Pre-Pub Adventure: February Par 1

It’s time to go on a publishing adventure!

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 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.

Today we celebrate A.M. Rose book release of Road to Eugenica!

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A.M. Rose

  A.M. Rose  51zRag3r97L

1. Congrats! Your book Road to Eugenica just came out today! How does that feel? 

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It has been a crazy world wind of a day. So many people coming out to wish me a happy book birthday. I even got some special cupcakes to celebrate with my family. It feels so amazing and scary at the same time. Drea’s story is out there for people to judge and all I can do is hope that they love her as much as I do.

2. What are your book launching plans?

My publisher has had me writing a bunch of blog posts and for someone who isn’t a blogger I found it pretty challenging. (Seriously, all you bloggers out there are rock stars.) My launch party is set for this coming up weekend and I’m excited that Road to Eugenica will also be featured by Storygram tours on Instagram.

3. If you had to pick any character from any book, who would you want to meet and what would you do?

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Wow this is a super tough question. I think I would have to say I’d want to hang out for the day at Hogwarts with Luna Lovegood. I think she would be the perfect person to give me a tour. And who wouldn’t want to hang out at Hogwarts for the day.

Follow A.M. Rose: Twitter, Facebook, Blog


Don Zolidis

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1. What have you been up to this month?

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 I have been fighting sickness and writing my second book! I finally managed to work my way to the end of my first draft, and am now through about page 220 of the second draft. As soon as I stagger to the end of this, off it goes to my agent and an independent editor to get advice on all the terrible problems I put into the book!

2. What’s harder to write, a play or a novel?

It is soooo much easier to write a play! Part of that is because I have written so many plays they are second nature at this point. (I’ve published about 100 plays, so I can write a play in my sleep.) Simply put, though, a play is about 50,000 words less than a novel. There’s a lot less actual writing to do. Plus, you don’t have to worry about what anyone looks like, or if anyone is blinking at a given time, or what the weather is doing!

3. If you had to pick any character from any book, who would you want to meet and what would you do?

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Hmm…. Gandalf? It seems like he has really cool friends – like a giant squad of eagles that help him out from time to time. I guess I always wanted to know why he didn’t crack out his magical powers all that often. If I was an amazing wizard, you would bet I’d be casting spells and showing off. Gandalf never did any of that. So I guess I would want to know why he didn’t help that much. I’m sure he could’ve used spells to fry some orcs here and there and help out the Fellowship.

Follow Don: Twitter * Facebook * Blog


1. What have you been up to?

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Well, I had been engaged in some much-needed life maintenance, but then last week I was struck down by the New York City plague. I was very lucky to be excellently taken care of by my lovely husband, but until this morning, I didn’t have the energy to do much more than lie on my couch and watch The End of the F***ing World. But, as of this morning, I am alive again and excited to go to ALA this weekend!

2. Your book The Accidental Bad Girl is part of the Thrills and Chills 18 Book Box, how does that feel?

I am so excited about the Thrills and Chills 2018 Book Box Series! The other authors in the giveaway — Dana Mele, Jessica Bayliss, Amelia Brunskill, Amelinda Berube, Amber McLelland, Kit Frick, and Demetra Brodsky — are all fabulous, witty, brilliant women and it’s so cool to be able to help introduce their writing to the world!

Enter here!

3. If you had to pick any character from any book, who would you want to meet and what would you do?

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Miss Jane Marple. A long tea that leads to several glasses of sherry and gossip. I don’t care that I don’t know anyone in Saint Mary Meade. I WANT IT.

Follow Maxine: Blog * Twitter


Kelly deVos

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1. Your book Fat Girl On A Plane has been sold to Spain! Wahoo! How does that feel? 

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I am SO excited. One of the locations in my book is in Salta, Argentina and now it’s possible my actual book might be on sale there. My dream is that they desperately need me to do a signing. And I AM available. 🙂

2. You’re doing a 4k giveaway, tell us a little about it?

Turquoise donut, spoon and tea on blue background. Art food

Over on Twitter, I’m giving away an advanced copy of one of my favorite books so far of 2018, THE DIMINISHED, by Kaitlyn Sage Patterson. I also wanted to give away a couple of items that play on parts the book. In THE DIMINISHED, almost everyone is born a twin. So my prize includes a super cute set of Twin Pins that show high fiving cats. I’ve also got a pair of crystal moon earrings as a nod of the fact that the action in the book takes place 500 years after the world’s moons have broken apart. I hope everyone enters because this is an incredible book!

Enter here!

 

3. If you had to pick any character from any book, who would you want to meet and what would you do?

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Ahhh! I don’t know that I could narrow it down to one. Can I have a slumber party with some of today’s YA characters? I’m thinking I’d have Jane Sinner from NICE TRY, JANE SINNER, Mei from AMERICAN PANDA, Vi from THE DIMINISHED, Camellia from THE BELLES, Grace from NOTHING BUT SKY, Mattie from THE ART OF ESCAPING and Serendipity from GUNSLINGER GIRL. We’d have adventures and teacup animals and dancing and dry, witty banter. And snacks. We must have snacks!

 

Follow Kelly: Twitter * Facebook * Instagram * Blog

Dana Mele

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1. Your book People Like Us comes out in 3 weeks! How does that feel?

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Scary and exciting. Everyone says there’s a huge emotional crash after the book releases, and I’m nervous about that. But it will be exciting to have it out in the world. I’m really looking forward to my launch party on February 28 at McNally Jackson. I was there yesterday for the launch of Down and Across (which I just started reading and is wonderful) and it was so much fun.

But I’m fairly anxious, too. There’s so much riding on the success of a first book and so many amazing books out there. I really have zero idea what to expect. I need to find a new show to binge watch. Taking suggestions!

2. What are you plans once the book launches?

To read more and write more! I need to conquer the book two monster and my TBR pile is growing out of control. I’ll be doing some events, too. I’ll be at the NoVa Teen Book Festival, the Rochester Teen Book Festival, and the NYC Teen Author Festival, and I may be adding a couple of other appearances to my events schedule. I update the calendar my website frequently! Danamele.com

3. If you had to pick any character from any book, who would you want to meet and what would you do?

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That is a hard question. Off the top of my head I would say Jo March from Little Women. We’d spend the day writing and picnicking and I’d grill her on what really went down with Laurie and why she picked the professor, and doesn’t she secretly think Amy is kind of entitled and who’s her favorite idealized old guy: father, Mr. Lawrence, or the prof.

Follow Dana: Twitter * Facebook * Blog


Mae Respicio

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Yay! Thank you! It’s a contemporary middle grade about a girl named Kaia whose family has been through a tragedy—what she wants more than anything is for their lives to finally get back to normal. She’s obsessed with “mermaid makeup” and Filipino folklore, and uses her passions to come up with a unique plan to help her family. (I’m aiming for equal parts #joy and #getyourtissuesready with this one!)

2. Was it much harder to write the second book than the first?

Yes and no. Yes in that it’s hard to write any book… there will always be moments of self-doubt (I haven’t met any writer who feels otherwise). No in that my debut experience has turned out to be an amazing master class. The chance to work with a revered editor like Wendy Lamb has helped me strengthen my craft for sure, which somehow balances those hard writing days.

3. If you had to pick any character from any book, who would you want to meet and what would you do?

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The middle grade reader in me would meet Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables in a magical spot on Prince Edward Island. We’d become fast friends, drinking raspberry cordials and musing about life and love.

Follow Mae on: Twitter * Instagram Blog

Jessica Pennington

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 1. Your almost finished with book 2’s first draft, how long did it take to write?

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Because I have a job that is seasonal (and a toddler I stay home with), my book 2 drafting was a bit sporadic. It started around this time last year. I wrote for a few months, and then had to put it aside for most of the summer while I put on my wedding planner hat, and then I jumped back into it this fall! I wrote Love Songs in 2014, before I was a mom, mostly between the hours of 10pm and 5am. I sat down to write anytime and anywhere, when inspiration struck. Book 2 I had to be much more structured, and in a lot of ways, I felt like I was re-learning how to write! I’m extremely excited to move into the revision phase, as it’s my favorite part of the process. And I’m going to be SO excited when I conquer book 2. What everyone says is true…it’s much harder than book 1!

2. You have a street team for Love Songs & Other Lies, tell us a little about what you hope your street team accomplishes?

I am SO excited about my street team, it’s a really fantastic group of bookish people! Promoting a book is funny, because you want to get people excited about your book, but also no one has READ your book! So my biggest hole from the street team is just that it’s a really fun place for fans of the book to commiserate, and for us all to have fun promoting the book in an authentic way. So far it’s been a ton of fun, I can’t say enough nice things about the group of people aboard “the tour bus” with me!

3. If you had to pick any character from any book, who would you want to meet and what would you do?

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Oh man. I’m one of those weirdos that doesn’t really have an all-time fave book, I’m always obsessed with what I’ve read pretty recently. But if I did meet someone fictional I’d want it to be a really epic experience so I think I’ll say Jace from The Mortal Instruments, and we’d ride the  motorcycle. I’ve never ridden a real motorcycle, so one that flies seems like the obvious place to start, right?

Follow Jessica: Twitter * Facebook * Instagram * Blog


 

Adrienne Young

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

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I’ve been working like crazy on my second book, a companion novel to Sky in the Deep coming in 2019! Things are speeding up with promo and marketing and I’m learning a lot along the way which has been overwhelming and awesome at the same time.

2. There have been many early great reviews for Sky In The Deep, how does that feel?

It feels amazing that people are “getting” the book. As an author, you really don’t know how people will receive your work or if they will understand what you were trying to do. I’m so happy that this book is clicking with people and that people are excited. I can’t wait for it to come out!

3. If you had to pick any character from any book, who would you want to meet and what would you do?

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I would want to meet Jo March from Little Women. She was the only girl in a book I related to when I was young. She was so strong, with her own mind, and she was incredibly aware of how different she was from the people around her. if I met her in real life, I would honestly just give her a huge hug. And then I would probably weep uncontrollably. Haha.

 

Follow Adrienne: Twitter * Facebook * Instagram Blog


 

 See you next time for Part 2 of our publishing adventure on Pre-Pub Adventure!

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Pre-Pub Adventure: January Part 2

It’s the second part to our monthly blog series Pre-Pub Adventure!

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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.

Today we’re celebrating the release of Lyndsay Ely’s Gunslinger Girl!

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1. Your book Gunslinger Girl is out in the world! How does that feel?

