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!

 


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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

 

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 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.

Pre-Pub Adventure: October 2017

This is an exciting month because all of our Pre-Pub authors books publish!

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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 check in with our authors and celebrate their releases!


Congrats to Nic Stone on her NY Times Bestseller Dear Martin!

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Nic Stone

1. Your book is released! How do you feel?

I’m… not exactly sure? Lol! The truth is, I haven’t had time to process anything, and won’t until December when I’m at home for an extended stretch of time. The morning after launch, I hopped on a plane to San Francisco. Which is where I am now. Tomorrow I fly back to the East Coast for ReadUp Greenville. Next week is Boston… and so on. I feel like I’m riding a tornado.

2. Do you have any plans for your release? Book tour?

I had a very excellent launch party and will be hopping around a ton over the next couple months. See where I’m going to be here: http://www.nicstone.info/events

3. What’s next for you?

Hopefully a good night’s sleep at some point! Book two is on the move as well 🙂

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Follow Nic: Twitter * Instagram * YouTube

      

1. Your books is published! Congrats! How does that feel? What’s next for you?

It feels amazing! I think the most amazing part was seeing my daughter’s excitement when she saw my book on a shelf in the bookstore. The official launch will be this weekend at Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston. And then I go on a Texas Book Tour. I will also be at the Texas Book Festival the first week of November.

2. You recently just attended MPIBA 2017 Trade Show, tell us what that was like?

It was awesome. I got to meet and talk to so many booksellers. I did this event they call speed-dating where authors rotate around to 14 tables, spending 5 minutes at each table talking about their books. My voice was a little sore afterwards, but it was so nice to be able to get in front of booksellers and make that in person connection. I also got to meet a lot of authors, which was also nice. Writing is such a solitary experience; it’s nice to be able to get out and talk to people. Especially book loving people. Oh, and I have to throw in that there was a book trivia competition in which the teams were divided according to state. Naturally, Texas won. Hahaha…gotta represent!:)

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3. What are you working on now?

Now I’m working on book two!

Follow Liara on her blog * Instagram * Twitter * Facebook


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

  It feels like a sigh of relief, really! It’s out there and what will happen, will happen. There’s so much build up to launch (a lot of it that authors put on themselves) that we tend to stress over every little thing – and so much of it isn’t under our control. For me there was a lot of needless worrying, because everything went fine! It’s nice to feel like a normal person again, not a Person With a Book About To Come Out. (Though of course with the sequel coming up next fall, I’ll be right back to this stage before long!)

2. What are you doing to promote the book?

After my launch party, I attended the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville for a panel and signing (and met some amazing people!) Then I took a week off to go on vacation with my family. I’ve got two signings scheduled so far for November and am working on setting up other local events for readers, writers, and students. I feel pretty tapped out online, to be honest – I’m having to work more hours at my day job which doesn’t leave me much time to promote on social media – so I’m focusing on organizing in person events, including festivals and conventions for 2018, now that the book is out. I do enjoy doing blog interviews, though!

3. What’s next for you?

Finalizing book 2 and getting it in to copyedits! I can’t wait for this sequel to be put to bed. It’s been a bit of a beast, but I think we’re close to taming it. After that, who knows?! 🙂 I’ve got a few new book ideas that have been not-too-patiently waiting their turn…

Follow Heather: Blog * Twitter * Instagram * Tumblr


1. What fun thing happened to you this month?

All of my fun things are happening at the end of the month, but I did get to go to Heather Kaczynski’s launch party for Dare Mighty Things at our local Books-a-million (which turns out to be the first brick and mortar BAM store). Heather had an awesome Q&A, a great crowd turned up, and the signing line twisted around the stacks. I’m so lucky to have another 2017 Debut author in my little city!

2. What are you working on?

Launch, launch, launch. My last week of October is slammed with events. I’ll be on a panel at the Louisiana Book Festival in Baton Rouge on October 28. The book releases October 31. My launch party is November 2. I’m part of a local author event at Barnes & Noble on November 5. And as if that weren’t enough, I’m working on scheduling more events. It’s all exciting, but exhausting too!

