Dear Reader by Christi J. Whitney

The Writer’s Life newest feature, Dear Reader, gives authors a chance to talk to their readers - YOU!  
Today's guest is Christi J. Whitney, author of the YA urban fantasy, Grey: Book 1 in the Romany Outcasts series.


Dear Reader…

I’m delighted to chat with you about my debut YA urban fantasy novel Grey, the first installment of The Romany Outcasts Series, published as an e-book with HarperCollins/HarperVoyagerUK.

Grey follows the story of eighteen-year-old Sebastian who meets a secretive girl and finds himself
drawn into a hidden world of Outcast Gypsies and a destiny he cannot escape.

I think I’ve always wanted to be an author. As a child, I practically lived in the imaginary worlds I created. I wrote stories down in notebooks and journals, but I never actually finished anything I started. Looking back, I believe it’s because I lacked confidence in my ability as a writer.

I went into the teaching field as an adult, and I had little time for my own stories, so I put my writing on a shelf for many years. My students were the ones kindled the fire once again. One day, after coming back from a Christmas holiday, I shared with a few students an idea I’d come up with for a story. They immediately encouraged me to write it all down. And I did. In fact, my students became my first critique group. They would take my chapters and read them during their own time – always coming back to me with pages of notes in red pen.

I finished what became the first draft of Grey in 2009. From there began my long, rollercoaster of a journey to publication. Countless rejections. Multiple revisions. Several close calls. But always falling just short of the goal of seeing my story in print. Then in 2012, I stumbled upon an article that turned everything around. HarperVoyager – the global science fiction and fantasy imprint of HarperCollins Publishers – was opening its doors to un-agented submissions for two weeks.

Although I was working on other projects at the time, I instantly pulled up Grey and sent it off. For eighteen months, I heard nothing. And then came the moment I’d dreamed about for so long. I received an email, followed by a phone call, from the editor at HarperVoyager. My manuscript was one of fifteen they had selected from the open submissions call out of almost five thousands entries. Not only did they want Grey, but also they wanted to sign my series.

An additional fourteen months later, and I became a debut author. It has been one of the most challenging experiences of my life. It’s sort of like swimming upstream. The world of books is enormous, and trying to form your own glimmer in this vast expanse is a daunting task. But it’s also been the most amazing journey, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

About the Author:

Christi J. Whitney is a former high school theatre director with a love for the arts. She lives just outside Atlanta with her husband and two sons. When not spending time with them or taking a ridiculous number of trips to Disney World, she can be found directing plays, making costumes for sci-fi/fantasy conventions, obsessing over Doctor Who, watching superhero movies, or pretending she’s just a tad bit British.
Her latest book is the young adult urban fantasy novel, Grey (The Romany Outcasts Series, Book 1).

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About the Book:

Sebastian Grey always thought he was a fairly normal teenager – good friends, decent grades, and a pretty sweet job in his foster brother’s tattoo shop.

But when strangers arrive in town, Sebastian soon realizes that his world is nothing at all what it seemed. Secretive gypsies surround him, shadowy figures stalk him, and the girl he’s been dreaming about turns up at school.

Now Sebastian must protect this girl at all costs, even if it means he will never be normal again.

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