Mason, director of publicity at Bloomsbury Children’s Books, will be on the other side of the autographing table to promote her debut novel, The Art of Losing (Soho Teen, Jan. 2019).

How did you come to write the book?

My parents sent me to rehab when I was 16, so my high school experience was pretty different from most people’s. Being sober as a teenager changed my life and made me the person I am today. But it was incredibly difficult to feel so different—and so lost—at a time when I just wanted to fit in. So when I began writing The Art of Losing, I wanted to show the realities of teen addiction, especially the way it affects relationships with family and friends. It soon became a story about making mistakes, accepting things you can’t change, and figuring out what to do when everything changes and you have to reimagine your future.

How long did it take you to write the novel and to get it published?

I started writing the book in April 2015 and signed with my agent, Stephen Barbara, the following spring. Then, between revising and submission, it was a year before we got an offer from Soho Teen. This was not a short process—and this is the fourth book I’ve written in nine years—so even working in publishing doesn’t make it easier to get a book published. But this book is the most personal one I’ve written, and it feels right that it’s my debut.

What’s it like to be on the other side of the process as the author instead of the publicist?

Very surreal and incredibly exciting. I know too much about some things, which is both helpful and overwhelming, but I’ve also learned a lot, especially about the editorial side. I’m also coming into this experience with a tremendous amount of support from the kid lit community, which has been amazing and reminds me how lucky I am to work in this industry.