WORDLESS Release Day

… Except this post won’t be wordless. I am, in fact, a rather wordy person, which is probably why I write books. I’ve written a few at this point, and WORDLESS isn’t the first nor the last. It’s a step on what has been a long journey—a continuing journey, most definitely! So while this is a (book) launch, which conjures visions of rockets blasting off from the earth, it feels to me more like an incredible stopover on the moon. And thank you all so much for accompanying me on this venture.

Sounds cheesy, eh? Well, some folktales say the moon is made of cheese. Please kick back for my book launch/picnic on the moon, have a slice of cheese (gruyere on baguette, anyone?), and maybe check out WORDLESS while you’re here:


Wordless Final Cover
“The Gods made their Words into flesh, giving privileged individuals the powers of creation …”

In Eden City, a member of the illiterate wordless class would never dream of meeting the all-powerful Words … much less of running away with one. So when a gorgeous girl literally falls into his lap during a routine trash run, seventeen-year-old Tavin Barnes isn’t sure if it’s the luckiest or worst day of his life. That girl is Khaya, the Word of Life, who can heal a wound or command an ivy bush to devour a city block with ease. And yet she needs Tavin’s help.

By aiding Khaya’s escape from the seemingly idyllic confines of Eden City, Tavin unwittingly throws himself into the heart of a conflict that is threatening to tear the world apart. Eden City’s elite will stop at nothing to protect the shocking secret Khaya hides, and they enlist the other Words, each with their own frightening powers, to bring her back.


What people are saying:

“Impressive mythology and fast-paced adventure.” – Booklist

“Just the right amount of pizzazz in the form of cinematic action and naked, sexy fun…. [An] intriguing, original science-fantasy setting sure to attract fans.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Strickland’s fast-paced debut… raises questions of identity and belonging…. Even the least ethical characters prove emotionally vulnerable.” – Publishers Weekly

“A fast-paced blend of sci-fi and fantasy with scary real-world implications, Wordless grabbed hold of me from the start and wouldn’t let me go. Brilliant.” – Chelsea Pitcher, author of The S-Word and The Last Changeling


You can purchase a copy of WORDLESS at these places, or request it at your local library:

Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Indiebound ~ Books-A-Million ~ Book Depository


 Check out the official blog tour here for a chance to win one of three copies + a $25 B&N gift card!


AdriAnne Strickland author photo - tiny squareAdriAnne Strickland was a bibliophile who wanted to be an author before she knew what either of those words meant. She shares a home base in Alaska with her husband, but has spent two cumulative years living abroad in Africa, Asia, and Europe. While writing occupies most of her time, she commercial fishes every summer in Bristol Bay, because she can’t seem to stop. Her debut YA sci-fi/fantasy, WORDLESS, is coming in Summer 2014 from Flux Books. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook.


At long last, the day has come.

Becoming a published author has been a dream of mine ever since I was seven, drinking tea in a book club during lunch at my elementary school. I started pursuing my dream at age twelve, and it took seven years to land an agent and a publishing contract.

It’s been a long ride, but it happened. It really happened. I am so, so happy to share this book with you all. 🙂


Clementine has spent her whole life preparing for her sixteenth birthday, when she’ll be tested for Extraction in the hopes of being sent from the planet Kiel’s toxic Surface to the much safer Core, where people live without fear or starvation. When she proves promising enough to be “Extracted,” she must leave without Logan, the boy she loves. Torn apart from her only sense of family, Clem promises to come back and save him from brutal Surface life.  

What she finds initially in the Core is a utopia compared to the Surface—it’s free of hard labor, gun-wielding officials, and the moon’s lethal acid. But life is anything but safe, and Clementine learns that the planet’s leaders are planning to exterminate Surface dwellers, which means Logan, too.

Trapped by the steel walls of the underground and the lies that keep her safe, Clementine must find a way to escape and rescue Logan and the rest of the planet. But the planet leaders don’t want her running—they want her subdued. 

With intense action scenes and a cast of unforgettable characters, Extraction is a page-turning, gripping read, sure to entertain lovers of Hunger Games and Ender’s Game, and leave them breathless for more.

Advance Praise for Extraction:

“With its toxic moon and dangerous secrets, Kiel is a planet you’ll want to visit again and again, especially with tough, plucky Clementine as your guide. A breathtaking debut that kept me glued to the page!” –Jessica Khoury, author of Origin

“A gripping tale of loyalty, heartache, and self-discovery, Diaz’s debut had me invested from page one. I can’t wait to read the next installment.” -Kasie West, author of Pivot Point

“Bold, brutal, and brilliantly paced, EXTRACTION kept me racing through the pages and desperate for more.” —Shannon Messenger, author of Keeper of the Lost Cities

“Viciously beautiful, EXTRACTION sucks you into a brutal world where action and twists come at a relentless pace, hitting the best notes of old-school sci-fi. I flew through it!” —Kat Zhang, author of What’s Left of Me

You can purchase a copy of Extraction from the following places, or request it at your local library!

