Monday, March 7, 2011

26 In Stores This Week (with Interviews & Giveaways)

Can it be possible that another week has already arrived? This one is packed with new YA books. Read on for author interviews and books. Please scroll down to the bottom of the post to enter to win one of 10 prizes!!!

This Week's Interviews

Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard
  • From Goodreads: It's hard finding beauty in the badlands of Washokey, Wyoming, but 14-year-old Grace Carpenter knows it's not her mother's pageant obsessions, or the cowboy dances adored by her small-town classmates. True beauty is wild-girl Mandarin Ramey: 17, shameless and utterly carefree. Grace would give anything to be like Mandarin. When they're united for a project, they form an unlikely, explosive friendship, packed with nights spent skinny-dipping in the canal, liberating the town's animal-head trophies, and searching for someplace magic. Grace plays along when Mandarin suggests they run away together. Blame it on the crazy-making wildwinds plaguing their Badlands town. Because all too soon, Grace discovers Mandarin's unique beauty hides a girl who's troubled, broken, and even dangerous. And no matter how hard Grace fights to keep the magic, no friendship can withstand betrayal.
How long did you work on this book?
Like Mandarin has been with me a very long time! Its first-ever version was a short story for a short fiction class my freshman year of college. I adapted it into a screenplay a couple years later, for a different class. Once I graduated, I turned into a novel for the first time. I queried a few agents with it and had some good feedback, but I knew it needed work I didn't quite have the wisdom to implement.

Then when I was 25, I went back to it and overhauled it -- more of a rewrite than a revision, though the core characters, story and setting remained the same. That version landed my agent and sale within a matter of weeks. It's pretty amazing to think how far the story has come!

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
Both, in a way. The first version of Like Mandarin I queried, I collected about 7 rejections (maybe 4 were requests). Then I wrote the first version of Wanderlove, and collected about 20 rejections over four months. In the meantime, I overhauled Like Mandarin. A weekend after I sent out my first batch of queries for it, I had an offer -- even though Wanderlove was still being considered! Since then, I've had the chance to overhaul it, too, and it'll be my second book with Delacorte in spring 2012.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Write that next book! Don't pin all your hopes and energy on one project. I see writers make than mistake all the time. Nothing cures rejection blues better than a new project you're excited about -- plus, you can always come back to your first project once you've gained more distance and wisdom. I'm so glad I came back to both Like Mandarin and Wanderlove, but just as glad for the time I shelved them.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
How much is out of your control. I mean, I'd heard that, but it doesn't really sink in until you're deep in the game, with your agent and editors and publisher working on your book way off in NYC, while you're at home in your same office. It's a bit like sending your kid to school, I imagine. Especially once proofs are done, and you can't make any more changes. Hello, world... here she comes!

Illegal by Bettina Restrepo
  • From Goodreads: Nora is on a desperate journey far away from home. When her father leaves their beloved Mexico in search of work, Nora fights to make sense of her loss while waiting for her father’s return and a better day. When the letters and money from her father stop coming, Nora decides that she and her mother must look for him in Texas. After a harrowing experience crossing the border, the two are all alone in a strange place called Houston. Now, Nora figures out how to survive while still aching for small comforts: friends, a new school, and a quinceañera to mark her fifteenth birthday.
How long did you work on this book?
1st draft, 3 months. 2nd draft – a bazillionith draft 4.5 years.

How was your journey to publication?
I would say the book had about 15 rejections from different editors, including one at Harper Collins! But, finally when I got the right agent, Blair Hewes, we put the book together and she sold it on first submission to Katherine Tegen at HarperCollins.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Be patient with yourself, read as much as possible (in and out of your genre), and be open to revision… a lot of revision.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
The amount of gratitude I feel toward readers, bloggers and my fellow writers at 2k11 (I just love those silly folks).

