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Looking Back, Looking Forward

Somehow it’s almost the end of 2014! We OneFours have had such an incredible year, and we’ve been so glad to share our experiences with all of you. As we make our final farewells as debut authors, we want to share…

A fun/unexpected/meaningful moment/experience of your debut year:

My mother’s enthusiasm. She is a one woman sales-excitement machine, sharing with all of her friends from everywhere and forever about “my daughter’s book.” It’s pretty much the sweetest thing ever.–Jaye Robin Brown, NO PLACE TO FALL

All the amazing people who’ve come into my life and who I can now call friends. Definitely an unexpected and meaningful perk during this debut year.–Robin Constantine, THE PROMISE OF AMAZING

I had two show steers at my launch party, and just as the first was brought up to “show,” he pooped. Which is how STEERING TOWARD NORMAL opens. Nature gave me a perfect book birthday gift!–Rebecca Petruck, STEERING TOWARD NORMAL

A twelve-year-old girl came up to me at Vegas Valley Book Festival with her copy of CAMELOT BURNING, which she’d just bought, and asked me to sign it for her as she went on about how much she loves BBC’s MERLIN. We fangirled together for about five minutes. It was AWESOME.–Kathryn Rose, CAMELOT BURNING

Definitely the letters I’ve received from readers has been the best thing ever. Even now, thinking that I wrote something that might help someone through a hard time, makes me tear up.–Helene Dunbar, THESE GENTLE WOUNDS

The support has been so amazing: from friends, family, acquaintances, old high school friends, random strangers, and of course, all of the wonderful writers I’ve met this year. I expected this to be a more solitary journey than it has been, and that’s been an incredible surprise.–AdriAnne Strickland, WORDLESS

The best moments of being an author aren’t when you’re at a conference or on a panel. They’re when you check your PO box or author email account to find a message from a young reader who connected with your book. Being able to share our words and stories with readers is a gift and an honor–and it makes everything else in this crazy career worthwhile.–Rebecca Behrens, WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE

Standing behind the podium at Powell’s and talking about my very own book was the first time I felt even a little bit like a real author. It was a wonderful feeling.–Heidi Schulz, HOOK’S REVENGE

I loved getting to be a part of the Boston Teen Author Festival this year. I’ve gone to a bunch of events like these, but being on panels with authors I admired was mind-boggling.–Annie Cardi, THE CHANCE YOU WON’T RETURN

After co-writing DREAM BOY with my friend Madelyn Rosenberg, I thought we were about as close as we possibly could be. As she helped shepherd me through my first year as a published novelist, however, new aspects of our relationship came to light and we grew even closer. Without a doubt, getting to know her different sides has been the best part of a wonderful debut year.–Mary Crockett, DREAM BOY

One of my best memories of this year: I walked into a classroom on one my first school visits and a boy ran up to me yelling, “This book is AWESOME!” Meeting readers and inspiring young writers has been so rewarding.–Louise Galveston, BY THE GRACE OF GOD

My favorite debut moment was seeing my book in a store for the first time. It was early, so I wasn’t in “published author” mode yet, and it was just so impossible to internalize. So I made myself stare at it until it penetrated that I had done this, and then I cried like a baby on the floor of B&N.–Dahlia Adler, BEHIND THE SCENES

One of my favorite memories this year was at a library event. A student walked into the room and after seeing my Gilded and Silvern banners, he raced across the room saying, “That is my favorite book! And look, there’s a sequel!”–Christy Farley, GILDED

One of my favorite moments of this year was after a school event. Several of the students wrote me letters to tell me that, after hearing me talk about how my multiple failures led to my success in publishing, they had made the jump and tried the things that scared them. One tried out for the basketball team (and made it). One decided to write the story she’d always wanted to write (even though people told her she wasn’t good enough). I will cherish these letters forever!–Veronica Bartles, TWELVE STEPS

I didn’t think debut day would be surprising. I mean, I had approximately 2 years to prepare for it, but the morning my book official came out, my social media streams, cell phone, and email all drowned in love and support from my community. It was shocking. And amazing. And I’ll remember that feeling of being buoyed up for years to come.–Natalie C. Parker, BEWARE THE WILD

There are so many great moments in this debut year, but the best is probably the solid wall of support and love — from new friends in the writing community, from family who has watched me pursue this for years, from readers who discover and love the book — that I’ve found to lean against through the ups and downs.–Dana Alison Levy, THE MISADVENTURES OF THE FAMILY FLETCHER

There have been a lot of these moments, but standing in front of a group of students while they asked me questions about my book – that was one of the best. Reading meant so much to me when I was in high school. It was extremely humbling to know that students were reading and enjoying something I had written.–Emily Lloyd-Jones, ILLUSIVE

Unexpected: all of the support and love from the small town I grew up in!–Kate Boorman, WINTERKILL

Unexpected: how emotional it would be to see my book on a bookstore shelf. I knew it would be awesome but the feeling was overwhelming. I cried. Amazing.–Maria Andreu, THE SECRET SIDE OF EMPTY

I will never forget the first time a teen reader emailed me about how she’d read and enjoyed my book. I felt like dancing all day long (but I didn’t because I can’t dance so trust me, this was a good thing for the sake of my family).–Lori M. Lee, GATES OF THREAD AND STONE

And a piece of advice for future debut writers:

My advice to future debuts is not to sweat the small stuff – so many things aren’t nearly as important as they seem. No one is gonna boycott your book because the cover was revealed early on Goodreads. No one needs you to be a blogger on top of being an author. Just do what you love, be kind, and write good books.–Dahlia Adler, BEHIND THE SCENES

Connect with other writers as much as possible. Writing can be solitary and publishing even more so, having others around you who “get it” can make the insanity of the publishing process so much easier.–Helene Dunbar, THESE GENTLE WOUNDS

Celebrate EVERY milestone! Even if it’s something as simple as, “I totally finished editing that crazy impossible chapter, and now it shines,” acknowledge it and celebrate!–Kathryn Rose, CAMELOT BURNING

Reach out. Don’t feel like you have to go it alone. Have a stupid question? Ask it! Probably everyone else is wondering the same thing — and somebody out there might even have some answers to share!–Mary Crockett, DREAM BOY

To all soon-to-be published writers, my only advice is to ground yourself. Ground yourself with friends, family, ideals that you hold close, and memories of why you wanted this in the first place. Because this is a wild ride and it’s easy to lose yourself to it. But as long as you have a great support system, you’ll be fine.—-Emily Lloyd-Jones, ILLUSIVE

Breathe. A lot. And when things get really crazy, it helps to remember why you started in the first place. It all comes back to the writing!–Robin Constantine, THE PROMISE OF AMAZING

Writing is one thing. Publishing is another thing. Keep writing! A lot of the publishing stuff is out of your control and trying to control it will make you crazy. But the writing is always there and completely yours.–Rebecca Petruck, STEERING TOWARD NORMAL

Remember how life is a thing that happens? Remember how you love doing things other than writing and figuring out how to promote yourself online and in person without feeling like you’ve transformed into a repeating sound-byte? Good. Now remember when you didn’t feel guilty about going to the movies or hanging with your friends? Good. Hold on to that because you deserve to enjoy life in addition to writing.–Natalie C. Parker, BEWARE THE WILD

Plan a launch party. Introvert me was horrified at the thought, but my special person pushed me into it and I’m so glad I did. It was simple (cupcakes, readings, music, at a book store) but people from every moment of my life showed up. It was this big ball of awe and gratitude and I won’t ever forget the support and love I felt that night.–Jaye Robin Brown, NO PLACE TO FALL

Remember to enjoy yourself! You’re following your dream, and yet it’s easy to get so caught up in the stress of it all that you forget the initial giddiness over the fact that you’re (going to be) published. Have fun with it!–AdriAnne Strickland, WORDLESS

Always bring a couple of author copies to a signing, in case you mess up when personalizing a book. It happens. (Also: bring postcards or another piece of signable swag for readers who can’t purchase a book!)–Rebecca Behrens, WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE

Pick and choose what you do for promotion. It’s tempting to do it all but in my debut year I discovered that my energy is finite. (Who knew?). Best thing I ever learned was to do events with other writers instead of doing them solo. A fraction of the work, a multiple of the fun.–Maria Andreu, THE SECRET SIDE OF EMPTY

The last few weeks leading up to your launch may leave you feeling like a quivery ball of tearful stress and anxiety. You may also feel guilty because publishing a book is a dream come true and why, oh why, aren’t you feeling happier about it??? EVERYTHING IS RUINED. All of this is perfectly normal. Feel whatever you feel and know that it will get better.–Heidi Schulz, HOOK’S REVENGE

Remember when reviews start rolling in that you have a small army of people, including industry pros, who think your writing rocks. Don’t let stars and rankings sideswipe your confidence or choke your creativity.–Louise Galveston, BY THE GRACE OF GOD

Never, never give up. If you keep going, even in the face of failure, good things will happen for you. It’s totally cliche, but it’s absolutely true. I can trace every single one of my most successful moments directly back to a moment where I’d failed so miserably it looked like giving up was the only option. But I kept going, and good things were always just around the corner.–Veronica Bartles, TWELVE STEPS

You don’t have to do this alone. Even if there isn’t an organized group of debuts like the OneFours, basically all debut authors (and authors in general) share the same fears and uncertainties. Find your people. We are here <3–Lori M. Lee, GATES OF THREAD AND STONE

The thing all newly published authors need to remember is that the story that was once theirs no longer exists. It is now a book, something that exists in the public domain, for anyone and everyone to read and discuss. Find a tribe of other writers to vent, cry, complain and talk to, because having your story out in the world can be a wild ride.–Dana Alison Levy, THE MISADVENTURES OF THE FAMILY FLETCHER

There’s no one way to be a writer. It’s easy to compare yourself to others whose books are getting starred reviews or flying off the shelves or getting awards, but we’re all on different journeys and connecting with different readers in different ways. Cheer for your fellow writers, but don’t forget to cheer for yourself, too.–Annie Cardi, THE CHANCE YOU WON’T RETURN

My advice for future debut writers is to focus on why you are writing. It’s because you love it. Don’t ever lose that love you have for writing.–Christy Farley, GILDED

Work hard, write from the heart, celebrate yourself and others, and smash those narratives of self-doubt and impostor syndrome with a GIANT SMASHY HAMMER.–Kate Boorman, WINTERKILL

Thanks so much to everyone who’s been a part of our 2014 debut experience! Here’s to even more adventures in 2015 and beyond!

