Pre-Pub Adventure: February

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

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Every 3rd Wed of the month we follow authors on their publishing adventure. Have you ever wonder how authors prepare for a book release or what they are working on while also getting ready to publish a new book? How do they multitask? Find out on Pre-Pub Adventure as we follow authors to publishing their books.

Let’s check on our authors to see what they have been up too!


Nic Stone

egoo5qze_400x400           marting

 1. Dear Martin’s cover had just recently been revealed and it’s gorgeous! Did you have any say on what the cover would look like?

Eek! Thanks! I had quite a bit of say: the image of the boy was taken by my husband in our living room! The concept wasn’t mine (though I loved it), and the designer went through a couple of iterations before deciding to put an actual human on the cover, but once that decision was made, I chose the model, and my photographer husband took the images. I even got to pick the exact photo they used. (This is a DREAM scenario, by the way.)

2 . Dear Martin is receiving fabulous reviews! How does it feel that readers are loving your book?

I’ll be honest: I haven’t read literally any reviews. I’m… not ready. Lol! Lovely to hear people are loving it though!

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3. What are you currently reading?

Lots of Middle Grade! Right now it’s The Girl Who Drank The Moon by Kelly Barnhill (this year’s Newberry winner) and Bloomability by Sharon Creech. I’m in edits on my 2018 release, so I have to read stuff that isn’t YA contemporary.

Follow Nic: Twitter * Instagram * YouTube

Kayla Olson

kayla      pre-pub-4

The Sandcastle Empire is almost 4 months away from being published, what are you doing to get ready for it?

It’s *less* than 4 months away, at this point—how is that even possible?! Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the events I want to do when the book comes out—my launch party, for example, in addition to some details-still-to-be-determined events at a handful of bookstores around Texas, at the very least! I also just placed an order for a limited batch of special TSE-related items, since I have some fun giveaways coming up over the next few months. (Watch my Twitter/Instagram for info about those!) Speaking of Instagram, I’ve been really loving it lately—I did the #igauthorlifejan challenge last month, and for February, I’m participating in #authorlifemonth; it’s been really fun to post on a daily basis, and to get to know other authors through those hashtags. I’m @authorkaylaolson there, if we’re not already connected!

Eden has only 3 possessions to her name, what would you have if you were stranded on an island? 

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Oh, man. Great (but difficult!) question! The practical side of me wants to say obvious survival-y things like a knife, some flint for starting fire, and a water bottle like Eden has in the book (it has a special desalinating/sanitizing filter built right in)! I’d also wish for my family, but if I’m stranded there, I’m guessing that means I’d have to be alone? Let’s see. For now, I’ll go the comforts-I’d-miss-terribly route: the hair products that keep my curls from freaking out; a giant stockpile of dark chocolate (chocolate that is also somehow melt-proof, since it might be hot and sunny on said island); and…a crate loaded up with my French press/lots of coffee/a pot to boil water in/my favorite mug, a glass one with gold sparkles on it. (How tragic would it be to have all the stuff to make coffee, but not a mug to drink it in, now that I’m thinking about it? I’d have to, like, repurpose a giant shell, or something. I would not be above that.)

What are you reading? 

I’m reading Carlie Sorosiak’s next book, which won’t be out until next year—it’s fantastic so far, though, which is utterly unsurprising. Carlie’s debut IF BIRDS FLY BACK comes out in June, a few weeks after mine, and is still one of my favorites out of all the 2017 debuts I’ve read so far!

Follow Kayla: Twitter * Instagram * Tumblr * Blog


J.C. Welker

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1. What have you been working on this month?

Going through copy edits for THE WISHING HEART while in between working on finishing drafting my WIP. Then I will sleep for a month. Well, until May when TWH releases!

2. What are you currently reading?

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Just finished OF FIRE & STARS and I’m so appreciative of having more YA fantasy with queer rep to choose from. That HAVE happy endings.

3. What is your greatest wish for The Wishing Heart when it reaches readers hands?

This story is very special to me on so many levels. In it’s simplest form it is about an unloved girl looking for it through wishes. It is a reflection of my own experiences growing up, at a time where I felt invisible, depressed, hiding who I was, and going through a period of feeling unloved, where I looked to stories to fill that hole. So my greatest wish is that THE WISHING HEART will reach the hearts who need it. Stories can be healing. They are for me, including writing this one. And if I had a book like TWH back then it might have made life more bearable, reassuring me that I mattered.

