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Happy 14th Day: November!

Honestly, I can’t believe it’s November. I’m waffling between “it should be October” and “isn’t it December already?” We’ve had a long year with a lot of cover reveals, positive reviews, interviews, lists, and–naturally–book launches. But we aren’t done yet.

Here’s the news for this month:

First, NO SURRENDER SOLDIER by Christine Kohler is nominated for ALA’s YALSA Quick Pick list! It was also awarded a bronze medal by the Military Writers Society of America in the YA category. Congratulations, Christine!

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Second, WINTER FALLS by Nicole Maggi got a glowing Kirkus review! Woohoo, Nicole!

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And third, THE FIRE WISH by Amber Lough was selected for the Texas Library Association’s 2015 Lone Star Reading List. (I can personally attest that the author was ecstatic and honored at the news.)

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I’ll let one of my favorite princesses bid you adieu:

Best. Princess. Of. All. Time.

Amber Lough lives with her husband and two kids in Germany. She spent much of her childhood in Japan and Bahrain. Later, she returned to the Middle East as an Air Force intelligence officer to spend eight months in Baghdad, where the ancient sands still echo the voices lost to wind and time. Her Middle Eastern fantasy, THE FIRE WISH, debuted this July 2014 from Random House Books for Young Readers.
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The Author’s Voice: interview with OneFour author CATHERINE LINKA

What’s your book about?  What is it really about?

Catherine answers this as we discuss her YA debut, the romantic speculative fiction novel A GIRL CALLED FEARLESS (St. Martin’s, 2014). She also gives some hints about what the sequel has in store, talks about how she maintains a balance in her life and writing, and reads a particularly intense snippet!

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Kate Boorman is an independent artist and writer from the Canadian prairies. She was born in Nepal (where she was carried up the Himalayas in a basket) and she grew up in a small Albertan town (where she rode her bike to Girl Guides). She is fond of creepy things. Speaking of! Her YA fantasy WINTERKILL is out now (Abrams/Amulet and Faber & Faber).
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Mad For Middle Grade: Crunching Numbers

Welcome back to MAD FOR MIDDLE GRADE!

This post is going to be a bit… unconventional. We’re pulling out all the stops here. And by all the stops, I mean: all the STATS. This post is all about comparing our publishing journeys, and we’re about to prove THERE IS NO NORMAL IN PUBLISHING!!!!

Here a bit of information about this post before we reveal our numbers:

  • 15 authors participated
  • All the participants were 2014 middle grade debut authors
  • Each author was allowed to opt in or out of whichever questions he/she choses
  • All data is presented anonymously

And without further ado:

ABOUT THE BOOKS

Highest Word Count: 78,000 words
Lowest Word Count: 19,000 words
Average Word Count: 53,000 words

Genre?
7 Contemporary
4 Fantasy
2 Historical Fiction
1 Mystery
1 Novel in Verse
1 Science Fiction

Which publishers?
2 books from Abrams
2 books from Candlewick
2 books from Disney-Hyperion
1 book from HarperCollins
1 book from Macmillan
4 books from Penguin
1 book from Random House
1 book from Simon & Schuster
1 book from Sourcebooks

 

ABOUT AGENTS

Do you have an agent?
Yes: 14
No: 0
Not when the book sold, but yes now: 1

How many query letters did you send out?
Most: 74 Query Letters
Least: 1 Query Letter
Average: 22 Query Letters
A further breakdown:
8 authors had between 1 and 15 query letters.
2 authors had between 16 and 30 query letters.
2 authors had between 31 and 45 query letters.
2 authors had between 46 and 60 query letters.
1 author had over 61 query letters.

How long were you querying?
Longest time: 10 months
Shortest time: 1 week
Further breakdown:
3 authors queried for less than 1 month.
8 authors queried between 1 and 4 months.
4 authors queried between 5 and 10 months. 