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I’m still processing all the feelings, but pretty neat! I definitely expect that, for the foreseeable future, I’ll be popping into every bookstore I pass, just to see if it’s on the shelves.
 

2. You’re on tour now for Gunslinger Girl, what’s that like?

It was a lot of excitement, which led to a lot of exhaustion, because I was generally too wound up to properly rest. I really loved getting to visit a bunch of stores whose names I’ve heard for years, and talking with the booksellers there. Now all I want to do is plan a long road trip to visit indie bookstores all around the country!
 

3. What’s next for you?

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Pretty much same as always: write the next book! (Whatever that book may be…)

Follow Lyndsay: Twitter * Facebook * Blog


Nisha Sharma

 

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

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Moving! I packed up my house with my fiancé, my cat Lizzie Bennett, and my chihuahua Nancey Drew. We moved back to New Jersey to be closer to work and friends. Although we had to downsize a little bit, the whole process has been a really good one.

I’ve unfortunately been neglecting some writing through the whole moving situation, mostly because I’ve had no time to do anything but put things in boxes and then take them out again. Now that I’m starting to settle in, I’m falling back into my routine.

2. Your book My So-Called Bollywood Life is featured in Paste Magazine’s top 10 most anticipated books of 2018, Bookriot’s Hey YA! Podcast, Publisher’s Lunch Spring/Summer YA Buzz Books and in B&N Teen 11 new and forthcoming YAs from the South Asian diaspora. Congrats! How does that feel?

Thank you! And it feels wonderful. I’m so excited about the early buzz my book is getting. I feel like some days there is serious momentum and I’m flying high for hours while on other days, it’s just a waiting game until my release date in May.

I have to keep reminding myself that although lists are great, they aren’t the sole predictor of a book’s success. Some novels that hit all the lists end up falling short with readers, while others that don’t make a single list are huge successes. My job is to continue writing and build relationships with my audience.

3. If you had to pick any character from any book, who would you want to meet and what would you do?

Wild Embrace (Psy/Changeling Collection, A) by [Singh, Nalini]

I’m re-reading an adult urban fantasy romance series by Nalini Singh right now, and I’d love to meet one of the characters in her book. The alpha of the Snow Dancer wolf pack sounds ridiculously gorgeous and who doesn’t want to meet a gorgeous man? If we were to meet in person, I wouldn’t be able to do anything because I’d probably pass out from experiencing his hotness. That’s usually how my luck works, even in my dreams.

Follow Nisha Twitter * Instagram * Blog


 

Erin Callahan

1. What have you been working on for The Art of Escaping?

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 I just ordered bookmarks for THE ART OF ESCAPING because…*drum roll*…I will be promoting it at the ALA Midwinter Meeting! I plan to hand out bookmarks and signed ARCs to all the lovely librarians and other bookish folks who attend.

2.  The Art of Escaping is getting some great reviews, how does that feel?

Good reviews are always so validating and remind me why I’m still writing. That said, I also appreciate mixed reviews that include thoughtful critique. Honesty helps writers write better!

3. If you had to pick any character from any book, who would you want to meet and what would you do?

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Oh jeez, this is a tough one! But I’ll give it a shot. A few months ago a read an ARC by a fellow 2018 debut — Maxine Kaplan’s THE ACCIDENTAL BAD GIRL. There’s a nerdy and complex love interest named Gilly that I would love to hang out with while we watch some old-school film noir.
Follow Erin: Twitter * Instagram * Blog

Kamilla Benko

    

1. Your book The Unicorn Quest comes out in two weeks! How does that feel?

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It’s actually even sooner now! At the last minute, my pub date was moved up a week early to accommodate a bookstore’s request–which is a good thing! As I’ve navigated the publication process, I’ve learned it’s best not to sweat the small stuff, if you pardon the cliche. As an author, it’s easy to get caught up in the details of marketing and lists and reviews, when in reality, the only thing you can control are the words on the page.
As for my feelings…eep! It’s actually happening!!! It feels so surreal that this book that I’ve been working on for almost four years is about to be released into the wild!

2. Tell us a little about your pre-order incentives when readers pre-order The Unicorn Quest? It’s magical UNICORN SWAG!

I’ve lived many places and have friends from all over the world with whom I would love to share my pub day with, but since that’s not possible, I wanted to come up with something they could participate in as a  thank for their support over the last several years of writing…and then I realized it was something I wanted to share with everyone who took a chance and bought a debut novel.

So, anyone who fills out the form on my website will receive a Unicorn Quest sticker and bookmark, as well as an autographed bookplate so that they, too, can have a signed copy.

Ten people will also receive a poster of my GORGEOUS UK Cover!

And finally–because it’s fun to procrastinate and I like to google unicorn-themed items–I put together a Unicorn Grand Prize which contains a unicorn necklace, a unicorn journal, and a unicorn mug. Because as everyone knows, if you can’t be a unicorn, you should have as much unicorn decor as possible!

3. If you had to pick any character from any book, who would you want to meet and what would you do?

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Why would you give me such a difficult question? There are so many characters I want to meet! After a lot of thought, I would want to meet Albus Dumbledore. He’s the most approachable wise person I’ve ever read, and I would love any personal advice from him, even if it’s just to avoid Bertie Bott’s Every Flavored Beans.
Follow Kamilla: Twitter * Instagram * Blog

Laurie Morrison

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1. With a few months to go until Every Shiny Thing releasing, how are you preparing?

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I’ve been working on an educators’ guide for Every Shiny Thing, which has been a lot of fun. I taught middle school English for ten years, so I’ve been enjoying using my teacher brain and thinking about the questions I’d ask and activities I’d assign if I were reading the book with students. My co-author Cordelia and I have also been planning some events. We’ve got a few school visits and bookstore events on the calendar so far, so that’s both surreal and exciting!

2.  Every Shiny Thing has been getting great reviews, how does that feel?

Thank you! It’s been especially incredible to see the response the book is getting from teachers and librarians who are excited about sharing it with kids and teens. When I taught 6th-8th grade language arts, I spent a lot of time looking for upper middle grade novels that would resonate with my students and spark conversations about the big questions I saw them grappling with. I’ve hoped that Every Shiny Thing would be the kind of book that could do these things for 5th-8th graders, so I’m so honored and thrilled when I hear from educators who believe it’s a valuable book to give middle school readers!

3. If you had to pick any character from any book, who would you want to meet and what would you do?

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I’d love to have a picnic with Anne Shirley at some especially scenic spot on Prince Edward Island. I cherished Anne of Green Gables as a kid and was delighted to re-read it as an adult and adore Anne just as much now. I’d just love to sit and chat with her…but I’d know to be careful if she offered me any raspberry cordial!
Follow Laurie: Twitter * Instagram * Blog

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

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Since we last checked in, we have been finalizing the cover for THE PROPHET CALLS, and I’m absolutely in LOVE with it! The artist has done an amazing job, and I can’t wait to share it with everyone.

I have also been editing a YA manuscript and have been in the process of researching for my next secret MG project, which I’m very excited about!

2. There seems to be a great connection with all the 2018 debut authors, part of @Class2K18Books , what’s that like?

I feel so fortunate to be a part of the Electric 18s. I have had the opportunity to interact with people I might not have otherwise met, and it’s such a supportive group of YA/MG authors. Since I have a November release date, I have been lucky to learn from my fellow Electrics who are publishing before me. They have great insight about the details of the business none of us knew before becoming a debut and have been so generous in sharing what they’ve learned.

3. If you had to pick any character from any book, who would you want to meet and what would you do?

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Oooo, that’s a tough one, but the first one who comes to mind is Snape. He’s such a misunderstood character for so much of the HARRY POTTER series, and I’d just love to sit with him in The Three Broomsticks over a butter beer and ask him questions about his past.

 

Follow Melanie: Twitter * Facebook * Instagram * Blog


 Until the next adventure!
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Love Tawney

Pre-Pub Adventure: January Part 1

It’s a new year! Welcome back to the publishing adventure.

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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.


 

Laura Steven

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

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Honestly? A lot of eating, drinking and being merry. I’ve had an amazing festive period with friends and family, but now I’m raring to go in 2018. I’ve also been chipping away at a new YA project, and hit the 30,000 word mark on New Year’s Eve. That felt awesome – especially because I’m usually flagging at this point in the drafting process, and yet somehow it still feels magical.

To be completely honest with you, I’m also having a serious bout of self-doubt about my upcoming debut release. We’re two months out, but now that we’re officially in 2018, it suddenly feels a lot more real. I’ve been suffering severe insomnia stressing about my launch party (what if nobody comes?!) and preorder numbers (what if they’re not high enough and my agent/publisher drops me?!), and the only thing keeping me sane is my WIP and the amazing Electric 18s debut group.

2. What are you currently reading?

I’ve just finished Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp, which is out to buy! It was a brilliantly atmospheric exploration of inspiration porn and small town prejudice. I also read Jeff Zentner’s The Serpent King, which instantly become one of my all-time favourite YA contemporaries. Next up on my pile is Goodbye Days, because I’m an incredible masochist and would like my heart to be ripped out all over again, and You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon, which is also out today. 2018 is going to be an amazing year for YA!

3. Any resolutions for the new year?

Not resolutions, exactly, but I have goals. Big ones. I want to write two books, edit the sequel to The Exact Opposite of Okay, outline proposals for two other ideas I have, and write a new comedy pilot. I also want to finally meet my Goodreads goal, which I’ve set at 52 every year and never quite managed to achieve. In my personal life, I would like to get up a little earlier, but again I’ve told myself this for years and always failed! Ah, well. We can’t all be morning people.

Follow Laura: Twitter * Instagram* Blog


 

Mae Respicio

1. What have you been working on?

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I’ve been working on a few things including my next #MG novel (more official info soon!) and some picture books. I try to have at least a couple of fiction projects in rotation so that if I get stuck on onewhich happens a lot, I can noodle around with another. 

2. Writing can be hard, do you have any advice on conquering self-doubt?  

Self-doubt is such a normal (and dare I say frequent?) part of the writing process (or at least my writing process!). I try to focus on one thing that I have control over—improving my craft. Workshopping, reading craft books, reading a bunch in my genre to analyze what works/what doesn’t… all of these things arm me with tools to conquer any lack of confidence on the page. That’s the goal, anyway! 

3. It’s a new year! Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?

Yes! My New Year’s goal is to get back into a regular medication practice and to work on the mindful art of letting go. That, and to stop stress-eating giant spoonfuls of Nutella during #amrevising. 

Follow Mae on: Twitter * Instagram Blog

A.M. Rose

A.M. Rose    Road to Eugenica (Eugenica Chronicles) by [Rose, A.M.]

