Slept Away: Laugh-out-loud YA fiction by Julie Kraut

May 26, 2009 · 0 comments

Whenever I have a question about publishing, I turn to Julie Kraut. She entertains all my idiotic newbie inquiries, cracks me up with her sense of humor, and still manages to make it seem like she’s not laughing at me.

Julie Kraut's new YA release, Slept Away

Julie writes young-adult fiction, and her first book, Hot Mess: Summer in the City, came out last year. Before she started writing full time, she worked in publishing, so she understands the book industry from both angles.

As if that didn’t make her cool enough, Julie traveled through Africa for three months this year, blogging about it along the way. So what if we haven’t met in person? Julie and I are now malaria sisters.

Today Julie’s second young-adult novel, Slept Away, hits bookstore shelves. It already has gotten several great reviews, including this one. Know a pre-teen or teenager who would enjoy reading about a city girl stuck at summer camp? Buy the book!

Here, Julie indulges me once again, answering a few questions about her own writing and publishing process.

Alexis: You’re only 27! How have you authored two books already?


Julie Kraut, author of Slept Away

Julie: I'm 26! This age defying moisturizer isn't working at all, is it?

Tell us a bit about your new release.

It's called Slept Away and is young-adult fiction. It's a story about a city it-girl who gets sent to a rustic sleep away camp and her summer of being an outcast, going through Diet Coke withdrawal, and taking more than a few kickballs to the face. It's a really fun read and in my own humble opinion, laugh-out-loud hilarious.

How long did it take you to write Slept Away?

From the way start of the proposal to the final copy edit, around 14 months.

Can you explain the process you went through to sell the novel?

Step 1: Gave it to my kick-ass agent.
Step 2: Did lots of happy dancing when she called with a deal.

Why did you decide to use a literary agent for your second book, after flying solo for your first?

Pretty much so I could skip to the happy dancing faster.

An agent helps with the proposal, does the selling legwork, negotiates the nitty-gritty of the contract, and handles all of the business so that you, the writer, can actually focus on writing.

You worked in publishing before writing full time. How has that experience helped you as an author?

Being on “the other side of the desk” is such a different experience from working at a publishing house. Still, I was really surprised by how new everything felt when I'd been in the industry for a few years. There's just more emotion involved when it's your book and that can change your perspective a lot. That being said, understanding the business has helped in terms of managing expectations, anticipating the process, and digesting the sales and marketing information.

What advice would you give aspiring authors?

Recognize that it's all part of the process. Everything's a step forward. The rejection, the painful editorial feedback, the blank page and blinking cursor… Whatever it is that feels like a roadblock or setback is really just a step toward getting published. Have faith in your talent and ambition.

[Alexis interrupting here: I absolutely love this advice. Everything’s a step forward!]

And in less inspirational advice, back your hard drive up. I'm still mourning what I lost in the Great Crash of ’07. Rest in peace, series of joke haikus on my overactive sweat glands, rest in peace.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Julie May 26, 2009 at 8:06 am

Aw, thanks. Love the post!


Marvin D Wilson May 26, 2009 at 8:12 am

Enjoyed learning about Julie. Any author with a sense of humor is great in my book, and hers comes through loud and laughing in this post.

Hey Julie – the moisturizer is working fine – you don’t look a day over 23, ask me. 🙂

The Old Silly from Free Spirit Blog


Karen Walker May 26, 2009 at 8:49 am

Great advice. Malaria? Did you really get malaria?



Alexis Grant May 26, 2009 at 9:38 am

Yup! During my first trip to Africa.


Galen Kindley May 26, 2009 at 9:16 am

For me, a couple of great take-aways in Julie’s answers. I had no agent for Book One. I’m seeking an agent for Book Two, and though it can at times be painful, her points in that area are well taken.

And, like Alexis, I too, think the process points are important. Just another step along the highway. Yeah, that’s right, and, useful information when feeling overwhelmed.

Lastly, Alexis, how lucky are you to have connected with Julie, seems like you to have much in common, even to the point of Africa travel…not something you find every day. She’s a great resources, and you are for her, as well, I’d bet.

Best Regards, Galen


Jane Kennedy Sutton May 26, 2009 at 11:12 am

What a fun and informative interview.

Jane Kennedy Sutton


Elizabeth Spann Craig May 26, 2009 at 12:40 pm

I love funny YA books…..seems like lately there have been too many out there that are way too mired in personal tragedy. Thanks for the recommendation on an interesting read I can recommend to the middle-schoolers I know.

Mystery Writing is Murder


Global Adventure Travel May 26, 2009 at 5:37 pm

I like the fact that these books are really geared not only to those who are struggling to fit in surroundings they aren’t familiar with vs. parents wanting their child to have a well-rounded upbringing and encompassing all facets of life as they can muster up. May it be a sleep-away camp or a global adventure to Africa: These books aid in the transition between city life and life in nature w/o technology to be seen.


Beth Fehlbaum May 26, 2009 at 7:19 pm

Great interview! I enjoyed reading it. Thanks!
Beth Fehlbaum, author
Courage in Patience, a story of HOPE..
Ch. 1 is online!


Karen Brees May 26, 2009 at 9:23 pm

Fun and upbeat. Nice post.


Destineers May 27, 2009 at 1:20 am

I loved this post, Alexis. That was a great interview – her humor really shines through. I’ll definitely try to put her book on the radar to check out for the kid-YA book review blog I do.


Nancy, from Just a Thought…


Patricia Stoltey May 27, 2009 at 1:52 am

I love to see authors promoting other authors. Well done!



Bookworm June 15, 2009 at 5:16 pm

Julie rocks! I recently read Slept Away and it was amazing! Go, Julie!!


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