Author: johnmcusick

Agent with Greenhouse Literary, representing children's books and young adult. Author of GIRL PARTS and CHERRY MONEY BABY. Mostly harmless.

A HISTORY OF GLITTER AND BLOOD by Hannah Moskowitz a “Can’t-Miss Galley” at BEA

[UPDATE: A HISTORY OF GLITTER AND BLOOD also made Publishers Marketplace’s YA Buzz-Books for BEA! – 5.22.]

Hannah’s NOT OTHERWISE SPECIFIED already made a few great lists this year. I’m so thrilled to see her utterly original and heartbreaking fantasy A HISTORY OF GLITTER AND BLOOD appearing on this Publishers Weekly list (in fine company I might add):

BEA 2015: Can’t-Miss Kids’ Galleys

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Check out A HISTORY OF GLITTER AND BLOOD on Goodreads and order it at Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.

Check out NOT OTHERWISE SPECIFIED on Goodreads and order it at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, andIndiebound.

Find out more about Hannah’s award winning novels on her website and follow her on twitter.

Cover Reveal! Marina Cohen’s INN BETWEEN (Roaring Brook Press, 2016)

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I remember the first time I read this super creepy middle grade, and I could. Not. Put. It. Down. The story follows 12-year-old Quinn, who is driving across country with her best friend’s family when a stopover at a creepy Victorian hotel in middle of the Nevada desert turns terrifying. I can’t wait for 2016!
Follow Marina Cohen on twitter and on her blog, and check out Inn Between on Goodreads.

Ink & Ashes by Valynne E. Maetani on Bustle’s 19 Best of May 2015

Debuting this month is Valynne E. Maetani’s Kirkus-starred-reviewed INK & ASHES! So excited to see it here (with some great company) on Bustle’s

19 Of May 2015’s Best YA Books, aka You’re Going To Want to Read All YA This Month!

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Check out Ink and Ashes on Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, and Amazon.

Check out Valynne Maetani on her website and twitter.

A debut deal for Susie Salom with Arthur A. Levine Books!

Very excited to announce Susie Salom’s debut middle-grade, KYLE CONSTANTINI FINDS HER WAY! From Publishers Weekly:

Cheryl Klein at Scholastic’s Arthur A. Levine Books has acquired world rights toKyle Constantini Finds Her Way, a middle-grade novel by debut author Susie Salom. As Kyle participates in a problem-solving competition, she also navigates the maze of sixth-grade friendships, crushes, and trust, using T’ai chi, echolocation, twin ESP, and her lucky blue fedora. Publication is planned for fall 2016; John M. Cusick of Greenhouse Literary negotiated the deal.

Susie SalomJMC: When and how did you start writing?

Susie: I had this little tablet with a smiley-faced rainbow on it when I was six years old. I filled it with poems. Later, in third grade, I wrote a short story called ‘Nose Knows,’ in which a person (named Nose) with an enormous schoz saves the day because of his bionic sense of smell and his ability to trust where it leads him.

Can you remember the first book that made an impact on you? Who were your childhood storytelling heroes?

Honestly, in the very beginning I was more hot and bothered by non-fiction, particularly stuff about outer space, the weather and any ‘unsolved mystery’ kind of reads that were available in the early ‘80s. I liked, and practiced, the venerable art of reading auras so the kinds of books I gravitated toward most were, like, I don’t know Esoteric 101 for Squirts. But if you put a watergun to my nostril and said, ‘Quick! Name a legendary storyteller from when you were a kid!’, I’d give props to William Sleator (Into the Dream was the first novel I hooked up to like an IV until I was done with it) and Zilpha Keatley Snyder. I’d say Snyder’s The Changeling had a measurable impact on my psyche. But I also loved really down-to-earth, recognizable, funny contemporary stuff like (the honorable) Judy Blume (long live Sheila the Great,) Barthe DeClements (Nothing’s Fair in the Fifth Grade, anyone?) and this other book that I’m super stumped in my efforts to remember. It was about this girl in junior high whose parents divorce and the mom goes on a health kick and gives her food that she’s embarrassed by in her lunch sack–tofu was seen as a heckuva lot weirder circa 1985–so she forms this club that meets under the bleachers to avoid the cafeteria crowd. If this sounds familiar to anyone, can you please help me solve the mystery? I’d be fraternally grateful.

