Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Young Adult Writer in New York

Young adult novels rock, so when the opportunity arose to visit the Simon Pulse offices (aka Center of YA awesomeness) in NYC, this major fan girl had to go. We're over a year out until the release of THE DARK LIGHT, but a year's nothing in publishing and I was in edits and it is NYC... No other excuses needed.

A first visit to your publisher is still a nerve wracking experience. What if you fall on your face? Or can't remember your name? Or fail to convince these experienced editors that you are a real writer and not some blathering impostor who stumbled in off the street? About that last point... Turns out they were needless worries. Those big scary publishing houses are not as scary as I thought. Here's why...

  1. Publishers, editors, editorial assistants... are REAL people. And they're the nicest, funniest, most welcoming people you could ever meet.
  2. Publishing houses are filled with books! Okay, that one's pretty obvious. But true. Think Charlie and the Book-Making Factory.
  3. Publishing houses have things like recording studios where they sit you in a chair and shine lights at you and make you talk into a huge camera about where you come from and where you get your ideas and if you get it wrong there's a cold hose and... It's true!
  4. Publishing houses are filled with sweet, edible treats. Heard about those scary acquisition meetings and stuff? They're run on sugar.
  5. People who work in publishing houses talk in the bathrooms about meetings and marketing and important things like that. Writers visiting publishing houses hide in bathrooms and pretend not to listen (totally eavesdrop).

Needless to say, my visit to the Pulse offices was amazing, and I can't thank the team enough--especially my fantastic editor, Annette Pollert, for making me feel so welcome (and for the wonderful cookies and books!) It's a well worn cliche, but true: The journey from sparking an idea for a story to publication is not for the faint hearted. But it is totally worth it. And I plan to scream that all the louder after my experience at Simon & Schuster. In the years I've been writing, I've met so many amazing writers, so many people who'd love to be writers, and many, many more who plan to write a novel but have yet to get started. Get on it. Stick at it. Stay with it. Because if I can reach the day where I can talk about the inside of a NYC publisher, then so can you.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Reading or Hoarding?

I was pretty excited after recently having my first surgery ever, because surgery means recuperation, and recuperation equals guilt free days of reading, writing, and generally hanging out. It didn't work out as planned. Why? Painkiller brain melt. Writing? Forget about it. Reading? Only in the lucid moments. So what did I do? Yep, I pretty much just watched TV.

I don't generally watch much TV, but when I get in there, I really get in there. And that included a marathon session in front of TLC's HOARDERS. For those out of the loop, HOARDERS follows individuals whose homes have basically disappeared under a pile of crap. Often suffering from a form of OCD, hoarders end up with nowhere to sit, to cook, or even to sleep. And they never throw things away. Bad things happen when you throw stuff away. It's the kind of show that makes you want to sprint into the closet and toss out everything you've been saving for when you're back in a size 2 (aka never).

And then I noticed my 'active' reading pile...

I describe it as 'active' because it isn't my only reading pile. I have other book piles, piles that won't fit on the (bulging) bookshelves. Piles that really shouldn't be in the house anymore. Piles I've accumulated in the three short years since I moved to the States from Britain. I was starting to get worried...

On the show, hoarders often gave the same reasons to justify their hoards. As I gazed at my hoard, I couldn't help agreeing with some of those reasons:

  1. I might need the stuff again. Yep. Even though I've read it and will probably never read it again.
  2. It holds deep meaning for me. Yep. A friend recommended it!
  3. Getting rid means losing some kind of important information. Yep. Though, let's be honest: How much important information can really be found in a Russell Brand autobiography?


  1. Hoarders keep accumulating. Yep. Bought three books this past weekend, though I couldn't possibly get to them until, say, March of next year.
  2. They invent special reasons for keeping things. Yep. This cover is really shiny!
  3. Their lives disappear beneath the hoard. Save me!

Though I'm an amateur compared to TLC's hoarders, the tendencies are clearly there. But what to do? Well, nothing. Because then I came to a deep and profound truth...
Out of control reading piles are the reason God invented e-readers!
So, confess. I know you're out there. Do you really need to keep all those books? Or are you a hoarder?

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Blog is Born

I birthed a blog! And it really wasn't that painful. Like most newborns, it's not that pretty and it's still finding its feet but, with a little time and a little love, I reckon it has potential.

I do write. I write a lot, perhaps more than is healthy for anyone hoping to avoid a deep vein thrombosis. The story of how I got from scribbler to author of THE DARK LIGHT (coming Fall 2012, Simon & Schuster) probably requires a blog of its own but, needless to say, it starts with the love of a good story and ends in pretty much the same place.

So, if you love a good story, or anything connected to reading, writing, or even the ramblings of a notorious gasbag, then maybe you'd like to hang out.