How many offers did you receive from agents?
One offer: 9
Two offers: 2
Three offers: 2
Four offers: 0
Five offers: 2

How long was the editorial process with your agent?
Longest time: 9 months
Shortest time: No editorial process
Average time: 2 months

 

ABOUT THE BOOK DEAL

How long were you on submission to publishers?
Longest submission: 2 years
Shortest submission: 9 days
Further breakdown:
3 books were on submission less than 1 month.
7 books were on submission between 1 and 4 months.
2 books were on submission between 5 and 12 months.
2 books were on submission longer than 12 months.

How many offers did you receive from publishers?
One offer: 9
Two offers: 4
Three offers: 1
Four offers: 0
Five offers: 1

How many books did your publisher buy?
One book: 9
Two books: 4
Three books: 2

What was the deal range?
10 Nice Deals
2 Very Nice Deals
2 Good Deals
1 Significant Deal

How long was the time between the book sale and the book release?
Longest wait: 33 months (A little less than 3 years)
Shortest wait: 14 months (A little more than 1 year)
Average wait: 21 months (A little less than 2 years)

 

ABOUT THE STORY

The numbers below indicate those authors who responded YES to the following questions.

Does your book have:
A girl protagonist? 9
A boy protagonist? 6
Any school scenes? 8
A character who cries? 13
A character who’s a writer? 5
A character with red hair? 3
A chosen one? 0
At least one orphan? 3
Siblings? 10
A first crush? 5
Kissing? 3
Magic? 4
Dogs? 5
Cats? 3
Bunnies? 3
Any references to real-life history? 10
Any references to real-life pop culture? 8

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Thanks for tuning in! Hope you were as interested in some of these numbers as we were!

We will return on Monday December 1st for our LAST Mad For Middle Grade segment. *snozzes into a handkerchief*  The wheels are already in motion, and it’s going to be a great post–so tune in next time!

Lauren Magaziner is a 4th grader at heart, watches way too much TV, and loves to steal people’s toes to make Toecorn, which tastes like chewy, meaty popcorn. Only one of those is true. (Okay… you caught me. They’re all true.) Her MG debut THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN WITCHES—about a boy who becomes a witchling’s apprentice in a town full of dangerous, Toecorn-loving witches—is available now from Dial/Penguin.
 
 
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Release day for COMPULSION by Martina Boone

compulsion release day

My name is Jan, and I’m Martina Boone’s assistant. I’m hijacking her release day post, because COMPULSION is the book of MY heart, not just Martina’s.

In December 2012, she sent me a manuscript called FIRE CARRIER. And I fell in love with the setting, the characters, and the story. I knew from the first read-through of the first draft that this was THE book, the one that would get her an agent and a deal. Now, Martina is a VERY humble person, so she didn’t realize just how fantastic this book was. So we worked on it, back and forth, through about 15 revisions. I told her I thought it was ready, and she (humbly) agreed that it might be. So she started querying, and it didn’t take long at all. Amanda Panitch at Lippincott Massie McQuilken pulled it from the slush pile and gave it to Kent Wolf. There were a few more revisions, then Annette Pollert at Simon Pulse loved it too. Somewhere along the way, it became COMPULSION. And that’s all she wrote.

From the very beginning, since that early draft called FIRE CARRIER, I have loved and championed this book. I’ve always been a reader, and I have read a LOT of books. But this unedited draft was one of the best books I’d ever read, and through revisions and editing, it’s only gotten better.

And now that I’ve rambled on, I’ll get to the real post. An interview with Martina.

Talk to me about the setting for COMPULSION. Why the South?

The South is both picturesque and heartbreaking. It’s also full of history, Spanish moss, crumbling houses, and people who are tied to each other by blood, duty, and secrets. That’s gold for anyone who’s working on a novel.

Watson Island is loosely based on Edisto Island, and I borrowed from actual Charleston area plantation history to create the three plantations that shaped who the three families became. There was tons of material to work with-I mean, pirate treasure, ancient spirit witches, blood feuds, lonely, demented characters, curses, forbidden romance . . . How could I resist?

Why is THIS story the one you had to tell?

Pirates, ghosts, witches, voodoo, treasure, forbidden love, mystery, murder? Who wouldn’t want to tell this story? LOL. Seriously, it’s the loneliness of the characters, their quest to find each other, and ultimately their ability to save each other or destroy each other. The characters became as real for me as my own family, and I wanted to share them to make them live for other people, too.

