Anticipated YA Debut Interview: NOBODY BUT US (+Giveaway)

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Now it’s time for an interview with one of the January 2013 Anticipated YA Debut Authors! Today’s featured author is Kristin Halbrook—and her first novel, Nobody But Us, is out in stores today, January 29, from HarperTeen! Read on to see how Kristin answered my Q&A…

…And read on to see who won a signed copy of the book!


Nobody But UsNova: I’ll start with the dreaded question you may be hearing already from strangers on elevators, long-lost family members, and your doctor while you’re sitting on the examination table in the paper gown during your next checkup: “So what’s your book about?” Surely you don’t carry around a copy so you can recite the description off the flaps, so how do you answer this question when asked?

Kristin: I say: “Nobody But Us is about two teens on the run from their troubled pasts, hoping their trip from North Dakota to Las Vegas will give them the happy ever after they desperately want. But, no matter how fast they run, they can’t outrun trouble.”

Ha, I haven’t had the doctor run-in yet, but the worst was with my hairdresser. He’s a fabulous, chatty guy and I’m always content to listen while he talks. But when he asked what my book was about, I gave him my two-line blurb. It wasn’t enough for him. He kept asking questions until I’d laid out the entire story for him—and he still scolded me for being so secretive. It was exhausting.

NRS: In my experience, novels transform themselves, sometimes unrecognizably, during the course of being written. Were there any shocking transformations that occurred between rough draft and final bound book?

KH: In many ways, this story stayed true to form from the early versions to the final versions. As a sparse writer, I know I’ll always need to go back and add more story and depth to early versions, which was definitely the case here. One of the things I was encouraged to add was “good moments” in my characters’ pasts. It’s a rough road for both main characters, but what I discovered by allowing them a multitude of experiences is that their characters gain greater depth and complexity.

This was also the book that I consider my great dual POV learning experience. With each draft, I moved the characters’ voices further apart, wanting them to be identifiable without any marker. Ultimately, I would say there were fewer shocking transformations with the story itself and more with me as an author always learning and improving.

NRS: So you’re here with me gossiping about your main characters behind their backs. What’s something they wouldn’t want anyone to know that might make them blush? 

KH: Honestly, I am the most boring gossip EVER. I’m such a “live and let live” type that if someone does something others find out of the ordinary I usually just think . . . cool.

However, as Will could tell you, Zoe is a great one for blushing. Most errant thoughts bring a flush to her cheeks. She would blush like crazy if you knew how often she daydreamed about Will . . . undressed. Especially after she saw him with his shirt off for the first time.

A lot.

NRS: Tell us about the place—as in the physical location: a messy office, a comfy couch, a certain corner table at the café—where you spent most of your time writing this book. Now imagine the writing spot of your fantasies where you wish you’d been able to write this book… tell us all about it. 

KH: This is my office area. As you can see, I didn’t bother tidying it up for this photo. :)

kristinhalbrook_office

In addition to lots of table space, I am surrounded by notes, cards, and art others have made for me or sent me, craft supplies if I need a creative break (of a different sort of writing), a sunlamp to help stave off SAD, and dumbells when I’m in the mood for a quick dance party boost. This is where I do a good bit of writing and revising. I also write in bed when I’m feeling particularly lazy. And when I want a different environment altogether, I write at a café one or two days a week.

kristinhalbrook_cafe

As corny as it sounds, these are my fantasy writing spots! I could pretend that a beach in the south of France would be my fantasy spot, but let’s face it, I wouldn’t get any writing done there.

NRS: To go along with the theme of this blog (and my life), what is the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book? 

KH: The single most common distraction was family life, though the worst distraction was Google Search Black Hole Missions. You know, where you research one thing you actually need for your book but end up clicking an endless number of wiki/youtube/metafilter links until your original search for the habitat range of koalas leads you, somehow, to reading hours later about ergonomic shoe arch development. In moments like that, I promise myself to give a character in my project really supportive shoes. Just so I don’t feel like I totally wasted my time.

NRS: Imagine you’re on the subway, or bus, or sitting in a park somewhere minding your own business… and you look up and see the most perfect person you could imagine devouring your book. This is your ideal reader. Set the scene and describe this person to us.

KH: I’m on the express bus into downtown Seattle, admiring the view of Lake Union and Queen Anne hill, when I notice two teens with their noses buried in the same book. OMG, it’s my book! It’s a boy and a girl, dressed in jeans and trainers. The guy’s wearing a hoodie and his dark hair is spiked and the other’s wearing a Hello Kitty tunic under a patchwork coat. Her hair’s pink. They’re both wearing headphones, but every once in a while one will nudge the other and point to a sentence on the page. Then they’ll share a look—a nod or a cringe or fake wiping away a tear—before going back to their own pages. When we get to the Westlake Station, they stuff the books in each other’s backpacks, probably bending a corner of the cover or smushing a few pages, and head off the bus holding hands. Later, they’ll eat pizza and talk about the book, not because someone told them to, but because they just want to. *dreams*

NRS: If you could go back in time to whisper a few words of advice into your own ear before you leaped into this writing career, what would you tell your young, impressionable self? 

KH: I would tell myself that all the projects I started but didn’t finish, all the novels I set aside because they weren’t good enough, all the time I spent finding my voice . . . was worth it. Not just worth it, but needed. Required. There were moments of frustration, there were times I didn’t have direction, but it was all part of an essential apprenticeship to writing. So be patient, former self, and value the tough times, the learning moments, the failures. These will help you grow.

NRS: Dream question: If you could go on book tour anywhere in the world, with any two authors (living or dead), and serve any item of food at your book signing… where would you go, who with, and what delicious treat would you serve your fans?

KH: Oh, that is a dream question. I’m trying to decide between going somewhere I’ve been before that I know I love, or choosing somewhere new. I think this dreary winter weather is going to help me choose Australia, which would be new to me. Great cities, great beaches, meeting readers, and seeing friends who live down there would make the trip spectacular. There’s no way I could pick just two living author pals to come along, so I’m going to pick two dead authors: Emily Dickinson and Anaïs Nin. Only in my wildest dreams can I imagine how a conversation between the two of them would go. Since they’re portable, delicious, and uniquely American, I’d serve three or four flavors of brownies. Sometimes simple is best.

NRS: How do you plan to celebrate your book’s birthday today?

KH: Sleeping in!