Can you talk us through the writing of your first book? What were the key moments?

My first novel was completed eons ago. Key to going the distance were a handful of beta readers–my sister, a former student of mine, one of my best friends–who read chapters as I was writing it and were gracious enough to let me know where they’d laughed. In fiction, as in life, if you can laugh at the same stuff, you’ve made a gorgeous, inestimable connection. Then, of course, just finishing the thing–a women’s fic piece that was at once thinly-veiled autobiography as well as an amateur, but wicked fun, exercise in wish-fulfillment–also made my confidence soar. It was like, I can totally do this. And that was indescribably rad.

Describe your writing day. Where do you write? How do you organize your time? Where do you look for inspiration?

I’m a sprinter. Every novel I’ve completed, it’s been like that. I have a whole, virtual storage unit of novels I started but didn’t finish so if it’s gonna fly, it’s gotta happen quickly. I started off with Stephen King’s admonition to write 1500 words a day and I totally believe in having a metric like that. What I’d suggest, in case anyone wants unsolicited advice, is to find your pace and be true to it. For me, it’s banging out a novel before it dries up inside me. The last one I wrote came at a rate of about 3500 words a day. It was Middle Grade, so it only clocked in at around 40K words. I don’t know if I could sustain that pace for a full-length manuscript for adults, but that’s the fun in getting to know yourself creatively and productively. What are you capable of? What fuels you? Which worlds do you totally dig inhabiting when you can block out the one filled with autocrats and laundry and a ludicrously imbalanced signal-to-noise ratio. Sorry. Think I went off. Not sure I stayed on topic with your question but basically, when I’m writing, I start in the morning and I stop when I’m done for the day. Sometimes that’s around lunch time, sometimes I’m burnin’ ye olde candelabra after the sun’s gone to bed. I just have to work fast before the thing sets. It’s a lot like wet cement. Also, if I wait too long to explore a story idea, it kinda shifts, like this super-fragrant, lilac vapor (pre-cement stage,) and just goes somewhere else. Maybe to a spinal column that is better prepared to sit its coccyx down and do the work now. (No, I do not, nor have I ever, done drugs.)

Can you tell us about your next book?

Can I do that? I mean, is that kosher? Well, I’ll let you decide what to print since you’re my agent! After Kyle’s story, I wrote a novel called ACE MASTRIANO AND THE SUPERSONIC MYSTERY CARAVAN. It’s kid’s fic that is at once thinly-veiled autobiography as well as an amateur, but wicked fun, exercise in wish-fulfillment. Just jokin’. It’s about an indomitable 12-year-old girl, Alexis ‘Ace’ Mastriano who stalks the secrets of the universe. She even tries to get a club off the ground to assist her in her quest until one day … the universe answers. It’s set in 1984. Yes, kids, the cosmos were communicating even before the Internet.

Are there any tips you could give aspiring writers who are looking to get published?

I love this part. My tip is simple: know thyself. And then be true. The amount of horse doody you’re going to have to wade through on your way to The Desired End is staggering. So. Get used to the smell, and let your Nose lead you–sometimes around but sometimes through–where (and how) you need to go. Trust yourself. You’ve got this.

What fictional character do you wish you’d invented?

What a killer note to end on. I’m gonna go with Ford Prefect. Either him or Jerry Spinelli’s timeless, artless, deeply wise and alive Stargirl.

A Starred Review for Valynne Maetani’s INK AND ASHES

Congratulations to Valynne Maetani on her starred review in Kirkus!

“This fantastic debut packs a highly suspenseful blend of action, intrigue, and teen romance.”

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Read the full review here.

Check out Ink and Ashes on Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, and Amazon.

Check out Valynne Maetani on her website and twitter.

Photos from Bologna

Last week I was in Italy for the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. Here are a few photos:

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View from my hotel room.

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Italian gramma watering her plants.

