Monday, May 23, 2011

42 In Stores This Week (with Interviews & Giveaways) Part 1

Prepare your to-be-read pile for some fabulous additions. This week features wonderful new books, exciting author interviews, and of course, giveaways. Be sure to come back tomorrow so you can see what else is in stores and enter our giveaway a second time!

This Week's Interviews

Blood Magic (The Blood Journals) by Tessa Gratton
  • From Goodreads: Everywhere Silla Kennicott turns she sees blood. She can't stop thinking about her parents alleged murder-suicide. She is consumed by a book filled with spells that arrives mysteriously in the mail. The spells share one common ingredient: blood, and Silla is more than willing to cast a few. What's a little spilled blood if she can uncover the truth? And then there's Nick—the new guy at school who makes her pulse race. He has a few secrets of his own and is all too familiar with the lure of blood magic. Drawn together by a combination of fate and chemistry, Silla and Nick must find out who else in their small Missouri town knows their secret and will do anything to take the book and magic from Silla.
How long did you work on this book?
I wrote the first draft in about 6 weeks, and then over the course of a year wrote 5 more drafts. BLOODMAGIC sold almost exactly a year after I started writing it.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
I’ve been writing since I was a kid, but took breaks. Once in high school when I decided to be an actor instead, and once in college when I decided to be a political activist. Since I started focusing on writing after leaving grad school, it was just under 5years before BLOOD MAGIC sold. I’d previously written 5 novels, queried 2 of them to agents. I never queried more than 5 or 6 agents before turning to the next novel – I had it in my head that when I had the right book, I wouldn’t be rejected at all. CRAZYTALK – don’t listen to me, just because eventually it worked out. With Blood Magic I only queried Laura Rennert at first, and she offered, and the rest is history.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Have adventures! Travel and experience all the new things you can.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
The emotional roller coaster, definitely. I’ve always considered myself to be sailing on an even keel, but debuting really ruined that. ;)

Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky
  • From Goodreads: Maddie lives in a world where everything is done on the computer. Whether it’s to go to school or on a date, people don’t venture out of their home. There’s really no need. For the most part, Maddie’s okay with the solitary, digital life—until she meets Justin. Justin likes being with people. He enjoys the physical closeness of face-to-face interactions. People aren’t meant to be alone, he tells her. Suddenly, Maddie feels something awakening inside her—a feeling that maybe there is a different, better way to live. But with society and her parents telling her otherwise, Maddie is going to have to learn to stand up for herself if she wants to change the path her life is taking. In this not-so-brave new world, two young people struggle to carve out their own space.
How long did you work on this book?
The first draft of Awaken was written very quickly, in about three or four months.  Once I started writing, the process hit me like an addiction.  I couldn’t turn my characters off and sometimes I wrote for fifteen hours straight.  That’s when I know I’m writing something special—when the characters take over.  If I have to think too hard, if I have to force it—those scenes usually get thrown away.  My revisions took about six months.  I tend to write first drafts quickly and then I go back and add the details and descriptions and polish it up.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
My journey to publishing has been long and jagged, with many learning lessons.  Awaken is not the first book I’ve tried to publish.  I tried selling a chick lit novel about six years ago and all the agents I queried rejected it.  It was very discouraging.  I also tried selling a screenplay but no one opted for it.  Awaken, however, moved fairly quickly.  I had a handful of rejections but I also had a couple of agents interested.  Once I signed with my agent, it was picked up by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in about six months.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
My best advice, after trying so many publishing paths myself, is not to cut corners. I tried networking, I tried sending my manuscript straight to publishers, I tried writing proposals before I had a finished manuscript.  I even chased down an actress in the LAX airport to try and pitch my screenplay.  Things started happening for me when I stopped trying to get in a “back door” and discovered there is a way to walk in the front door.  You just have to be professional about it.  My advice is write the book. Polish the book. Make it shine.  Then query agents.  The business is set up to help you, believe it or not.  Sometimes it feels like an impossible ladder to climb, but it isn’t.  You simply can’t skip the steps.  On my website, I offer more advice about publishing:  http://www.katiekacvinsky.com/publishing.php

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
Well, not to sound negative because this is my dream come true, but the pace is very slow.  This is painful because I’m the most impatient person I know.  But, you simply have to learn patience in this field.  If you write a book, give yourself about four years to edit/sell/publish it. It takes so much encouragement and support from friends and family. And quite a bit of wine to take the edge off.  Let’s just say, at my book release party on May 23rd, I am celebrating!