Barnes & Noble | Amazon | IndieBound | Book Depository | iBooks

21-year-old Stephanie Diaz wrote her debut novel when she should’ve been making short films and listening to class lectures at San Diego State University. When she isn’t lost in books, she can be found singing, marveling at the night sky, or fangirling over TV shows. Her YA sci-fi novel, EXTRACTION, is available now. The sequel, REBELLION, is out February 10, 2015. You can follow Stephanie on twitter: @StephanieEDiaz.

Cover Reveal – The 8th Continent!

Hi! I’m Matt London, and today I’m very excited to be joining the OneFour KidLit community! Not only am I saying hello, I’m also revealing the cover of my debut novel THE 8TH CONTINENT! Like most of the authors you’ll meet on this blog, the journey to this moment has been long and arduous (much like the adventure of the heroes in my book (although with decidedly fewer robots)). It’s with great joy that I get to share the victory dance at the end of the road.

But before I do that, let me tell you a bit about my novel, THE 8TH CONTINENT.

It’s the story of Evie and Rick Lane, who are determined to transform the Great Pacific Garbage patch—a real life pile of floating garbage—into an eighth continent, using a special formula developed by their father. This new continent will be a place where their family can live free from the intervention of Winterpole, a global rule-maker run by bumbling bureaucrats. But eleven-year-old pink-and-plastic-obsessed Vesuvia Piffle, the secret mastermind behind the villainous Condo Corp, also has her sights set on this new land, and she wants to use it to build a kind of Miami-on-steroids. Now, it’s a race against time and across the world as the kids gather the items they need to create their continent. Because whoever controls the eighth continent controls our future. And the future can’t be both “green” and pink.

So if you like adventure, flying machines, robots, or saving the planet, then THE 8TH CONTINENT is the book for you. It was important that the cover of such a tale conveyed this message, and that’s exactly what it did.


Will Rick and Evie build an island paradise like the one featured here? Well, you’ll have to read the book to find out. But I promise you wacky pink robo-birds and trash-clogged oceans are sure to make appearances.

If you have questions about THE 8TH CONTINENT, feel free to drop me a comment here or write to me on Twitter, and if you’re so inclined, add THE 8TH CONTINENT to your Goodreads. The book comes out September 16th!

Until then, happy continent building!

Matt London is the author of THE 8TH CONTINENT, coming in September 2014 from Penguin – Razorbill. He is a writer and avid recycler who graduated from The Clarion Writers Workshop, and studied computers, cameras, rockets, and robots at New York University. When not investigating lost civilizations, Matt explores the mysterious island where he lives — Manhattan.

GETTIN’ LUCKY: An Interview with Kate Kelly, author of RED ROCK

Today we’re interviewing Lucky13 author Kate Kelly, whose debut novel RED ROCK hits the shelves today! A little about the book:

Red Rock CoverThe ice caps have melted. The coastal areas we once knew are gone, and only scavvers now live in the flooded towns. The world has changed, but as 14-year-old Danni Rushton soon discovers, it isn’t the first time… Living with her uncle after the tragic death of her parents, Danni s world is turned upside down when her aunt is assassinated. With her dying breath, she entrusts Danni with a strange, small rock. Danni must not tell a soul that she has it.

But what is the rock for, and to what lengths must Danni go to keep it safe? This action-packed adventure takes the reader from the barren terrain of Greenland, to the flooded ruins of Cambridge, and on to a sinister monastery in Malta. In her effort to save her uncle and evade a power-hungry space agency, Danni discovers that friends aren’t always what they seem, and a rock isn’t always just a rock.

Welcome, Kate, to the OneFour blog, and kudos on the publication of RED ROCK! Can you tell us a bit about your path to publication? How did you get your agent? How long did it take before she placed your novel at Curious Fox?

Most agents find their clients through the slushpile, but I am one of the minority that took a different route. When I spotted that Julia Churchill, an agent at A.M. Heath, was offering 1-2-1 surgeries at a local literary festival I made sure I booked myself a slot. It was too good an opportunity to miss. I had just finished writing Red Rock and I thought this would be great to get some industry feedback before I started submitting.

Of course things never quite work out how you think they will. Julia loved my opening chapter and wanted to see the full. Weirdly she remembered an earlier effort of mine that she had rejected on a full about a year before and we ended up chatting about why that one hadn’t worked and not about Red Rock very much at all. Needless to say I was over the moon when she subsequently signed me. But that was only the beginning. The submission process is nerve racking—out your novel goes into the big wide world and then…you wait…and you wait…..

But at last the call came and I’ll never forget that moment. I was out on my mountain bike when my phone went with the news that Curious Fox wanted to acquire, and I took the call sitting on a grassy bank outside a farm watching the swallows skim back and forth between the outbuildings. It was a magical moment.

RED ROCK rocks as a MG sci-fi/thriller! What authors influenced you in writing these genres?

I have always been a huge fan of science fiction, and so many of the authors who have influenced me in this respect are the well know sci-fi authors – John Wyndham, Isaac Azimov and Ray Bradbury among others. But at the same time I have always loved a good adventure and none did this better that the Victorian novelist H. Rider Haggard. I used to seek out his books in second-hand bookshops and I loved the blend of lost civilizations and the age of exploration. I guess I wanted to capture something of this magic in my own work.

Global Warming causing ice caps to melt is at the heart of your story’s premise. Why did you select this environmental theme?

