Tuesday, May 24, 2011

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

Are you ready for even more YA releases? Read on for author interviews, great books, and scroll all the way down to enter to win our giveaway. If you missed yesterday's post, you can go back and see the other books that release this week. You can also enter our giveaway a second time!

This Week's Interviews
Putting Makeup on Dead People by Jen Violi
  • From Goodreads: In the spring of her senior year, Donna Parisi finds new life in an unexpected place: a coffin. Since her father’s death four years ago, Donna has gone through the motions of living: her friendships are empty, she’s clueless about what to do after high school graduation, and her grief keeps her isolated, cut off even from the one parent she has left. That is until she’s standing in front of the dead body of a classmate at Brighton Brothers’ Funeral Home. At that moment, Donna realizes what might just give her life purpose is comforting others in death. That maybe who she really wants to be is a mortician. This discovery sets in motion a life Donna never imagined was possible. She befriends a charismatic new student, Liz, notices a boy, Charlie, and realizes that maybe he's been noticing her, too, and finds herself trying things she hadn’t dreamed of trying before. By taking risks, Donna comes into her own, diving into her mortuary studies with a passion and skill she didn’t know she had in her. And she finally understands that moving forward doesn’t mean forgetting someone you love.
How long did you work on this book?

Putting Makeup on Dead People first emerged as a short story in August 2005. The narrator, Donna, kept demanding more stories after that until she had filled a book that I submitted in 2007 as my MFA thesis at the University of New Orleans. At that point, Putting Makeup on Dead People consisted of short stories, all in Donna’s voice, the earliest one with her at age five and the latest with Donna in her late thirties. I kept revising this novel-as-stories for the next year and then started submitting the manuscript to agents.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
For about six months, I got some very nice passes from some very nice agents who liked the writing, but weren’t quite sure what to do with my book. Then in January 2009, my friend and fellow writer Lish McBride sent me to her agent, Jason Anthony, at Lippincott Massie McQuilkin. I wasn’t about to pass up the opportunity, but I was dubious. While my book had corpses, none of them were coming back to life, as they often do in Lish’s writing. But it turned out that zombies were not required.

In the midst of all of these Donna short stories, Jason saw a young adult novel waiting to emerge. Hearing this, I freaked out, inner monologue as follows: But, but, I’ve worked so long on the book the way it is. I kind of thought it was done. And that would mean I’d have to cut this, and this, and that! EEEEEEK!

After some deep breaths and a little chocolate, I was able to see the merits in Jason’s suggestion, and I could begin to see all of the ways I could strengthen and tighten the story I wanted to tell by revising it down to one year of Donna’s life, rather than the almost forty years it first spanned. Once I made the decision to take that leap, things happened fast. I knew it was the right choice as new material sprouted easily out of the old and the story still seemed to pulse with Donna’s heart. Within three months, I had a whole new book written and ready to submit. A month after that, I accepted a deal with Hyperion and by August 2009, with the help of the brilliant Tamson Weston, the book was for the most part ready to go. Then the anxious waiting and the drumming fingers and checking to see if May 2011 might come earlier than expected.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Keep writing for fun. Keep returning to the source. It’s so easy for writing to become about business or about what kind of feedback we get or about self-flagellation and torment. But I think most of us start writing because we love words and stories and found magic there as soon as we could read and write them. For me, remembering the joy in writing comes through free writes and letting myself be playful, writing without purpose or agenda, just savoring sounds and arrangements of awesome words, like flagellation, which, by the way, is much more fun to write than to inflict upon oneself or anyone else.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
I guess that I’m still a real person. Since I could read, I did read, and I always thought of published authors as magical, with a little bit of a superhero status. A tiny, exceptionally hopeful and certainly delusional part of me thought I might get a cape or perhaps the power to turn regular orange juice into mimosas once I published a book. However, I’m still me. On a more serious note, I do think I had a sense that publishing a book might somehow mean I’d “arrived.” But the whole experience has been a great reminder that arrival is never a one-time thing—in publishing, in matters of the heart, in matters of living. I am a work in progress, and as much as I celebrate this accomplishment, it doesn’t mean that I’m done. And really I wouldn’t want to be. I’ve got more books to write and more stories yearning to find their way into the world.

