Today we have a very special guest on the blog. We’re talking with debut author and my wonderful agent, Rebecca Angus about her new book Where We First Began. This book has been on my radar for a while and I’m excited to finally get to read it!
Welcome Rebecca and thanks for stopping by to tell us about your debut book!
Let’s start by asking a little bit about you. So how long have you been writing?
My writing journey is pretty typical. I was a book obsessed teenager with a writing dream of my own, but it wasn’t until right after college that I started writing seriously. I am a military spouse and I met my husband at Texas A&M University. We got married our senior year of college and he deployed to Afghanistan the year after. While he was deployed I had living in Washington away from my friends and family and I turned to writing as a way to combat the stress and loneliness that I felt during that first deployment. I actually wrote WHERE WE FIRST BEGAN in 28 days during that time, and dove straight into revisions shortly after. A few months later I found my literary agent, Jessica. She has been an amazing champion for this book!
That’s amazing! Sounds like quite the journey you’ve been on to get to this point. What genres do you write and what makes them so near and dear to your heart?
I am working on a new historical project, and a contemporary romance. Love stories are really my happy place when it comes to writing, and I always try to add some aspect of the military to the story.
Love stories can be some of the best books out there, especially when combined with historical events and military aspects. Do you have any hobbies besides writing (and being an amazing agent)?
My happy place is on the back of a horse. I have been riding horse since I was five, and I have the most amazing tall, dark, and handsome In my life named Marcas (I’m talking about my horse, of course). He’s my shoulder when I need to cry, my best friend. When I’m not at the barn you can most likely find me chasing my son around or building garages for his hot wheels out of legos.
Horses are downright amazing creatures. So happy to see another horsewoman who writes! That said, how do you balance the workload of being both a writer and an agent?
Coffee. Lots of Coffee. And wine! I actually find the author part more daunting. I have a really good routine when it comes to working as an agent. However, when it comes to prioritizing my own books and writing, I definitely feel the pressure. I have to schedule writing time, and that can be difficult. Most days I find time after Mini Agent has gone to put in an hour or two of writing.
My role as an agent is my full time job so that takes priority in my schedule. I plan for writing any other time I have available. If you ask my clients they will all tell you that I am an organizational crazy person who schedules my entire life on a spreadsheet. They are probably right!
Being an author can be a daunting task, but it is so worthwhile. You’re an incredible agent who makes writers’ dreams come true. What’s it feel like being on the author side of things for a change?
I talked about this a bit above, but I actually think the author side is harder for me. I feel like I prioritize all of the amazing authors on my list and I don’t know how to prioritize myself sometimes. Thankfully I am fortunate enough to have amazing clients who actually volunteered to help me with the promotion and marketing of my own book because I didn’t have anything planned myself. I am so very lucky to have amazing people on my team who care about my dreams as a writer as much as I champion for their dreams!
I think I can safely speak for myself and your clients in that you’re the best agent any of us could ever dream to have. You’ve done so much for our dreams and your dreams are equally important. Tell us a little bit about your writing process. Is there anything special you need to help you write? Like special music, coffee/tea, have a favorite writing spot, etc?
Wine. All of the wine! Writing is my calm down ritual for the day and I always partner it with a glass of wine in my favorite Doctor Who mug. As for my favorite writing spot…I think the answer is wherever it’s quite. I do create a playlist for each of my WIPs that I listen to while I’m writing.
WHERE WE FIRST BEGAN was a bit of an unusual journey and not typical of my writing style at all. I am 100% a micromanaging plotting machine. I have to have a solid plan of action before I start writing anything, and usually I begin by creating a detailed outline and a chapter summary for each part of the book before I even start writing a chapter. WHERE WE FIRST BEGAN was a solid 28 days of writing from the heart. Every emotion, insecurity, and frustration I felt being a military wife was put into that story, and I didn’t outline any of it. While I knocked the book out very fast, I will never pants an entire story again. I definitely prefer going into a story more organized. However, sometimes the characters in the story have a mind of their own and your plan of action can completely change. Don’t be afraid of change in the story—work with your character. After all, it’s their story.
Having had a few characters get away from me with the plot in the past, I feel your pain on that. What are some of your favorite authors or books that you’ve read?