In a way I didn’t select it, it selected me. The fact that the Greenland ice sheet is retreating is fundamental to the plot, but you can’t just melt an ice sheet without taking into account the ramifications. Perhaps it is the scientist in me talking, but I then had to look at what effects this would have, and the more I investigated the more worrying the whole issue became. The sea level doesn’t need to rise by very much to have a devastating effect on large areas of the world. Not to mention the disruption of the ocean circulation patterns and the weather systems.

The settings are fascinating–Greenland, Cambridge, and Malta. Have you been to these places? What made you choose them? How did you research your settings?   

I always like to set my stories somewhere I’ve actually been. Admittedly these days you can do an awful lot of research online – you can even get right down to ground level and explore a place in google street view. But for me to write authentically about somewhere I need to be able to feel it, smell it, sense the atmosphere and the only way I can really immerse myself like that is to actually go there. I’m fortunate in that I’ve travelled quite widely to some fascinating places so I have a lot of experience to draw on. And should I decide to set a story somewhere that I haven’t been—well now I have the perfect excuse to go there.   

What will you be doing for a launch?  

I’m holding a party in my local village hall, and the theme is Red. I’ve asked the guests to wear red and I’ll be dishing out red cakes and red wine, (and cranberry juice for the younger guests).

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

Well I’ve already mentioned H. Rider Haggard, and of course he is best known for his children’s book King Solomon’s Mines, so I reckon that one has to go on the list. Then, like so many kids, of both past and present generations I was a huge fan of Enid Blyton, especially the Famous Five books, but I really don’t think I could single out any one, so I’ll just say all of them. Finally The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff brought Roman Britain alive for me, and I’ve been fascinated by archaeology ever since.


Lucky 13 debut author Kate Kelly has a love of the sea and literature. She was born in Scotland but grew up in rural Devon. Coming from a long line of seafarers she succumbed to the ocean’s call, studying geology and then oceanography at the university, and pursuing a career as a marine scientist. Kate’s passion for science and the sea influences many of the themes she explores in her fiction. Find Kate online at Twitter and Goodreads.

Amazon UK | Amazon Canada | Waterstones | Foyles | Kenny’s

Christine Kohler worked as a political reporter covering the West Pacific. Her YA novel is set on Guam during the Vietnam war: 15-year-old Kiko finds out that his mother was raped during WWII. When Kiko discovers a WWII Japanese soldier is hiding in the jungle behind Kiko’s house for 28 years, will Kiko take revenge? NO SURRENDER SOLDIER, Merit Press, Jan. 18, 2014.

GETTIN’ LUCKY: An Interview with Imogen Howson, author of LINKED

LinkedToday’s Lucky13 interview is with Imogen Howson, author of the YA space thriller LINKED, which releases tomorrow! Imogen was kind enough to send me an ARC all the way from England, and I have to tell you that behind that gorgeous cover is a beautifully-written, twist-filled page-turner you DO NOT want to miss!

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

Elissa used to have it all: looks, popularity, and a bright future. But for the last three years, she’s been struggling with terrifying visions, phantom pains, and mysterious bruises that appear out of nowhere.

Finally, she’s promised a cure: minor surgery to burn out the overactive area of her brain. But on the eve of the procedure, she discovers the shocking truth behind her hallucinations: she’s been seeing the world through another girl’s eyes.

Elissa follows her visions, and finds a battered, broken girl on the run. A girl—Lin—who looks exactly like Elissa, down to the matching bruises. The twin sister she never knew existed.

Now, Elissa and Lin are on the run from a government who will stop at nothing to reclaim Lin and protect the dangerous secrets she could expose—secrets that would shake the very foundation of their world.

Can you tell us a bit about how LINKED came to be published?

I wrote LINKED for NaNoWriMo 2009. As anyone who’s done NaNo can imagine, at the end of that month I had a great mad mess of a story! I finished writing it and edited it over the next year, then began querying agents.

In early 2011, one agent, Mandy Hubbard at the D4EO Agency, came back to me offering the chance to work with her exclusively on some pretty extensive revisions. I knew this didn’t guarantee me anything, but her revision suggestions were so good that by the time I’d started to work through them I knew I was going to keep this version of the book even if she didn’t like what I’d done!

Fortunately, she did like it, and offered representation. I reworked the rest of the book according to her suggestions and sent it to her on June 8th 2011. She’d already been talking to publishers about it, and it was out on submission by June 9th. And by June 14th it had sold to Simon & Schuster. I was still in shock two weeks later!

One of the things that really blew me away was your very descriptive worldbuilding—the galaxy had a rich history, and the futuristic setting on Sekoia was well fleshed out. How did you approach this part of your writing?

I love writing descriptions, and it’s about the only bit of writing that comes easily to me so I think I indulge myself in creating worlds that need describing. I also get a bit bored by the real world, I’m afraid, so I often look at things slantwise, trying to turn them into something more interesting than they really are. There’s a stretch of road in between my house and the nearest city that I always imagine as an alien planetscape—and it eventually made its way into LINKED as the plateau around the spaceport.

