Next Book News!

We’ve debuted and we’re…wait, we’ve really all debuted!!!  I feel like I should be saying something more profound, since this will be the last NBN post.  It’s been a wild and wonderful year but this will not be the last you hear from the awesome authors who debuted in 2014.  This is only the beginning!!  So now onto the SUPER DELUXE NOVEMBER/DECEMBER HOLIDAY FAREWELL EDITION of NEXT BOOK NEWS!!!

THE GILDED SERIES will be a trilogy!

THE GILDED SERIES by Christina Farley will be a trilogy! Announcing book three: BRAZEN to be released on Sept. 29, 2015.  All the details can be found on Christina’s blog!

Australian Rights for DUMPLIN’!

Julie Murphy, author of SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY, sold Australian rights for DUMPLIN’ to Penguin Teen Australia for publication in Australia and New Zealand!

DAUGHTER OF DUSK release date!

DAUGHTER OF DUSK, the sequel to Livia Blackburne’s MIDNIGHT THIEF, will be released August 4th, 2015!

HIDDEN HUNTRESS release date!

HIDDEN HUNTRESS, the second installment of Danielle L. Jensen’s THE MALEDICTION TRILOGY, will be released June 2, 2015 by Angry Robot Books!

REBELLION available on Netgalley!

REBELLION, the sequel to EXTRACTION by Stephanie Diaz, is now available for request on Netgalley!

THE SECRETS OF ATTRACTION available on Edelweiss!

THE SECRETS OF ATTRACTION, a companion novel to THE PROMISE OF AMAZING by Robin Constantine, is now available for request on Edelweiss!

A GIRL UNDONE release date and optioned for television!

A GIRL UNDONE, the sequel to A GIRL CALLED FEARLESS by Catherine Linka, will be released June 23, 2015. Both have been optioned by Universal Cable Productions!

THE FORGETTING is a Junior Library Guild selection!

Nicole Maggi’s February 2015 release THE FORGETTING is the Junior Library Guild selection for that month! THE FORGETTING is about a girl who receives a heart transplant and starts to remember the life of her donor. For every memory she gains she loses one of her own. A race against time to solve the mystery of her donor’s death leads her into an underbelly of society that she never knew existed. THE FORGETTING will be released on February 3rd from Sourcebooks Fire and received a stellar review from Kirkus!  “[T]his book is a powerful call to action…a story worth reading.”  Read the full review here!




Jen Malone


YOU’RE INVITED by Jen Malone has a new cover design and will publish on May 19, 2015!

Add it on Goodreads!  Available for Pre-Order!

Amber Lough 

THE BLIND WISH, a sequel to THE FIRE WISH by Amber Lough, will be released in 2015!

Add it on Goodreads!  Available for Pre-Order!


AdriAnne Strickland

THE WAY OF THE WOMBAT: Quest for Gray Ironbark

THE WAY OF THE WOMBAT: Quest For Gray Ironbark, a new middle grade by AdriAnne Strickland will be released February 2, 2015!

Add it on Goodreads! Available for Pre-Order!



Thank you for following us through this amazing debut year!!  I, for one, feel beyond privileged to have been a part of such a talented and awesome group of creative individuals and I know I’ll be keeping an eye out for their future endeavors!  So it’s not really goodbye – it’s more like Catch Ya Later!!   Keep Reading!!


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.

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!




Dahlia Adler



UNDER THE LIGHTS releases on June 30, 2015!

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



Elle Cosimano



NEARLY FOUND releases on June 2, 2015!

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


Tara Dairman



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 releases February 3, 2015!

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


Robin Constantine



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.

The Author’s Voice: interview with OneFour author Robin Constantine

Tacky hors d’oeuvres and longing glances!

Robin speaks with us about her YA contemporary The Promise of Amazing (Balzer + Bray, 2014).

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 debuts in November 2014 (Abrams/Amulet and Faber & Faber).

Happy Book Release to our fellow OneFour, Robin Constantine!

