Personal

Bible Journaling

Sometimes it's a little intimidating to talk about my faith. As a Christian, I'm never quite sure how I'll be received. But as I've been Bible Journaling lately, lots of you have seemed interested in it and have had some questions, so I thought I'd try to get to them in a blog post.

First, my new Bible is an ESV Single Column Journaling Bible. I was very tempted by another one, but it was so expensive! But this one is great. There's plenty of room for notes or art, and my pastor uses this translation a lot, so I thought it might be good. Usually I prefer an NLT. Really, I think any Bible would work if you're comfortable with slightly overlapping onto the text and use the right stuff so you can still see the words. Totally doable!

Second, the materials I'm using are plain old crafting and scrapbooking supplies that I have on hand. Anything you see that isn't actual printed text was made by me. Which some people seemed confused about. It didn't come with pre-made art or backgrounds. If you're just getting started, some stickers and markers will get you pretty far. I'm a nerd and bought some new stamps and letters just for this, but you really don't need to. Even in black and white, you can make something lovely.

Third, my inspiration is simply coming from the text. If I see a verse or word, or maybe sense a theme, that's what I focus on. My hope is that by creating something next to it, I'll hold onto a piece of the verse a little better. You can usually see the words I've accented near by.

 So how do you get started?

1. Get a Bible or a notebook. If you feel guilty about marking up a Bible, get a journal instead. No worries.

2. Pick your favorite book and start there. I'm a nerd for the Psalms! If you feel inspired early on, I think it makes it easier to make something like this a habbit.

3. Use what you have! I found dabbing a marker on a tissue and smooshing it on the paper makes a really nice background. No need for fancy ink! Don't have pretty stickers? Google doodle lettering and boarders and make it pretty yourself!

4. Let it matter. It's really not about making something perfect, it's about making something period. For me, being creative has always made me feel closer to my Creator. As long as that's happening for you, don't worry about the final product and enjoy the Word.

And that's pretty much it. If you look around, you can find much better examples than anything I've made, and it's inspiring me to try new things and keep this going. I'll probably continue to post my favorites to Instagram using the hashtag #BibleJournaling. If you're making some too, use the tag, so I can see! Hope you enjoy this as much as I am!

The Heir

Opening Lines of THE HEIR

I could not hold my breath for seven minutes. I couldn’t even make it to one. I once tried to run a mile in seven minutes after hearing some athletes could do it in four but failed spectacularly when a side stitch crippled me about halfway in.

However, there was one thing I managed to do in seven minutes that most would say is quite impressive: I became queen.

By seven tiny minutes I beat my brother, Ahren, into the world, so the throne that ought to have been his was mine. Had I been born a generation earlier, it wouldn’t have mattered. Ahren was the male, so Ahren would have been the heir.

Alas, Mom and Dad couldn’t stand to watch their firstborn be stripped of a title by an unfortunate but rather lovely set of breasts. So they changed the law, and the people rejoiced, and I was trained day by day to become the next ruler of Illéa.

What they didn’t understand was that their attempts to make my life fair seemed rather unfair to me.

Costco October 11 Event Info

Okay, some of the logistical information on this is a little tricky, so let me share what I’ve learned:

Costco: 1085 Hanes Mall Blvd, Winston-Salem, NC 27103
(336) 970-2300

I’ll be signing from 1-3PM.

You do not need a membership to come to the event.

You cannot bring your own books to be signed.

You cannot purchase books at the store without a membership.

You can still meet me, get pictures and hugs with me, etc. And if you are creative enough, you could probably figure out how to buy books without getting your own membership (since most of you are teenagers and $55 is a lot of money for a membership).

So, that’s what I know. If you have any other questions or concerns, I would suggest calling the store directly. See you tomorrow!

Personal

Hi Dad

It’s late in the day, but I thought I’d take a moment on this Father’s Day to mention what seems to be one of your favorite things about The Selection: the dedication. You’ve all seen it. You’ve taken pics and sent it back to me with smiley faces next to it. I know you dig it.

hi dad.png

So let me explain where it came from. A million years ago, we were talking about how all these people— athletes, movie stars, and pretty much anyone winning an award— will get on TV and yell out “Hi, Mom!” So I promised my dad that if I was ever on TV, I would wave and say “Hi, Dad!”

When the book deal came around, I figured this was the closest I’d ever get, so the first book went to Daddy. Without him knowing, which made it so much better! He's a pretty rad guy. Sucked snot out of my nose once when I couldn't breathe, so he pretty much earned it.

Anyway, as it is Father’s Day, I thought I’d get the story out there. Hope all the dads out there had a spectacular day!

