Ch1Con Blog Tour: Interview with Gabe Cole (Ava Jae)!

Hello from July 5, 2020! The wonderful author who published books under the name Ava Jae has since come out as a transgender man and is named Gabe Cole (he/him pronouns). I’m doing my best to update the following post accordingly, but leaving the name Ava Jae in direct reference to the book, since that’s the name he published his first trilogy under (and you should definitely go buy it!).


It’s finally my turn to host a tour stop for the 2015 Chapter One Young writers Conference blog tour!

For anyone who doesn’t know, Ch1Con is a writing conference both for and by teens and young adults. Our 2015 event will take place Saturday, August 8th in Arlington Heights, IL, a northern suburb of Chicago. 2015 registration is currently open on the Ch1Con website for writers from a middle school to undergraduate level and at an early bird discount price of $39.99. Our speakers will include YA author Kat Zhang (The Hybrid Chronicles, HarperCollins), renowned freelance editor Taryn Albright of The Girl with the Green Pen, and YA/NA author Gabe Cole (Ava Jae) (Beyond the Red, Sky Pony Press).

Instead of me spending my tour stop rambling endlessly about the conference (because let’s face it, I do that enough anyway), I figured you might appreciate learning about one of our speakers instead. So, say hello to the one and only Gabe Cole (Ava Jae)!

Gabe Cole (Ava Jae) is a YA and NA writer, an Assistant Editor at Entangled Publishing, and is represented by Louise Fury of The Bent Agency. His YA Sci-Fi debut, BEYOND THE RED, is releasing March 2016 from Sky Pony Press (under the name Ava Jae). When he’s not writing about kissing, superpowers, explosions, and aliens, you can find him with his nose buried in a book, nerding out over the latest X-Men news, or hanging out on his blog, Twitter, Facebook, tumblr, Goodreads, Instagram, or YouTube channel.
Your debut novel, BEYOND THE RED, comes out with Sky Pony Press in spring, 2016. What was the process like for getting your publishing deal?
Oh boy. I’ll give you the super abbreviated version: I wrote nine books, queried four of them (one of them twice, several years apart), put them away, wrote a tenth book which ended up being BEYOND THE RED, swapped with critique partners, revised, revised, revised, started querying again, entered a randomly-chosen blog contest, won runner-up in said blog contest which led to a request from my awesome agent, signed with her, revised tons more (and more, and more), went on submission…and finally announced the publishing deal October 2014. 🙂
When did you start writing? Was it with the goal of someday publishing a novel, or just for fun?
I kind of started twice? The first time I was eleven and wrote I think maybe fifty pages before I lost interest and forgot about it. Second time I was thirteen, and it evolved from “I’m going to write this story that popped in my head” to “I’m going to write this book” to “I’m going to get this published.” By the time I’d finished that book, I knew without a doubt I wanted to be an author. And so began many years of writing and querying…
Besides being an up-and-coming author, you’re also currently a college student, assistant editor for Entangled Publishing, and prolific blogger and vlogger. How do you balance all of that? What does your average day look like?
I mean, my day kind of varies depending on my school schedule. Some consistent things: I get up between 5:00-5:30 AM every day, get as much writing/blogging/homework/editing things done as I can before class, go to class, and try to relax after class if I can (because usually I’m too tired to do anything else).
The only way to do it, really, is to have a set schedule. On days I have not as much class, I focus on getting as much homework and writing/blogging stuff as I can. I write posts every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, edit and schedule posts every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, film vlogs every Saturday or Sunday, edit vlogs every Friday-Monday, and catch up on whatever I need to over the weekend on Wednesdays. When I get an editing deadline for work, I make sure to be honest with my boss about when I can realistically get things done (so important!). I schedule things out way ahead of time, divide work up throughout the week, and keep a to-do list that I check off every day.
Over the summer it’s much easier without classes to worry about. *sigh*
What are some of your interests outside of the publishing world?
Movies! I love movies. Fun fact: I actually have an Associates in Film/Digital Media and went to a fancy art school for a year to pursue a degree in Visual Effects (like, all that CGI stuff). I also really love drawing and digital art—I used to do a ton of digital paintings on Photoshop, and while I haven’t had time lately, I’m hoping to pick that up again over the summer. I’m pretty artsy I guess. 🙂
If you could change or improve one thing about the publishing industry, what would it be?
I mean, I guess I wish it was easier to make a living with your writing? Because it’s super super super difficult. But it’s pretty well known that you don’t go into the publishing industry to make tons of money—it’s a labor of love. And ramen.
Your writing is represented by Louise Fury of The Bent Agency. What’s your favorite part of working with your literary agent?
Revisions! (I’m probably going to regret saying this—hi, Louise!) But seriously, I really do love revising even when I’m banging my head against the keyboard trying to figure out how to fix a plot hole. And Team Fury is ridiculously awesome when it comes to getting great revision suggestions. Also, Louise’s enthusiasm for every book is pretty awesome. It’s kind of impossible for me to have a conversation with her that doesn’t make me really excited and happy, which is pretty much the best thing. 🙂
If you could give one piece of advice to young writers, what would it be?
Don’t set a deadline for yourself. For years I was determined to get published before Christopher Paolini (I’m competitive, okay?), and that didn’t happen, and it was pretty hard to come to terms with the fact that I wasn’t going to be a published (or agented) teenager.
Don’t do that to yourself. Take time to hone your craft, to write the most amazing books possible, to learn how to become a better writer, and develop a thick skin, and get to really know the publishing industry. You already have the advantage of starting early in life—now use the extra time you have to become the best possible and don’t worry about getting published before you turn twenty. I promise you’ll be just as happy at twenty-five or thirty or whenever it happens for you.
And lastly: Where can people find you online?
Everywhere! I’m on Twitter, tumblr, Facebook, Instagram, YouTubePinterest and Goodreads. I am the social media.
Thanks for letting me interview you, Gabe (Ava Jae)! I’m so excited to hear you speak at the conference.
Gabe has very kindly offered to give away a query and first five page critique as part of the tour stop. Check it out at the link below!


If you’re a writer from middle school to undergraduate age (approximately twelve to twenty-two) and are interested in attending and/or learning more about the conference, you can check us out at the links below. Early bird registration ends May 31st!

Website: Chapter One Young Writers Conference
Twitter: @Ch1Con
Tumblr: Chapter One Young Writers Conference
YouTube: Chapter One Young Writers Conference
Pinterest: Chapter One YW Conference
Facebook: Chapter One Young Writers Conference

The Chapter One Young Writers Conference.
Every story needs a beginning. This is ours.


8 thoughts on “Ch1Con Blog Tour: Interview with Gabe Cole (Ava Jae)!

  1. Oh hey, Ava! *waves* I’m actually picking up a lot of Photoshop skills on the fly as I delve around the Internet (well, GIMP actually, because I am a poor student). And “labour of love. and ramen.” totally cracked me up. RAMEN IS THE BEST.

    Confession: I am one of those teens who wants to be published/agented before I turn 20. (I think I’ve given up on the 18-yr-old line.) It’s more of a wistful dream now than anything — but you’re right, practicing the craft is more important than speeding through it. Great to learn more about you, Ava!


  2. This was really encouraging, especially since I’m at a really difficult point in my book right now (looking like I have to do a complete plot change and restart, which is stupid since I just restarted in August, but oh well). Things like this actually make publication seem possible 🙂


  3. Writability is definitely one of my favorite writing blogs out there—this interview is super encouraging, and definitely makes me think that I should be writing. Thanks for hosting, Julia. 🙂

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