Haha, that rarely happens in this house. The weekend before will be busy with a couple of my BFFs flying in for ALA Midwinter, and the weekend after is my launch party, so I probably will just take it easy. Sign some bookmarks. Hit up a local bookstore to see my book in the wild. That sort of thing.

Nobody But Us is on sale today, January 29, from HarperTeen. Read on for a chance to win a signed book!


Kristin HalbrookKristin Halbrook is a Seattleite who loves good coffee, good food, good music, good sports, good causes, good reads, and the word good. She travels a lot, but loves coming home just as much as exploring. She’s both intense and a goofball, introverted and gregarious. Nobody But Us is Kristin’s debut novel, about a boy and girl desperate to leave their pasts behind and the systems that make happiness just so hard for them to find.

For more from Kristin, read her powerful Turning Point earlier this month called “Becoming the Person I Want My Daughters to Be.”

Visit her at www.kristinhalbrook.com to find out more. 

Follow @KristinHalbrook on Twitter and like her on Facebook.


ANNOUNCING THE GIVEAWAY WINNER…

Who won a *signed* finished copy of Nobody But Us?

Nobody But Us…the winner is…

Kierra

Congrats, Kierra! And thank you to everyone who entered—and to the author for providing the prize!

In Which I Part with My Very Last ARC of 17 & GONE for Real, I Mean It, I Can’t Keep It Forever (Can I?)

Earlier this month I held a giveaway for my very last ARC of 17 & Gone, and then I had trouble parting with it and couldn’t choose a winner from all the great entries that came in via the private entry form and also in the comments. Really, it was so hard to choose!

The Magic 8 Ball helped me choose a winner. The Magic 8 Ball is also brutally honest and kind of mean sometimes, so we'll see how this works out!

The Magic 8 Ball helped me choose a winner. The Magic 8 Ball is also brutally honest and kind of mean sometimes, so we’ll see how this works out.

I finally narrowed down the entries to 25 people whose reasons for wanting my last ARC made me smile, or touched me somehow, or simply made me want to run over and hand them a copy of the book right away. I wish I had more ARCs.

From those 25 “semi-finalists” (haha, I take myself too seriously sometimes) I agonized and agonized and randomly narrowed it down some more, because I have one ARC to give away, not 25!

Then I randomly chose one winner…

Congratulations, Penny!

I will email you for your mailing address and a signed ARC is yours!

But since there are so many of you who really wanted to read this book and who I really wish I could give an ARC to, I will also give out some 17 & Gone swag. This is on order, so you won’t get it for another month or so, but you will get it. Swag includes: a bookmark, a card, and a signed bookplate you could use for any of my books.

I randomly picked ten people, and those people are…

Alyssa Susanna (The Eater of Books!)

Bekka

Cheney

Jazmin

JQ Trotter

Kel

Kierra

Lilia

Miri E

Valen Steel

If your name is on that list, look for an email from me asking for your mailing address. Or beat me to it, and email me.

If you didn’t get an ARC or swag, keep your eyes peeled for one last giveaway in March—where you could win signed finished copies of the book and signed bookplates and other stuff I’ll tell you about later. Thank you so much to everyone who wants to read the book when it comes out on March 21!

And congrats again to Penny—the winner of my very last ARC!

p.s. I heard a rumor (and I have no idea if this is true, but we authors often chase after strange rumors) that if you click the “like” button on my book’s Amazon page, it helps the book or something. So if you want to read the book and you have an Amazon account, would you “like” it for me?

Beyond the Buzz: Guest Post by Nicole from WORD for Teens

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Welcome to the Beyond the (Latest) Buzz series, where I’m asking YA & kidlit librarians as well as book bloggers to share books they think deserve more attention. Read on to see what titles blogger Nicole from WORD for Teens wants to share with us today… 


Guest post by Nicole

I was staring at my shelves for a good half hour in an attempt to find the proper book to write this post about. What book do I think is overlooked?

Eyes Like StarsPerchance to DreamSo Silver Bright

There were the ones that were known in the blogging community but seemed hidden from everybody else, like Lisa Mantchev’s beautiful Theatre Illuminata series.

Bloody Jack 1Bloody Jack 3Bloody Jack 2

Then there were the ones that sell well, but nobody I talk to seems to have read them despite how much I adore them, like L.A. Meyer’s hilarious historical Bloody Jack series.

The Lost Years of MerlinBut at least people knew about both of those. They hadn’t been overlooked too badly. So I sat and I thought and I browsed my bookcase, and I sat and I thought and I looked at my books some more. And then I realized I was overlooking the most overlooked books on my shelf: The Lost Years of Merlin series by T. A. Barron.

I’ve never been able to figure out why so few people have read this series. The writing is absolutely breathtaking; the characters are fabulous and all of them are memorable; the world, the world, the world! is amazing. Fincayara was the number one on my top ten most vivid fictional settings.

Maybe it’s because T.A. Barron doesn’t have much of an online presence—he’s not on Twitter and doesn’t update his Facebook or his blog that often. I had the chance to meet him when I was younger and he’s an absolute sweetheart, and when I played his games on his website he sent me signed posters of the maps of Fincayara. (He’s awesome.)

Maybe it’s the fact that it’s a high fantasy Arthurian legend retelling. Or it didn’t have a big marketing push. Or the fact that the series is quite a few years old at this point, with two spin-off series attached to it.

The Lost Years of Merlin 2But regardless of why it hasn’t been read, it should be read. The Lost Years of Merlin starts off with a young boy named Emrys—and anybody who knows anything about Arthurian legend knows that Emrys will grow up to be the infamous sorcerer Merlin. The young boy has to deal with a whole slew of issues, from not knowing who his father is to not fitting in his town, before he ends up on the lost isle of Fincayara. Fincyara, the world-between-worlds, is currently under the thumb of a ruler who Rhita Gawr, an evil god, has converted to his side. Emrys, with the help of a few friends and the blessings of the god Dagda (yay, Celtic mythology!) needs to help bring Fincayara back to order.

And is the lost-boy-saves-the-world plot a bit of a stereotype for the fantasy genre? Of course! But it’s so well done here, and I don’t know why people are avoiding it, especially you fantasy lovers. I see you sitting there at your computer, reading this, going, Hmm, maybe I should pick it up. Well, put down your Mercedes Lackey and your Christopher Paolini or whatever it is you’re favoring at the moment and go give Barron’s books a try.

Trust me, you won’t regret it.