Hey, everyone! Emery Lord here. I recently got to ask Robin Constantine some questions about her contemporary young adult book, THE PROMISE OF AMAZING, which was released on December 31st! The story follows two teens, Wren and Grayson, in an opposites-attract love story that begins with the Heimlich manuever. Thanks for talking to us, Robin!

THE PROMISE OF AMAZING is told in dual-POV, which I thought was a really interesting creative choice. Why did you go that route? Was it planned or is that how the narrative unfolded naturally for you?

When I first set out to write TPofA, I wasn’t planning on two POVs.  I was a bit terrified to write from a boy’s perspective but when I hit chapter two from Wren’s perspective, I froze.  Then I realized at that point in the story, Grayson had the more dramatic moment.  When I started fooling around with the male POV, I thought it might turn out to be an elaborate character sketch.  As I delved deeper into Grayson’s side of the story – he had a lot to say, so I just went with it.

Wren is pegged as the quiet, rule-following type, where Grayson is outgoing and a bit of a troublemaker. In writing both perspectives, is there one you identified with more or one that came more easily to you?

I was/am a rule-follower extraordinaire.   There was once a piece on 20/20 about people in a (simulated situation) burning restaurant and how there were some patrons who wouldn’t leave – even though there was imminent danger – because they didn’t pay the check.  Yeah, that would be me.  Troublemakers fascinate me and I tended to pal around with them and lived vicariously.  So, I identified with Wren much more but also understood her pull to someone who ‘lives out loud’ like Grayson. 

The Arthurian-themed catering hall is such an great setting/high school job that I have to ask: how did you come up with it?   

Thanks!  Originally I was going to set the story in a coffee shop, but I realized early on that that was going to be limiting in what could happen.  So that’s when I switched the setting to a catering hall, and I definitely had some experience to draw on there.   

I worked at a catering hall during college. The hours were so long and the work was fairly grueling (seriously, there is a science to piling plates on a tray) but most of the time I worked weddings and that was pretty fun.   And while the weddings could be full of drama – that was nothing compared to the behind the scenes dramas.   The place was full of such characters and I definitely drew a lot of my inspiration from some of the things that went on, but The Camelot is a work of my imagination.  There was no love shack where I worked (at least not to my knowledge!) and while a guest did in fact ask me what I was serving when I offered up a plate of cocktail franks, the hot dog name game is something I came up with for the novel. 

As for the Arthurian theme, I wanted something that would add a kitsch factor – something that may have been popular at one time, but has faded a bit.  And the Arthurian legend was really perfect for that.  It was also slightly symbolic for me as well, since Camelot is associated with sort of a timeless golden age and I felt like having it close and yet be reimagined was a nod to not letting your past define you. 

In many MG and YA books, the parents are conveniently out of the picture for one reason or another. In The Promise of Amazing, we see both Wren and Grayson’s families. What went into your decision to put the families “on-screen?”

I’m not sure if this was conscious, or just how I saw the characters. You always hear “kill the parents” because it’s more exciting for your main character to figure things out for themselves.  Wren and Gray figure out things for themselves but to portray them without a family life would have felt unrealistic for me.  And people who come from supportive and loving families can screw things up too.  

And 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.

The book that always comes to mind for me is Are You There God It’s Me Margaret by Judy Blume.  It was the first book that spoke to me, and made Judy Blume an auto-buy author for me.  I liked it because it spoke directly to my experience and was so relatable.  I also loved The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton and could hardly believe that was required reading!

Thanks Robin, and congratulations!! Visit Robin on her website or Twitter for more! The Promise of Amazing is available at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Indiebound.

About the author:


Robin Constantine is a born and bred 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 available from Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Emery Lord lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, with one husband, two rescue dogs, and three packed-full bookshelves. She spends her time impulse shopping, laughing so loudly that other people in the restaurant shoot dirty looks at her and her friends, and reading everything. Her debut novel, OPEN ROAD SUMMER is out with Walker/Bloomsbury on April 15, 2014.