Why Eight? Is that anything like Four?

Nope. Not at all. Family and tradition are big in the South, and that’s even more true on Watson Island where the family histories go back three hundred years and the gift is passed down to the oldest child. Eight is short for Charles Beaufort, VIII. His father is Seven. And obviously, that tradition goes back a few years. :)

Speaking of Eight, what makes him the perfect hero for this story?

Eight makes Barrie stronger and helps her see herself through his eyes, helping her to realize that she is more than she ever thought she could be.

What was the most surprising part of writing COMPULSION?

How it turned out. People who read my blog, AdventuresInYAPublishing.com may know that I used to think of myself as a plotter. I wrote outlines. Long outlines. Thirty or forty thousand word outlines. And if someone asked me to write a synopsis of a book, I had to first write the outline – at which point, I eventually realized that I wasn’t writing an outline at all; I was writing a first draft. I don’t know where I first heard the word, but someone somewhere mentioned doing something they called a discovery draft. Coming across that term was one of the biggest AHA! moments of my life. So yeah. It turns out I’m not a plotter, but I’m also not completely a pantser. I’m a plantser. With COMPULSION, I knew where I was going – I had that draft to use as a roadmap, but things kept changing. I was constantly surprised.

The relationships in COMPULSION are very complex. Do you feel like that’s realistic?

I think that junior high and high school aren’t very realistic. They can be horrible, terrible places where people do things to each other than I can’t even imagine putting into a book. Schools are all about finding who you are, and that’s what books are about. I feel like sometimes writers need to make things a little bigger in a book to give readers the chance to let themselves feel like what’s happening is removed from them, even while it is speaking directly to them. I mean, are there going to be Hunger Games in the near future? Man, I hope not. But that doesn’t make Katniss’ feelings resonate with me any less.

What was the hardest part about writing COMPULSION?

There are several scenes that made me cry—and I still teared up even when I was reviewing copyedits, despite having been through something like a hundred and forty-seven drafts (okay, maybe not quite that many…). But yeah, there are a lot of emotional scenes that wrung me out and left me feeling like a strand of overcooked spaghetti. Hands down the hardest scene for me to write was the beginning, though, which is ironic because I founded and still mentor the First Five Pages Workshop, where I (along with some AMAZING authors) help aspiring writers nail the early part of their manuscript.

My problem with the beginning is that Barrie is literally broken at that point, but the reader doesn’t know that. Even Barrie doesn’t know it fully. It was so hard trying to find a way to show the reader a girl who would be interesting to read about, a girl who would become strong, while at the same time hinting at her brokenness—at the way that she perceives herself before she’s found that she is worth loving. Barrie is like a lot of girls who don’t recognize the strength and beauty within themselves.

What makes COMPULSION different from the other Southern Gothics coming out?

At its essence, the Southern Gothic fiction I really love is about haunted families and the kind of tradition that passes down from one generation to another whether the next generation wants it or not. It’s about haunting settings, quirky characters, and dangerous situations, but it’s also about epic love. COMPULSION is about all of that in equal measure, but it’s also a coming of age story, a story about finding your place, your family, yourself. There are definitely weird, memorable characters. Someone I really respect once described it as MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL meets ROMEO AND JULIET meets THE SIXTH SENSE. I hope that’s kind of different.

Talk to me about insta-love. There’s a moment when the love between Eight and Barrie feels that way, even though it isn’t. Did you worry about that when you were writing?

If you stop reading at the point where Eight and Barrie meet because you think it’s going to be insta-love, you’re going to miss discovering that that’s very far from the case. They fall for each other fast because they go through a lot. But they also have extenuating circumstances. And trust me, their love story is far from over yet.