I owe much of the depth of the worldbuilding to my editor, Navah Wolfe, though. She made me improve the original worldbuilding a lot, particularly all the bits I’d tried to handwavium over!

The details of the spaceship, The Phoenix, were so realistic! Have you always been into space-based sci-fi, or did this require some extra research?

I love space-based sci-fi, and I read as much as I could find while I was growing up, but I’m really horribly unscientific so I could never write proper “hard” science fiction. I think I’ve collected some of the “rules” of science fiction just by reading so much. But mostly I approached the details of the spaceship the same way I would approach describing a car or a train…or my super-clever Macbook! I don’t know what’s going on inside any of these things, but I do know what they look like and feel like to use or travel in.

I’m not normally a swoony type, but the romantic interest in this book was such a great, layered character that I totally fell for him! Did you base his character on anyone in particular?

He is honestly one of those characters who just took on a life of his own. In the first draft of the book he was completely different—and a lot less interesting. Then Mandy made a small suggestion about his relationship with Elissa, and when I started to rewrite him he just got more and more interesting—and attractive. I said to my daughter that I work hard on all the heroes I write, and I like them all, but this one is the first I’ve ever actually had a crush on!

You have a sequel, UNRAVEL, coming out next year. Did you plan to write two books from the beginning, or did the idea come to you as you were writing LINKED?

That was something else that sort of grew by itself as I was rewriting LINKED. I always planned for LINKED to stand alone, but as I grew closer to the end I realized there were lots of interesting possibilities for a sequel.

The long wait from book deal to publication day can be excruciating–do you have plans to celebrate now that it’s finally here?

Do I ever! I’m having a book release celebration/ birthday party the weekend after LINKED releases. I’ve just been ordering a delicious buffet, and I plan to eat and drink and dance with a whole bunch of friends and family. There may be champagne opened on release day as well.

Finally, 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!

Only two or three? All Diana Wynne Jones’s books, but, seeing as I’m in a sci-fi mood right now, I’ll specify A Tale of Time City (lots of fun futuristic gadgets in that book!). For its treatment of identical twins, End of Term by Antonia Forest. And for its tough, vulnerable, totally endearing teenage heroine, Dragonsinger by Anne McCaffrey.

Thanks for stopping by, Imogen, and best wishes for your debut!

About the author:

Imogen HowsonImogen Howson writes science fiction and fantasy for adults and young adults, and is the winner of the 2008 Elizabeth Goudge Award for her romantic fiction. She works as an occasional editor for Samhain Publishing. She lives with her partner and their two teenage daughters near Sherwood Forest in England, where she reads, writes, and drinks too much coffee.

Imogen can be found at her website, blog, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

Readers, you can add LINKED on Goodreads, but I recommend you pick up a copy as fast as you can! Available at:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Books-A-Million | The Book Depository

Rachel Searles once thought she’d be a journalist but found she vastly prefers writing about made-up things. A Midwesterner at heart, she lives in Los Angeles with her rocket scientist husband and their two feline overlords. Her debut novel, THE LOST PLANET, is a rip-roaring space adventure coming from Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan in January 2014.


OneFour KidLit is absolutely plump with brilliant and amazing new writers. Today we’re going to introduce you to another: Patrick Samphire, author of the middle grade adventure, SECRETS OF THE DRAGON TOMB, to be published by Christy Ottaviano Books (Henry Holt / Macmillan).

Hey, you’re getting published! How’d that happen? (aka, what was your path to publication)

“Path” is a little bit too generous a word for my trip to publication. Path implies some kind of direction.

For me, it was more like waking up in the middle of a bleak and windswept moor, and then wandering about dazed until I finally stumbled to a shelter. Or something like that.

Ah, here’s a pie-chart to explain it all:

Pie chart pretending to show path to publication.

The blackberry-and-apple-pie chart of publication.

Wasting time – 40%
For almost ten years, from when I went to University, I didn’t actually achieve anything. I wanted to be a writer. I read how-to-write books. I occassionally wrote the odd sentence or paragraph. But most of the time I did other stuff.

In fact, if the Fates hadn’t got fed up with me noodling around, I might still be doing that. Instead, they dropped me into the most insanely boring job I’ve ever done. Every day, I sat behind a computer with nothing to do. Absolutely nothing. So, I started to think about writing again. I joined the online critique group Critters and started writing and critiquing short stories.

Short stories – 19%
Some writers — particularly science fiction writers — will tell you that if you want to learn how to write, you should start with short stories.

I’m not sure I agree; there are too many differences between the forms, and most of the skills you need for a novel aren’t the same as you need for short stories. This is why many great short story writers can’t write novels, and why many great novelists can’t write short stories.

Anyway, I took the advice and started with short stories, mostly for adults. I think I ended up getting seventeen or eighteen stories published in some pretty good magazines, and I’m still really proud of those stories.

But the truth is, I’m not a massive fan of short stories. Some are brilliant, no doubt. They can be beautiful and heartbreaking and terrifying and hilarious. (If you haven’t read Light of Other Days, or Flowers for Algernon, or Slow Birds, or Gauging Moonlight, or The Last of the Winnebagos you’re missing out.) But when I have to choose something to settle down with, it’s always going to be a novel, and normally a big, fat fantasy novel.