Personal, The One

The Inevitable

So, I feel like this is bound to happen. If you’ve preordered The One, there is a huge chance that it will ship early, or maybe a bookstore will stock it a week in advance. And, because you have waited so long, there is no reasonable way to ask you not to open it up.

If you come across a copy in the next two weeks, I hope you get a chance to enjoy it. And I also hope that you will allow those who have to wait to have the exact same experience as you.

I’ve been guarding these secrets for years, guys. YEARS! Please do me the favor of keeping them a handful of days. What would that mean exactly? Well, don’t make plot points your status updates, and maybe don’t tweet your reactions directly at me as lot of readers check my replies. Maybe share the book with your BFF and make them read it really fast so you have someone to gush/rage/whatever with.

You guys are smart. You’ll figure it out. Just know that this tiny little favor would mean the world to me. Thank you guys for sticking with America and company through this journey. I hope the third book is worth the wait.

The Elite, The One, The Selection

Inspiration Week! Day 5!

Now it’s time for my final inspiration post. We started with where the first book began, at America’s house. So let’s close with where the first book ends: the palace.

I also have several pages of notes dedicated to the palace, but the one I’m going with is what we see outside.

I think the picture here is actually of the Spelling Manor. Visually, it’s the closest I can find to what the palace looks like to me. Now, I use the word palace (not castle) intentionally. Castles are typically more war-ready. Palaces are pretty. The staff in the palace have found ways to protect themselves, but they’re not very good at intimidating the rebels to the point that the reconsider their attacks.

The outside of the palace is a lot like this, very bright and with a fountain in the front. But it’s four stories, not two. You would also find things around that look expensive (like statues, etc) on display to impress visitors, but there isn’t a pool in the palace because Gregory thought that was frivolous.

Maxon talks about this being a beautiful cage, and I’m taken back to America’s first time walking up the front steps, with maids escorting her in so she could be prepped. The next time she saw them she was being paraded out to watch her best friend be beaten and humiliated before she was locked inside again.

I think the question you should all be considering now is, will America see those steps again in The One? And what exactly would that mean if she does?

The Elite, The One, The Selection

Inspiration Week! Day 4!

Sorry for the delay on this post, but we’re back today with the final two posts for Inspiration Week. Now that we’ve discussed Aspen at length, it’s time to move on to the other boy who is slowly devouring our souls: Prince Maxon Schreave.

I’m going to be honest, I think one of the reasons I was shocked when so many people immediately abandoned Aspen and favored Maxon was because for me (and America, might I add), Maxon didn’t make sense. Maxon was this distant figure, and for how removed he was from America’s life, he might as well have been fictitious. I mean, I know he is, but like… just work with me here.

These were my earliest impressions of Maxon:

I got distinct feeling of isolation and sadness when I looked at Maxon, though, outwardly, he’s very charming. There is definitely a Maxon for the cameras and a Maxon just for himself. But he’s gotten very good at making sure no one can guess at how desperately he wishes he had more friends, or at least a sibling. If you completely missed how giddy he was when his cousins came to visit, let me remind you: that happened. Even with America upset with him, he was chasing the littlest ones around the garden, soaking up the time before they were gone again.

It’s been different since the girls came. If you’ve read The Prince you know how daunting their arrival was for him, but, when he can get past the actual competition of it, he really enjoys the company. Just the sound of other people in the palace is good for him. And it’s different from guards and butlers who are always around but make a point of never being heard. The Selected girls don’t think like that. They want to be noticed, and that mentality has benefited him.

Anyway, this was the original Maxon, the first impression. And while he looks tall, he’s shorter than Aspen, and while he looks lean, there’s more to him under his suit. I also like the image of him with a gun, off to go hunting. It suits him, as does his photography. You don’t need a partner to do either of those hobbies.

It’s hard to imagine that someone who’s been asked to be an adult since he was a child can grow up anymore, but I think he has. I’m hoping you see special things in him and Aspen and America when you finally get to read The One.

The Elite, The One, The Selection

Inspiration Week! Day 3!

Today is the day! It’s America’s birthday, and in celebration, I’m looking at my inspiration for her. Now, honestly, there are multiple pages dedicated to America in my inspiration book. Some solely focused on her hair or clothes. So when it came time to choose one, I decided to go the page that had the least.

That probably seems unfair. If I’m supposed to be sharing… then why aren’t I sharing? Mostly because she didn’t.

In the beginning, things with America were sparse. She’s a bit reserved, used to the background. Being in the spotlight, even if it was only in my head, was weird for her. I started writing The Selection between editing The Siren, and it sat for a few months before I knew I had to finish it. By the end of the first book, she was a little bit more assertive, a bit surer of herself. Not by much, but some. And it was about at that point (when she was okay speaking up) that I realized I’d have to rewrite the whole thing to get her right.

And I’m really glad I took the time to do that.