As far as insta-love in general goes? My husband told me he loved me in the middle of a poker party a month after we met. We married less than a year after we met, and we’re still married. Love can happen very fast and still be real and lasting. I’m not personally a fan of the kind of insta-love where a character is in danger but the second she sees a hot guy, all she can do is think about how hot he is. Or the kind where one or two super-hot guys fall in love with a heroine who’s not only ordinary looking but doesn’t really do anything that makes her stand out. Barrie takes action early on, even though she’s scared and not used to handling things on her own. She’s naïve, so sometimes her decisions aren’t the smartest, but you know what? I was making naïve decisions when I was a lot older than Barrie. That’s what I love the most about her. She does the best she can at the time. It isn’t always perfect.

What are you doing today to celebrate release day?

Running around like a crazy person, because I’m in the middle of the Compelling Reads Tour and have an event tonight at the library in Bethesda, MD. I did spend some time with friends both in person and online last night at midnight though. Oh and I went to the bookstore this morning to sign (and pet) their copies of COMPULSION.

About the Book

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Three plantations. Two gifts. One ancient curse.

All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lives with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead–a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.

Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who somehow seems to know what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family’s twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Goodreads

Martina Boone writes contemporary fantasy set in the kinds of magical places she would love to visit. She is the founder of YA Series Insiders and Adventures in YA Publishing, a two-time Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers blog. She’d be quite happy on a desert island, as long as she had her family, her dog, her cat, plenty of books, and a way to keep writing. Oh, and vats of Nutella.
COMPULSION, the first novel in her Heirs of Watson Island YA Southern Gothic trilogy, released on October 28, 2014.

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Next Book News!

We’ve debuted, we’re debuting and we’re selling more stuff! Check back on the 28th of each month to find out all the awesome Next Book News!

 

Starred Review for Rachel Searle’s THE STOLEN MOON! 

THE STOLEN MOON received a starred review from Kirkus!   Woot!!

 

New book deal for Trisha Leaver!

Jacquelyn Mitchard at Merit Press has bought a YA novel by Trisha Leaver (l.) and Lindsay Currie, called Sweet Madness. It’s a reimagining of the Lizzie Borden murders, told through the perspective of Bridget Sullivan, Lizzie’s maid and confidant, who finds herself in a perilous situation. Kathleen Rushall and Kevan Lyon Marsal Lyon Literary Agency brokered the deal for world English rights.

 

New book deal for Veronica Bartles!

Kristin Daly Rens at Balzer & Bray has bought Veronica Bartles’ debut picture book, THE PRINCESS AND THE FROGS. It’s a fractured fairy tale retelling of The Princess and the Frog, where Princess Cassandra desperately wants a frog for a pet – but she loves them so much, she can’t help kissing them, and soon her castle is overrun by princes! Jessica Sinsheimer at The Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency brokered the deal for world rights.

 

Lori M. Lee’s sequel has a title and release date! 

The sequel to GATES OF THREAD AND STONE has a title: THE INFINITE. And it releases March 10, 2015.

 

Title changes and review copies for Jen Malone!

RSVP is getting a title change to You’re Invited and is available for pre-order!  Review copies are also available on Edelweiss!

Jen’s Summer 2015 YA with HarperCollins will also be getting a title change from Me, Him and the Paparazzi to Map to the Stars. For more information check out Jen’s website!

 

Oooh-Ahhh NEXT BOOK COVERS!!!!

 

Dahlia Adler

UNDER THE LIGHTS

 

UNDER THE LIGHTS releases on June 30, 2015!

Add it on Goodreads!   AND it’s available for Pre-Order!

 

 

Elle Cosimano

NEARLY FOUND

 

NEARLY FOUND releases on June 2, 2015!

Add it on Goodreads!  AND it’s available for Pre-Order!

 

Tara Dairman

THE STARS OF SUMMER

 

For more information, various pre-order links, and/or to sign up for Tara’s newsletter, head to her fantastic website!

THE STARS OF SUMMER releases on May 5, 2015!  Add it on Goodreads!

 

Nicole Maggi

THE FORGETTING

 

THE FORGETTING releases February 3, 2015!

Add it on Goodreads!  AND it’s available for Pre-Order!

 

Robin Constantine

THE SECRETS OF ATTRACTION 

 

This cover for the companion novel to THE PROMISE OF AMAZING was revealed exclusively on Hypable.com – click here for a synopsis and fun interview! 