3. Your book comes out Oct 31, any fun plans?

I plan on donning my devil horns and heading out to stores to (hopefully) spot my book in the wild! After some shelfies, I fully intend on gorging myself on the Halloween candy we always stock for the trick-or-treaters who never seem to make it to our back street. And maybe finish off the night with Rocky Horror Picture Show and trying not to think about the fact that people I know will finally be reading my words (eep!).

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Follow S.F. Henson: Blog *InstagramTwitter * Goodread *Facebook


 Karina Yan Glaser

   
1. How does it feel to have your book out in the world?
It feels amazing. I love getting photos of kids reading the book and seeing the book in bookstores or libraries.
2. What are you doing to promote the book?
I’m doing panels, school visits, and some festivals. I’ll be at the Texas Book Festival in November and the Gaithersburg Book Festival next May, plus I’m doing some bookstore events in New York City and the surrounding areas. I’ve also done a blog tour! It’s been so much fun talking about the book and seeing it shared.
3. What’s next for you?

I’m finishing up illustrations for the Vanderbeekers sequel, plus I’m drafting another book. The Vanderbeekers sequel is coming out next fall!

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Follow Karina: Twitter * Facebook * Instagram * Blog

Until next the next Pre-Pub Adventure!

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Pre-Pub Adventure: September 2017

It’s Pre-Pub Adventure and we have a new author to introduce today!

Please welcome author Karina Yan Glaser!

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.

   

1. Welcome Karina! Introduce yourself.

Thank you for having me! My name is Karina Yan Glaser, and I am a full-time writer and a contributing editor at Book Riot. I live in Harlem, New York City, with my family and assortment of rescue animals.

2. The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street sounds humorous and entertaining, how did you come up with the idea?

The idea for The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street actually came to me in the middle of the night four years ago, around 2am. I woke up with the first sentence for the book and jotted it down on a piece of paper on my bedside table. I ended up writing the whole (very messy) first draft for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I had wanted to write about a big family living in modern New York City, sort of like a contemporary spin on classic books like All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor and The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright.

3. The cover is amazing, did you get to have any input in it?

Yes, my editor and the book designer kept me in the loop with every version of the cover. I didn’t have much to contribute except, “Wow, this is amazing!” or “I love it!”. I gave some feedback on aspects of the cover that did not line up with the story, but otherwise I really trusted my publisher and the cover artist to create what they thought was best.

Follow Karina: Twitter * Facebook * Instagram * Blog


  1. You’ve been busy the last month with trips to book conferences, how do you prepare for them?

Mmmmmm… *prepare* is kind of a strong word, lol. Earlier in the year, I would spend weeks trying to figure out outfits and makeup looks and blah blah… Now? I throw a bunch of stuff in a backpack the morning of my flight and pray I didn’t forget anything. It’s really such a whirlwind at this point, I’m constantly on the fly both literally and figuratively.

  1. You recently held the final hardcover of your book in your hands, what was that momentlike?

Surreal doesn’t begin to cover it. By the time the book comes out, it’ll have been 32 months since I sold it, so it felt like the end of a legitimate era, really. I know I’ll never read the thing, but I’m going to use that First Copy I Ever Held as MY book that people sign while I’m signing theirs. Like a prose yearbook. (Shoutout to Sabaa Tahir who’s the first person I ever saw do that!)

  1. With only a month until Dear Martin releases what are your plans?

Sleep as much as possible. Trying to really rest and fuel up before the TRUE journey begins. 🙂

Follow Nic: Twitter * Instagram * YouTube


Liara Tamani

      

  1. With a month to go until Calling My Name is released, what are you doing to prepare?

I can’t believe my pub-date is getting so close! I remember when October 24th seemed so far away, and now it’s almost here. So exciting. Seems like I’m doing a little bit of everything these days! Setting things up for the book launch party and subsequent Calling My Name bookstore events. Writing for a new (still secret) project. Doing podcasts. Working on book two. Writing pieces for various blogs. Putting together a pre-order campaign. So many things! But all things to help build momentum around Calling My Name and keep my writing career moving forward, so I can’t complain.