Annie Cardi lives outside Boston, MA, where she spends her time baking, creating alternate lyrics for tv show theme songs, and writing YA fiction. Her debut novel, THE CHANCE YOU WON’T RETURN, is now available from Candlewick Press. Her writing is fueled by copious amounts of coffee and chocolate.
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When We Say YA: August Edition

This month, many of us head back to school as teachers, PTO volunteers, or even students. So I asked my fellow One Fours what their favorite school-based scene is in a YA novel (including their own). Here’s what they said:

I love the scenes in ELEANOR AND PARK on the school bus. The way the proximity of the bus seat becomes something different for both Eleanor and Park as the book progresses is a beautiful thing. On a personal level, I suppose my favorite school scenes to write with Madelyn for DREAM BOY were set in the cafeteria. It’s such a hub of school life–with all the swirl of social hierarchy and ritual. There’s a lot to play with. All that aside, my favorite school room in my real high school was definitely the band room. I was such a band geek. Hmmmm… Maybe I should work some band scenes into the story I’m writing now.

– Mary Crockett, DREAM BOY

One of my favorite scenes in a school is when Anne Shirley breaks a slate over Gilbert Blythe’s head, and then when the teacher makes her copy lines on the chalkboard, she boldly corrects the teacher’s spelling of her name before complying. I still wish I had half as much courage as Anne. For my own book, my favorite school scene takes place in the girls’ bathroom, where Julep starts a salacious rumor to trick a popular girl into going to a formal with a nerdy guy. Very different scene from Anne’s, but shows a similar gumption and determination to be exactly who you are, despite society’s attempts to force young women to conform to “acceptable behavior.”

– Mary Elizabeth Summer, TRUST ME, I’M LYING

My new favorite scene in a YA book is the poker game in the latter half of the book, WINGER, by Andrew Smith. It involves five poker players, a bottle of bourbon smuggled in to their dorm room, a gatorade bottle full of pee, and a boy with an issue to settle. I have never laughed so hard as when I read this scene. It’s disgusting, gross, and boy perfect.

-Jaye Robin Brown, NO PLACE TO FALL

I’m just going to say it: Bella playing volleyball in gym class from Stephenie Meyer’s TWILIGHT. Oh, the awkwardness. Brings back memories…and not necessarily good ones.

-Lisa Maxwell, SWEET UNREST

I have always loved the scene in THE CATCHER IN THE RYE when Holden is talking about his speech class. Whenever a student is giving a speech and gets off topic, the students and teacher would say “digression” and completely fluster the poor student giving the speech. As a teacher, I’ve always wanted to yell “digression” when a student digresses, but I think that would do more to damage the speaker than to help him/her.

-Chris Struyk-Bonn, WHISPER

My favorites were always the Divination scenes in the HARRY POTTER books. Especially the ones in PRISONER OF AZKABAN. So vividly described, and I always felt like Harry was at his snarkiest best in Divination.

-Skylar Dorset, THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS

The first scenes that come to mind are the bus scenes in ELEANOR & PARK. There are plenty of other scenes in YA novels that relate to hallways and cafeterias, bathrooms and classrooms, but that image of Eleanor walking down the aisle looking for a seat will stay with me forever. Part of that may be due to my time on the county’s Safe Schools Advisory Council, where I worked against both passive and active bullying to try to create a more inclusive school environment throughout the school division, but honestly, I think Rainbow Rowell just did a fabulous job with all those bus scenes. The music room scenes in Jandy Nelson’s THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE are also brilliant. But my favorite? That “cranny” scene in Karou’s art class in the Prague Lyseum in DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE. For sheer brilliance of introducing plot, character, and world, you don’t get much better than that. But also? Using wishes to make a narcissistic ex-boyfriend’s butt itch uncontrollably while he’s posing in the nude for your art class in the hope of getting you back? Um. YES! So original, and so much fun!

– Martina Boone, COMPULSION

It’s hard to pick a favorite school scene from one of my all-time favorite books, but the opening of Jerry Spinelli’s STARGIRL would do for starters. In strolls Stargirl Caraway on her first day of eleventh grade, dressed in an off-white, floor-length dress with ruffles that “looked like her grandmother’s wedding gown.” She carries a ukulele on her back, and while everyone in the cafeteria watches spellbound, she pulls it out and begins strumming “I’m looking over a four-leaf clover that I overlooked before.” Then there’s silence and the sound of one person clapping: the lunchroom cashier. It just gets better and better with every page, and totally heartbreaking after the excitement of her eccentricities dies down and she is shunned. But in his inimitable way, Spinelli celebrates individualism and hope on every page.

-Linda Vigen Phillips, CRAZY

Like Mary Elizabeth Summer, I love the scene in ANNE OF GREEN GABLES where Anne Shirley breaks the slate over Gilbert Blythe’s head, but even more than that amazing scene, I love the scenes in later books when Anne has grown up to be the kind of teacher beloved and respected by her students, because she never lost that strong spirit that always defined Anne Shirley. (Yes, I’ve read the entire series, many times.) … On a personal level, my favorite school scenes to write for TWELVE STEPS were the history class scenes between Andi and Dave, and their teacher, Mr. Mayer. The teacher is a cross between my favorite high school teacher, and two of my high school friends who now teach history classes, so of course he made me smile. But the best part of writing those scenes was watching Andi’s secret love of history–and her determination to succeed at all costs–peek through her “I couldn’t care less about school” mask.

