Pre-Pub Adventure: July

It’s Pre-Pub Adventure and today we have some new authors joining us!

Every month we follow authors on their publishing adventure. Have you ever wondered 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? What is publishing like? Find out on Pre-Pub Adventure as we follow authors to publishing their books.

Please welcome authors Liara Tamani and Heather Kaczynski!

Liara Tamani


1. Welcome to the publishing adventure! Please tell us a little about yourself.

Thank you! Being a debut author definitely feels like an adventure. So many exciting things to take in. My name is Liara Tamani and I’m from Houston, Texas—H-town! (Gotta represent.:)) When I’m not writing or reading, I’m usually dancing, doing yoga, or hanging out with my five-year-old daughter and boyfriend. I love hanging out in parks, being in nature, but summertime in Houston makes that a little hard. It’s hot as hell! When the Houston heat is in full force, I like to spend time in museums and restaurants that have good tacos and margaritas. I’ve recently tried to take up skateboarding, and I have a ton of big bruises on my legs if that’s any indication of how it’s going.:)

Here’s a longer bio with more details about my background.

2. Tell us about your book? How did you come up with Calling My Name? I just love the cover!

I basically wrote this book to heal my teenage self. Like Taja, the protagonist of Calling My Name, I grew up in a very loving and religious family in Houston, Texas. My family was always in church—Bible study, choir rehearsal, Sunday school, Sunday service, sometimes second and third Sunday services, Vacation Bible School, church conventions, etc. Also like Taja, I had a lot of doubts and questions about religion but quickly learned that I wasn’t supposed to have these doubts and questions, that their presence meant I might not be saved. So I dealt with them internally, fighting against the fear of hell, which was very real to me at the time. And when I became sexually active in my later teenage years, my fears were compounded by guilt and shame. Let me tell you, it wasn’t fun.

 While Calling My Name is not my story, it was definitely born out of these struggles. And now I couldn’t be happier that this book will soon be out in the world and in the hands of teenagers, especially girls, who unfortunately struggle with sexual shame and guilt a lot more than boys. I want to help change that! But Calling My Name is not just about spiritual and sexual freedom; it’s about departing from one’s family and community teachings to find one’s own way.

3. Give us an insight of your main character Taja? What does she do that’s so special?  

Omg, the beautiful, soul-searching Taja. She’s so incredibly strong and radiant. I totally wish I had the strength to choose my own path when I was in high school, but I didn’t. That came much later in life for me. If I had read about Taja’s journey as a teenager, it would’ve saved me from a lot of suffering. Through her curiosity and thoughtfulness, her interior life is on full display. And the emotional journey she goes on is inspiring. I can’t wait for y’all to meet her!

Follow Liara on her blog * Instagram * Twitter * Facebook

Heather Kaczynski


1. Welcome to the publishing adventure! Please tell us a little about yourself.

Thank you! I live in Huntsville, Alabama, which – if you’ve heard of it at all – you might know as the home of Space Camp. Before I was ten years old, I moved about every year and a half growing up because my dad was in the military – almost a different school for every grade. None of us figured we’d set down permanent roots in Alabama, but it’s home I’ve known the longest. Being the home of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, growing up here helped develop my love of science, space, and sci-fi. We literally have a lifesize replica of the rocket that took men to the moon that you can see from all over town. The space program always seemed incredibly present and relevant in my life.

I also went to college here, where I got a degree in biology with a minor in exercise physiology, because I thought I wanted to be a physical therapist. Little did I realize I’d develop panic disorder in college and faint at the sight of blood (or, as I discovered, in first aid class) so a medical career was out. However, I lucked out and found a job working at a military library not long after graduation. To my good fortune, because it turned out to be the perfect place for me. I wrote Dare Mighty Things not long after I started that job, and I love putting books in the hands of kids who crave them.

I balance my day job and writing career with parenting my preschooler, so right now I watch a lot of cartoons and read a lot of picture books. (And write blog posts while she plays with trains at my feet.) In my precious moments of spare time, I’m obsessed with Bioware games – I’m still slowly working my way through Mass Effect Andromeda.

2. Tell us about your book? How did you come up with Dare Mighty Things? The cover is gorgeous by the way!

Dare Mighty Things is about a girl in the near future who dreams of making history by exploring space and seeing things no other human ever has – except in her world, America hasn’t trained any new astronauts for years, and her dream seems impossible. But when she gets an impossible chance to win a spot on a mission to the far reaches of space, she’s determined to win, no matter what.
The seed for the book, oddly, came to me in a dream. Right after I graduated college, I’d been determined to do Camp NaNo to get away from writing sterile lab reports and re-learn how to write fiction. The night before, I’d gone to bed without any ideas but figured I’d come up with one in the morning. And when I woke up, a single scene had left a lasting impression on me, and as I lay there trying to reconstruct it, Cassie and her entire story just filled my head. I sat down to write it and it flowed like nothing else I’d ever written. The seedling scene idea I’d dreamt about didn’t even make it into the final book, but it is in the sequel – so I can’t say anything about it just yet!
I wrote the book around a time that NASA was facing a Congressional budget crisis, and that weighed heavily on my mind. This may seem odd, I know – but when your whole city’s economy, identity, and future is linked to the space program, it’s big news. People were worried. It was a sad time for science and the idea that budget (or possibly greed) was the limiting factor for humanity’s advancement formed a core of the book. I wanted to encourage girls to love science and to go after their dreams, that they were achievable, and that other girls weren’t the enemy – but could prove valuable allies.

