Saturday, October 25, 2014

0 Karen Akins, author of Loop, on writing during nap time

What is your favorite thing about LOOP?

LOOP is about a twenty-third century time traveler named Bree who meets a boy from the past who is already in love with her future self and is keeping his own set of secrets. One of the things I love most about the story is that Finn (the boy) refuses to give up on Bree even when she's almost at the point of giving up on herself. He loves her even when she's unloveable, and that makes it a very hopeful story.

What was your inspiration for writing this book?

I fell asleep while watching my husband play a video game that had all sorts of grappling hooks and explosions. It triggered a vivid, fun, action-filled dream, and right before I woke up, I dreamt the twist that this guy fell in love with a time-traveler's future self. I grabbed a notebook and started scribbling ideas. It was the first time that I'd ever thought, "This could be the one."

How long did you work on the book?

I started writing it in 2010, and approved my first pass pages just a few months ago so...a long time. I wasn't working strictly on LOOP that entire time, though. I was also writing and revising TWIST, its sequel.

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

Before I had my second child, I would write while my older son was in preschool, usually at a coffee shop or the library. Now that I have two (one of whom is a toddler), I squeeze in writing during naps and after they go to bed. I'm also blessed to have a very supportive husband, so I'm able to get away from the house when I'm on a pressing deadline.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

I know everyone says it, but KEEP WRITING. One of my favorite writing quotes is from C.S. Lewis: 

"What you want is practice, practice, practice. It doesn’t matter what we write (at least this is my view) at our age, so long as we write continually as well as we can. I feel that every time I write a page either of prose or of verse, with real effort, even if it’s thrown into the fire the next minute, I am so much further on."

ABOUT THE BOOK


Loop
by Karen Akins
Hardcover
St. Martin's Griffin
Released 10/21/2014

At a school where Quantum Paradox 101 is a required course and history field trips are literal, sixteen year-old time traveler Bree Bennis excels…at screwing up.

After Bree botches a solo midterm to the 21st century by accidentally taking a boy hostage (a teensy snafu), she stands to lose her scholarship. But when Bree sneaks back to talk the kid into keeping his yap shut, she doesn’t go back far enough. The boy, Finn, now three years older and hot as a solar flare, is convinced he’s in love with Bree, or rather, a future version of her that doesn’t think he’s a complete pain in the arse. To make matters worse, she inadvertently transports him back to the 23rd century with her.

Once home, Bree discovers that a recent rash of accidents at her school are anything but accidental. Someone is attacking time travelers. As Bree and her temporal tagalong uncover seemingly unconnected clues—a broken bracelet, a missing data file, the art heist of the millennium—that lead to the person responsible, she alone has the knowledge to piece the puzzle together. Knowledge only one other person has. Her future self.

But when those closest to her become the next victims, Bree realizes the attacker is willing to do anything to stop her. In the past, present, or future.


Purchase Loop at Amazon
Purchase Loop at IndieBound
View Loop on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karen Akins lives in the MidSouth where she writes humorous, light YA sci-fi. When not writing or reading, she loves lightsaber dueling with her two sons and forcing her husband to watch BBC shows with her.

Karen has been many things in her life: an archery instructor, drummer for the shortest-lived garage band in history, and a shockingly bad tic-tac-toe player.

0 Cinda Chima, author of THE SORCERER HEIR, on learning how to write a novel

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about THE SORCERER HEIR?

The Sorcerer Heir is the final novel in a series of five contemporary fantasies revolving around five magical guilds: Warriors, Wizards, Seers, Enchanters, and Sorcerers. In this novel I was able to clear up the trouble I made for my characters in The Sorcerer Heir as well as giving two deserving minor characters some major stage time. I also got to change up the magical system a little. An appropriate tagline for these last two installments would be: This is what happens when magic goes mutant.

What was your inspiration for writing THE SORCERER HEIR?
1. The prospect of having to give my advance back. 

2. The opportunity to bring closure to a number of characters that readers had bonded with. There's also a strong musical element in these stories: the characters are all magical misfits who formed a band and that pretty much describes my teen life.

What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?
  
Somebody once said that you never learn how to write a novel until it's finished. And then it starts all over with the next one. There's truth in that--it's not like once you get the hang of this thing it's easy. But what you do have is the memory of succeeding at it before. And that's very encouraging.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
  
Writing well is the very best thing you can do to promote your novel. I see too many writers attending sessions on writing a query letter or pitching agents before they have a project completed. Trying to shop a bad book is like trying to roll a boulder uphill--it's a lot of work with very little return. The Sorcerer Heir is my ninth published novel, and I am still learning how to write. 

What are you working on now?
  
I've signed on to write four more fantasy novels set in the Seven Realms, my high fantasy world. I'm revising the first of those, scheduled for release in spring, 2016.

Other resources: I have tips and FAQs for writers on my website at www.cindachima.com; I'm on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CindaWilliamsChima and on Twitter @cindachima


ABOUT THE BOOK


The Sorcerer Heir
by Cinda Williams Chima
Hardcover
Disney-Hyperion
Released 10/21/2014

The delicate peace between Wizards and the underguilds (Warriors, Seers, Enchanters, and Sorcerers) still holds by the thinnest of threads, but powerful forces inside and outside the guilds threaten to sever it completely.

Emma and Jonah are at the center of it all. Brought together by their shared history, mutual attraction, and a belief in the magic of music, they now stand to be torn apart by new wounds and old betrayals. As they struggle to rebuild their trust in each other, Emma and Jonah must also find a way to clear their names as the prime suspects in a series of vicious murders. It seems more and more likely that the answers they need lie buried in the tragedies of the past. The question is whether they can survive long enough to unearth them.

Old friends and foes return as new threats arise in this stunning and revelatory conclusion to the beloved and bestselling Heir Chronicles series.


Praise for The Heir Chronicles:
The Warrior Heir

*"Chima offers a pitch-perfect blend of high fantasy and small-town reality..." -The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)

* "Twists and turns abound in this remarkable, nearly flawless debut novel that mixes a young man's coming-of-age with fantasy and adventure." -VOYA (starred review)


The Wizard Heir

* "Chima uses her pen like a wand and crafts a wonderfully rich web of magic, while thankfully leaving some dangling threads for subsequent tales." -VOYA (starred review)

"Chima is a talented storyteller...a strong choice for teens seeking a rousing read." -The Cleveland Plain-Dealer


The Dragon Heir

* "A superlative accomplishment." -Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Chima spins a finely structured tale that roars to a satisfying conclusion." -School Library Journal


The Enchanter Heir

* "A smoldering story soaked in tears, sweat and blood, constantly threatening to blaze into an inferno. Spellbinding." -Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Chima continues to excel at building tension and populating her well-told tales with new and returning characters we want to know better." -Booklist

Purchase The Sorcerer Heir at Amazon
Purchase The Sorcerer Heir at IndieBound
View The Sorcerer Heir on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


New York Times bestselling author Cinda Williams Chima comes from a long line of fortune-tellers, musicians and spinners of tales. She began writing romance novels in middle school, which were often confiscated by her teachers.