–Veronica Bartles, TWELVE STEPS

Joshua David Bellin has been writing novels since age eight (though his first few were admittedly very short). His debut YA science fiction novel SURVIVAL COLONY NINE will be published in September 2014 by Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. Josh likes (in no particular order) gorillas, frogs, monsters, and human beings.
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Next Book News! This Month with Even More OneFour Book News!

IT’S A ONEFOUR SUMMER GOOD NEWS EXTRAVAGANZA! This month we’re combining the Next Book News with our updates about how our debuts are doing for a big ol’ festival of book goodness.

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!

excited-anna (1)

Skila Brown sold another book!

From the Publisher’s Marketplace announcement:
From the author of CAMINAR, Skila Brown’s WITH THE END IN SIGHT, told from a 19-year old’s point of view, one of the survivors from the ill-fated Donner party, about her family’s wagon train journey from Lacon, IL to the Sierra Nevada Mountains in 1846, to Liz Bicknell at Candlewick, by Tina Wexler at ICM (World English).

Skylar Dorset has an official title!

The sequel to THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS has been titled THE BOY WITH THE HIDDEN NAME and will be released on December 2, 2014! (Yes, that’s six months from now!)

Erica Cameron has a sequel cover!

I now have a cover for the sequel to SING SWEET NIGHTINGALE! I present to you book 2 in The Dream War Saga, DEADLY SWEET LIES:

Nadette Lawson knows when you’re lying.

Every night for the past two years, the Balasura have visited her dreams, enticing her to enter their world. And every night she’s seen through their lies. Now, they’re tired of playing in the shadows and they begin to stalk her in the waking world. It’s no longer just an invitation; if Nadette doesn’t join them, they’ll take her family. Forever. She needs help, and the haven she’s seeking may be just out of reach.

Julian Teagan is a master of deception.

To survive, he has to convince the world his mother isn’t useless, that everything’s fine, otherwise he’ll lose what little he has left in this life. He knows the lying won’t be enough to keep him and his mother in the shadows, but it’s all he knows. The only light of truth is Orane, a Balasura who sees past Julian’s facade and challenges him to face the darkness.

Then Orane is killed, and Julian learns his mentor was far from innocent. The Balasura have hunted children like him for centuries, and their next target, Nadette is his one chance at finally being a part of something real. If Julian can just convince her to trust him…

See more information at thedreamwarsaga.com or byericacameron.com

Deadly Sweet Lies

More sequel news from Stephanie Diaz!

REBELLION, the sequel to EXTRACTION, will be released February 10, 2015.

Add it on Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/book/show/18625184-rebellion
Pre-order on Amazon: www.amazon.com/Rebellion-Stephanie-Diaz/dp/1250041252/ref=la_B00FI7SQ4M_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1402525743&sr=1-2

Jen Malone sold more books!

From PM:
Jen Malone’s YA debut WANDERLOST, in which a teen girl agrees to impersonate her older sister and fill in for her as a summer tour guide for a senior citizen bus trip through Europe; when their carefully constructed plan derails before she even makes it out of the airport and the tour owner’s cute son joins as a surprise guest, she’ll put her acting skills to the test, to Annie Berger at Harper Teen, in a two-book deal, by Holly Root at Waxman Leavell Literary Agency (World).

Rebecca Behrens sold another book!

From PW:
Jordan Hamessley at Egmont USA has bought North American rights to The Summer of Lost and Found, a middle-grade novel by Rebecca Behrens. In it, a girl’s father mysteriously disappears and her botanist mother drags her to Roanoke Island for a research trip, where she decides to solve the mystery of the Lost Colony. It will publish in spring 2016; Suzie Townsend at New Leaf Literary & Media brokered the deal.

Nicole Maggi has a cover!

HEARTLINES is a standalone thriller coming February 2015 from SourceBooks Fire.

An exciting new thriller from Nicole Maggi about a girl whose memories are slowly being taken over after a heart transplant from a murder victim.

Georgie Kendrick wakes up after a heart transplant, but the organ beating in her chest doesn’t seem to be in tune with the rest of her body. Why does she have a sudden urge for strawberries when she’s been allergic for years? Why can’t she remember last Christmas? Driven to find her donor, Georgie discovers her heart belonged to a girl her own age who fell out of the foster care system and into a rough life on the streets. Everyone thinks she committed suicide, but Georgie is compelled to find the truth—before she loses herself completely.

heartlines

 

 

IN DEBUT BOOK NEWS:

 

FOUR STARRED REVIEWS for OTHERBOUND by Corinne Duyvis! School Library Journal gave OTHERBOUND by Corinne Duyvis its third starred review! “While Duyvis’s debut is an exciting take on the fantasy genre, as it alternates between our world and that of the Dunelands, the true strength of the novel is in its positive portrayal of LGBT issues. This becomes most important in establishing the character of Nolan, an adolescent who has experienced most of his adolescence from the perspective of a girl, and in the nuanced portrayal of Amara’s relationships.” In its FOURTH STARRED REVIEW, The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books praises OTHERBOUND’s “subtle, nuanced examinations of power dynamics and privilege” and calls it “a brilliantly paced edge-of-your seat adventure.” The review concludes, “Authors should take note—this is how you do fantasy in a global world.”

