Today I am excited to introduce our new monthly post Pre-Pub Adventure!
Every 3rd Wed of the month we will be following authors on their publishing adventure. Have you ever wonder how authors prepare for a book release or what they are working on while also getting ready to publish a new book? How do they multitask? Find out on Pre-Pub Adventure as we follow authors to publishing their books.
Today we check in with authors
Let’s welcome our authors on their Publishing adventure!
1. Welcome Nic! Please tell us a little about yourself?
Hiiii! You can read the boring stuff here or here, but to spice things up a bit, here are three fun facts:
1. One of my hidden talents? Balloon animals. No lie.
2. In high school, I was both head cheerleader, and the mascot: a very masculine blue devil. (Definitely almost got my ass kicked a few times because I had NO chill inside that costume. #GoBigBlue)
3. My favorite food is bacon. But not just any bacon, no no. Black Forest smoked bacon SOLELY from the Whole Foods deli.
2. Tell us about your book? How did you come up with Dear Martin?
DEAR MARTIN follows a 17-year-old African American kid who gets racially profiled one night, and decides he’s going to try and live according to Dr. King’s teachings and keep a journal of letters *to* Dr. King to record his experiences.
I really wrote it an attempt to process the string of shooting deaths of unarmed black boys, the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, and the frequent misinterpretation of Dr. King’s teachings relative to both. I just wanted to get a better understanding of the structures and attitudes in this country that contributed to the deaths of these boys, and I wanted to know how Dr. King’s teachings would REALLY be applied in light of how they were applied/received (spoiler alert: MLK might be a hero to us in retrospect, but he was NOT adored by all during his time. Quite the opposite most of the time).
Add Dear Martin to Goodreads
! Check out Nic’s blog
for more information on the book and news!
1. Welcome Kayla! Please tell us a little about yourself?
Hi, and thanks for having me! Let’s see…so. Things I love: black coffee, the darkest chocolate, rainy days, Moleskine notebooks, the ocean, making lists and crossing things off, writing books, singing and playing piano + guitar, cats, as many serranos as the restaurant will bring me, Christopher Guest movies, breakfast tacos, the hike and bike trail in Austin, and—of course—my husband and our little guy. Things I don’t at all love: words misspelled on purpose, mayonnaise, bubble tea, aggressive drivers, haircuts, being in the car for too long. (I’ve definitely left things off of both these lists, I’m sure.) I started writing back in 2009 after working a series of customer service jobs and realizing I wasn’t creatively fulfilled—much more on that here
, on my website, if you’re interested in the longer version of that story. There are also a lot of really random facts on that same website page, like how I once attempted to knit my cat a turtleneck sweater for Christmas.
2. Tell us about your book? How did you come up with The Sandcastle Empire?
THE SANDCASTLE EMPIRE
—a near-future sci-fi thriller about a global war that erupts in the wake of environmental change—will be out June 6, 2017
from HarperTeen. When main character Eden escapes to the only neutral ground left in the world, Sanctuary Island, she quickly discovers the island might be deadlier than the world she left behind—but surviving it is the only thing that stands between her and freedom.
As for how I got the idea: it seems like “the idea hit me while taking a shower one night” might not be the most original of answers, but in this case…it’s true.
I was having a moment of missing LOST, the TV show, and simultaneously had a bit of a craving for the beach on Disney’s island, Castaway Cay, when I thought, Hey! What if I wrote a book set on an island? The ideas started bombarding me from there—What if I had four girls as main characters? What if they were searching for the island because they thought it would be a safe place, but it turned out to be just the opposite? I thumb-typed paragraphs of notes on my iPhone as soon as I hopped out of the shower—I still have that note saved on my phone, and think it’s sort of amazing that the initial seeds of that idea are still present in the final version that’ll hit shelves in June. I’d show you a screenshot, buuuut then I’d spoil the book. 😉
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For more on THE SANDCASTLE EMPIRE, check out www.kaylaolson.com to find full jacket copy, pre-order links, contact info, film news, and details about where the book will be translated/published outside of the U.S.
