Cover Reveal: Banished – Blackhart Legacy: Book One

With Banished, the first book in The Blackhart Legacy trilogy, being published February 2014, I’m very happy to show off the cover which debuted on my publisher’s blog yesterday.


The blurb on the back reads as follows:

Sworn to protect, honour and slay — because chaos won’t banish itself
Kit is proud to be a Blackhart, now she’s living with her unorthodox cousins and sharing their strange lives. Especially since their home-schooling includes spells, fighting enemy fae and using ancient weapons.

But it’s not until she rescues a rather handsome fae prince, fighting for his life on the edge of Blackhart Manor, that her training really kicks in. With her family away on various missions, Kit must protect Prince Thorn, rely on new friends and use her own unfamiliar magic to stay ahead of Thorn’s enemies.

As things go from bad to apocalyptic, fae battle fae in a war that threatens to spill into the human world. Then Kit pits herself against the Elder Gods themselves – it’s that or lose everyone she’s learnt to love.


I just love the cover and I hope you do too, and that the blurb sounds interesting enough to add to your giant TBR piles for 2014.

Liz de Jager, although originally from South Africa, now lives in London, United Kingdom, with her husband Mark and their Jack Russell Terrier, Sparrow. Her house is brimful of books and she spends most of her free time writing, reading, drinking too much tea and dreaming of kick ass heroines saving the day. She’s also obsessed with folklore and fairy tales. She can be found on Twitter: @LizUK


Today we’re introducing Adi Rule, whose YA debut, STRANGE SWEET SONG, comes out 2/25/14 from St. Martin’s Press.

Four questions. Go!

What’s your debut book about?


Music flows in Sing Da Navelli’s blood. When she enrolls at a prestigious conservatory, her first opera audition is for the role of her dreams. But this leading role is the last Sing’s mother ever sang, before her controversial career, and her life, were cut tragically short.

As Sing struggles to escape her mother’s shadow and prove her own worth, she is drawn to the conservatory’s icy forest, a place steeped in history, magic, and danger. She soon realizes there is more to her new school than the artistry and politics of classical music.

With the help of a dark-eyed apprentice who has secrets of his own, Sing must unravel the story of the conservatory’s dark forest and the strange creature who lives there — and find her own voice.

What do you do in your daily life outside of writing?

I give tours of historic houses, including the weirdest mansion ever (no one can even agree on how many rooms it has), which sits at the end of a lonely peninsula across the bay from an abandoned prison.


jlbruno via flickr

Not creepy at all.

It has occurred to me, as I go through all by myself at the end of the day to shut off the lights and close the curtains, that it would be a good setting for a ghost/murder/dismembered tour guide story.

I also sing in the chorus of the Boston Symphony Orchestra/Boston Pops, which is super fun. It can be difficult as well because, besides actually singing all this amazing music, we’re one of the only choruses on the planet that performs entirely from memory. And you have to drive in Boston a lot.

What four facts might readers not know about you?

  • Going to the dentist doesn’t bother me.
  • I cried at the emotional bits of Mass Effect 3.
  • My name is pronounced “AH-dee,” not “Addie.”
  • My first cousin thrice removed (or something?) was officially canonized in 2010.
  • One time I was at a function and Henry Kissinger was there and he was eating a bun and for some reason I thought this was hilarious.

Artist’s rendition.

That was five facts.

Yes, but one of them wasn’t true.

Which one?

Ha ha! Gotcha. They were ALL true. And that counts as your fourth question.

Tell us about your desert island books.

Clever girl.

  • JURASSIC PARK by Michael Crichton, because that’s the sort of desert island I would end up on.
  • HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE by Diana Wynne Jones, so at least my last moments could be spent swooning over Wizard Howl before I was eaten by procompsognathuses.
  • FLY BY NIGHT by Frances Hardinge, because the water is so real it could probably save me from dehydration.
  • RABBIT HILL by Robert Lawson, so I could remember that, despite the dinosaur hell I’ve washed up on, the world can be a beautiful place.
  • GIANTS OF LAND, SEA & AIR – PAST & PRESENT by David Peters, because srsly that book is the best.
Adi Rule loves writing, singing, animals, reading, video games, laughing at stuff, and jumping off rocks into the water. Her debut STRANGE SWEET SONG drops 2/25/14 from St Martin’s Press, followed by REDWING. Find her on Twitter and Facebook, because you never know when a stranger will ask you what Adi’s cats were doing today.