Angel Burn by L.A. Weatherly
  • From Goodreads: Willow knows she’s different from other girls, and not just because she loves tinkering with cars. Willow has a gift. She can look into the future and know people’s dreams and hopes, their sorrows and regrets, just by touching them. She has no idea where this power comes from. But the assassin, Alex, does. Gorgeous, mysterious Alex knows more about Willow than Willow herself. He knows that her powers link to dark and dangerous forces, and that he’s one of the few humans left who can fight them. When Alex finds himself falling in love with his sworn enemy, he discovers that nothing is as it seems, least of all good and evil. In the first book in an action-packed, romantic trilogy, L..A. Weatherly sends readers on a thrill-ride of a road trip — and depicts the human race at the brink of a future as catastrophic as it is deceptively beautiful.
How long did you work on this book?
Alex and Willow have been in my head for a long time, especially Alex (twenty years, anyone...?) - though it was only recently that the perfect story for them came to me. Once I had the idea for Angel Burn, I knew immediately that this was it; I finally had the right plot for these characters I'd been in love with for so long! The actual writing of the book happened very quickly after that, probably no more than four months - it had been building inside of me for a long time, and just poured out. So, somewhere between four months and twenty years!

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
I was very lucky not to receive that many rejections when I finally started submitting my work (which took me years to get up the courage to do!) – I think the 6th agent I submitted to took me on, and then maybe the 5th publisher who she submitted to. However, it still took three or four years for my first book to actually be published after that. Looking back, I think there was a real spark to my writing, which is what got me an agent and a publishing deal, but it was also at a pretty early stage- there was a LOT that I needed to learn about structure. My editor at that point, the legendary David Fickling here in the UK, essentially took me in hand and taught me the nuts and bolts of crafting a story. It took a while, but hopefully I got there in the end! I'll always owe him a huge debt for that. (Thanks, David!)

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
I'm assuming you mean writers who aren't published yet! My advice would be to learn all you can about both the craft and the business before you submit your work. I often teach writing courses here in the UK, and I can always tell which writers immerse themselves in that whole world - they belong to writers' groups where they swap critiques, they go to conferences where they meet agents and editors, and so on - and as a result their work tends to have a very polished edge; they're also quite savvy about the business before they become published, which can only be a good thing! Also, READ YOUR GENRE. For instance, it's amazing how many aspiring children's writers I meet who haven't read a book for children in thirty years.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
I'm perpetually surprised that I can make a living doing something I love so much. Also, I was surprised to learn that public speaking will not actually cause you to shrivel up and die with fear, and that once you get used to it, it can even be fun. (All my family and friends are sick of Angel Burn by now, so having a captive audience to talk to about my favourite subject is great!)

Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury
  • From Goodreads: Agnes Wilkins is standing in front of an Egyptian mummy, about to make the first cut into the wrappings, about to unlock ancient (and not-so-ancient) history. Maybe you think this girl is wearing a pith helmet with antique dust swirling around her. Maybe you think she is a young Egyptologist who has arrived in Cairo on camelback. Maybe she would like to think that too. Agnes Wilkins dreams of adventures that reach beyond the garden walls, but reality for a seventeen-year-old debutante in 1815 London does not allow for camels—or dust, even. No, Agnes can only see a mummy when she is wearing a new silk gown and standing on the verdant lawns of Lord Showalter’s estate, with chaperones fussing about and strolling sitar players straining to create an exotic “atmosphere” for the first party of the season. An unwrapping. This is the start of it all, Agnes’s debut season, the pretty girl parade that offers only ever-shrinking options: home, husband, and high society. It’s also the start of something else, because the mummy Agnes unwraps isn’t just a mummy. It’s a host for a secret that could unravel a new destiny—unleashing mystery, an international intrigue, and possibly a curse in the bargain.
How long did you work on this book?
The seed of the story came years ago when I was in college and a professor mentioned the practice of mummy unwrapping parties. I wasn't writing fiction at the time, but I remembered thinking that somebody should write a book about that. So, many, many years later, when I was waiting on editorial for my first book, Shift, I was feeling restless and started toying with the ideas that eventually became the plot of Wrapped.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
This book was pretty uneventful. My agent showed it to my editor once we'd gotten through the rewrites on Shift, and she liked it and bought it and a sequel.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Keep writing. Once you get through one book, take a short break, and then start something else. You learn something new every time to you write a new story.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
Hmm . . . maybe that I'm even more shy now about telling people that I'm a writer. I know that sounds odd, but it has been one of the more surprising things on this journey.

Additional Releases

The Warlock (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel) by Michael Scott
  • From Goodreads: Alcatraz: Although their ally Dr. John Dee has been declared utlaga, Machiavelli and Billy the Kid will follow the plans the Elders have laid before them: they will loose the monsters of Alcatraz on the city of San Francisco, thereby triggering the end of the humani race. Danu Talis: The Shadowrealm that Scatty and Joan of Arc have entered is far more dangerous than they could ever have imagined. And they haven’t landed here by chance-the warriors were called for a reason. So were Saint-Germain, Palamededs, and Shakespeare. The group was summoned because they must travel back in time to Danu Talis and destroy it. For the island of Danu Talis, known in humani myth as the lost city of Atlantis, must fall if the modern world is to exist. San Francisco: The end is finally near. Josh Newman has chosen a side, and he will not stand with his sister, Sophie, or with the Alchemyst, Nicholas Flamel. He will fight alongside Dee and the mysterious Virginia Dare. Unless Sophie can find her twin before the battle begins, all is lost – forever. In the fifth installment of this bestselling series, the twins of prophecy have been divided, and the end is finally beginning. With Scatty, Joan of Arc, Saint Germain, Palamedes, and Shakespeare all in Danu Talis, Sophie is on her own with the ever-weakening Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel. She must depend on Niten to help her find an immortal to teach her Earth Magic. The surprise is that she will find her teacher in the most ordinary of places.

Something Deadly This Way Comes (Madison Avery) by Kim Harrison
  • From Goodreads: I'm Madison Avery, in charge of heaven's hit squad . . . and fighting it all the way. When Madison died the night of her prom, she knew her life would never be the same. Now she has a powerful amulet, a team of rogue angels by her side, and the ability to flash forward into the future to see the shape of destiny. And of course, now she's finally with Josh—a perfect boyfriend who doesn't even mind that she's dead. But being dead has its disadvantages, too. Madison feels caught between the light and the dark, and between her real life and her timekeeper status. When Madison has the opportunity to get her body back—to be alive again—she faces her most difficult decision yet. If she claims it, she could return to being a normal girl—and have a chance at a real relationship with Josh. But would having the one thing she wants most in the world also mean giving up everything she's worked so hard for?

Lark by Tracey Porter
  • From Goodreads: When sixteen-year-old Lark Austin is kidnapped from her Virginia hometown and left for dead in a snowy forest, she leaves behind two girls who are shocked by the loss of their former friend. At the same time Eve must face the hole left by Lark’s absence, she also can’t shake the guilt that Lark’s death was her fault. Meanwhile, Nyetta is haunted by Lark’s ghost, who comes through the bedroom window and begs Nyetta to set her soul free. Eve and Nyetta realize it is their responsibility to uncover why Lark is trapped in limbo, but only by coming together to find the missing pieces of themselves can they bring peace to Lark. 
The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles) by Kady Cross
  • From Goodreads: In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one…except the "thing" inside her. When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch…. Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she's special, says she's one of them. The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets against the wishes of his band of misfits: Emily, who has her own special abilities and an unrequited love for Sam, who is part robot; and Jasper, an American cowboy with a shadowy secret. Griffin's investigating a criminal called The Machinist, the mastermind behind several recent crimes by automatons. Finley thinks she can help—and finally be a part of something, finally fit in. But The Machinist wants to tear Griff's little company of strays apart, and it isn't long before trust is tested on all sides. At least Finley knows whose side she's on—even if it seems no one believes her.
Giveaway