 

Joshua David Bellin‘s SURVIVAL COLONY 9 garnered two great blurbs in June:
“Joshua David Bellin brings serious game in a post-apocalyptic thriller that collides breathless action with devious world building and genuine heart. A terrific novel!” — Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of Rot & Ruin and V-Wars

“Set in a gritty post-apocalyptic world, SURVIVAL COLONY 9 is both an adventure and an exploration of what it means to be human.” –Margaret Peterson Haddix, New York Times Bestselling author of the Missing Series

 

Publishers Weekly says that AdriAnne Strickland “raises questions of identity and belonging” in her “fast-paced debut,” WORDLESS! Read the full review here.

 

Tara Dairman‘s ALL FOUR STARS got a rave review from Booklist: “Gladys is a lovable character with plenty of spunk and desire, and readers will happily cheer her on, while the fresh plot adds a delicious dimension to the host of stories set in sixth grade.”

Congratulations to the following OneFour authors recently nominated for YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults list: BREAKFAST SERVED ANYTIME by Sarah Combs, CAMINAR by Skila Brown, FAKE ID by Lamar Giles, SEKRET by Lindsay Smith, A MAD, WICKED FOLLY by Sharon Biggs Waller, and THE VIGILANTE POETS OF SELWYN ACADEMY by Kate Hattemer.

 

Dana Alison Levy‘s THE MISADVENTURES OF THE FAMILY FLETCHER got a starred review from Kirkus, who said, “The Fletcher family rules!” It was also a Summer 2014 Kids’ Indie Next Pick and received a starred review from School Library Journal, who praised its “laugh-out-loud humor, and mix of zaniness and love. Fans of Beverly Cleary’s Quimbys, Judy Blume’s Hatchers, and, more recently, Jeanne Birdsall’s Penderwicks will fervently hope that more Fletcher misadventures are yet to come.”

 

THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN WITCHES by Lauren Magaziner got a starred review from Kirkus: “Magaziner’s youthful narrative voice is distinctly aural: Her characters swish and swoop, clomp and screech. Her storytelling cauldron mixes the right balance of bizarre and banal, and she turns up the heat as the witch exam approaches. Readers will banish themselves from the ordinary world to finish this book in a flash.” THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN WITCHES also got a wonderful review from Publishers Weekly: “The same goofy charm that Magaziner brings to the names of characters and settings (Mrs. Gummyum, Yammerstop Way) carries through to the details of witch life and logic in the town of Gliverstoll, resulting in a fun, frothy story that will, well, charm its readers.”

 

GILDED by Christina Farley was nominated for the Morning Calm Award in Korea in the high school division.

 

PUSH GIRL by Jessica Love and Chelsie Hill is out now, and Booklist says, “Authors Hill and Love write a moving novel…This is an emotional story with elements any teen reader can relate to, primarily the search for one’s own identity. Readers will be inspired and moved by Kara’s amazing journey.”

 

THE SECRET SIDE OF EMPTY by Maria Andreu won a National Indie Excellence® Book Award. School Library Journal says of THE SECRET SIDE OF EMPTY, “captivating,” and “Andreu deftly captures the protagonist’s desires, despair, and determination in this peek at a side of American life not often seen in YA literature”. The Cleveland Plain Dealer says, “This story is perfectly timed.”

 

Booklist says of Tracy Holczer‘s, THE SECRET HUM OF A DAISY, “Readers who appreciate the quiet confidence and maturity of Cynthia Rylant’s, Patricia MacLachlan’s, and Katherine Paterson’s protagonists will find a new author to enjoy.” It’s also an Indie Next Pick for summer, and was recently featured in the San Francisco Chronicle.

 

Lori M. Lee‘s GATES OF THREAD AND STONE sold World French rights to AdA.

 

The Indonesia publisher Fantasious has purchased the Bahasa translation rights to Danielle L. Jensen‘s STOLEN SONGBIRD and HIDDEN HUNTRESS!

 

Jaye Robin Brown, or JRo to most everyone but her mama, lives and writes in the Appalachian mountains north of Asheville, NC. She’s fond of dogs, horses, laughter, the absurd and the ironic. When not crafting stories she hangs out with teenagers in the high school art room where she teaches. Her debut novel, NO PLACE TO FALL (Harper Teen, December ’14), is a love song to small town girls and mountain music.
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When We Say YA: May Edition

Each month on the OneFourKidLit blog, those of us who love YA answer a question about our reading and writing. In honor of the recent movement for diversity in YA, this month’s question is: “Which diverse YA book has been most influential to you, and why?”

Monster MyersMONSTER by Walter Dean Myers. This book blew me away. The idea that we judge, react, criticize, and demean without even realizing made me consider how I respond to all people. In MONSTER, the main character is accused of a crime but realizes that the jury and even his lawyer don’t look at him as innocent until proven guilty, but as African American and therefore guilty, needing to prove innocence. If we look at our penal system, this certainly appears to be the case. All young adults should read books like this and reevaluate how they respond and react, even subconsciously, to those of different ethnicities.–Chris Struyk-Bonn, author of Whisper

