Word for Teens

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.

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WE ALL LOOKED UP on Indiebound’s Indie Next Top Ten

WALU front cover finalTommy Wallach’s debut has already made some great lists. Proud to announce today he’s also made Indiebound’s Kids’ Indie Next List! And in some great company too.

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

A MAD WICKED FOLLY on YALSA’s 2015 Best Fiction for Young Adults List

MWF Paperback CoverI’m so excited to announce that Sharon Biggs Waller’s A MAD WICKED FOLLY has been chosen by the Young Adult Library Services Association for its 2015 Best Fiction for Young Adults List!

FOLLY’s already received some great acclaim, featured on *three* of Booklist’s Top Tens. And on the heels of the YALSA Best FIc announcement, Sharon’s debut novel has made the 2015 Amelia Bloomer list as well!

Sharon has a pretty rad “how’d you find your agent?” story, which you can read here. (We had internet kismet.) Her next novel, a y.a. historical from Viking Books, is due out next winter.

Meanwhile, you can find Sharon at her website, on Facebook, and on twitter.

Check out the critically acclaimed A MAD WICKED FOLLY on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, and Goodreads.

Congrats Sharon!

Courtney Alameda and SHUTTER on the Fierce Reads Tour!

Been sitting on this news for weeks and am so so so excited to finally announce: Courtney Alameda will be on Spring 2015’s FIERCE READS TOUR!

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Courtney’s seriously creepy y.a. SHUTTER is coming February 3rd from Feiwel & Friends:

9781250044679Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat — a girl who sees the auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she has trained since childhood to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual: the corporeal undead go down by the bullet, the spiritual undead by the lens. With an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film. She’s aided by her crew: Oliver, a techno-whiz and the boy who developed her camera’s technology; Jude, who can predict death; and Ryder, the boy Micheline has known and loved forever.

When a routine ghost hunt goes awry, Micheline and the boys are infected with a curse known as a soulchain. As the ghostly chains spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn’t exorcise her entity in seven days or less, she and her friends will die. Now pursued as a renegade agent by her monster-hunting father, Leonard Helsing, she must track and destroy an entity more powerful than anything she’s faced before . . . or die trying.

Lock, stock, and lens, she’s in for one hell of a week.

Visit Courtney’s website, follow her on Twitter, and like her on Facebook.

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

A MAD WICKED PAPERBACK REVEAL

10.25.14 Update: MAD WICKED FOLLY just made its *third* Booklist Top Ten List!

Congrats to Sharon Biggs Waller on her new paperback cover!

MWF Paperback Cover

Welcome to the world of the fabulously wealthy in London, 1909, where dresses and houses are overwhelmingly opulent, social class means everything, and women are taught to be nothing more than wives and mothers. Into this world comes seventeen-year-old Victoria Darling, who wants only to be an artist—a nearly impossible dream for a girl.

            After Vicky poses nude for her illicit art class, she is expelled from her French finishing school. Shamed and scandalized, her parents try to marry her off to the wealthy Edmund Carrick-Humphrey. But Vicky has other things on her mind: her clandestine application to the Royal College of Art; her participation in the suffragette movement; and her growing attraction to a working-class boy who may be her muse—or may be the love of her life. As the world of debutante balls, corsets, and high society obligations closes in around her, Vicky must figure out: just how much is she willing to sacrifice to pursue her dreams?

A MAD WICKED FOLLY on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, Goodreads

WE ALL LOOKED UP selected for ABA’s Indies Introduce Debut Authors List

IndiesIntroduceDAExciting news from American Booksellers Association last week: Tommy Wallach‘s WE ALL LOOKED UP (Simon & Schuster, March 2015) has been included on their Indies Introduce Debut Authors list!

From ABA’s announcement:

“For the fifth consecutive season, two panels of booksellers from every region of the country have chosen 10 debut adult titles and 10 children’s titles for the Indies Introduce Debut Authors and New Voices promotion. Featured Winter/Spring titles include fiction and nonfiction, middle grade and YA, publishing between January and June 2015.

Tommy WallachThese standout debuts will take readers from the familiar to the exotic, from New York to Paris, from Montana to Pakistan, and to Swedish Lapland in the 1700s. There’s a mystery, an unforgettable boy and dog, unusual chickens, and a first book by an independent bookseller from Mississippi.”
I’m so excited to see WALU (as we call it ’round here) included on this list, especially on the heels of our big film announcement last week. You can add WE ALL LOOKED UP on Goodreads or pre-order it on Barnes & NobleAmazon, or Indiebound. Which you should do.

Guest Post & Edits!

Firstly, if you haven’t seen my guest post on the wondrous Word For Teens, check it out!

So last night I came home  to find an email from my fab editor on “the new one,” a.k.a. CHERRY MONEY BABY, the follow-up to Girl Parts. No sooner is one kid out the door, you start raising her baby sister.

I made an effort with this manuscript to “show don’t tell,” and parts almost read like a play, with dialog and action and almost no authorial commentary. BUT, interestingly, my editor wants to see *more* telling, more connective tissue between the bones. This is fine by me, as I love that kind of thing and was restraining myself in this case.

I won’t go into plot here, but I will say that on my desk is a copy of Gray’s Anatomy, the floor plan of an English Manor House, and the annotated Through the Looking Glass.

Back to the salt mines!