Have you read and loved this series? Chime in and tell us what you think in the comments! 


Nicole word for teens headshotNicole blogs over at WORD for Teens. She has blonde hair and a love of dragons. The rest changes without notice. For stalkage purposes, you can find her on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.

Want more in the Beyond the (Latest) Buzz series?

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Here are the posts in the series so far:

  • YA/middle-school librarian Jennifer Hubert Swan recommends Better Than Running at Night and Every Time a Rainbow Dies
  • YA librarian Kelly Jensen recommends a whole host of books including Sorta Like a Rock StarFirst Day on EarthFrost, and more
  • Youth services librarian Liz Burns recommends The President’s Daughter, Flora Segunda, and All Unquiet Things
  • YA librarian Angie Manfredi recommends Rats Saw God
  • YA librarian Abby Johnson recommends the top five books she read this year: The Berlin Boxing Club; Blizzard of Glass; Dogtag Summer; Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can’t Have; and A Girl Named Faithful Plum 
  • Book blogger Kari Olson from A Good Addiction recommends books including Freefall, I Swear, Like Mandarin, and more
  • Book blogger Wendy Darling from The Midnight Garden recommends Ultraviolet, A Certain Slant of Light, and The Reapers Are the Angels

Turning Points: “Becoming the Person I Want My Daughters to Be” by Kristin Halbrook

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This guest post is part of the Turning Points blog series here on distraction no. 99—in which I asked authors the question: What was your turning point as a writer? Here is Kristin Halbrook, debut author of Nobody But Us and one of my Anticipated Debuts for January 2013, sharing hers…


Guest post by Kristin Halbrook

When I was little, I had lofty goals. I was going to be president! I was going to be the first female NFL quarterback! I was going to be a writer!

During grad school, my aspirations changed. Did I want to be a teacher? Did I want to continue into the Phd program in Women’s Studies or in Social Geography? No matter how my path changed, I always was setting goals for the next stage. Always looking to meet the high expectations I had for myself. Before any of these possibilities came to fruition, I became a mother. And my aspiration became: be the best mother possible.

I bought a house in the suburbs. Because that’s what I was supposed to do. The man I’d been working for actually suggested that to me, as though raising a child in the city would turn the world on its head. I hated the suburbs. A few years later, I packed up and moved to a small town across the state because even though I was thinking about pursuing my Phd, I was convinced my desires were selfish and that my partner at the time should be doing his schoolwork, instead. I hated it there, too.

I’d hoisted upon my shoulders a traditionally defined role of motherhood. My time belonged to my children first, and my own dreams took a backseat. When I decided I would dedicate my free time to pursuing writing, as I’d wanted to my whole life, I came up against a wall of constant disrespect. I’d spent so much time supporting the efforts of others that my time didn’t belong to me anymore and my partner at the time fought to keep the benefit of my time for himself.

It wasn’t good.

When my second daughter was born, I spent a lot of time soul-searching. I thought about how different my two girls were, how the only thing, truly, I wanted for them and their unique paths in life was for them to be happy. In whatever thing they decided to do. Anything else—everything else—hardly mattered.

And then I wondered: Why wasn’t that good enough for me?

Why wasn’t I happy? Why had I abandoned my dreams?

What kind of example was I to them?

Not a very good one.

And so my Turning Point was the powerful moment I realized I needed to be the person I wanted my daughters to be. Not long into my motherhood, I surfaced from a state of drowning.

I needed to pursue the impractical, explore the barely known, fight for what I knew would make me happy. I began to work on novels during the time that I should have been sleeping. I added words; ten, twenty at a time while the girls were eating lunch. More, if they were at a friend’s house playing—if I had time. I was also working part time from home, tutoring online, writing online articles, TAing for an online university. I wrote partial novels, I wrote paragraphs of ideas, I wrote complete novels that were part of my apprenticeship and should never see the light of day. One time, I saw a call for pieces for a small magazine and sent in an essay. I didn’t expect anything to come of it.

The day I got my acceptance letter and my check for the essay, I called myself a Writer, capital W.

NOBODY BUT US comes out on January 29 from HarperTeen!

NOBODY BUT US comes out on January 29 from HarperTeen!

But in my day-to-day life, nothing changed. I still struggled for time and autonomy without the support I needed from my adult relationship. In these moments I came to realize, with a painful clarity, that I was in a terrible marriage. Why was I doing this to myself? This woman who studied Women’s Studies at university, who claimed feminism proudly, who felt that a woman should be able to choose whatever life she wanted, whether mother or maintenance worker… My choice had turned sour. Not long after, I left that toxic relationship. I knew things would be a struggle, but what came next was a freedom and release of bitterness that felt like coming up for air after holding my breath as long as I could. I was Me again. I had ultimate claim over my time and my goals. Much of that, I continued to devote to my girls. I still want to be the best mother I can be. But I also started to respect myself enough that I carved out time for myself to write. At first, this was in the evenings and while my youngest was settled into a project. As preschool and kindergarten came, I moved into developing my goals full-time. There were and are moments my girls have to entertain themselves while I work, but that’s not a bad thing. They should see me actively pursuing my dreams. They should know that I respect and love myself enough to give myself the time I need. And they know that, once I’m finished with whatever I’m doing, our fun time together is more precious than ever. It means more. To all of us.

I’m kind of living in a fantasy world right now. I mean, things aren’t always easy and I work hard, but it’s the work I’ve always wanted to do. My now-husband has always known me as a writer and he values me in that role. My girls know me as a writer and speak about me to their friends and teachers with pride. I’ve accomplished things I’ll never give up, that are a part of me. Every step I took to publication was a moment of further empowerment: signing with my agent, selling Nobody But Us, working on my next projects. And I’m finally happy. Happy with reaching my goals and setting new ones. Happy about the example I’m setting for my girls to pursue their dreams, to become the women they want to be, knowing they can because they’ve seen their mother become the woman she is now.

Kristin’s debut novel, Nobody But Us, comes out on January 29 from HarperTeen. Come back next week for an interview with the author and a chance to win the book!


Kristin HalbrookKristin Halbrook is a Seattleite who loves good coffee, good food, good music, good sports, good causes, good reads and the word good. She travels a lot, but loves coming home just as much as exploring. She’s both intense and a goofball, introverted and gregarious. Nobody But Us is Kristin’s debut novel, about a boy and girl desperate to leave their pasts behind and the systems that make happiness just so hard for them to find.

