The One Where I Get A Book Deal

One night, October 2013, I wrote four words. It was a very simple line, but I sat back and stared at it for a while:

“Two o’clock was missing.”

“Huh,” I said.

I wrote a lot more words after those ones. Soon, I had an exceptionally rough draft of a book. This process wasn’t new to me; I had written a dozen books before this one, ever since writing my first (very long, very bad) novel at 15.

But this was different.

 

 

First, it was YA, and I was used to writing adult. Second, it was historical fantasy, not high fantasy. I really had no idea what I was doing, but I was writing about boys and clocks and depression and how it’s possible to regain lost hope—and it weaved a spell over me.

I’ve been through a lot of highs and lows with this book. I loved it. I hated it. I dreamed about it. I shoved it into a corner. I revised and revised and revised and revised.

I wrote two more books, turning it into a trilogy.

“What the hell am I doing?” I asked myself. “Why am I making this harder?”

 

Tom Hiddleston Shocked animated GIF

 

It had branded itself on me. These books, these characters, refused to let me go. I went to conferences and took notes and entered contests and rewrote my query a million times. I did everything humanly possible to understand—really, truly understand—how this game works, how this story works, how we fit into things.

Then, a miracle: an agent loved my book enough to offer representation. Since signing with the wonder that is Laura Crockett, I have traveled a million miles in just a few months. (Kind of literally, since I had a huge trip to India right in the middle of all this).

It was so crazy. Revisions, and submission, and hoping and despairing and bouncing between high and low, high and low. Caught between manic flights of euphoria and black days of wondering what the point was.

I’m going to annoy all of you and just say it: It really only does take one “yes.”

 

Doctor Who Yes animated GIF

 

Now I can finally, finally, finally say that my YA trilogy, TIMEKEEPER, is going to be published by Sky Pony Press. The first book comes out fall of 2016. Here’s the official announcement:

Timekeeper announcement

I’ve learned recently how scary and exhilarating it is to trust someone else with your story, but if that someone loves your characters and world as much as you do, like my editor Alison Weiss does, then you are gold. I’m thrilled to be in this situation, to learn more, to see where everything goes from here.

I’ve written thousands, if not millions, of words.

But I never imagined that the doorway to my dream would appear with just four.

 

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My Favorite Reads of 2014

I read a lot of really great books this year, so I thought I’d write up a list of my favorites. (There are some I loved that didn’t end up on this “favorites” list, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t good! Just take a look at my Goodreads to see what all I’ve read). Also, I cheated and listed a few books that were published last year but I only got around to this year.

In no particular order:

Grasshopper Jungle

Grasshopper Jungle

This book. Guys, THIS BOOK. It is one of the strangest books I have ever read, and that’s one of the many reasons why I love it. On the surface it’s about an apocalyptic infestation of killer grasshoppers, but underlying that is a beautiful story about a Polish boy who tells the reader his family history throughout the book and relates it to his current struggle with bisexuality. There’s a lot going on, but it’s told in such an insightful, funny, and thought-provoking way that the end result is just beautiful.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (2012)

The writing is simple and philosophical in this book, and creates a very smooth, engaging read. The two Mexican-American boys in this novel stole my heart; they are both so believable and adorable that I wanted to hug them on every page. Their struggle to understand their love for one another, and to understand themselves, caught me up in the novel’s world and wouldn’t let me go even long after I put it down.

Fangirl

Fangirl (2013)

For a long time (until roughly five minutes ago) I thought this book was published this year. Well, no matter the pub date, this book is AMAZING. I found the main character, Cath, incredibly relatable. She’s so wrapped up in her writing and the fictional world of Simon Snow (aka Harry Potter) that she can’t seem to function in college the way she wants to, but still has to find a balance between the real world and her own world. Also, Levi is great.

Eleanor & Park

Eleanor and Park (2013)

Basically I just love anything out of Rainbow Rowell. I was amazed by how hard this book hit me in the feels. I mean, seriously, the feels. It starts when an unconventional girl and an unconventional boy start sitting together on the bus, which blows into a startling romance that has them risking social rejection, abuse, and separation. Both hilarious and heartbreaking.

Written in My Own Heart's Blood (Outlander, #8)

Written in my Own Heart’s Blood

This is the eighth book of the Outlander series, which got super popular this year thanks to the Starz show adaptation. I’ve been waiting for this book for a very. Long. Time. And it didn’t disappoint! It’s always great coming back to Claire and Jamie (and of course, Lord John) and their adventures riddled with inappropriate jokes and sexy times. Also, the ending. ❤

Noggin

Noggin

Okay, this book hit me hard. Really hard. It’s brilliant and inventive in its premise, which is that a teenage boy is brought back to life when his head is attached to a donor body. The main character made my heart bleed. Seriously, he made me tear up more than once, mostly because he was supposed to be a symbol of hope who kept getting hit by all these unfortunate scenarios. It really made me sit back and think about what we should be thankful for in life.

Love Letters to the Dead

Love Letters to the Dead

I liked this book a lot more than I thought I would, especially considering it’s an epistolary novel. The prose is elegantly crafted, and every single sentence is gorgeous. It deals with loss, shame, and family in a way that’s both old fashioned and original.

All Our Yesterdays

All Our Yesterdays (2013)

I wanted this back when it was in hardcover, but this year it came out in paperback so I snagged it. So very glad I did. It’s really hard to pull off time traveling these days, but this one nailed it. The novel is split into two POVs: the main character from the past and the main character from the future, who goes back to her past to set up a series of events to prevent her future from happening. It’s really clever and actually made my heart pound with how well it sets up tension.

Hollow City (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children, #2)

Hollow City

This is the second of the Miss Peregrine’s books by Ransom Riggs, and it’s even better than the first. It’s really fun to get to know the supporting characters better, and of course, the old-time photographs are an awesome touch. But WHY did it have to end in a cliffhanger?! *impatiently waits for book three*

Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography

Neil Patrick Harris’ Autobiography

Yes, I actually read a non-fiction book this year. Because, c’mon—it’s NEIL PATRICK HARRIS. And more than that, the way he wrote the book is fantastic. It’s a choose-your-own-adventure style of autobiography! Who else has done that?! (Answer: no one. Now go read it).

Ruin and Rising (The Grisha, #3)

Ruin and Rising

This proved to be the best of the Grisha Trilogy. The writing was lovely, the characters were more realized than before, and intense, dark things were happening all over the place. Oh, and of course the magic and worldbuilding were spectacular. There needs to be more of this type of fantasy in the YA section.