of revising on it before it finally sold. The good thing was that once that revision was done, the interest was pretty fast. But, yeah, getting to that point was so flipping hard. I still get an eye twitch just thinking about that period of time,” explained Lippert-Martin.
As far as Lippert-Martin is concerned, this crazy journey has just begun.
“I only just got my cover art and it was like ‘whoa, shizz is gettin’ real.’ I think when I put my paws on an ARC, it will be surreal, and that might happen very soon. Eek!”
When Tabula Rasa first went into the hands of an editor, all Lippert-Martin could think in was please love me – though she did admit that by the time Tabula Rasa went out on submission, she was kind of numb from previous disappointments.
“I was like this battle-hardened vet who was shell-shocked by that point.”
Tabula Rasa focuses on sixteen-year-old Sarah, who has a chance at a new life – but when her final surgery is interrupted, her fresh start could be her end.
Lippert-Martin said that one thing that has helped her along throughout this process has been the OneFour KidLit group.
“My agent sister Julie Murphy, fabulous authoress of Side Effects May Vary, was one of the founder-organizers of OneFour and when my deal was announced, she said, ‘Yo, I got this thing’ and I was like ‘cool, man, I’m in.’ Let me tell you, the hive mind at OneFour is amazing, and there cannot be enough good said about how supportive they are. PLUS they are ALL good looking and terrific dancers.”
Given the opportunity, Lippert-Martin wouldn’t become a tabula rasa – even if the creatures are of her own creation.
“Certainly there are points of my life I’d like to erase and for sure, some really ill-advised hair-cuts. But you come to see that all roads to growth go through Pain Town, and the process of dealing with that pain defines who we are. In the story, my main character doesn’t know who she is at first, and she’s afraid to find out but that’s what we all struggle with at times in our lives. What if I’m not good enough? What if I can’t handle this problem/situation/expectation? I hope that resonates for readers.”
In between waiting for her book to be released and reading the books of her fellow 2014 debut’s, Lippert-Martin offers some advice to the 2015 debut authors.
“Absolutely you must write something else or you will climb the walls waiting for 2015 to arrive. It’s so important to one, have the distraction of a project that is wholly yours and under your control; and two, if you are lucky enough to keep getting published, you’ll always be working on various projects at different stages of development. Best you build those multi-tasking muscles now.”
Though Tabula Rasa is a stand-alone, she is hard at work on some new projects. “I just finished the first draft of a YA fantasy I’ve been working on for the whole of 2013. Mein Gott! It was kicking my butt. It’s very different from Tabula Rasa setting-wise, but still very much an action-oriented book. I’m really excited about it.”