Monday, September 27, 2010

21 In Stores This Week (with Interviews & Giveaways)

This week's new releases are dramatic and tantalizing. Thank you YALit.com for spotlighting these titles for us each week. Check out author interviews below, as well as can't-be-missed giveaways!

This Week's Interviews


Girl, Stolen by April Henry
  • From Goodreads: Sixteen year-old Cheyenne Wilder is sleeping in the back of a car while her mom fills her prescription at the pharmacy. Before Cheyenne realizes what's happening, their car is being stolen--with her inside! Griffin hadn’t meant to kidnap Cheyenne, all he needed to do was steal a car for the others. But once Griffin's dad finds out that Cheyenne’s father is the president of a powerful corporation, everything changes—now there’s a reason to keep her. What Griffin doesn’t know is that Cheyenne is not only sick with pneumonia, she is blind. How will Cheyenne survive this nightmare, and if she does, at what price?
 
How long did you work on this book?
This book had a long journey to publication. I wrote it a few years back, and then put it aside until my last YA was in production. Due to a number of factors, that took far longer than I expected. By time time I pulled it out again, I saw it with fresh eyes. My agent and I decided to submit it widely, and it found a great home at Henry Holt. My editor said it was one of the cleanest manuscripts she has ever seen. I'm sure that has to do with the long time it lay fallow.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
It was long. I wrote for four or five years before I got an agent. My second book finally got me an agent, but that book didn't sell, nor did my third. It was my fourth book that became my first published book, Circles of Confusion. It sold in three days. It was like the seven-year overnight success.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Tenacity is as important as talent. Years ago I took a writing class with two writers, Tom and Jane, who were far better writers than I. But both gave up after getting a handful of rejections from agents. I refused to give up, kept working to be a better writer, and kept submitting. And Girl, Stolen is my tenth book.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
That some people aren't as thrilled about it as I am. Occasionally I'll meet someone and they'll ask what I do and then shrug at the answer, as if I said I worked at a drycleaners. I think I have the best job in the world.


The Exiled Queen (Seven Realms #2) by Cinda Williams Chima

  • From Goodreads: Haunted by the loss of his mother and sister, Han Alister journeys south to begin his schooling at Mystwerk House in Oden’s Ford. But leaving the Fells doesn’t mean danger isn’t far behind. Han is hunted every step of the way by the Bayars, a powerful wizarding family set on reclaiming the amulet Han stole from them. And Mystwerk House has dangers of its own. There, Han meets Crow, a mysterious wizard who agrees to tutor Han in the darker parts of sorcery—but the bargain they make is one Han may regret. Meanwhile, Princess Raisa ana’Marianna runs from a forced marriage in the Fells, accompanied by her friend Amon and his triple of cadets. Now, the safest place for Raisa is Wein House, the military academy at Oden's Ford. If Raisa can pass as a regular student, Wein House will offer both sanctuary and the education Raisa needs to succeed as the next Gray Wolf queen.

How long did you work on this book?
It depends on where you start the timeline. The Seven Realms series is set in a world I created for an adult high fantasy series I began writing 6-7 years ago. That series never sold, but I had a history, a magical system, lots of cross-cultural conflict, some characters I loved, and a map. So when I finished the first three Heir books, and was trying to decide what to do next, I chose two characters from my old series and went back to when they were teenagers. Each book in the series takes me about a year to write and edit. I've published a book a year since 2006.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
The first book I finished as an adult was The Warrior Heir. During the next four years, I continued to revise it, studied up on craft, and wrote three more books. I found an agent, then, and that led to finding a publisher. Because the Heir series was successful, my agent successfully pitched a three-book deal for the Seven Realms series. Except now it's going to be four books. And I'm under contract for two more Heir books as well.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Nothing happens until you write the best book you possibly can. The craft of writing is like any other skill--it takes time to master it. So give yourself time to grow as a writer before you focus on query letters, elevator speeches, and three-minute pitches.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
I thought that once I was published, all my troubles would be over. Not so. Don't get me wrong--I am so blessed to be publishing my fifth book. But there are always new challenges, new things to worry about. That's why it's important to enjoy the journey.