2. Epic Reads just recently did a feature on the cover design of Calling My Name, did artist Vashti work with you when designing it? 

No. I had no idea she was designing it until my publisher, Greenwillow Books, presented the finished design to me. I cried when I saw it. Vashti obviously invested time into reading my book and understanding the protagonist, Taja, and her journey to find herself. Taja couldn’t be more perfect on the cover—beautiful and magical and contemplative—and I couldn’t be more grateful.

3. Calling My Name was also featured on BuzzFeed’s 22 YA Novels You’ll Want to Read From Cover to Cover this Fall, how does it feel about the excitement around your book? 

It’s an awesome feeling seeing Calling My Name on lists like that. As a writer, you never know how well your book is going to be received. It feels great knowing people have read it and enjoyed it. And obviously being on lists like that helps get the word out about your book, which is always a good thing! I try to come from the place of putting my best work into the world and not worrying about its commercial success, but it’s hard. I want my book to succeed. And if I’m honest, I want as many people as possible to read it.

Follow Liara on her blog * Instagram * Twitter * Facebook


    

1. You have one more month until Dare Mighty Things releases! This is so exciting! What are you doing to prepare for the release?

What am I doing? I assume you mean other than growing more panicked every day? ;P Mostly I’ve been buying fun stuff for my launch – photo booth props, prizes, food – and setting up my preorder campaign. Oh, and doing interviews! 🙂 But yeah, no, mostly my brain has been on frantically trying to finish book 2 before deadline, which happens to be like 2 weeks before book 1 comes out.

Yeah, I have to finish the sequel before the first book is even out. Author life is nuts that way.

Don’t miss out on Heather’s pre-order giveaway here

2. Tell us about your experience at Dragon Con? (I loved your Instagram pics!)

Thank you so much! I wish I could’ve taken more photos. I saw SO MANY amazing cosplays – I mean, just astounding, incredibly detailed and beautiful ones – but it’s literally so packed all you can do is kind of jump into this river of humanity and get swept along until you reach your destination and have to jump out of the stream. And I was too shy to ask most people for their photos, haha.

I did two panels with some authors that I was super intimidated by at first, but they were SO quick to welcome me and make me feel at ease. Pretty soon I forgot to be nervous and just enjoyed chatting about the things I loved and sharing that love with other panelists and the audience. Which is the best part of doing panels, I think – mentioning some book or movie you love and having the room go “YES!”

It was super overwhelming, the first couple of days. But you know, even with 80-thousand-some-odd people crammed into 5 hotels, everyone was kind of amazing. Super friendly, just happy to be there, and most everyone was super respectful of your personal space (as much as could be allowed.) I never saw people being rude or even short-tempered, really. People were geeking out over each other’s costumes and it was generally just a friendly, happy atmosphere; a giant nerd party! Even for an anxious introvert like me, the crowds became easier when I realized that NOBODY is looking at you, because they’re all looking at that AMAZING Maui cosplay over there with the gigantic 12-foot-long hook.

 I have to admit, I was really happy to get home, but it was a lot less fun knowing I wasn’t going to see Daenerys carrying around a massive dragon on her shoulder or Wonder Woman on my way to work. For a few days during DragonCon, people turn what they love into reality, and it’s just kind of magical. I was glad to experience it.

3. What’s it like hanging out with other authors?

Um, intimidating? Haha. But also, a lot easier than I’d imagine. You see people in real life and they’re suddenly human to you – more real and normal than you might think when you only know their online persona. And we’re all so like-minded when you get down to it; we all just love books. Nobody understands what you go through in publishing, especially in your debut year, like other authors. They’re so ready to commiserate with you and share tips, advice, and hilarious stories to make you feel better. It’s often easy to get into conversations, even when many of them are just as nervous to be outside & away from their computer screens as I am.

Much love to everyone I met that weekend. I hope to meet more of you soon!

Follow Heather: Blog * Twitter * Instagram * Tumblr


1. What have you been working since last we check in?

I have been working on a super secret project that is near and dear to my heart. I can’t say much, but I can say that I was inspired by the beautiful British countryside and some of the people I met on my travels. ; )

2.So you recently spent an afternoon falconing, tell us all about it?!