Visit Kristin online at www.kristinhalbrook.com.


There’s more in the Turning Points series. Catch up with any posts you may have missed here.

Anticipated YA Debut Interview: USES FOR BOYS (+Giveaway)

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It’s time to interview one of the January 2013 Anticipated YA Debut Authors! Today’s featured author is Erica Lorraine Scheidt—her first novel, Uses for Boys, comes out tomorrow, January 15, from St. Martin’s Griffin. Read on to see how Erica answered my Q&A…

…And scroll down to see who won the giveaway!


uses for boysNova: I’ll start with the dreaded question you may be hearing already from strangers on elevators, long-lost family members, and your doctor while you’re sitting on the examination table in the paper gown during your next checkup: “So what’s your book about?” Surely you don’t carry around a copy so you can recite the description off the flaps, so how do you answer this question when asked?

Erica: I stammer a lot when I get this question. I’d like to think that I say this: It’s a story about a sixteen-year-old girl’s search for family. It’s about boys and best friends. About using sex as a shortcut to intimacy. It’s about creating the family we want while learning to accept the family we have.

I wish I could say something like this: It’s about the stories we tell ourselves.

I think what I end up saying is something that sounds more like this: Uses for Boys is about a 16-year-old girl who’s looking to belong somewhere and she uses sex as a way to get there.

NRS: In my experience, novels transform themselves, sometimes unrecognizably, during the course of being written. Were there any shocking transformations that occurred between rough draft and final bound book?

ELS: I really did think, when I started, that it was a book about boys. I was interested in all the complex reasons why teen girls have sex—the healthy and unhealthy reasons and everything in between. The whole spectrum. But the more I wrote, the more I became convinced that it wasn’t a book about boys, it was a book about best friends. And then (I wrote the book for 3.5 years), I realized that the book was about the mother. Marguerite Duras would tell you that it’s always about the mother.

I didn’t know it was about family until it was finished. Now it feels so clearly about family—and not just about the family you need, but about the family that needs you.

NRS: So you’re here with me gossiping about your main characters behind their backs. What’s something they wouldn’t want anyone to know that might make them blush? 

ELS: I think Anna is strong. Readers sometimes say that they want to shake her, that they can’t understand her bad decisions, but I look at her and think: she wants to do the right thing, but doesn’t know what that is.

And the thing is, she just keeps relentlessly moving forward. That’s Anna’s strength. I think sometimes the only power a kid has is to keep going, to keep moving forward, to keep trying until something works.

NRS: Tell us about the place—as in the physical location: a messy office, a comfy couch, a certain corner table at the café—where you spent most of your time writing this book. Now imagine the writing spot of your fantasies where you wish you’d been able to write this book… tell us all about it. 

ELS: My friends Deanna and Emmett have a mid-century modern furniture store in San Francisco and they helped me buy the world’s most beautiful desk. Even though it’s heavy as fuck, I’ve moved it with me through three homes during the writing of this book. And although I write in bed, I write on the couch, I write in coffee shops, and I wrote a bunch of the book in a tiny dorm room at Skidmore when I was at the New York Summer Writers’ Institute—the desk has seen a lot of action.

Here’s a picture of my desktop.

my desk

Now the desk lives in my studio at Headlands Center for the Arts. Headlands is that spot. There’s nowhere to go but down from there.

See?

Headlands Center for the Arts exterior

Building 960

NRS: To go along with the theme of this blog (and my life), what is the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book? 

ELS: The. Internet. Absolutely. That and my own insecurities. I spend a lot of time worrying instead of writing.

NRS: Imagine you’re on the subway, or bus, or sitting in a park somewhere minding your own business… and you look up and see the most perfect person you could imagine devouring your book. This is your ideal reader. Set the scene and describe this person to us.

ELS: The book is stuffed in her backpack. She pulls it out. It’s missing a cover and the edges are blacked in with pen. She’s not reading it, instead she’s writing in a spiral notebook. Her backpack is full of textbooks, but she’s working on a song lyric or a drawing. She has earphones in and right now her hair’s bleached and blue, but it won’t be next week. She’s writing and rewriting, or she’s drawing and redrawing, oblivious to everything around her.

Now I see I’ve basically described my 18-year-old goddaughter, Sonja. I dedicated Uses for Boys to her.

NRS: If you could go back in time to whisper a few words of advice into your own ear before you leaped into this writing career, what would you tell your young, impressionable self? 

ELS: Stop smoking pot and keep searching and turn off the TV and feel. It’s OK to feel. Feel deeply and fail and keep trying and write hard and love hard, as hard as you can, and have faith. All the good stuff takes longer than you ever imagined.

NRS: Dream question: If you could go on book tour anywhere in the world, with any two authors (living or dead), and serve any item of food at your book signing… where would you go, who with, and what delicious treat would you serve your fans?

ELS: Grace Paley? Yes. Grace Paley and Maurice Sendak and we’d be at the Inauguration in 2008 for President Obama and my family would be there too and, you know, Aretha Franklin, and it would be that night when everything felt possible, and I’m sure whatever they served at the Inaugural dinner would be fine with us.

NRS: How do you plan to celebrate your book’s birthday tomorrow?

ELS: I feel so lucky. I feel so fortunate that it’s hard to express how excited I am about Tuesday. My girlfriend and my stepdaughter and I are going to Green Apple Books (!!) in San Francisco to meet a bunch of our friends and they’re all going to bring their kids too and we’re going to celebrate the book and toast the three teen filmmakers from TILT, at Ninth Street Film Center, who made the book trailer and we’ll all drink wine and sparkling apple cider and buy books.

Uses for Boys comes out tomorrow, January 15, from St. Martin’s Griffin. Read on for a chance to win a signed book and more!


As a teenager, Erica Lorraine Scheidt studied writing at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University and later received an MA in creative writing from University of California, Davis. Now a teaching artist and longtime volunteer at 826 Valencia, Erica works with teen writers in the San Francisco Bay Area. She’s a 2012 Artist in Residence at Headlands Center for the Arts and is currently at work on a second novel for young adults.

Visit her at www.ericalorraine.com and read her blog to find out more. Teen writers can also find Erica here and here.

Follow @ericalorraine on Twitter and like her on Facebook.

