Tuesday, May 31, 2011

35 In Stores This Week (with Interviews and Giveaways) Part 2

Here comes another round of fabulous new YA books. If you missed day one, please check out the other books that hit shelves this week. You can enter the giveaway twice to double your chances of winning!

This Week's Interviews

Bloodspell by Amalie Howard
  • From Goodreads: The spell was simple... Cruentus Protectum (Defend the Blood). But what do you do if your blood is your enemy? Victoria Warrick has always known she was different. An outcast at school, she is no stranger to adversity. But when she receives an old journal for her seventeenth birthday, nothing prepares her for the dark secrets it holds -- much less one that reveals she's a witch with unimaginable power. What's more, when she meets the dazzling but enigmatic Christian Devereux, she has no idea how much her life is about to change. Enemies will hunt her. Friends will turn on her. The terrible curse that makes her blood run black will stop at nothing to control her. And Christian has a sinister secret of his own... Without knowing whom to trust, can Victoria survive her blood's deadly desires? Or will she lose everything, including herself?
How long did you work on this book?
This story has been germinating for years and years. The actual book took me about three months to write – we're talking about three months for the – in Anne Lamott's words, the crappy first draft, and then came a few more months of editing, then some time off, then some more editing. It's definitely been a work in progress.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
My journey to publication is an interesting story. Two and a half years ago, when Bloodspell went out to agents, I received 8 offers from top agencies in NY within the first week. I chose one of the 8, which in hindsight turned out to not the most intelligent decision because I went for an agent looking to break in to YA, and not one with already established contacts. Note to new authors – when starting out, go for the agent with the network and the sales in your genre. Needless to say, as much as I personally loved my agent, it didn't work out quite as I'd envisioned…you know, like writing on a yacht in the Mediterranean. So anyway, after about a year, I separated from my agent, and I decided to look into independent presses on my own. I found a good one, and here we are. I'm looking into some rowboats in the interim until I get to the yacht. As far as rejections go, the publishing business is a tough industry especially if you're a newbie, so let's just say that I'm planning to wallpaper a room in my house!

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
The most heartfelt advice I can pass on to other writers is to never give up. Carve your own path. And don't let rejection hammer you – it's all part of the process, take in the constructive and make your work the best it can be. And keep going no matter what. Believe in yourself and you can't fail. Sounds a little preachy, but it's true.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
It's surprising how passionate people can become so quickly about a book, my book in particular. It's overwhelming and very very humbling. I'd only hope to inspire my readers the way that authors like J.K. Rowling and Kristin Cashore have inspired me.

Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari

  • From Goodreads: Epidemics, floods, droughts--for sixteen-year-old Lucy, the end of the world came and went, taking 99% of the population with it. As the weather continues to rage out of control, and Sweepers clean the streets of plague victims, Lucy survives alone in the wilds of Central Park. But when she's rescued from a pack of hunting dogs by a mysterious boy named Aidan, she reluctantly realizes she can't continue on her own. She joins his band of survivors, yet, a new danger awaits her: the Sweepers are looking for her. There's something special about Lucy, and they will stop at nothing to have her.
How long did you work on this book?
The first draft was actually pretty fast, about 3 months. Someone once said that writing is all about revision though and I definitely find this to be true. Writers write in different ways. I tend to try to get a good draft down as quickly as possible because I find it quite difficult. Then I revise before giving it to my beta readers, then more revision. In the case of Ashes, Ashes I queried agents at that point and was lucky enough to sign with one very quickly. Then I revised some more. And after he sold the manuscript to Scholastic? More revisions! Fortunately I love to revise. Getting a first draft down? Not so much.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
It was actually very quick. Once my agent had sent out the manuscript, I think Scholastic responded with an offer within a few weeks. There was maybe one rejection at that point, but we accepted Scholastic's offer before anyone else had a chance to reject it. :)

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Perseverance is key. Innate talent is definitely a good thing, but I think a willingness to work really hard, learn your craft and accept constructive criticism as a valuable tool, are even more important. I think most of us can become better writers just by working at it and staying flexible. And never giving up!

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
I am still somewhat blown away that readers are responding so well to the book- identifying with the characters and communicating their enthusiasm. Books have always been so important in my life, and I'm such a fan girl of writers, that it's a little strange being on the other side now. I am so grateful to be able to do what I love so much.


Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

  • From Goodreads: How do you defy destiny? Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is—no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it's getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she's haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they're destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history. As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together—and trying to tear them apart.
How long did you work on this book?
Starcrossed took me about a month to outline and then eight months to write.  I was lucky.  My unbelievably supportive husband told me to quit my job and focus completely on my writing, so I had the rare luxury of being able to write all day, every day, until it was finished.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
Again, I was crazy fortunate.  When I finished the manuscript, I had no idea what to do with it.  My husband is a screenwriter, and he has a lot of contacts in the movie industry, but not in publishing.  Figuring we had nothing to lose, he reached out to a manager here in Hollywood, Rachel Miller, on Facebook.  Rachel was having a slow day and decided, what the heck?  Why not read the first chapter?  She ended up loving my book, and gave it that day to a literary agent friend of hers in New York, Mollie Glick.  Mollie read it that night and wanted to work with me.  I literally woke up the next morning with a manager and an agent.  Then my killer agent gave the manuscript to an editor friend of hers which led to a pre-emtive deal with Harper Teen.  I was still patting myself on the back for getting representation-- which is a huge hurdle-- while I was being introduced to my brilliant editor, Laura Arnold.  It took about two months for it to really sink in that I was going to be published, and sometimes it still feels like it's too good to be true.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Never underestimate the power of a good outline.  The outline is your friend.  It banishes writer's block and it will be there for you all through your edits.  If you make a detailed outline before you start working, your story will pretty much write itself.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
Interviews!  At first I felt so goofy doing these.  I kept thinking, "why would anyone want to know all this stuff about me?" and I felt so shy opening up.  It's like going on a thousand blind dates, but I'm starting to get the hang of it.  :)


Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach

  • From Goodreads: Fifteen-year-old Felton Reinstein has always been on the smallish side, but in his sophomore year he starts growing...and growing. During gym one day he smokes the football jocks in a 600-yard race. Felton has never been interested in sports, but there's no doubt-he is "stupid fast." As he juggles his newfound athletic prowess, his mom's sudden depression, an annoying little brother, and his first love, he discovers a shocking secret about his past which explains why he's turning out the way he is.
How long did you work on this book?
I had a weird experience with this book...  I saw my cousin walking really fast one day, thought, "He is stupid fast!" Then got all crazy and wrote the first 70 pages in two days and then finished a draft in a couple of weeks (it was like something was falling out of the sky on top of me).  Then, of course, I thought it was done.  About six months later, after several rejections, I looked again and realized there were huge holes!  I spent another couple of months going after those problems and it sold shortly thereafter.  You know when you hear you should set aside your manuscript for awhile and revisit it with fresh eyes later?  Yeah, that's good advice.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
Once I got it to my agent, I think it was about 8 months.  I did have to do that re-write in the middle or it would not have sold, I imagine.  There were LOTS of rejections. Many were related to the audience: I saw notes that said something like: Really love this character, but can't imagine a market (BOYS DON'T READ) for the book.  Hopefully, those editors were wrong!  Yeah, I wrote the book for boys (because my 13-year-old son doesn't have enough to read), but I'm seeing enough feedback from girls to know that the book crosses over.  I think!

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Write who you are. I'm a goofy person.  When I try to strip the humor out of my work, it is so flat.  Know thyself!  Then, make sure that's who you are as a writer. This art is definitely not about hiding or trying to be something other.  The truest representation of your vibe, values, aesthetics, etc. will take you to your best material.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
How cool other YA writers are.  I was at BEA last week and had an absolute ball meeting with people.  I write contemporary and wondered if there would be sort of cliques based on genre, but I couldn't see any of that.  It was like the biggest gathering of excellent dorks of a thousand flavors one could imagine.  I also saw very little in the way of competitiveness, which is something writers are famous for.  Publishing in YA is comforting compared to the adult literary world.

Drama High: So, So Hood by L. Divine
  • From Goodreads: For Jayd Jackson, a new school takes the drama to a new level. . . With her senior year just beginning, Jayd s drama is going nowhere anytime soon. Although she's graduated to the next level with her powers, she's also going head-to-head with her former best friend, Misty. Jayd's also got to deal with the aftermath of the debutante ball, her boyfriend's cheating, and her ex-boyfriend/best guy friend Rah's continuing baby mama drama. Luckily, when her crew gets to be too much, Jayd can turn to her new crush Keenan, a UCLA first draft football pick, for a time out. Jayd's got to keep a cool head now more than ever because there's a new enemy waiting to pounce if she lets down her guard. . .
How long did you work on this book?
Volume 14 took approximately 4 months to complete, but I chose the name and subject matter about three years ago.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
It was and still is a long road to publication. My first novel, The Fight had about twenty rejections before I happened to be in the right place at the right time. I started this journey in 1999 and it wasn't until November 2004 I was finally picked up by my first publisher.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Keep writing no matter what. If you believe in your craft, your voice and your purpose your audience will find you.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
The ups and downs of it all. It's amazing to me how many readers attribute my "lil series" to giving them a love for reading they never had. I am humbled by this and don't take it for granted-ever. But I am not a rich or famous woman by-far as a lot of my readers assume. I have lived as a full-time novelist for several years and it's a daily struggle :)