1. What have you been working on?

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I’ve been working on edits for NOT INNOCENT, another book that is coming out from Entangled Teen in 2019. And I’m excited to say it is really coming along. I can’t wait to tell everyone more about this book.

 

2. You have a Pre-Order giveaway going on for ROAD TO EUGENICA, tell us a little about that!

My pre-order for Road to Eugenica is up and running. I was lucky to have the amazing artist, Beka Duke do some character drawings so anyone who orders the book will get a limited edition character bookmark. Also, I couldn’t decide what I wanted to giveaway and thought that giving out some “surprise gifts” would be a fun way to run this. So a few people will get more than just the postcard, bookplate and bookmark(s). And the more books you buy the more chances you have at getting something great. Like the Amazon Echo Dot. (I have one, and love it.)
Check out the Pre-Order Giveaway here!
3. It’s a new year! Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?

As for New Year’s resolutions I haven’t really thought about it. Since having two surgeries this last year I’d like to get back into working out, as soon as I’m done with physical therapy. It’s been hard not having that outlet. I’d also like to finish a few of the books I’m working on and get back on the query train to find an agent. Right now I’m really just taking it one day at a time.

Follow A.M. Rose: Twitter, Facebook, Blog

 

Rachel Lynn Solomon

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1. How does it feel to have your book out in the world?

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Surreal. I tried to prepare myself for the response I’d get — mostly, preparing for people to hate my very unlikable protagonist, but a lot have connected with her, which I was definitely hoping for! But it was impossible to prepare for the deeply touching notes from people connecting with this book on a deep level for a variety of reasons — the representation of Judaism, the reality of living with a parent with a degenerative illness. And on a more personal level, I don’t think I’ll ever get over how wild it is to see the book on shelves, to see other people holding it!!

2. What was it like at your own book launch?

It was overwhelming in the best way!! I loved getting to see friends I hadn’t seen in a while, and I honestly couldn’t wrap my mind around people lining up so I could sign this book for them…I probably still sound dazed about it all because I totally am. It was really, really lovely, and I’m grateful beyond words.

3. It’s a new year! Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?

I’m hoping to finish a proposal for my next project, expand my reading horizons genre-wise, and go to dance class at least twice a week!

Follow Rachel: Twitter * Instagram * Snapchat * Blog


Maxine Kaplan

 

1. What have you been working on?

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With my fantasy WIP off to my agent for evisceration, I’ve turned my writing brain over to formulating a pitch for a project I hope to write. It’s actually inspired by a smaller character in THE ACCIDENTAL BAD GIRL. Somehow, in the process of writing BAD GIRL, this character, who I had included mostly just for background texture, became suddenly extremely important to me and I didn’t get to spend as much time with her as I’d have liked. I’m in the very early stages, but it’s another feminist crime caper, this time set in Paris instead of New York. We’ll see how it goes 🙂

Otherwise, I’m mainly working on staying sane. See below.

2. Writing can be hard, do you have any advice on conquering self-doubt?  

Dude, I wish I had a full-proof method for conquering self-doubt to share, but this is something I find myself having to re-learn again and again. My strategy is three-fold:

First: Learn to love criticism. If criticism becomes your friend then it becomes much harder for the devil on your shoulder to use it as a bludgeon against your self-confidence. Well-considered criticism will always make your work better. Seek it out. Ask for it. Use it.

Second: Keep your eyes on your own paper. This has been a tough one for me, because there are SO MANY amazing YA authors. The Electric 18s in particular are a wildly talented group, chock-full of absolutely inevitable stars. My lizard brain immediately put envy and insecurity on my emotional menu. But the honest truth is that there is no truth in comparison. Everyone writes in their own voice, at their own speed, with their own characters, themes, setting, etc. Winning and losing doesn’t enter into it because — say it with me — it truly is not a competition. We’re all here to forge a career creating stories we care about. Focus on your own work and on positively boosting the work of your peers. It’s a more honest and productive way to navigate the world. This is something I have to keep telling myself, but that doesn’t make it less true.

Third: Cultivate a healthy ego. Love your story the most. Embrace the criticism, absolutely, but I have found going in with the already settled idea that the book in my head is goddamn incredible to be invaluable.

3. It’s a new year! Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?

New Year’s Resolutions….Mostly I’d like to continue getting better at being a healthy adult. I’d like to explore mindfulness meditation. I want to write six days a week. I want to make sure I check in with my friends who live far away. I want to work out three times a week. I’d like to not beat myself up when I can’t do everything. I want to get enough sleep. It’s amazing how much it takes to maintain the human machine!

Follow Maxine: Blog * Twitter


 

Kelly deVos

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1. What have you been working on?

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I’m currently revising my YA political thriller and have recently gotten some great feedback from my critique partners to help polish up the manuscript. I’m also trying to get my life organized. I got a Passion Planner for Christmas and have been busy setting it up.

 2. Writing can be hard, do you have any advice on conquering self-doubt?  

It is hard! And there’s lots of rejection on the path to publication. I think there are two important things. The first is to practice self-care – to take whatever steps are necessary to protect your emotional and physical health. The second thing, I think, is to just keep going – keep writing new things, keep reading, keep in touch with your writer friends, keep engaging with the community.

3. It’s a new year! Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?

Can you believe it’s 2018?! Every year, I make a bunch of resolutions and sometimes I keep them, sometimes I don’t. But I often end up feeling bad. So this year, my resolution is simply to do the best I can and to look for opportunities as they arise. For January, I’m doing a writing challenge put together by Hollywood Homicide author Kellye Garrett that I joined to help me have a productive month. Follow her on Twitter (@kellyekell ) if you want updates on our group. 🙂

Follow Kelly: Twitter * Facebook * Instagram * Blog


 

Don Zolidis

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1. What have you been working on?

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I am working on my next novel, about a girl who joins the greatest high school speech team in the country in order to destroy it from the inside out. Currently titled SPEECHGEEK. I just finished the really terrible first draft and am about to embark on the less-terrible (hopefully) second draft.

2. Writing can be hard, do you have any advice on conquering self-doubt?  

Self-doubt comes from self-judgment. You have to allow yourself to write badly; the best thing is to get the terrible words out of the way to make way for the better words. For the most part, though, people judge themselves too harshly. No one is born being a good writer. It takes practice, and it takes a lot of misses before you get better. But the more you do it, the better you will get.

3. It’s a new year! Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?

Well I have big plans to write a lot this year! I’ve got two commissions for plays lined up and there will be more on the horizon. But I really want to get this second novel done and start working on my third. And pet a lot of dogs, I guess.

Follow Don: Twitter * Facebook * Blog

Amy Trueblood

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1. What have you been working on?

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I just finished the synopsis for my new YA Historical book. I’m digging into the first chapter and remembering how hard it is to start a book! Ugh!

2. Writing can be hard, do you have any advice on conquering self-doubt?  

The key for me is to stay focused on my own journey. I can’t control who is going to give me a review or buy my book. All I can do is keep writing and hoping my stories get out into the world.

3. It’s a new year! Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?

I tend not to make resolutions (because I can never keep them) – but I did make a mantra for this year which is “Write the next book!”

 Follow Amy: Facebook * Instagram * Twitter *Blog

Dana Mele

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1. What have you been working on?

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I’ve been working on my book two! I still can’t talk about it yet because nothing is finalized, but I think it’s safe to safe that it’s set in the near future with sci-fi elements and I am very excited about it. It’s definitely true what they say- book two is about twenty times harder than book one, and about a thousand times more stressful. I can’t wait for book three. At least, I think I can’t wait. No one talks about book three! I’m hoping that’s the one where the words flow like chocolate milk.

 2. Your book People Like Us was recently featured in Buzzfeed’s post 18 New YA Books You Need to Check Out This Winter, how does that feel?

 So wonderful! I’ve been really stressed out lately so every nice thing that happens is amazing.

 3. It’s a new year! Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?

Finish my first draft, start to get at least a little bit of physical activity, and… it’s probably not a good sign that I forgot the third one.

Follow Dana: Twitter * Facebook * Blog


 

Until Part 2 of January’s Pre-Pub Adventure!

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Pre-Pub Adventure: December Part 2 & Giveaway!

It’s the second part of our monthly blog series Pre-Pub Adventure and we have a treat today!

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.

But first we have a giveaway!

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In Celebration of the New Year & all of our Pre-Pub Adventure authors’ upcoming book releases we are doing a Pre-Order Giveaway! 2 winners can pick the book of their choosing from these upcoming releases. RT & follow on twitter! Ends 1/1/18

Choose one of these books for Pre-Order!

Enter here!

Let’s take a look at our authors on their publishing adventure!


Kamilla Benko

    

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

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 Since we last checked in, I’ve turned in the second draft of Book 2! It is the second book in The Unicorn Quest trilogy and will start where Book 1 left off. Everyone always says that the second book is the hardest to write…and they’re right. Writing this book has been like trying to tame a unicorn. Every time I think I’m almost there, the manuscript does a little side twist and I fall off again. This is why editors are so incredibly helpful, magical creatures — they give you the encouragement to get back on and ride–or write, in this case! Now I’m flexing my fingers to get ready to work on Book 3 again…and all before Book 1 has even published!

2. Your book The Unicorn Quest releases in February, how are you preparing for that?

I can’t believe The Unicorn Quest comes out so soon! I’ve been working on this book for three years, and I’m celebrating its near birth with a giveaway as a thank you to everyone who preorders a copy. (If you like unicorn-y things, take a look here!) I’m also in the process of finalizing my tour dates. But mostly, I’m trying to relax. After so much time and effort, your book can start to feel like your whole world. I’m taking this last home stretch to go on hikes, bake pies, and visit friends.

3. What are you currently reading?

 I just finished fellow 2018 debut author Anna Meriano’s A Dash of Trouble, the first Love, Sugar, Magic book (January 2). I absolutely adored this story about eleven-year-old Leo, who is the youngest of five sisters and also a bruja who can bake spells. This book made me laugh out loud many times, but it also made me hungry!
Follow Kamilla: Twitter * Instagram * Blog

Lyndsay Ely

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

Everything? That’s what it feels like. Between day job, holidays, trying to write, and getting ready for Gunslinger Girl’s publication, I feel like I’m getting pulled in ALL the directions. Not complaining—no one ever said it would be easy!

2. Your book Gunslinger Girl releases in Jan, how are you preparing for that?

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I made Gunslinger Girl pins! (As a pin enthusiast, I’m pretty stoked about this.) And I’m bugging all of my friends to come to the launch party, obviously. If anyone is in the Boston area, near Trident Booksellers on January 2nd at 7pm, please come join us! There will be pins!