Sphinx's Queen by Esther M. Friesner
  • From Goodreads: Ancient Egypt springs to life in this enthralling sequel to Sphinx’s Princess. As she did in Nobody’s Princess and Nobody’s Prize, author Esther Friesner offers readers a fresh look at an iconic figure, blending historical fiction and mythology in a heady concoction. Hunted . . . Overnight, every aspect of Nefertiti’s life has changed. She is no longer living at the royal palace as the intended bride of the crown prince. Instead, she is being chased by the prince and his soldiers for a crime she did not commit. Hidden . . . Traveling with two of her dearest friends, including the crown prince’s brother, who helped her escape, Nefertiti takes shelter in the wild hills along the Nile’s west bank. She must rely on her own resourcefulness and skills (all those secret archery lessons prove very useful) as the fugitives fight to survive. Haunted . . . But the need for justice gnaws at Nefertiti. She is determined to plead her case to the Pharaoh and set things right. As she begins to question long-held sacred beliefs—a questioning that could alter the fabric of Egyptian society—her extraordinary journey from commoner to royalty brings adventure, intrigue, and romance.
How long did you work on this book?
I don't keep track of the time I work on each book, so I checked my contract. I figure that the time it took to write SPHINX'S QUEEN must have been no more than the time between the due date for SPHINX'S PRINCESS and its own due date. I am very focused on meeting deadlines. All of which boils down to ten months or less. Probably less. (I am also big on -beating- deadlines, when I can. I like making my editor happy!)

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
I can't begin to count the rejections I received while trying to break into publishing. Some were pretty cool. I wish I knew where I put the rejection letter I received from The New Yorker magazine on which someone had actually taken the time to handwrite the word "Sorry." I know this doesn't sound like a big deal, but coming from The New Yorker, it is, at least to me. (It would have been even cooler if I'd gotten an acceptance, but you take those little glints of hope and encouragement where you can get them! It keeps you going.

My road to publication was long, though that's mostly because I sent my first (rejected) submission of a short story when I was still in college. Before that, however, I'd been writing and hoping to get published for many years. I started writing--dictating stories to my mother--when I was three years old and I was allowed to use the family typewriter from the time I was six. That does tend to load on the years of pre-publication experience! Am I glad it took so long to get published (My first fiction sale came when I was thirty, if I'm recalling it correctly, though my first non-fiction sales came in my twenties)? Well, I'll be honest: I wouldn't have minded earlier success, but I -am- glad it didn't come -too- early. I wouldn't want to be the equivalent of a child star because you never know when you've reached the age for knowing how to handle success and--more important--how to handle subsequent rejections, should they come.


What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Never give up. Hang in there. At the same time, now and then sit back, take a deep breath, and do your best to re-read your own work with an objective attitude and a (constructively) critical eye. Maybe your book or story is getting rejected for a substantive reason. Not an enjoyable realization, but if you use this knowledge to go back and rewrite it so it's a better piece. I've often said that being an author requires you to have the sensitivity of a butterfly, in order for you to be able to have empathy for characters who may not be at all like you, yet it also demands you have the hide of a rhino, to deal with rejections and the reasons behind them.

Never forget how to laugh, how to say "Your loss" to the rejection slips when they arrive, and how to forever remember that writing is a joy. Don't let rejections, no matter how numerous, take away that joy.


What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
I think I was most surprised by the little ripples of fame that washed up on some very odd shores. I write under my maiden name. My kids have my husband's last name. One of my favorite moments was when a college friend of my son's discovered I was not Mrs. My-son's-last-name. "Why didn't you TELL me your mom was Esther Friesner!" she shouted. Wow. My being an author -mattered- to people. Neat!

This is even more delightful when I write a fan letter/e-mail to someone whose work I admire and get a reply where they say they're a fan of -my- work, too! It's led to many smiles and massive exchanges of autographed books and artwork.