With or Without You by Brian Farrey

  • From Goodreads: Eighteen year-old Evan and his best friend, Davis, get beaten up for being loners. For being gay. For just being themselves. But as rough as things often seem, at least Evan can take comfort in his sweet, sexy boyfriend Erik--whom he’s kept secret from everyone for almost a year. Then Evan and Davis are recruited to join the Chasers, a fringe crowd that promises them protection and status. Davis is swept up in the excitement, but Evan is caught between his loyalty to Davis and his love for Erik. Evan’s lied to keep his two worlds separate. Now his lies are about to implode…and destroy the very relationships he’s been trying to protect. 
How long did you work on this book?
I started the book in 2005.  I had just started work in an MFA program and when I fleshed out the first few chapters, I had an inkling it was going to be the project that would eventually be my master’s thesis.  (I changed my mind several times during the program, at various times thinking my thesis would instead be a collection of short stories, a collection of essays, a memoir, or a completely different novel.  In the end, this is the one that won out.)  I worked at it slowly but surely. I tend to work on several things at once and since I considered myself to be in an “apprentice” writing state while I was in the program, I wasn’t in a rush to finish.  At some point in 2006, I was about halfway done and got stuck.  I put it aside for about six months and worked on other projects.  Then one day, I saw the last five chapters in my head. I just….SAW the ending.  So I skipped ahead (I had been writing chronologically up until that point) and wrote the ending.  Once I had that, I became unstuck.  I suddenly understood how to bridge the gap I’d created.  There was no longer a gaping maw. I had an “other side” to reach.  Work resumed and the first draft was done in 2007.  I spent a year revision, chopping it down from a HUGE MONSTROSITY to something far more manageable.  I turned it in as my thesis in 2008 and it was named Outstanding Fiction Thesis for that year.  Based on the comments of my thesis committee, I did another few rounds of revisions before I decided that it was possible to tinker the book to death so I started sending it out.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
The search to find an agent was almost fairy tale like.  I found an agent very quickly.   I found him in a roundabout way (I had queried a different agent who had passed it on to her colleague, the agent who I eventually joined with). I had about a 30 second delusion of grandeur.  I imagined telling the story of how I found an agent right off the bat and writers everywhere would drool with envy.  Because, of course what came next, was that the book sold in no time.  But that’s not what happened.  It took a while to sell. And I’d always known it would be a tough sell.  I’d been told by nearly everyone who read it that it was a book that could go a couple different ways. It might be YA. It might be adult.  (For the record, I didn’t set out to write a YA book. I set out to write a book.)  After several months on submission, a couple very nice offers came in: one from a YA publisher, one from an adult publisher.  There was much discussion on which would be the best way to go and I went YA, because I had a keen interest in the genre.  Along the way, there were many rejections (including one where a publisher called it “unpublishable”—I hope this person meant there was no way their house could do it and not that it was so horrible that it would kill the brain cells of anyone who attempted to read it) but I took them in stride because it really is part of the biz.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Read widely and revise heavily.  It is absolutely essential that you understand today’s market. In theory, good writing is timeless but tastes change, syntax shifts, sensibilities mutate. So if you haven’t read a YA book published in the last five years, get to a bookstore immediately.  I have a friend who says that the true art of writing is in revision. I’ve come to treasure that sentiment.  First drafts are supposed to be ugly, malformed piles of blech.  Too often, the joy at just finishing the first draft alters good sense.  Revising isn’t just making sure everything is spelled correctly and all the punctuation is there. (Although, as an editor, I have to say: please make sure everything is spelled correctly and all the punctuation is there.)  Revising is shaping and molding and sometimes cutting and sometimes adding. It’s art.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
I feel a bit jaded because I’ve worked in publishing for several years so little fazes me.  I guess if I’ve been surprised by anything it’s realizing that, despite all my best laid plans, I really have astonishingly little time to actually get out and promote my book.  Which is why I’m so thankful for the chance to do this interview.  I appreciate you having me here.  Thanks!

