Tuesday, February 22, 2011

21 In Stores This Week (with Interviews & Giveaways) Part 2

It's day two in our mega-giveaway of all things new in the land of YA. Click here if you missed day one. Read on for author interviews, fab books, and scroll all the way down to enter to win some wonderful prizes!

This Week's Interviews

Tortall and Other Lands: A Collection of Tales by Tamora Pierce
  • From Goodreads: Collected here for the first time are all of the tales from the land of Tortall, featuring both previously unknown characters as well as old friends. Filling some gaps of time and interest, these stories, some of which have been published before, will lead Tammy's fans, and new readers into one of the most intricately constructed worlds of modern fantasy.

How long did you work on this book?
It’s a collection of stories stemming from the 1980s, including three brand new ones written over six months in 2010 (those are the longest ones). “Plain Magic,” 1985, is my first published fantasy short story, from the U.K. anthology PLANETFALL, edited by Douglas Hill for Oxford University Press.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
My journey is quite unusual. All of the stories but “Mimic,” “Nawat,” and “Lost” were written on request for various magazines and anthologies, so there were no rejections or length submissions processes. The collection itself was the brainchild of my Random House editors, Mallory Loehr and R. Schuyler Hooke, so once I stopped screaming at the thought of writing three short stories in a row, we closed the deal.

This is not to say I haven’t had long journeys or rejections. Before “Plain Magic,” I was unable to sell any short stories in fiction—my short sales until and after that time were all non-fiction. Most of the rejected short pieces were on submission for months to various publications until I finally shelved them. My longest novel publishing journey is that of the The Song of the Lioness quartet. I began it as a single adult novel in November 1976; the first book in the revised quartet for teens was published in 1983, and the last book of the quartet was published in 1988. I’d say that’s a long journey!

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Keep at it. All of us are bad when we start. The only way we get better is by continuing to write. And entertain yourself. That way you'll want to keep writing in order to learn how the story comes out!

What has surprised you most about becoming a published writer?
Realizing that people really want to read my work and that it has far more influence on my readers than just a fun story to read. They take so many ideas and new directions from my work. It’s always a surprise and delight to me, to share with others who want to share with me!

Upgrade U by Ni-Ni Simone
  • From Amazon: Life is poppin' and seventeen-year-old Seven McKnight is rockin' Stiles University's hottest baller, Josiah Whitaker, on her arm when it all falls apart. With groupies threatening her basketball wife status and Josiah's dreams of the NBA blowing up his ego, Seven finds herself in a tailspin. . .should she stay or leave? In steps the unbelievably fine sophomore heartthrob, Zaire St. James, who's been watching Seven and waiting for his chance. With Josiah doing his own thing, Seven finds herself falling for Zaire. But just when she decides to give Zaire her everything, Josiah becomes determined to win Seven back by any means necessary. . .
How long did you work on this book?
I worked on Upgrade U for two months. I work full-time, have a husband and three children so I write my novels most times between 5 and 7 a.m. and when I come home in the evenings; after, dinner, homework, and conversation with my husband of course. And no, I have no secret desire to be Wonder Woman. LOL. I prayed for the chance, God gave me the gift and sacrifice comes with it.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
My journey to be published was not a hard one. I sent my first manuscript out seven years ago and was accepted the first time; this was not under Ni-Ni Simone though. Along with writing YA fiction I also write adult fiction under my name, Tu-Shonda Whitaker.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
To always remember that writing is creative but being published is a business.

What surprised you most about becoming a published author?
The embracing of my work and that I was truly, truly living my dream.