Brain Jack by Brian Falkner
  • From Amazon: Las Vegas is gone—destroyed in a terrorist attack. Black Hawk helicopters patrol the skies over New York City. And immersive online gaming is the most dangerous street drug around. In this dystopic near-future, technology has leapt forward once again, and neuro-headsets have replaced computer keyboards. Just slip on a headset, and it’s the Internet at the speed of thought. For teen hacker Sam Wilson, a headset is a must. But as he becomes familiar with the new technology, he has a terrifying realization. If anything on his computer is vulnerable to a hack, what happens when his mind is linked to the system? Could consciousness itself be hijacked? Before he realizes what’s happened, Sam’s incursion against the world’s largest telecommunications company leads him to the heart of the nation’s cyberdefense network and brings him face to face with a terrifying and unforeseen threat.

How long did you work on this book?
Writing Brain Jack was a long process. I had had the basic idea for it many years ago, but hadn’t found a way to make it work. Then a few years ago I read some articles on neuro-technology which gave me the inspiration I needed to start planning the book. I spent almost a year researching the technology, then six months writing the first draft.

After the manuscript was accepted by my publishers I spent almost another year working on it with my editor.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
It was both long and short! Even as a child I knew I wanted to be an author, but my first book wasn’t published until 2003.

So I guess that is a long time, but in reality I didn’t start writing children’s stories until 2001 and my first manuscript was accepted by the third publisher I sent it to.

My fourth book “The Tomorrow Code” was my first for Random House, and my first US publication. That happened because my New Zealand publisher didn’t like the story, so I flew from Auckland, New Zealand to New York, USA and met with a number of publishers, including the wonderful Jim Thomas from RH, who jumped at the manuscript.


What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
That also has to do with rejections. The best advice I ever heard as a young writer was to be proud of my rejection slips. To think of them as a badge of honour and courage. Each rejection slip is one step closer to being published. They say you don’t deserve to be published until you can wallpaper your bedroom with rejection slips! In other words, you have to be prepared to put in a lot of effort, over a long time, if you want to succeed.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
To be honest I am quite astonished at the success of my books. I never dreamed they would be published in so many countries and languages. I’m a pretty ordinary guy from a small country in the South Pacific, and am flabbergasted and humbled by the letters and emails I get from fans around the world.


Where the Truth Lies by Jessica Warman
  • From Goodreads: On the surface, Emily Meckler leads the perfect life. She has three best friends, two loving parents, and the ideal setup at the Connecticut prep school where her father is the headmaster. But Emily also suffers from devastating nightmares about fire and water, and nobody knows why. Then the enigmatic Del Sugar enters her life, and Emily is immediately swept away—but her passionate relationship with Del is just the first of many things that aren't quite what they seem in Emily's life. As the lies she's been told start to unravel, Emily must set out to discover the truth regarding her nightmare; on a journey that will lead her to question everything she thought she knew about love, family, and her own idyllic past. This companion novel to Warman's critically acclaimed Breathless proves that sometimes the biggest lies are told to the people you love the most.

How long did you work on this book?
It took about eight weeks to write the first draft, but the editing process thereafter is much longer - I think it was about five or six months of work with my editor to get the manuscript ready for publication.

 
How was your journey to publication?
Long, short, how many rejections?  It was definitely a long road to publication.  I'd published poems and short stories prior to selling "Breathless," but nothing major.  It took my agent quite awhile to find a publisher for "Breathless."  There were plenty of rejections along the way - in fact, I think I lost count at one point!

 
What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Definitely perseverance above everything else.  There are so many people who want to be writers, and not all of them will succeed.  But if you never try, you'll never know if you could have done it.  Likewise if you decide to give up after a few rejections.  I know it sounds cheesy, but I really think that's the key to breaking into this business: never, never, never give up.  