The Queen of Water by Laura Resau and Maria Virginia Farinango
  • From Goodreads: Born in an Andean village in Ecuador, Virginia lives with her large family in a small, earthen-walled dwelling. In her village of indiacute;genas, it is not uncommon to work in the fields all day, even as a child, or to be called a longa tontamdash;stupid Indianmdash;by members of the ruling class of mestizos, or Spanish descendants. When seven-year-old Virginia is taken from her village to be a servant to a mestizo couple, she has no idea what the future holds.brIn this poignant novel based on a true story, acclaimed author Laura Resau has collaborated with Mariacute;a Virginia Farinango to recount one girl's unforgettable journey to self-discovery. Virginia's story will speak to anyone who has ever struggled to find his or her place in the world. It will make you laugh and cry, and ultimately, it will fill you with hope.
How long did you work on this book?
Six years! This is a collaborative book with my friend Maria Virginia Farinango— it's very closely based on the story of her girlhood in the Ecuadorian Andes. During the first year we did tape-recorded interviews and story-telling sessions, which I transcribed and translated from Spanish. The next couple years, we worked on early drafts, which ended up being too academic because we were so focused on sticking 100% to the facts. The few years after that, we gave ourselves liberty to elaborate on character and setting details, dialogue, and tweak the narrative structure in order to create a more engaging read. It worked (after a LOT of work!) Some people imagine that it's easier to write a novel based on a true story, but I've found that it's much, much harder. Of the six books I've written, this book took the longest to write.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
Starting in 2001, I sent my first manuscript, What the Moon Saw, to about twelve different editors and agents (very, very, very randomly, which I don't recommend...) I got rejections over the period of a few years. In the mean time, I kept revising the manuscript and making it better (well, after I cried and felt crappy over each rejection).

Then one day, in 2005, a kind and wise editor at Cricket Books gave me insightful, specific revision suggestions for the manuscript. I made the changes, which hugely improved the manuscript, but she ended up not taking it because of changes in her company. I noticed in my SCBWI bulletin that a new editor at Delacorte was interested in acquiring manuscripts, and at that time was willing to suspend the publishing company's policy of no unagented manuscripts. In the bulletin's blurb, she gave a description of what kinds of books she wanted. It sounded to me like What the Moon Saw would be a good fit. She offered me a contract- and that was one of the happiest days of my life! I've worked with Stephanie on all my books so far, which has been a joy.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Always be reflective about *why* you write—the deepest reason for your passion—and hold on to that gem of knowledge through the hard parts of your writing journey. Know that throughout your journey, you will encounter endless metaphorical "monsters" that threaten your creative writing—insecurities, doubts, anxieties. Learn to deal with these monsters early on—this skill will serve you for years to come.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
How nice and human everyone at my publishing house and literary agency are! After years of rejections, I came to see the "powerful" people in the publishing industry as fickle, cruel gods—unapproachable, scary, able to reduce me to tears with a three lines of text. It was really a big shift for me to realize that most of these people—especially my agent and editor—are truly wonderful, smart, sensitive, good-hearted humans.

Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler
  • From Goodreads: Star basketball player Chelsea "Nitro" Keyes had the promise of a full ride to college—and everyone's admiration back home. Then she took a horrible fall during senior year. Now a metal plate holds her together and she feels like a stranger in her own family. That summer, Chelsea's dad hires Clint, a nineteen-year-old ex-hockey player and "boot camp" trainer, to work with her at a northern Minnesota lake resort. As they grow close, Chelsea finds that Clint's haunted by his own tragedy. Will their romance end up hurting them all over again—or finally heal their heartbreak?
How long did you work on this book?
Years. I know I wrote the initial draft before I drafted my first-published novel, A BLUE SO DARK, in ’06…I’m guessing I wrote the first draft of PLAYING HURT in about ’04 or ’05. Initially, the book was a summer love story. The initial draft was actually called SUMMER FLING. I went through several overhauls…after I sold A BLUE SO DARK, I realized what was missing from the book…I incorporated the sports subplot, as well as Clint’s voice (the book is now told from alternating first-person POVs).

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
Loooooooong. I got my master’s in ’01…Writing had been my lifelong dream; because of some incredible financial support from my family, I was able to nix the full-time job. Instead, I devoted my full-time (often, round-the-clock) efforts to getting my writing career off the ground. Took seven and a half years to get to the first publishing deal.

I know my debut novel, A BLUE SO DARK, was rejected over 80 times by editors and agents before I landed a deal. And PLAYING HURT was probably rejected almost twice as much…If I were to count all the rejections I racked up over those seven years, I’m sure it’d total up to over a thousand.