The picture we have up here is how I see America in the palace for the first time. Beautiful, but also kind of scary. Like you’re not sure if you want to talk to her or not (unless you’re Marlee and the sweetest thing on the planet and you don’t care). She’s surrounded by music, but also slightly distanced from it, and, of course, there’s a songbird nearby. And I have to say, the butterflies in the background happened before I knew what she’d be for Halloween. Funny how that works out. She’s lovely, but you’re not completely sure what she’s thinking… and you kind of want to know, right?

I like this girl. So glad she popped into my head and not someone elses.

I’ve known America longer than I’ve known my actual children. There’s so much to her, and there are parts that only I have. That said, I’m so happy that so many of you decided to walk through her story with her. I hope that the final book will have been worth the wait for you. Thanks.

To America, happy birthday, love! Thanks for being a companion for so many years, for trusting me with your words, and, oh yeah, for paying off my school loans. Kisses!

The Elite, The One, The Selection

Inspiration Week! Day 2!

Today, we’re going to move from America’s home to the tree house. Namely, to the boy who waits there for her. Yes, today we’re looking at Aspen Leger.

Now, the image that I’ve had saved for Aspen the longest (which, I admit, is a bit of a shocker) is this one:

I know Efron is a strange choice, especially because when I see him, I sometimes think of Maxon. But it isn’t his facial features here that grab me so much as how dirty he looks. He seems gritty in his jeans and his boots. He looks like he’s been through something. There’s energy and exhaustion in him, fighting to control his reaction to things. I don’t know, something in all that screams ASPEN to me.

Also, when I ran across that little line at the top, I knew that was his. I feel for Aspen. I think he and America both always wanted to be more open about loving each other, at least to their families. But America’s mother wouldn’t have it, and so it feels like they both kept the secret for her sake, not his. When they get to the palace, well, that’s a bit trickier.

If you’ve read The Selection Stories, you know how much Aspen regrets his decision their last night in the tree house, and you’ve seen his history through his family tree that somewhat explains where his worries come from. I can kind of see that in the expression here, too. Thinking, looking ahead, trying to plan for every possible scenario.

I get a lot of hate over Aspen, lots of people saying they wish he’d just die. I’m not going to try and convince you how special he is. But Aspen has a sacred place in my heart, and he always will.

More tomorrow!

The Elite, The One, The Selection

Inspiration Week! Day 1!

As the diehard Selectioners know, this Wednesday, February 26, is America’s birthday. Woot woot! To celebrate both her birthday and the final book in the trilogy coming out soon, I thought it might be fun to spend this week looking back. I want to take you to the start, to 2008, when I really started working on America’s story. I’d write bits and pieces, but when I needed to pause (or was forced to by a heroine who took her sweet time letting me get to know her), I’d work on the world surrounding her.

Up in my office, I have a book. My inspiration book. And before Pinterest was a thing, this was how I held onto all the little scraps and images that helped me visualize Illéa and the people and places in it. Some of this, you’ve already seen. You have the complete list of the Selected girls, and you’ve seen my HIDEOUS drawing of what I dreamed the original cover should look like. But there are other things in there, and this week (which I’m calling Inspiration Week) I’ll be showing you a little of it.

Now, there are lots of details I’m holding back because of have to, and plenty of the book is just girls in pretty dresses. So as far as actual things worth sharing… it’s limited. And there might not actually be much to say. But still, this is part of where it all came from. So let’s go back to day one, page one. Let’s go to America’s house.

The first part of The Selection takes place in America’s home, and while I had the vibe of where she lived in my head almost instantly, the thing that I actually had to work on for the sake of writing out a scene was the floor plan. This is America’s house:

In the front left is Shalom and Magda’s room, the "big" one. Beside it is May’s room, which she used to share with America before Kenna moved out. In the back left is Kenna’s old room (now America’s), which you can see has a pretty clear view of the tree house. Next to her room is Gerad’s room, which he shared with Kota before he left.

Note there is one bathroom for the five kids. That sucked. The sketched out TV is big, and I kind of imagined it looked that way in real life. Think pre-flat screen, that’s what the Singers have. I also pictured the carpeting and general style to be sort of 70s-ish. But like, 70s if you grew up in the 80s. Carpet that used to be shaggy now worn down and basically hard in the places everyone travels, colors that are orangey and amber, warm wood tones. Not necessarily that whole style in the kids’ rooms, but in the living area for sure.

There’s a driveway up to the garage, which is never opened because they don’t have a car, and that space is where America’s dad and May (and formerly Kota) do their work. It’s cold in the winter and hot in the summer. They really suffer for their art. It’s got an industrial feel in there, with shelves of supplies they buy in bulk because who knows when they’ll need what, and it’s cheaper that way. Occasionally, they hire a Six (cough cough) to make sure that everything is stocked up correctly and to get an idea of what they’ve burned through. Not all artists are good businessmen.