GETTIN’ LUCKY: An Interview with K.A. Barson, Author of 45 POUNDS (MORE OR LESS)

Today we’re interviewing Lucky13 author K.A. Barson, whose young adult debut novel 45 POUNDS (MORE OR LESS) hits the shelves today! Here’s a bit about the book:

ImageHere are the numbers of Ann Galardi’s life:
She is 16.
And a size 17.
Her perfect mother is a size 6.
Her aunt Jackie is getting married in 10 weeks
and wants Ann to be the bridesmaid.
So Ann makes up her mind:
Time to lose 45 pounds (more or less)
in two and a half months.

Welcome to the world of infomercial diet plans, endless wedding dance lessons, embarrassing run-ins with the cutest guy Ann’s ever seen–and some surprises about her not-so-perfect mother. 
And don’t forget the last part of the equation: It’s all about feeling comfortable in your own skin–no matter how you add it up!  

What inspired you to write 45 Pounds (More of Less)?

I wanted to write a story about a real girl—one who is overweight and has family issues, but who suffers more internally than externally. Some of it is based on how I felt as a teen, and some of it comes from teens I’ve been around since then.

Which comes first for you:  character or plot?

Character. Always character. Once I know what my character wants and what she’s going to do to get it, then I start to figure out plot.

You earned your MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. How has VCFA shaped your writing?

VCFA transformed my writing! First, the program taught me how to make writing a priority because I had to for the two years I was in the program. It also taught me about craft. That’s huge, obviously. Students learn craft by reading craft books, studying published work in the field, and by dissecting each other’s work. That’s not even counting the fabulous lectures, from faculty, visiting writers, and students. Most of all, I’m discovering that they taught me how to take criticism and not get defensive about it.

Do you have any quirky writing habits?  Something you absolutely need or a special place where you have to write?

I have to write alone, and it has to be quiet. With a husband, four kids + significant others, four dogs, and two grandkids, that’s sometimes easier said than done.  I also need snacks. Sometimes crunchy, sometimes smooth, for when I’m pondering.

 What is the most challenging part of the debut process?  The best or most unexpected?

The most challenging part is the waiting. The best and most unexpected part is all the little celebrations that creep up in the waiting—receiving editorial letters, meeting editorial deadlines, seeing the cover for the first time, revealing the cover, getting ARCs, reading blurbs and trade reviews. There’s always something happening.

There’s a scene in 45 Pounds (More or Less) where everyone dances Michael Jackson’s Thriller dance.   I really have to know…can you do the Thriller dance? 

I haven’t danced to Thriller since high school, which was a loooong time ago. I watched videos a lot while writing those scenes though.

And finally, as this community is All for One and OneFour KidLit, we’d like to know two or three books that inspired you when you were a kid?

Judy Blume’s Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret and Forever. I also loved V.C. Andrew’s Flowers in the Attic series and anything by Stephen King.

Kelly, thanks so much for stopping by!  Congrats on your debut!  I can’t wait to get my hands on this book!!

To celebrate the release of 45 POUNDS (More or Less) Kelly is hosting a DANCE PARTY ON TUMBLR!! EVERYONE is invited to participate!!  Just post pics and videos of hideous prom or bridesmaids dresses OR of dancing to Thriller!  Better yet, dancing while wearing that dress!!  There will be a book giveaway too!!  How cool is that?

K.A. Barson.jpg
About the author:
K.A. Barson earned an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She and her husband live in Jackson, Michigan, surrounded by kids, grandkids, unruly dogs, and too many pairs of shoes.
Here’s where you can buy 45 POUNDS (More or Less):
Robin Constantine is a born and bred 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, will be released in 2014 by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

GETTIN’ LUCKY: An Interview with J.R. Johansson, Author of INSOMNIA

ImageToday’s Lucky13 interview is with J.R. Johansson, author of the YA thriller INSOMNIA.  I had the opportunity to read an eARC and could NOT put it down.  Totally creeptastic!!  Here’s a blurb to get us started:

-Her eyes saved his life. Her dreams released his darkness.-

After four years of sleeplessness, high school junior Parker Chipp can’t take much more. Every night, instead of sleeping, he enters the dreams of the last person he’s made eye contact with. If he doesn’t sleep soon, Parker will die.