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There are so many marginalized writers and my hope is that more of us are given the opportunity to tell our stories, and reach those who need them. Because diverse stories aren’t a fad, and WE aren’t going anywhere.

Follow J.C.: Twitter * Facebook * Tumblr * Instagram


Abby Reed

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1. What have you been working on?

The last week and a half, I’ve been working on edits on a novella for the series. I got comments back from a beta reader and am fixing things. I’m hoping to send it to another beta reader by the end of the week. I’ve also been dealing with real life–I got to visit two of my best friends for a long weekend. And one of my puppies sprained her leg. Which means I have to constantly monitor her to make sure she’s not making it worse. It’s harder and more time consuming than you’d think!

Since I don’t have a deadline on my back right now, I’ve also been trying to prioritize taking care of my body by sleeping more when I need it, taking baths, going to yoga classes, not aggravating migraines. Trying to let myself heal and recover from December’s whirlwind 🙂

When Planets Fall comes out in April, that’s almost here! What have you been doing to prepare for the release? 

 

Here’s the bad news: I found out the print release got pushed back until May. *enter the saddest emoji possible* Which is a huge bummer but also part of publishing you can’t control.
On the positive side–having a later release date gives me more time to market. So it works out 🙂

In the meantime, I’ve been marketing, marketing, and more marketing. I’ve made bookmarks, postcards, ordered tea and other sundries, put together giveaway packs, pre-order prizes, and been organizing a tea tour! I found out I might be speaking at two other events this year. I’ve been coordinating and brainstorming for that.

3. What are you currently reading?

spy     glitter  green

 

I’ve been researching a little for this novella by turning to some of my favorite YA sci-fi reads. But I’ve also been on an epic fantasy kick. I read 4 Robin Hobb novels in the last month as well as 2-3 of Brandon Sanderson’s. I’ve read Spy Ski School by Stuart Gibbs and Glitter and An Abundance of Katherines. I also finally buckled down to read Ursula’s Le Guin’s book on writing and The Story Genius.

 

Follow Abby: Twitter * Facebook * Pinterest * Instagram

Amanda Foody

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1. Daughter of the Burning City has a new release date of July 25th! How does that feel to have it being released sooner?

 

It feels pretty good! I was pleasantly surprised when my publisher emailed me, as the date is now extremely close to my birthday. I’ll get to celebrate an extra lot in one week! Plus, the date is weirdly close to the exact time frame when Daughter takes place–high and late summer.

 

2. Are you doing anything special to prepare for it?
Yes! The past few weeks have been full of talk about the cover reveal, giveaways, advanced reader copies, events, the launch party, a tour, and more. Nothing is set yet. For all I know, the ARCs could arrive or the cover could launch before this post is published! It’s a whirlwind, really. All I have for certain on my calendar is Children’s Institute in early April and BEA at the end of May.

 

3. What are you currently reading?

 

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I’m currently in the midst of editing my second YA fantasy novel, Ace of Shades, as well as working on its sequel and several other projects, so I haven’t had much time for reading his month! However, I am treating myself to The Little Book of Hygge, which is all about tips on achieving Danish-style happiness, like investing in good lighting and creating cozy, positive spaces. I read a little before bed each night and feel empowered the next day to browse Pinterest for inspiration on candles and lighting fixtures.

Follow Amanda: Twitter * Tumblr * Pinterest * Instagram


Rosalyn Eves

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1. You have 1 more month until Blood Rose Rebellion releases! How are you preparing for it?

 I’m currently scheduling launch parties (yes, plural!) for the week my book comes out, sending out pre-order giveaways (http://www.rosalyneves.com/blood-rose-rebellion-preorders/), working on edits for book 2 and trying not to panic too much.

2. What are you currently reading?

 I’m currently reading Stacey Lee’s THE SECRET OF A HEART NOTE, which is a lovely contemporary departure from her previous historical fiction. I just finished Jared Reck’s A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, which comes out this fall from Knopf, and made me cry and laugh–a rare combination.

3. You’re a #Pitchwars mentor, any advice for newbie writers out there?
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Oh, this is a good question! I think persistence is a big one (in writing and in life). Writing can be hard, and often we have little control over things that matter a lot to us–whether or not an agent likes our work, whether a publisher loves it enough to pick it up, whether the book finds readers, etc. But we can control the time we invest in the stories we tell. Success, however we define it, may not happen on our timeline, but it definitely will not happen if we don’t persist. Also, write because you love it! Because so much is out of your control, if you write for any other reason, you’ll find yourself disappointed. So write because you can’t not write, and savor the chance to put words on the page.