Additional Releases

The Ivy: Secrets by Lauren Kunze and Rina Onur
  • From Goodreads: Gregory or Clint? Clint or Gregory? Matt, anyone? And what is Lexi up to . . .exactly? When we last saw Callie Andrews, she was caught on the horns of a dilemma. Lexi was threatening to expose all of her safely guarded, deeply buried secrets from high school, and Callie had just hooked up with bad-boy Gregory--despite the fact that she had a perfect (sort of) boyfriend and her BFF Vanessa had claimed (sort of) Gregory as her own. Yow. Entertaining, hilarious, addictive, scandalous, sexy, and smart, The Ivy series is an insider's look at freshman life at Harvard University. This isn't high school anymore!
The Midnight Palace by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  • From Goodreads: Set in Calcutta in the 1930s, The Midnight Palace begins on a dark night when an English lieutenant fights to save newborn twins Ben and Sheere from an unthinkable threat. Despite monsoon-force rains and terrible danger lurking around every street corner, the young lieutenant manages to get them to safety, but not without losing his own life... Years later, on the eve of Ben and Sheere's sixteenth birthday, the mysterious threat reenters their lives. This time, it may be impossible to escape. With the help of their brave friends, the twins will have to take a stand against the terror that watches them in the shadows of the night--and face the most frightening creature in the history of the City of Palaces.
Giveaway

In addition to the prizes offered yesterday, you can enter to win ASHES, ASHES, STUPID FAST, and BLOODSPELL! Please fill out the form below and leave a comment on this post to enter to win. The contest is open to US residents. We'll reveal the winners this Thursday.

Happy reading!
The Ladies of ACP


35 comments:

  1. Great interviews and such great books coming out. I'd love to win bloodspell.

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  2. I so want Stupid Fast for my boy students. I think they would really like it!

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  3. Great books coming out. I've been hearing lovely things about Starcrossed in particular!

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  4. Great! More books :) I hope to win any one of these books! :)

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  5. Some amazing stories this week! Thanks!

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  6. Ashes, Ashes looks so good. I have really been wanting to read it!

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  7. Wow, so many awesome books!! *puts all of them on to-read list*

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  8. I'm dying to read Starcrossed and Secrets :)

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  9. So many awesome books, so little time. My wish list just keeps getting longer and longer and longer.

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  10. I haven't read a good post-apocalyptic like Ashes, Ashes in a while. Sounds like a fun read.

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  11. It looks like you have so amazing reads this time! Blood Spells looks intriguing!

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  12. These all look so good! I don't know where to start...

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  13. Great releases this week! I'm looking forward to reading Starcrossed. Bloodspell and Ashes, Ashes sound really good, also.

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  14. Ashes Ashes is what I look forward to read this most.

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  15. I would love to read Bloodspell.

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  16. Can't wait to read Starcrossed!

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  17. All of these books sound interesting. I hope to read them.

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  18. Extremely anticipating Bloodspell and Ashes Ashes. Thanks again! Starcrossed is also on my radar.

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  19. I am excited for ASHES, ASHES! I love the cover for it, and now must hunt down money to buy it.

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  20. I think there is definitely a market in books for boys. I would think the main reason boys don't read as much at a certain age is because there's so little written for them. I think Mr. Herbach will definitely have an audience.

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  21. It would be great to win any of these. :)

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  22. Bloodspell sounds awesome & I really want to read Starcrossed!

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  23. So many good books! Specially Ashes, Ashes and Secrets!

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  24. I can't wait to read these books! I am so excited for Ashes, Ashes!

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  25. My wishlist gets longer and longer every time I visit! :)

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  26. So fun to read these interviews! I love Geoff's remark that writers for teens/children are not as competitive--I've heard others say that too, and found it to be true. A lovely, supportive group!!

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  27. Victoria ZumbrumMay 31, 2011 at 8:01 PM

    Alot of great books to read. Thanks for the giveaway. Tore923@aol.com

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  28. I was able to meet Amalie at BEA this past Friday and she is such a sweetheart. I'm looking forward to reading Bloodspell, as well as so many other releases. I love how Stupid Fast just sort of came about too. It's very eye-opening to see the many ways that writers become authors.

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  29. Bloodspell looks great, as does Secrets. What a great week of releases!

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  30. This has been an awesome week of releases,thank you

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  31. Ooh, I really want to read starcrossed too! thanks for the chance!

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  32. All of these books look awesome, especially Bloodspell and Starcrossed. I can't wait to read it! Great interviews!

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  33. How is one supposed to keep up with all of the great releases?

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  34. Ashes, Ashes sounds like a fantastic book...as do the rest of them.

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Tell us what you think. We'd love to hear from you! :)