Falconing was incredible! We got to hold and learn about several different falcons and owls, then we got to actually fly some of them! A few things I learned: falcons, while light, are heavier than you’d expect; holding an owl is like holding air, you barely feel anything when they land on you; some owls like to walk on the ground and it’s hilarous; and it’s way easier to become a falconer in the UK than the US. I left with a new appreciation for these beautiful birds of prey!

3. Your book is a month away from releasing, how are you preparing for it?

Publishing has the unique ability to go from completely motionless to boulder rolling down a steep hill in no time flat. You go months with nothing to do and then wham. I’ve been sending out ARCs, setting up interviews, scheduling events, creating & ordering bookplates, and a dozen other tiny things. My release date was pushed to October 31, so now I’m scrambling to reschedule my launch party as well. The month or so leading up to launch is definitely a whirlwind!

Follow S.F. Henson: Blog *InstagramTwitter * Goodread *Facebook


Until the next Pre-Pub Adventure check in!

Pre-Pub Adventure: August

It’s that time of month again for Pre-Pub Adventure!

 

 

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.

 


 

In light of the disturbing white supremacists and Nazi’s bigotry and hatred in Charlottesville last weekend, I’ve asked some of our authors to talk about their books that deals closely on this subject and what other diverse books they would recommend to help people understand that this is not okay.

 

 

Your book is about the root of what happened in Charlottesville, what do you hope your readers take away from Dear Martin? What books do you recommend people read in light of such a repulsive VA Nazi march?

 

At its core, DEAR MARTIN is a book about learning to grapple with truth and figuring out how to live with it. It features characters from very different walks of life looking at the same set of facts and having to make decisions and choose paths based on those facts, and my hope is that the reader will look at the different viewpoints and engage in some self-reflection.

I think part of the reason race relations are the way they are is because people are afraid of asking questions. We’re afraid of being wrong, both about ourselves and about the world around us because being wrong messes with our senses of autonomy and equilibrium. EVERYTHING we do/think/feel is based on our individual beliefs and worldview, so the idea of those beliefs/that worldview being WRONG is kind of a lot to handle.

But clinging to a flawed worldview doesn’t help anyone, including the clinger. That’s what I want readers to see in the book. That being wrong isn’t the end of the world, and it’s okay–necessary even–to question yourself and what you believe.
    

Other books I recommend: LONG WAY DOWN by Jason Reynolds, THE 57 BUS by Dashka Slater, and  STRANGE LIES by Maggie Thrash, ALL of which come out the same day as DEAR MARTIN (October 17th!), and all of which will make readers challenge their assumptions. Also THE HATE U GIVEby Angie Thomas (obvi), HOW IT WENT DOWNby Kelly Magoon, ALL AMERICAN BOYS by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, MONSTER and LOCKDOWNby Walter Dean Myers, THE FIRE NEXT TIME by James Baldwin, BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME by Ta-Nehisi Coates, THE FIRE THIS TIME edited by Jesmyn Ward, INVISIBLE MAN by Ralph Ellison, KILLERS OF THE DREAM and THE JOURNEYby Lillian Smith (who was hugely influential for Dr. King), and literally everything Dr. King ever wrote (an excellent compilation can be found here: A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr.

2. You have two months until your book is out! What have you been doing to get ready for that?

Uhhhhhh… trying not to spontaneously combust? Does that count? LOL! No, I’ve actually been working on my final round of content edits for my next book. Which are due literally right now, and I’m answering these questions to distract myself from finishing. #writerlyfe

 3. What is the one thing you must do while writing?

Totally weird, but I put on headphones without actually listening to music. I think I just have to keep up the appearance of being this like super focus, hardcore writer. (Also lets me pretend I can’t hear my husband or kids, lol. Don’t tell my secrets, dear readers.)

4. Ok be honest, writing takes up most writer’s time a lot…do you shower? LOL or do the days fly by?

Ehhhhh… hahahahahaha! Depends on how tight the deadline is. Sometimes I shower just to think, but I will confess: as a wife and mom who has to do stuff like drive to carpool and keep other humans alive, showers are usually the first thing to go.

