Tell me about yourself.
My name is Marisa Blagden, but I write under Marisa Noelle, as I’m not a huge fan of my married name. Noelle is my middle name (I was born on Christmas Day). Although I was born in the UK, all of my family are American, so I have dual citizenship. I grew up mostly in the UK but spent some of my childhood in California.
That was really when I began to read and discovered my love of horror at age 10, and so my reading and writing tastes tend to lean towards American settings. I love to write about anything dark and unusual. Anything within the Speculative field. Dystopian, fantasy, horror, psychological thrillers, paranormal, and I love a dash of romance too.
What was your YA publishing journey?
Bumpy! When I first started writing, social media was really an embryo. I had just written the first book in my trilogy, The Unadjusteds, and wanted to see how to get it published. I had a copy of the Writer’s and Artist’s Handbook and went down the list to see what agent would fit. Lo and behold, I came across an old school friend turned agent. We met up and he gave me a ton of advice, that I still think about now. I got a lot of rejections, a few full requests, a couple of R & Rs, and an offer from a fabulous agent in Ireland. We edited the book together and it went off on submission.
Alas, The Hunger Games had just become very popular and no one was looking for dystopian any more. I turned my hand to a fantasy romance series with mermaids and shark shapeshifters, I also wrote a book about suicide at boarding school (mental health themes are very important to me), as well as a few other first drafts.
Nothing sold. It took me a long time (3 years) to realize that I wasn’t ready. I hadn’t learned enough. My agent wasn’t editorial and things went out before they were ready. Although she was a super agent for some, we were not the right match.
While I was looking for another agent, I got myself on Twitter, found some author friends, and engaged in pitch parties. I got offers from 2 small presses in the States for 2 different books, The Unadjusteds, and The Shadow Keepers (a YA dark fantasy/psychological horror with mental health themes). I accepted the offer from the press for The Shadow Keepers, and also an offer from another agent who wanted to see if she could sell The Unadjusteds. We edited it again and sent it off, but there were no nibbles, so we went back to the small press deal in the States.
As the book was being edited for publication, I split with this agent as she wasn’t interested in repping any of the other 17 books I had written. I wasn’t prepared to kiss them all goodbye. I went on a hunt for agent number 3, across the pond, as that’s where most of my writing is set. I gained representation for my MG novel Spectrum, an adventure road trip that deals with neurodivergent orphaned siblings. We are still on submission for this novel, and also working on a YA sci-fi and a YA horror. At this time, I also had an offer from a small US press for the first in my mermaid series, which we accepted. Unfortunately, both the other 2 publishers folded and I went about republishing The Shadow Keepers and The Unadjusteds trilogy as self-published books. Now, I am hopefully to be more traditionally published, but since getting myself on Booktok, have also found my place in the indie community. My latest novel, The Unraveling of Luna Forester, a dark fantasy and loose red riding hood retelling, was launched on Booktok to the best sales I’ve had to date.
What’s your name, books, and best ways to reach you?
Twitter, Insta & Facebook -@MarisaNoelle77
Website/newsletter –www.marisanoelle.com & www.theunadjusteds.com