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Swoon Author Nikki Katz: A Decade (or Four) of Writing

I’ve been a writer for longer than I’ve been a reader. Seriously, I wrote poetry (albeit bad rhyming poetry) when I was four years old on my grandfather’s typewriter. I wrote a play in fourth grade. I love to write, to build worlds, to escape. I never lack for an idea or a character. 

However, the path to publication was not an easy one for me. Why? Because I have a horrible mix of impatience and stubbornness.

I wrote my first novel right out of college. It sucked. I’m not even going to mince words there! It was the one and only attempt I will ever make at a contemporary novel. The plot was boring, the characters one-dimensional, and the arc non-existent. I decided perhaps math and science was indeed my forte. 

I didn’t write again for years, not until after I had four nonfiction books published, the world of young adult began to boom, and I thought to myself, “Perhaps I should try again.”

So I tried. And I failed. And I failed. (And I failed 2.5 more times). The Midnight Dance was my fifth completed manuscript. Six if you include that very first one. Six and a half if you include the one that I stopped writing when this idea popped in my head.

Okay, were those other manuscripts truly failures? Probably not. In fact, two of them I would like to revise and consider publishing at some point. The first manuscript of my newly renewed interest in writing landed me my first agent, but the book never sold. The second I shelved without editing. The third was a co-written project that never gained traction. The fourth was a concept I still love, but ultimately didn’t sell. The fifth I stopped to write The Midnight Dance. And that was five years ago.

This book truly is a labor of love. It was the first time I really delved into revising and editing. I rewrote it (twice) nearly from scratch to get an agent, and then again once we parted ways and Swoon Reads purchased the manuscript. I learned so very much from this process, more from ever writing the first draft of a novel.

Mine truly is a story of perseverance. I could have given up over a dozen times. I could wallpaper my wall with typed rejection letters (because a decade ago when I started querying, agents did not accept email submissions!) But, I’ll say it again. I’m stubborn. I never let the voice of “You’re not good enough” stick around in my head long enough to make me stop trying. Writing is my legacy. My book will be around a lot longer than I will ever be, and I’m proud of that fact. 

I embrace my successes and failures and know that I will continue to grow as an author and as a person. Hopefully, you’ll stick around on this journey with me!

Author spotlight

Nikki Katz

Nikki is the author of The Midnight Dance, her debut young adult novel, replete with magical realism and Gothic settings. …

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