I didn’t start writing until I was 35, in one of those ‘kismet’ moments when an idea for a story plopped into my head. I was living NYC making my way as an actor, but wasn’t getting a lot of gigs and felt creatively stuck. So I began writing as a way to find artistic fulfillment – and because it was more fun than sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring!
My first book was an adventure novel about drunk hobbit people (did I mention the idea came to me while hiking through New Zealand on a ‘Lord of the Rings’ tour?). Not surprisingly, my attempts at getting an agent weren’t successful. So I wrote another book, this one about a Delta Force soldier hunting legendary creatures. I thought the book was fabulous, but the agents I queried disagreed with my humble assessment. Inconceivable! I felt like someone must want a book about Rambo chasing unicorns! Lo and behold, Jason Anthony of Massie and McQuilkin picked my query letter from his slush pile and reached out. He said he enjoyed the first few chapters but that the story was for young adults, and would I consider re-writing it for teenagers? I did, and it became a story about a 17 year-old boy hunting dragons while daydreaming about sex. Yes, it was absolutely terrible. So I tried again, this time turning the story into a middle grade novel about a boy’s search for cryptids like Bigfoot and The Loch Ness Monster. The story and genre felt like the right fit for my writing style and I was offered a deal with FSG, an imprint of Macmillan.
I’m so happy my agent was patient with me while we figured out my voice. And I’m thrilled that I landed in the middle grade genre where kids can join me on secret searches for hidden animals. It was how I spent my time as a kid, wandering around the Rocky Mountains looking for signs of trolls and other beasts, and I’m so excited to share these adventures with others!
Lija Fisher is the author of THE CRYPTID CATCHER, a middle grade humorous adventure novel coming August 2018 with Farrar, Straus & Giroux, and THE CRYPTID KEEPER coming out in 2019. Yes, she believes in Bigfoot! She was the Writer in Residence in 2017 with Aspen Words. You can find her on Twitter @LijaFisher, or at LijaFisher.com.