Follow Rosalyn: Twitter * Tumblr * Pinterest * Facebook


Katie Bayerl

pre-3         apsalmforlostgirlscover

1. You have 1 more month until A Psalm For Lost Girls comes out! How have you been preparing? 

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I’m keeping cool (mostly). I had a long wait to my pub date—the book sold back in April 2015—so got a lot of things out of the way early. (Have you heard of precrastinators? Those are the weirdos who get things done early because deadlines freak us out. I am one!)

These past couple of weeks, I’ve been able to focus on the fun stuff: pairing up with author/visual artist Dana Walrath to create a saint card with an original psalm (by me, of course). Everyone who preorders from my local indie will get a gorgeous limited-edition print. I’ll be announcing a giveaway soon too, so watch for details in Twitter and Instagram!

Also in the works: a whole bunch of readings, festivals, and writing workshops for teens. I’m excited to be teaming up with authors I adore (including Marianna BaerJulie Berry, and Jandy Nelson) for a couple of events… and to be leading teen workshops in communities close to my heart, including the mall where I had my first job and my old high school! It’s turning into quite the tour. (Here’s a sneak peek. I’ll be announcing the full list soon.)

2. How do you feel that it is so close for your book to be in readers hands?

Can I confess something really strange? It wasn’t until this past summer that it occurred to me that people other than my editor would be reading my book. I mean, I’ve been pursuing publication for a while. Getting a book deal with Putnam Books for Young Readers was groovy and all that, but…I somehow hadn’t made the leap to that fact that total strangers—and people I know!—would be meeting these characters I’d lived with so long. And that they’d get to read Psalm whenever they felt like it, without my permission. I basically had a melt down when that realization hit.

And then… I started to get love notes from members of my debut group, and sweet little tweets from bloggers and booksellers I’ve never met, and really nice reviews, including a star in Publishers Weekly! My dad cried when he read the final book. (My sister has the photo evidence.) Each of these moments chipped away at my fear. I started to realize that Callie and Tess had qualities—and struggles—other people could genuinely appreciate. And now? I’m feeling excited to send Psalm out into the world so that more readers can get to know the sweet, salty girls I love so much. They don’t even have to ask my permission!

3. What have you been currently reading?

I just finished two amazing debuts: American Street by Ibi Zoboi and Maud by Melanie Fishbane. The first is set in contemporary Detroit from the point of view of a newly arrived Haitian immigrant teen; the second is an historical novel based on the life of author Lucy Maud Montgomery, who came of age in Canada in the 1890s. Both of these books felt like home to me—I contain multitudes, ok?—and both are brilliantly written.

Follow Katie: Twitter * Facebook *


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See you for the next adventure!

Pre-Pub Adventure: January 2017

Today I am excited to introduce our new monthly post Pre-Pub Adventure!

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Every 3rd Wed of the month we will be following authors on their publishing adventure. Have you ever wonder how authors prepare for a book release or what they are working on while also getting ready to publish a new book? How do they multitask? Find out on Pre-Pub Adventure as we follow authors to publishing their books.

Today we check in with authors

Let’s welcome our authors on their Publishing adventure!

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egoo5qze_400x400       nic

1. Welcome Nic! Please tell us a little about yourself? 

Hiiii! You can read the boring stuff here or here, but to spice things up a bit, here are three fun facts:

1. One of my hidden talents? Balloon animals. No lie.
2. In high school, I was both head cheerleader, and the mascot: a very masculine blue devil. (Definitely almost got my ass kicked a few times because I had NO chill inside that costume. #GoBigBlue)
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3. My favorite food is bacon. But not just any bacon, no no. Black Forest smoked bacon SOLELY from the Whole Foods deli.
2. Tell us about your book? How did you come up with Dear Martin? 
DEAR MARTIN follows a 17-year-old African American kid who gets racially profiled one night, and decides he’s going to try and live according to Dr. King’s teachings and keep a journal of letters *to* Dr. King to record his experiences.
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I really wrote it an attempt to process the string of shooting deaths of unarmed black boys, the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, and the frequent misinterpretation of Dr. King’s teachings relative to both. I just wanted to get a better understanding of the structures and attitudes in this country that contributed to the deaths of these boys, and I wanted to know how Dr. King’s teachings would REALLY be applied in light of how they were applied/received (spoiler alert: MLK might be a hero to us in retrospect, but he was NOT adored by all during his time. Quite the opposite most of the time).