I’m a bit of an out of the box reader when it comes to the books I’m drawn to. Because I work in publishing and a huge part of my job is reading manuscripts, I find that I look for books outside of the genres I work with when it comes to pleasure reading. I love Cozy Mysteries, historical fiction, and anything that has a magical twist. My go-to authors are Deborah Harkness, Susanna Kearsley, Debbie Mccomber, and P.C. Cast. Right now I am actually reading Z: A Novel Of Zelda Fitzgerald, which is absolutely amazing!
I’ve heard good things about that book! If you could give aspiring writers some advice both from a writer and agent perspective, what would you tell them?
Everyone has their own writing journey. It can happen at different stages of your life, at different paces, and at different levels. Whatever your writing journey is, focus on your individual successes and try not to get caught longing for the successes of others. I know I give that speech to my authors on a weekly basis, but I frequently have to remind myself of the same thing. This is my writing journey and it will be what I make it, not what others perceive it as.
Now that we’ve gotten to know you a bit. Tell us about your story. What's the book called? What genre would you classify it as?
Where We First Began
Genre(s): Historical Romance, Time Travel Romance
I love anything that has to do with time travel. What’s your story about?
When Aubrey Harrison wrecks her truck on the side of a dark Texas highway, she wakes up in the year 1836, in another woman’s life—someone who looks just like her. Struggling to understand her new reality, Aubrey connects with Tapley, a handsome cattleman with a tragic past.
As Mexican soldiers begin to fill the small settlement, Aubrey recognizes the first sign of a deadly battle yet to come. A bargain to save her new family’s cattle business leads to murder, and Aubrey is forced to take shelter within the walls of the Alamo, even though she knows that’s the worst place she could be.
The fate of Texas was sealed before the battle ever began, but with it, a new love may now be lost somewhere between the past and the present. An attempt to change fate comes with the high price of Aubrey’s future, but she’s determined to give history a fight it will never forget.
That sounds incredible! What inspired you to write this particular story?
Well, I knew this question would come eventually, but my husband inspired this story….yes---that is very awkward for me to admit. I drew so much inspiration from our time at Texas A&M. Our love story began there, so the love story central to WHERE WE FIRST BEGAN also parallels to those same themes. The main character, Tapley, was actually inspired by Tapley Holland who was the youngest defender of the Alamo, and played a significant role in the history of the Alamo itself. We loved the name Tapley so much that we named our son after him as well. There is so much history in this story, but there is also so much of my own life in it as well that it’s very personal. It took me awhile to come to terms with the fact that people are going to read these words that I wrote and experience my own feelings in their own way. It’s a very vulnerable but exciting feeling as an Author.
Who will this book appeal to age wise?
Much of it happens in college so I think there is appeal for older teens (17+) and adults who are fans of the romance genre, or even historical fiction.
Do you have a favorite character from your book? Or a least favorite character?
Definitely Tapley. You can’t help but fall in love with him. He’s loyal to a fault, but he’s brave and honest and he’s not afraid to fight for what he wants.
As for my least favorite character….you will have to find out. I think readers will know it when they meet them.
This sounds so cool! I can’t wait to start reading! What’s next for you writing wise? Is there going to be a series, sequel, or what else are you working on for future projects?
I mentioned this above, but I am working on a new historical project, and a contemporary romance. Love stories are really my happy place when it comes to writing, and I always try to add some aspect of the military to the story.
Now that we’ve heard a little bit about your book, where can readers find it to purchase it?
Thanks for taking the time to stop by and chat with me today Rebecca! It was a lot of fun and I’m so happy for you and Where We First Began. Wishing you the very best and I can’t wait to read this!
Readers who wish to connect with Rebecca can find her at the following:
Rebecca Angus is a Senior Literary Agent with Golden Wheat Literary, and romance author.
Rebecca has over five years of experience in the Publishing industry, and she's excited to work with new authors and illustrators. She started as an editorial and submissions intern at Entangled in 2014, and from there she moved into an intern position at Golden Wheat Literary. After interning on both the publishing side, and the agent side, she set her sights on becoming a Literary Agent and found her home at Golden Wheat Literary.
When she's away from books, she is an Army wife, science teacher, toddler chasing Mom, and equestrian. The military moves her family way too much. She lives in El Paso, Texas with her family.
Rebecca graduated from Texas A&M University with a BA in Science, and a Minor in Business. Since then, she's earned her Master’s certificate in Children’s Literature, and her Master's in Early Childhood Education and Literacy.
Rebecca is a supporter of diversity and inclusion in publishing, and she is a member of SCBWI NM.