I’m also excited to be going on tour. (Mainly because I’ll be headed to some great bookstores I’ve heard about for years and finally get to visit! Can’t beat that!)

3. What are you currently reading?

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I just started Caraval, by Stephanie Garber, a book I’ve been wanting to read for ages. I hear it’s only a game, but we’ll see…
Follow Lyndsay: Twitter * Facebook * Blog

Laurie Morrison

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

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I’ve been working on a new dual POV, half-prose/half-verse upper middle grade novel with Cordelia Jensen, my co-author for my debut. I love going back and forth on projects with Cordelia; it’s so energizing to brainstorm together and build off of each other’s ideas. So that’s been a lot of fun! Other than that, I’m refamiliarizing myself with UP FOR AIR, my second contracted book and solo debut, which is due out in 2019, so that it’s fresh in my mind when I get an edit letter soon, and I’m very gradually working on a new middle grade novel that I had started last spring but then stopped because I couldn’t get the voice right. I think I’m getting closer now, but I’m trying to take my time with this one.

2. What are you currently reading?

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I’ve been reading ARCs of lots of awesome 2018 books! Most recently, I read an ARC of K. A. Reynolds’s lovely MG fantasy, THE LAND OF YESTERDAY, which is beautifully written, deeply emotional, and full of adventure. I’ve also been in a mystery mood. I loved Caroline Carlson’s smart, funny middle grade mystery, THE WORLD’S GREATEST DETECTIVE, and now I’m devouring Brittany Cavallaro’s fabulous Sherlock Holmes retelling, A STUDY IN CHARLOTTE.

3. Any resolutions for the new year?

This month, I’ve set some limits for my social media usage, and that’s helped me to feel much more at peace with my own writing and publishing journey. Before, I had been doing a lot of mindless scrolling on Twitter, which often led me to compare myself to other people and feel generally crummy. In the new year, I plan to keep setting aside specific times when I can be on social media and staying off otherwise so that I can still connect with writers and readers in positive ways but I won’t fall back into that negative pattern. I’m also working on adjusting my sense of what it means to be productive. I tend to be very hard on myself if I feel like I haven’t written enough, but I value many parts of my life that have nothing to do with writing, and I want to work on giving myself credit for the meaningful and productive things I do outside of this work.

Follow Laurie: Twitter * Instagram * Blog

Erin Callahan

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

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Since we last checked in, I’ve been doing some beta reading for a few very talented writer-friends and also working on a YA horror novel inspired by GOODNIGHT MOON. Yes, the picture book. 🙂 My writing always slows down around the holidays but I’m still trying to eke out as much of that project as I can each day. I also launched a silly-fun new blog series about reclaiming cringeworthy moments from my teenhood by giving myself a YA rewrite: https://erinpcallahan.com/2017/11/27/yamylife-reclaiming-moments-from-my-teenhood-one-sentence-at-a-time/ Finally, a few of my fellow writers and I have been live tweeting a weekly rewatch of My So-Called Life. We’re going to start up again on January 4th with episode three. Our hashtag is #MSCLrewatch. Come join us! We have a time.

2. What are you currently reading?

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I’m currently reading PEOPLE LIKE US by Dana Mele and it’s dark and twisty and fantastic.

3. Any resolutions for the new year?

 My resolutions for next year: 1) Finish my YA horror novel. 2) Spend less time checking social media so I have more time to work on my novel.

Follow Erin: Twitter * Instagram * Blog

Jessica Pennington

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

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I’ve been feverishly working on my promotion plan as I hit the 4-month countdown to Love Songs & Other Lies! Organizing a few group giveaways, designing & ordering swag (which has all arrived-it’s so fun!) and just in general trying to get everything mapped out as my release date approaches. I’m a professional event planner by day, so having a plan (and lists!) always sets me at ease. I’m also currently working on my draft of Book 2, which is planned for Spring 2019. I don’t want to share too much, but it mixes some of my favorite things–a beach town in summer, two main characters trying to re-invent themselves after some personal losses, and canoes. It’s also a bit of a love letter to the area where I grew up along Lake Michigan.

2. What are you currently reading?

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I just finished an ARC of The Impossibility of Us by Katy Upperman, which isn’t out until Summer 2018, but was absolutely fabulous and it still on my mind a few weeks later. It’s beautiful, and sweet, and heartbreaking, and I’m a tiny bit obsessed at the moment! I also just cracked open an ARC of The Midnights (March 2018) by Sarah Nicole Smietana. I’m only a handful of pages in, but I’m already glued to the page and absolutely loving the voice. So I’m very excited to dive into that one this week!

3. Any resolutions for the new year?

I always have a million resolutions. The old standbys: eat healthier, exercise more, get more sleep. My biggest resolutions really all revolve around writing and reading this year (no surprise there!) and I’m going to be extremely focused on work-life balance, time management, and also relaxation. I’ve been stretched extremely thin in 2017 between staying at home with a toddler, and running a business, and writing. It’s left little time for my brain to wander, and I think that makes all creative endeavors more difficult! So in 2018 I’m looking forward to working more relaxation time into my schedule–art, more reading, maybe yoga or barre–and seeing how that helps with my creative process.

Follow Jessica: Twitter * Facebook * Instagram * Blog

Until the next adventure!

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Pre-Pub Adventure: December Part 1

It’s that time of month where we check in with our authors to see how they are doing on their publishing adventure!

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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!


Today we have a new author joining us! Welcome Mae Respicio!

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Mae Respicio

1. Introduce yourself! 

Yay! Thanks so much for having me, Tawney. My name is Mae Respicio and my middle grade novel is called THE HOUSE THAT LOU BUILT—it hits stores on June 12, 2018 from Random House Kids and Wendy Lamb Books. I live with my family in the Bay Area not far from the Golden Gate Bridge, and my favorite thing to have in arm’s reach while writing is iced coffee (which all of the local baristas know by now!).

2. Tell us a little about your book and how it came to be?

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My book is about a 12-year-old Filipina American girl named Lou (short for Lucinda), whose greatest dream is to build a tiny house for herself. But of course, building one isn’t as easy as she thinks it’s going to be. Along the way Lou gets into all kinds of adventures with her friends and cousins and in the end, she learns what makes a true home. The book revolves around Lou and her big, extended Filipino American family. Growing up, I had the best time with my cousins creating these really elaborate forts—we’d sit inside and dream of having our own space (what kid doesn’t want her own little house?). Those memories served as a very small spark for the book’s premise, as did my experiences as a kid straddling two cultures and eventually I found Lou’s unique, rich story.

 3. Any plans for the holidays?

Even though they can be hectic, I love the holidays. For me it’s about reconnecting. I get to hang out with family I haven’t seen in a while, and I spend lots of time with my kids hiking and enjoying non-crowded beaches (my favorite part of California during the holiday season!), plus other traditions. I also have a goofy personal tradition of swapping my normal middle-of-the-night revising time for a glass of wine while wrapping presents and watching Love, Actually (don’t knock it ‘til you try it!). I also usually plan on getting some writing done. Publishing seems to slow down during these months so I feel like I can focus on projects without the pressure of deadlines, and surprisingly I accomplish a lot with that mindset—it’s a lovely way to ring in the New Year.

Follow Mae on: Twitter * Instagram Blog


 

Dana Mele

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

I’ve been working on a few different possibilities for my second book. I wrote People Like Us very quickly, so the process for book two has been comparatively long and drawn out. Everyone says that the second book is harder (and often the hardest) and I fully endorse this idea. It’s really tough following up that first one! I may finally be onto something, but only time will tell!

2.Your book People Like Us releases in February, how are you preparing for that?

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At the moment, I’m sitting tight. I’ve gotten together some fun preorder gifts that I’ll announce as soon as I have time to take pretty pictures of them, but until then, I’m reading the reviews as they roll in and just getting excited as the big day gets closer and closer!

3.What are you currently reading?

At the moment I’m reading an ARC of Kaitlyn Sage Patterson’s The Diminished, a wonderful, heart-pounding fantasy out this April! I’ve been reading mostly ARCs this year and it’s been so cool to have had the opportunity to read so many amazing books before they hit the shelves. I can’t wait until they’re out and everyone is talking about them!

Follow Dana: Twitter * Facebook * Blog


 

Rachel Lynn Solomon

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

I’ve been hard at work on my 2019 book! It’s dual POV, like my debut, and currently untitled. It’s about the aftermath of a kidney transplant between best friends, complicated by the fact that the donor is in love with the recipient. It’s about friendship codependency and unrequited love and discovering who you are without the person who’s defined you your whole life. 

2. Your book You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone releases next month! Yay! How are you preparing for that?

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I can’t believe it’s almost out in the world!! I’ve been busy making connections with local bookstores, writing guest posts, planning giveaways, and reaching out to media organizations. I’m also planning my book launch! I was on the fence about having one, but I’m so glad I decided to — my best friend is flying out from Boston to be there (her first time in Seattle!) and it’ll be a blast to see all my friends together and hopefully meet some new ones :). For Seattle-area folks, the event is Saturday, January 6 at 3 p.m. at the University Book Store in the U-District

3. What are you currently reading?

I’m reading Shea Ernshaw’s THE WICKED DEEP, another 2018 Simon Pulse debut! Shea’s writing is so atmospheric, and the book is witchy and captivating. 

Follow Rachel: Twitter * Instagram * Snapchat * Blog


 

A.M. Rose

A.M. Rose    Road to Eugenica (Eugenica Chronicles) by [Rose, A.M.]

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

Since my last check in I had surgery on my ankle so I am playing catch up. Luckily the surgery went well, but I will be off my foot for the next 3 weeks. I do have a single leg crutch to get around that makes me feel like a pirate.

2. Your book ROAD TO EUGENICA releases in February, how are you preparing for that?

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To get ready for my release in February, (from my couch) I am putting together some fun preorder gifts that I am really excited to share. (Soon – very soon.)

3. What are you currently reading?

Also, since the surgery I am taking a little break from my WIP and catching up on my reading which is really nice. I just finished Afterward by Jennifer Mathieu, and am currently reading The Third Kiss by Kat Colmer and The Breathless by Tara Goedjen.

Follow A.M. Rose: Twitter, Facebook, Blog


 

Kelly deVos

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

Well, I once again tried and pretty much abjectly failed at Nanowrimo. But I did get a lot of outlining and project planning done and I was able to check in with all my Nano buddies, so overall, I consider it time well-spent. In our house, November is birthday month. Both my daughter and I have November birthdays as do a few important friends (like my favorite twins from this very blog), so we’ve been doing a lot of celebrating!