Follow Nic: Twitter * Instagram * YouTube


1 . Your book delves into a similar situation of white supremacy like what happened in Charlottesville, what do you hope your readers take from Devils Within? What books do you recommend people read in light of such a repulsive VA Nazi march?

 

 The Charlottesville march is completely repulsive. I have so many thoughts and emotions on it, but for me the most disturbing part is how comfortable these people are with espousing their racist views in public. These are things that used to happen in private, under hoods, in secret. Now they’re emboldened, public, unashamed. I’ve heard people ask “where is this coming from?” and have seen #ThisIsNotUs going around social media. There are a lot of things I want readers to take from DEVILS WITHIN, but here are the big takeaways: this has always been here, and this IS us. This kind of hate is in the ground water of this country, swirling under our feet. It’s always been there, most of us just aren’t used to seeing it. There are 917 hate groups across the US right now; that doesn’t happen over night, and it doesn’t happen because of one election. It’s a poison that has seeped into people’s systems over centuries. We’re angry right now because the hate is flagrant–as we should be–but we should be angriest that it’s been here, growing, for so long. In my book, my main character, Nate, confronts his own embedded racist urges, both overt and latent. I really hope that DEVILS will lead readers to a similar self-examination.

         

As for book recs: Obviously DEAR MARTIN by Nic Stone, and THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas. Also THE WATSONS GO TO BIRMINGHAM by Christopher Paul Curtis, and LIES WE TELL OURSELVES by Robin Talley.

 

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

 

 I’ve been planning a trip to England! I’m going at the end of the month and can’t wait! We’re staying in a quaint converted boathouse on the Thames, going falconing outside of Oxford, and seeing Les Mis on the West End. There may be some Harry Potter sites that we have to hit too. Oh, and there will definitely be writing in tea shops/pubs!

 

 

3. Is there a certain scene that is harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Violence?

 

 

I have a terrible time writing love scenes. I’m a pretty awkward person, and all my romantic, kissing scenes come out just as awkward as I am.

 

 

4. What literary character is most like you?

 

 

I think I’m most like Meg Murry in A WRINKLE IN TIME (see previous answer about awkwardness), especially as a teenager. I had braces (for six long years!), glasses, and a love of science. I’ve always related to Meg. I can’t wait to see her come to life again when the new movie releases next year!

 

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

 

 


 

Liara Tamani

      

  1. Your book is about an African American girl who struggles with family expectations and teenage life, what do you hope your readers take from Calling My Name? What books do you recommend people read in light of such a repulsive VA Nazi march?

 

I hope readers connect to Taja, connect to her journey and her humanity. Connection is where empathy is created. While books that explicitly deal with America’s race problem are very important (especially in these times), books that remind readers that black people and people of color have more than race problems, that we are whole human beings, with the whole spectrum of human problems and human joys are equally as important.

   

With the being said, I would say read and share all kinds of books by people of color. Any book that gives insight into a different culture or background also has the power to open minds and open hearts. Books like Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert, When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon, The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton, Jumped by Rita Williams-Garcia and The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon are great reads that highlight different cultures, create empathy, show brown people joy, and showcase black girl brilliance and power—all very important.

       

For books that take race relations and police brutality more head on, I’d definitely reach for Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, DEAR MARTIN by Nic Stone, and All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Keily. They are all powerful and important.

 

These are just some of the books I’ve read in the past six months, but clearly there are many, many authors and books to choose from. I haven’t even mentioned one of my favorite authors, Jacqueline Woodson. Or the many adult authors like Zadie Smith, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, James Baldwin, Jean Toomer, Rita Dove, Gwendolyn Brooks, Sandra Cisneros, or Audre Lorde. Or if you want to reach back into the non-fiction genre for a book that deals with race, grab The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. DuBois (put this on your list!). Okay, I’ll stop here, but the point is that there are many choices. I would tell readers to explore, find their favorites, and share them!

 

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

 

Writing and travelling. Worked on book two and wrote my first personal essay (scary!). Went to Barcelona. I hadn’t been since I was in college, so it felt amazing to be back. It was nice being all about tapas, architecture, and sangria for a week.