I think about America’s front door a lot, especially lately. Since they’re artists, I keep wanting to put a color on it, but I’m pretty sure it’s black. Their front yard is small but clean, and they live on the edge of town where the houses end, just before it turns into a mass of apartment buildings. In the other direction, they have to walk a ways before the homes give way to an open space of shops and restaurants, plus the Province Services Office.

The Singer family mostly keeps to their home. It’s old and outdated, but it’s cozy. And despite the occasional wave of tension, there’s a lot of love there.

That’s it for today. Hope you enjoyed day one of Inspiration Week. More tomorrow!   

Personal

Anxious Kiera

            Over the years, I’ve tried to let you guys into my life. One, because my filter is pretty low, and I just like to share, and, two, because I think it helps you guys to know that I’m more than a name on the spine of a book. I’m an actual person. But in the same way I can delete words to shape the stories you love, I can edit out specific scenes of my life, showing you the best bits, so it looks a certain way.

            Yes, I’m generally a happy person and love to play around. I’m all about my family and my faith. I do obsess over One Direction and cake, and I still have my life size Edward Cullen cutout in my closet. It’s not a completely inaccurate picture that I paint for you. But I’ve been cutting out some of the tough stuff.

            I’ve always had some problems with feeling low. When I get worked up and stressed, it can sometimes take me hours to come back down. When there’s too much to do, I might get paralyzed and not be able to do anything at all. I cry, I have negative thoughts on repeat in my head, I start sweating. I get stomach aches almost every time I have an event, even if I think I’m feeling pretty calm that day. When I go anywhere, usually my first question is where the bathroom is. I already know where the door is, so between those two things, I’m set. I’ve had to start planning out things months in advance. Not just for tours and stuff, but for life. My brain doesn’t always shut off at night, so it takes me hours to fall asleep. It’s exhausting.

            About the time The Elite came out, it started feeling more intense, and by the time I got done with all my international trips last fall, I was on edge basically every day. Though, looking back, I wouldn’t have said that. I would have said I was fine.

            It wasn’t until after my stomach problems got so bad I needed to see a doctor that I even noticed how consuming this was. Once she said that if I didn’t calm down that things would only get worse, I realized anxiety mode was basically my normal. I decided I needed some help managing my stress.

            But in trying to find some help dealing with the stress in my life, I’ve discovered it’s a bit more than that. I’m now seeing a counselor and have been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. What that means is the things that normal people worry about (like family problems or work or money) I take to another level. I can get amped up over what seems like nothing (like trying to get a coat on one of my kids) and be upset because of it for hours. There’s not much logic to it, and it steals hours and days from me.

It’s comforting to have a name for what’s happening in my head, and I’m finally learning some skills to stay calm when I would otherwise get wound up, and how to relearn the way I talk to myself when I can barely think straight. We’ve only just started, so I’m nowhere near better, but it’s nice to have a plan.

            I share all this to say, this is why a death threat makes me freak out for days. This is why Question Monday isn’t something I can manage anymore. This is why my poor family has to deal with a mommy who asks her son to hold her hand when she starts crying… and how he’s started reaching for me before I even say it. There are some days when I just can’t deal.

            I’m very excited about my upcoming year. I can’t wait for you to get The One, to talk about all the secrets I’ve been keeping, and to see you all when I tour. I feel very fortunate that the bad stuff usually unfolds in the privacy of my home and never in front of a crowd, but I worry it won’t stay that way.

            You guys have been supportive and enthusiastic through this absolutely amazing journey. I hate to ask you to give me anything more, but I’m hoping you can have grace with me if I don’t respond to tweets, or even disappear for a little while. If I’m at a signing and need to pause for minute, I hope you can understand why.

            I’m still figuring this out, and I don’t always know what’s going to make that tight knot in my chest show up or put the worst worries in my brain on replay. But I do know that talking with my friends and family about it has made it not seem as scary, and I’m hoping that being honest with you all will be part of the healing process, too.

            I want to thank you in advance for how cool you’re going to be, because I know you will. You always are. And I’m so grateful to have such an awesome community of readers surrounding me. I’m not sure how much I’ll be talking about this, but I think it’s important to at least share that it’s happening.

            I’m a wife and mom. I write books. I dig desserts and boy bands. And I have an anxiety disorder. It’s one of those things that slows me down a little. But that doesn’t mean I have to stop.

Neither do you. :)

Q&A, The One

Barnes & Noble Special Edition Q&A

Hey guys, just wanted to follow up on my post on the signed version of the Barnes and Noble special edition. If I missed anything, let me know and I'll add on!