Then he meets Mia. Her dreams, calm and beautifully uncomplicated, allow him blissful rest that’s utterly addictive. But what starts out as a chance meeting turns into an obsession; Parker’s furious desire for what he needs pushes him to extremes he never thought he’d go. And when someone begins terrorizing Mia with twisted death threats, Parker’s memory blackouts leave him doubting his own innocence.

What inspired you to write INSOMNIA? Were there any special challenges writing from a male point of view?

I’d been complimented a lot on my writing in super tense, action-packed scenes and I have always been obsessed with abnormal psychology, so I thought I’d put the two together and see how it worked. Turns out…it’s kind of freaky.

There were definitely special challenges to writing in a male PoV. I called on some male beta readers just to help me be authentic to the voice, and they were extremely helpful. I made quite a few alterations based on their suggestions and I’m really happy with the results.

The first line of the novel—It’s been four years since I slept, and I suspect it is killing me.— drew me in immediately!!  Was this always your first line?  Or did it take some tweaking?

No, it originally started with,

Most people don’t know it, but they always make an appearance in their own dreams. They can’t always see themselves and sometimes feel like they’re only watching.  But it doesn’t matter, they’re always there.

And I can always see them.

Which I still really like, but I like the sentence I ended up changing it to better.

I think dreams are extraordinarily hard to pull off in a novel — so many come across as contrived — but you do it so seamlessly!   Like, how did you do that?  

Haha… I’m not entirely sure. I think it works really well in this scenario because dreams are extraordinarily real to Parker. He knows how dark, dangerous and truth-filled they can be. It brings the dreams to life in a different way, on a different level.

Parker goes through some really harsh physical issues due to lack of sleep – did you do any special research for that aspect of the book?

Absolutely! Obviously, because of the fact that he is a Watcher (a purely fictional problem) I was able to take some creative license with how it would take 4 years instead of a much shorter length of time to die of sleep deprivation. I also got to play with how the addiction to sleep would interact with the sleep deprivation and speed up the effects. Other than those two things all the physical ramifications of sleep deprivation that happen to Parker in the book is absolute truth. Tremors, lack of focus, poor decision making, hallucinations and everything that comes with them would happen to any of us if we pushed ourselves for several days without sleep. It was fascinating (and kind of terrifying) to research.

One of my favorite characters was Parker’s best friend Finn!  (I loved his t-shirt collection!!)  If the teenage you had to spend the day at the mall with one of your characters – who would it be and why?

Haha, yeah, Finn is definitely a highlight for me as well. Hmm…I’d say Finn except I’m afraid he’d drag me to some old Kung Fu movie. So I’ll pick Addie. Neither of us are huge on shopping and we’d probably just grab something to eat, chat and then see a movie we’d actually both like. 🙂

INSOMNIA is a series.  Did you have that in mind when you began to write the novel?  How many books are planned?  Any teasers you want to share?  Any new projects you are working on? (this could be a separate question if you’d like.)

I didn’t know if it would be a series when I started, but by the time I wrote the end I realized it needed to be. There will be two books, so it’s a duology. As far as teasers…let’s just say that book 2 will bring in more characters, more psychological thriller elements (with more than just Parker), and more of Finn’s shirts.

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?

Hmm…good question! As a kid, I loved Pride and Prejudice, before that A Wrinkle in Time, and before that it was anything by Dr. Seuss. I still consider him an absolute genius.

Great interview! It was so much fun! Thank you for having me! 🙂

Thanks for stopping by Jenn!  And Happy Book Birthday!!