 

Follow Nic: Twitter * Instagram * YouTube
Add Dear Martin to Goodreads!  Check out Nic’s blog for more information on the book and news!

Kayla Olson

kayla                         pre-pub-4

1. Welcome Kayla! Please tell us a little about yourself?
coffee

 

Hi, and thanks for having me! Let’s see…so. Things I love: black coffee, the darkest chocolate, rainy days, Moleskine notebooks, the ocean, making lists and crossing things off, writing books, singing and playing piano + guitar, cats, as many serranos as the restaurant will bring me, Christopher Guest movies, breakfast tacos, the hike and bike trail in Austin, and—of course—my husband and our little guy. Things I don’t at all love: words misspelled on purpose, mayonnaise, bubble tea, aggressive drivers, haircuts, being in the car for too long. (I’ve definitely left things off of both these lists, I’m sure.) I started writing back in 2009 after working a series of customer service jobs and realizing I wasn’t creatively fulfilled—much more on that here, on my website, if you’re interested in the longer version of that story. There are also a lot of really random facts on that same website page, like how I once attempted to knit my cat a turtleneck sweater for Christmas.
2. Tell us about your book? How did you come up with The Sandcastle Empire?

 

THE SANDCASTLE EMPIRE—a near-future sci-fi thriller about a global war that erupts in the wake of environmental change—will be out June 6, 2017 from HarperTeen. When main character Eden escapes to the only neutral ground left in the world, Sanctuary Island, she quickly discovers the island might be deadlier than the world she left behind—but surviving it is the only thing that stands between her and freedom.
As for how I got the idea: it seems like “the idea hit me while taking a shower one night” might not be the most original of answers, but in this case…it’s true.
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 I was having a moment of missing LOST, the TV show, and simultaneously had a bit of a craving for the beach on Disney’s island, Castaway Cay, when I thought, Hey! What if I wrote a book set on an island? The ideas started bombarding me from there—What if I had four girls as main characters? What if they were searching for the island because they thought it would be a safe place, but it turned out to be just the opposite? I thumb-typed paragraphs of notes on my iPhone as soon as I hopped out of the shower—I still have that note saved on my phone, and think it’s sort of amazing that the initial seeds of that idea are still present in the final version that’ll hit shelves in June. I’d show you a screenshot, buuuut then I’d spoil the book. 😉

Follow Kayla: Twitter * Instagram * Tumblr * Blog

For more on THE SANDCASTLE EMPIRE, check out www.kaylaolson.com to find full jacket copy, pre-order links, contact info, film news, and details about where the book will be translated/published outside of the U.S.


J.C. Welkerjc        jc-2

1. Welcome J.C. Welker! Please tell us a little about yourself? 

Well to start I am a YA author who’s been, among other things, a fashion designer, a filmmaker and a kickboxer (seriously). A few of my short documentaries which focused on LGBTQ issues in the military have been featured on CURRENT TV, and my recent novel THE WISHING HEART won first place in the paranormal category of the 2016 YARWA Rosemary Awards. When I was growing I wasn’t surrounded by positive images of queer people, so to be able to write stories for other LGBTQ+ young adults and show them they deserve to be the heroes and deserve a happy ending is a dream come true.

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When not writing, I like to do archery or kickboxing. Because punching something helps me deal with everything happening in our country right now.

2. How did you come up with The Wishing Heart? 

I wanted to write a story about an unloved girl who was searching for it through wishes, and eventually it blossomed into THE WISHING HEART. It’s F/F Young Adult Fantasy that follows a seven-teen-year old thief wishing to fix her defective heart, who steals a vase containing an enslaved jinni. Lots of magical mobsters, girls kissing, and heists.

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And it will be debuting with Entangled Teen May 2017!  Goodreads

Follow J.C.: Twitter * Facebook * Tumblr * Instagram

Add The Wishing Heart to Goodreads! Check out J.C. blog for more information on the book and news!


Abby Reed

 

pre-2                 pre-pub4

1. Welcome Abby! Please tell us a little about yourself? 

Hi everyone! I’m Abby. My YA sci-fi debut novel, WHEN PLANETS FALL, is coming out April 12th. *enter obnoxious squeal and soundtrack music*
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Let’s see…what else about me…

I have Chronic Migraine, which is a neurological and brain disorder and can be really disabling. I love to paint. I started in watercolor, but have slowly transitioned to working mostly in mixed media. I’m 26 and have an unhealthy obsession for tea (loose leaf) and popcorn (sea salt, lightly salted).

