Behind the Book is an exclusive feature at Muggle-Born that gives readers an inside look into the editorial process of some of our favorite books. Plot changes, lost characters, and many more interesting topics are tackled in an interview with the author.
The Goddess Test by Aimée Carter
Did You Know?
- It took over two and a half years for The Goddess Test to be published.
- Originally, Kate, the main character, was named Becca
- Before it was called THE GODDESS TEST, it was PERSEPHONE
- Read on to find out more Behind the Book info about the Goddess Test!
How many months did it take for you to write the original draft of THE GODDESS TEST?
The actual writing of the book took maybe two months. I’d outlined extensively before that though, going through several drafts of the story over many, many months. I did several rounds of editing afterward as well, before submitting to agents.
How long did the overall production of your book take from the moment you got your agent to the final publication date?
I queried my agent, Rosemary Stimola, on August 8, 2008 (8/8/08 – turned out to be pretty lucky for me!). So from August 2008 to April 2011, that would be over two and a half years. We went on submission with The Goddess Test for almost a year though, and I wound up doing a complete overhaul of the manuscript when I signed with my publisher, so it was a very long process. Totally worth it in the end though.
Throughout the editorial process were there any significant changes to your story in terms of plot?
Not so much plot – the very basics (girl meets god, offers her life in exchange for her mother’s, etc.) stayed the same. However, many of the details and the nuances in the story were rewritten during the editing process. I believe there’s only one scene that remained mostly untouched, and that’s the one toward the end of Chapter 15, for those who are interested in looking it up. Everything was rewritten or tweaked or added to, even the beginning and especially the ending, which I rewrote many, many times.
Did you lose any characters along the way or go through any name changes?
Funny story – nearly every single character, save for James, Ava, and Henry, had their name changed during the course of writing the story. I chose very Greek names in the beginning, and they didn’t work, so I changed them (Irene’s name, for instance, was originally Idola, and Nicholas’ was Nikkos). Even Kate was originally named Becca, until I read Twilight and panicked. As for losing characters, that didn’t wind up happening at all. The characters more or less stayed the same from beginning to end.
What was the most challenging part of writing and the editorial process?
The first draft is always the toughest part for me, but for The Goddess Test specifically, the most challenging part was the waiting. Waiting to hear back from agents, waiting to hear back from publishers, waiting to hear back from my editor – I’m not very patient, so it was definitely a lesson for me. Specifically for the writing and editorial process, I would say that the ending was the most challenging part for me. I couldn’t get it right no matter how hard I tried, but finally I changed another plot element in the story, and the ending clicked.
Did THE GODDESS TEST go through any title changes?
Another funny story! Originally the working title was simply PERSEPHONE. Obviously that was a terrible title, but my first round of queries went out with that title. I got zero requests from those agents. My father and I brainstormed different titles that might work – I don’t remember who came up with THE GODDESS TEST, but I wasn’t a big fan of it in the beginning. Still, when I sent out my second round of queries – nothing changed except for that title – and got a 70% positive response rate from agents asking for partials or fulls, I realized we had a good one.
What did it feel like to have the final copy of the book in your hands?
So many authors say it was surreal or mind-blowing or whatnot, and it was really, really cool for me too, but in the end, I think the major emotion I felt was relief. It finally existed. All of that hard work paid off.
Is there anything else that you could tell us about THE GODDESS TEST that we wouldn’t know unless we were part of the editorial team at Harlequin Teen?
This is such a great question. I’m not sure what I can tell you without spoiling the story for those who haven’t read it yet, but I will say that James had a very, very different role in the first draft. One I might write more about eventually in a blog post, as it would have changed the entire series if I’d kept it in.
Thank you so much to Aimée for agreeing to participate! If you haven’t already, read my glowing review of THE GODDESS TEST. THE GODDESS TEST officially releases on April 26th 2011.
Keep an eye out for the next Behind the Book featuring Maurissa Guibord, the author of WARPED.