IMG_8183_CROPPED_WEBJ.R. JOHANSSON is a young adult thriller author published with Flux & FSG/Macmillan. Her debut, INSOMNIA is coming June 2013. She has a B.S. degree in public relations and a background in marketing. She credits her abnormal psychology minor with inspiring many of her characters. When she’s not writing, she loves reading, playing board games, and sitting in her hot tub. Her dream is that someday she can do all three at the same time. She has two young sons and a wonderful husband. In fact, other than her cat, Cleo, she’s nearly drowning in testosterone.

You can find Jenn here:

Twitter  / Blog  /  Website / Tumblr / Facebook / Goodreads Author page / Goodreads INSOMNIA page

Here’s where you can buy INSOMNIA:

The Book Depository /  Indiebound  / Books A Million / Barnes & Noble / Amazon

Robin Constantine is a born and bred 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, will be released in 2014 by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

YouTube: Inspiration by Robin Constantine

This month’s YouTube topic is INSPIRATION, and Robin Constantine, author of  THE PROMISE OF AMAZING, is up today talking about some of what inspired her main characters and plot. 

Robin Constantine is a born and bred 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, will be released in 2014 by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.


We have a lot of fantastic authors at OneFour KidLit and are excited to introduce them all to you. Today we’re talking to Robin Constantine, author of THE PROMISE OF AMAZING, coming from Balzer + Bray Winter 2014. One author, four questions. Here we go!

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

How much time do you have?

I’ve been seriously writing for fifteen years.  Not chained to my desk, hammering-out-a-word-count kind of writing, but seriously pursuing this dream of being an author since about 1997.  I joined SCBWI with the hopes of writing picture books but soon found my heart (and my voice) was in young adult.  I wrote when my son napped. I joined a critique group.  Went to conferences.  Got some “good” rejection letters on my first YA manuscript.  I was thrilled. I was on my way!!

That manuscript didn’t sell.  I kept writing.

Fast forward to Spring 2009:  Another kid. A new state. A new critique group. When my second YA novel was polished and ready to submit, I began querying agents.  At the same time, a writer pal suggested I enter The Get Your Stiletto In The Door contest run by a sub-group of RWA, ChickLitWriters.com.  There were two judges, one agent and one editor, for each category. Even if I didn’t win, I knew I’d get valuable feedback. Well, I won!  The agent for my category, the fabulous Tamar Rydzinski of The Laura Dail Literary Agency, requested a full.  I polished that manuscript even more, sent it off and about two weeks later, she offered representation.  I was thrilled.  I was on my way!!!

That manuscript didn’t sell.

Undaunted, I wrote another novel and over the course of a year went through several rounds of revisions with Tamar until we felt it was ready to submit.  THE PROMISE OF AMAZING went out on submission the Monday after Thanksgiving.  I tried not to obsessively check my email because I figured chances were I wouldn’t hear anything until after the holidays. When I got the call from Tamar, it was honestly surreal. I’d been in the middle of shopping online for a hard-to-find Lalaloopsy doll for my niece when my phone rang.  Donna Bray was interested in my book! After a nail biting week and a half, while all sorts of scenarios danced through my head and no Christmas shopping was done, my manuscript sold! Best. Christmas. Present. Ever.

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

(Modified PM blurb) THE PROMISE OF AMAZING is a story about a girl trying to break out of her shell, a boy trying to reform from a troublesome past and what happens after she saves him from choking.  Oh, and there are some fist fights and kissing but way after the choking happens.

Hmmm, cool details – I worked in a themed catering hall much like my main character but never saved anyone from choking.  I did, however, get a $20.00 tip for giving a man a turkey carcass so he could play a practical joke on a family member during a wedding.  That was so NOT in the job description!

Do you have any writing quirks–places you need to write or things you need to have with you?

My desk is my least favorite place to write.  I draft at my kitchen table because it’s closer to the coffee maker and has a nice view of my yard. I revise in my dining room because it’s this really calming shade of green and the natural lighting helps me focus.  I’ve written in coffee shops and libraries but prefer writing at home because I tend to make faces and talk to myself a lot.  I hope this comes across as quirky, not, um, insane.  Occasionally, I wear wrist warmers when I type because my house gets drafty.

What are you most excited about in the debut process?