2. How does it feel seeing the ARC of your book in reader’s hands?

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It’s awesome and scary! On one hand, the idea that people might actually be reading my book is a dream come true. Since I started writing Trixie Belden fan fiction in the 5th grade, I’ve been dreaming of getting a real book published. On the other hand, people might actually be reading my book! What if they hate it? What if they DNF me? What if they give me 1 star on Goodreads? I’m excited but also filled with mortal terror.

3. What are you currently reading?

I recently read Amy Trueblood’s NOTHING BUT SKY, which is a beautiful YA historical that I was lucky to read in early draft form and then again as a finished book. Brenda Rufener’s WHERE I LIVE, a really poignant book that tackles young adult homelessness, is another recent read. Right now, I’ve got my hot little hands on Tara Sim’s CHAINBREAKER and I can’t wait to see where this series goes!

Follow Kelly: Twitter * Facebook * Instagram * Blog


 

Amy Trueblood

 

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

Since we last talked I’ve been outlining two new books. One is YA Historical – 1930s San Francisco. The other is YA Paranormal – which is a huge leap for me, but I’m super excited by the idea!

2. How did it feel to hold the ARC of your book for the first time?

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Honestly, I sobbed when I held my ARC for the first time. NOTHING BUT SKY was five years in the making and it felt surreal to actually be holding it as a book in my hand!

3.What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading an ARC of Kim Chance’s KEEPER and loving it.

 Follow Amy: Facebook * Instagram * Twitter *Blog


 

Don Zolidis

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

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I’ve been plugging away at my second novel, “SPEECHGEEK,” which is about a girl who joins the greatest high school speech team in the country – in order to destroy it from the inside out. I didn’t quite win #nanowrimo, but I’m about 170 pages into the book now and it’s starting to come together. There are many more drafts to come, of course, but I’m hoping to make it through to the end of the novel before Christmas. I’ve also just premiered a new Christmas play, “THE ELF ON A SHELF MUST DIE” which is a dark comedic adaptation of Pupl Fiction – (two boys accidentally murder their elf of a shelf and have to find a way to dispose of its body before Santa discovers it’s missing.)

2. You write plays as well, how different was it to writing your book The Seven Torments of Craig and Amy from a play?

There are Sooo many differences between writing a play and writing a novel. For starters, there’s length. The play version of the book weighs in at about 12,000 words, where the novel is just over 70,000. So it feels so much bigger. Mostly, though, a play is meant to be performed, so you’re essentially writing a blueprint for a performance by real people. You don’t need to describe what the characters look like, or even what the scenery looks like. In the book, one character is described as very blonde, but a dark-haired actress played her in the play. In real life, you’re using the people who show up to be in the show, so you can’t have any pre-conceived notions of what the characters look like even when you’re writing it. It’s a very different process in a novel – you have to imagine and picture everything.

3. What are you currently reading?

I just finished THE GOLDEN COMPASS – I know, I’m an extreme latecomer to this series! Next up, I’m reading BINTI, by Nnedi Okorafor and ALWAYS NEVER YOURS, a debut title from Austin Siegumund-Broka and Emily Wibberley. One of the great joys of this author journey has been the chance to read so many books of writers who are new to publishing this year.

Follow Don: Twitter * Facebook * Blog


 

Maxine Kaplan

 

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

What I have been up to since we last checked in is mainly worrying about things I can’t control 🙂 This is because, in so far as what I can do, THE ACCIDENTAL BAD GIRL is done! No more copy edits, no more changes–it is in the can…the terrifying, final can. So what I’ve been working on instead is my next project, a YA fantasy that hopefully subverts the genre tropes of the tavern wench and the wicked queen. The first draft of that is done, so I’ve been working on making it what I call “less awful” before sending it to my wonderful agent Ali for her notes. I’m also starting to coalesce my pitch for the companion to BAD GIRL. And just livin’ life, man. Reading the news and railing about it.

2. Your book The Accidental Bad Girl got a new cover and it’s gorgeous. Did you have any input on it?

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Thank you so much! I think it’s great, too. The overall design change was done without my input, but I’m thrilled with it. But generally Abrams has been great about letting me contribute my two cents. The full jacket (stay tuned!) has these doodles all over the back and the flap, and my editor Maggie was awesome about letting me come up with the ideas for them. They’re a bunch of little Easter eggs for the mystery in the book. That was a lot of fun.

 3. What are you currently reading? 

I have been reading so many good 2018 debuts! Readers next years are in for a serious treat if they seek out the work coming out of the Electrics. I just finished OUT OF THE BLUE by Sophie Cameron, which is beautiful. And I finally have had the emotional wherewithal to crack open HRC’s WHAT HAPPENED. My love for her continues unabated.

Follow Maxine: Blog * Twitter


 

Until Part 2 of the next December Pre-Pub Adventure!

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Pre-Pub Adventure: November Part 2

It’s the second part of our monthly blog series Pre-Pub Adventure!

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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.

Let’s take a look at our new authors on their publishing adventure!


 Nisha Sharma

 

1. Introduce yourself!

My name is Nisha, and I’m the author of ‘My So-Called Bollywood Life’, a rom-com set to release May 15, 2018 with Crown Books for Young Readers. I started writing the book in 2013 as part of my MFA thesis with Wilkes University, and I sold it to Crown a few months after I presented the book at my MFA capstone reading.

2. Tell us a little about your book and how it came to be?

The book is about a Jersey girl, a Bollywood film geek, who’s torn between the guy who everyone thinks she belongs with, and the guy she’s starting to like. Her future at film school is also at stake, as well as all the work she invested in the high school film festival.

The concept of the book came from two revelations. The first was that so many people had the tendency to misuse the word Bollywood, and I wanted to really explore what Bollywood movies were and how much influence they have in the South Asian community. The second revelation was that there weren’t too many books about positive relationships between protagonists and their parents. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a supportive and loving family. I felt like that story needed to be told.

3. Are you participating in NaNaWriMo this month and what advice can you give?

So it’s November which means National Novel Writing Month. I started this month with good intentions. I wanted to participate in NaNo, finish my second book during the month, and be super productive. Well…life happened. My book cover release was featured by BN Teen Blog, my boyfriend proposed less than a week later, and a few hours after the proposal, our offer on a house got accepted. It’s amazing, and thrilling and I feel so blessed to have these opportunities AND to write. But everything does take a little more time.

So, I’m behind with my word count, but I’m following the same advice author Jonathan Mayberry told me almost a decade ago. Life happens, and there is no stopping it. But if you really want to be a writer, you have to sit in that chair and put words on paper. It doesn’t matter how few you’re able to produce, just write SOMETHING. So every day for the last week and a half, I’ve been pulling out my cell phone at four in the morning, and typing in the Google Keep app a few paragraphs before I get up and have to accomplish the next craziness thrown my way.

Despite my low word count, I have to say, I’ve been pretty productive for a pre-pubbed author. I have my SWAG bookmarks, postcards, pins and bookplates ready to go. ARCs just went out to some very lovely people, and I’m about to announce a giveaway in my newsletter! I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Follow NishaTwitter * Instagram * Blog

 


Jessica Pennington

1. Introduce yourself!

I’m a young adult author and professional romantic. When I’m not writing kissing books, you can find me planning swoon-worthy events as a professional wedding planner and floral designer. My debut novel, LOVE SONGS & OTHER LIES, will be published April 24, 2018 by Tor Teen/Macmillan. I live in a Michigan beach town suspiciously similar to the one in my novel, where I spend more time on my laptop than on the beach!

2. Tell us a little about your book and how it came to be? 

LOVE SONGS & OTHER LIES is a funny, sexy, and bittersweet contemporary romance. It’s dual timeline, alternating between the couple’s first love story, and their turbulent reunion two years after breaking up. Layered over the love story, there’s a passion for music tying the characters together, a reality show competition adding its own complications, and a huge surprise twist at the end. It’s part first love on the beach, part second chance rock ‘n roll romance. I wrote Love Songs in 2014, when I was struggling to balance life with my 90 hour workweeks as a wedding planner, and decided I needed a creative outlet. So I joined a Novel In A Year group, and one day I was listening to the radio, and the lyrics to “Say Something” by A Great Big World (with Christina Aguilera) really stuck with me. It evoked this really vivid image of a breakup scene between two people who desperately wanted to be together, but clearly weren’t. So I wrote that breakup scene, and then I started at the beginning and figured out how they got there. Love Songs is the product of two of my favorite things: music (lyrics especially), and love stories.

3. Are you participating in NaNaWriMo this month and what advice can you give?

Yes, I’m hoping to finish the first draft of my second book during NaNoWriMo! The best advice I can give to anyone doing NaNo–especially if it’s for the first time–is to not read back what you wrote. Drafting this quickly is a special kind of beast, and the truth is that a lot of what you write isn’t going to be great. So reading it back again can make you feel like you’re just writing words for the sake of words (and sometimes you are!). BUT, once you pile up those 50,000 words, there will actually be a lot of great sections within it. So write it all, and then go back to pick it apart. And yes, I am absolutely looking in the mirror when I say this, because I’m notorious for editing as I write, and it’s a habit I hope to break some day!

Follow Jessica: Twitter * Facebook * Instagram * Blog


Lyndsay Ely

 

1. Introduce yourself!

My name is Lyndsay Ely and I am the author of GUNSLINGER GIRL a genre-bent YA Western set in the near future. In the daylight hours, I also work as a creative professional at a publishing company, which was an entirely unintentional thing that happened. Outside of publishing, I have many geeky pursuits, and can often be found at one of the many local conventions in Boston. I also might have a slight antiquing problem.

2. Tell us a little about your book and how it came to be?

To be honest, I thought my debut would be a fantasy. But I’ve always had a love for Western-themed media as well, so when the first novel I queried (a fantasy) flopped, I began toying around with the idea of a teenaged gunslinger. I didn’t want to write the traditional Western revenge story (though who doesn’t love a good revenge tale?), so instead I brainstormed around the idea of a performer in a twisted Wild West show–a sort of gritty Annie Oakley. Voi—Serendipity Jones, the Theatre Vespertine, and the lawless city of Cessation were born.