Between Here and Forever by Elizabeth Scott
  • From Goodreads: Abby accepted that she can’t measure up to her beautiful, magnetic sister Tess a long time ago, and knows exactly what she is: Second best. Invisible. Until the accident. Now Tess is in a coma, and Abby’s life is on hold. It may have been hard living with Tess, but it's nothing compared to living without her. She's got a plan to bring Tess back though, involving the gorgeous and mysterious Eli, but then Abby learns something about Tess, something that was always there, but that she’d never seen. Abby is about to find out that truth isn't always what you think it is, and that life holds more than she ever thought it could... 
How long did you work on this book?
I got the idea for part of the story in 2007 and I'd say it spent another year cooking in my head--and then about a year to write. So, quite a while!

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
My journey is a very strange one. I started writing fiction by accident, joined an on-line critique group, and wrote for five years before my fellow group members (some of whom are now my closest friends!) started telling me that I should send stuff out and try to get published.

I thought they were crazy, but I wrote up a query letter for my first novel, Bloom, in early 2005 and then just stuck in on my hard drive. And then, one day at work, I saw an agent blog about getting queried by email, and I thought "Ah ha! I'll just email that dumb query letter in, get rejected, and that will be the end of that!"

A little over 24 hours later, and several emails and one phone call with the agent, I had an agent.  I had actually written three young adult novels before I got an agent, and those first three books sold in 2005--with Bloom coming out in 2007, Stealing Heaven in 2008, and Love You Hate You Miss You in 2009.

I've been incredibly lucky and believe me, I know it! I wake up every single day thrilled and grateful that I'm able to do what I do.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Most writers I know already have the writing thing down pretty well, but I think you have to be a reader as well. And I also think you should read all kinds of different things--there's so many great books out there, why limit yourself?

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
That it can take a really long time for a book to get published--Love You Hate You Miss You came out almost exactly 4 years after it sold! (So, for everyone who thinks I'm prolific, I'm really not--it's just that I had some time to write after I sold my first three books :-)

Additional Releases

The A Circuit by Georgina Bloomberg and Catherine Hapka
  • From Goodreads: The A Circuit is the top of the top when it comes to horse shows. It's a world with its own rules and superprivileged lifestyles. Teens travel the circuit all year, showing horses that cost as much as some homes. Tommi, Kate, and Zara are all elite competitors on the circuit, but they come from totally different backgrounds. Tommi is a billionaire heiress trying to prove she has real talent (not just deep bank accounts). Kate puts the working in working student—every win has been paid for with hours of cleaning stalls. She's used to the grueling schedule, but Fitz, the barn's resident hot guy, is about to become a major distraction. And then there's Zara. She's the wild child of a famous rockstar, but she's ready to take riding seriously. Can a party girl really change her ways?

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
  • From Goodreads: Teen beauty queens. A "Lost"-like island. Mysteries and dangers. No access to email. And the spirit of fierce, feral competition that lives underground in girls, a savage brutality that can only be revealed by a journey into the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Oh, the horror, the horror! Only funnier. With evening gowns. And a body count.

Welcome to Bordertown by Holly Black and Lauren Kushner
  • From Goodreads: Bordertown: a city on the border between our human world and the elfin realm. Runaway teens come from both sides of the border to find adventure, to find themselves. Elves play in rock bands and race down the street on spell-powered motorbikes. Human kids recreate themselves in the squats and clubs and artists' studios of Soho. Terri Windling's original Bordertown series was the forerunner of today's urban fantasy, introducing authors that included Charles de Lint, Will Shetterly, Emma Bull, and Ellen Kushner. In this volume of all-new work (including a 15-page graphic story), the original writers are now joined by the generation that grew up dreaming of Bordertown, including acclaimed authors Holly Black, Cassandra Clare, Cory Doctorow, Neil Gaiman, Catherynne M. Valente, and many more. They all meet here on the streets of Bordertown in more than twenty new interconnected songs, poems, and stories.

If I Could Fly by Judith Ortiz Cofer
  • From Goodreads: Fifteen-year-old Doris is used to taking care of herself. Her musician parents have always spent more time singing in nightclubs than watching after her.  But when her ailing mother goes home to Puerto Rico to get well and pursue a singing career there, and her father finds a new girlfriend, Doris is more alone than she’s ever been.  Disconnected from her family and her best friends, who are intertwined in terrifying relationships with a violent classmate, Doris finds refuge in taking care of homing pigeons on her apartment building’s roof.  As Doris tries to make sense of it all, she learns that, just like the pigeons, she might have to fly far distances before she finds out where she belongs.
Giveaway
Yippee! Who wants to win one of the books featured here? We've got a copy of AWAKEN and 3 copies of THE A CIRCUIT. Please leave a comment on this post and fill out the form below for a chance to win. The contest is open to US residents and we'll announce winners Thursday!

