Well, it's been kind of awhile since I updated this website. Bad author lady! But lots has happened recently that's been pretty exciting. For one thing. I'm mid-edit on a NEW book about Sophomore Year, which will come out in 2015, also from Putnam. (It's not all about Kelsey, though she does make an appearance). And in Freshman Year news, the paperback came out in March with a slightly different cover, which was very cool.
Most exciting of all, FYAOUD is featured on the hugely successful (and totally addictive/amazing) new Netflix series, Orange is the New Black. It's being read in prison by Red, the scary head of the kitchen. It's an honor to be part of such an amazing show, and I just love that the book has it's own special moment - go look for it in episode 2!
Plus, the books featured on the show have been getting press of their own. Here are some cool links from this week!
I wonder if anyone actually reads this blog? Hm. Well, I certainly haven''t visited in a while... my bad.
Anyway, I've been working on a new YA book that takes place in NYC and Greece (it's not about Kelsey, but our old friend DOES make a cameo appearance!). Part of my research included a trip to Greece - Crete and Athens - over the summer and meeting people, seeing what was going on, casting the book, etc. It was an incredible, frustrating, exciting, beautiful, occasionally lonely journey; I saw incredible things and met so many fantastic people. Among those new friends are the staff and students at ACS, the American-style International School in Athens, which will be the model for the school my main character attends. They were so welcoming and helped me beyond measure during my visit, plus they interviewed me for their first ever podcast, "Bridges." It was an honor to be asked to participate, and I think the finished product is pretty amazing - particularly the commentary by teacher John Papadakis and administrator Peggy Pelonis, and the questions from the kids.
Sometimes, when your bestie comes to visit from LA, you find yourself staying out all night, acting like crazy lunatics, and subsequently being very tired. Sometimes, sheer exhaustion leads to making videos in the apartment. Videos that you decide are GENIUS. And maybe they are actually as hilarious as you think they are. Maybe you watch them 100 times and think the rest of the world should, too. Maybe... maybe the world WILL do exactly that...
And then, you know - go read my book. Also, watch this video again. We made it, and it is AMAZING.
I don't know why I thought the BIG DAY would end up not being a disaster. I mean, I've met me. I wrote a book about being me. Then I lived through that book'sÂ four year editing process. You know, the one that was supposed to be less than two years long? And featured a complete stylistic rewrite of the book (later scrapped), my editor getting fired, and my brain exploding? Yes - that's the one.
But I had a PLAN for the book's release, people. It involved eating the entire crunchies layer out of a Carvel ice cream cake (for breakfast, obv), going to a bookstore and holding the book, and inviting my best friends over to drink this very expensive champagne my mom gave me, like, three years ago. Then I was going to read the book - something I haven't actually ever done without also trying to edit. And certainly never in finished book form, with a beautiful cover and actual pages and stuff.
Well, too bad for me. Instead, I got to spend the morning sitting on the floor of a subway car because I was too weak to stand, watching the other passengers try to decide if I was ill or had just escaped from a nuthouse. Then I got to hang out in a hospital gown, sobbing, while I got tested for dengue fever, malaria, and typhus. What a treat! Instead of cake and champers, I got crackers and Gatorade - which I enjoyed while huddled in my bed, praying for death to take me.
The only thing I read that day were the instructions for my at-home sal monella test. If you've taken one, I'm sure you are feeling sorry for me right now. If you haven't, consider yourself lucky.
All of my friends felt terrible that I was so sick. And every single one of them - including my agent, who hasn't even known me that long! - said something like, "Of course, you're not actually surprised that this happened, right? I mean, it's you. Can I bring you some ginger ale or anything?"
I still have a book. Which is pretty freaking amazing. I mean, four days later I still can't eat anything besides rice and my head may never stop hurting... but there's still a book. People are reading it. Maybe someone is reading it right now! Maybe it's making her laugh. Maybe she's wondering how on earth the author thought of so many horrible things to do to her poor main character. Maybe she's eating a Carvel cake in a coincidental homage.
I wonder if I'm actually bringing this on myself? Is it a chicken/egg thing? Sure, I was me for many years before I wrote the book, but maybe I could mix things up and change how everything works in the future, thereby guaranteeing a disaster-free existence starting now.
So for my next book I'll write about a girl who gets everything she wants and has a perfect life and lives on a rainbow-colored cloud and cures cancer and has a really cute boyfriend that she never fights with and together they end the war in the Middle East while having perfect hair.
Yesterday afternoon, I found a mysterious package in the mailroom closet. It was for me.
It was from my marvelous editor, Shauna... so I knew it would be something good. I thought it might be the first real copy - hardcover! - of the book. SQUEEEEEEE!!
But I waited to open it.
I mean, you can only open it one time, right? My cats are pretty great, but they haven't mastered the art of doing cartwheels yet. So I waited.
I met my friend Steve for drinks later on and brought it with me - in the Fedex envelope. When he found out what it was, he yelled at me for not opening it. And so... I knew the time was right at last! We ripped it open! It was in there!!!!!!
This has been a LOOOOOOONG journey, guys. It took four years to go from Putnam buying the book to actually holding a finished hardcover copy in my hands - instead of the maybe-two it was supposed to. (See? The disasters didn't stop just because I'm not a freshman in high school anymore. I am, in fact, cursed. It's okay - I'm used to it. Le sigh.)
Then I found a note inside the book from Shauna telling me to look at the actual book - the fabric cover underneath the fancy paper one. Now, I never mentioned this to her before (or anyone, really), but when I was a kid I randomly discovered that sometimes there are things on the fabric cover that are different from the paper cover. A picture embossed on the front, maybe. And since then I've been OBSESSED with checking every hardcover book I ever get to see if there's something extra special underneath. Usually there isn't. But on mine... there IS! The writing on the spine is PINK and SPARKLY!!!!
So then I thought: OMG. This is actually happening.
I think someone around here deserves some CANDY. (Hint: It is me. And maybe Shauna, too. )