This week's interview
The Genius Wars by Catherine Jinks (September 27th)
- From Goodreads: After abandoning a life full of deception and mistrust, fifteen-year-old Cadel has finally found his niche. He has a proper home, good friends and loving parents. He's even studying at university. But he's still not safe from Prosper English, who's now a fugitive from justice and determined to smash everything that Cadel has struggled to build. When Cadel's nearest and dearest are threatened, he must launch an all-out attack on the man he once viewed as his father. Can he track down Prosper before it's too late? And what rules will he have to break in the process?
I don't keep a diary of my work hours or habits, so I'm not quite sure, but what with the research, the plotting, the first draft, the second draft and the third draft, I seem to recall it took me about t months to write this one.
How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
I sent off my first 'novel' to a publisher at the age of twelve, and then another at eighteen - both were rejected, and for good reason. My first short stories, however, were published in a sci-fi magazine when I was about 21, so that was enough to keep me working away until my first book was accepted, when I was 26. And I was really lucky with that book, because I sent it to a friend of a friend of a friend (who was an agent) and she got it published by the first publisher she sent it to. Oddly enough, it was my SECOND book that was turned down three times before publication - and that was 'Pagan's Crusade', one of my most successful ever! So you can never tell.
What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Try not to be too self-absorbed. I know this sounds like an odd thing to say, but I've seen a few manuscripts that have been really well written, in a technical sense - good style, etc - but the content ... it was such an exercise in NAVEL GAZING. You have to be SO good to pull off a self-absorbed novel, it's just not funny. And most people just aren't that good - not to begin with, anyway. Not until they've had a lot of practice.
My advice is: look out at the world. Cultivate a journalist's interest in people and events. Be genuinely empathic with other people and you'll be able to do it with your characters too. This isn't a moral lecture - it's about appealing to a wide range of people because you're interested in what other people want as well as what you want.
What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
That you can have a whole raft of very successful books out and STILL get rejections from publishers. I'm afraid it never stops. Rejection is part of a writer's life; if you can't take rejection, you'd better try something else.
Zombies vs. Unicorns by Holly Black, Justine Larbalestier, et al.
- From Goodreads: It's a question as old as time itself: which is better, the zombie or the unicorn? In this anthology, edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier (unicorn and zombie, respectively), strong arguments are made for both sides in the form of short stories. Half of the stories portray the strengths--for good and evil--of unicorns and half show the good (and really, really bad-ass) side of zombies. Contributors include many bestselling teen authors, including Cassandra Clare, Libba Bray, Maureen Johnson, Meg Cabot, Scott Westerfeld, and Margo Lanagan. This anthology will have everyone asking: Team Zombie or Team Unicorn?
Crave by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz
- From Goodreads: Shay has had a rare blood disorder since she was born. In fact, her mother married one of Shay’s doctors, Martin, who left his world-renowned leukemia research to try and figure out exactly what the disorder is and how to cure it. When she turns seventeen, Martin begins to give her new blood transfusions that make her feel the strongest she has ever felt. But she also has odd visions where she sees through the eyes of a vampire. At first, she thinks she must be imagining the visions, but when she begins to see Martin’s office in them, she knows she has to check it out. That’s when she finds Gabriel, a sexy, teenaged vampire, imprisoned in Martin’s office. The connection she has built with Gabriel compels her to set him free. But when he kidnaps her in an attempt at revenge on Martin, their lives become deeply intertwined. She doesn’t know the half of it.
Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon
- From Goodreads: After Renee Winters discovers her parents lying dead in California’s Redwood Forest in what appears to be a strange double murder, her grandfather sends her off to Gottfried Academy in Maine, a remote and mysterious high school dedicated to philosophy, “crude sciences,” and Latin: the Language of the Dead. It’s here she meets Dante, a dark and elusive student to whom she feels inexplicably drawn. As they get to know each other better, Dante can’t seem to control his attraction either, and their desires gradually deepen into a complex and dangerous romance. Dangerous because Dante is hiding a frightening secret. A secret so terrible, it has him fearing for Renee’s life. Dante’s not the only one with secrets, though. Turns out Gottfried Academy has a few of its own… Like, how come students keep disappearing? Why are the prefect-like Monitors creeping around campus during the night? And what exactly are the Headmistress and Professors really up to? Renee is determined to find out why.
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
- From Goodreads: Mackie Doyle seems like everyone else in the perfect little town of Gentry, but he is living with a fatal secret - he is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now the creatures under the hill want him back, and Mackie must decide where he really belongs and what he really wants. A month ago, Mackie might have told them to buzz off. But now, with a budding relationship with tough, wounded, beautiful Tate, Mackie has too much to lose. Will love finally make him worthy of the human world?
- From Goodreads: Vlad’s running out of time. The Elysian Council has given him weeks to live, and that’s if the Slayer Society doesn’t kill him – along with all the citizens of Bathory – first. Then there’s the issue of Vlad’s father, who may or may not still be alive after all these years, and oh yeah, that tiny little detail in the Pravus prophecy about Vlad enslaving Vampirekind and the human race. So much for college applications. In this epic finale to Heather Brewer’s heart-stopping Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, dark secrets will be revealed, old friends will become enemies, and warm blood will run cold. Just be careful it isn’t yours.
Martina & Marissa