1 Will this be available in other countries?

No. Very sorry, but no. But I’m working on international trips, so maybe I’ll get to see you and sign your books one day.

2 I ordered my special edition a while back, so will it be one of the limited ones signed?

No. I know this is confusing, but this is a separate book.  Some people will want the poster and scene, but don’t care about getting the signature. Because of that, it’s two different things. I’m really sorry about the reordering! Hopefully things will be clearer if we ever do this again. If you only want the bonus scene and poster, click here. If you want the bonus scene, poster, and a signature, click here.

3 Will these be in Barnes and Noble? Can I walk into a store and get one?

Honestly, no idea on that one. I think it might depend on how many people actually order it. I would assume the leftover ones would go to big city areas. Again, that’s just a guess.

4 This only says it’s signed. It doesn’t have the same description as the other special edition. Will it still have the poster and bonus scene?

Yes! I’m not sure why they’re different, but it will absolutely have the bonus material.

5 Will this be in paperback or in hardcover?

This will only be available in the first print run of the hardback. After that, you’ll have to track me down.

6 Will there be another way to access the bonus scene?

No. It will only be in the Barnes and Noble special edition.

Q&A, The Guard, The Selection Stories

TSS & TG Q&A

You guys had a lot of questions about The Selection Stories, The Guard, and things that were included, so I’m going to try and clear things up as much as possible.

1 Yes, you read correctly. If you get The Selection Stories, you get three chapters of The One, and if you get The Guard, you get two.

2 It does not matter where you pre-order The Selection Stories from. Amazon, B&N, BAM, or your local indie will all have the same material. The only book that has different content based on where you buy it is the Barnes and Noble special edition of The One which will have a bonus scene and a poster of the cover art for The Selection on one side and The One on the other.

3 No, there is no digital version of The Selection Stories. There is also no hardback version.

4 If you want The Prince or The Guard in print, The Selection Stories is your only option.

5 Yes, I wrote more of The Prince. No, it doesn’t mean I hate Aspen. If you've been hanging around, you know I love both my boys.

6 If you live in Canada, the content is exactly the same. And that goes for any translated versions of the book as well.

7 The content is finalized. We will not be adding a map, extra posters, etc. Sorry!

I think that was everything I saw. If there’s any more confusion, just comment with your questions and I will add to the list! Hope this helps!

Personal

The twitterverse

I wanted to talk to you guys about twitter and three main things that I think need to be addressed about the community there. I have to say, I really love it on twitter! It’s so nice to be able to talk to you guys! But as the fandom gets bigger (which is awesome) it gets a bit harder to manage (which is unawesome). So, for now, I’m going to have to suspend Question Monday.

There are three main reasons I have to cut this off for the time being. One, a lot of the questions are things mentioned on my FAQ page and are easy to get the answer to. Two, a lot of the questions are spoliery these days, and I can’t say anything even though I REALLY want to. And three, when people see I’m online for a long time, they start spamming me with requests for follows and shout outs. It clogs up the feed, and I miss the questions that might be worth getting to. It’s a bit of a mess. This doesn’t mean I won’t answer questions that come my way. It just might be less frequent is all. I still want to chat with you, and I’m trying to find better ways to do it.

Another thing that gets asked a lot on twitter is if I will follow someone. Almost 100% of the time, the answer is no. Here’s why: twitter is kind of my hub. I get a lot of book news there as well as updates from fellow authors. If I tried to follow all the people who asked for it, that information would get crowded out. My wee brain has a hard enough time keeping up as it is! So, I’m sorry, I can’t follow you. I promise you though, I do see all of my replies. I may not be able to answer you, but I absolutely see you. So if you want to say hi or let me know about something you’re reading or whatever, feel free to do so. I’m always happy to hear from you, and that will never change.

This last request is a bit of a downer, but it must be addressed. PLEASE STOP SAYING YOU’RE GOING TO KILL ME OR YOURSELF IF THE TRILOGY DOESN’T END A CERTAIN WAY. I don’t know you personally, so maybe what you’re saying is a joke… or maybe it’s a threat. It makes me very uncomfortable, and I would really appreciate it if you could stop tweeting that at me. First of all, I have very little control over my characters. Things turn out the way they turn out. If you don’t like it, that’s what fanfics are for. And second, saying you’re going to take someone else’s life or your own is no joke. I’ve known a handful of people with some serious issues in this area, and I don’t take that lightly.

If you’re genuinely having problems and are thinking of hurting yourself or someone else, PLEASE SEEK HELP. I am not the person to send that to.

I like books, especially ones that take me to a world different from my own. And if that world somehow lets me down, there are thousands in line behind it to make me forget or win over my heart or do that magical thing that books do, and I know you know what it is, but I can’t describe it. So please, feel free to be in love with or angry at my books and my characters. Just don’t feel like you have to stay that way.