Watch the book trailer:

The trailer for Uses for Boys was created by three teenage filmmakers: Julia Retzlaff, a sophomore; Tiffany Robinson, a senior; and Evatt Carrodus, an 8th grader. All three were alumni of TILT, the Youth Program of the Ninth Street Independent Film Center in San Francisco and were mentored by TILT Media Arts Educator, Kapi’olani Lee. 


ANNOUNCING THE GIVEAWAY WINNER…

One lucky person has won a *signed* copy of Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt plus a bookmark and a few GET OUT OF THE SUBURBS QUICK AS YOU CAN pencils!

uses for boys

The lucky winner (chosen randomly from commenters and form entries) is…

Alexandra Ehlers

Congrats, Alexandra! I hope you love this book as much as I did. 

Thank you to Erica for being a part of this series and offering up prizes for the giveaway—and thank you to everyone who entered!

Beyond the Buzz: Reading Recommendations from Wendy Darling (+Giveaway)

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Welcome to the Beyond the (Latest) Buzz series, where I’m asking YA & kidlit librarians as well as book bloggers to share books they think deserve more attention. Read on to see what titles blogger Wendy Darling from The Midnight Garden wants to share with us today… 

Scroll down for an announcement of the giveaway winner!


Guest post by Wendy Darling

It’s easy to catch someone’s attention with a gorgeous cover, a bestseller stamp of approval, or a splashy marketing campaign. But some of the books I’ve loved best over the past few years have been hidden gems, so I was pleased when Nova invited me to write about books that I felt deserved to find a wider audience.

The following books, both YA and beyond, are ones that have surprised me and moved me in unexpected ways. They all feature young women at a crucial point in self-discovery, so they’re titles that I am constantly recommending to open-minded YA readers who want to try something a little different.

UltravioletUltraviolet by R. J. Anderson (Carolrhoda Lab)

What if you were locked in a mental institute because you were accused of murdering your classmate? That is where Alison Jeffries’ story begins, but the mystery behind her friend’s missing body takes you to unimaginable places as you get to know the remarkable heroine. Written in gorgeous prose, this book is filled with unexpected twists and turns, and might even remind you of beloved speculative authors such as Madeleine L’Engle.

a-certain-slant-of-light-book-coverA Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb (Graphia)

Helen is a ghost who has inhabited different human bodies for over a hundred years. This unusual story is slow, sad, and involves questionable ethics that often makes it a fairly polarizing read. I love the originality of the concept and the keenness of the emotion, however, as well as the complex, literary style of the author’s writing.

the reapers are the angelsThe Reapers Are the Angels by Alden Bell (Holt Paperbacks)

In a post-apocalyptic world, survivors wander the earth in search of food…and doing their best to avoid zombies. The interesting thing is, this isn’t your typical genre thriller—it’s certainly gruesome in parts, with tricky dialect and violent imagery–but it’s also touched with unexpected beauty and deep feeling.

There’s a thrill of discovery that comes with every book that moves us as readers, but when the stars align for a book that hasn’t gotten as much attention, it’s especially satisfying to be able to share them with friends. Thanks so much to Nova for giving us the opportunity to spread the love!

Have you read and loved these books? Chime in and tell us what you think in the comments! 


GIVEAWAY WINNER ANNOUNCED…

One commenter on this post won a Hidden Gem!

a-certain-slant-of-light-book-coverthe reapers are the angelsUltraviolet 

Wendy hand-picked one lucky winner from the comments below, and the winner is…

Courtney Leigh!

Who said: 

As many have said, these all look like books I’d severely enjoy, but your description of A Certain Slant of Light snagged my attention above the other two. “This story…involves questionable ethics that often makes it a fairly polarizing read.”

I will read any and all YA, but the ones that tend to stick with me and force me to think about them long after I finish the last sentence are the ones where there is no hero or heroine. Where the main character makes bad, misguided, even cruel choices. I want to find out if they change or learn or regret. I want to know how they come to terms with themselves, if they ever do. I want to see all the inescapable repercussions.

But wait! Then you throw in a ghost and a “complex, literary style”? I am absolutely sold. Even if I don’t receive the giveaway, I will be purchasing this book. Thanks for all the recs!

Congrats, Courtney! You won a copy of A Certain Slant of Light! Thank you to Wendy for offering up the giveaway—and to everyone who entered!


Wendy Darling never stopped reading children’s and young adult books, and believes you shouldn’t either. If you’re a kindred spirit, please feel free to connect with her on her blog The Midnight Garden, GoodReads, Twitter, and Facebook.

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Want more in the Beyond the (Latest) Buzz series?

Here are the posts in the series so far:

  • YA/middle-school librarian Jennifer Hubert Swan recommends Better Than Running at Night and Every Time a Rainbow Dies
  • YA librarian Kelly Jensen recommends a whole host of books including Sorta Like a Rock StarFirst Day on EarthFrost, and more
  • Youth services librarian Liz Burns recommends The President’s Daughter, Flora Segunda, and All Unquiet Things
  • YA librarian Angie Manfredi recommends Rats Saw God
  • YA librarian Abby Johnson recommends the top five books she read this year: The Berlin Boxing Club; Blizzard of Glass; Dogtag Summer; Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can’t Have; and A Girl Named Faithful Plum 
  • Book blogger Kari Olson from A Good Addiction recommends books including Freefall, I Swear, Like Mandarin, and more

On Having Impossible Dreams

(These are the legs of an author—but they're not mine. Guess who!)

(Photo taken one night in Washington Square Park. These are the legs of an author—but they’re not my legs. Guess who!)

Outlandish Expectations

The other day, two things made me think of the dreams I set out for myself. More than goals, these are the aspirations I carry with me everywhere. They consume me.

Ever since I was a senior in high school, I’ve set out some large, possibly outrageous goals that I wanted my life to live up to. It rarely did. But as the years passed—and the goalposts I set out for myself were not met and left me with disappointment—I seemed to have not learned a lesson from this. I still set out impossible goals for myself to reach. I still have alarmingly ridiculous fantasies of what life could be like. I still want to be successful enough that I could buy my mom a townhouse on Sullivan Street, on the same block as Anna Wintour because I like the townhouses there, and I think of this ridiculous, impossible goal every time I’ve walked past a certain door on that block that I’ve fantasized is my mom’s future door, and behind it, her future home.

My goals are still outlandish. And I don’t know how to stop myself from having them.