Eventually, I figured that if I was ever going to write the stuff I loved reading, I was going to have to just get on and do it. So I stopped writing short stories.

The adult diversion – 12%
I actually wrote a couple of pretty hefty adult fantasy novels, but they didn’t really spark. The less said about them the better. Suffice to say that the trees of the world do not regret that I never tried to get them published.

Almost but not quite – 11%
I started writing middle grade novel almost by accident. I certainly hadn’t been intending to. But one day I had an idea that really could only be only told as a older middle grade or younger YA. It was a contemporary, magical realism called Touching Ice. If I had to compare it to anything, it would be to David Almond’s books. It got me an agent and nearly sold at a couple of publishers, but it never quite made it.

I don’t think it’s an exageration to say that middle grade liberated me. Writing adult novels, I could never free myself from worrying about what cynical adult readers would think, and it stunted my writing. I think if you’re going to write, you have to throw yourself in headfirst. If you’re looking over your shoulder all the time, you’re going to break your neck. Or, er, something.

Middle grade readers are demanding, but they’re not cynical or self-conscious. If they hate your book, they’ll say it, and if they love it, they’ll say that too. They’re honest and open. I stopped worrying about what readers would think, and just wrote what I loved writing.

My next middle grade book was an alternate-world adventure based on Norse mythology, and that nearly made it at a couple of publishers, too.

Win! – 18%
Finally, I wrote SECRETS OF THE DRAGON TOMB. I changed agents to my current, brilliant agent, Jennifer Laughran of Andrea Brown Literary, who threw herself 100% behind it and sold it to Christy Ottaviano Books (Henry Holt / Macmillan).

Right now, I’m writing the sequel, provisionally entitled THE EMPEROR OF MARS. Well, not right now. Right now I’m writing this blog entry. But I should be writing the sequel.

And that’s how I wandered into being published. Take it as a cautionary tale. There are better ways of doing this…

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

In my head, I think of SECRETS OF THE DRAGON TOMB as Indiana Jones meets Bertie Wooster and Doctor Who on Mars. With dragons.

But here’s how I’m describing it on my website:

Mars in 1816 is a world of high Society, deadly danger, and strange clockwork machines. Pterodactyls glide through the sky, automatic servants hand out sandwiches at elegant garden parties, and in the north, the great dragon tombs hide marvels of Ancient Martian technology.

Fourteen-year-old Edward Sullivan has always dreamed of becoming a spy like the ones he reads of in his favorite magazine, Thrilling Martian Tales. Instead, he spends his days keeping his eccentric family from complete disaster … that is, until the villainous archeologist, Sir Titus Dane, kidnaps Edward’s parents as part of a scheme to loot an undiscovered dragon tomb.

Edward sets off in pursuit across the Martian wilderness. With him are his brilliant and outrageous little sister, Putty, his impossibly starchy older sister, Olivia, and his secretive cousin, Freddie. Together they must evade Sir Titus’s minions, battle mechanical nasties, and escape deadly Martian hunting machines. If they can’t, they will never uncover the secrets of the dragon tomb and rescue Edward’s family.

You can find SECRETS OF THE DRAGON TOMB on goodreads.

What are you most excited about in the debut process?

I started dreaming of being a writer when I was fourteen years old. I figured, How hard can it be? I was sure I would have a novel ready and published by the time I was eighteen…

Now, about mumble-mumble years later, it’s finally happening.

And, somehow, I’ve been doing this so long that it doesn’t seem real at all.

But there is one thing that I totally wasn’t expecting, and that’s what I’m really absolutely most excited about. My book is going to have illustrations!

I can’t wait to see a copy, a real copy, with real pictures done by a real artist of my story. It’s going to be awesome! I may do nothing but stroke the book for several years.

What cool facts might readers not know about you?

– I spent a big chunk of my childhood living in a small town in rural Africa, where my dad was teaching. I think I still remember how to make a brick out of mud and straw. To get to school, I had to sneak across an airfield, avoiding the guards.

– I’m married to another writer, Stephanie Burgis, who also writes middle grade novels. Her first book, Kat, Incorrigible, was published in 2011, and her most recent book, Stolen Magic, has just come out. I’m racing to catch up!

– When I’m not writing, I design websites and book covers.

– I live in Wales, U.K., right beneath a mountain that looks just like a volcano. So far it hasn’t erupted, but it can only be a matter of time, right?

– If you want to make me happy, take me out for an Indian meal at Prashad near Bradford, U.K. Seriously, they make the best food in the world. Okay, now I’m drooling in an incredibly undignified way.

Photo of Patrick Samphire.Patrick Samphire’s first book, SECRETS OF THE DRAGON TOMB, is a cracking MG adventure set on 19th century Mars. Patrick has been a teacher, physicist, editor, web designer, explorer, and dinosaur hunter. He’s lived in Africa, South America, Europe, the U.K., and on several small asteroids part way between Mars and Jupiter. You can often find him on twitter: @patricksamphire. Not everything in this biography is true.

Lynne Matson: NIL

We have a lot of fantastic authors at OneFour KidLit and are excited to introduce them all to you. Today we’re talking to Lynne Matson, author of NIL, coming in Winter 2014 from Macmillan/Henry Holt. One author, four questions. Here we go!