Again, I’m still working on communicating better with you guys. A huge help to me would be for you to look at the FAQ page, and if you think there’s a broad or important question that’s been missed, please leave it in the comments.

Thanks so much for hanging out with me and reading my books. I like you.

Notes on my covers

            A lot of cover art has made its way to us recently, and it’s exciting to gush and speculate and even just stare. From the very first mockup sent to me by HarperTeen, I’ve been thrilled with their concept for the covers. I spoke about how it all came together once upon a time, and let’s just say my first ideas were a bit embarrassing. But here we are, eight months away from the end, with six different images to tie to America’s story, and they’re all breathtaking. I’d like to take a minute to look at the main three side by side and talk about them because, gosh, aren’t they amazing?

            Let’s start with the part that is actually the funniest to me: the fact that they sorta turned out red, white, and blue. This was a hope of mine once upon a time, but I basically let it go when I saw the footage of the cover shoot for the books. Back in 2011, the brilliant people at HarperTeen got together an amazing photographer, a beautiful model, and some spectacular dresses and shot all three covers in the same day.

Now, the first dress was originally that lovely purple-gray color, and when I saw it, I didn’t care about anything except that it was just too beautiful. Like, my eyes! Too much! But once it was tweaked into that beautiful teal, I melted. And the dress for the second book was fuchsia, but then was made into that lovely orangeish red. But the original dress for the final book… I actually don’t remember it. Because, here’s the story:

            As we watched how America grew through the books, when it came time to put the final cover together, there wasn’t a pose that worked quite right from the original batch. So, to make a strong final impression, the same photographer and model were brought back in with three new dresses, which are shown in the recent video of the shoot.

            People have asked, and, no, I don’t know her name. But, yes, it’s the same girl on all three covers. And, actually, I’m excited to have her come back a few years down the road. There’s wisdom in her eyes along with something mischievous, and it all just works!

            I couldn’t have asked for a better concept. This is one area of dozens where my publisher has been absolutely wonderful to me, and I can’t thank them enough for all the work they’ve put into these beautiful images. I can’t count how many people have told me they picked up the book just because of the cover, so I owe a lot to HarperTeen!

            Let’s move on to the growth in the covers. There is a little change for The One in that the font color switches from white to charcoal. And I really dig that. I also like that (maybe because of the length of the names) the size of the titles grows as time passes. They didn’t have to do that. It would have been just fine, but I like that as the levels in the competition progress, the words associated with them get bigger. Because that’s how it feels, right? When we’re going through rounds of something, every step feels bigger. It’s honest.

            Also, I love the change in the reflections. On The Selection, you can see fewer of America’s reflections, but they show bigger sections of her. By The One, you can see several reflections, but with fewer whole pieces. It’s like you’re getting more and less of her at the same time, which is also honest. I hope you see America’s growth through the books, but it may not be the parts of her you (or I) expected to change the most. What she shares with us or cares about might be different, and I like that, in a way, that’s on the outside of the book. Not to mention that across the covers, the image of just herself becomes clearer. Or that the first and final pose seem like bookends. Love!

            On a personal note, I just want to talk about one last thing: my name. On The Selection, it says “Kiera Cass”, and I have to tell you, that was enough for me. It was always amazing enough to just have my name on a book at all. But when The Elite came out, and it said “New York Times bestselling author Kiera Cass”… I mean, that still really gets me. I cannot believe that happened to me. So for The One to say “#1 New York Times bestselling author Kiera Cass” is almost too much for me to take in.

            The only reason that’s there is because you all cared enough to go out and buy the books and read them. And you told your friends and bugged your mom and forced them on your teachers, and all that support has led to a really cool title that most every author would kill to have.

            On a day to day basis, it’s one of those things that doesn’t really matter. No one cares about it when I’m changing diapers! But here, on my actual work, this thing I started doing to drag myself out of depression… I just can’t believe it’s there.

            I’m honored.

            Ok, dabbing up the tears and moving on!

            Basically, I’m thrilled with the final product, and the look across all three covers, and I’m so glad that you guys love the last cover. Now all that’s left is to do is read it. Trust me, I agree with you guys. May 6th can’t get here fast enough!

The Elite, The One, The Selection, events

Philippines FAQ!

Are you really coming to the Philippines?

Yes. This is real. This is happening. You need to prepare yourselves.

Are the events free?

Yes! There is a registration before the event to see what order you get your book signed in, but they are both free. You might need to purchase a book to have signed, but if you already have a copy purchased from National Book Store, Powerbooks, or Bestsellers, you’re good to go.

What will you be doing?

My guess is mostly answering questions, signing books, and taking pictures.