1. Welcome Abby! Please tell us a little about yourself?
Hi everyone! I’m Abby. My YA sci-fi debut novel, WHEN PLANETS FALL, is coming out April 12th. *enter obnoxious squeal and soundtrack music*
Let’s see…what else about me…
I have Chronic Migraine, which is a neurological and brain disorder and can be really disabling. I love to paint. I started in watercolor, but have slowly transitioned to working mostly in mixed media. I’m 26 and have an unhealthy obsession for tea (loose leaf) and popcorn (sea salt, lightly salted).
I have a husband and two dogs. One is a fluffy Irishdoodle and basically sleeps at my while I’m working, so he often wakes up with paint in his fur. The other is a goldendoodle who is obsessed with bringing in the largest stick she can find. The last, my husband, ha, is pretty studly and my college souvenir 🙂
Random fun fact: Growing up, I used to get so nauseous whenever I saw the color orange. I literally could not look at anything orange without almost puking for about 3 years. Now it’s one of my favorite colors!
2. Here’s the official synopsis for it:
Breaker’s home is cleaved by blood. The three tribes on the planet Scarlatti, whose only difference is their blood color, each want to exploit Breaker’s valley for themselves. The feudal tension has already claimed red-blood Breaker’s leg and his older brother. Now all this 18-year old wants is to maintain the tenuous peace in order to keep his little ‘stroid of a brother alive. Malani, a red-blood raised blue, is a kidnapped POW and only wants to return to her adoptive home with her dangerous blue secrets. Luka, a red-blood stewing for trouble, wants to right wrongs done to his family and bath his home in justice.
All three intersect when Breaker discovers a wrecked starship and is given seven days by the green-bloods to fix and hand it over as a weapon. Breaker must decide if aiding his enemies is worth the home he knows and his family’s life. War is coming. And war respects no boundaries. And war leaves no survivors.
It’s about brothers/siblinghood, home, and sacrifice. Maybe a touch of romance 🙂
I actually melded a couple ideas I had. One was a camp I attended in high school. The theme was around the idea of being “strangers in a strange land.” I’m pretty sure it’s from the Old Testament, though I’m not sure where. In college, I had to write a short story for school. I came back to this idea and wrote a 10 page story from it. Then, after querying a different novel that didn’t go anywhere, this short story kept coming back to mind. I played with it and it grew into WHEN PLANETS FALL.
I actually wrote a blog post about it here! (included some embarrassing photos of myself at that camp!)
Breaker’s amputation (and Luka’s migraines) were originally inspired by my own experiences with Chronic Migraine. I wanted characters that had to deal with body limitations to reach their goals, like I do everyday. The ending…let’s just say there’s a twist that was also inspired by my experiences with CM 😉
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Add When Planets Fall on Goodreads! Check out Abby’s blog for more information on the book and news!
1. Welcome Amanda! Please tell us a little about yourself?
Of course! Thanks for following me in my Pre-Pub Adventure! I’m 22, living that post-grad life of getting my accounting masters and beginning a career while also spending my free time writing books. As both total geek and total girly-girl, I could spend an entire day talking about my favorite anime ships and then the next discussing the pros and cons of liquid lipstick. I currently live in Philadelphia.
2. How did you come up with Daughter of the Burning City?
I took a Writing Children’s Literature class my sophomore year of college. At the time, I was working on ACE OF SHADES
with my agent (now my second novel), so when I wrote a chapter of DAUGHTER for the YA assignment in my class, I was too busy to return to it immediately afterwards. About a year later, I picked it back up and figured out what happened after that first chapter.
The idea itself…I’m not positive. I get a lot of my ideas from simply free-writing. I write some sentence, then another, then another. Eventually, I have a feel for what might become a full story. DAUGHTER was sort of spontaneous in that way. I was never setting out to write a murder mystery or a carnival book, but it just kind of happened. The first several pages are still nearly identical to the ones I submitted for class, several years later. The heart of the story has never changed.
Add Daughter of the Burning City to Goodreads
! Check out Amanda’s blog
for more information on the book and news.
1. Welcome Rosalyn! Please tell us a little about yourself?
It’s funny how I can write a 100k word story, no problem, but ask me to talk about myself and suddenly I struggle to find words . . . I’ve always been a big reader and I’ve wanted to be a writer since a fifth grade teacher in Montana told me I might be good at it. But it’s taken me a long time to get to this point–I had a few detours: graduate school (I studied English), then starting a family. I’m married to a chemistry professor, and we have three kids. We live in Southern Utah, surrounded by some pretty spectacular mountains. When I’m not writing or parenting, I teach composition classes at the local university. As for hobbies, I don’t have nearly as much time for those as I’d like, but I love drawing, watching period movies, hiking, and bird-watching (something that comes out in Blood Rose Rebellion in Anna’s fascination with birds).
