Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Please join me in congratulating my BFF Elizabeth Miles on her debut novel, FURY, which hits bookshelves today!! If you've been living in a blog cave and haven't yet heard of this book, check out the fabulous website here.
And please make sure to stop by Elizabeth's blog today and send her a note of congrats! Let's show support, people.
For all of you who entered by FURY revenge writing contest, first of all, you rock, and second of all, I'm going to be reading through and selecting winners by next week!
Sunday, August 28, 2011
On the subject of L & P, I'm thrilled to say it has just received a starred review from PW! Check it out below.
*Liesl & Po
Lauren Oliver, illus. by Kei Acedera. Harper, $16.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-201451-1
The sun has not shined for 1,728 days and counting in YA author Oliver’s (Delirium) first book for middle-grade readers, a gloominess that underscores a plot in which adults seek personal gain at the expense of children. Classic fairy tale elements weave throughout this spirited, old-fashioned adventure: a young girl locked in an attic, a wicked stepmother, an alchemist, an orphan boy running from a cruel master. Add two nearly identical boxes—one containing the ashes of 11-year-old Liesl’s recently deceased father, the other holding “the Most Powerful Magic in the World”—and mix them up, and excitement begins to break through the bleakness. Po, a presence from “the Other Side,” brings Liesl a message to bury her father’s ashes underneath a certain willow tree, inspiring her to escape her imprisonment in her stepmother’s attic and head for the train. An exhilarating chase ensues, as characters pursue the runaway children and the mixed-up boxes. Invigorating and hopeful, this novel testifies to the power of friendship and generosity to conquer greed and depression. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. (Oct.)
I've been giving away three ARCs per month, and the tradition lives on...stay tuned, because later in the week I'll be selecting and contacting August's winners!
Happy "work" week!
Friday, August 26, 2011
--Two characters who intensely dislike each other are stuck together in a room due to a natural/apocalyptic/supernatural disaster.
Please evoke these characters, and tell us something about why they are in the room together (i.e., what is happening outside). Let me point out that this is perfect practice for INTRODUCING and EXPLOITING conflict--it is conflict, and subsequent reconciliation, that causes tension and makes books interesting.
Okay, people, you know the drill. Email me at email@example.com and I'll post some of the submissions up here. Also, please remember that the FURY REVENGE WRITING CONTEST is still ongoing (click for details here), and will be until 8.30.11, when Fury goes on sale. So get cracking on your computers! (And if you live on the eastern seaboard and your power goes out...hey, paper and pens were invented for a reason!)
Everyone please stay safe and dry this weekend.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Bonjour, mes amis! I’m sorry for being so MIA…I’ve been sunning myself in the South of France with some of my besties, and was without working wifi all week (how’s that for alliteration?). I’m thrilled to bring you a very special interview today with an author whose debut novel, FURY, publishes on August 31st! (Check out the fabulous website TheFurySeries.com for more info.) Not only is FURY terrifying and suspenseful (Lauren Kate, author of the bestselling FALLEN series, calls it "achingly gorgeous"), its author is one of my oldest, dearest friends (we even share identical tattoos on our backs). Elizabeth Miles and I have been BFFs since eighth grade, when we bonded over a shared love of cooking and Alanis Morissette. Don’t ask. We’ve been going strong ever since. I interviewed her recently about the experience of being a debut novelist…and about her cats, our high school memories, and various other bits of miscellany from her life. Enjoy! And if you haven’t pre-ordered FURY yet…get your act together and do it now!!
So…your first novel is about to be published! How do you feel? Nervous? Elated? A combination of both?
Of course, I am extremely excited and proud. I feel lucky to have such a supportive team behind me -- from editors and publicists to friends and family. I'm looking forward to sharing this fun and scary story with engaged readers. But yes, I'm also nervous (shocker!). I'm nervous about how people will receive the book, I'm nervous about the energy it will take to promote it, I'm nervous about moving into the next stage of this amazing process. For such a long time, the release date seemed like this nebulous time in the future. Now that it's actually here...it's time to step up. (And dance!)
What’s your favorite aspect of living in Maine?
Maine boasts some of the most beautiful natural places I've ever seen: mountains, meadows, oceans, rivers. That's my number one. Number two: Lobster rolls.
Do you, perchance, have any cats? If so, please tell us about them.
The cats (combined with therapy and modern medicine) kind of saved my life by being so silly and uncomplicated and loving. They are Ender and Bean (named after characters in a great sci-fi book, Ender's Game). Brothers, orange, sweet dispositions. Keagan, the man I live with and love, gets a kick out of torturing them. In turn, I get a kick out of shrieking and pretending that they need to be saved.
How do you get “inspired” to write? What’s your process like?
Someday, fingers crossed, I'll establish some sort of regular writing routine (like you). As it stands right now, my process is rather erratic and deadline-driven (I am a journalist by trade, after all). I am prone to lengthy bursts of creative inspiration followed by a few days of drought. Mechanically speaking, if I'm feeling stuck I'll often skip a section and come back to it. I frequently start in the middle of a chapter and come back to the beginning once I feel like I'm "warmed up."