Today we’re talking to Sashi Kaufman debut author of THE OTHER WAY AROUND (Carolrhoda Books).

Hey, you’re getting published! How’d that happen? 

My path to publication contained some of the usual (and some unusual) bumps and potholes. I met my agent at an agent speed-dating event.He requested a full and offered representation after a revision pass. At the same time I was querying and got another offer from a different agent. After much agonizing, interviewing and consulting of the Ouija board I chose to stick with the agent I met in person. I can’t stress the importance of making personal connections with people in publishing, while being yourself, and not always promoting yourself. Two months later he left the agency and I became the client of a newbie agent who I knew nothing about. She turned out to be the amazing Lauren Macleod, she loved my writing, and was ready to go to bat for me. While my first book never sold, I wrote a second one during the submission process and that one did sell to Andrew Karre at Carolrhoda Books. It went through several title iterations and is now THE OTHER WAY AROUND.

What’s your debut book about? Can you share any cool details with us?

My book is about Andrew West. He’s a classic under-achiever forced to attend an all-girls school where his mom is headmaster. After a disastrous Thanksgiving where his cousin pees in Andrew’s bed and his parents neglect to mention that his favorite grandmother died, Andrew reaches his breaking point. He sets out on a cross country adventure with a group of mysterious older teenagers he meets in the bus station. The Freegans are dumpster divers, street performers and their alternative lifestyle presents the perfect escape for someone searching for THE OTHER WAY AROUND.

Your main character is a 16 year boy, what do you have in common with Andrew?

  • Andrew and I are both observers by nature.
  • Both Andrew and I have a history of amusing awkwardness with members of the opposite sex.
  • We both like to read survival stories.
  • We both ran around suburbia covered in body paint -one time only.

What are you most excited about in the debut process?

This time is really exciting because my friends and family are just getting a chance to read the book and soon (March 1st) it will be in so many other people’s hands. I’m nervous and excited for my students to read it (I’m a middle school teacher) because I know they will be unfailingly honest with me. I’m wondering if it will make them see me differently to get this peek into some of the things I think are funny or sad or even (gasp) sexy.

Sashi Kaufman is a middle school science and English teacher. She lives in Maine with her husband and small feisty daughter. When she is not writing books or reading them she likes to hike, go to the beach or just play outside. THE OTHER WAY AROUND is her debut novel and will be coming from Carolrhoda Lab to a bookstore near you in March of 2014. You can also find her being mildly inappropriate on Twitter.

GETTIN’ LUCKY: An Interview with Christa Desir, author of FAULT LINE

faultlineI’m so pleased to have the privilege to introduce you to Christa Desir’s intense, emotional FAULT LINE, a book I kept thinking about for quite some time after coming to its powerful ending.  FAULT LINE follows Ben, a well-liked high school swimmer whose new girlfriend Ani is raped at a party.  What makes the book unique is it provides insight into the tumultuous aftermath of sexual assault from the perspective of the boyfriend of a rape survivor.  I knew Christa and I were kindred spirits when we seemed to Tweet simultaneously about subjects that amazed or irritated us.  I’m so pleased to share her thoughts about her debut novel with all of you.

Thanks so much for answering my questions, Christa.  Can you share with us how you came to write FAULT LINE? How did your background as a rape survivor activist impact your writing?

Well, the story came out of a rape survivor writing testimonial workshop that I participated in with the Voices and Faces Project. The class exercise was to write a scene from a point of view that was a different gender or sexual orientation. I wrote from the point of view of a 17-year-old boy and then it was like the voice of Ben was in my head and I knew that was the book I wanted to write. As far as my work as a rape victim advocate in ERs, yes, every survivor is part of me. So all their stories in one way or another impacted the story I wanted to write and the things I wanted to say.