 
What has surprised you most about becoming a published author? 
Well, I've never wanted to be anything but a writer, so this is something I've devoted my entire life to.  From the time I was old enough to use a computer, I was writing stories.  And from the time I was old enough to write a query letter and walk to the post office for a stamp, I've been sending out submissions.  Because of all that, to be completely honest, there hasn't been all that much that has surprised me; the business of writing, as well as the creative process, is something I've been working with since I was around twelve years old.  I think the most surprising thing overall is simply the fact that I've actually succeded at becoming a writer.  It was always the only thing I wanted to accomplish professionally, but every time I get a contract or that first copy of a book in the mail... there's just no greater feeling.  It genuinely is a dream come true. 

Additional Releases


Ascendant (Killer Unicorns #2) by Diana Peterfreund
  • From Goodreads: Now a fully trained unicorn hunter, Astrid Llewelyn is learning that she can’t solve all her problems with a bow and arrow. Her boyfriend has left Rome, the Cloisters is in dire financial straits, her best friend’s powers are mysteriously disintegrating, and her hope of becoming a scientist seems to be nothing but an impossible dream. So when she’s given the opportunity to leave the Cloisters and use her skills as part of a scientific quest to discover the Remedy, Astrid leaps at the chance. Finally, she can have exactly what she wants—or can she? At Gordian headquarters deep in France, Astrid begins to question everything she had believed: her love for Giovanni, her loyalty to the Cloisters, and—most of all—her duty as a hunter. Should Astrid be saving the world from killer unicorns or saving unicorns from the world?
The Winds of Heaven by Judith Clarke
  • From Goodreads: Clementine thinks her cousin Fan is everything that she could never be: beautiful, imaginative, wild. The girls promise to be best friends and sisters after the summer is over, but Clementine’s life in the city is different from Fan’s life in dusty Lake Conapaira. And Fan is looking for something, though neither she nor Clementine understands what it is. Printz Honor Winner Judith Clarke delivers a compassionate, compelling novel with the story of a friendship between two young women, and of the small tragedies that tear them apart from each other, and from themselves.

The Frenzy by Francesca Lia Block

  • From Goodreads: When she was thirteen, something terrifying and mysterious happened to Liv that she still does not understand, and now, four years later, her dark secret threatens to tear her apart from her family and her true love.  






I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend by Cora Harrison
  • From Goodreads: When shy Jenny Cooper goes to stay with her cousin Jane Austen, she knows nothing of the world of beautiful dresses, dances, secrets, gossip, and romance that Jane inhabits. At fifteen, Jane is already a sharp observer of the customs of courtship. So when Jenny falls utterly in love with Captain Thomas Williams, who better than Jane to help her win the heart of this dashing man? But is that even possible? After all, Jenny’s been harboring a most desperate secret. Should it become known, it would bring scandal not only to her, but also to the wonderful Austen family. What’s a poor orphan girl to do? In this delicious dance between truth and fiction, Cora Harrison has crafted Jenny’s secret diary by reading everything Jane Austen wrote as a child and an adult, and by researching biographies, critical studies, and family letters. Jenny’s diary makes the past spring vividly to life and provides insight into the entire Austen family—especially the beloved Jane.

Monsters of Men: Chaos Walking (Book 3) by Patrick Ness 
  • From Goodreads: 'War', says the Mayor. 'At last'. Three armies march on New Prentisstown, each one intent on destroying the others. Todd and Viola are caught in the middle, with no chance of escape. As the battles commence, how can they hope to stop the fighting? How can there ever be peace when they're so hopelessly outnumbered? And if war makes monsters of men, what terrible choices await? But then a third voice breaks into the battle, one bent on revenge - the electrifying finale to the award-winning "Chaos Walking" trilogy, "Monsters of Men" is a heart-stopping novel about power, survival, and the devastating realities of war.

Drama High: Pushin' by L. Divine

  • From Goodreads: Even though Jayd-s finished with the AP exams and finally has some space of her own at her mother-s house, she-s got to deal with the drama all around her. Mickey blames Jayd for her ruined baby shower; Rah, her ex, is bristling over her renewed relationship with beach boy Jeremy; and her #1 frenemy, Misty, is hard at work conjuring trouble. With so much going on, it-s hard for Jayd to concentrate on her spirit lessons and hair braiding business. But Jayd-s determined to push back and claim some peace for herself, -cause focusing on the gift from her ancestors could hold the key to bringing the chaos under control for good.