MockingbirdTO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee. As a young reader, TKAM was perhaps the first place I consciously encountered the idea of the “other” through Boo Radley. He is damaged and creepy and easy to fear. But he is also good. Being able to see his ultimate goodness through Scout’s eyes was really important to me as a child. It gave me the strength to be kind to people who deserve kindness, despite the fear they may instill–like the hulking, brain-damaged man who lived down the street from me when I was young. When he rang the bell and grinned his strange, other-worldly grin, I wanted to hide. But because of Scout, I opened the door. I let him in.–Mary Crockett, co-author of Dream Boy

everworldThe EVERWORLD series by K.A. Applegate. It’s been so long since I read it that I don’t even recall how well the various characters were handled, but I do remember vividly one scene in the first book where a black character was insistent on leaving the scene of an incident before the police came, because he knew they’d suspect him regardless of what he did and didn’t do. Reading the book as a young white girl, that was the first time I realized that racism was a lot more complex than the belief that “certain people are inferior,” which was the impression I’d gotten up to that point. I might’ve read other books later that handled the topic of racism better, or with more nuance, but this was the first to really stick with me.–Corinne Duyvis, author of Otherbound

adaptationI’ll go with a couple of recent books, the ADAPTATION series by Malinda Lo. The point of view character comes to identify as bisexual, and the books features a love triangle among her, a nice guy, and a “bad girl.” I’d never seen either in YA before. I’d read a similar scenario in maybe one adult book. Everything about ADAPTATION and INHERITANCE felt so refreshing. The series totally revitalized the love triangle trope, and it gave me a new perspective. I’ve talked with bisexual friends about their experience but never really put myself in their shoes in terms of thinking about how that might complicate relationships or how societal perceptions on bisexuality might hurt them. Reading this series, I felt such freedom as a writer because when I grew up, those subjects would have been taboo, and I kept internally cheering, yes, our culture has arrived! At least enough of it that these characters are rocking it out in a mainstream YA sci-fi. It made me feel like no human experience was out of bounds–it just takes great authors with the courage to write true.–Rachel M. Wilson, author of Don’t Touch

left handTHE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS by Ursula K. Le Guin blew my mind as a teen–though it’s not YA. (I didn’t have a massive amount of YA as a teen.) Not only is the MC, Genly Ai, black without such a big deal being made over it (much like some of Le Guin’s other characters, e.g. in the EARTHSEA books), but Genly visits an entire society that is asexual–until they’re occasionally not asexual, and then they can either adapt male or female attributes. This book flexed my mind in terms of gender, sexual orientation, and relationships more than any other book had, at the time.–AdriAnne Strickland, author of Wordless

pantomimePANTOMIME by Laura Lam. The MC, Micah Grey, is intersex, but was raised as a girl. The bulk of the novels I’ve read where the character has questions about sexual identity have been contemporary, so it was really fantastic to come across an epic fantasy novel with a hero facing those challenges.–Danielle L. Jensen, author of Stolen Songbird

cameron postNot really YA, and not a diverse MC, but TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD was the first book that really spoke to me as a young person about racial inequality in the deep south. I’d lived there my whole life and that book opened my eyes in ways my parents never would have. A recent favorite was THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST by Emily M. Danforth, a literary coming-of-age, coming-out story about a small-town girl who’s sent away from home to be “healed” of her sexuality. The part I loved most about it was Cameron’s eventual total acceptance of self.–Jaye Robin Brown, author of No Place to Fall

douglassThis isn’t really YA–as the category didn’t exist when the book was written–and it’s not fiction, but it is the story of a young adult learning to overcome severe challenges, which is the basic plot of all YA. I’m speaking of NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS, AN AMERICAN SLAVE, which was profoundly influential to me when I first read it in high school. Douglass’s ability to provide a vivid first-hand account of slavery, and to peel back the institutional racism that existed not only in the South but in the North, demonstrated to me the power of diverse voices to shock white readers like me out of their complacency, while affirming for readers of color the validity of their experience.–Joshua David Bellin, author of Survival Colony 9

 

Joshua David Bellin has been writing novels since age eight (though his first few were admittedly very short). His debut YA science fiction novel SURVIVAL COLONY NINE will be published in September 2014 by Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. Josh likes (in no particular order) gorillas, frogs, monsters, and human beings.
1

Rin Chupeco: THE GIRL FROM THE WELL

The Girl from the Well (August 5, 2014; Sourcebooks)

You may think me biased, being murdered myself. But my state of being has nothing to do with the curiosity toward my own species, if we can be called such. We do not go gentle, as your poet encourages, into that good night.

A dead girl walks the streets.

She hunts murderers. Child killers, much like the man who threw her body down a well three hundred years ago.

And when a strange boy bearing stranger tattoos moves into the neighborhood so, she discovers, does something else. And soon both will be drawn into the world of eerie doll rituals and dark Shinto exorcisms that will take them from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Aomori, Japan.

Because the boy has a terrifying secret – one that would just kill to get out.

—–

We have a lot of fantastic authors at OneFour KidLit and are excited to introduce them all to you. One author, four questions.  Today we’re talking to Rin Chupeco, author of THE GIRL FROM THE WELL.  And while not technically an undead spirit herself, Rin has been mistaken enough times as one hat she feels she can  competently write about them.

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

It almost didn’t. I live in the Philippines, where writing speculative fiction locally was discouraged – mostly because nobody has ever eked out a decent living from them. The chances of successfully establishing myself as an author in the international scene was even lower. For the longest time, I believed people when they said it wasn’t worth the effort, until a chance encounter with a rather famous writer (here’s a hint: his name starts with an ‘N’, and ends in an ‘eil Gaiman’) convinced me I’ll never know if I never try.