Hey, you’re getting published! How’d that happen? (aka, what was your path to publication?)

It’s all still a bit surreal, to be honest. I think most authors probably feel this way, because it takes so much work and perseverance to get here.

I grew up in a house full of books in a family of readers. I can still remember sneaking my Nancy Drew book under the covers with a flashlight after being tucked in because I had to know how the book ended. Growing up, I dreamed of being a reporter or a journalist or a writer . . . something, exciting, something involving writing. I ended up becoming a lawyer, which is much more exciting on tv than in real-life.

Fast-forward to a few months after I had my fourth son (and was no longer practicing law), I had an idea and began writing, just for me. My idea grew into a 125K YA novel. It was too long, too rough, and I queried way too soon. Rookie mistakes all around. While I while still querying my first novel, I wrote two books at once, which sounds crazy. Soon I had one novel dead in the water (my first), and two fresh books full-written. One, a YA post-apocalyptic novel, and the other a YA light sci-fi thriller (NIL). Then I had to choose which novel to polish and query. I chose NIL, and I’m so glad I did.

I queried NIL, clicked right away with Jennifer Unter (who is amazing)  and signed with her in February 2012. Jennifer sold NIL to Henry Holt/Macmillan a few months later.

What’s your debut book about?

The short version?

Think Twilight Zone meets LOST, with a strong romantic arc. Plus dashes of Survivor and LORD OF THE FLIES. J

The long version? Here’s the blurb I used in my query:

On the island of Nil, the rules are set. You have one year. Exactly 365 days. To escape–or you die.

Seventeen-year-old Charley doesn’t know the rules. She doesn’t even know where she is. The last thing Charley remembers is blacking out in an Atlanta parking lot, and when she wakes up, she’s lying naked in an empty rock field.

Lost and alone, Charley hunts for a way out. She discovers desolate beaches and human remains, but no sign of civilization–until she meets Thad, the gorgeous leader of a clan of teenage refugees. Soon Charley learns that leaving the island is harder than she thought . . . and so is falling in love. With Thad’s time running out, Charley realizes that to save their future, Charley must first save him. And on an island rife with hidden dangers, their greatest threat is time.

They can’t stop the clock. They can only hope to beat it.

Can you share any cool details with us?

Definitely. Here’s the scoop on how NIL was born.

It was February of 2010. I’d gone to Hawaii (the big island) with my husband, our first getaway from our four boys, evah. It was a work trip for him. As we left the airport, minutes after landing, we drove through ancient lava fields. Bleak and gorgeously desolate, the red rock fields stretched for miles on each side; no roads, no buildings, no people–just the sound of the wind blowing over the rocks. Totally in awe, I remember thinking how creepy it would be to wake up there, all alone, with no one around to help you or tell you where you were, and how much it all looked like an alien planet (think DUNE). NIL was born that afternoon. I wrote 20K words on my laptop over the next 10 days.

What cool facts might readers not know about you?

–I’ve worked as (among other things!) a waitress, a bartender, a shoe model, a salesperson at the GAP (where I actually was shown how to fold a t-shirt using a clipboard), and a lawyer.

–I have journals full of really bad poetry I wrote in high school that will never see the light of day. Seriously.

–Cookies are my kryptonite. Other vices? A fountain vanilla Coke–I love all things vanilla. Oh, and I love chocolate too, especially dark chocolate. And cheese! I love cheese. Ok, I’ll stop now.

–I read freakishly fast. I usually finish every book I start in one sitting, but the good ones I’ll think about for days.

–I can’t write without music.

–I have a solid three-point shot, a strong forehand, and a respectable marathon time. My latest sports obsession? Paddleboarding.

Lynne Matson is a former attorney with a weakness for books, cookies, and alternative tunes. Her debut novel, NIL, a YA light sci-fi thriller, is coming Winter 2014 from Macmillan/Henry Holt. When she’s not writing, reading, or at a concert, you’ll find her hanging out with her husband and their 4 boys. Lynne also lives on Twitter at @LSMatson, where she shares cookies.

AdriAnne Strickland: WORDLESS

We have a lot of fantastic authors at OneFour KidLit and are excited to introduce them all to you. Today we’re talking to AdriAnne Strickland, author of WORDLESS, coming from Flux in 2014. One author, four questions. Here we go!

So, you’re getting published! How’d that happen? (aka, what was your path to publication?)

My husband landed a fellowship for us to live in rural fishing villages in Africa for a year, and I figured, this being the first time I’d ever not been in school or working since I was four, that I should finally embark on that writing career I’d been dreaming since about that age—okay, maybe not in such terms as “writing career.” But before I’d even learned to write my ABCs, I told my mom I wanted to make up stories when I grew up (since I was a habitual liar), and she was the one who first planted the word “author” in my brain.

Maybe rural villages were a bad place to bring a laptop (which became infested with ants), but it powered on and so did I. I finished my first novel in Cameroon in 2009, and it… well, it sucked. It was 250,000 words, no joke. After my husband and I returned to the States and moved to Alaska later in the year, I wrote a YA novel next, hoping that would help curb my word addiction. Even though it was shorter, it sucked too. I revised and revised both novels until the only thing I could do was scrap them entirely and start over. I rewrote my first (adult) novel, but was struck by a new YA idea, and thus WORDLESS was born.