Truly?  Everything.  Specifically?  About a month ago I walked into  Barnes and Noble and got a huge, involuntary grin on my face.  Granted, that’s usually how I walk into a bookstore but suddenly the realization that my book is that much closer to being on the shelves made me giddy. I also love, Love, LOVE working with my amazing editor, Donna Bray.  She’s made the process, dare I say…FUN. And I’ve loved connecting with fellow One Fours.  That has been a really cool, unexpected perk of the debut process – sharing in everyone’s excitement as we head toward 2014!

Robin Constantine is a born and bred 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, will be released in 2014 by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

GETTIN’ LUCKY: An interview with Caela Carter, author of ME, HIM, THEM AND IT

Today we’re interviewing Lucky  13 author, Caela Carter, whose book Me,Him,Them and It, is on the shelves NOW!!  Here’s a blurb to get you started:

mehimit_030Evelyn Jones doesn’t need a public shaming like on Teen Mom: she knows she’s a dumbass. The valedictorian hopeful is playing Bad Girl when she discovers she’s pregnant. Meanwhile, her deadbeat parents have turned their Jacksonville McMansion into a battle ground; her secret boyfriend Todd keeps barging into her heart; and her BFF Lizzie is fed up with her sarcasm and silences. Can a cheating father, a stiff-ass of a mother and a lesbian aunt with two girls of her own help Evelyn make the heart-wrenching decisions that follow? Will Evelyn’s boneheaded mistake ruin her family completely, or force it back together? 

Can I gush for a moment?  I LOVED this book.  Caela has one of strongest teen voices I have read in awhile.  And she was also an awesome interview!  So let’s get on with it, shall we?

ME, HIM, THEM AND IT, tackles some serious issues with such authentic teen angst. Why were you inspired to write a novel about teen pregnancy?

Well, I kind of feel like I wrote a pregnancy book by accident! I had Evelyn’s voice in my head, so that’s where it started. And I always wanted to write about family. I sort of thought that the ultimate challenge to a crumbling family would be figuring out what to do with a whole new person joining the mix, so suddenly, BAM, Evelyn was pregnant.

It is a pregnancy book. I’ve come to terms with that, haha. But it didn’t start out that way.

Writing about sex is always controversial, but you handle it, again, with such authenticity and humor. Did you find it difficult to write about sex without blushing?

Oh, boy. I’m glad you asked this, though I’ll admit the question made me blush!

I didn’t really blush in the actual writing process. I wrote this book in an intensely private place, and I didn’t really think anyone would ever read it. And, you know, given the subject matter of course there had to be some more R-rated scenes in order to make the book genuine. I had fun thinking about how Evelyn, given her good-girl and studious nature, would approach sex. I loved the idea that she would “study-up” by watching movies and making a list of places before trying to seduce Todd. So writing it was pretty fun.

But I will say that I blush whenever I read those parts now because I picture everyone I know also reading them!

Evelyn’s voice is so genuine! At times I wanted to hug her and other times I wanted to shake her really hard and yell “What are you thinking?” How did you tap into Evelyn’s voice?

Her voice was really the inspiration for the novel and it wasn’t a conscience choice as much as I sort of felt like she was already talking to me in my brain. (Which happens a lot, so maybe I’m going crazy.) But I think the reason she started talking to me is because I’ve spent a lot of time with angry and repressed teenagers, and I always wanted more access to the way the were thinking, what they were feeling, and the keys to actually making them speak. So all of that certainly went into Evelyn. I was inside her brain so she gave me access to all of her thoughts, which was depressing and exhausting as well as invigorating and inspiring.

In general, I think the key to developing a genuine teenaged voice is to spend a lot of time with teenagers, and (here’s my dorky side showing) to read books about their psychology. Teenagers are basically adults with less impulse control. Their emotions are pretty much the same as ours, but their actions might be different,which makes them fun to write about.

There is a vibrant supporting cast in ME, HIM, THEM AND IT. Who was your favorite secondary character to write and why?

