Macmillan Audio is giving away a copy of Cinder here on the blog. We all know how much I loved this book, so I am already jealous of the winner! I have a clip you can listen to and judge your interest in the title. Just use the Rafflecopter form below to enter.
First, I want to thank Pam for being a part of the Cinder Blog Tour and inviting me to be a guest on her blog on a most important day. Her birthday!
So—Happy Birthday, Pam! Here is a special Cinderella cake for you:
On this tour stop, I’m going to talk about my path from aspiring-writer to writer-with-a-book-deal, but this post comes with a warning. It’s, er, kind of one of those stories that’s jaw-droppingly surreal and not unlike Cinderella’s fairy godmother waving her wand and making all my dreams come true overnight.
Yes—I’m one of those authors.
I started writing Cinder on November 1, 2008, and finished the first draft—70,000 words—in about two weeks. During the next two years, I would alternate between revising and editing Cinder, writing the drafts of Books 2 and 3 of The Lunar Chronicles (I had the series fairly well outlined from the start), and also finishing up a few fanfics, as I’d been writing Sailor Moon fanfiction for ages and didn’t want to leave any stories unfinished.
Then, on August 16, 2010, I determined it was finally time. The book was as good as I could make it, I had a plan for the rest of the series, and there was nothing I could do to make myself any more appealing to agents. I had to start querying.
I should point out that I have a Master’s degree in publishing and I’d been reading writer blogs and magazines for years and years, so I was well aware that this can be a slow, agonizing process. I psyched myself up with tales of authors who had pasted a hundred rejection slips on their walls, only to go on to be huge bestsellers. I gave myself plenty of pep-talks. Cinder was my first novel and while I was as hopeful as any author could be, I was also aware that many first novels never sell, and I already had ideas simmering in my imagination in case I needed to shelve The Lunar Chronicles and move on to another project.
Well. Two months later, I had three offers of representation and ended up signing with Jill Grinberg, the very first agent I’d queried—my Number One Dream Agent. Pinch me now.
I shrieked, I danced, I drank my “get an agent” champagne. Then I tempered my delirium and got back to work.
It was important to me from the start that we try to sell all four books, because I had a thorough plan of how I saw each book playing out. We decided to go on submission not only with the manuscript for Cinder, but also summaries for the rest of the series and the first fifty pages of Book 2: Scarlet. I spent two weeks getting that all prepared, along with preparing an author bio and having publicity photos taken.
My agent went on submission to publishers on Friday, October 29.
We had our first offer the following Monday, November 1—on the two-year anniversary from the day I’d started writing Cinder.
About a week later, the series went to auction between two publishing houses and we accepted the offer from Macmillan’s Feiwel & Friends on November 11. Less than three months after I’d sent my first query, I was enjoying my “get a book deal” champagne.
It was a blur and a dream and completely unexpected. Even now, thirteen months later, with a finished book and plane tickets in hand for my first book tour, it still hasn’t begun to feel entirely real. I sometimes wonder if it ever will.
* Dire Straits
Sometimes a good, thoughtfully done review can raise an issue that gets an author thinking. Damn it. Being a writer sometimes reminds me of the old joke about a painter on a scaffold: the trouble is, you just can’t step back and get any perspective on your work.
Here’s an excerpt from what was, overall, a very positive review of Jumpstart the World by Roof Beam Reader.
The only minor complaint I have is the idea that “transphobia” does not exist in the GLBT community. When Frank is hospitalized, Elle stays with him because of his fear of being abused or mistreated there (due to the possibility of nurses/doctors not reacting well to his gender identity versus biology). When a male nurse comes to check on Frank, he identifies himself to Elle as a gay man and thus, one of the “community” – so therefore will have Frank’s back. Unfortunately, the issue is not so cut-and-dry and transphobia does exist, even within the GLBT community. Again, it is a minor complaint, as there are genuinely decent gay/straight people out there who would come to the aid of someone in trouble, as that nurse did, and I definitely do not think the author would actually argue that this issue exists in such a binary; but, I do wish the issue had not been championed on one side in the manner that it was.
When I first read it, I wanted to argue. Slightly. But the little voice in my gut said, “He’s right. I presented it as though that would be the natural way of things.” Looking back, I see a fairly simple (and pretty naïve) reason. In my head, that’s the way of things. I didn’t realize (though it was my job to know, so that’s not an excuse) when I first wrote this novel, the full extent of the chasm between the LGB and the T in the LGBT community.
And yet I must have known at some time, in some way, shape or form. The reason I live my life well outside “my” community is because of issues such as this. Years ago, when I was quite young, I tried to be part of the “Women’s Community” in LA. Problem was, I was somewhere between bisexual and gay. And that just did not fly there. So, let’s face it, if you can’t be who you really are, what’s the point of a community? That kind of abuse I can get anywhere.