My agent actually signed me for the rewritten version of my first novel, but she ended up loving WORDLESS as well. She sold it to Brian Farrey-Latz at Flux (along with book two in the series), and here I am! It only took three novels, a total rewrite, and four years. Easy career choice. Minus the sarcasm, it’s been the best career choice. Thanks, Mom.

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

Here’s the short version: In a world where the masses are illiterate, 17-year-old Tavin Barnes, a wordless orphan, must do everything he can to stop a ruthless group that knows how to control the “Words”—an elite few with the power to turn their words into reality.

And here’s the longer version (which has a few more details that I hope are cool): In Eden City, the Wordless, or illiterate poor, would never even dream of meeting one of the all-powerful Words who run the city-state. Much less running away with one.

When a drop-dead gorgeous girl literally falls in his lap during his routine trash run, seventeen-year-old Tavin Barnes isn’t sure if it’s the luckiest day of his life, or the beginning of the worst. Because Khaya is also the Word of Life, meaning that she could either heal a wound with a touch or command an ivy bush to devour a city block, depending on her mood.

By helping Khaya escape the seemingly idyllic confines of Eden City into Europe beyond, Tavin unwittingly throws himself into the heart of a conflict that is threatening to tear the city apart… if not the world. Eden City’s elite will stop at nothing to protect the shocking secret Khaya hides, and enlists the help of the other Words, each with their own frightening powers—like the ability to spark a fire, raise a flood, or kill with a touch—to bring her back.

To survive, Tavin must confront the mysteries of his past… and risk sacrificing what he cares about most.

What are you most excited about in the debut process?

Mostly typical things: getting professional jacket copy so no one has to read the above description anymore, seeing my cover for the first time, finally holding my finished book in my hands, finding my book in a bookstore. I’m also so excited that after this first installment, the rest of the Words Made Flesh story gets to come to life. I get to write a sequel! Without a debut, I never would have let myself do that.

What cool facts might readers not know about you?

—When I’m not an author, I’m a commercial fisherwoman, returning to Alaska every summer to catch red salmon. My husband and I own and run our gillnet boat (named the Catch-22—that’s what you get with an English-lit-nerd like me on board). If you don’t mind being frozen, sleep-deprived and coated in fish slime, it’s the second best job ever, after being an author. Besides, it lets me write for the other ten months of the year.

—I make my own kimchee. As in, a lot of it, fermented in five gallon buckets. I’m addicted to it.

—I speak a reasonable amount of Mandarin Chinese and French. I sometimes confuse them and speak both at the same time.

—I don’t watch much TV, so my favorite shows are still the X-Files and Firefly.

—If I could be a character in any book, I would be an otter in Brian Jacques’ Redwall series. I’m pretty sure that says a lot about me.

AdriAnne Strickland shares a home base in Alaska with her husband, but has spent two cumulative years living abroad in Africa, China, and Europe. While writing occupies most of her time, she commercial fishes every summer in Bristol Bay, because she can’t seem to stop. Her debut YA sci-fi/fantasy, WORDLESS, is coming in Summer 2014 from Flux Books. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Rachel Searles: THE LOST PLANET

We’ve got a great group of debut authors here at OneFour KidLit. Today we’re introducing Rachel Searles, author of THE LOST PLANET, coming to you January 2014 from Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan. One author, four questions. Here we go!

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

I’ve known I wanted to be an author since I was six years old. During my childhood I filled countless notebooks with my stories, but as I grew older, exposure to the “real world” convinced me I needed to pursue a “real job” and get “real life experience.” I studied political science and journalism, lived abroad for a few years, got a corporate job, and I didn’t do much (any) creative writing for a solid decade or so, even though publishing a book was still a goal somewhere in the back of my mind.

Eventually I started writing again, and after several false starts on some especially awful manuscripts, it took a New Year’s resolution (and a little bit of panic when I realized how easy it would be for me to let that goal slide forever) for me to finish writing what would become THE LOST PLANET. That first draft had a lot of issues, but it also had potential, so I spent a year and a half getting critiqued and revising it into the story I wanted to tell. Then Lady Luck paid a visit: After querying in small batches for half a year, I won a random drawing for a full manuscript critique by brilliant agent Joanna Volpe, who’d been closed to queries for an eternity and (though I didn’t know it then) was on the cusp of opening her own agency. I had big hopes, but no expectations, so I was pretty shocked when she called and told me she wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if she didn’t offer representation. We did a couple rounds of light revisions together, and got the first offer two weeks after it went out on sub.

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

THE LOST PLANET is an upper middle grade space adventure about a 13-year-old boy named Chase who wakes up on a colony planet with a terrible wound to the head and no memory of who he is. After disaster strikes the planet, Chase is hunted through the galaxy with two unlikely allies while trying to discover the truth about his past. Cool details? Well, the book was pitched as a young Star Wars and includes double-crossing mercenaries, a sentient jungle, and a vengeful alien crime boss named Rezer Bennin.

What are you most excited about in the debut process?