The Warrior Heir was named to Voya’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2005-2006, is a 2006 Booksense Summer Reading Pick, was named to the 2007-2008 Lone Star Reading List, and was a finalist for the 2006 Great Lakes Book Award. Warrior Heir received a starred review in the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books and a “Perfect Ten” (5Q, 5P) in Voya. The Wizard Heir also received a “Perfect Ten” from Voya and appears on Voya's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2007. The Dragon Heir received a starred review in Kirkus, was named to Kirkus's Best YA 2008 list, was a VOYA Perfect Ten, and is a USA Today, Indie Next, and NYT bestseller.

Chima's Seven Realms series launched with The Demon King in October, 2009.It received a starred review in the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, was a Voya Perfect Ten and was named to the 2009 Voya Best Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror List. The Exiled Queen followed in September, 2010. It received a starred review from Kirkus, was a Voya Perfect Ten, and a New York Times bestseller. The Gray Wolf Throne follows in September, 2011.

Chima is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University and the University of Akron. Chima is an active member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. She has been a workshop leader, panelist, and speaker at writing conferences, including the Northern Ohio SCBWI Conference, the Western Reserve Writers’ Conference, and the World Fantasy Convention. She frequently speaks to young writers and readers at schools and libraries nationwide.

Chima lives in Ohio with her family, and is always working on her next novel.

Friday, October 24, 2014

4 Craft of Writing: World Building Tips by Erin Cashman

Today we have our very own First Five Pages Workshop Coordinator, Erin Cashman! Erin's novel, THE EXCEPTIONALS, is a YA fantasy that was named a Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book.

 WORLD BUILDING TIPS by Erin Cashman


Recently, someone commented to me that writing fantasy must be easy, since I can just make up what I need to fit my plot. I wish! As Lloyd Alexander said, “Once committed to his imaginary kingdom, the writer is not a monarch but a subject”. I think world building is both the hardest and the most wonderful part of writing a fantasy novel. Here are some of the techniques that help me:

1. Give your imagination free reign!
Do not edit your thoughts or ideas. During brainstorming sessions let your imagination soar. Take chances and risks while you write – try outlandish ideas. Editing comes later. Fantasy, is by its nature, a leap of faith, suspended belief, so – dream big. Write big.

2. Description and Parameters of the World
What is the nature of the magic? Who has it and who doesn’t? What are the rules? What are the consequences of breaking the rules? What does it cost? What does the world look like? Beware the dreaded info-dump, however. No one walks down the street and thinks about the color of the buildings, the thickness of the sidewalk – nor should your character think about the blue floating bridge that connects two purple fluffy clouds. The details of the world need to be woven in artfully and naturally – in revision after revision after revision.

3. Important Objects/Mechanics
For example, in Lord of the Rings, there is the one ring and the lesser rings, the Wizard’s staffs, etc. Harry Potter has many as well: the sorcerer’s stone, the sorting hat, the Sword of Gryffindor, etc. If you have these objects, try to have them serve another purpose besides a plot device. Rae Carson does an excellent job of this in The Girl of Fire and Thorns. The Godstone is crucial to the plot, it connects history to the present and informs the reader about the people. These objects should not be a crutch, but should add richness to the novel.
source: harrypotter.wikia.com 


4. Power/Abuse of Power
Who has power? Who wants power? In a fantasy world a central conflict often arises from the control, or the use and abuse of the magic. Why should magic be protected? Why would someone want to exploit it? Try to weave in good, evil and murky gray reasons and purposes for using/controlling/monopolizing the magic, and strong motivation.

5. Government
Who is in charge of the fantasy world? What is their goal? Can those in power be believed and trusted?

6. History of The World
The history of my world often takes shape as my draft takes shape (I wish I was a plotter, but alas, I am a pantser). It comes to life through revision . . . after revision . . . after revision . . . you get the idea. I always draw (draw is a very grandiose word for what I do – it is more like scribble) a map. For The Exceptionals, a contemporary fantasy, I drew the school grounds, the tunnels, the tournament field, and the caves. My editor even asked me to send her a copy! If I’ve created a world, I make a map of the geography, and take notes on how it would have influenced the people and the government.
Source: lotr.wikia.com 


7. Travel
How do people get around in your world? Are there space ships like in Star Wars? Do they teleport? Is there a portal – like the wardrobe in Narnia? Do they use magical creatures? Back to #1 – let your imagination go wild!
Source: narnia.wikia.com

8. Recreation/Culture/Rituals
Think of the magic/powers/creatures that you have in your world. What would be a game or a competition that would arise from it? What about rituals? Expressions? Always be on the lookout for ways to include more world building, such as in currency, recreation, clothes, food . . . this adds layers to your world, and makes it more real to the reader.

9. Edit
Revise, revise, revise. Make sure the rules that you have created are followed, or have a consequence if not followed. With each new draft, look for ways to take what you have created and use it for more than one purpose. For example, if you have a magical creature, perhaps it can be used in a competition, or as a plot twist or for barter.

10. Find a Critique Partner and/or Writing Group
I really can’t emphasize this enough. Your CP should be someone that you trust who is not afraid of hurting your feelings. Consider what he or she says – the places in your manuscript that are muddled or confusing, the world building that worked, and more importantly, the world building that needs work. And then – you guessed it – revise, revise, revise!


About The Author

Erin's debut YA fantasy novel, THE EXCEPTIONALS, was named a Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book. She primarily writes YA and middle grade fantasy while eating chocolate and drinking tea. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and three children. You can find her here, as our First Five Pages Workshop Coordinator. She loves hearing from readers and writers, and you can contact her at erin (at) erincashman.com, or through her Website or on Twitter.











About The Book

Born into a famous family of exceptionally talented people, 15-year-old Claire Walker has deliberately chosen to live an average life. But everything changes the night of the Spring Fling, when her parents decide it's high time she transferred to Cambial Academy--the prestigious boarding school that her great-grandfather founded for students with supernatural abilities. Amazon | IndieBound | Goodreads

Thursday, October 23, 2014

0 Agent Saba Sulaiman of Talcott Notch Lit on Wanting Diversity, Comp Titles, and Book Love!

Welcome, Saba!

Saba Sulaiman is the newest member of Talcott Notch Literary Services, a boutique agency located in Milford, CT. She joined the team after working as an editorial intern at Sourcebooks, where she worked primarily on their romance line. She's looking for up-market literary and commercial fiction, romance (all subgenres except paranormal), character-driven psychological thrillers, cozy mysteries, and memoir, both in adult and YA. She's also actively looking for MG. Follow her on Twitter @agentsaba




1. What is it about a manuscript that excites you? 

A strong, gripping, mature voice, well-rounded characters, and an instant emotional connection. I want to be invested in the story as soon as possible, and I love stories where there is a clear and relatable conflict. 