I was even sitting in the audience at the horrible women’s concert in LA where a pre-operative male-to-female transsexual was forced off the stage because of some crap about male anatomy at a “woman’s event.” So at some point I knew how crazy it can get.
I must have buried it deeply. That’s all I can think.
Since writing the book, I’ve—unfortunately—learned more. Like how the LGB community has a bad habit of throwing its transgender brothers and sisters under the bus when it comes time to pass non-discrimination bills. If the bill might not pass with T inclusion, the LGB contingent says, “Wait. You’ll get your rights later.” But that’s not only unfair, it’s completely unworkable. Because no one is free until everyone is. When we decide that anyone falls below the standard of deserving respect and understanding, we’ve dug a hole into which any of us can fall at any time. And I don’t just mean LGBT people. If our society reserves a lack of freedom for anyone, our freedom is abridged. If it can happen to anyone, it can happen to us.
It’s hard to write a world like that into a book.
The one part of this book I hated writing the most was Elle’s reaction to Frank’s friends at the party. Particularly, putting the phase “like a man in a dress” in her voice. It reminded me of years ago, writing Walter’s Purple Heart, having him use the word “Jap” at the beginning of the book. Later he learned more about the “enemy.” When he had to shoot two. And he was lying in the hospital thinking, “Don’t Japanese mommas cry when their boys don’t come home?” In times of war, young soldiers are taught to dehumanize the enemy. So he would have used the word Jap at the beginning. I hate it, but I know he would have. So that’s why I had Elle go through all the usual preconceptions. Even though I inwardly wince. Even though I half fear that people will attribute that prejudice to the author. Because I feel it’s my job to show the world as it is, not as I wish it would be.
But that damn Adam from Roof Beam Reader, he caught me falling down on the job. Showing the world as I wish it would be. Not as it is.
With any luck, the book will stay in print for many years. And maybe in a generation or two, people will read that, and it’ll sound fine. Match up just fine with what they see around them. And they can shake their heads at the “man in a dress” reference and wonder how anyone could ever have been mired up in such clueless thinking.
Hope with me. Please.
Catherine is having a scavenger hunt! (And I have a giveaway below) You can win a copy of EVERY YA book she has ever written. First you must collect the clues, from me today “and then starts to cry“, The Story Siren, and There’s a Book have already posted. Look for highlighted words, and tomorrow the FINAL post in the scavenger hunt is at Chick Loves Lit. There is also and opp to win one of 3 signed copies of Jumpstart the World at each location before the huge prize at Catherine’s blog! Basically you collect the words on all four partner blogs and make a sentence and turn them in to Catherine on Sunday.
Now for my giveaway! THREE SIGNED PAPERBACK COPIES OF JUMPSTART THE WORLD! This is the perfect op for you guys to get introduced to Catherine’s work. Just Rafflecopter below, and there is a giveaway on each of the partner blogs too.
I had the unique opportunity to sit down at a tea with Philippa Gregory at the NCIBA annual conference this past Friday. Its not very often that I have a fangirl moment, but trust me when I say I was beaming like a Kindergartner upon meeting Philippa when she breezed her way to our table. I told her how I used her books as a guide to England when I lived there. Devouring her words and then visiting the landmarks where her stories took place. She was gracious, regal, and I am in awe of her talent.
S&S had a few extra copies of Philippa’s latest The Lady of the Rivers and I accepted one to give away to one of you lucky readers! I hope you enjoy the story that Philippa wrote. During her speech she spoke of the reason she writes these kinds of stories. Most simply put, she wanted to aid the women of the past in having a voice. These women who were a massive part of historical events and because they were women were not much more than a footnote in the pages of historians past.
Philippa does a ton of research for every book, looking through libraries and folklore and even online to find mention of the women she writes about. Prompted by all the goodies she found Gregory went on to publish her first historic nonfiction. The Women of the Cousins’ War: The Duchess, the Queen, and the King’s Mother.
To enter use the Rafflecopter below. The only mandatory option is that you leave a comment telling me if you have read a Gregory book before, and if so what did you think about it. The other options are not mandatory but count for extra entries. After each option you complete, remember to click the “I did this” button so you are entered. Votes are tallied by Rafflecopter and the winner will be chosen randomly by this service as well.
I wanted to get involved with Neil Gaiman’s All Hallow’s Read project and I was wondering what would be the BESTEST EVER thing to give to you guys when yesterday two duplicate books happened upon my mailbox. These books are highly sought after and I knew I had the perfect set for All Hallow’s Read.
If you want to learn more about the All Hallow’s Read project click here to visit the website.
Here is what you will be winning:
The only mandatory option is that you comment to tell me your favorite media that has angels or demons in it. Make sure you click the “I DID THIS” box for everything you do. It adds your points and picks the winner. Have fun and may the odds be in your favor!