And then of course the rest of it was just me fangirling over the space program, adding in things I loved and things I’d pulled from research of space programs all over the world. It was just a fun book to write and I hope it comes across that way in the reading.

3. What is your writing quirk? 

I find I really have to get in the “zone,” and once I do, time has no meaning. I’ll put on headphones to listen to my book’s particular soundtrack (every book I write requires one), but eventually I have to turn it off as it gets distracting. And then I’ll look up and realize seven hours have passed and I should probably blink my eyes once or twice. It’s very hard for me to write in short snippets, so I have to force myself if I’m on deadline to use whatever time I may have.

Follow Heather: Blog * Twitter * Instagram * Tumblr

Nic Stone


1. What have you been up to since we last checked in?

Trying to keep my head on my shoulders? Does that count? LOL!

Let’s see… I went to ALA Annual which was kind of a whirlwind, but really cool at the same time. I got to sit in on both the Printz Award reception and the Coretta Scott King Awards breakfast, and I’m sure I looked like a kid in a candy store at both, they were just so magical!

Since then, I’ve just been home working on revisions for my Fall 2018 release (another YA contemporary) as well a new project I’m not allowed to talk about yet. Oh, and gearing up for what looks to be a rollercoaster of a Fall. Also planning my launch, which will be at the Center for Civil and Human Rights here in Atlanta, GA on October 17th at 6:30pm. **hint hint**EVERYBODY COME!**

2. I love your makeup tutorials on Instagram that coincide with books! What spurred you to do these lovely posts?

HA! It was all a fluke! I got mu copy of Nicola Yoon’s THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR last year and thought: Wow this color palette is really pretty! I should put it on my face! Took and posted a picture, and voila—the idea was born. Hoping to expand on it a bit soon. Stay tuned…

3. Do you write full-time or part-time? How do you manage to get the words?

I kind of… write when I can. I don’t have a technical job other than writing, but I do have two small kids, one of whom is home with me all day, every day. So I write during naptimes/while the little is eating/whenever I have more than five minutes to get words down. And for me, the words come in these squeezed times because they have to, lol. It also helps that when I’m driving/carpooling/running errands/folding laundry/etc., I’m constantly thinking about the stories I’m working on. A lot of the legwork happens away from the page.

Follow Nic: Twitter * Instagram * YouTube


Amanda Foody



1. Your book is one week out until it’s published! How do you feel?

I feel pretty good. I’m not too nervous, not too overwhelmed. A lot of that is because I moved and started a job last week, so I haven’t had much time to work up any nerves. I’ve been focusing all my extra energy on finishing Ace of Shades and ensuring it is the best book it can be.

2. What have you done to prepare for the release?

I’ve been trying to keep up with social media accounts–there have been a lot of wonderful photos of DOTBC on Insta lately. I’m also planning a different giveaway for each day leading up to release for a week straight. There are some really fun prizes, like DOTBC-themed eye shadow pallets and also gift cards. Those will be held via my newsletter.

3. What secret talents do you have?

I can juggle! Three items at a time, though I’d love to work my way up to more. Perhaps if I learn to juggle knives I would be qualified to perform at the Gomorrah Festival in DOTBC myself.

Follow Amanda: Twitter * Tumblr * Pinterest * Instagram

S.F. Henson

1. How has your July been treating you?

July has been hot. And busy. But mostly hot! This month I finished up my edits, got a little work done on my WIP, and started preparing for my launch. I did squeeze in time to take a mini vacation, and I picked up some awesome books:  One Shadow on the Wall, by Leah Henderson, One of Us is Lying, by Karen McManus, and Letters to the Lost, by Brigid Kemmerer.

2. What does your writing process look like?

I recently started Scrivener, so my process has changed. I always start by sketching a quick query from the idea. It just helps me stay focused on the core story as the manuscript develops. I do initial research–look up pictures of my setting, study the weather, figure out where my character lives, etc–so that it’s clear in my mind while I’m writing. This step is also called “procrastination.” Then comes the actual writing. If I hit 15,000 words, then I know a story is a keeper. Doesn’t seem like much, but I edit as I go, so that 15k is usually a victory. I like to send to my CPs in small chunks as I write, then get betas when I finish the manuscript. After a couple rounds of betas, my last step is to run the manuscript through the YA Story Analyzer for polishing. (I love that thing!). Then off to my agent and cue constantly refreshing my email while I wait for her thoughts.

3. Your book releases in 3 months, what are you doing to prepare for that release? 

3 months! It seems like so much time until you start doing things. I’m done with my edits and am planning my launch, setting up a mini-tour, and working on a secret project that I might unveil next month! Oh, and trying not to freak out about the fact that people will be reading my book soon. No one prepares you for how scary it truly is to put your book into the world. Eep!

Follow S.F. Henson: Twitter * Goodread *Facebook

Until the next adventure!

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