 

3. Are you a plotter or a punster?  

 

  Neither! In terms of plot, I usually do a rough, hand written outline so I have a general idea of where I am going. But nothing too detailed. And I can’t call myself a punster. I may crack the occasional corny joke, but that’s about it.

 

4. Do you dream? Do you have any recurring nightmares? 

 

  I have dreams that I remember occasionally, but not often. They are usually good. I have dreams about Obama (not even kidding). For a minute, I was dreaming about Chance the Rapper. Okay, so maybe there’s a trend of me dreaming about famous men I might have crushes on. 🙂 No nightmares, thank God. Trump, his cabinet, and everything he represents is a living nightmare and that’s enough.

 

Follow Liara on her blog * Instagram * Twitter * Facebook

 


And now to a celebration!

Today we celebrate the release of Amanda Foody’s Daughter of the Burning City.

1. Your book is out in the world! Yay! How was your book launch? How do you feel?

My book launch was very fun–there was a great turnout of friends, family, and readers. I feel very relaxed–none of this has been too stressful. I have a fairly demanding day job that keeps my mind off things.

2.You’ve been quite busy with Daughter of the Burning City blog tours, chats and signings, what was the most memorable thing to come out of this?

Connecting with readers! DOTBC was featured in Fairyloot’s July subscription box, and I’ve met so many people through Instagram who received the book in the box and loved it. Seeing their gorgeous photos of the cover always makes my day.

3. What’s next for you?

My next book, ACE OF SHADES, releases in April, so I’ve been busy with editorial work on that. I have a few other projects I’m working on that I’m very excited about. And reading, reading, reading! So many amazing books releasing in the next few months.

Follow Amanda: Twitter * Tumblr * Pinterest * Instagram


    

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

I’ve been making travel plans for my upcoming trips (most notably Dragon Con, where I’ll be on a couple of sci-fi panels in the YA Lit track!), preparing for a local author’s expo at the public library, wrapping up a snailmail giveaway on Twitter, planning my launch party details, writing some promotional posts for my publisher, sending my toddler off to preschool, signing her up for dance class, and of course, still working on edits for book 2. The final deadline is looming and I’m working to make sure it’s a worth follow up to DMT!

2. What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?

Like most writers, I think the impetus to actually sitting down and starting was just a really, really enticing idea. What made me keep writing was just pure grit. And the constant cheerleading of my younger sister, who was my first reader, and her constant texts to write the next chapter NOW.

3. What is the one thing you must do while writing?

I must have at least a few free hours to spare. It usually takes me a while to get into my character’s heads after a break, and once I find my groove I completely loose track of time and where I am. I have a hard time writing during just a few minutes’ break, unless I’ve just randomly brainstormed a great line or passage. Likewise, it’s really hard for me to write in public because I’m paranoid about people reading over my shoulder, lol. Plus I have a tendency to speak some lines outloud without realizing it, so yeah, awkward!

Follow Heather: Blog * Twitter * Instagram * Tumblr


Until the next adventure!

Pre-Pub Adventure: July

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

Every month we follow authors on their publishing adventure. Have you ever wondered how authors prepare for a book release or what they are working on while also getting ready to publish a new book? How do they multitask? What is publishing like? Find out on Pre-Pub Adventure as we follow authors to publishing their books.

Please welcome authors Liara Tamani and Heather Kaczynski!


Liara Tamani

      

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

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

Here’s a longer bio with more details about my background.  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16294201.Liara_Tamani

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

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

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

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

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

Follow Liara on her blog * Instagram * Twitter * Facebook


Heather Kaczynski

    

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. What is your writing quirk? 

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

Follow Heather: Blog * Twitter * Instagram * Tumblr


Nic Stone

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow Nic: Twitter * Instagram * YouTube


 

Amanda Foody

pre-pub-3

 

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

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

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

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

3. What secret talents do you have?

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

Follow Amanda: Twitter * Tumblr * Pinterest * Instagram


S.F. Henson

1. How has your July been treating you?

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

2. What does your writing process look like?

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

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

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

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


Until the next adventure!