2. What is on your wish list? 

I'd love to see any story that incorporates diverse characters and backgrounds, and does it well. Throw in a unique twist to a classic story. Invert a tried and tested formula or trope, and make it compelling enough for me to get on board with it. I hesitate to be too specific because I'm open to almost anything within the genres I represent, but I'll definitely pay more attention to manuscripts with these qualities.

3. What are some things you love to see in a query?

Other than what's standard, I like to see comp titles -- but please don't compare your book to a huge bestselling book that everyone's heard of! You don't have to include comp titles in your query, but if you do, show me that you really know what's happening in your genre by making them specific.

4. Are you an editorial agent?

Yes I'm very hands-on! I'm happy to work with authors to polish their work, and I don't believe in presenting manuscripts that aren't quite ready to be looked at yet. That having been said, please don't query me with first drafts! I have to be convinced that you've already been through multiple revisions and that you know your craft inside out before I'll consider working with you.

5. Character, world, or plot? 

Character all the way!

6. What do you like to do for fun?

Well, other than reading (surprise!) and my other hobbies (see my webpage!) I mostly bother my friends and think a lot about my next meal (I take food very seriously.)

7. What genres are you drawn to most?

In YA, I'm generally drawn to contemporary realistic stories, but I'm also open to magical realism and historical YA with spunky, edgy heroines. 

8. Which is more crucial: emotional connection or current marketability? 

Emotional connection. Market trends come and go, but I need to connect with the manuscript in order to be able to back it 100% and make editors fall in love with it.


9. Why did you become an agent?
I read and talk about books for a living -- I think that says it all :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

2 We're having a party to celebrate YOU! Tell us why you write and win agent critiques, workshop certificates, and more!

The tables are set and ready, and all we're waiting on is YOU!

via Kay Gaensler
Our Compulsion for Writing contest ends today! It's all about supporting writers who need a little help to let them keep going, to let them grow, or to let them cross that last hurdle to success.



Some of the prizes won't be revealed until the event, but many are already posted on the Facebook Event page. Here are a few to get you started:
  • A 10-page agent critique from my agent, Kent D. Wolf, at Lippincott Massie McQuilkin.
  • A query letter and 10-page critique from Erin Cashman's agent, Amaryah Orenstein.
  • A 10-page agent critique from Lisa Gail Green's agent, Melissa Nasson of Rubin Pfeffer Content.
  • A 10-page editor critique from Lorin Oberweger of Free Expressions Seminars and Literary Services 
  • A $100 gift certificate toward the Free Expressions Seminars workshop of your choice
  • A three-chapter critique from Erin Cashman
  • A comfort gift basket of chocolate, tea, gourmet treats, a notepad, gift card, and more 
  • A support from miserable writers basket of CHOCOLATE, a B&N gift card, journal, writing utensils, an iTunes gift card, and a secret uber cool bag to put it all in. 
  • A paperback Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi
  • A digital Posititive Traits and a digital Negative Traits Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi
And that's not all!

What do you have to do to win? There's no one judging the quality of your writing, no one asking you to jump through hoops. 

Lisa, Erin, and I have shared our stories of how we almost quit writing, along with the breakthroughs that put us on the road to publication. Now we want you to share yours--we want you to know you're not alone, and we'd like to help you make that breakthrough.

Go to the Facebook page. Tell us why you have a compulsion for writing, or tell us about a time you almost quit. Tell us what you do to keep yourself motivated, or share your favorite writing tip.

That's it. We'll pick winners from among those who posted their stories. : ) 

Then come and party with us.

Sound like fun?


Looking forward to seeing you!



Tuesday, October 21, 2014

29 Opening the Door to Failure and Starting the Path to Success

I quit writing for almost fifteen years.

I cringe to think about that now, because I imagine what I could have learned in that time. . . . Where would my writing career be now? I look at the young writers starting out, and I’m envious of all the years they have left to hone their craft.

So why did I quit?

I could say it was because I had two young children, both with medical problems. I could say that it was because the Air Force sent my husband away to school for a year. I could say that I started a business because we needed the money, and I ended up working close to eighty hours a week. I could say it was because the rock-star agent who intimidated the crap out of me dropped me like a hot potato and I didn’t know where my manuscripts had been or hadn’t been. . . . All those things are true.

But there’s a bigger truth.

I was scared and discouraged and tired to my soul of being rejected.

There’s also another truth.

I didn’t realize that failure was an opportunity.

Thomas Stasiuk - Do Not Fear Failure


As writers, as artists, we need failure to enable growth. If we don’t fail, we keep writing the same thing that everyone else is writing, which is great if we want to write fan fiction. But if we want to earn a place on bookstore shelves and in the hearts of readers, we have to write something that only we could write.

Writing something unique is scary. It opens us up to even more failure and rejection—a different kind of rejection, the kind that doesn’t have the safety net that comes with subconsciously knowing we’ve held a little something back and protected ourselves at least a little bit. Fear is what holds us back

But fear can also push us to a breakthrough.

Celestine Chua - Life's Real Failure


The breakthrough that finally got Compulsion published came from fear. I had amassed a list of about ten agents who, while rejecting a previous manuscript, had asked to see more work. Writing Compulsion, I had already pushed myself further than ever before. I wrote a southern gothic paranormal romance when I knew that paranormals weren’t really what agents were looking for anymore. I wrote bigger than life characters, knowing that some people wouldn't get them. I wrote a heroine who makes lots of mistakes, knowing some people wouldn't identify with her. I tackled a huge story. I scared myself writing this book. And I fell in love with it, with every single aspect of it. When it came time to start thinking about querying it, fear that others wouldn't love it the way I did kept me staring at my lists instead of typing up the query letter.

At that moment, it wasn’t just the fear of rejection that held me back. I had finally learned enough about writing a novel to know how far I still had to go in mastering my craft. I feared that I hadn't done justice to the characters and the story. I feared losing the opportunities I had built with the agents who had asked to see additional work.

I needed a safety net of expert opinion.

Ross Mayfield - Experts Only


I considered doing a mentorship. Cynthia Leitich Smith, one of my writing heroes, offers a mentorship for several months, as do other writers. Ultimately, I opted to hire a private editor to look at overall structure. For me, that didn’t work out. The changes she suggested were minimal, but they didn’t resonate, but because I didn’t really trust myself, I implemented them anyway. Every one of those was ultimately taken out in the editorial process.