Orchards by Holly Thompson
  • From Goodreads: After a classmate commits suicide, Kana Goldberg—a half-Japanese, half-Jewish American—wonders who is responsible. She and her cliquey friends said some thoughtless things to the girl. Hoping that Kana will reflect on her behavior, her parents pack her off to her mother's ancestral home in Japan for the summer. There Kana spends hours under the hot sun tending to her family's mikan orange groves. Kana's mixed heritage makes it hard to fit in at first, especially under the critical eye of her traditional grandmother, who has never accepted Kana's father. But as the summer unfolds, Kana gets to know her relatives, Japan, and village culture, and she begins to process the pain and guilt she feels about the tragedy back home. Then news about a friend sends her world spinning out of orbit all over again.
How long did you work on this book?
The actual writing of Orchards, once I allowed myself to drop all my other writing projects to focus on this one, took about a year. But the research for the setting in a Japanese mikan growing village took several years, including the 18 months that I spent working with a mikan farmer to learn everything from planting, pruning, thinning and harvesting to storage and shipping. That mikan research was actually for my second adult novel (still in progress), but a visit by the farmer’s American-born niece mid-way through my village work got me thinking about a YA story of a bicultural U.S. teen sent to stay with Japanese relatives. And actually going back farther, the key, very painful, seed for the book, the suicide of a friend’s daughter, occurred fifteen years ago. So although the writing period was relatively short (for me, anyways), Orchards had been gestating in my head for many years.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
Orchards is my third book—first was my adult novel Ash in 2001, second my picture book The Wakame Gatherers in 2007—and now Orchards, my first YA title. To push myself with Orchards, I participated in the Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program. Nevada is a long way from Japan where I live, but the program was exactly what I wanted for this project—a mentor to work with over a six-month period, which was not the sort of opportunity I could find in Japan. My amazing mentor Esther Hershenhorn provided me with just the feedback that I needed to hone my story into a polished draft, which I sent to agent Jamie Weiss Chilton, who presented at the April conference that kicked off the program. Incredibly, before the mentor program had ended, I had signed with Jamie and the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Just two months (and many post-its, several plot charts and multiple revisions) later, Jamie was sending the manuscript out. Not long after that I’d received an offer for a two-book deal from my editor Francoise Bui at Delacorte/Random House.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
When you write, do it for the sheer joy and pain and wonder of discovering and sharing stories. Go places near and far. Encounter the world. Learn and soak up as much of the world as you can. Distance yourself from what’s familiar so that you can gain new perspectives. Write for children everywhere. Share books and stories with children everywhere.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
What is always surprising to me is when my words touch people—when people write to tell me they were moved by a particular scene, or when I’m giving a reading and audience members laugh at the same moment, or when a child says, “That’s just what happens to me when I’m speaking two languages.” As an English-language writer living in Japan, I spend so much time creating stories in solitude that it is always a thrill to know that readers in many different locations connect with my characters. Even more thrilling is seeing kids and teens inspired to create their own original stories that one of my stories helped seed.

Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton
  • From Goodreads: Ari can’t help feeling lost and alone. With teal eyes and freakish silver hair that can’t be changed or destroyed, Ari has always stood out. And after growing up in foster care, she longs for some understanding of where she came from and who she is. Her search for answers uncovers just one message from her long dead mother: Run. Ari can sense that someone, or something, is getting closer than they should. But it’s impossible to protect herself when she doesn’t know what she’s running from or why she is being pursued. She knows only one thing: she must return to her birthplace of New 2, the lush rebuilt city of New Orleans. Upon arriving, she discovers that New 2 is very...different. Here, Ari is seemingly normal. But every creature she encounters, no matter how deadly or horrifying, is afraid of her. Ari won’t stop until she knows why. But some truths are too haunting, too terrifying, to ever be revealed.
How long did you work on this book?
About four months total in the actual writing and then revising, and then probably add couple weeks after getting notes from my agent and CPs. The story also stewed in my head for a bit before I sat down to write -- couldn't say how long that would equate to, though!

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
Very long. I wrote my first manuscript back in 2003 (and before that it was plays and screenplays). I went through six manuscripts and years of rejections (they number in the hundreds). It was tough. A very long road with a lot of ups and downs.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
To keep writing new material. I see a lot of authors write one manuscript and then knock on doors for years and years. When you finish one and begin submitting, start another because you never know what will end up selling. It might be your fifth manuscript or your tenth. It doesn't mean you have to give up on your first book, it just means you're giving yourself more opportunities and chances of selling and getting better with each new book.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
The stress. It's quite different than writing a book on your own timetable. It's quite another to write one on someone else's, when they've already paid for it, and have certain expectations and you have to write within boundaries... So it's a bit more pressure. And it's definitely a lesson in self-discipline and time management! There are good surprises, too, though. Seeing your book on the shelf, building great friendships, getting paid to do something you love. :-)

Deadly by Julie Chibbaro
  • From Goodreads:  A mysterious outbreak of typhoid fever is sweeping New York. Could the city’s future rest with its most unlikely scientist? If Prudence Galewski is ever going to get out of Mrs. Browning’s esteemed School for Girls, she must demonstrate her refinement and charm by securing a job appropriate for a young lady. But Prudence isn’t like the other girls. She is fascinated by how the human body works and why it fails. With a stroke of luck, she lands a position in a laboratory, where she is swept into an investigation of the fever bound to change medical history. Prudence quickly learns that an inquiry of this proportion is not confined to the lab. From ritzy mansions to shady bars and rundown tenements, she explores every potential cause of the disease. But there’s no answer in sight—until the volatile Mary Mallon emerges. Dubbed “Typhoid Mary” by the press, Mary is an Irish immigrant who has worked as a cook in every home the fever has ravaged. Strangely, though, she hasn’t been sick a day in her life. Is the accusation against her an act of discrimination? Or is she the first clue in a new scientific discovery? Prudence is determined to find out. In a time when science is for men, she’ll have to prove to the city, and to herself, that she can help solve one of the greatest medical mysteries of the twentieth century.
How long did you work on this book?
I got the idea for Deadly in 2003. My first draft was from a boy’s perspective, and the Typhoid Mary story was intertwined with another disaster at the time, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. After a few drafts, I changed the boy to a girl, Prudence, cut the Triangle story, and turned it into a diary. This took about five years of back and forth with my then-editor (with several long breaks) to figure out.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?My journey to novel publication was quite long, with lots of rejection letters, most of which my husband has finally convinced me to throw away. I wrote my first novel in 1993, which wasn’t published. I published a number of short stories and articles through the years, but didn’t sell a novel (the third I had written), until 2002. Redemption came out in 2004, nearly ten years after I’d committed myself to writing. I attended many conferences to meet folks in publishing, and it was through a conference that I met the editor who introduced me to my agent in Sept. 2001.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Each writer’s life is so individual, it’s hard to tell others what advice is best for them. I think it’s a good idea to get a sense of your own talent, but also to know that if you keep learning your craft, you can become a better writer. There are many wonderful books on writing that I re-read often, my favorite being Janet Burroway’s “Writing Fiction.”