I have a husband and two dogs. One is a fluffy Irishdoodle and basically sleeps at my while I’m working, so he often wakes up with paint in his fur. The other is a goldendoodle who is obsessed with bringing in the largest stick she can find. The last, my husband, ha, is pretty studly and my college souvenir 🙂

Random fun fact: Growing up, I used to get so nauseous whenever I saw the color orange. I literally could not look at anything orange without almost puking for about 3 years. Now it’s one of my favorite colors!

2. Here’s the official synopsis for it:
Breaker’s home is cleaved by blood. The three tribes on the planet Scarlatti, whose only difference is their blood color, each want to exploit Breaker’s valley for themselves. The feudal tension has already claimed red-blood Breaker’s leg and his older brother. Now all this 18-year old wants is to maintain the tenuous peace in order to keep his little ‘stroid of a brother alive. Malani, a red-blood raised blue, is a kidnapped POW and only wants to return to her adoptive home with her dangerous blue secrets. Luka, a red-blood stewing for trouble, wants to right wrongs done to his family and bath his home in justice.

All three intersect when Breaker discovers a wrecked starship and is given seven days by the green-bloods to fix and hand it over as a weapon. Breaker must decide if aiding his enemies is worth the home he knows and his family’s life. War is coming. And war respects no boundaries. And war leaves no survivors.

It’s about brothers/siblinghood, home, and sacrifice. Maybe a touch of romance 🙂

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I actually melded a couple ideas I had. One was a camp I attended in high school. The theme was around the idea of being “strangers in a strange land.” I’m pretty sure it’s from the Old Testament, though I’m not sure where. In college, I had to write a short story for school. I came back to this idea and wrote a 10 page story from it. Then, after querying a different novel that didn’t go anywhere, this short story kept coming back to mind. I played with it and it grew into WHEN PLANETS FALL.

I actually wrote a blog post about it here! (included some embarrassing photos of myself at that camp!)

Breaker’s amputation (and Luka’s migraines) were originally inspired by my own experiences with Chronic Migraine. I wanted characters that had to deal with body limitations to reach their goals, like I do everyday. The ending…let’s just say there’s a twist that was also inspired by my experiences with CM 😉

Follow Abby: TwitterFacebook * Pinterest * Instagram

Add When Planets Fall on Goodreads! Check out Abby’s blog for more information on the book and news!


Amanda Foody

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1. Welcome Amanda! Please tell us a little about yourself? 
Of course! Thanks for following me in my Pre-Pub Adventure! I’m 22, living that post-grad life of getting my accounting masters and beginning a career while also spending my free time writing books. As both total geek and total girly-girl, I could spend an entire day talking about my favorite anime ships and then the next discussing the pros and cons of liquid lipstick. I currently live in Philadelphia.
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2. How did you come up with Daughter of the Burning City? 
I took a Writing Children’s Literature class my sophomore year of college. At the time, I was working on ACE OF SHADES with my agent (now my second novel), so when I wrote a chapter of DAUGHTER for the YA assignment in my class, I was too busy to return to it immediately afterwards. About a year later, I picked it back up and figured out what happened after that first chapter.
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The idea itself…I’m not positive. I get a lot of my ideas from simply free-writing. I write some sentence, then another, then another. Eventually, I have a feel for what might become a full story. DAUGHTER was sort of spontaneous in that way. I was never setting out to write a murder mystery or a carnival book, but it just kind of happened. The first several pages are still nearly identical to the ones I submitted for class, several years later. The heart of the story has never changed.
Follow Amanda: Twitter * Tumblr * Pinterest * Instagram
Add Daughter of the Burning City to Goodreads! Check out Amanda’s blog for more information on the book and news.

Rosalyn Eves

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1. Welcome Rosalyn! Please tell us a little about yourself? 
It’s funny how I can write a 100k word story, no problem, but ask me to talk about myself and suddenly I struggle to find words . . . I’ve always been a big reader and I’ve wanted to be a writer since a fifth grade teacher in Montana told me I might be good at it. But it’s taken me a long time to get to this point–I had a few detours: graduate school (I studied English), then starting a family. I’m married to a chemistry professor, and we have three kids. We live in Southern Utah, surrounded by some pretty spectacular mountains. When I’m not writing or parenting, I teach composition classes at the local university. As for hobbies, I don’t have nearly as much time for those as I’d like, but I love drawing, watching period movies, hiking, and bird-watching (something that comes out in Blood Rose Rebellion in Anna’s fascination with birds).
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2. Tell us about your book? How did you come up with Blood Rose Rebellion? 