Will you sign more than one book?

Yes. I’ll sign as many books as you bring me. The book store has a note about maybe cutting off too many pictures or books if things are taking too long, but that is really up to them. Personally, I’m coming to the other side of the world for you guys. You’re why I’m there. I’ll stay there all night. I promise you, if you come to meet me, you will get that chance.

Will you be going anywhere else in the Philippines?

No. We’ll get into Manila, do some media stuff, do the signing, head over to Cebu, do the signing there, and then it’s more flights and home. We’ll have a little down time, but we’re using it for just that: down time! I hope that you can make it out to one of the events because I’m not sure if/when I’ll be out that way again.

Are you bringing Guyden and Zuzu?

No. They’ll be with the grandparents.

Will you bring copies of The Siren?

Unfortunately, no. Mostly for the sake of easy packing, and also because I’m out of copies. I’m going to try to find a way to make this book more accessible. Sorry guys!

When I come to the signing, can I dress up?

The more appropriate question is: WHY WOULDN’T YOU DRESS UP?!!?!?! Seriously, it always makes me happy to see people wearing tiaras to my events, so go for it!

I made this thing for you, can I bring it?

Maybe. Again, because I have to pack and take things through customs, I don’t have room for posters or stuffed animals or things like that. If you want to bring something like fan art, please make sure it fits on a regular sheet of typing paper. If you have stuff like cards, pictures, and other flat things, I think that will be okay.

If you have any more questions, check out National Book Store’s FAQ page!

The Selection

Shipping Asperica

I’ve seen you guys ask why you should bother shipping Aspen and America. Like he isn’t even a valid option for her or something. I mean, I get what you’re saying. Maxon’s cute and sweet and they have an unexpected chemistry, so it’s easy to forget about Aspen sometimes.

But here’s the thing.

Aspen is the first boy that gave America that butterflies in your stomach feeling. For two long years she spent the worst and hardest parts of her day reminding herself that the bad stuff didn’t matter because someone loved her. For a girl who grew up thinking she’d never do anything more that sing songs at parties— than be background noise— Aspen was the only future she ever hoped for. He would be her family; he would give her a family. If you’re at all aware of how much she loves her own, can you imagine the way she felt about starting one with a boy who sacrifices so much of himself for the people in his life?

And Aspen is prepared to sacrifice to have America. He already has. Aspen gives up everything he can for his family, but America always trumps them. She even trumps himself. The pennies in her jar all added up could be food for his younger brothers, clothes for his younger sisters, a chance to leave the light on a little longer in the night. The time devoted to seeing her in secret are lost hours of work, but he hands them over gladly at the chance to see her, hold her, kiss her. Him asking her to put her name in the Selection was a stupid idea born of wanting her to have the best. He’s very proud and intensely aware of just how much she’ll lose the day she takes his name. But, in essence, he already treats her the way he expects a man to treat his wife. For better or for worse, forsaking all others.

It’s unfortunate that you can’t see what I can. Because I’ve seen Aspen look around his family’s apartment, already bursting at the seams, and worry that America will be disappointed the day she’s forced to move in there. I witnessed him sitting up late into the night, watching reruns of The Report and specials about the Selected because he missed her voice. You don’t know how shocked he was that she wasn’t eliminated immediately, how worried he was that Maxon was falling for her already. You didn’t see his face the day the draft came through and he resigned himself to his fate, repeating in his head that it was better that she left since he was probably going to die anyway.

So, no, you don’t have to ship them. But that doesn’t mean there’s no reason to. Don’t doubt for a second that Aspen loves her blindly, almost to a fault. And, while Maxon is moving into America’s heart, Aspen was there first.

General

A Lovely Lappy!

 

Since I decided to make my laptop all pretty, people have been asking just how I did it. I didn’t document it in pictures, but I figured I could show you what I used and give you some tips on doing it yourself.

First, I chose a theme. I went with clear and pearly gems, and purple flowers. I thought they’d look nice on the green of my laptop. If you have a colored laptop, take it with you where you go to buy your supplies to make sure they’ll look pretty.

 

Second, I made it as easy as I could. If you look, you can find pre-made shapes or swirls in the fancy sticker section at Michael’s. I think I bought two big sheets of pre-swirled stickers, one small one, two packs of individual gems, and the pack of flowers. Some of this stuff was on sale, so I ended up spending less than $20 on this. And ALL of it was sticky already, so I didn’t have to hunt for the right glue.

Three, I got home and cut around the edges of the swirls and gems and laid them out on my laptop. DO NOT just start going crazy here. Make a plan. Once these things go down, they’re hard to get up. If the swirls weren’t working in their original designs, I cut portions off and placed them somewhere else. Use larger solitary gems to unify the individual pieces, too. Unity, people!