Pre-Pub Adventure: June

Today we are excited to have a new author joining us for Pre-Pub Adventure and another authors who has her book out in the world!

Every third Friday of the 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 welcome S. A. Chakraborty!

S. A. Chakraborty

 

 

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

Thanks for the welcome, and thanks for having me! I have my official bio over here but in short, I’m the author of The City of Brass, a historical fantasy coming out this November from Harper Voyager. It’s my debut novel – and the first book I ever wrote! I got into writing fiction through my interest in history – it seemed a good way to put to use all the hours I spent pouring over manuscripts in Cairo and DC. I’m from the Jersey shore originally…

(yes, I know: I’ve heard all the jokes), and while I’m still proud to call it home, I’ve been living in New York for about ten years where I’ve found an excellent writing family in the Brooklyn Speculative Fiction Writers. I have a toddler who keeps me on my toes, a husband whose brain I unabashedly pick for all the medical elements in my work, and three deeply lazy cats. In the little spare time I can cobble together, I like to run and read. Besides science fiction and fantasy, I have a soft spot for historical fiction; my favorite authors are Naguib Mahfouz and Amitav Ghosh.

2. Tell us about your book? How did you come up with The City Of Brass? The cover is gorgeous by the way!

Thank you! I was literally speechless when I first saw the cover!

The City of Brass is a historical fantasy that takes place in the 18th century about an Egyptian con artist who gets a bit more than she bargained for when one of her schemes ends up dragging her into a brewing magical war. It actually started not as a novel, but as sort of a passion project/exercise in world-building that I never intended to show a soul! I’m a big history buff and with The City of Brass I wanted to recreate some of the stunning worlds I’d read about while also exploring traditional beliefs about djinn. A bit contrary to Western lore, djinn are said to be intelligent beings similar to humans, created from smokeless fire and living unseen in our midst—a fascinating, albeit slightly frightening concept, this idea of creatures living silently among us, dispassionately watching the rise and fall of our various civilizations.

It’s also a concept that offers a great opportunity to imagine how djinn might have built their world, mimicking the ways of their human neighbors. So in The City of Brass, there’s a djinn version of Baghdad’s great library, filled with the ancient books humans have lost alongside powerful texts of magic; they battle with weapons from Achaemenid Persia (enhanced by fire of course); the medical traditions of famed scholars like Ibn Sina have been adapted to treat magical maladies; dancers conjure flowers while singing Mughal love songs; a court system based on the Zanzibar Sultanate deals justice to merchants who bewitch their competitors… not to mention a cityscape featuring everything from ziggurats and pyramids to minarets and stupas. I also pushed a little further with the idea of the unseen, imagining a world of enchanted creatures created from other elements passing through ours: marid raising rivers into great serpents, peris whipping the air into tornados, djinn conjuring maps of smoke and racing birds of fire. And then, of course, there’s scheming con artists, irritatingly handsome ancient warriors, and rebellious princes to round things out!

3. What is your writing quirk?

I’ve heard enough other authors confess to this to know I’m not alone, but I love writing to soundtracks. And not just any soundtracks, but the ridiculously over-the-top music for things like Pirates of Caribbean and Game of Thrones. And then, like, the orchestral re-mix version to make it even more epic. It just sets the mood!

Follow S. A. : Twitter * Blog


Congrats to Kayla for the release of The Sandcastle Empire!

Kayla Olson

kayla      pre-pub-4

 

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

It’s been so exciting to have The Sandcastle Empire out in the world—people have been so wonderfully supportive, friends and strangers alike, and it’s been fun seeing everyone’s reactions. I was on deadline for my second book at the same time my debut hit shelves, and while it was emotionally/physically taxing to flip between YAY DEBUT and ACK, MUST REVISE, it was incredibly encouraging to receive so many messages from friends and family who’d already finished the book and were ready for another one.

2. How has your book tour been going?

The book tour has been so much fun!! We sold out of books at both BookPeople in Austin *and* Brazos Bookstore in Houston, and had an amazing turnout at every single stop—it’s been so excellent to connect with family and friends, and to meet new readers. I also had the opportunity to participate in a teen day + author panel at the South Irving Library, which was really fun; not only did I get to hang out with five other brilliant, talented authors, but the reader turnout was fantastic! The library staff was wonderful, too, and made these GIANT stand-up posters of all our book covers. It was pretty amazing.