BRR is a historical fantasy–basically, mid 19th century Europe with magic. The slightly longer version is that it’s the story of a girl without magic who’s born into a society where magic defines the powerful bloodlines, making her an outcast. But while she can’t cast spells, she can break them–and a broken spell at her sister’s debut leads her to Hungary (where her mother’s family is from), where she begins to learn that her world’s magic isn’t what she thought it was and has to make a difficult choice: cling to the society she’s always wanted to join, or break a spell, trigger a revolution, and change her world’s magic.

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The main idea came when I was playing with the idea of a chosen one. We’ve seen lots of stories about someone who is unusually gifted in their world’s magic–I wanted to know what would happen to someone who wasn’t powerful in typical ways. Once I had that basic idea, I tried to find a setting for it. I lived in Hungary for a year or so in my twenties and fell in love with the country, the culture, and the language, and I wanted to return to it in a story. I’d already thought of the story as a Victorian-era one, so once I knew the location, it made sense to weave the story around the tumultuous 1848 Hungarian revolution (though I cheated a little and moved the revolution forward to the end of 1847 for story reasons).
Follow Rosalyn: Twitter * Tumblr * Pinterest * Facebook
Add Blood Rose Rebellion to Goodreads! Check out Rosalyn’s blog for more information on the book and news!

Katie Bayerl

pre-3         apsalmforlostgirlscover
1. Welcome Katie! Please tell us a little about yourself? 

I fell in love with books before I can remember and with teaching when I was just a teen. The writing books for teens part came a bit later. I jumped right in and haven’t looked back. These days when I’m not penning my own stories, I coach teens and nonprofits to tell theirs. In my free time (ha! what’s that?), I’m an explorer. I’ve been to six out of seven continents and I can just as easily get caught up in an adventure in my own city or kitchen. Like most writers, I get obsessively interested in things. Some of those interests–history, politics, social justice, art–are fairly normal. Others–saints, old-school music, murder–are a little more strange.

2. tell us about your book? How did you come up with A Psalm for Lost Girls?

A PSALM FOR LOST GIRLS centers on an abduction that forever alters the fates of three girls–one who’s been missing, one who is grieving, and one who is dead and rumored to be a saint. You can read a far better description from my publisher here, but at the core of the novel are two sisters: Tess, who struggles to understand a mysterious voice and her community’s belief that she is their savior, and younger sister Callie, who is determined to prove that Tess was far more than a saint–she was her best friend and a real girl.

The first seed for this story was planted during a trip to Portugal. I dragged myself away from Lisbon one afternoon on a bus headed to the Basilica of Our Lady Fátima. This little pilgrimage made no sense—I was no longer a practicing Catholic, and Lisbon is heaven (the music! the food!)—but a friend had sent me an article about the soon-to-be-beatified Lúcia dos Santos and the story triggered something in me. Sister Lúcia was the last surviving child saint of Fátima; in 1917, she and her two cousins saw apparitions of the Virgin Mary. Both cousins passed away quite young, leaving Lúcia to carry their story. She joined a convent as a young woman and remained a nun until her death at age 95.

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I couldn’t stop asking myself what it would be like to be in her position, on track to sainthood at such a young age. What if, at age 16, she had a change of heart? What if all she wanted to live a normal life, make mistakes, fall in love, be a regular girl?

So many stories begin with that type of “what if” question—one that moves us from real events to imagination. In this case, the question spoke to something personal. You see, I was a labeled academically gifted at a very young age, and that became my main identifier. It was a label that weighed heavy at times and one I struggled to live up to at others. Sometimes, it felt like that was all I was. But, of course, no person can ever be reduced to one thing. I think that’s why Lúcia dos Santos’ story evoked something in me, something that gave birth to a fictional girl named Tess (still Portuguese, but struggling with the burden of sainthood in present-day Massachusetts). Here was a girl who would be forever remembered for her piety, but what if there was more to her than that? There was a lot in that question that I felt compelled to explore.

Follow Katie: Twitter * Facebook *

Add A Psalm for Lost Girls on Goodreads! Check out Katie’s blog for more information on the book and news!