3. Are you participating in NaNaWriMo this month and what advice can you give?

I am…that is to say, I was. As determined as I was to complete NaNoWriMo this year, I did about 15k words and realized that the push to keep up (along with ever-present annoyance that is adulting) was stressing me beyond the point of generating anything useable. So my advice would be: determination is good, but don’t be afraid to acknowledge when something like NaNo is becoming more detrimental than beneficial . And if you are sticking with NaNo until the bitter end, consider ditch contractions and giving all of your characters names like “Bobby Sue” to up your word count. 😉

Follow Lyndsay: Twitter * Facebook * Blog


 

Adrienne Young

1. Introduce yourself!

Hi! My name is Adrienne Young and I am a YA fantasy author in California. My debut novel, SKY IN THE DEEP, comes out April 24, 2018 from Wednesday Books.

2. Tell us a little about your book and how it came to be?

SKY IN THE DEEP was birthed out of my deep love of history. I’ve long been inspired by Viking culture and find that there’s a lot to explore within it. I really wanted to write something raw and intense, and passion-filled and I felt like a world inspired by the Viking-age was a great fit for that. I got the idea suddenly one day while I was driving and I pulled over to the side of the road in the pouring rain and scribble the notes of chapter one on an old envelope. I finished the book in the next 6 weeks and had an agent a few months later. Not even a month after that, it had sold. It was definitely a whirlwind! But I had written a couple of book before that and neither of them had landed me an agent. It was a long road and once things started to happen, they happened quickly.

3. Are you participating in NaNaWriMo this month and what advice can you give?

I’m not participating this year! I would have loved to, but my deadlines and other book-related commitments wouldn’t really allow for it. If you are doing NaNoWriMo, the best advice I can give is to remember self-care. Anyone who knows me knows that this is not my forte, and when I’m in the throws of a story, I tend to neglect taking care of myself. I’m all about the hardcore writing, but if you don’t remember to stop and breathe and eat and hydrate, whatever comes out on that page is going to be crap. Remember to come up for air and it will help keep your story on track!

Follow Adrienne: Twitter * Facebook * Instagram Blog


Laura Steven

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1. Introduce yourself!

Hi world! I’m Laura Steven, and I’m a twenty-something author and journalist from the northernmost town in England. I have a BA in Journalism and an MA in Creative Writing, and I mentor aspiring writers through schemes like PitchWars and Writing in the Margins. I like dogs, swearing, lipstick, coffee, donuts, chess, elephants and Harry Potter.

2. Tell us a little about your book and how it came to be?

The Exact Opposite of Okay is my YA debut, set to be published by Egmont on International Women’s Day 2018. It’s about a teenage girl called Izzy, who never expected to be eighteen and internationally reviled. But when photos involving her, a politician’s son and a garden bench emerge, the trolls set out to take her apart. Armed with best friend Ajita and a metric ton of nachos, she must figure out who’s behind the vicious website showcasing her sexploits – while keeping her sanity intact.

You can read more about the acquisition here: https://www.thebookseller.com/news/major-new-ya-novel-electric-monkey-595366

It’s inspired by a few different things that have happened to me since graduating – namely a friend-zoned guy who turned aggressive, and a former boss who sexually harassed me in the workplace. I wanted to explore some of the issues facing teenage girls – slut-shaming, friend-zoning, body image, victim-blaming – but also do it with humor and sass. There’s a lot of me in Izzy, so it’s terrifying that the world will meet her soon – but also kind of exhilarating.

3) Are you participating in NaNaWriMo this month and what advice can you give?

I think this is the first year for a while that I haven’t participated in NaNoWriMo! I’m going on a writing residency in the Faroe Islands, where I’ll be producing an audiovisual project with other writers and artists from across Scandinavia. So I won’t have time to draft a novel, which is unfortunate, because I’m having serious FOMO right now.

Follow Laura: Twitter * Instagram* Blog


Laurie Morrison

 

1. Introduce yourself!

Hi! I’m Laurie Morrison. I taught middle school English for ten years, and I write contemporary middle grade novels, sometimes on my own and sometimes in collaboration with my friend Cordelia Jensen. I have an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and I live in Philadelphia with my family. I love just-of-the-oven pastries, coffee, the ocean, and spending time outside, even when it’s cold or rainy. And books, of course!

2.) Tell us a little about your book and how it came to be?

EVERY SHINY THING is a dual point-of-view middle grade novel that comes out from Abrams/Amulet Books on April 17, 2018. It’s written half in prose and half in verse, and it tells the story of two seventh graders–Lauren, who comes from a wealthy family, and her new neighbor Sierra, who is in foster care–who team up to enact a Robin Hood scheme to right some societal wrongs, and learn lessons about family, friendship, and justice in the process. I co-wrote it with my friend Cordelia, who was my classmate at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

In June of 2015, Cordelia offhandedly (or so I thought) said we should write a book together, and then within a couple of hours of me saying, “Sure, that would be fun,” she had an idea for her character: a girl who was used to taking care of her alcoholic mother, who would resist bonding with her very kind foster mother but become friends with her new neighbor and eventually fall into similar enabling, caretaking behaviors with her new friend. “Maybe her friend might shoplift,” Cordelia said. At first, I couldn’t imagine writing a character who would steal! I…am not exactly a troublemaker. I have a major fear of getting in trouble in any way. But I started thinking about the middle school students I’d taught who were horrified by the injustices they saw and determined to do something to make the world a fairer place. I thought, “Well, what if something has happened to completely shake up my character’s world, and it’s opened her eyes to her family’s privilege and to how unequal things are. What if she’s a bit desperate to feel like she’s doing something to help make things right? What if she thinks that could somehow restore balance in her own disrupted life?” And that’s how Lauren’s character was born.

It was a complete joy working with Cordelia on the novel, and I’m very proud of the book we created together. Before EVERY SHINY THING, I wrote three other books that came close to selling but never sold, which was very discouraging at the time, but now I feel very grateful that this book is my debut.

3. Are you participating in NaNaWriMo this month and what advice can you give?

I’m not doing NaNo, but I have lots of admiration for those who are! I’ve never officially participated, but I’ve set ambitious word count goals to push forward with a project a couple of times and then had the novel completely go off the rails, leaving me with pages and pages I had to scrap. So I’ve decided super fast drafting isn’t for me personally. My advice based on my not-so-successful fast drafting experiences is to listen to your gut if it tells you the plot you planned out ahead of time isn’t quite right. Better to pause and reassess than just keep going, in my opinion, even if your word count dips a bit. Also, one thing that works well for me for moderately fast drafting is to either free write or list what will happen in a scene right before I begin. That eases me into writing and boosts my productivity.

Follow Laurie: Twitter * Instagram * Blog


Melanie Sumrow

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1. Introduce yourself!

Hi, everyone. Thank you so much to Tawney for having me! My name is Melanie Sumrow and my debut middle-grade novel, THE PROPHET CALLS, is set in a polygamous community inspired by the fundamentalist sect of the Mormon Church. I received my undergraduate degree in Religious Studies and have maintained a long-term interest in studying world religions. Before becoming a full-time writer, I worked as a lawyer for more than 16 years, with many of my cases involving children and teens.

2. Tell us a little about your book and how it came to be?

THE PROPHET CALLS is an upper middle-grade contemporary novel set to release from Bonnier Publishing USA in November 2018. It follows the story of a thirteen-year-old girl who was born into a polygamous community confined by a wall that keeps the rest of the world outside. She and the other members must follow the rules the Prophet imposes from prison, but she soon begins to question the Prophet’s teachings and his revelations, especially when his latest orders put her family in danger.

I had previously written a YA manuscript set in a religious cult. Although I was getting a lot of positive responses from publishers on that book, it just wasn’t the right time for it. Fast-forward a few months when my agent received an email from my current editor. She told my agent she was fascinated by polygamous communities and wondered if he happened to know anyone who could write such a book for middle-grade. As it so happened, I had just finished teaching a class on religious radicalism, which included a section on the polygamous community known as the FLDS. I had never written for the middle-grade audience, but I was excited about the possibility. So I prepared a synopsis and the first three chapters of THE PROPHET CALLS. My editor was excited about what I had written, bought my book, and I completed the novel. As an aside, I absolutely love writing for middle-grade and hope to do it again soon!

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this month and what advice can you give?

I am not participating since I just completed a YA manuscript and am using the next few months for research. But I look forward to getting back to the drafting stage!

My advice for those participating is to keep going. If NaNoWriMo is what motivates you, do it! Even if you don’t complete your goal, keep going! As we all know, writing a book doesn’t happen all at once. It’s bit-by-bit, day-by-day.

Follow Melanie: Twitter * Facebook * Instagram * Blog


 

Erin Callahan

 

1. Introduce yourself!

Hi, I’m Erin and I wrote THE ART OF ESCAPING. I grew up in New Hampshire and couldn’t wait to get out of my small town when I was a teen. But I eventually found my way back to the Granite State, probably because I’m a New Englander to the core. That means I like cold winters, cider donuts, and not making direct eye-contact with strangers on the street. 🙂 When I’m not writing I’m usually hanging out with my husband and our two-year-old, working at my day job, reading all of the things, or watching TV (because there is so much amazing TV right now!).

2.Tell us a little about your book and how it came to be?

I didn’t start writing until I was in my late-20s, when a friend talked me into collaborating with him on a paranormal YA series. This, of course, was back when sparkly vampires were all the rage and the dystopian craze was just starting to gain some traction. My friend and I had no idea what we were doing, but we gradually got better as writers and, about six years ago, I toyed with the idea of starting a contemporary YA novel about a teen girl who trains to become an escape artist. I’ve been fascinated by escape artists since the age of five, when I saw Princess Tenko perform a water tank escape on a show called That’s Incredible! At the same time, I had an idea for a story that kinda turned the nerdy girl meets popular boy trope on its ear. So I smooshed those two idea together and started writing. I found an agent a few years later and that project eventually became THE ART OF ESCAPING. One of my characters is actually inspired by Princess Tenko.

3. Are you participating in NaNaWriMo this month and what advice can you give?

I’m not doing NaNo this year but I’ve done it in the past and I’m an awful NaNo cheater. I’m almost always in the middle of a project I don’t want to put down when November rolls around, so I’ve been known to use NaNo as an excuse to write a big chunk of words for that project instead of starting a brand new novel. This is why I should really stick to Camp NaNo, since that allows you to set your own goal and work on whatever you want. I think the best advice I can give is to go easy on yourself. Even if you don’t “win,” getting a good start on a novel (or finishing one like I did), is a win all by itself. Not everyone writes at lightning speed, and not churning out 50k words in a month is not a sign that you shouldn’t be a writer.

Follow Erin: Twitter * Instagram * Blog


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Until the next Pre-Pub Adventure check in!