Next, I looked for a workshop that was intensive and craft-oriented. I found one called Your Best Book through Free Expressions Seminars and Literary Services. The timing, price, and duration were right. It was a week-long, craft-based program mentored by Lorin Oberweger (half of the Noelle August of Lorin and Veronica Rossi who wrote Boomerang), Brenda Windberg, Emma Dryden (former Vice President and Publisher of Atheneum Books for Young Readers and Margaret K. McElderry Books, imprints of Simon & Schuster), and literary agents Josh and Tracey Adams. Not only did they all provide brilliant suggestions and insights over the course of the week, but the caliber of writers attending the program was truly stellar. These were writers who knew their craft and were looking to push themselves further. Many were already published, or agented and on the point of publication. Working with them opened my eyes and showed me how much talent agents and editors see every day. That was both daunting and exhilarating.

BK - Robert Warren Painter Jr. Good things are coming
I took my manuscript home, incorporated the suggestions I’d received and carried them through the rest of the manuscript. I sent off my queries with a sense of calm assurance. I knew this manuscript was going to be “the one.”

Of course, that assurance disintegrated as the querying process drew out. I got to the point where I convinced myself it wasn’t going to work after all, and decided maybe I needed to do another round of revision. But right at that exact moment, I got the first email from an agent wanting to schedule “the call.”

I ended up getting multiple offers of representation for Compulsion, and then interest from multiple publishers that resulted in a pre-empt from Simon Pulse. I couldn’t have landed with a better publisher, and I’m a firm believer that everything that happened along my journey needed to happen to bring me to this point.

Is every manuscript publishable? No. Is every publishable manuscript published? Sadly, also no. There is an element of luck involved, I’m not going to lie.

All we can do is learn our craft, study what others have written, read what publishers are publishing AT THAT MOMENT, and write the best version of a manuscript that only we can write.

Once we’ve done that, we send it out. We hope it finds a home, and if it doesn’t, we write the next manuscript. That previous book will still be there, waiting for us to look at again after the next is published.

What we can’t do is quit. Not if we have something to say. Not if we have a compulsion for writing and sharing our ideas with others.

To help YOU make the breakthrough, Lorin Oberweger of Free Expressions is generously offering a ten-page critique to a random winner, and I’m offering a $100 gift certificate to any of the Free Expressions seminars or services.



I want you all to learn from my mistakes. Don’t quit. Don’t tell yourself you aren’t good enough. Don’t tell yourself you don’t have time to become good enough.

Tell yourself instead that everyone fails. Tell yourself you’re going to embrace failure as a badge of honor, as a mark of courage.

Feed your compulsion to write.

And if you’re writing and you’re struggling, I’m sending you an enormous hug. Keep going. It’s worth it.

Compulsion hits stores in less than a week. I had my first school visit a week ago.


And my first book signing on Thursday. While I was there, I got to open the package with my first finished copy of my book. An actual, really-truly, never-thought-it-could-happen book.



Best feeling EVER, especially when the road has been so long.

It can happen. It will happen.

Just believe!

Want to win the Free Expressions gift certificate or critique from Lorin Oberweger, or a critique from Kent D. Wolf, my agent, or critiques from other agents, and tons of other gifts and prizes?


1) Why you're compelled to write
2) How or why you almost quit
3) What brought you back from the brink of quitting
4) Your favorite bit of advice or inspiration you'd like to share with other writers

Then join us tomorrow, 10/22/14 from 6:00 PM Eastern to 7:00 PM Eastern for live chats, prize drawings, and MORE spur-of-the-moment prizes!



Monday, October 20, 2014

16 Giveaways from Cinda Williams Chima and Karen Akins plus New YALit Releases 10/20-10/26

We're back again this week with a couple of amazing giveaways. Cinda Williams Chima is giving away signed copies of THE SORCERER HEIR and THE ENCHANTER HEIR plus tattoos and a signed poster, and Karen Akins is giving away a signed copy of LOOP. And of course, we have the rundown of new releases this week.

Have a great week and happy reading!

~ The ladies of AYAP
Martina, Alyssa, Lisa, Erin, Becca, and Jan

YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS THIS WEEK


* * * *


The Sorcerer Heir
by Cinda Williams Chima
Signed Hardcover Giveaway 
plus The Enchanter Heir and swag
Disney-Hyperion
Released 10/21/2014

The delicate peace between Wizards and the underguilds (Warriors, Seers, Enchanters, and Sorcerers) still holds by the thinnest of threads, but powerful forces inside and outside the guilds threaten to sever it completely.

Emma and Jonah are at the center of it all. Brought together by their shared history, mutual attraction, and a belief in the magic of music, they now stand to be torn apart by new wounds and old betrayals. As they struggle to rebuild their trust in each other, Emma and Jonah must also find a way to clear their names as the prime suspects in a series of vicious murders. It seems more and more likely that the answers they need lie buried in the tragedies of the past. The question is whether they can survive long enough to unearth them.

Old friends and foes return as new threats arise in this stunning and revelatory conclusion to the beloved and bestselling Heir Chronicles series.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Sorcerer Heir?

The Sorcerer Heir is the final novel in a series of five contemporary fantasies revolving around five magical guilds: Warriors, Wizards, Seers, Enchanters, and Sorcerers. In this novel I was able to clear up the trouble I made for my characters in The Sorcerer Heir as well as giving two deserving minor characters some major stage time. I also got to change up the magical system a little. An appropriate tagline for these last two installments would be: This is what happens when magic goes mutant.

Purchase The Sorcerer Heir at Amazon
Purchase The Sorcerer Heir at IndieBound
View The Sorcerer Heir on Goodreads


* * * *


Loop
by Karen Akins
Signed Hardcover Giveaway
St. Martin's Griffin
Released 10/21/2014

At a school where Quantum Paradox 101 is a required course and history field trips are literal, sixteen year-old time traveler Bree Bennis excels…at screwing up.

After Bree botches a solo midterm to the 21st century by accidentally taking a boy hostage (a teensy snafu), she stands to lose her scholarship. But when Bree sneaks back to talk the kid into keeping his yap shut, she doesn’t go back far enough. The boy, Finn, now three years older and hot as a solar flare, is convinced he’s in love with Bree, or rather, a future version of her that doesn’t think he’s a complete pain in the arse. To make matters worse, she inadvertently transports him back to the 23rd century with her.

Once home, Bree discovers that a recent rash of accidents at her school are anything but accidental. Someone is attacking time travelers. As Bree and her temporal tagalong uncover seemingly unconnected clues—a broken bracelet, a missing data file, the art heist of the millennium—that lead to the person responsible, she alone has the knowledge to piece the puzzle together. Knowledge only one other person has. Her future self.

But when those closest to her become the next victims, Bree realizes the attacker is willing to do anything to stop her. In the past, present, or future.


Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Loop?

LOOP is about a twenty-third century time traveler named Bree who meets a boy from the past who is already in love with her future self and is keeping his own set of secrets. One of the things I love most about the story is that Finn (the boy) refuses to give up on Bree even when she's almost at the point of giving up on herself. He loves her even when she's unloveable, and that makes it a very hopeful story.