FAULT LINE really interested me because, as you just mentioned, it addressed the issue of rape from the point of view of a male whose girlfriend has been the victim of sexual assault. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Well, two things: first, I’m generally pro-dude and I wanted teen boys to read a book about rape where they weren’t vilified as perpetrators. The reality is that the majority of teen boys aren’t raping people, so I wanted a book for them, one where they could look at the main character and say, “Yeah, I could be him.” Second, I wanted to tell the story of the people around survivors who are impacted by the rape as well. There are some really great books told from the point of view of survivors, but not nearly as many told from the point of view of those who are in the boat of suck with them. I think we distance men and boys from this issue by not acknowledging how much they are affected by it too. I’ve gotten great feedback from guys on this book and have heard many say, “Yes, I want to help. What can I do?”

Did the frank sexual content ever pose an issue in terms of trying to find a home for the book? Why did you feel it was important to include such elements?

Hmmm…well, I don’t really know. My agent was really on board with it from the start. And Pulse offered for it pretty early on. And in terms of including the graphic content, I wanted to have a frank discussion about the fallout of rape from a sexual perspective because of I have heard from survivors over and over again that one of the effect of sexual violence was they were very promiscuous after their rape; they had sort of shut down. And while this isn’t something that happens to everyone, it has been a common enough RTS (rape trauma syndrome) reaction that I felt it was worth discussing. Particularly in light of Ani not knowing what happened at the party and the rumors that followed that night.

What do you hope readers will take away from reading FAULT LINE?

I guess I want people to understand that rape affects a lot more than just the survivor, that our words can harm, that there isn’t a simple way to “fix” a survivor, that sometimes you don’t get the bad guy in the end, that finding your way back from sexual violence (as a survivor or someone close to a survivor) may take longer than a few months. And that the fallout from rape can look very different for different people.

Without giving too much away, FAULT LINE’s realistic ending isn’t necessarily a fairy tale ending. Can you talk about your choices at the end of the novel without including any major spoilers? (That might be difficult, I know!)

Well, I haven’t been shy about telling people that this isn’t a happy ending. I didn’t want that. It’s not what I’ve seen with most of the survivors I’ve worked with or heard from in my life. Even when survivors do everything right, a state attorney can plea down, drop charges, etc. The Steubenville trial was likely the best outcome that girl might’ve ever gotten and it wasn’t without TREMENDOUS sacrifice on her and her family’s part. So, I guess what I wanted to say with my ending is that sometimes people don’t bounce back from sexual violence the same as how they were, no matter how much we try, no matter how much we do, there’s not always a perfect “healing” path or timeline for getting over rape. It doesn’t work that way.

As this community is All for One and OneFour KidLit, we’d like to know what two or three books inspired you as a kid.

Well, my parents were sort of not great about monitoring the things I read as a child, and I therefore was reading way inappropriate stuff as a very young child, but these were the books I read that meant something to me: Bridge to Terabithia, Girl, Interrupted, The Mixed Up Files of Ms. Basil E. Frankenweiler, and Bastard Out of Carolina.

Thank you so much, Christa!

About the Author

christaChrista Desir has been in love with YA books ever since reading Judy Blume’s FOREVER (while hiding between the stacks in the library).  Her first success with writing came at the age of five when she wrote a story about her sister and her neighbor Andy “kissing in the dushes.” Christa lives outside of Chicago with her husband, Julio, and three children. When she’s not writing, she edits romance novels.  She is also a feminist, former rape victim advocate, lover of coffee and chocolate, and head of the PTA.  Visit her author website or catch up with her on Twitter or Facebook.

Jennifer Mathieu is a writer and English teacher who lives in Houston with her husband, son, dog, and two cats. A former newspaper journalist and East Coast native, Jennifer loves to eat but hates to cook. Her YA debut, THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE, will be published by Roaring Brook Press in June 2014.

Boo! Happy Fourteenth Day!

We have a LOT of happy news for October. (It’s almost as if, I don’t know, we’re getting close to our debut year, or something.)

New books/rights:

Heidi Schultz has sold a picture book to Bloomsbury Kids that will be out in 2015–and it sounds adorable: Giraffes Ruin Everything.

Livia Blackburne has published a novella that takes place in the world of her debut novel. It’s called Poison Dance, and believe me, it’s really, really, really fantastic! It’s on sale for .99 cents at Amazon, Nook, Kobo, and iBooks, so take a look!

