harperteen

The Selection

My trip to HarpterTeen by the numbers

Number of places that advertised angus bulls for sale: 1

Number of times I considered getting an angus bull for a pet: 9

Number of jack-o-lanterns sitting on pedestals by the side of the road: 1

Number of dead deer by the side of the road: 34

Number of times that froke me out because I hit a deer this year: 34

Number of ferry rides: 2

Number of quarters Elana gave me to ride the bus: 9

Number of CDs that comprise the Twilight audio book: 11

Number of CDs I made it through: 9.2

Number of little red velvet cupcakes I devoured: 1… shockingly

Number of awesome things I heard about the future of The Selection: A GAZILLION!

I had a seriously fantastic time hanging with my agent, editor, and all the brilliant minds at HarperTeen. I’m kind of nerd, and I was already amped up, and then they gave me caffeine so it was a bit of a blur. But! I did feel completely welcomed and at home. Seriously, I think I could pitch a tent in the conference room and be totally fine living there.

Someone asked me how this compared to self-publishing, and the truth is… IT’S SO MUCH BETTER! Yes, I can sit and write and make a pretty okay story on my own. But they know how to make it sparkle on the inside, blind you with beauty on the outside, and then make it as easy as possible for people to know the book actually exists. It’s wonderful.

True story: When Elana had the book out on submission, I wondered where we might end up. I would look at the books on my shelf and think about the ones I’d like to share a home with. So many of them were my HarperTeen books. I didn’t really think it was possible for little ol’ me to be a part of such a giant banquet of awesome, but I’m sitting at the table, people. And it’s great. 

Reviews

Recent Reads #5 HarperTeen Edition!

After BEA, I was lucky enough to come home with several books from the HarperTeen fall lineup. I’ve been snacking on them between edits, and I’m finally prepared to share my thoughts on them with you. With my handy new rating system*, you should be able to figure out which books are the right ones for you. The first three on the pile are below, and I should hopefully have more for you soon! Enjoi!

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Release Date: November 15, 2011. If you want to ignore your family on Thanksgiving, this is a good alternative to football.

The general idea: No touchy! No touch! Ohohohwait! Do you want to die? No? Then NO TOUCH!

Thoughts upon seeing the cover art: Cover Art and I are playing a game of hide and seek. Cover Art is winning. (It should be coming out in July.)

It made me feel: Claustrophobic.

Romance: Steamy semi-orphan love. Very steamy. And very semi-orphan.

Highlight: Crossed out sentences.

Read it if you like: The X-Men, saying “Don’t taze me, bro!”, Twilight.

Rating: A heaping handful of Skittles.

Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey

Release Date: September 20, 2011. Which is great because you should be having cold kisses by then. Get it… GET IT? It’s the fall, people…

The general idea: *sings* My boyfriend’s back and you’re gonna be in trouble… um, because he’s dead.

Thoughts upon seeing the cover art: Smurfette? Girl, you look good!

It made me feel: Glad to be normal.

Romance: Both slightly creepy necro-style and adorable breathing-people type.

Highlight: It makes you feel like you too could write spells!

Read it if you like: Bakeries, The Osbournes, Swoon.

Rating: 6 double-stuff Oreos with milk.

 The Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

Release Date: October 4, 2011. Just in time for trick-or-treaters! *sits pile by door with a sign that says “Please take one”*

The general idea: There’s something on my neck, and that boy is hot, but, seriously, what’s up with— *magic explosion!*

Thoughts upon seeing the cover art: Oh no! She’s snagged her dress on something! Oh wait…

It made me feel: American.

Romance: Angsty, Floaty, Arranged, Awkward, Sleepy, Bashful, and Doc.

Highlight: Weird Irish names!

Read it if you like: yelling out “I’m on a boat!”, Wicked Lovely, Sudoku.

Rating: 7 Reese’s peanut butter cups.

 

*Any book that gets a candy or dessert reference is doing pretty good, and you should probably check it out, but a book with something like alfalfa sprouts next to it? RUN! If, at any point, you see a book get rated with Raisinetes or red velvet cake, then we’ve found literary magic, people! Steal a car** to get to the bookstore if that’s what it takes.

**Don’t steal cars.

General

My BEA (& beyond) Top 5

So, Callaway and I went to New York recently, partly for book stuff and partly for fun. I did BEA, and I know everyone right now is posting about books or advice for if you go next year. If you’re interested, I can help you out there a bit too, but for now, I want to share my top 5 favorite moments of my trip:

Number 1: Being recognized by complete strangers. Behold the power of YouTube! I was shocked that people could identify me by my big hair as I paraded through the aisles of BEA. In Blacksburg, the only people who recognize me already know me… and that’s kind of cool, but not as cool as this. It’s always awesome for me to meet people who loved The Siren or dig my videos or follow me on twitter. If you ever see me out and about, please say hi! I might do to you what I did to this poor blogger and force you to take a picture with me.

Number 2: Meeting book bloggers. I got to participate in the Book Blogger Convention’s author speed dating panel, and I met so many enthusiastic bloggers. Not only were they excited about books in general, but they were giving incredible feedback on what works best for them, the kind of things they like to see/do on a blog tour, and even offered up promotional ideas. I think YA writers in particular have a really amazing pool of bloggers to team up with. Talk to them!

Number 3: Books! Glorious books! I stopped by the HarperCollins area at BEA and also got to head into the offices for a while. Between their ridiculous generosity and the general  giving-away-books thing at Book Expo, I ended up with so many books that some of them had to be shipped to me. I think I have most of the HarperTeen Fall lineup so look for some reviews in the near future.    

Number 4: Meeting authors. Surprise, surprise! The writing community in rural Virginia is kind of small. As in it’s pretty much just me. So getting to talk to Melissa Marr or sit at a table with Lisa McMann or have Elizabeth Scott just openly embrace me? It rocks so effing hard! I was also please to find that these people (the ones who had already made a name for themselves) were amazingly humble and friendly. It was just encouraging to breathe the same air.

And number 5 (and by far my fave): Meeting my agent and editor. Many of you know that I was fortunate enough to get to choose my agent as I had two interested in The Selection. One of the big reasons I chose Elana was because I could just tell she was different from me and would bring a totally fresh perspective to my story. I was so right. She’s a sneaky kind of funny and the type of person who just always has her eyes open. Meeting her in real life was so much fun, and I love who she is, and think she’s cool even if she does laugh every time I try to touch her.

With Erica I had no idea what I was getting as you don’t get to choose your editor. But I sensed through her edits that she was laid back and funny and just generally enthusiastic. Right again! She made me laugh and I felt so at ease as Callaway and I sat in her office holding her up from actual work. Even though it seemed we picked the worst possible week to visit, she was super friendly and it made me happy.

So there you have it! There were tons of other amazing things (some of which I’m just pressing the pause button on for now), but these were some absolute booky highlights. Were any of you at BEA? How was your experience?