I still kind of can’t believe I’m going to have a book published next year, and so far most of my reactions to good news have been a sort of amused disbelief. I think the most exciting thing will be to actually hold that hardcover in my hands, stare at its beautiful cover (which I’ve seen, and I LOVE it), and inhale that wonderful smell of ink and paper!

What cool facts might readers not know about you?

I grew up in the peaceful small town/wilderness splendor of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, but I’m more of a city person and have lived only in metropolitan areas ever since, including Munich, Istanbul, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. I’ve spent the last nine years working at a company whose name is now a commonly used verb. I enjoy travel and studying languages, and I speak fluent German, decent French and a respectable amount of Turkish. Other character details: Coffee drinker. Cat person. Challenge accepter. Stubborn Taurus. If you ask me whether I prefer Star Wars or Star Trek, I’ll say both please with a swirl of Battlestar Galactica and a Firefly on top.

Rachel Searles once thought she’d be a journalist but found she vastly prefers writing about made-up things. A Midwesterner at heart, she lives in Los Angeles with her rocket scientist husband and their two feline overlords. Her debut novel, THE LOST PLANET, is a rip-roaring space adventure coming from Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan in January 2014.

Stefanie Gaither: FALLS THE SHADOW

We have a lot of fantastic authors here on OneFour Kidlit, and we’re excited to introduce them to you! Today we’re talking to Stefanie Gaither, author of FALLS THE SHADOW, coming from Simon and Schuster Books For Young Readers in 2014. One author, four questions. Here we go!

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

The short version: I wrote a book. It was terrible. Agents rejected it. I wrote another book. Same thing happened. I wrote another book. Agents started saying really nice things to me, but ultimately still said no. So I wrote lucky book number four. And then lots of agents started saying really nice things to me, and several of them even used the words “I’d like to offer you representation.” One of the users of those words was Sara Megibow of Nelson Literary. There was acceptance, and much rejoicing, and some revising, and then off on submission we went, and then one day a magical email with the magical word OFFER floated into my inbox, and then I drank lots of celebratory margaritas. The end.

The shorter version: A crap ton of hard work, an unhealthy level of stubbornness, and the developing of a skin so thick that you could bounce knives and ninja stars off of it.

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

FALLS THE SHADOW is about a girl, Cate, in a near-future world where cloning backup copies of “just-in-case” children is a common–though hotly protested– trend among the parents wealthy enough to afford it. Her whole life, Cate has had to deal with anti-cloning crazies and orginizations harassing her, and with lies about her family being splashed across every tabloid website in the nation. Things go from bad to worse when her sister, Violet, dies and is actually replaced by her “just-in-case” clone.

And then things go from worse to completely catastrophic when the new, cloned Violet ends up the prime suspect in a gruesome murder.

Now, while dodging protestors, police questioning, paparazzi cameras and more, Cate has to try and discover the truth about what really happened. Easier said than done, though, in a world filled with copies and lies, where nothing and no one is completely what they seem.

Oh, and of course there are also a couple swoon-worthy boys (bromance included!), fast cars, and cool weapons. And a bodycount. Because really, where’s the fun without all that? 😉

The title, though it could very well change, comes from one of my favorite poems– “The Hollow Men” by T.S. Eliot, which shares a lot of similar themes with my book (at least as I interpret it).

What are you most excited about in the debut process?
All of it. No, seriously. This is all so surreal, still, that I feel like I will love every little moment that makes it feel that much more real. The first look at potential covers, the first time holding a completed book in my hands, the first positive review, the first negative review, the first time seeing my book on a bookstore shelf, the first gushing email from a reader, the first email from a reader who thinks I am a complete and total hack, the first time seeing someone reading my book (my book!) out in public, etc…

Really, I’m just an excitable person in general.

What cool facts might readers not know about you?

  • I live in an apartment behind (what used to be) a coffeeshop that my husband and I ran for a few years. It’s now been transformed into a different restaurant with a different manager, but I scored a commercial espresso machine in the process. It is gigantic, and it now takes up half my kitchen counter, and I love it.
  • I legit cannot snap my fingers. Many, many people have tried to teach me, all have failed. I’m a kick-butt whistler, though.
  • I have a dog named Shakespeare. He controls our home, and everyone in it.
  • I changed my major no less than six times in college before settling on English/Creative Writing. At one point I even majored in Spanish.
  • I don’t speak a word of Spanish.
  • I can, however, recite the entirety of the LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring movie, and most of the other two LOTR movies, more or less from memory. I’ve put this useful skill on a resume before (and yes, I did get the job).
  • I have a strong affinity for giraffes. Strong as in, my house is decorated with giraffe pillows, giraffe statues, giraffe pictures…etc… I mean, have you ever looked at a giraffe? They’re just so fantastically awkward.
Stefanie Gaither (blog)Stefanie Gaither writes YA novels about killer clones and spaceships, with the occasional romp with dragons and magic-users thrown in for good measure. Said writing is generally fueled by an obscene amount of coffee and chocolate, as well as the occasional tennis and/or soccer break. Her debut novel, FALLS THE SHADOW, is forthcoming from Simon and Schuster Books For Young Readers in 2014.