Things I wanted in my life included fortune and literary recognition. I still want to pay off all our student loans (an impossible goal if there ever was one) before I die and take care of my mother and help my sister. And I want to have a solid career as an author. In my mind, this “career” involves a certain number of things that haven’t come true yet, and each month that passes in which they haven’t come true, I feel disappointed in what I’ve done.

It’s ironic that I can be filled with doubts over my worthiness and skill as a writer and yet still want impossible measures of success for myself. How do I even justify the two together? The contrast—and wide leap between—is alarming.

The first thing that brought this all to mind was this vlog by author Daniel Marks. (He’s been a guest writer on this very blog with this hilarious, and horrifying, post on his worst fear!) In this video, he gives a really affecting, personal talk about his history with depression. He says, “My mood is really wrapped up in expectations. I have a tendency to set really high expectations for myself, for other people, for situations, for events, things like that. And because of doing that, I really set myself up for a lot of disappointment.”

Go watch the whole video here.

This vlog resonated with me—especially the part about high expectations and disappointment—because I can get like that. “Down,” I call it. I’ll feel down, and not much can lift me up. And I think so much of the reason that I go to this down place and let myself linger there is due to disappointment at not reaching difficult—in fact, impossible—goals for myself as a writer and published author and person in this world.

With this great vlog on my mind, I was flipping through TV channels the other night when I should have been reading (another disappointing trait of mine, but let’s ignore that), and I found Little Miss Sunshine playing on the IFC channel. What a great film.

As the opening scene unfolded and we met the characters, I realized how some of them were set up for such obvious disappointment.

Specifically, Richard, who’s trying to be a motivational speaker on the subject of being a WINNER and not a LOSER, and failing miserably at winning his own success.

And teenage Dwayne, who wants to join the Air Force so badly, he has taken a vow of silence until his mother lets him take the test for his pilot’s license. (SPOILER: During the film an accidental discovery proves that Dwayne is color blind, so he will never be able to get his pilot’s license. Dream dashed, gone.)

And Olive, little seven-year-old Olive. Just looking at her in the first few moments of the film, we can feel it in our ugly little truth-telling guts that she’s not going to win the beauty pageant. We can see this, but she can’t.

Sometimes I feel like Olive.

I’m Olive because some of the dreams I have for my future are laughably impossible. And maybe everyone around me can see that. But at the same time, no one can burst my bubble and take these dreams away from me.

You see, I like having big goals. It makes me strive for big things, and I can look back and see the successes that have come from all this striving. But when so much of my happiness is wrapped up in attaining something that is not necessarily ever possible to attain, I am, as Daniel Marks says in his video, setting myself up for disappointment… and my “down” feeling comes from that.

So I’m thinking about this. About how to fix this part of myself and still keep a hold on my big dreams. Can I?

I want to tell you why I think I’m this way. Why I’ll always strive to win that beauty pageant when I look like this.

When the “Impossible” Came True

When I was a teenager, my family situation was very dramatic. Usually I don’t talk about this here. The man my mother was married to at the time tormented me. He was fun and wonderful one moment, monstrous the next. And I never knew which way he’d wake up in the morning. None of us did.

I’ve touched on this in the blog before, but I remember once how he was yelling at me and said these words: “Why would anyone want to read what you write?”

He said it like it was the most impossible thing in the world. Anyone. Reading. What I, of all pathetic people, wrote.

He knew my dream was to be a published author because he’d read my journal where I’d confessed as much. And maybe it offended him, that I wanted to do this. How dare I even think I was worthy of such a thing?

It’s funny how small moments can cause such explosive reactions to move ahead and focus your entire life. Because I want to tell you, when he said that—I remember this was a throw-off line in a fight. I remember which house we lived in then; I remember where he sat at the dining room table, and I remember where I stood in the room and how I cried. I remember how I flung myself on my bed in my basement bedroom, and in a rage I thought of my dream—to be a published author one day—and this determination grew inside me. The dream felt so impossible, you have to understand. I didn’t know anyone in my life who grew up to be what their secret dreams said they could be. Every adult I’d known had sacrificed and turned responsible and got a job to take care of their family. Real people—people I knew, people from families like mine—we didn’t do outlandish things like become published authors.

Well, I would, I told myself.

It was the most impossible thing to imagine for myself. Like being a rock star.

Yet I pushed myself toward that fantastical goal for years. It became my entire life.

And I didn’t do it alone: I had my mother, who always believed in me, I found E when I was really young, and he always believed in me. But you know who else believed in me? Me. I thought this dream of mine was near impossible, and yet I still thought I could try for it, I thought if I kept trying maybe just maybe it would come true. And here I am, with my third novel coming out this spring.

I think this is why I can’t let go of impossible things. I don’t believe in the word. I may be filled with doubt and worry and think bad things about myself, but there is also that girl still inside me somewhere, the one who was told she couldn’t and knew she could.

I’d rather let her keep believing in impossible things.

But Let’s Be Realistic

So I’ve seen the “impossible” come true. I’ve seen magic. And once unseen, you can’t unsee it, you know?

And yet.

I know I need to find a way to temper my expectations. To not expect the world from myself—and from the industry and every single person around me. Because I have my dream. I’m living it. And when I think of new and exciting things to want—when my Twitter feed glides past telling me all the wonderful things happening to other authors who are not me—I tend to forget what I have. I want more. And I hate that about myself.

I reached a good place last year with this war inside myself. But I can do better this year, though. I will.

I think it’s only that I love the feeling of reaching. I always want to aspire to be something bigger and better than I am and I want to prove to the world (as if it’s my stepfather at the head of the dining room table yelling at me) that when I say I will do something, I mean it. So lately, I’ve been turning this inward. Instead of reaching for outside markers of success—dreams that rely on other people and the industry to make come true—I am trying to reach only with my own two arms.

In my writing. Which is what I can control.

I am a work-in-progress. I will always think impossible things are possible. My life has shown me some of that. But I think I need to remember how I felt when I was a teenager, when even this very moment seemed like the most impractical, fantastical, never-to-happen-to-someone-like-me thing I could ever imagine.

How many impossible things can one person have in one life?

Beyond the Buzz: Reading Recommendations from Kari Olson

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Welcome to the Beyond the (Latest) Buzz series, where I’m asking YA & kidlit librarians as well as book bloggers to share books they think deserve more attention. Read on to see what titles blogger Kari Olson from A Good Addiction wants to share with us today…


Guest post by Kari Olson

When I heard Nova was doing this series, I jumped on it. I love recommending books, and I oftentimes do feel like much of what I fall in love with are things not many other people are reading, much less have heard about. While there are a ton of books I’ve liked, even loved, the ones I really push on people are the ones that have changed me. The ones that have made me step back and think about things, that have challenged my way of thinking and pushed me beyond my comfort zone.