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
I think it’s the fact that once I write something and it’s out of my hands, it really belongs to the world, which judges and names it. That outside opinion of your darlings, works that you’ve held in your secret heart for so long without the public eye, can be quite shocking. Like being inside a dark box for a few years, scratching into the walls, then opening out into the sunlight.

Additional Releases

Haven by Kristie Cook
  • From Goodreads: One month into her junior year, sixteen-year-old Violet McKenna transfers to the Winterhaven School in New York’s Hudson Valley, inexplicably drawn to the boarding school with high hopes. Leaving Atlanta behind, she’s looking forward to a fresh start--a new school, and new classmates who will not know her deepest, darkest secret, the one she’s tried to hide all her life: strange, foreboding visions of the future. But Winterhaven has secrets of its own, secrets that run far deeper than Violet’s. Everyone there--every student, every teacher--has psychic abilities, 'gifts and talents,' they like to call them. Once the initial shock of discovery wears off, Violet realizes that the school is a safe haven for people like her. Soon, Violet has a new circle of friends, a new life, and maybe even a boyfriend--Aidan Gray, perhaps the smartest, hottest guy at Winterhaven. Only there’s more to Aidan than meets the eye--much, much more. And once she learns the horrible truth, there’s no turning back from her destiny. Their destiny. Together, Violet and Aidan must face a common enemy--if only they can do so without destroying each other first.
Ominous (Private) by Kate Brian

  • From Goodreads: The Private series, which has 1.6 million books in print, begins it's final chapter!
Giveaway

Here comes part two in our mega-giveaway! We're happy to announce more awesome prizes in addition to those revealed yesterday. Kelly Keaton has offered fun swag for her book DARKNESS BECOMES HER. Julie Chibbaro is kindly offering a copy of DEADLY and Ni-Ni Simone is passing along a copy of UPGRADE U. Did we mention you can enter both days to double your chances of winning? The contest is open to U.S. residents and will run through Wednesday night. We'll see you back here Thursday morning when we announce the lucky winners!

Happy reading,
The Ladies of ACP

21 comments:

  1. Great interviews. I'd love to interview Tamora Pierce. I love her books.

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  2. Wow. This is like several great interviews in one post. Well done!

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  3. Another great giveaway - thanks again!

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  4. Tamora Pierce! How marvelous--I've read The Song of the Lioness quartet. :) Thanks for all the interviews and reviews!

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  5. Holy cow! You guys are the queens of giveaways!! :-)

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  6. More great books, so many come out this week!

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  7. I have been waiting anxiously for Haven and Darkness Becomes her. What another great week of releases.

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  8. Super excited for Darkness Becomes Her. The blogs have been giving excellent reviews.

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  9. Orchards looks especially interesting. I'm excited to read it!

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  10. This is really great! Thanks for the giveaway.

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  11. Wow these are some amazing titles released this week. I need to work extra to get them ;)
    Thank you for the opportunity.

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  12. Wow - these look fantastic. Putting them on my "to read" list.

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  13. Great Giveaway! Can't wait to read on of these books if I win! :D

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  14. Love the interviews and of course the giveaways! All these books look great especially Darkness Becomes Her :-)

    californiablue17@aol.com

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  15. Seems like Darkness Becomes Her is popular, but I have to say I'm intrigued too and can't wait to read it.

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  16. Great interviews! I'm a long time fan of Tamora Pierce and all of the positive comments about Keaton's Darkness Becomes Her have me intrigued! Can't wait for the great reads.

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  17. I have to admit I am most curious about Haven and Darkness Becomes Her. Thanks for sharing.

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  18. Great job interviews! I'm a very long time enthusiast involving Tamora Pierce and every one of your beneficial comments about Keaton's Dark Will become The girl have got me fascinated! Can not wait for wonderful scans.
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