Julie Murphy has sold the Australian rights to her novel, Side Effects May Vary.  Woohoo!!!

14KidLit in the news/media/lists:

Tess Sharpe‘s Far From You has been selected as an Indies Introduce Pick for Spring 2014. Congrats, Tess!

Kate Kelly‘s novel Red Rock was reviewed in The Guardian. (That’s a big deal, you guys.)

The Fourteenery had its 10 Seconds of Fame on BuzzFeed. (Buzzfeed!)


(l to r) Robin Constantine, Rebecca Petruck, and Jaye Robin Brown at the SCBWI Carolinas conference

Cover Reveals:

Helene Dunbar’s These Gentle Wounds was revealed on YABooksCentralImage

Tara Dairman’s All Four Stars was revealed at Emu’s Debuts:


Lauren Magaziner’s The Only Thing Worse Than Witches:


AdriAnne Strickland’s Wordless was also revealed on YABooksCentral:


Rebecca Behrens’s When Audrey Met Alice was revealed on MundieKids:


Amber Lough lives in Syracuse, NY with an astrophysicist and their two kids, Future CEO and Future Comedian. She spent half her childhood in Japan and the Middle East, but majored in Russian because she likes a challenge. She quit her job in the Air Force to write stories. Her Middle Eastern fantasy, THE FIRE WISH, is due from Random House Children’s in Fall 2014.

The OneFours will be closing their doors

It’s hard to believe that the end of 2013 is just around the corner and it will soon be the official debut year for the OneFours. That means it’s time for us to buckle down and gear up for a 12-month extravaganza of main events. In preparation, we’ll be closing our doors to new membership applications as of 10/31/2013. So if you’re a 2014 debut and you’ve been considering joining our ranks, the time is NOW. Visit our application page while it still exists!

But don’t panic! If you’re lucky enough to sell your 2014 debut YA or MG novel after our doors have closed, the Fearless Fifteeners have graciously agreed to consider your application. You can contact them at fearlessfifteeners@yahoo.com.

As always, you can contact us with questions at onefourkidlit@gmail.com.

Happy reading, writing, and interneting!

Natalie C Parker is a writer, professional project coordinator, and future zombie slayer. When not saving the world, she can be found on Twitter (@nataliecparker). Though once determined to never live in a land-locked state, she resides in Kansas with her partner in a house of monsters. Her southern gothic YA debut, BEWARE THE WILD, is due from HarperCollins Children’s Books in 2014.

Gettin’ Lucky: An Interview with Alison Cherry, Author of RED

Hi, y’all! Julie here! I was lucky enough to read an early copy of Alison Cherry’s super stellar debut, Red. And it was A W E S O M E. Satire with some major heart. Fans of Pleasantville, Drop Dead Gorgeous, The Truman Show, or Tom Perrotta’s Election (or just awesome things in general) will devour this one. Despite me not having red hair, Alison was kind enough to answer a few of my questions, but first here’s a little more about Red:

13265540Felicity St. John has it all—loyal best friends, a hot guy, and artistic talent. And she’s right on track to win the Miss Scarlet pageant. Her perfect life is possible because of just one thing: her long, wavy, coppery red hair.
Having red hair is all that matters in Scarletville. Redheads hold all the power—and everybody knows it. That’s why Felicity is scared down to her roots when she receives an anonymous note:
I know your secret.
Because Felicity is a big fake. Her hair color comes straight out of a bottle. And if anyone discovered the truth, she’d be a social outcast faster than she could say “strawberry blond.” Her mother would disown her, her friends would shun her, and her boyfriend would dump her. And forget about winning that pageant crown and the prize money that comes with it—money that would allow her to fulfill her dream of going to art school.
Felicity isn’t about to let someone blackmail her life away. But just how far is she willing to go to protect her red cred?

JM: As if launching your debut novel isn’t enough work, tomorrow morning you wake up to find that you’ll be competing in a beauty pageant that same day. What’s your talent?