Ooh, we wish we could enter our own giveaway! We have an ARC and a finished copy of THE WARLOCK. We've got PUTTING MAKEUP ON DEAD PEOPLE, as well as a copy of ANGEL BURN. 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 winners will be announced on Thursday!

Happy reading!
The Ladies of ACP


28 comments:

  1. Some of these books look awesome! Thanks for the chance ! :)

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  2. There are so many books coming out this week! Thank you for the chance to win some of them. I really like the cover for Putting Makeup on Dead People, but I don't know if I would be able to read it... Anyway, thanks again!

    Britta

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  3. More beautiful books to line my shelves with. I love getting the newest information on the books that are coming out on the market. Thank you!

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  4. There are several of those books that have me wanting to rush to my bookstore. Definitely a good week for books!

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  5. Oh, PUTTING MAKEUP ON DEAD PEOPLE sounds fun!! I've been looking forward to WRAPPED and THE GIRL IN THE STEEL CORSET for a while, as well. Good picks!

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  6. Wow, these covers are stunning! Great picks!

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  7. I've been waiting for the Warlock since I finished the Necromancer. There are a lot of great books out this week!

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  8. I'm very intrigued by Putting makeup on Dead People. Also, I've been really anticipating the Girl in the Steel Corset, and who isn't excited for Warlock?

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  9. I just looked at my bookshelves. I need more! Putting Makeup on Dead people? Interesting!

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  10. I don't think I have seen Lark anywhere yet. Looks really interesting.

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  11. WOW. So many great books! I want all of them. :) Love the cover of Girl in the Steel Corset. My sister has read the Nicholas Flamel books, so I know she would love The Warlock.

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  12. I always look forward to these giveaways! :) Thanks a lot for this selection! Hope I win something :)

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  13. I am dying to read The Warlock. It is part of one of my fave series.

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  14. ohh I want to read Angel Burn! Sounds like the beginning of an amazing trilogy!

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  15. WARLOCK! I have to say that I love this series. There are a lot of great releases this week!

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  16. You guys always have the awesomest giveaways!

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  17. Victoria ZumbrumMay 24, 2011 at 6:27 PM

    Thanks for the great giveaway. Tore923@aol.com

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  18. Another set of great books, once again thanks for the giveaway!

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  19. I think PUTTING MAKEUP ON DEAD PEOPLE's author Jen has one of the most interesting paths to publication that I've heard to date!

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

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  20. I would love to win Warlock. Putting Makeup On Dead People looks interesting too.

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  21. I really love the cover to Putting Makeup On Dead People. Very catchy. Thanks for more great recommendations for my TBR pile :)

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  22. Great interviews! Ha, LA Weatherly's bit about not shriveling up and dying when public speaking. That is just SO true. We have 5-minute open mike sessions at our SCBWI Oregon retreats, and it's a great way to get comfortable speaking in front of people!

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  23. There are so many great YA books coming out! Great covers too! :)

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  24. Ho-ly Crap. I want to read all of these. Like, desperately! I'm so excited! Thanks for the chance!

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  25. I love all these book covers. I love Putting Makeup on Dead People's cover the most. Can't wait to read it! Thanks for the chance to win :D

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  26. Angel Burn is soooo good! Great interviews! Thanks for the chance to win some great reads.

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  27. Jessy~
    I just love the premise and cover for Putting Makeup on Dead People.

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