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There’s a used book tent in town (no relation to the Fair I don’t think). Not pictured: X-Men comic books in Italian.

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First night in Bologna Greenhouse has a family dinner with our sister company Rights People and Working Partners. It ends, inevitably, with limoncello.

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Covered sidewalks at night. So pretty!

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The decidedly less-pretty back alleys of the actual fair grounds. Occasionally you spot a celebrity or two.

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2am, the street outside our perfect little hotel.

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The weather was *beautiful* this year.

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With Greenhouse’s brilliant U.K. agent Polly Nolan. This is Tuesday afternoon I believe and we’re pretty fatigued after two straight days of meetings. But spirits are high!

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#want

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Last but not least, De Cesari, where I had dinner my last night in town. Some of the best food (and service) I’ve ever experienced in Bologna, which is a pretty high standard. All of it totally worth the crippling jet lag.

For more photos of the fair, check out Publishers Weekly’s Photos from Bologna special edition.

Win a Ticket to the WE ALL LOOKED UP Release Party at Joe’s Pub!


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WE ALL LOOKED UP drops March 24th. Now you can win a chance to celebrate with author Tommy Wallach at Joe’s Pub in Manhattan on Friday, March 27th. Hobnob with the y.a. literati and see Tommy perform with his band live on stage.

How you can win a free ticket: Between the 24th and noon on the 27th, head on down to your local book store and tweet a picture of yourself with a copy of WE ALL LOOKED UP, and tag it #WeAllSelfie. Best picture wins a ticket and universal admiration and acclaim.

(Just a reminder, Joe’s Pub is 21+, so you gotta be of age to get into *this* end-of-the-world party.)

You can also buy a ticket here. Seating is limited, so click it now!

Check out WE ALL LOOKED UP on Goodreads. Pre-order now at Barnes & NobleAmazon, or Indiebound.

Happy Pub Day to Hannah Moskowitz and NOT OTHERWISE SPECIFIED!

A few years ago Hannah described to me a new story she was working on, about “a girl who gets kicked out of her lesbian clique for not being a big enough lesbian.” She’s always had a knack for pitching her own work… When I read the first draft I discovered Etta, a girl defying categories, finding the strength to simply be in a world crowded by others’ expectations.

Today, NOT OTHERWISE SPECIFIED hits shelves…

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From the award-winning author of Break and Teeth comes a raw and honest exploration of complicated identities in a novel about a girl living on the fringe of every fringe group in her small town.

Etta is tired of dealing with all of the labels and categories that seem so important to everyone else in her small Nebraska hometown.HannahMoskowitz_pic

Everywhere she turns, someone feels she’s too fringe for the fringe. Not gay enough for the Dykes, her ex-clique, thanks to a recent relationship with a boy; not tiny and white enough for ballet, her first passion; not sick enough to look anorexic (partially thanks to recovery). Etta doesn’t fit anywhere—until she meets Bianca, the straight, white, Christian, and seriously sick girl in Etta’s therapy group. Both girls are auditioning for Brentwood, a prestigious New York theater academy that is so not Nebraska. Bianca might be Etta’s salvation…but can Etta be saved by a girl who needs saving herself?

In addition to the many lists featuring this book, today Kirkus also placed NOP on its list of “11 Books That Grab You From Page One,” — of which Hannah’s is one of only three y.a. titles featured!

Check out NOT OTHERWISE SPECIFIED on Goodreads and order it at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Indiebound. Find out more about Hannah’s award winning novels on her website.

Moskowitz and Wallach on Bustle’s 17 Best of March 2015

Debuting this month are Tommy Wallach’s WE ALL LOOKED UP and Hannah Moskowitz’s NOT OTHERWISE SPECIFIED. So proud to see them both on Bustle’s

17 of March 2015’s Best YA Books!

Check out WE ALL LOOKED UP (Simon & Schuster, March 24th, 2015) on Goodreads. Pre-order now at Barnes & NobleAmazon, or Indiebound.

Check out NOT OTHERWISE SPECIFIED (Simon Pulse, March 3rd, 2015) on Goodreads and pre-order it at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Indiebound.