You’re very involved in the theater world. Do you think your training as an actress has helped you with your writing? What was your favorite theatrical role of recent years?
I absolutely think that my work in theater has helped me write fiction by making me think hard about character development and make-believe worlds. My job when I'm onstage is to welcome the audience into a fantasy world; my job as an author is very similar. One of my favorite roles of recent years was Marta in Stephen Sondheim's Company. The role itself is relatively minor, but she has one fantastic, crazy song ("Another Hundred People") and the musical itself is an incredibly moving meditation on love, relationships, and loneliness.
What was it like when I came to Maine to research Delirium? Can I visit again?
I *really* enjoy (slash crave) alone time, so I have to admit that I was a little nervous as we planned your (rather lengthy) visit. My apartment at that time was very, very small. I feared that the space would feel, um, cramped, or I would have to "entertain" you at every moment. Much to my delight, you were an excellent, considerate, independent house guest who needed very little "tending to." As I recall, we laughed a LOT ("oh excuse me" and BEBS are both joke-babies from that time), ate many delicious meals, explored the local geography, and I never once felt like I had to babysit you. In fact, I believe you were out of the house earlier than I was most mornings. Please come again soon!
We used to keep a shared high school journal. What advice would you give 16-year-old Elizabeth Miles?
Honestly? Just chill out. (Which is the WORST and most annoying thing to say to someone and 16-year-old me would HATE 28-year-old me for saying it...but still, it's true. There are enough things to worry about later.) Also, don't smoke.
We also used to have a list of “Hook-Up Rules”—deal breakers and makers for people we would hook up with. Any you’d like to add to the list?
That list was amazing.
Breakers: Makes me feel like he's doing me a favor. Doesn't like cheese.
Makers: Can cook. Nice arms.
Can we be best friends forever?
What’s your best memory from high school? Your worst?
My best: "Getting ready" for dances with the "Pop Squad" -- the group of about eight girls that we hung out with in high school.
My worst: Toss up between my parents not letting my go with you guys on Spring Break senior year and general social anxiety.
(Elizabeth is in the bottom right--I am laughing on top! We're here in Cape Cod several years ago with our group of "four"--girls we've known since high school or longer!)
Friday, August 12, 2011
Okay, so maybe I'm not EXACTLY emulating her expression...but you get the idea! PANDEMONIUM ARCs have arrived chez moi, along with several finished covers, and OMG YOU GUYS!!! They are so, so beautiful...seriously. They defy my powers of description!
Here's a little teaser from the book, which is excerpted on the back:
"So what was your name before?" I say, and she freezes, her back to me. "Before you came to the Wilds, I mean."
For a moment she just stands there. Then she turns around.
"You might as well get used to it now," she says with quiet intensity. "Everything you were, the life you had, the people you knew...dust." She shakes her head and says a little more firmly, "There is no before. There is only now, and what comes next."
Peeps, I'll be doing some massive giveaways, but not until later in the fall...so stay patient, and stay tuned!
Sunday, August 7, 2011
From Rhiannon Paille:
From Ishta Mercurio:
Book A: Suzie has to buy red food coloring, or else she won't be able to make her BFF a birthday cake with pink frosting.
Book B: Suzie has to hide her power of telekinesis from the government spy who is masquerading as her BFF's boyfriend, or else she'll be locked up forever and the world will be overrun by the evil Mr. Magnet.
And, my personal favorite...
Screams From Within:
Book A: Alerra must find her headband or her hair will be in her face all day.
Book B: Alerra must fight against the demon inside of her to save her humanity and mankind, or else she'll evolve into nothing more than a vicious killing machine and humanity will meet it's doom.
Great examples, guys!
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Here is the synopsis of FURY from the lovely website www.thefuryseries.com:
It’s winter break in Ascension, Maine. The snow is falling and everything looks pristine and peaceful. But not all is as it seems...Between cozy traditions and parties with her friends, Emily loves the holidays. And this year’s even better--the guy she’s been into for months is finally noticing her. But Em knows if she starts things with him, there’s no turning back. Because his girlfriend is Em’s best friend.
On the other side of town, Chase is having problems of his own. The stress of his home life is starting to take its toll, and his social life is unraveling. But that’s nothing compared to what’s really haunting him. Chase has done something cruel...something the perfect guy he pretends to be would never do. And it’s only a matter of time before he’s exposed.
In Ascension, mistakes can be deadly. And three girls—three beautiful, mysterious girls—are here to choose who will pay.
Em and Chase have been chosen.
Creepy!! Because this book is all about revenge and karma, the writing challenge will deal with these themes as well. So: in 250-words or less, write about a situation in which one character is (rightly or wrongly) getting revenge on another character. Got it? Please send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You'll have until August 30th, when FURY is officially released (although you can go ahead and pre-order it now!)...and I will, uncharacteristically, be selecting ONE winner to receive a fabulous Revenge Is Sweet t-shirt, which you can see right HERE.
And remember...Sometimes Sorry Isn't Enough! ;)
Monday, August 1, 2011
And guess what?? I'm giving away a copy! Respond to this post (with an email address, please) for +1 entries, tweet about it for +2, and blog about it for +3! Get cracking--you only have until August 10th!