First of all, thank you! I definitely worked hard on my secondary characters aiming to make them feel as much like Real People as Evelyn. I honestly love them all (even Todd) but my favorite to write were definitely Tammy and Cecelia, Evelyn’s younger cousins. When I was drafting the first half of the book, I always knew they were coming and I was excited to see how Evelyn would act around kids who are, you know, outside of her own uterus, haha. As soon as I started writing those little cousins, I fell in love.

You’re stuck in an elevator with one of your characters. Who would it be and why?

In an elevator? I’d choose Aunt Linda. If the question was about spending a fun day with someone I’d choose one of the kids or teenagers, but in an elevator? I’m pretty sure they’d all drive me crazy.

You studied literature, philosophy, and creative writing at Notre Dame and earned a master’s in Education there as well. You also taught for six years! Does your background in education and teaching help shape your writing?

Yes, for sure! Being around teens is the best way to access their thoughts and actions and worlds. Also, I taught English and reading, so it was great research as to what teens love to read. And, perhaps most importanly, the world of any American between the age of 6 and 18 is largely made up of his or her life at school, so it was great ot have a background in schools in order to create that world.

What comes first for you – plot or character?

Character! I have a hard time with plot, usually, but I love creating characters.  Probably because I love people in general. 🙂

Do you have any specific writing rituals? Anything you need to have around or something that makes the process easier?

CANDY! (Sorta kidding, but I do consume way too much sugar while I’m writing.)

I usually have CNN or some news station on in the background when I write. It helps me to have background noise that I really want to ignore in order to focus on my writing, strangely.

Other than that, my rituals aren’t really daily. I try and write 1,000 words a day. Sometimes I do, sometimes I fail, and sometimes I write way more than that.

Do you ever reward yourself for finishing a first draft? What is your favorite way to indulge?

I actually just finished a rough draft yesterday and I’m totally planning a trip to the bookstore this afternoon as my reward! I’m all about little celebrations. The most consistent one I do is that when I reach 100 pages of any project, I jump up and down. I usually also call my husband, my mother and my friend Linda and they all jump for me too. Like I said, it’s the little celebrations.

What part of the publication process did you love? What was the most challenging part?

I always joke with my writerly-friends about how we’re constantly nostalgic for the part of the process we are not in. When I’m drafting, I’m usually pining away for revision.  When I’m revising, I’m yearning to put new words on paper. But, I love it all.

Except the waiting. The waiting is the hardest part.

Anything you want to share about your next project?

YES! I have a second book with Bloomsbury and it should hit shelves in about a year. I’m really excited about it. It’s totally different than this first one. It involves friends and ex-friends, ex-boyfriends and new-boyfriends and sexy, exotic Greek Islands.

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

I read voraciously as a kid, almost without regard to whether I actually enjoyed the book I was reading, haha. But my biggest influence (and literary love) is definitely Cynthia Voigt. I read every book of hers that I could find in the Basking Ridge library but I particularly loved Come a Stranger, Izzy Willy-Nilly, David and Jonathan, and Tell Me If the Lovers are Losers. But I loved them all. And like everyone who grew up in my generation (and many other generations) I was also a huge fan of Judy Blume, particularly Starring Sally J. Friedman as Herself and Just as Long as We’re Together. Ok, that was way more than two or three, but honestly, there are so many more I could probably write a book about it!

Thank you so much for hosting me! It was great to visit All for One and OneFour KidLit!


CaelaauthorphotoCaela Carter was raised in Basking Ridge, NJ and Baltimore, MD. She’s been writing since she learned how to pick up a pen but before the writing thing got serious she spent six years teaching English to middle and high school students in Jacksonville, FL and Chicago, IL.  When she’s not writing, Caela is a middle school librarian in Harlem, a Notre Dame football enthusiast, and a happy explorer in New York City.  ME, HIM, THEM AND IT is her first novel.

You can find Caela online at her website, Goodreads, and Twitter!

Robin Constantine is a born and bred 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, will be released in 2014 by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.