Purchase Loop at Amazon
Purchase Loop at IndieBound
View Loop on Goodreads

YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS LAST WEEK: WINNERS


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Damaged
by Amy Reed
Hardcover
Simon Pulse
Released 10/14/2014

Winner - Jeanette Green

Two teens must come to terms with their friend’s death—and her afterlife—in this gritty and realistic novel from the author of Beautiful, Clean, Crazy, and Over You.

When Kinsey’s best friend Camille dies in a car accident while she was behind the wheel, she shuts down completely, deciding that numbness is far better than mourning. She wants to be left alone during the last few weeks of high school, but Camille’s mysterious boyfriend Hunter, who was also in the car that night, has a different idea.

Despite all of Kinsey’s efforts, she can’t shake Camille, who begins haunting her in dreams. Sleep deprived and on the verge of losing it, she agrees to run away with Hunter to San Francisco. As the pair tries to escape both the ghost of Camille and their own deep fears, Kinsey questions how real her perception of her friendship with Camille was, and whether her former friend’s ghost is actually now haunting her. Hunter, meanwhile, falls into a spiral of alcoholism, anger, and self-loathing.

Ultimately, Kinsey and Hunter must come to terms with what they’ve lost and accept that they can’t outrun pain.

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Hero Complex
by Margaux Froley
Hardcover
Soho Teen
Released 10/14/2014

Winner - Michelle Lee

Less than a month has passed since Devon Mackintosh uncovered the truth about the apparent suicide of Keaton’s golden boy and her unrequited love, Hutch. But that doesn’t mean the danger is over. Her own life has been threatened. Solving Hutch’s case only unearthed more questions: what lies beneath the Keaton land that could be so valuable as to tear the Hutchins family apart?

Hutch’s grandfather, Reed Hutchins, knows the answer. But Reed is dying of cancer, and this dark family secret might die with him. Faced with no other option, Devon swipes Reed’s diary  and plunges into his life as an 18-year-old science prodigy in the immediate aftermath of Pearl Harbor. Through his adolescent eyes—and his role in biological weapons research, still classified to this day—Devon fights to piece together the final clues to what haunts the Keaton hillsides, the truth Reed’s enemies are still willing to kill for.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Hero Complex?

The thing that surprised me about HERO COMPLEX was the historical backstory I got to play with. I knew I wanted to dig into the origins of the Keaton School and the infamous Mr. Keaton, but I ended up getting really immersed in American life during WWII, particularly in California, which led me down a research vortex of the Japanese Internment camps and the forced internment of Japanese American citizens after Pearl Harbor. Our own President ordered the forced internment of any citizen with Japanese roots. People had to give up their houses, their businesses, their pets, their belongings, and some even their lives in a very thuggish attempt at American safety during WWII.

It seems like a very unthinkable act that could never happen today, but this happened in our recent history. I wanted to bring some of that to light and I really enjoyed weaving real history in with my imaginary Keaton School.

Also, on a totally separate note, I loved getting Devon and her friends off the Keaton campus and having them run around and play in Berkeley and San Francisco. Opening up their world a little bit was a fun way to try to keep everyone fresh.


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Mortal Gods
by Kendare Blake
Hardcover
Tor Teen
Released 10/14/2014

Winner - Julia Wellman

Ares, God of War, is leading the other dying gods into battle. Which is just fine with Athena. She's ready to wage a war of her own, and she's never liked him anyway. If Athena is lucky, the winning gods will have their immortality restored. If not, at least she'll have killed the bloody lot of them, and she and Hermes can die in peace.

Cassandra Weaver is a weapon of fate. The girl who kills gods. But all she wants is for the god she loved and lost to return to life. If she can't have that, then the other gods will burn, starting with his murderer, Aphrodite.

The alliance between Cassandra and Athena is fragile. Cassandra suspects Athena lacks the will to truly kill her own family. And Athena fears that Cassandra's hate will get them ALL killed.

The war takes them across the globe, searching for lost gods, old enemies, and Achilles, the greatest warrior the world has ever seen. As the struggle escalates, Athena and Cassandra must find a way to work together. Because if they can't, fates far worse than death await.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Mortal Gods?

My favorite thing about MORTAL GODS is probably the trip to the underworld. I loved writing the scene where they cross over, and of course the three-headed dog!


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They All Fall Down
by Roxanne St. Clare
Hardcover
Delacorte Press
Released 10/14/2014

Winner - Joycedale Chapman

Pretty Little Liars meets Final Destination in this YA psychological thriller that will have readers' hearts racing right till the very end!

Every year, the lives of ten girls at Vienna High are transformed.

All because of the list.

Kenzie Summerall can't imagine how she's been voted onto a list of the hottest girls in school, but when she lands at number five, her average life becomes dazzling. Doors open to the best parties, new friends surround her, the cutest jock in school is after her.

This is the power of the list. If you're on it, your life changes.

If you're on it this year? Your life ends.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about They All Fall Down?

I’d never written anything quite like this book, so the story felt wildly fresh and unique to me. Not only had I never written a “thriller” before, I hadn’t read any teen thrillers. I actually had a hard time finding any on the market at the time I started writing. So, this was uncharted territory for me and I hope that translates into a book with plenty of twists and turns that surprise the reader as much as they surprised me.
The other aspect I loved was a chance to incorporate the “dead language” of Latin -- which is not dead at all! Through the assistance of my daughter and her Latin teacher, I was able to weave threads and clues using a language we really don’t know much about -- yet is the basis for so many of our words. What I initially thought would be an interesting character trait for the protagonist turned into a critical plot point for the whole book. I always love when that happens.
I guess there’s one more thing I loved about the book -- it is the first book I’ve written in my whole career where a romance isn’t front and center to the character’s story arc. There is a “love interest” in THEY ALL FALL DOWN but I would never classify this book as a romance. For me, it was liberating and great fun to write without worrying about over-developing that aspect of the story.



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Very Bad Things
by Susan McBride
Hardcover
Delacorte Press
Released 10/14/2014

Winners - Heather Raglin, Anna Weimer, and Shannon Mizikoski

Katie never thought she'd be the girl with the popular boyfriend. She also never thought he would cheat on her-but the proof is in the photo that people at their boarding school can't stop talking about. Mark swears he doesn't remember anything. But Rose, the girl in the photo, is missing, and Mark is in big trouble. Because it looks like Rose isn't just gone…she's dead.

Maybe Mark was stupid, but that doesn't mean he's a killer.

Katie needs to find out what really happened, and her digging turns up more than she bargained for, not just about Mark but about someone she loves like a sister: Tessa, her best friend. At Whitney Prep, it's easy to keep secrets…especially the cold-blooded kind.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Very Bad Things?