The thought of a nine to five job for the rest of my non-pensioned life finally scared the crap out of me, and I began to write. At first they were short stories, which got me into local and online indie publications, but with little financial compensation. From there I soon graduated to novels. I wrote a book, queried it for awhile, then shelved it after realizing I’d made the neophyte’s mistake of querying too soon. My experiences in an old building where I used to work, combined with an odd conversation with a friend about horror movies, inspired me to write a second book, which I did in roughly three months, falling back on my love for creepy Asian things and psychological ghost stories.

I knew this was THE ONE after I penned the final draft; I knew it was different, I knew there was nothing like it out yet, and I thought the concept was unusual enough to be noticed. Requests started coming in as soon as I started querying, and I eventually signed on with Rebecca Podos and Nicole LaBombard from the Helen Rees Agency. A few months later, I accepted a publishing deal with Sourcebooks, and have been thrilled ever since.

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

THE GIRL FROM THE WELL is based on the Bancho Sarayashiki, which is one of the most popular ghost stories in Japan. It’s about a young maidservant accused of something she didn’t do, but was thrown down a well as punishment. Now her ghost rises nightly from that well, unable to rest in peace. It’s the same story the movie Ringu / The Ring was based upon, but while the relentless Sadako is driven by hate and rage with little reason, my protagonist has something few ghosts are able to retain in the afterlife: a conscience, however slight that may be.

This doesn’t stop her from being violent when the situation calls for it, and while she considers most of what she does true justice, I wouldn’t say she’s been able to temper it with mercy when it comes to many of her victims – though she’s forced to reassess her centuries-old vengeance when innocent humans become involved. It’s a tale of redemption, a love story without necessarily being a romance – and it’s a story about how even the worst of monsters might still deserve what most people are often given: a second chance.

Are there any other ghost stories / urban legends you enjoy other than the Bancho Sarayashiki?

Right off the bat, I’m gonna say that Japan has some of the weirdest ghosts you will ever read about. One is Hanako-san, a little girl who has a predisposition for haunting toilets. She appears only after you knock at the  third stall of a school bathroom on the third floor, and ask for her by name, much like the Bloody Mary legend. Outcomes vary, from apparitions of a bloody hand, to her killing the caller rather gruesomely. Another more horrifying ghost is the Kuchisake-onna, a woman who wanders around with a mask on who stops and asks people if she’s pretty. If they say no, she kills them; if they say yes, she takes off her mask and shows them a mouth that has been slit from ear to ear, and asks them again. Another “no” gets them killed, and a “yes” will make her slash their mouths to give them the same disfigurement. Not exactly a good outcome for both answers.

Philippine mythology doesn’t get as much popularity as I think it deserves, too. There’s the legend of the manananggal, who’s usually a pretty girl in the daytime. At night, she has the ability to sever her body from the waist up, sprout wings, and fly over rooftops looking for babies and pregnant women to feast, on with a long prehensile tongue that can slip through small cracks in ceilings for this purpose. And there’s the tiyanak, which manifests as a crying baby apparently left in the woods or at an abandoned lot, and turns into basically an evil gremlin the instant you pick them up. I am a huge sucker for stories like these!

What cool facts might readers not know about you?

1. I was born and raised in the Philippines, but am ethnically Chinese for the most part. (I’m something of a mutt, with some Malay / Thai / Spanish / etc. trawling through the family bloodstream, though we’ve never been able to pinpoint a more definite ratio). This might explain why I’ve got huge eyes for an Asian, but STILL does not explain why I’ve got the body of a short thirteen year old girl while other family members are built like models.

2. I have foldable hands, in that I can fold them lengthwise, due in part to an old diving-into-a-shallow-pool-because-I’m-an-idiot incident. This gives me no superpowers whatsoever, other than the ability to gross people out.

3. I grew up on a steady diet of television and books, and Conan O’Brien was my babysitter for the latter part of my childhood. (On the other hand, Remington Steele appeared to be my favorite series during my toddlerhood. My father has stories  where, at two years old, I would point to Pierce Brosnan on-screen and yell: “That’s my boyfriend!”)

Despite an uncanny resemblance to Japanese revenants, Rin has always maintained her sense of hummus. Raised in Manila, Philippines, she keeps eight pets: a dog, six birds, and a husband. She’s been a time traveler, a Starfleet captain, and a mutant, because real jobs are overrated. Her YA horror, THE UNNATURAL STATES OF DEAD GIRLS IN WELLS (Sourcebooks), pitched as Dexter meets the Grudge, is due out Fall 2014.
1

Amy Zhang: FALLING INTO PLACE

Falling Into Place

 

 

Hey, you’re getting published! How’d that happen? (aka, what was your path to publication)
I wrote FALLING INTO PLACE during NaNoWriMo the year before last year, sort if in a fit of self-pity. My first novel had just been rejected at acquisitions, school sucked, and I was generally not in a fantastic place, emotionally. So I wrote about a girl who made a lot of mistakes and the imaginary friend who would never let her go. And I felt better.

I sent it to my agent, who was really excited about it. We revised it for about two months, and then we sent it out on subs. It sold within the week—the craziest, most mind-blowingly awesome week EVER. I hyperventilated and cried and laughed a lot. S/O to the world for not committing me to an asylum (love you, world <3).
What’s your debut book about? Can you share any cool details with us?

The GR pitch: On the day Liz Emerson tries to die, they had reviewed Newton’s laws of motion in physics class. Then, after school, she put them into practice by running her Mercedes off the road.

