Spotlight on … author for young adults, Ebony McKenna

Cover for Ondine (UK & Canada)

The cover for Ebony's novel, Ondine: The Summer of Shambles (UK/Canadian version)

Today I’m speaking to Ebony McKenna. Ebony is one of the writers to be featured this evening (Tuesday 25th of May) in the ’15 minutes of fame’ section of the Emerging Writers’ Festival in Melbourne.

Ebony will appear at 7pm at the Wheeler Centre, 176 Little Lonsdale Street. (It’s free to attend.)

Ebony, how did you first come to be published?

I tried for about 13 years writing in many genres including science fiction and category romance, then I finally wrote something worth publishing! With Ondine, I got the book in the best shape I could, approached a literary agency in the UK – and followed their submission guidelines to the letter – and they took me on. The agent secured a publishing deal for me with Egmont, who have Commonwealth rights, which is why my book is also available in Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

The Australian & New Zealand cover of Ondine

The cover for Ondine: The Summer of Shambles (Australian/NZ version)

Tell me about the process of completing Ondine.

It’s easy starting a novel, very hard to actually finish it properly. I write just about every day (and when I don’t I get sooooo grumpy!) I found I’d written way past the ending and had pretty much started the next book – so my editor at Egmont pointed out we could cut the last two chapters and have a proper ending earlier on. (Smart woman, my editor!) I then worked really hard to create an ending that gave a satisfying conclusion yet left readers wanting more. We did several rounds of edits where my editors sent me pages and pages of notes, and then I worked like crazy to impress them. It was brain-breaking work, but incredibly satisfying because everything they suggested was sympathetic to the book so it all worked.

There were several rounds of edits – story edits, copy edits, line edits and then the proof copies. It’s a very long process, but I’m really satisfied with the results.

Author, Ebony McKenna

Author, Ebony McKenna

What are you planning for your ’15 Minutes of Fame’ at the Emerging Writers’ Festival?

I plan to be thoroughly entertaining and inspiring. Failing that, I’ll smile a lot.

If you could travel back in time to the moment before you sent off your first manuscript, what advice would you give yourself?

I’d tell myself to get the second book finished pronto! It turned out Egmont wanted a sequel but at that point I hadn’t even started one!

I would also tell myself not to be scared of reviews, because they’ve all been fabulous.

Click here to visit Ebony’s website.