3. What’s next for you?

I just turned in my second book to my editor, so right now I’m taking a few weeks just to read and rest and brainstorm some other projects I’ve had in mind for a while! Hopefully I’ll get to share more details about that second book soon…! 🙂
Follow Kayla: Twitter * Instagram * Tumblr * Blog

Nic Stone

     

1. You just recently went to Bookcon and Book Expo in May, how was it? 

Oh man. It was like my own personal version of heaven. Books and people everywhere! I met SOME of my heroes/heroines (like as in more than three of them), did lots of fun author-y things like sign books and read aloud and sit on/moderate panels, went to fancy dinners and a fun party, spent some quality time with friends over food… it was incredible! Can’t wait to do it again one day (hopefully, lol!).

2. What’s it like going as an author and signing your book?

Surreal, I think would be the best word. I’m still blown away by the fact that I HAVE a book, so the fact that people are willing to stand in a line and wait for me to sign it was unreal. By the end of the second signing (I had THREE. What is even happening??) I’d perfected what I put in the book, so now I’m ready for the next round. **cracks knuckles**

3 .What was your favorite part?

Definitely the meeting-new-friends-and-connecting-with-people-I-only-knew-online part. Like I got to meet some of my favorite bloggers (Like CJ @sarcasmlemons, and Joey @afterthoughtAn, and Shelly @shellysrambles, and Mishma @chasingfaes, and Vee @findmereading–those are their Twitter handles and you should follow them all), some fellow debuts (Stephanie Garber, Chelsea Sedoti, Jeff Giles, Karina Yan Glasser, Jake Burt, as well as some 2018 debuts like Samira Ahmed), and some cool agents and editors (like Matt Ringler from Scholastic. Follow him [@doesntmattr] on Twitter, too. He’s hilarious!).

Follow Nic: Twitter * Instagram * YouTube


S.F. Henson

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

Editing, editing, editing. Pretty sure this was my response last month too! I’m working hard to make sure this book is the best it possibly can be, though. And I can see the finish line! I’m soooo close.  Then I can start planning my launch party!
2. What book do you wish you could have written?
This is a tough one because there are SO many. My first impulse is to say Harry Potter (I mean, who doesn’t wish they could’ve written HP??) but if I’m being honest, I wish I’d written A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle. It’s the first book I remember reading as a kid that I couldn’t get enough of. The way L’Engle crammed so many world-building and characterization details into such a small space, gahh. I envy that so hard.
3. What are you working on now?
Well, technically still my debut, but I have a WIP drumming its fingertips impatiently. It’s about a girl who travels across the world to find her missing brother. There’s complicated family relationships, mental illness, a forest fully of mysteries, and coming to terms with the things that hold you back and push you forward. I can’t wait to dive back in.

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Amanda Foody

pre-pub-3    
1. You just recently went to Bookcon and Book Expo, how was it? 
BookExpo and BookCon were amazing! Since I got some of my start in blogging, I’ve been waiting to attend for years, but college and conflicts always got in the way. I was able to connect with so many friends from Twitter, and I came home with several bags full of ARCs! Absolutely magical!
2. What’s it like going as an author and signing your own book?
It was definitely surreal. My signings were in the morning, so when I first arrived at BookExpo, I was dumbfounded to see the line circling around the Harlequin TEEN booth for DAUGHTER. We were out of tickets almost immediately, and we had no copies to spare! I cannot being to describe how much I appreciate that enthusiasm and support. I spent my afternoons waiting in signing lines for other authors, so I feel like I got to attend as both author and reader.
3. What was the most memorable moment there?
Probably meeting and introducing myself to some of my favorite authors. I almost collapsed several times when a few of them had already heard of me and DAUGHTER. So many of these authors are ones who I loved as a teenager, who are still huge names in YA, and it would be so fun to tell my 17yo self that in a few years, my favorite author would know who I am because I’m also an author. I pinched myself several times.

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