Why? Why did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her? Why did she give up? Vividly narrated by Liz’s imaginary friend from childhood, a friend she long ago abandoned, this heartbreaking and nonlinear novel pieces together the short and devastating life of Meridian High’s most popular junior girl. Mass, acceleration, momentum, force—Liz didn’t understand it in physics, and even as her Mercedes hurtles toward the tree, she doesn’t understand it now. How do we impact one another? How do our actions reverberate? What does it mean to be a friend? To love someone? To be a daughter? Or a mother? Is life truly more than cause and effect? Amy Zhang’s haunting and universal story will appeal to fans of Lauren Oliver, Gayle Forman, and Jay Asher

The Amy pitch: It’s about the laws of motion and Newton the Virgin and making wishes on scenic towers and being a good friend and being a bad friend. It’s about being afraid of silence and hating gravity and losing at hide-and-seek. It’s about the day you stop believing in heroes and the day you start again. And most of all it’s about being a teenager. Making mistakes. Hating school. Dating the wrong people. Cheating on tests. Forgetting your calculator. Experimenting. Regretting it. And finding the strength to move on.

What cool facts might readers not know about you?

The first book that ever made me cry was Charlotte’s Web. I sleep with a decorative dagger behind my bed because it makes me feel badass. I used to sleep with books under my pillow. I broke my typewriter and am still trying to find a place to fix it (if anyone has a local typewriter-fixer, please share). Sometimes I walk around the house and interpret Disney songs as dramatic monologues. I like ceramics. I’m super talented when it comes to marathoning TV shows. I like pumpkin frozen yogurt. I’ve been stuck on level 65 of Candy Crush for a ridiculously long time.

…I have very loose definition of “cool.”

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

Okay, don’t judge. I write best in my bathtub. I fill it with pillows and blankets and I write. It’s relaxing and the curvature of the tub totally helps the creative juices or something (actually, mostly I write there because the door locks and there are no distractions). It’s totally normal and not weird at all and it’s RELAXING, okay? Okay.

3

From Undocumented Immigrant to Published Author

the secret side of empty, maria e. andreuWhen I was twelve I wrote in my diary, “Most of all, I want to be a writer.”  Today, decades later, that dream comes true.  The Secret Side of Empty, my debut novel, hits book shelves.

All publishing stories feel like a fairy tale.  I remember so intimately what it felt like to go to pitch conferences and writing groups and feel the frustration of wanting to be published but not achieving it.  But, besides the standard, “publishing is hell” roadblocks, for me getting here feels so laughably improbable that the fact that this day has arrived is nothing short of amazing.

When I was eight years old, I crossed the Mexican border into the U.S. with my mom.  We were what the news calls “illegal.”  I grew up under the specter of that, the thumping heart at every knock on the door, my parents’ hushed conversations in the next room, the secrets I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone.  When I became a teenager, I began to understand the impact of the decisions that had been made for me before I was old enough to chime in.  With no social security number, it meant I couldn’t get an after-school job, or a driver’s license or (had I even known what it meant), in-state tuition or financial aid for college.  As high school wore on, I learned that my options were dwindling.

My story has something of a Hollywood ending.  I got an amnesty that made me “legal” right when I turned eighteen and graduated high school.  It meant college, a job, virtually anything I wanted.  But most of all, for me it meant forgetting.  I wanted nothing more than to put my shame behind me.

So I went to college.  I concentrated on scrubbing off the poverty of my childhood, buying a house, being suburban.  My heart yearned to write, but I could never make it work.  Well, I wrote all the time, but I also yearned to publish.  So many voices said there was no chance of it.  There was the college professor that laughed and told me that no one makes a living writing.  The literary journals that all said no.  The little local magazine that published my pieces but then went out of business.  The more time passed, the more that “the writing life” seemed like a quaint, dusty fantasy from my childhood.

Then, after 9/11, I heard how ugly the rhetoric started to get around immigration and, especially, immigrants.  I remember the spot on the Palisades Parkway when the thought first struck me: “When pundits say that ‘these people’ are going to ruin our country, they are talking about me.”  I had kept my secret from everyone.  I had escaped it, transcended it, left it behind.  My best friend didn’t even know about my (former) undocumented status, never mind my neighbors and acquaintances. But after that moment, little by little, I started to let it out.  I wrote a piece for Newsweek about my experience.  I started helping out at a local non-profit providing lunches for (mostly undocumented) day laborers.  I began to share my story.

And, then, I tried my hand at publishing again and… it worked!  M.T.’s story is uniquely hers, but I poured all the hurts and all the triumphs of my own adolescence on the page.  The culmination of that loving and longing goes on bookshelves today.  I have grown tremendously in the process of transforming from the girl in the shack in Tijuana to the woman whose book is getting acclaim and has been chosen as a Junior Library Guild selection.  Most of all, I’ve learned that the things we keep secret, that we think make us broken, are some of the most beautiful and special things about us.

The Secret Side of Empty is on Amazon:  Click here.

Add The Secret Side of Empty to your Goodreads to-read shelf:  Click here

Maria E. AndreuTHE SECRET SIDE OF EMPTY (Running Press/Perseus, March, 2014)
MariaEAndreu.com
Facebook.com/Maria.Andreu.Books
twitter.com/WriterSideofM
www.goodreads.com/book/show/18079898-the-secret-side-of-empty .