At its core, Very Bad Things is a thriller with a lot of twists and turns, but it’s also a story about friendship, love, and trust. We’ve all had experiences where we’ve believed in someone and thought we knew that person so well only to find out that much of what we felt to be true was a pack of lies. In VBT, as Katie tries to unravel the mystery of Rose’s disappearance, she begins to realize that even the people she thinks she knows best and loves the most might not be who she thinks they are. So it’s the characters in Very Bad Things that I love best. They are complicated. They have lived through experiences—some good and some very bad—that have made them who they are. And they’re not always predictable.

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MORE YOUNG ADULT NOVELS NEW IN STORES NEXT WEEK


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Beware the Wild
by Natalie C. Parker
Hardcover
HarperTeen
Released 10/21/2014

It's an oppressively hot and sticky morning in June when Sterling and her brother, Phin, have an argument that compels him to run into the town swamp -- the one that strikes fear in all the residents of Sticks, Louisiana. Phin doesn't return. Instead, a girl named Lenora May climbs out, and now Sterling is the only person in Sticks who remembers her brother ever existed.

Sterling needs to figure out what the swamp's done with her beloved brother and how Lenora May is connected to his disappearance -- and loner boy Heath Durham might be the only one who can help her.

This debut novel is full of atmosphere, twists and turns, and a swoon-worthy romance.

Purchase Beware the Wild at Amazon
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Famous in Love
by Rebecca Serle
Hardcover
Poppy
Released 10/21/2014

When seventeen-year-old Paige Townsen gets plucked from obscurity to star in the movie adaptation of a blockbuster book series, her life changes practically overnight. Within a month, Paige has traded the quiet streets of her hometown for a bustling movie set on the shores of Maui, and she is spending quality time with her costar Rainer Devon, one of People's Sexiest Men Alive. But when troubled star Jordan Wilder lands the role of the other point in the movie's famous love triangle, Paige's crazy new life begins to resemble her character's.

In this coming-of-age romance inspired by the kind of celeb hookups that get clever nicknames and a million page views, Paige must figure out who she is -- and who she wants -- while the whole world watches.

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How It Went Down
by Kekla Magoon
Hardcover
Henry Holt and Co.
Released 10/21/2014

When sixteen-year-old Tariq Johnson dies from two gunshot wounds, his community is thrown into an uproar. Tariq was black. The shooter, Jack Franklin, is white.

In the aftermath of Tariq's death, everyone has something to say, but no two accounts of the events line up. Day by day, new twists further obscure the truth.

Tariq's friends, family, and community struggle to make sense of the tragedy, and to cope with the hole left behind when a life is cut short. In their own words, they grapple for a way to say with certainty: This is how it went down.

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Snake Bite
by Andrew Lane
Hardcover
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Released 10/21/2014

Kidnapped, Sherlock ~16 sails through tropical storm to Shanghai. Cook Wu Chung and father of new pal Cameron Mackenzie both die from same snake bite, first slow sickness, second instant paralysis. Veiled Mr Arrhenius hides small clawed shadow in cage, and coded circle-line web that attracts Chinese junk pirate attack. Only three boys can save an American navy steamer.

Purchase Snake Bite at Amazon
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Stone Cold Touch
by Jennifer L Armentrout
Paperback
Harlequin Teen
Released 10/21/2014

Every touch has its price

Layla Shaw is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life—no easy task for a seventeen-year-old who’s pretty sure things can’t get worse. Her impossibly gorgeous best friend, Zayne, is forever off-limits thanks to the mysterious powers of her soul-stealing kiss. The Warden clan that has always protected her is suddenly keeping dangerous secrets. And she can barely think about Roth, the wickedly hot demon prince who understood her in ways no one else could.

But sometimes rock bottom is only the beginning. Because suddenly Layla’s powers begin to evolve, and she’s offered a tantalizing taste of what has always been forbidden. Then, when she least expects it, Roth returns, bringing news that could change her world forever. She’s finally getting what she always wanted, but with hell literally breaking loose and the body count adding up, the price may be higher than Layla is willing to pay…

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Ticker
by Lisa Mantchev
Hardcover
Skyscape
Released 10/21/2014

A girl with a clockwork heart makes every second count.

When Penny Farthing nearly died, the brilliant surgeon Calvin Warwick managed to implant a brass ?Ticker, ? transforming her into ?the first of the Augmented!? But soon it was discovered that Warwick kidnapped and killed dozens of people striving to perfect another Ticker for Penny.

The last day of Warwick's trial, the Farthing factory is bombed, Warwick disappears, and Penny and her brother, Nic, receive a ransom demand for all of their Augmentation notes if they want to see their parents again. Who is trying to stop their work? Or to control it? Or is the motive more sinister?

Determined to solve the mystery and reunite their family, the Farthings recruit their closest friends: fiery baker Violet Nesselrode and gentleman-about-town Sebastian Stirling. Unexpectedly leading the charge is Marcus Kingsley, the young army general who has his own reasons for wanting to lift the veil between this world and the next. Wagers are placed, friends are lost, romance stages an ambush, and time is running out for the girl with the clockwork heart.

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Time's Edge
by Rysa Walker
Paperback
Skyscape
Released 10/21/2014

To stop her sadistic grandfather, Saul, and his band of time travelers from rewriting history, Kate must race to retrieve the CHRONOS keys before they fall into the Cyrists? hands. If she jumps back in time and pulls the wrong key?one that might tip off the Cyrists to her strategy?her whole plan could come crashing down, jeopardizing the future of millions of innocent people. Kate?s only ally is Kiernan, who also carries the time-traveling gene. But their growing bond threatens everything Kate is trying to rebuild with Trey, her boyfriend who can?t remember the relationship she can?t forget.

As evidence of Saul?s twisted mind builds, Kate?s missions become more complex, blurring the line between good and evil. Which of the people Saul plans to sacrifice in the past can she and Kiernan save without risking their ultimate goal?or their own lives?

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

0 Adventures in YA Publishing Is Looking for an Interview Coordinator and an Interview Formatter

Hi all,

Due to illness, we are losing our Interview Coordinator effective immediately. We're heartbroken, because Katharyn Sinelli has very big shoes to fill. So big that we're effectively going to split the position in two to make it more manageable for a non-superhuman to accomplish. We've filled one portion of the position already, so here's what's left:

Interview Coordinator

1) Check the list of upcoming YA books and enter the title, ISBN-10, author's name and release date into our database.
2) Check contact information for authors, enter to database, and click the send button to generate automated interview requests.
3) Respond to response emails from authors and enter interview answers into the database and into a scheduled post as they come in.
4) Pass interest for WOW Wednesday posts and Craft Posts to appropriate editors

What do you get in return?  You'll be part of the team behind a two-time 101 Best Websites for Writers site. You'll learn from and interact with great authors. Help set new policy and directions for the site. Plus there's plenty of room (eventually) to make things your own.