I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett
  • From Amazon: It starts with whispers. Then someone picks up a stone. Finally, the fires begin. When people turn on witches, the innocents suffer. . . . Tiffany Aching has spent years studying with senior witches, and now she is on her own. As the witch of the Chalk, she performs the bits of witchcraft that aren’t sparkly, aren’t fun, don’t involve any kind of wand, and that people seldom ever hear about: She does the unglamorous work of caring for the needy. But someone—or something—is igniting fear, inculcating dark thoughts and angry murmurs against witches. Aided by her tiny blue allies, the Wee Free Men, Tiffany must find the source of this unrest and defeat the evil at its root—before it takes her life. Because if Tiffany falls, the whole Chalk falls with her.

Blood on My Hands by Todd Strasser
  • From Goodreads: Callie is at an October keg party in the woods, when she notices that her friend Katherine has gone missing. The kids spread out to look for her and Callie finds her, lying on a path, with a big, bloody fake knife in her. She reaches for the knife and raises it, only to discover, to her horror, that it is real. At that moment, another of the search party stumbles on them, and takes a photo of Callie holding the bloody knife. Now she is the suspect in a grisly murder. How can she prove her innocence - and find the true murderer?

Giveaways

Here goes. You'd be crazy to pass up a chance to win some of these wonderful new books! Thank you, Brian Falkner for offering a giveaway of BRAIN JACK. Jessica Warman has provided a copy of WHERE THE TRUTH LIES for a giveaway, as well. And Cinda Williams Chima is offering two giveaways-- a paperback copy of THE DEMON KING and a hardcover copy of her new book THE EXILED QUEEN. You must leave a comment and fill out the form below for a chance to win! Contest closes Friday, October 1st at midnight EST and is open to US residents only please. Best of luck!

Happy reading,
Martina & Marissa

21 comments:

  1. These all look so wonderful. The covers are mesmerizing. Wow. Each authors journey seems so individual yet so similar. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Great interviews. I can't wait to read The Exiled Queen. Even more exciting, I'm going to meet Cinda at the Michigan SCBWI conference the weekend of October 8th. I can't wait.

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  3. These are amazing! Good luck to everyone :)

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  4. These all look so good! I love the interviews! Good luck to everyone!

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  5. Such a great list of books! I am reading Gril Stolen as we speak!

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  6. ACK! The covers this week are beautiful. seriously the art departments need to get massive raises. Oh and I"m sure it's written great too.

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  7. Wow. Love the covers. My tbr list is growing!

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  8. A lot of those sound really good! I love that you guys do this - my only complaint is it takes so long for my library to get in new releases. I can't keep up! :D

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  9. so many new titles! I love YA reads!

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  10. It is always eye-opening to see what books are being published these days, especially compared to what I'm writing. And a good point from April Henry: "Tenacity is as important as talent."

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  11. Awesome books! There's so many of these that I've been waiting on. :) Yay!
    Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

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  12. Sometimes I wish I could freeze time just so I can get to all the books in my TBR pile. And now here you go, adding even more books to the stack. Girl, Stolen is at the top of my list. I can't wait to read it!

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  13. So many great books to read, so little time. *Sigh*

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  14. Wow, lots of great books. I love Todd Strasser's books. Can't wait to get my hands on his new one. :D

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  15. All these books look great, I love the Chaos Walking triology so I'm excited for Monsters of Men

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  16. I love reading the journey to publication stories. The one I have to have is Brain Jack. The Frenzy cover is beautiful

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  17. So many books! I liked reading the advice from published authors to newbies like me!

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  18. Thank you for keeping us up on awesome books!

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  19. So many great new books this week! I don't even know where to start...

    a(dot)long(at)tcu(dot)edu

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  20. All of these books sound good! Thank you for the giveaway!

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