It's been a while since I've updated this thing, hasn't it? But to make up for the lack of posts this winter/spring, I've got double the good book news to share (okay, most people have probably seen it by now, but I'm documenting it here regardless!).
First, I'm so pleased to announce that I'm doing another picture book with Sterling Children's! This one is called SELFIE SEBASTIAN and is slated for Fall 2017 publication. While this is for younger kids, I feel like everyone will be able to relate to Sebastian and his quest to take the perfect selfie!
Here's the official announcement from Publisher's Marketplace:
Next, I'm over-the-moon thrilled to announce that my dark epic fantasy YA duology, REIGN OF THE FALLEN, has found a home with Razorbill/Penguin!!!
Huge thanks to my super-agent, Lucy Carson, for bringing me together with amazing editor Jessica Almon, who is as kind as she is wise! I know that this book, my beloved characters and world, are in great hands with her, and I cannot wait to share this story with readers everywhere!
This is a story about necromancers, about love and death and letting go. It's a book about friendship and, like so many of the beloved fantasies I read growing up, about persevering even when it seems all hope is lost. It's a book about change, something many people (myself included) struggle with. It's a book about a girl called Sparrow who always finds her way home.
Here's the official announcement from Publishers Weekly Children's Bookshelf:
So to recap, here's the full list of the books you can expect to see from me soon-ish:
-Fear the Drowning Deep, my YA historical fantasy, publishes with Sky Pony Press on 10/4/16!
-A Campfire Tail, a picture book, publishes with Sterling Children's in Spring 2017!
-Selfie Sebastian, a picture book, publishes with Sterling Children's in Fall 2017!
-Anna Strong: Daughter of the American Revolution, a nonfiction picture book biography, is forthcoming from Abrams Kids!
-Reign of the Fallen, a dark YA fantasy, and its sequel, are forthcoming from Razorbill/Penguin!
As I think about all of the above, especially the news about Reign of the Fallen, a story that is so close to my heart that it's like a part of me, I keep trying to come up with some good advice for other writers who are at any stage of pursuing their publication dreams. Yet I can't seem to come up with anything particularly ground-breaking; after all, there are so many great posts about persevering in this mercurial industry already! At first, I thought, "Well, good things come as a result of hard work," but I'd argue there's far more to publishing than just "working hard"--Sure, I work hard all the time, and so does every writer, because our stories are so important to us and that compulsion to tell more stories never goes away, even if it fades a little at times. When looking at publication, there's also luck and timing and the market, which are completely out of an author's control, so sometimes putting in hard work doesn't yield the results we want--and trust me, I've been there, too.
With all that being said, I want to share two things that really helped me silence my inner critic and draft REIGN OF THE FALLEN with minimal agonizing despite knowing what a tough road it would be to potential publication:
1) Staying off social media! I cannot stress how hard it is (at least for me) to put down any new words or have any creative energy after opening Twitter and seeing a bunch of book deals and foreign rights/film deals. I have to imagine this is also hard on others. It's not that we aren't happy for our friends, but social media tends to be a filter of only the positives happening in people's lives, and our brains inevitably start doing that darn comparison thing, and...need I say more? Staying off of social media allowed me to draft like the wind on this book, and it's how I plan to draft from now on. It put me in a much better head space and allowed me to focus fully on my storytelling! It's great to make time to cheer for everyone's good news, too, but above all--be kind to yourself.
2) Building a 'love list'! What I mean by this is that to keep my enthusiasm about the book as high as could be while I was writing it, I made a long list of everything I loved about it. Things I thought were cool about the world I'd built, favorite character moments, songs that reminded me of the story or helped inspire it (random fact: REIGN was written almost entirely to Halsey's Room 93 EP and Badlands album), lines I'd written that I liked--any tidbits that made me feel excited about the story all over again. I believe I got this idea from a brilliant post on Pub Crawl, and reading over that book love list really helped me to draft on days when I wasn't really feeling confident or inspired at the outset. Try it--it works wonders!
I hope the above helps someone who may be struggling to draft right now! Believe in your work, and surround yourself with others who do the same, and you'll go far. :)
As for me, I beyond grateful to Sterling and Razorbill for welcoming me and my books! I can't wait to share these stories with you all!!!
Until next time--peace, love, and greyhounds,