Happy reading,
The Ladies of ACP

42 comments:

  1. Great interviews as always. I can't wait to read Blood Magic. That's so interesting Tessa would only query about 5 agents for any one book.

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  2. Thanks for adding to my TBR pile. I really wish there was another of me to read them all now!! Thanks for the wonderful interviews, too. ;)

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  3. Great group of books and interviews.

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  4. SO excited for BLOOD MAGIC, and AWAKEN sounds great too!

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  5. Blood Magic sounds really interesting! I hope I can win a copy of that book! :)

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  6. I have very high expectations of the new Bordertown anthology. The first two collections (published some 20 years ago) were both fantastic.

    -- Tom.

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  7. Wow, these look fantastic! I've been dying to read the new Libba Bray book!

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  8. Blood Magic has such a striking cover!

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  9. So many great reads, I don't know where to start! I have to agree with Nicole, the cover of Blood Magic is amazing!

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  10. Awaken sounds like a book I would really enjoy. Thanks for always having a great list of new books to read.

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  11. Thanks for the informative interviews! Fun to read, even tho I'm neck-deep in agent revisions. Nice to see the usual great giveaways, too!

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  12. Awaken and Bordertown are now on my wishlist!

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  13. Ooh great books. I've got BLOOD MAGIC and AWAKEN, but not heard of the others. Now there are on the list ;)

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  14. I can't wait for BLOOD MAGIC, AWAKEN, and BEAUTY QUEENS!

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  15. I've been wanting to get my hands on Awaken for such a long time. I've been very interested in that one!

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  16. ooooo excitement. I hadn't heard of with or without you yet. I wanna read it. beauty queens sounds like quite the read.

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  17. Thanks for the great giveaway. Tore923@aol.com

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  18. I am so excited for a bunch of these titles! Especially Awaken and Blood Magic! Thank you for this chance to win great books. I love reading the interviews and this giveaway is like an added bonus!

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  19. I have almost all of these books on my wish list. Definitely a great lot this week!

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  20. My wishlist just grew by a bunch!!! Thanks :)

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  21. Thanks for the chance! I'm looking forward to read Elizabeth's book!

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  22. the good writing is in the revision bit is what i needed to hear..... thanks!

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  23. Blood Magic looks AH-MAZ-ING. Loved Elizabeth Scott's new book. Also looking forward to Awaken and Beauty Queens.

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  24. Your interviews are always so interesting. I love reading them. So many books I'm anxious to read here. :)

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  25. Great post! You're right that there ares some books I need to add to my TBR pile. :-)

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  26. another great round up, i look forward to these posts every week :)

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  27. There are so many wonderful books coming out this week I don't know where to start. I really appreciate all the work you do to bring us the latest information on books and such wonderful reviews from the writers. It's really encouraging to me as an aspiring author to hear the stories of these published authors. Thank you so much for all your work.

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  28. Ohh I love the sound of and the premise of Awaken! Fabulous. Blood Magic runs second for me. There are a lot of amazing titles out this week!

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  29. ohhh I want to read Awaken now that I read about it most awesomesauce! I was hitting for Blood Magic at #1 but Awaken sounds like the Dystopian I need. Thank you for always letting us know about these great releases.

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  30. Awesome! I'm very excited for this week. Blood Magic and Beauty Queens are some of my tops for this week. And Bordertown seems really cool.
    Thanks!

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  31. Great giveaway this week. These both look like great books. I'd be excited to win either.

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  32. It is a little discouraging seeing how long it takes for a book to get published. Must be hard when you want to many to read your story.

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  33. Another crop of great books, I am excited for Blood Magic in particular. But the others look great too!

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  34. Ooh, I can't wait to read Between Here and Forever. Awaken sounds so fascinating and it totally sounds like a culture I can see ours moving toward! What a great concept! I can't wait for it!

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  35. I can't wait to read Blood Magic and Awaken.

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  36. I'm so excited to read all these books, especially Beauty Queen and Awaken!

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  37. Really great interviews and more books that I will look forward to reading as soon as I can get my hands on them. :)

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  38. I can't wait to read several of those books. They sound great.

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  39. Really, really looking forward to reading "Awaken."

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  40. Aaah, I've been wanting to read awaken since I first saw it on Goodreads!

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  41. Awaken and Blood Magic sound fantastic! I can't wait to read them.

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