I’m a big fan of lists, and while I want everyone to read these books, I don’t want to give away the bigger elements of them, or explain how I saw the characters grow and change. I want people to go into it as innocently as I did, for the full impact. So here’s my top picks of books I think deserve more reads, with the highlights of what made me fall head over heels for them.

FreefallFreefall by Mindi Scott

Freefall was a favorite of 2010, and is still a favorite of mine. I adore Seth, and kind of claim to be his biggest fan. But what got me with this book is how almost normal it is. Yes, Seth is dealing with losing his best friend, but more than anything, he is just trying to figure life out. From his family situation, to his past with girls, to Rosetta, the girl who is really giving him reason to want to change, there is just something so endearing about him and what he goes through.

I SwearI Swear by Lane Davis

Honestly, this is one of the best bullying books I’ve read. I loved the characters, I hated them. I felt so much with this one. And couldn’t stop thinking about it for days. This isn’t a book where everyone walks away happy, nor is it one that will necessarily leave the reader completely happy, but oh, man, the journey is so worth it and this one will definitely challenge you.

LeverageLeverage by Joshua C. Cohen

This is the other book that sits in the best bullying books category. This one is so intense, and gritty, and definitely not for everyone. It’s truly gutting at times. But it is honestly one of the single most powerful and impacting books I have ever read—a book split in perspective between two boys who completely stand out as narrators.

Like MandarinLike Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard

Apart from the stunning writing, what got me with this book was how intense the relationship is between Grace and Mandarin. What also got me was how it took me about two days after I finished to realize… there’s no romance in this one. Yeah, Mandarin has guys. But there isn’t a love interest, for her or Grace. Because there doesn’t need to be one. Grace experiences so much, goes through so much, without a boy needing to drive it.

Invincible SummerInvincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz

This one kind of broke me, had me sobbing, and left me thinking about it for weeks. The voice is absolutely perfect in this one, and especially the way Chase changes not only during the book, but from one summer to the next, both just growing up and because of what’s going on.

CompromisedCompromised by Heidi Ayarbe

Whenever you drive by homeless people, even teens, on the street, what is your thought? Drugs? Laziness? Neither of those is the case for Maya, or the allies she finds along the way. This book is not an easy or light read. There is nothing held back in this one, and Maya is such a great character, torn between anger and love, courage and fear. Even better, the changes Maya and the others go through isn’t just because they have to grow up fast living on the streets, but because they still have what led them there to contend with.

Take Me ThereTake Me There by Carolee Dean

This is another book that is impossible to explain why I like it without giving away spoilers. The ending is one of the single most impacting, memorable ones I’ve ever read. The story has a drive and push to it that kept me gripped, and even over two years later, I still remember a ton of scenes and specifics of this book. With a light romantic element mixed into bigger family and friend elements, this one has just enough easy moments to relieve you in all the rest of what’s going on.

Have you read and loved these books? Chime in and tell us what you think in the comments! 


Headshot with TobyKari Olson is a YA writer represented by Pam van Hylckama Vlieg of Larsen Pomada, and has been fangirling about books at A Good Addiction since 2009. She also reviews at Bookalicious.org and Brazen Reads, and formerly The {Teen} Book Scene. She’s the owner of a stubborn beagle/basset mix named Toby, and is a fan of all things boys, abs, and coffee. She lives in Texas and works in medicine.

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Want more in the Beyond the (Latest) Buzz series?

Here are the posts in the series so far:

  • YA/middle-school librarian Jennifer Hubert Swan recommends Better Than Running at Night and Every Time a Rainbow Dies
  • YA librarian Kelly Jensen recommends a whole host of books including Sorta Like a Rock StarFirst Day on EarthFrost, and more
  • Youth services librarian Liz Burns recommends The President’s Daughter, Flora Segunda, and All Unquiet Things
  • YA librarian Angie Manfredi recommends Rats Saw God
  • YA librarian Abby Johnson recommends the top five books she read this year: The Berlin Boxing Club; Blizzard of Glass; Dogtag Summer; Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can’t Have; and A Girl Named Faithful Plum 

Teaching a Spring Session of My YA Novel Writing Class

mediabistroI’ve been teaching an online YA Novel Writing: Master Class with Mediabistro this winter, and I can’t even tell you how much I’ve been enjoying it. I love being a part of helping other writers polish their novels and write ahead to complete their drafts—and reading the pages every week, sometimes as they write, has been rewarding and eye-opening, both as an instructor and a writer. In fact, I’ve enjoyed leading this winter’s class so much, that I’ll be teaching a new session in the spring.

I wanted to announce here—in case any writers reading this blog are interested— that my YA Novel Writing: Master Class for spring starts in April. It’s eight weeks long and involves weekly online workshops as well as feedback from me on pages every week.

Please don’t be intimidated by the “master class” in the course title. This just means this is not a class for beginning writers who are new to writing fiction.

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions, but if there’s something you’d like to know about this class, you are welcome to email me.

Q: Do you need to have a complete novel to sign up for this class?

A: No, you don’t. You can sign up with a novel-in-progress. You can also sign up if you have a draft of your novel already written that you’d like to revise. You will be turning in up to 10 pages a week—new or revised, up to you. Some of the students in my class now have already written full drafts of their YA or middle-grade novels and are turning in pages with revision in mind. Some started the class with unfinished novels and are writing ahead, hoping to finish their first drafts. And others are beginning novels in this class and writing a new set of pages every week. It’s up to you—whatever would be the most helpful use of your eight weeks with me.

However, I would say that it would be most helpful to you as a writer to have a solid idea of what you want to be working on in this class. If you are not sure of what you want to write and are seeking a writing class to explore ideas, this wouldn’t be the class for you.

Q: How does the workshop aspect of the class work?

A: Each writer will be “workshopped”—critiqued—in our online text-based chatroom in detail two or three times in the eight weeks. This means we discuss all pages turned in by your workshop date in the online discussion. Other writers are also asked to leave written feedback for that week’s writers in the forums, so you will gain feedback from your peers in two ways.

Q: But do you read my pages every week?