 


Pre-Pub Adventure: November Part 1

I’m so excited to be introducing you to our new authors joining Pre-Pub Adventure!

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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.

Let’s meet our new authors and follow their publishing adventure!


Kelly deVos

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1. Introduce yourself!

Hi! My name is Kelly deVos. I wrote FAT GIRL ON A PLANE, a book that follows a teen fashion student who believes she must lose weight to be the next great designer, coming 6/5/18 from Harlequin Teen. When not reading or writing, I collect stickers and knit. I’m addicted to coffee and Netflix.

2. Tell us a little about your book and how it came to be?

This book was initially inspired by a couple of real experiences. First, like my main character, I was forced to purchase two seats on an airplane. I also worked as a graphic designer for an Italian-based eyewear company that dealt with many luxury fashion brands. I noticed, over time, that some of these brands were fairly hostile to plus-size girls and women and I wanted to discuss that issue.

3. Are you participating in Nano and what advice can you give?

I’m giving Nano another try this year, despite the fact that I’ve tried a couple of times and not “won.” In our family, November is loaded up with birthdays so it tends to be a pretty busy time. So, I’m giving myself permission to just do the best I can. I’m mainly looking to use NanoWriMo to jumpstart my WIP. My advice is practice self-care. Do what you can do and don’t be too hard on yourself.

Follow Kelly: Twitter * Facebook * Instagram * Blog


Amy Trueblood

 

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1. Introduce yourself!

Hi! I’m Amy Trueblood. Over the years I’ve worked in entertainment, advertising, and marketing, but writing has always been my passion. I’m the youngest of five and have always loved all types of stories. In fact, I used to hide in my closet as a kid and listen to those Disney records with the read along books for hours. I tend to write stories about fierce, mouthy girls who are interested in breaking barriers and pushing beyond expectations.

2. Tell us a little about your book and how it came to be?

My debut, NOTHING BUT SKY, is a YA Historical set in 1922. It follows the story of eighteen-year-old wing walker, Grace Lafferty and her team the Soaring Eagles as they battle to get to a big aviation contest in Chicago and earn a coveted Hollywood contract. The story came about in 2013 when I visited the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. They had a biplane hanging from the ceiling and beneath it was a placard with the name Ethel Dare who was a wing walker. I was intrigued, and when I returned to my hotel room later that night I started researching early twentieth century aviation and wing walking and the story unfolded from there.

3. Are you participating in Nano and what advice can you give?

I am not doing Nano this year. It always seems around this time I’m either just finishing up a book or into major revisions so I just don’t have time. One of these years though I am definitely going to do it!

Follow Amy: Facebook * Instagram * Twitter *Blog


A.M. Rose

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1. Introduce yourself!

I’m A.M. Rose, but my friends call me Ann. Believe it or not, people can never seem to get my name right, so I thought this would make it easier. (So far the jury’s out.)

My debut; Road To Eugenica (Entangled Teen) releases February 2018! While my debut is a contemporary sci-fi I write young adult novels of all genres as long as they have a hint of romance. I’m the drinker of too much coffee (with way too much coconut creamer), and lover of all carbohydrates.

Currently, I live in Houston, TX with my three boys (yes, my husband is in that count) and three cats. When I’m not writing about swoony guys or ways for my MC to get into trouble, I’m an avid reader, Snap Chatter, critiquer (is that even a word?), and trampoline enthusiast.

I’m a graduate from San Diego State University with a BA in Communication and a minor in underwater basket weaving. (Okay, maybe not the basket weaving part.)

2. Tell us a little about your book and how it came to be?

Road to Eugenica is an action packed story about a girl who is created in another dimension on Earth—Eugencia. She is desperately trying to uncover the origin of her super-human abilities while being hunted for those very traits. Luckily, her best friend (and secret crush) Dylan is there to help. Or at least that’s the super-basic gist.

I know a lot of writers who have always had some kind of inkling early in life that this is something they were meant to do. I, however, am not one of them.

It kind of all started when my niece asked me to read books with her. She’s a vivacious reader, and her friends aren’t, but she wanted someone to talk books with her. So she would tell me what to buy, and we’d have our own little book club. It was a really great way for us to bond, but it was also opened my eyes to the world of YA. I found out how much I really loved these books. How real and raw they could be.

After she finished reading one of her favorite series that ended in a way she was NOT happy with, I promised her I’d write her a book. And that’s what I did. Road to Eugenica is her story.

While my niece doesn’t have super-human abilities and isn’t from another dimension on Earth like the MC, Drea, the two do have similarities. A part of Drea’s character arc is her coming to realize she is so much stronger than she gives herself credit for.

In Road to Eugenica, I explore this idea of what a “perfect society” could be, which is where Eugenica comes from. What would the world be like if we made more of an effort to preserve what the Earth has given us? If conserving nature was more important than destroying it. A lot of times, I don’t think people realize the repercussions of their actions. How a single pebble thrown into a pond still creates a ripple.

While it’s not available for order yet, you can mark it as “What to Read” on GoodReads here, if it sounds like it might interest you.

3. Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this month and what advice can you give?

Yes, I’m doing Nano this year and I think the best advice I can give is to not self-edit during this time. Allow yourself a really messy rough draft, and once the words are on the page, don’t go back and change them. Use this as an opportunity to tell yourself the story. There is time to make it “perfect” in editing, but you can’t edit a blank page. So if you’re stuck, just leave yourself a note, skip it and move on.

No first draft is ever perfect, so don’t except yours to be. Just allow yourself to go with it and see where the story takes you!

Follow A.M. Rose: Twitter, Facebook, Blog


Maxine Kaplan

 

 1.   Introduce yourself!

Hi everyone! Thanks very much to Tawney for having me. My name is Maxine Kaplan and I’m the author of THE ACCIDENTAL BAD GIRL, coming from Abrams / Amulet in May 2018. I was born in Washington, DC, about thirty minutes after my twin sister (sorry Mom!). Both of my parents are journalists, so we moved around a lot when I was little–all the way to Moscow, Russia. When I was ten, we moved to Brooklyn, NY, where I am delighted to still live, now with my husband (he’s a chef–ladies and gents, heed my advice and marry someone who cooks) and a cat with what appears to be a very complex internal life. I have a full-time day job as a private investigator, which is, I’m sorry to say, not nearly as glamorous as it sounds. THE ACCIDENTAL BAD GIRL is the first novel I’ve ever completed. Very happy to be here 🙂

2. Tell us a little about your book and how it came to be?

THE ACCIDENTAL BAD GIRL is feminist revisionist take on the classic film noir trope of the femme fatale. It follows Kendall who, after getting caught hooking up with her best friend’s ex on the last day of junior year, starts senior year ostracized. She’s determined to keep her head down and just get out of high school unscathed, but this plan is derailed when her online identity is hacked and she’s framed for stealing from a dealer. In order to repair her tattered reputation and salvage her future, Kendall is drawn into a tenuous partnership with the mastermind of a drug ring lurking in the shadows of her Brooklyn private school. But, the longer she plays the role of “bad girl,” the more she becomes her new reputation…Friends and enemies, detectives and drug dealers—no one is who they appear to be. Least of all Kendall. The original germ of the idea had actually been kicking around my head for the better part of a decade, because I’ve always loved noir, from the goofy to the morose—from Bond to Hitchcock to Raymond Chandler. And I especially loved femme fatales. They were like superheroes of deviousness and yet they always seemed pretty improbable. How did one turn into an unstoppable badass with a gun, a heart, and a plan? How did those relationships with the “real” villains work? It was never clear if the femme fatales were employees, girlfriends, blackmail victims, or a little of all three. I became fascinated with the archetype, with the stories that weren’t being told. I wanted a Pussy Galore origin story damn it, and if no one else was going to write it, then I would have to.

 When I finally buckled down to write a real novel, one that I refused to give up on, I wasn’t sure which idea to pursue. I don’t have trouble coming up with stories, but, historically (hopefully), I had problems on the follow-through. I happened to re-watch North by Northwest, the Hitchcock film, around then and it clicked—I re-oriented the plotting concept of North by Northwest to focus on the femme fatale and wound up with BAD GIRL.

 It started out fairly simplistic, but it very quickly became thematically linked to slut-shaming. That was a natural fit for the femme fatale archetype’s origin, obviously. I struggle with how much to share about this part of my inspiration, but have ultimately come to the conclusion that sunlight is more important than shade. At the beginning of the drafting process, I was sexually assaulted. I went to the police and spoke to a (female!) cop who was about as unsupportive as I could imagine. Around the same time, seventh grade girls were getting suspended for wearing leggings all over the country and Slut Walks were building steam. I discovered I had something to say about rape culture and my femme fatale MC, my Kendall, was the best person to say it.

3. Are you participating in NaNaWriMo this month and what advice can you give?

I am not doing NaNoWriMo. I am constitutionally incapable of doing NaNoWriMo. Here’s why and it doubles as the only writing advice I have to give:

For me, the key to actually completing a novel was to set extremely low, but daily goals. When I’m drafting, I write at least 500 words a day, every day; I give my self one “f*ck-it” night a week. It’s such a low number, that it’s very hard for anyone with even a smidge of a guilt complex to blow off–and I have quite a big smidge 🙂 I have to keep my goalposts low but consistent. NaNoWriMo throws that whole balance off for me. My way is slower, but I know I’ll finish. And getting to the end is the most important thing. Plus, for what it’s worth: I drafted my second book using this same method and somehow cut the drafting time in half from my debut, despite this second book being a good 20K words longer! I  don’t know HOW exactly that worked out, except to invoke Moore’s law of computer programming, which (to paraphrase Bruce Coville–seriously, I know this is a digression but go look up The AI Gang series; criminally underrated) means the smarter you get, the faster you get smart. The longer you do something, the better you get at it. Writing’s not going to ever get easy and there’s no silver bullet, but practice does help.

Follow Maxine: Blog * Twitter


 

Kamilla Benko

    

1. Introduce yourself!

My name is Kamilla Benko, but at various stages of my life, I’ve also answered to KBanks, Kamillapede, and Ka-wawa (that last one was what my little brother called me for the first three years of his life.) I grew up in Indiana, and once I graduated from college, I moved to New York to pursue my dream of becoming a children’s book editor.
 After a lot of work and even more luck, I now edit for many of the Big 5 Houses through my job at Glasstown Entertainment, a literary packaging company. (What is literary packaging? Read here!) A couple of years ago, I wondered what it would be like to be on the other side of the publishing process, and began to work on my debut novel, THE UNICORN QUEST, which will publish by Bloomsbury, February 6, 2018.