Debut Deal for Amy Brashear and her Y.A. Retelling of In Cold Blood

Now, Truman Capote’s classic non-fiction novel In Cold Blood is one of my favorite books of all time. It explores the murder and aftermath of the Clutter family in 1959 Holcomb, Kansas, the search for their killers, and the eventual trial and execution (um, spoilers). So when author Amy Brashear queried me with a y.a. retelling of ICB from the point of view of Nancy Clutter’s teenage best friend, I requested immediately. Today I’m thrilled to announce that haunting coming-of-age, CONDEMNED, will be published by SoHo Teen!

Amy Brashear Author Pic

Greenhouse: When and how did you start writing?

Amy: I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I was always scribbling something down on paper. I blame my mom. We would watch a lot of murder shows growing up, especially Murder, She Wrote. We would sit in front of the TV and try to figure it out before Jessica did. I wanted to be a writer like Jessica Fletcher. I wanted to write about murder and solve crimes. I was a weird little girl.

Can you remember the first book that made an impact on you? Who were your childhood storytelling heroes?

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. I was in the fifth grade and we had just moved from Garden City, Kansas to Nacogdoches, Texas. My class went on a field trip to Stephen F. Austin University to see a production of The Diary of Anne Frank. I had never read the book before seeing the play. But after school my mom took my brother and I to the bookstore at the mall and bought a copy. I still have that worn paperback.

Growing up I read a lot and that’s due to my mom. She would always tell my brother and I stories. She would always make them up. Though they would often be about us— what we were like as kids. When I started reading on my own I would read the Little House on the Prairie books, the Boxcar Children, the Babysitters Club books, Goosebumps, really anything by R.L. Stine, Caroline B. Cooney, Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, Roald Dahl, and Lois Duncan. I couldn’t get enough of those books.

Can you talk us through the writing of your first book? What were the key moments?

I grew up in Southwest Kansas and knew about the Clutter family murder way before I read imgres by Truman Capote, which is one of my favorite books. I was always fascinated about the case. Truman focused on Dick and Perry but I was fascinated with what it would be like to live during that time in that small town and what happens when everyone is looking at everyone else as someone who could have done something so violent. I wanted to answer the question of what happens if you’re best friend was murdered and your father ends up having to represent one of the suspects. I did so much research for this book. Newspaper articles were my saving grace.   

Was it hard to get an agent? Can you talk us through the process?

Yes. Yes it was. I’m a product of the slush-pile. I didn’t know anyone in publishing. Being published has been a dream for a very long time. I’ve queried many a book. But I guess this book was different. I researched many agents and queried many that I thought would be a perfect representative of my book but I ultimately signed with John, an agent that wasn’t just the perfect agent to represent this book but hopefully my future career.

Describe your writing day. Where do you write? How do you organize your time? Where do you look for inspiration?

I like to write historical fiction so I spend a lot of time researching. I like to read old newspaper articles, looking at vintage photographs, old magazines, anything and everything can make a good story. I write anytime I can. I use the note app on my phone throughout the day, whenever inspiration strikes.

Can you tell us about your next book?

I’ve finished another YA historical. It’s set in 1969. I’m drafting a YA alternate history novel set in 1984 and a MG historical fantasy.

Are there any tips you could give aspiring writers who are looking to get published?

I know it sounds silly but never number your chapters until the very last minute. Trust me it will save you a lot of hair pulling. Always backup your work in many different places. Trust me. I’ve been there. And even though it’s easier said than done try not to worry and have patience.

Can you describe three aspects of writing craft that have been most important as you’ve developed as an author?

1. Have an outline but don’t stick with it. Let the words take you where they want to go.

2. Don’t be afraid to cut characters during revisions.

3. When you get “stuck” don’t be afraid to step away and work on other things.

Which favorite authors would you invite to a dinner party? What fictional character do you wish you’d invented?

Truman Capote. I think it would be a fun dinner party. Though he’d be doing all the talking and gossiping. But there would be laughing. And I think many secrets would be spilled.

Luna Lovegood and Amy Dunne. Two of the most different but amazing characters ever written.