AC: Unfortunately, I have very little performing arts talent (or ability to walk in heels, which would make me a pretty terrible pageant contestant.) However, I am extremely good at writing funny Shakespearian sonnets about pretty much anything in twenty minutes or less. (Proper rhyme scheme, iambic pentameter, the works.) So I’d go out onstage before the talent portion began and ask for topic suggestions from the audience, then scurry back to the green room, write my sonnet, and dramatically read it aloud when it was my turn. In the past, I’ve written sonnets about how my old coworker might be a robot, ways to procrastinate when you’re studying for finals, how awesome my agent is, and Nyquil, so pretty much anything is fair game.

JM: Ah! I am dying for a sonnet! Felicity is an artist at heart, how did you come to make this decision and who are some of your favorite artists?

AC: Overall, Felicity and I aren’t very much alike, but that was me infusing her with a bit of my teenage self! I started getting really serious about photography when I was about fifteen—that was actually my major in college, and I did it as a career for a while before I became a full-time writer. My art classes in high school and college were always where I felt most free to express myself. Since Felicity spends her whole life trying to cover up who she really is, I wanted to give her one place she could be totally honest.

Some of my favorite photographers are Diane Arbus, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Richard Avedon, and Mary Ellen Mark, all of whom have (or had) a flare for capturing the dramatic, the absurd, and the unexpected. I’m also a big fan of Impressionist and Expressionist painting, especially Manet, Cezanne, van Gogh, Kirchner, and Munch.

JM: Oh! I love Richard Avedon, too! His In the American West series has always been a favorite of mine. If you could choose any one of your characters to be a living human being to be a part of your daily life, who would you choose?

AC: I’d take Felicity’s best friend Ivy, hands down. She’s my favorite character I’ve ever written in anything, not just in this book. I never had to think about what she’d say or do—she was just there in my brain right from the start being her snarky, funny, 100% individualistic self. I’m incredibly jealous that Felicity gets to hang out with her all the time and I don’t. (I’m also pretty sure I made one of my real-life friends because she reminds me of Ivy…)

JM: I adored Ivy. I often find that the characters who stay with authors are the ones who stick with readers as well. Felicty’s world is so fully developed. I imagine it was hard to get that out of your head and move onto the next project. Can you give us a taste of what you’ve got coming up next?

AC: I don’t think Scarletville will ever really leave my head—sometimes I find myself using words I made up for RED in everyday conversation, and I only realize I’m doing it when people start looking at me funny. My next book, FOR REAL, is another stand-alone contemporary YA. It’s about a pair of sisters who audition for a race-around-the-world reality TV show in order to get revenge on a cheating ex-boyfriend. I can’t tell you too much yet, but I will say that it contains elephants with painted toenails, a Greek man singing Lady Gaga, and a pomegranate-smashing contest.

JM: Ermahgerd! I can’t wait! One last question: as this community is All for One and OneFour KidLit, we’d love to know two or three books that inspired you as a kid!

AC: I read constantly as a kid, so it’s difficult to pick just three. But I’m going to go with The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, Matilda by Roald Dahl, and Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery. The Phantom Tollbooth taught me that words could do playful, unexpected things and ignited my love for puns and portmanteaus. (I can FEEL my friends reading this and rolling their eyes… don’t even pretend you don’t love it, guys.) Matilda taught me that girls who love books are incredibly awesome and that having a strong brain makes you powerful. And Anne… I mean, come on, is there any better book for a little redheaded, freckled girl who loves to imagine?

JM: I love all of those books so much. I think you might be my spirit animal, Alison. Those are all the questions I have for today. Thank you so much for stopping by OneFour KidLit! And congratulations on your incredible debut!

Author photoUnlike Felicity, Alison Cherry is a natural redhead. (Yes, Cherry is her real last name.) Alison is a professional photographer and worked for many years as a lighting designer for theater, dance, and opera productions. If she could choose a superpower, it would be teleportation, and her favorite dinosaur is the stegosaurus. She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. RED is her first book. Visit Alison online at www.alisoncherrybooks.com or on Twitter @alison_cherry.


Julie Murphy lives in North Texas with her husband who loves her, her dog who adores her, and her cats who tolerate her. When she’s not writing or trying to catch stray animals, Julie can be found on Twitter or in a library smelling old books and manning the reference desk. SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray) is due out in 2014.