And four, I knew when to stop. I think I might actually be walking the line of doing a little too much, but I had a few pieces left over. I didn’t want to put them on my laptop for the sake of putting them on when I was happy with what I had.

I’ve gotten to use my lappy in public once since doing this, and it honestly makes me feel a bit more inspired. If you decorate your lappy, please send a picture! 

General, In the Clearing, The Selection

My BookMarks Festival Experience in 5 pictures

On Friday, I went to Mt. Tabor High School to speak at two classes. This is an image of the creative writing class studying my short story, In the Clearing . Not gonna lie, it was totally humbling to have them actually break it down. They had even written some pieces from other characters’ POVs, and every one I heard was AWESOME! I brought some home, and I’m going to hoard them like buried treasure.

My speaking event at the actual BookMarks Festival was one of the last ones on Saturday. And that was fine until this giant rain/wind storm pretty much shut down the whole thing. After a short delay, I ended up doing my event in an art gallery instead of the outdoor stage. These ladies made up part of the crowd, and I’m so glad they braved the storm. Besides having fantastic questions, they were so much fun to talk to! And Megan there (cute chick in the stripes beside me) was celebrating her birthday! She’s a pretty epic fan, seeing as she made Guyden a baby blanket back in the day. Which I still have. So. Freaking. Rad.

To anyone who came to my reading, I’m very sorry. You might remember that as I was being introduced by my lovely friend Corey, I flew into a giggle fit, totally distracting everyone and ruining the semi-serious vibe. That’s because my friend James held up this request for Freebird on his phone. I lost it. Sorry! But you’ve gotta admit, that’s pretty dang funny.

 

Remember those six awesome girls? One of them (Maddison, I think), requested I sign her book with one of my haikus about Robert Pattinson. After much fretting over syllables, this is what came out. (Rob, if you’re reading, that offer still stands.) 

As I mentioned, I went to Mt. Tabor High School on Friday. Maggie, one of the students there who was volunteering at the event, made this for me. This is what happens when people have access to your Facebook account and know about the things you obsess over. Maggie and Corey, in case you’re wondering, Callaway laughed about as hard as I did. The only issue is where do I keep something this awesome? Still looking for the right place.

Besides all the fun, I can’t say enough about how great the people working the festival were. They fixed my misspelled nametag, took care of traveling and food around town, and went out of their way to make sure my mom and Zuzu were comfortable. I had a blast, and if we crossed paths, I hope you did too! 

 

 

Personal

Making Other Things

As if you didn’t already know, here’s everything that’s going on:

The Selection is out in the world, and thanks to you all, it’s doing very well. I get notes every day from people saying it’s one of their faves now, and there are some great tumblr pages dedicated to it, and I’m super happy.

The Elite is all but done! The next step is the first pass pages, which means I get to see the book the way it will be printed. And I’m pretty sure I get to show you the cover art next month! Eeeee!

I’m working on the novella right now, and I can’t tell you how much fun I’m having. I’m so stoked to share it with you next March!

And, of course, there’s Book 3, still in its awkward teenage years, all gangly and tucking its hair behind its ears all the time. Once the novella is done, I’m going to help her adjust to life, and in two years, she’ll win prom queen. Wait and see.

...So, yeah, a lot’s going on. But have you noticed a theme? All I’m doing is writing. I used to create in lots of ways. I sang and was on a dance team. I baked, made tons of videos, and ripped up books to make art. Unless you count the tiny human, I haven’t made any non-writing stuff in a while.

People ask about conquering writer’s block a lot, and while I’m not having any at the moment, one of the things I do is make stuff related to the story. Designing clothes, making family trees, drawing blueprints. This stuff excites me about my writing and makes me want to dive back in. But I also think non-writing creativity benefits your story telling.

Last night I decided I was going to make something, and what ended up happening was an art journal. I figured I’d share my book and its theme, just in case it inspired you.

For my book, I decided to use an actual book. This one came from a thrift store. I bought it for its illustrations.

Then, I gutted it. I tore out a few pages every so often to give room for the bulkiness I knew I’d be adding eventually. Then, I grabbed what was sitting around and used that to make some art.

For my journal, I’m going with a booky theme. Of course. I decided I would pick up a book, turn to a random page, pick a sentence, and just make something surrounding it. My first page comes from Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson.

It’s nothing spectacular. Just because I like to make art doesn’t mean I’m particularly good at it. That’s not really the point.

Anyway, I had so much fun, I made another one. This one comes from Shannon Hale’s Book of a Thousand Days.

So this is the start. I’m hoping to make at least one of these every week, just to give me another outlet. If you’re like me and working away, I encourage you to step away from the keyboard. It’ll make coming back so much fun.