Interested? Contact us at ayaplit at gmail dot com! Please include a resume or synopsis of your experience and why you're interested. Please also include a couple of references. : ) Thanks!

1 Tucker Shaw, author of OH YEAH, AUDREY!, believes there are little moments within big moments, and secrets to be found in NYC.

What is your favorite thing about OH YEAH, AUDREY!?

I had to think about this question for a bit before settling on an answer. At first I thought, well, obviously my favorite thing is Gemma Beasley, my main character and, during the process of writing her story, my alter ego. She’s outgoing, stylish, thoughtful, energetic, kind – all qualities I admire and would like to have more of.

Then I thought well, hmm. Maybe my favorite thing about this story is Audrey Hepburn. Of course, she’s not in the book, not really, but her sense of style, of acting, of living, of being, permeates every corner and idea in the book. What kind of person remains such a huge and lasting presence even so many years after “Breakfast at Tiffanys” and her other films? Who attains and retains her status as a powerful international role model even twenty-one years after her death? Who do millions of people want to grow up to emulate? It has to be Audrey Hepburn.

But the truth is, after thoroughly excavating my brain, I know that my favorite thing about “Oh Yeah, Audrey!” is New York City, where I spent the most important fifteen years of my life and which remains, even though I don’t live there now, my center of gravity. I love it because there are thousands – millions – of Gemma Beasleys (or Tucker Shaws or insert-your-name-heres) in New York on any given day, searching the city and its landmarks, accepting its dares, falling into its traps, discovering its hidden passageways, looking for a better understanding of who they are. They know, like Gemma knew, like so many know: There’s no other city in the world that holds the secret.

Holly Golightly, Audrey Hepburn’s character in “Breakfast at Tiffanys,” delivers a line near the end of the film that, more than any other moment in the movie, sounds as if it’s coming straight from the actress, not the character: “Oh, I love New York.” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4K1AssnvQFY) It’s an acknowledgement that Holly’s story couldn’t have happened anywhere else. And neither could Gemma’s. 

What was your inspiration for writing this book?

I often think about small moments within big moments, and how things that seem relatively unimportant at the time later reveal themselves to be crucial. For all the thought and endurance that goes into planning big events, it’s the small decisions, the ones that others don’t always see or weigh in on, that really define who we are. Gemma, the main character in “Oh Yeah, Audrey!,” spends a lot of time and energy planning what should the biggest event of her life, but it’s the small, unseen decisions she makes that change who she is. My other inspiration? Hello, Audrey Hepburn. What a muse!

How long did you work on the book?

I spent about a year and a half on this book. It’s a good thing all my drafts were electronic and not actually on paper, or the northern forests would be a lot smaller right now.

How long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?

I’ve lost track of the number of books I’ve written, or at least started, that didn’t get published. But I’ve been fortunate to have five novels published before this one (“Flavor of the Week,” “Confessions of a Backup Dancer,” “The Hookup Artist,” “The Girls,” and “Anxious Hearts”). I’ve also written a couple of cookbooks – my day job is as a food writer and editor for America’s Test Kitchen.

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

I’m not sure I have a ritual. I decided fairly early on in my writing life that, while I love the idea of holing up in a cabin in the woods and shutting out the world to concentrate, it’s just not realistic. And so, I have to be comfortable writing in any circumstance. Distractions exist even when you think you’ve banished them (because really, they’re in your brain). As I write this now, I have the US Open tennis tournament on the television and I have three unanswered texts on my phone. And I have four characters for my (hoped-for) next book causing mischief in my head.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

They’re just words. Don’t be afraid of them.

ABOUT THE BOOK


Oh Yeah, Audrey!
by Tucker Shaw
Hardcover
Amulet Books
Released 10/14/2014

It’s 5:00 a.m. on Fifth Avenue, and 16-year-old Gemma Beasley is standing in front of Tiffany & Co. wearing the perfect black dress with her coffee in hand—just like Holly Golightly. As the cofounder of a successful Tumblr blog—Oh Yeah Audrey!—devoted to all things Audrey Hepburn, Gemma has traveled to New York in order to meet up with her fellow bloggers for the first time. She has meticulously planned out a 24-hour adventure in homage to Breakfast at Tiffany’s; however, her plans are derailed when a glamorous boy sweeps in and offers her the New York experience she’s always dreamed of. Gemma soon learns who her true friends are and that, sometimes, no matter where you go, you just end up finding yourself.Filled with hip and sparkling prose, Oh Yeah, Audrey! is as much a story of friendship as it is a love letter to New York, Audrey Hepburn, and the character she made famous: Holly Golightly.

Purchase Oh Yeah, Audrey! at Amazon
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Tucker Shaw was born in Maine, went to high school in Denver, and lived in New York City for 16 years before returning to the Mile High City to review restaurants for the Denver Post in 2005. He's now an editor in the Features department, where he covers arts, entertainment, style, culture, books, food and more. OH YEAH, AUDREY! is his sixth book for young adults. Most of his time is spent thinking about lunch. The rest of his time is spent thinking about dinner.

0 Chelsey Philpot, author of EVEN IN PARADISE, on the benefits of early morning ocean breezes and jumping out of airplanes.

What is your favorite thing about EVEN IN PARADISE?

That it’s a real book…kidding…but kind of not.
Truthfully, I am so grateful that I had a story to tell and that that story is now a beautifully designed book that readers can read—that readers want to read.
It has been so rewarding and fascinating to learn what individuals take away from Even in Paradise—what motifs and themes one person might latch onto versus another. For example, YA author Leila Sales found the story to be about “tragedy and destructiveness of wealth,” while author Elizabeth LaBan latched on to “that startling concept that one mistake can change the course of your life forever.”

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

When my three siblings and I were growing up, our father used to say, “the day is half over by ten o’clock.” We grew up on a farm and even as adults, we all still cling to the habit of waking up wicked early. I wrote Even in Paradise in the dark hours of the morning at an old wooden desk in my shoebox-size Brooklyn apartment. I drank cups and cups of coffee so strong it seemed like I should be able to chew it. In warmer months, I wore faded T-shirts and too large shorts. In colder months, I pulled on a ratty cashmere sweater or one of the many well-worn flannel shirts I’ve stolen from my father.
For my second book, I’ve kept to this ritual, save for the facts that my desk is now in New England instead of Brooklyn and the morning breezes that come through my window smell of the nearby ocean instead of the donuts baking in the bodega on the corner of Fourth Avenue and Union Street.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

This question has been answered eloquently and thoughtfully by many talented writers, and I second their advice. It is so true that in order to be a writer you have to read, work at it every day, and accept setbacks as challenges.
To this wisdom, I would only add this in: To be a writer, you have to choose a brave life. Not just because writing is difficult and requires tenacity, but also because I’ve found that the larger you live, the more you have to write about.
Jump out of airplanes. Travel. Say “yes” instead of no. Live out of a suitcase. Start conversations with strangers. To poorly paraphrase Henry David Thoreau: you cannot sit down to write if you have not stood up to live.