I have to admit, though, the number of rejections didn’t bother me as much as the amount of time it was taking. My friends from college were wrapping up PhDs, were establishing themselves in their careers, moving forward, and I was still knocking my head against the wall. I had moments where I felt like everybody else in the world was where they wanted to be, and I just couldn’t get started.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
To stick with it. Nobody’s born knowing how to write a novel. It takes practice. You’re probably not going to sell the very first book you write. You’ll have to write five, six, seven before you start to sell your work. The rest of the world will move forward around you and you’ll feel stuck. Just remember that the only writers who never see their books on the shelves ARE THE ONES WHO GIVE UP.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
That the struggle doesn’t end when you finally snag your first publishing deal. There’s ALWAYS another mountain to climb, whether it’s growing your readership, breaking into a new genre…Get used to the fight as you’re trying to snag the first publishing deal. It’s the first of many such struggles. But that’s one of the beauties of publishing, too. Sure, there’s a lot of work involved. But there’s a thrill, too, in meeting a challenge head-on.

Blink & Caution by Tim Wynne-Jones
  • From Goodreads: Boy, did Blink get off on the wrong floor. All he wanted was to steal some breakfast for his empty belly, but instead he stumbled upon a fake kidnapping and a cell phone dropped by an "abducted" CEO, giving Blink a link to his perfect blonde daughter. Now Blink is on the run, but it’s OK as long as he’s smart enough to stay in the game and keep Captain Panic locked in his hold. Enter a girl named Caution. As in "Caution: Toxic." As in "Caution: Watch Your Step." She’s also on the run, from a skeezy drug-dealer boyfriend and from a nightmare in her past that won’t let her go. When she spies Blink at the train station, Caution can see he’s an easy mark. But there’s something about this naïve, skinny street punk, whom she only wanted to rob, that tugs at her heart, a heart she thought deserved not to feel. Charged with suspense and intrigue, this taut novel trails two deeply compelling characters as they forge a blackmail scheme that is foolhardy at best, disastrous at worst - along with a fated, tender partnership that will offer them each a rare chance for redemption.
How long did you work on this book?
I began writing the story that would become Blink & Caution on Feb 1, 2009. By the end of the first draft it was called, simply, Blink, because there was only Blink and it was really only half a novel. About a month later, Caution came along and began weaving her way into the story. I finished a first draft of what was now a lot closer to the finished novel in late August 2009. It was more or less in finished form by March 17, 2010. So it took 14 months to write.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
I was pretty lucky with my first book. I entered the Seal First Novel Contest, sponsored by Seal Books, way back in 1979. I won. It was a great way to start, especially since winning included $50,000.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
You have to love the game of it. Yeah, there's lots of work, obviously, but it's the game I love. When you're inside the story, living it day by day, oblivious to the business of bring a writer or any of the other distracting book-world-type things that clamour for one's attention. You can dream all you want -- dreaming is good! But you have to go back down into that story every day, all by yourself -- well, there's you and your characters, you brand new family and best friends. You have to live the story; tat's the only way you'll get it right. The only way you'll write the story you really want to write. And that's the only story anybody wants to see. They want your absolutely best story -- the one only you can tell.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
I've been a published author now for over thirty years and over thirty books. Nothing surprises me, anymore and everything surprises me. I've hit the wall and got up again. I think I expected it to be a steady climb upwards to stardom, success building upon success. But starting out by winning a pretty big prize kind of blew that! So there are the high points, the awards and invitations to other countries to read and the heady feeling of actually making a living doing the thing you most want to do. And there are the low points, too. Every writer has them. And you just have to live through them. No -- more than that. You have to love the low points, too.

The Hunt of the Unicorn by C.C. Humphreys
  • From Goodreads: Elayne thinks the old family story that one of her ancestors stepped through a tapestry into a world of mythical beasts makes a great fireside tale. But she lives in the real world. In New York City. And she's outgrown that kind of fantasy. Until she finds herself in front of a unicorn tapestry at the Cloisters museum and sees her initials woven into the fabric. And hears a unicorn calling to her. And slips and falls—into that other world. Suddenly the line between fantasy and reality isn't so clear. But the danger is real enough. Almost before she can think, Elayne is attacked by a ferocious beast, rescued by a unicorn, and taken prisoner by a tyrant king. Each of them seems to have an idea about her—that she's a hero, a villain, dinner! But Elayne has a few ideas of her own. She wants to overthrow the king; she wants to tame the unicorn. She wants to go home! And she's willing to become both hero and villain to do it.
How long did you work on this book?
Always a tricky question to answer. Its a bit like a relationship - do you date it from first sighting or first kiss?

