Writer's Digest

BREAKING IN

A.H. Kim

A Good Family

(Domestic thriller, July, Graydon House)

“When a glamorous Big Pharma executive pleads guilty to a whistleblower lawsuit and goes to prison, she’s convinced someone in her family helped set her up—and she’ll do anything to bring them down.”

San Francisco. When I read , I felt inspired to write a YA book from an Asian-American teenager’s perspective. I wasn’t able to get an agent for that book, but I’d caught the writing bug. I started writing another book, which turned out to be . My husband bought me by K.M. Weiland. I started writing with a group that met once a week, and in two months, I had a handful of short pieces that had promise. One Saturday, I sat down with a notebook, the short I spent a lot of time researching agents— and Chuck Sambuchino were my go-to resources. I felt a connection reading Kirby Kim’s bio. Like me, he’s Korean, a lawyer, and has San Francisco ties. Most queries for my YA book went unanswered, but Kirby sent a kindly worded rejection. When I was querying , I remembered Kirby’s kindness and tried again. The second time proved to be the charm. I was surprised how much effort my agent put into helping get my manuscript ready for publishers. Kirby and I spent a year on revisions before it was ready. I was also surprised how quickly the submission process goes. I think Kirby sent my manuscript to a dozen editors and gave them two weeks to make offers. I joke that I was only able to get published by being too stubborn and foolish to give up. I know many talented writers who haven’t been published because they find the process discouraging. I’d have been more compassionate with myself and not taken each rejection so personally. Part of being a writer is being a good literary citizen. For me, that means going to readings, buying books from local booksellers, waiting in line to talk with authors, posting reviews on Goodreads, and joining writing communities. Be supportive of other authors, even when it’s tempting to be jealous of their success. We’re all struggling with our own imposter-syndrome demons. When I’m not in the mood to write, I read, listen to audiobooks or music, take walks or hot showers, have lunch with a friend. Once my batteries are replenished, I find myself excited to write, and the hours pass in a blur. I’m working on my next novel, a modern riff on Jane Austen’s that takes place in an idyllic Northern California cancer retreat center.

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