A: Yes, even if you aren’t up for workshop that week, I will be reading and giving you written feedback on your pages every week.

Q: Will this class involve a lot of reading?

A: It could. The class is capped at 12 students, which means most weeks you will be reading pages from four writers and preparing to discuss their work in the online chat as well as leave them written feedback.

Q: Can I take this class from anywhere?

A: Yes, you can take this class from anywhere (and you can take it while wearing pajamas!), so long as you can access the discussions online every week. They will be at 9pm Eastern Standard Time on Wednesdays. The chatroom is text-based and easy to use.

Q: Will you be able to read and critique my whole novel in this class?

A: No, I can’t read your whole novel in this class. We’ll just have eight weeks, so I’ll be reading 80 pages. They don’t have to be in order—so long as you turn in a plot summary of anything I’ve missed. I can’t read the rest of your novel after class ends, sorry.

Q: Do I have to be writing a YA novel to take this class?

A: You can sign up if you’re writing a middle-grade novel. There are usually at least a few middle-grade writers in the class, though most of the writers in class tend to be working on YA. However, if you are writing an adult novel—even if you think it has potential to gain a teen readership—this is not the class for you.

Q: Can I take this class if I’ve never written a novel before?

A: You are welcome to sign up even if you’ve never tackled writing a novel before, but I highly recommend that you have some experience writing fiction, even if it’s not YA or middle-grade. Many of your fellow students will have taken writing courses before, and some will even have MFAs. Some will have a lot of experience writing YA and knowledge of the industry. Others are writing YA for the first time, though they’ve written fiction before. This has made for a great, wise, helpful group when it comes to workshops and feedback, and varying perspectives. But if you are a brand-new writer not used to regular writing deadlines like this, I’d suggest taking an introductory class instead. If you’ve never written fiction before, this won’t be the class for you.

Mediabistro has some wonderful courses, and they are always adding new ones. Here, take a look. For example, here’s a YA writing class taught by an editor at Alloy… and it begins in March!

Q: Do you choose the writers who get to be in the class or screen the submissions?

A: No, Mediabistro screens the applications. You’ll need a two-page writing sample and a short letter of interest, explaining why you want to take this class and what experience you have. I find out who has signed up for the class about a week before. It’s always a fun surprise! Admissions are rolling, though, so you probably shouldn’t wait till the last minute to sign up. The class is capped at 12 students.

Q: Do I have to pay the tuition up front, in full?

A: Yes, I am pretty sure you need to pay in full for the class when you’re approved to register. You can apply here through Mediabistro, and you can ask them registration/payment questions directly.

Q: But I am busy this spring… will you be teaching this class again?

A: I am not sure if I’ll be teaching this class again—right now, I have no plans to do so—but if I am, I will announce it here.

If there are any questions I haven’t answered, please feel free to ask. Or here is Mediabistro’s FAQ.

APPLY RIGHT HERE

Thank you to everyone who may be considering taking this class—and thanks to those who’ve emailed with questions and interest! I can’t wait to see who signs up this spring and to dive in and start reading the novels…

In Which I Give Away My Last ARC to Someone Who Really Wants It

Happy 2013, everyone!

If you’re impatient and don’t want to read through this post, this, my friends, is a giveaway.

If you want to win a signed and personalized ARC of my March 2013 book 17 & Gone plus a bunch of bookmarks, just leave a comment on this post telling me why you want the ARC… or fill out this entry form  and it could be yours.


If you have a little more patience, I’ll tell you more about the book first before you throw your name in the hat to win an ARC.

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17&Gsummary

17 & Gone comes out in less than three months. I am really not sure how to promote my book and myself online beyond simply telling you that it comes out on March 21 and I hope you’ll want to buy it or grab it from the library on that day. Because how to convince you? How to explain the ways this book haunted me, during the writing and also in the years before setting its first words down on the page? How to explain that the themes found in this book (disappearing girls; danger like a hand grabbing you in the darkness; visions felt in your bones, visions you can’t trust; and the desire, the need, to try to save someone else even when you’re not so sure you can save yourself), these things have been following me for years?

Libbablurb

I’ve been writing about disappearing girls for a long time. Girls who vanish. Girls who run away. Girls who are gone. My early short stories—written fifteen, twenty years ago—often touched on this, and a novel I never got published is all about a runaway trying to discover who she was and is and is meant to be.

But it wasn’t until 17 & Gone that I really embraced this theme and followed where it led. It led me somewhere surprising. Here are the opening lines of the book:

Girls go missing every day. They slip out bedroom windows and into strange cars. They leave good-bye notes or they don’t get a chance to tell anyone. They cross borders. They hitch rides, squeezing themselves into overcrowded backseats, sitting on willing laps. They curl up and crouch down, or they shove their bodies out of sunroofs and give off victory shouts. Girls make plans to go, but they also vanish without meaning to, and sometimes people confuse one for the other. Some girls go kicking and screaming and clawing out the eyes of whoever won’t let them stay. And then there are the girls who never reach where they’re going. Who disappear. Their ends are endless, their stories unknown. These girls are lost, and I’m the only one who’s seen them.

(You can read a longer excerpt of 17 & Gone here, in PenguinTeen’s Spring 2013 preview.)

Because, yes, this is a story about a haunting and about lost girls—but it turned out to be about so much more than that. It turned out to be a book about something deeper than I realized, something I’ve been afraid of and fascinated by, something I care about deeply, which emerged during the writing of this draft, like a light came on in a dark hallway and I knew the way. I’d like to talk about this, but I can’t until you’ve read the book and see what I mean. I realize that sounds cryptic, but maybe by now I’ve enticed you enough to want to enter this giveaway or—better—buy the book when it comes out on March 21 or ask your local library to order it.

KierstenWhite_blurb

A GIVEAWAY, DID YOU SAY?

Yes, a giveaway! I have one more ARC left to give out. I’ll send it—signed and personalized—along with some bookmarks to someone who wants to read this book.

TO ENTER:

• Leave a comment on this post and tell me why you’d like to read 17 & Gone—or who you’d send this signed ARC to, and why. This is the last ARC I’ll be giving away before the book is published, so I’d love to give it to someone who really wants it or will make good use of it somehow.

• Giveaway open in the US and Canada only.

 

Or, if you’d like your entry kept private, just fill out this entry form:

(Go here for the form if the embedded form won’t load.)

Thank you for entering!