I had the thought at my desk when I looked at the Unicorn ring on my finger and wondered why I'd worn it for years. What did it mean? Then it took me a couple of months to write a treatment for my editor in New York to consider. Then, a wait while they talked about a contract... By the time I started writing, it had sat in my head for a while so I wrote the first draft quite fast - four months? But I'd decided to write it first person and that didn't really work. So the second draft took waaay longer than it usually does. Then my editor and I had some... robust discussions. Two more drafts... ok, short answer, about 18 months.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
My first novel was an adult book, 'The French Executioner' about the man who killed Anne Boleyn. It sat in my head for years so when I began to write it just exploded out. Then it moved fast, I have no hard luck stories. Got an agent on the strength of the mss, got a two book deal, published the next year. Still writing.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
How long have you got? When I teach I always say this: never show anyone your first draft. I think that should be only for you, a chance to explore, play, above all tell yourself the story without fear of criticism for all the stuff you shouldn't be concentrating on now anyway. If you give yourself that freedom, to be poorly spelled, have bad grammar etc etc but find the story and characters, you have done what it is for. The other stuff is necessary but comes later. Each draft has its own requirement. People give up because the first draft is not perfection. Its not meant to be.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
That I continue to be able to earn a living from it. It still feels like a dream sometimes, for all the years I wanted to be a writer and wasn't.

Jersey Tomatoes are the Best by Maria Padian
  • From Goodreads: Both Henry and Eva are New Jersey natives and excellent athletes: Henry's a master on the tennis court and Eva is a graceful ballerina. When opportunity knocks for both of them the summer before their junior year in high school they throw open the door: Henry sees freedom from her overbearing father and a chance to build her talents on the court. Eva sees the chance to be the best as well as even more pressure to be graceful, lighter, more perfect on the dancefloor. Soon, Eva's obsession with physical perfection leads her down the path to anorexia, and her health issues overwhelm everything else. But through it all these two best friends know that Jersey Tomatoes are the Best, and nothing will come between them no matter the distance.
How long did you work on this book?
I spent about two years alone with TOMATOES. Once I had a manuscript I was ready to share, I went into "revision mode," and spent another year getting feedback/suggestions from my agent, Edite Kroll, and my editor at Knopf, Nancy Hinkel. Both are sharp, insightful readers, and they asked plenty of tough questions and helped me improve the book.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
The journey to publication was short, but the "writing" journey continues to be a lifelong process! I've been writing stories since I was a child, studied English and creative writing in college, attended writers' conferences, and produced boxes of not-very-good work. In 2004 a wonderful teen narrator jumped off the pages of my writing journal, and my first novel, BRETT MCCARTHY: WORK IN PROGRESS was born. I spent two years writing her story, never knowing whether it was at all interesting to anyone but me! It was scary to commit that much time to something that earned no money and, frankly, might be horrible. That was the toughest part of the journey: time spent alone, wondering if you're kidding yourself that you can actually write something people want to read.

Once I had a finished manuscript I shopped it to agents, and Edite, who represents a friend of mine, responded immediately, which is very, very rare. In my experience, finding a good agent is the hardest part of this process, and I've been spectacularly lucky to find Edite. She worked me through a revision, sent BRETT out, and sold it to Knopf in three weeks. She sold it so quickly there was no time for anyone else to reject it!

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Write the story you must tell. Don't worry about publishing, don't worry about what's selling or not selling. Don't even worry about being a "writer." All that is secondary to creating characters that make you laugh, make you weep, and keep you up at night. Yes, this can be a business and a career, but it begins with a compulsion to tell a story.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
The biggest surprise is that I don't feel like a published author! For about a month or so, right when a new book comes out, and I attend signings and readings and the carton of new copies arrives from my publisher, I feel "published." But the rest of the time I'm the same writer I was back in 8th grade, struggling to string words into sentences and bring make-believe people to life. It's still hard and can get lonely and while some days are terrific and the story flows, some days are discouraging.

The best part of publishing is sharing those make-believe people with others. When someone tells me they fell in love with one of my characters, or cried over another one ... well, there's nothing like it.