THE SECRETS OF ATTRACTION releases on April 28, 2015.

Add it on Goodreads!  AND it’s available for Pre-Order!

 

That’s a wrap!  What an awesome news month!

 

Check back in November for more great One Four news! 

Robin Constantine is a born and raised Jersey girl who moved down South so she could wear flip-flops year round. She spends her days dreaming up stories where love conquers all, well, eventually but not without a lot of peril, angst and the occasional kissing scene. Her YA debut, THE PROMISE OF AMAZING, is out now! Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins Publishers.
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Friday Q&A: Spooky Edition

From bumps in the night to sending that ugly first draft to your agent/editor: OneFours, what scares you?

“Dolls, heights, creepy clowns, and driving over bridges, but above all else: Giraffes.”
—Heidi Schulz, HOOK’S REVENGE 

“Everyone will expect me to say bunnies (BUNNYYYYYY AHHHHHHHH!!!), but SPIDERS, final answer.”
—Lauren Magaziner, THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN WITCHES

“Cockroaches! Or any big, black, shiny bug for that matter.”
—Christina Farley, GILDED and SILVERN

“Snakes and Dolls. A Doll with pet snakes would be the worst!”
—Jaye Robin Brown, NO PLACE TO FALL

“I’m beyond terrified of snakes. I have no problem with lizards, and I love frogs. But snakes? *shudder* – I once nearly ran my car off the road because I saw a snake sunning itself in the middle of my lane. And then, for two weeks afterward, I was afraid to get into my car, because I had this mental image of the snake somehow catching hold of my vehicle as I drove past and slithering up through the vents to lie in wait and get me as soon as I let my guard down. (My kids won’t even utter “the S-word” in my presence!)”
—Veronica Bartles, TWELVE STEPS

“Dolls with moving eyes. Sadists. My children in the road while a huge truck barrels toward them and I stand frozen and soundless and out of reach.”
—Mary Crockett, DREAM BOY

“I’m right in there with critter phobias (snakes, spiders, huge cockroaches, etc.) but I think what scares me the most is floating off into literary oblivion without having made a difference in people’s lives with the words that I have labored over for so long and with such sincere intentions.”
—Linda Vigen Phillips, CRAZY

“Heights. Enclosed spaces. And frogs. (They hop!)”
—Skila Brown, CAMINAR

“Clowns. And the movie Pinocchio.”
—Robin Constantine, THE PROMISE OF AMAZING

“Rats. For some odd reason, every nightmare I can remember, since childhood on, has involved rats. *shudders*”
—Dana Alison Levy, THE MISADVENTURES OF THE FAMILY FLETCHER

“Having to make a phone call.”
—Jessica Love, PUSH GIRL

Heidi Schulz is a writer, reader, and giraffe suspicioner. Her debut novel for middle grade readers, HOOK’S REVENGE, is available now. A sequel, HOOK’S REVENGE: THE PIRATE CODE, will follow in September 2015. Her picture book debut, GIRAFFES RUIN EVERYTHING, by Bloomsbury Kids, in Spring 2016. She lives in Salem, Oregon with her husband, their teen daughter, a terrible little dog, and five irascible chickens.
Connect with her on HeidiSchulzBooks.comTwitter, or Facebook.
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The Author’s Voice: interview with OneFour author LISA MAXWELL

Voodoo, murder, and haunting dreams collide in Lisa Maxwell‘s spell-binding mystery, SWEET UNREST.

Lisa speaks with us about the importance of setting and research in her YA paranormal debut (Flux, 2014).

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Lisa Maxwell is the author of SWEET UNREST (Flux, Fall 2014). When she’s not writing books, she teaches English at a local college. She lives near DC with her very patient husband and two not-so patient boys. You can find her on Twitter @lisamaxwellya most days.

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Kate Boorman is an independent artist and writer from the Canadian prairies. She was born in Nepal (where she was carried up the Himalayas in a basket) and she grew up in a small Albertan town (where she rode her bike to Girl Guides). She is fond of creepy things. Speaking of! Her YA fantasy WINTERKILL is out now (Abrams/Amulet and Faber & Faber).