What are you working on now?

I am working on my second young adult novel. I’m not ready to say much about it, but I will share that part of my research involved skydiving.

ABOUT THE BOOK


Even in Paradise
by Chelsey Philpot
Hardcover
HarperCollins
Released 10/14/2014

When Julia Buchanan enrolls at St. Anne’s at the beginning of junior year, Charlotte Ryder already knows all about the former senator’s daughter. Most people do... or think they do.

Charlotte certainly never expects she’ll be Julia’s friend. But almost immediately, she is drawn into the larger than-life-new girl’s world—a world of midnight rendezvous, dazzling parties, palatial vacation homes, and fizzy champagne cocktails. And then Charlotte meets, and begins falling for, Julia’s handsome older brother, Sebastian.

But behind her self-assured smiles and toasts to the future, Charlotte soon realizes that Julia is still suffering from a tragedy. A tragedy that the Buchanan family has kept hidden … until now.

Purchase Even in Paradise at Amazon
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Chelsey Philpot is a  bibliophile, museum haunter, and library devotee.

She writes about books, culture, travel, and the arts for the Boston Globe, New York TimesBuzzFeed, and many other publications. When she's not actuallywriting, she teaches writing at Boston University. Before moving to New England, she was a book reviews editor at School Library Journal in New York City.

HarperCollins will publish her first young adult novel, Even in Paradise, in October 2014.

0 Ben Tripp, author of THE ACCIDENTAL HIGHWAYMAN, traces the origins of "swashbuckling," and describes a childhood pickled in magic.


What is your favorite thing about The Accidental Highwayman?

That's a tough question, because I crammed the book with my favorite things. I love magic, history, true love, animals, and swashbucking in general. How often do you get a chance to throw a baboon into a Baroque setting? Or fly a horse off the roof of Hampton Court Palace? But I must say my favorite thing in The Accidental Highwayman is the language. Old forgotten words, 18th century phrasing, dialects, made-up terms, ridiculous insults. We think in words; the world is made of them, in a sense. So there is no greater delight for me than an opportunity to take our language up in the air and see how beautifully it flies.

I know this is precious book-pitching space, but can I just point out that 'swashbuckling' probably comes to us from the 1500s? It combines the onomatopoetic word 'swash' (to swish or strike) with 'buckler', which is a small shield. The original meaning was to bluster and act warlike, as by thumping your shield. I don't think it's actually in the book, come to think of it. But 'tatterdemalion' is. You'll have to read the book to find out what that one means.
What was your inspiration for writing this book?

I've been thinking about this a lot recently. The easy answer is that I was exposed all my childhood to fairy tales, myths, legends, and the classic stories intended for all readers, young and old. This came from growing up in a household devoted to the arts and literature, especially as my father was a children's book illustrator and author. There was magic in the air; I was pickled in it from an early age.
The tough answer is that it's also an homage to what I lost as a teenager. I got cynical and angry in a hurry. I couldn't succeed at anything, was confused and miserable. All of those glittering palaces of my childhood came tumbling down. The Accidental HIghwayman is a story about a sixteen-year-old whose life is the opposite of mine: he had a grim, magic-free childhood, and now enchantment comes into his life. I was inspired by this idea because that sense of wonder can always come back to us, no matter what age we are, if we are open to it. It happened to me 

How long did you work on the book?

Somewhere between one month and forty years, depending how you count it. The first draft took me a month to complete, writing sixteen or more hours per day. If you include subsequent drafts, it took six months. Add in the collaboration with my editor, and it goes up to a year.
But if you add in the gestation period, the time it took for these ideas to grow in the back of my mind from their first inklings, then the thing took me years. Everything's like that. Whatever we do, we do with the skills and experience of our lifetimes.

What's your writing ritual like?

How we write evolves over time. It's a rare writer who uses the same methods for her entire career. I used to write in my spare time, which required a great deal of mental discipline. There were a million distractions and I had to be able to write in five-minute bursts, or work in the wee hours when everything was quiet.

These days I write full-time, so I needn't be as disciplined, but I retain some of my old habits. I work at home, and typically start writing within a few minutes of waking up, often at four in the morning. Once the rest of the household (my wife and dogs) is awake, I often put on music -- mostly film scores, including a lot of Bollywood soundtracks. They're sung in Hindi, so the lyrics don't get in the way of the words in my head. I'll generally work for several three-hour heats, take the evening off, and late at night I'll write notes and fragments to prep myself for the next day. If I'm between projects I may only write for an hour or two, but I do write every day. If you're not in the chair, inspiration may decide to visit somebody else.

ABOUT THE BOOK


The Accidental Highwayman
by Ben Tripp
Hardcover
Tor Teen; First Edition edition
Released 10/14/2014

The Accidental Highwayman is the first swashbuckling adventure for young adults by talented author and illustrator, Ben Tripp. This thrilling tale of dark magic and true love is the perfect story for fans of William Goldman’s The Princess Bride.

In eighteenth-century England, young Christopher “Kit” Bristol is the unwitting servant of notorious highwayman Whistling Jack. One dark night, Kit finds his master bleeding from a mortal wound, dons the man’s riding cloak to seek help, and changes the course of his life forever. Mistaken for Whistling Jack and on the run from redcoats, Kit is catapulted into a world of magic and wonders he thought the stuff of fairy tales.

Bound by magical law, Kit takes up his master’s quest to rescue a rebellious fairy princess from an arranged marriage to King George III of England. But his task is not an easy one, for Kit must contend with the feisty Princess Morgana, goblin attacks, and a magical map that portends his destiny: as a hanged man upon the gallows….

Fans of classic fairy-tale fantasies such as Stardust by Neil Gaiman and will find much to love in this irresistible YA debut by Ben Tripp, the son of one of America’s most beloved illustrators, Wallace Tripp (Amelia Bedelia). Following in his father’s footsteps, Ben has woven illustrations throughout the story.

“Delightful and charming. A swashbuckling adventure in the vein of Robert Louis Stevenson.” —#1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


BEN TRIPP is the author of Rise Again and Rise Again: Below Zero, a two-part apocalyptic zombie saga for Gallery.

He has an upcoming trilogy of rollicking young adult novels in the historical fantasy genre for Tor, the first of which is The Accidental Highwayman. In addition, Gallery has secured rights to his first foray into the vampire genre, The Fifth House of the Heart.

Tripp is an artist, writer, and designer who has worked with major entertainment companies and motion picture studios for more than two decades. He was for many years one of the world's leading conceptualists of public experiences, with a global portfolio of projects ranging from urban masterplanning to theme parks. Now he writes novels full-time.

He lives with his wife (Academy Award-winning writer/ producer Corinne Marrinan) in Los Angeles and London.