2. Tell us a little about your book and how it came to be?

As an editor, I have the wonderful privilege of being surrounded by authors. I saw first hand how much work they poured into their manuscripts and I would think, “I can never do that.”

Fast forward a few years, to a trip to the MET’S Cloisters, where I saw for the first time The Unicorn Tapestries, a series of seven woven panels that depict a unicorn hunt. Standing there, I began to wonder why anyone would want to kill a unicorn, and I continued to wonder even after weeks had gone by. And slowly, as I began to answer my own question, the world of Arden began to unfurl. I realized I had to be brave like my authors, and so I began to write about an eleven-year-old girl named Claire.

Claire isn’t the brave one, that’s her older sister Sophie. So when the girls discover a ladder in the fireplace of their great aunt’s mansion, it’s Sophie who leads the way up…and up…and up…and into a fantastical land where art is magic and strange creatures roam. But this world, Arden, is in trouble. The four guilds of magic no longer trust each other, the beloved unicorns have disappeared, and terrible wraiths roam freely. Terrified, the girls return home, but it’s not long before Sophie goes missing.  It will take all of Claire’s courage to climb back up the ladder, save her sister, and bring them both home safely. But first, she will have to discover the secret of the unicorns…

3. Are you participating in NaNaWriMo this month and what advice can you give?

I’m not participating this year, as my revision of Book 2 is due mid November (so I guess I’m doing a half-NaNoRevMo) and when I’m done I’m going to take a short break before digging into Book 3! But I have participated in years past! My advice is this: just because you missed the November 1 start date doesn’t mean you can’t start your book today, be it November 15 or November 30. November 1 is just a day, and all days can be writing days if you want them to be.

Follow Kamilla: Twitter * Instagram * Blog


Rachel Lynn Solomon

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1. Introduce yourself!

I write contemporary YA, and my debut, YOU’LL MISS ME WHEN I’M GONE, will be out from Simon Pulse in just under two months on January 2, 2018! In my non-writer life, I work in education, live in Seattle, and own the best dog. I collect red lipstick, tap dance, and occasionally play the piano.

2.  Tell us a little about your book and how it came to be?

YMMWIG is a Jewish #ownvoices book about twins who receive opposite results from a genetic test for Huntington’s disease. It’s essentially a collection of things I love to read in YA and things I felt I wasn’t seeing enough of in YA. It’s dual POV, and from the beginning, I knew I wanted to write two fiercely ambitious girls. Most twin books I’d read had a slacker twin and an overachiever twin. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I wanted to explore a different sibling dynamic. I am also an advocate of sex positivity in YA, especially when it comes to female sexuality, so that’s a huge part of the book as well. Lastly, though this was my fifth completed manuscript, it was the first I wrote with Jewish characters. Growing up, the only books I read with Jewish characters were Holocaust narratives, so for the longest time, I assumed that was the only story we had to tell. (Not true!) There’s a real lack of contemporary stories featuring practicing Jewish protagonists, and I’m so excited for Jewish readers to (hopefully) see a piece of themselves in my book.

3. Are you participating in NaNaWriMo this month and what advice can you give?

I’m not — I just turned in a big revision for my 2019 book on November 1, actually, haha, so I’m forcing myself to take a bit of a break. Which is hard soooo I’ll probably start poking at my WIP soon. In terms of advice, though, what helps me most during a quick early draft is accepting that it’s going to be garbage. Awkward sentences, no blocking, inconsistent characters, plot lines that vanish. Very, very few people produce beautiful first drafts. But all you need from NaNo is a book-shaped thing to play with — you can make it beautiful later!

Follow Rachel: Twitter * Instagram * Snapchat * Blog 


Dana Mele

    

1.  Introduce yourself!

My name is Dana Mele and I’m a full time writer. I live in a tiny little mountaintop village in the Catskills and I spend most of my time writing, making things with my three year old, and thinking about writing and things I can make with my three year old. I majored in theater in college and also have a masters in education and a J.D. in law. I’m a really big everything geek, so I get super into everything from musical theater to philosophy of the mind; from Westworld to multiverse theory. I adore fandoms- I’m basically an enthusiasm enthusiast. It probably goes without saying that I’m a Ravenclaw. 

2. Tell us a little about your book and how it came to be?

People Like Us is a YA psychological thriller about a popular star athlete with a dark past at an elite New England prep school. The main character, Kay, has worked hard to cultivate a perfect persona for herself at school, and that’s threatened when she finds the dead body of a fellow classmate and receives an email from that student blackmailing her into taking her friends down one by one. It’s been compared to Pretty Little Liars, Thirteen Reasons Why, and We Were Liars.

The book was inspired by two things, one conscious and one subconscious. I was receiving a lot of rejections at the time, and really dreading opening my email. And I was struck with the idea of a story centered on emails and fear and that brought me to the idea of this elaborate revenge from beyond the grave, continually escalating and entwined with Kay’s own dark secret- and Kay having to figure out whether the sender was who she said she was, or it was a setup, with a killer ready to strike again.

I didn’t remember the subconscious inspiration until after I finished writing it, but it’s too coincidental not to have been in the back of my mind as I wrote. The story starts when Kay and her friends, dressed in costume, find a body in a lake on Halloween night. When I was Kay’s age at the women’s college that served in part as the setting inspiration for Kay’s all-girl’s school, there was a murder on Halloween. The body was discovered at the edge of a pond by campus. My friends and I had been out in costume. It’s just too big of a coincidence to ignore. And a many of the campus buildings, landscapes, and traditions made their way into the story.

3. Are you participating in NaNaWriMo this month and what advice can you give?

I just finished a manuscript on Halloween (another thriller!) so I’m taking it easy this month. But I did camp NaNoWriMo this summer and love taking part. My tips are to really make use of the tools provided and to stick to your daily goals. I love using an app called Habitica to help me hit my short and long term writing goals year round. It’s useful and fun! And if you fall off track with NaNo, it’s nice to have a backup app that you can adjust to keep you motivated. Plus you level up and win dragons and potions and go on quests. It’s the most fun ever. Happy writing everyone!

Follow Dana: Twitter * Facebook * Blog


Don Zolidis

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1. Introduce yourself!

My name is Don Zolidis, and my first novel, THE SEVEN TORMENTS OF CRAIG AND AMY (A LOVE STORY) will be published by Disney-Hyperion on October 16. It’s a hilarious YA book about a first love, in which the couple breaks up seven times in the course of the year. It’s told out of chronological order, and it’s set in the weird, pre-cellphone days of small town Wisconsin in 1994.

2. Tell us a little about your book and how it came to be?

This is my first novel, (although not the first one I’ve written), but I’m actually a professional playwright. I’ve written a disturbing amount of plays (I just had my 100th published), and they’ve been performed at high schools and middle schools all over the world, including exotic places like Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Canada. Usually there are about 2,000 schools a year doing my plays, and I love traveling to see them and talking to kids all over the country.

This book came from a play, actually. I was commissioned to write a play for a school in South Carolina, who were going to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. They wanted something funny and real, and I couldn’t get this story out of my head. (Well, probably because this story essentially happened to me, but this is fictionalized I promise!) While I was watching the play version in Scotland, I decided it would work better as a book, since there was so much more to be told than could be put on stage. So I wrote half the book in a cafe in Edinburgh over a few days, and then spent the next few months finishing it in the States. From there, it was about a year revising and then the book sold last fall. I couldn’t be more thrilled.

3. Are you participating in NaNaWriMo this month and what advice can you give?

Yes, I am doing Nanowrimo this year because I am in the middle of writing my second book, SPEECHGEEK, about a girl who tries to destroy the best high school speech team in the country from the inside out. I’ve got about 50,000 words to go, so I figured Nanwrimo would be perfect for me. I’m almost on target so far. I love Nano, and I think it’s so wonderful to have all the support of other writers. Doing sprints with other writers is a fantastic way to knock those words out. Oh, and the most important thing with a first draft is to let go of self-judgment (easier said than done). But being worried about the quality of your work on the first pass is a surefire way to destroy your productivity.

Follow Don: Twitter * Facebook * Blog


 

Be on the lookout for Pre-Pub Adventure: November Part 2!

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1. Introduce yourself!

My name is Kamilla Benko, but at various stages of my life, I’ve also answered to KBanks, Kamillapede, and Ka-wawa (that last one was what my little brother called me for the first three years of his life.) I grew up in Indiana, and once I graduated from college, I moved to New York to pursue my dream of becoming a children’s book editor.
 After a lot of work and even more luck, I now edit for many of the Big 5 Houses through my job at Glasstown Entertainment, a literary packaging company. (What is literary packaging? Read here!) A couple of years ago, I wondered what it would be like to be on the other side of the publishing process, and began to work on my debut novel, THE UNICORN QUEST, which will publish by Bloomsbury, February 6, 2018.

2. Tell us a little about your book and how it came to be?

As an editor, I have the wonderful privilege of being surrounded by authors. I saw first hand how much work they poured into their manuscripts and I would think, “I can never do that.”

Fast forward a few years, to a trip to the MET’S Cloisters, where I saw for the first time The Unicorn Tapestries, a series of seven woven panels that depict a unicorn hunt. Standing there, I began to wonder why anyone would want to kill a unicorn, and I continued to wonder even after weeks had gone by. And slowly, as I began to answer my own question, the world of Arden began to unfurl. I realized I had to be brave like my authors, and so I began to write about an eleven-year-old girl named Claire.

Claire isn’t the brave one, that’s her older sister Sophie. So when the girls discover a ladder in the fireplace of their great aunt’s mansion, it’s Sophie who leads the way up…and up…and up…and into a fantastical land where art is magic and strange creatures roam. But this world, Arden, is in trouble. The four guilds of magic no longer trust each other, the beloved unicorns have disappeared, and terrible wraiths roam freely. Terrified, the girls return home, but it’s not long before Sophie goes missing.  It will take all of Claire’s courage to climb back up the ladder, save her sister, and bring them both home safely. But first, she will have to discover the secret of the unicorns…

3. Are you participating in NaNaWriMo this month and what advice can you give?

I’m not participating this year, as my revision of Book 2 is due mid November (so I guess I’m doing a half-NaNoRevMo) and when I’m done I’m going to take a short break before digging into Book 3! But I have participated in years past! My advice is this: just because you missed the November 1 start date doesn’t mean you can’t start your book today, be it November 15 or November 30. November 1 is just a day, and all days can be writing days if you want them to be.