Additional Releases

The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta
  • From Goodreads: Award-winning author Melina Marchetta reopens the story of the group of friends from her acclaimed novel Saving Francesca - but five years have passed, and now it’s Thomas Mackee who needs saving. After his favorite uncle was blown to bits on his way to work in a foreign city, Tom watched his family implode. He quit school and turned his back on his music and everyone that mattered, including the girl he can’t forget. Shooting for oblivion, he’s hit rock bottom, forced to live with his single, pregnant aunt, work at the Union pub with his former friends, and reckon with his grieving, alcoholic father. Tom’s in no shape to mend what’s broken. But what if no one else is either? An unflinching look at family, forgiveness, and the fierce inner workings of love and friendship, The Piper’s Son redefines what it means to go home again.
Afterlife (Evernight #4) by Claudia Gray
  • From Goodreads: Having become what they feared most, Bianca and Lucas face a terrifying new reality. They must return to Evernight Academy, Lucas as a vampire and Bianca as a wraith. But Lucas is haunted by demons, both personal and supernatural. Bianca must help him fight the evil inside him, combat the forces determined to drive them apart—and find the power to claim her destiny at last.
Giveaway

Dying to know what the 10 giveaways are? We've got swag for Kirsten Hubbard's LIKE MANDARIN, as well as swag and an author letter from Holly Schindler, author of PLAYING HURT. We have a copy of BLINK & CAUTION, THE PIPER'S SON, JERSEY TOMATOES ARE THE BEST, as well as two copies of THE HUNT OF THE UNICORN and three copies of THE QUEEN OF WATER. All you need to do is leave a comment on this post, reside in the US, and fill out the form below. We'll announce winners on Thursday. Good luck!

Happy reading,
The Ladies of ACP

26 comments:

  1. All these books sound wonderful! They are going on my to-read list for sure. Thanks for the awesome giveaway and great interviews.

    californiablue17@aol.com

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  2. First, thank you so much for including Illegal in this awesome and daunting list of books. I will immediately download Laura Resau's book (we're speaking on a panel next month at TLA)

    but, I've been dying for Like Mandarin. Sigh...

    how lucky am I to have so many good books to read!

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  3. I've been hearing so many great things about Like Mandarin--glad it's FINALLY coming out this week :) Thanks as always, ladies!

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  4. I have heard so many great things about Like Mandarin. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy!

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  5. A lot of great books are coming out this month! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  6. Thanks so much for doing this every week! I love learning about the writing process from start to end for each author since everyones experience is so different.

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  7. I've preordered Like Mandarin. Definitely want to check out Playing Hurt. :D

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  8. Like Mandarin is the one I'm most looking forward to. Exciting!

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  9. These books sound terrific! Thanks for putting all this together. I especially loved the authors' advice to aspiring writers. Thanks for the motivation!

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  10. Two of the books here I am dying to read - The Hunt of the Unicorn and Like Mandarin. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  11. I really want to read The Piper's Son. I loved Finnikin of the Rock, so I can't wait to read more from Melina Marchetta.

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  12. So many of these sound good. I really appreciate your new release posts, Thank you!

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  13. Another exciting week! Most excited about Playing Hurt!

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  14. Like Mandarin and the Hunt have been wanted here for a while. Thank you for the updates on new releases. Several I had not heard of before but they look great!

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  15. Ohh I have been wanting the Piper's Son and Like Mandarin! Thank you for letting me know they were released. The selection was great to look over.

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  16. OMg! Need to go shopping! Thanks so much for the head's up! :)

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  17. I've been dying to read Like Mandarin so I'm crossing my fingers I win it!

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  18. I absolutely love this blog! You always have the best books.

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  19. thanks for the giveaway...you always have great books and interviews.

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  20. Love the interview replies, so humbling to see how many rejections and how long the writing and revising processes take ea. author.

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  21. So many great titles and I can't believe that must of them I'm just now hearing about. I think they all sound great, especially The Hunt ofr the Unicorn and Piper's Son.
    Love the mini interviews (I always think it's cool to learn more about authors).

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  22. WOW! A great giveaway! And more great reviews!
    Thanks for doing this every Monday :)

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  23. I am excited for Afterlife. I read the first 3 and thought they were pretty good.

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  24. So many great books--can't wait to read them--and as always, the mantra is: don't give up!

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  25. Thanks for this. If I win, I only want the copy of Blink & Caution or The Piper's Son.

    marynellie8 at yahoo dot com

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