We have a lot of fantastic authors at OneFour KidLit and are excited to introduce them all to you. One author, four questions. Today we’re talking to Kim Liggett, author of BLOOD AND SALT.  Here we go!

What’s your debut book about?

BLOOD AND SALT – YA romantic thriller:

Seventeen year-old New Yorker Ash Larkin unearths a history full of alchemy, sacrifice and revenge when she meets the mysterious Katia. A bizarre and bloody exchange with her beautiful five hundred year old ancestor ignites something within Ash—something both terrible and seductive.

Katia’s blood pulses through Ash’s veins, making her feel things she’s never felt before: lust, empowerment, and the lure of gaining control over nature itself. It would be so easy for Ash to give in, to become a part of something more potent than she could ever imagine. But there’s something even more powerful within her grasp…a love worth dying for.

If only Ash could die.

BLOOD AND SALT is unabashedly sexy and equally horrifying. At its core it’s a possession story, but there are so many parallels to first love. Because let’s face it, if you’re doing it right, falling in love is a lot like being possessed.

Favorite quote from book: “When you fall in love it will be like dropping a stone into the deepest ocean. You will be all in—blood and salt.”

Hey, you’re getting published! How’d that happen?

I’m the type of person who does everything the hard way. Maybe it’s because I’m an Aries. Maybe it’s because my sister dropped me on my head the day I came home from the hospital (true story; she later admitted to doing it on purpose). Or maybe it’s because I’m a bit of a masochist, but for some reason getting an agent and a book deal was relatively quick and painless. The before…not so much.

I decided to write a book. Most people thought I was nuts. As a kid, I was a terrible student, plagued with dyslexia and ADHD. But like I said, I’m stubborn, and I had a story I felt compelled to tell.

A year later, I submitted my first draft to a handful of agents. Got a few revision letters and a lukewarm offer for representation. Bottom line: lots of interest, but no one screaming, “I have to have this!”

And that’s what I wanted. I wanted someone to fall suicidally in love with my book and I wasn’t going to settle for anything less. I got tough on myself. I went through my novel and picked out the scenes I couldn’t live without—all six of them.

Ruthlessly, I gutted the rest of the book. Seven months later, I reached the end of my revision and honestly had no idea if it was genius or complete shite. As in most good stories there’s an element of perfect timing. I attended Lorin Oberweger’s Your Best Book workshop in Charlotte, NC, and the reaction I received from my peers and the staff encouraged me that it was time to bite the bullet and submit again.

I’d put everything I had into this revision and I kept thinking, ‘what if my best just isn’t good enough’. I sat on my living room floor, my finger hovering above the send button, weeping. Blood And Salt was more than a book to me. It was everything I am as a human being wrapped up in those 260 pages.

Finally, I mustered up the courage to submit the full manuscript to my top five agents and the following day I had two offers of representation. The next day I had two more. Bonkers.

As I’d brazenly announced to anyone who would listen that I would only sign with a female agent who lived in NYC, it was only natural that I would sign with Josh Adams of Adams Literary (a male agent, from Charlotte, NC).

What can I say? He was THAT impressive. Three weeks later I had a two-book deal with Arianne Lewin at Putnam/Penguin. Nuff’ said.

When Ari called and told me that she grew up reading V.C. Andrews and Stephen King, I knew I’d found my match. She’s a tough editor with a scary laser beam brain for weak spots in my writing. I’m damn lucky to have her.

What do you do in your daily life?

My husband is a musician and I have two surly teens: one artist/activist, and one skateboarder. So my life is all books, music, art, Bandaids and angst. I lucked into an amazing group of YA writers here in NYC, all of whom are just as obsessed as I am. We write side-by-side about four nights a week.

Occasionally, we share our work, but it’s not about that. It’s about keeping each other on task, supporting each other through the process. We’re all working toward a common goal, to create something magical. I can’t imagine going on this journey without them.

What are you most excited about in the debut process?

I put so much time and effort into honing my book and then finding the right agent that I never really thought much beyond this point. There’s so much more to learn. I’m looking forward to not being so clueless all the time.

Kim Liggett lives in NYC with her jazz musician husband and two grotesquely beautiful teens. Her debut novel, BLOOD AND SALT– pitched as Romeo and Juliet meets Children of the Corn– is due out Fall 2014 with Putnam/Penguin.

20 thoughts on “Kim Liggett: BLOOD AND SALT

  1. FINALLY!!! (You get the recognition you deserve). BTW, you are anything but clueless (better words to describe you – ethereal, smart, beautiful, funny and a snappy dresser!!)

  2. “fall suicidially in love” < I LOVE this idea. Thanks for this and can't wait to read B&S. Also have an LD but never stopped me from writing/reading (only thing I wasn't "bad" at in school)! Worst thing ever said to me was "no one wants to be an English major"- someone at a college, head of disabilities. I proved her wrong 😉 Can't wait to see this book prove all of those who thought you were wrong, really right 🙂

    • It took me a long time to get over the stigma- to realize I had a voice and it was worth being heard. Go, Rachel, go! xo

  3. I loved reading your publishing story! It takes real courage to stick to your guns like that and hold out for the perfect agent and editor. Plus, your book sounds amazing! Right up my alley. Can’t wait to read it!

    Side note: I’ve met your editor. She gave me a box of Thin Mints at a writing conference, thereby endearing herself to me forever. 😀

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