Success Story Interview - Jasmine Warga

An Interview with Jasmine Warga (sheswideawake on QT) upon receiving an offer of representation from agent Brenda Bowen of The Book Group.


QT: Can you tell us a little bit about the book for which you've found representation? What inspired you to write it?
Jasmine Warga:
The book, MY HEART AND OTHER BLACK HOLES, is about a sixteen-year-old girl named Aysel who is obsessed with planning her own death, but isn't sure she has the courage to go through with it. She makes a pact with an unlikely boy who shares the same goal, but as she finds herself falling for him, she starts to question everything she previously believed was true. In sum, the book is about a suicide pact, love, and physics. The book was inspired by two things--the first, my desire to write an honest book about the demon of depression. I wanted to showcase a first person narrator who is actively struggling with depression. And second, one of my dearest friends passed away at the beginning of this year and I found myself in a very dark place. This narrative was, in part, my way of coping with those feelings.
QT: How long have you been writing?
Jasmine Warga:
The most honest answer would be forever. Some of my earliest memories involve me making up stories, sometimes in my head, sometimes putting them down on paper. I guess I started to get "serious" about writing three(ish) years ago when I was 22, but I've been writing in some form or another my entire life.
QT: How long have you been working on this book?
Jasmine Warga:
I started the first draft in January and signed with my agent in May. That said, this story has been in my head for years, I just had never been able to wrangle it onto the page.
QT: Was there ever a time you felt like giving up, and what helped you to stay on course?
Jasmine Warga:
Definitely. I'm ridden with self-doubt and anxiety, but I think at the end of the day it comes down to the fact that I have to write and that desire never goes away so giving up wasn't ever a viable option.
QT: Do you follow a writing routine or schedule?
Jasmine Warga:
I like to write in the mornings, if I can. I used to wake up at 5 a.m. before work and write for two hours. I find that in the morning my brain is still a little bit fuzzy and that fuzziness helps the words flow. (The problem though is that I tend to stay up too late for someone who likes to wake up early.)
QT: Did you outline your book, or do you write from the hip?
Jasmine Warga:
I mostly wrote from the hip. I had an idea of where it began and where it ended and it was my job to fill in the rest as I went along.
QT: How long have you been querying for this book? Other books?
Jasmine Warga:
About a month or so. I know how lucky and unusual that is and I feel very grateful!
QT: What advice would you give other writers seeking agents?
Jasmine Warga:
To expect the worst, but prepare for the best. Wonderful things can happen very quickly and you should be prepared. Also, as cliche as it is, never give up and never lose sight of your love of writing. Keep writing and keep the faith.