2. Tell us about your book? How did you come up with Blood Rose Rebellion?
BRR is a historical fantasy–basically, mid 19th century Europe with magic. The slightly longer version is that it’s the story of a girl without magic who’s born into a society where magic defines the powerful bloodlines, making her an outcast. But while she can’t cast spells, she can break them–and a broken spell at her sister’s debut leads her to Hungary (where her mother’s family is from), where she begins to learn that her world’s magic isn’t what she thought it was and has to make a difficult choice: cling to the society she’s always wanted to join, or break a spell, trigger a revolution, and change her world’s magic.
The main idea came when I was playing with the idea of a chosen one. We’ve seen lots of stories about someone who is unusually gifted in their world’s magic–I wanted to know what would happen to someone who wasn’t powerful in typical ways. Once I had that basic idea, I tried to find a setting for it. I lived in Hungary for a year or so in my twenties and fell in love with the country, the culture, and the language, and I wanted to return to it in a story. I’d already thought of the story as a Victorian-era one, so once I knew the location, it made sense to weave the story around the tumultuous 1848 Hungarian revolution (though I cheated a little and moved the revolution forward to the end of 1847 for story reasons).
Add Blood Rose Rebellion to Goodreads
! Check out Rosalyn’s blog
for more information on the book and news!
1. Welcome Katie! Please tell us a little about yourself?
I fell in love with books before I can remember and with teaching when I was just a teen. The writing books for teens part came a bit later. I jumped right in and haven’t looked back. These days when I’m not penning my own stories, I coach teens and nonprofits to tell theirs. In my free time (ha! what’s that?), I’m an explorer. I’ve been to six out of seven continents and I can just as easily get caught up in an adventure in my own city or kitchen. Like most writers, I get obsessively interested in things. Some of those interests–history, politics, social justice, art–are fairly normal. Others–saints, old-school music, murder–are a little more strange.
2. tell us about your book? How did you come up with A Psalm for Lost Girls?
A PSALM FOR LOST GIRLS centers on an abduction that forever alters the fates of three girls–one who’s been missing, one who is grieving, and one who is dead and rumored to be a saint. You can read a far better description from my publisher here, but at the core of the novel are two sisters: Tess, who struggles to understand a mysterious voice and her community’s belief that she is their savior, and younger sister Callie, who is determined to prove that Tess was far more than a saint–she was her best friend and a real girl.
The first seed for this story was planted during a trip to Portugal. I dragged myself away from Lisbon one afternoon on a bus headed to the Basilica of Our Lady Fátima. This little pilgrimage made no sense—I was no longer a practicing Catholic, and Lisbon is heaven (the music! the food!)—but a friend had sent me an article about the soon-to-be-beatified Lúcia dos Santos and the story triggered something in me. Sister Lúcia was the last surviving child saint of Fátima; in 1917, she and her two cousins saw apparitions of the Virgin Mary. Both cousins passed away quite young, leaving Lúcia to carry their story. She joined a convent as a young woman and remained a nun until her death at age 95.
I couldn’t stop asking myself what it would be like to be in her position, on track to sainthood at such a young age. What if, at age 16, she had a change of heart? What if all she wanted to live a normal life, make mistakes, fall in love, be a regular girl?
So many stories begin with that type of “what if” question—one that moves us from real events to imagination. In this case, the question spoke to something personal. You see, I was a labeled academically gifted at a very young age, and that became my main identifier. It was a label that weighed heavy at times and one I struggled to live up to at others. Sometimes, it felt like that was all I was. But, of course, no person can ever be reduced to one thing. I think that’s why Lúcia dos Santos’ story evoked something in me, something that gave birth to a fictional girl named Tess (still Portuguese, but struggling with the burden of sainthood in present-day Massachusetts). Here was a girl who would be forever remembered for her piety, but what if there was more to her than that? There was a lot in that question that I felt compelled to explore.
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Add A Psalm for Lost Girls on Goodreads! Check out Katie’s blog for more information on the book and news!