Second one of our wonderful followers and my friend Stina Lindenblatt lost her domain name and had to start a new blog last week. And she has AWESOME agent and book deal news. I'm so excited for her! And she kept me in the loop while it was all going on, which was so sweet of her. So go congratulate her and sign up for her fantastic blog HERE.
Finally the winner of THE 5TH WAVE is Kristianna!
Congrats! E-mail me your address so I can send you your book. Please e-mail me by the end of Wednesday or I'll have to pick another winner.
Today I’m excited to have debut author Cristin Terrell here to share about her new book, ALL OUR YESTERDAYS, which releases on September 3, 2013. I took this to read on vacation and OMG, it was so good. I loved the combination time travel/dystopian aspects of the story. I haven’t read many time travel books but this one sold me on them. And I loved learning about Em’s life in the future and her journey into the past.
Here’s a description from Goodreads:
Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside.
Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was.
All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.
Hi Cristin. Thanks so much for joining us.
1. Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer. Did your experiences in the theater help you at all in becoming a writer?
I started writing novels in a very roundabout way. I used to write short stories as a hobby, and my mom was convinced I should become a novelist, which I thought was ridiculous. But one year, I decided to write and print-on-demand a novel for her for Christmas, because I knew it would make her cry and she would love me better than my little sister. Through doing that, I actually discovered I really enjoyed it.
I don’t know that working in the theatre has made me a better writer, but I think being obsessed with stories and storytelling my whole life, which was what led me into the theatre, certainly did. And I do think my time as a stage manager has given me a different perspective on things like character motivation, blocking, and structure than I might have had otherwise.
2. So cool that your mom encouraged you to write. Where did you come up with the idea for your story and the mixing of the dystopian future with the time travel? I found it really unique.
The idea for the plot largely came from watching The Terminator on cable at 3:00am when I couldn’t sleep once and wondering how the story would play out if the killer robot from the future was actually the good guy. I didn’t think of it as mixing sci-fi and dystopian at the time, although those have always been favorite genres of mine (no dystopian fatigue for me!).
3. I don’t have dystopian fatigue either. Wish the publishers felt the same. And you’re giving the rest of us an excuse to watch more TV. Yay!
This is one of my first time travel novels and I loved it. Do you have any tips on writing a time travel story and keeping the logistics straight, especially when you take the reader into both the future and the past?
Sadly, I have no tips. If I did, maybe writing book 2 wouldn’t be so hard! I got so confused so often while working on All Our Yesterdays that sometimes I just had to put my head down on the desk and think. I tried diagrams and note-cards and a thousand other methods for keeping everything straight, but in the end the only thing that worked for me was just thinking through each step. My brain was often oatmeal by the end of the day.
4. Don’t feel bad. Everyone says book 2 is hard to write. I really enjoyed reading from Em’s and Marina’s point of views. They seemed different in many ways. Share about how you developed them as characters and any challenges you faced.
Em came to me very naturally from the beginning, but Marina was more of a struggle. Initially I wrote
5. That’s great how you connected both of them to the issue of love and had them come at it from such different directions. One of the things I really admired about your story was the pacing. All the scenes directly related to the plot and there was never a quiet moment. Did your story start out like that or did you tighten the plot through the editing process? What advice do you have for the rest of us on creating a fast paced story?
I actually added about 17K (!!!) in revisions with my agent and another 5K in revisions with my editor, so there was much more expanding that had to happen than tightening. My drafts tend to grow as I revise because I almost always realize after the first draft that the story is missing a major subplot.
My best advice for creating a fast-paced story is unfortunately not revolutionary or easy. Every scene should ideally fulfill multiple functions. If you have a scene that’s just there to advance a relationship between two characters, for example, it’s not working hard enough. It should also move the plot forward, introduce a new question that will be answered somewhere down the line, reveal a previously unknown aspect of a character’s personality or back-story, etc. The more functions you can serve in a single scene, the better the scene will be and the tighter your story will be. Sometimes that takes a lot of planning ahead of time or combining of single-function scenes later on, but it’s worth it.
6. That’s a great tip of what your scene needs to do. Diana Fox is your agent. Tell us about your querying process and how she became your agent. Also what was your submission process like?
I’m actually one of the rare people who wasn’t found in the slush. I used to have a blog that Diana, who I didn’t even know was an agent at the time, read. When I started blogging about this project to write a novel for my mom, Diana emailed me and invited me to send it to her when I was finished. Needless to say, I kind of freaked out. I sent her the book when it was done, and when I realized about a month later that the book was terrible, I emailed her again and begged her not to read any more because I was so embarrassed. She kindly told me that, yes, the book was pretty bad but that she’d be interested in seeing whatever I wrote in the future because apparently she’s kind of a masochist. My next book was significantly less bad, and I queried several agents, including my first-choice Diana, who offered representation shortly after.
That less-bad book didn’t sell, and I was actually really relieved when each rejection came in because I was so much more in love with the book I had just begun drafting (which would become All Our Yesterdays). The stars basically aligned for this book. It went on submission in February 2012 and within a week we were at auction, which was easily the craziest few days of my life, and in the end I decided to go with Emily Meehan at Disney-Hyperion, which has been fantastic.
7. What a fascinating and different road to getting an agent. I love it! I read that your book is already optioned to be a moving with Brian Miller set to write the screenplay. And you’ve also sold your book overseas. How awesome! Share a bit about how this all came about and where you’re at in terms of the movie deal.
The movie option and most of the foreign sales also happened in February of 2012. (It was a really crazy month.) When my amazing film rights manager Pouya Shabazian called to tell me that Gold Circle Films wanted to buy the movie rights, my brain just kind of shut down and all I said was, “okay.” I don’t even remember the rest of the conversation other than sensing that Pouya was a bit baffled by my total non-response. When I regained consciousness, I called my mom to tell her, and she and I just laughed hysterically for about a half an hour. It was (and is) very surreal. And then on top of everything, I couldn’t tell anyone else about the deal for over a year!
8. That’s so cool you share the news with your mom, especially she encouraged you so much to write. She must be telling you “I told you so.” You recently went to Book Expo America in New York City and the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. What made you decide to go to these conferences and how did your appearances get set up? What advice do you have for the rest of us trying to decide what big conferences to go to?
I think knowing what you want out of a conference is the key to picking which one will be best for you. After awhile, I outgrew most writing conferences like SCBWI. They’re fantastic for people just getting their feet wet with publishing, but I personally wasn’t getting much new information out of them. Instead, I’ve been doing ALA every year. It’s fun, I get to meet up with friends I don’t see often, I always meet new people, and I get a chance to discover new books. There are no hit-or-miss panels to sit through, and it’s cheap!
This year, the Class of 2K13, of which I’m a part, was approved to do a panel ALA, so it was a no-brainer for me to go again. When I told Disney-Hyperion I was going, they kindly set up a reading and signing for me. BEA, on the other hand, was all Disney. They arranged for me to go and set up tons of events for me (I think I ended up with seven in 48 hours). Both conferences were exhausting (even more than usual!) but I also had a ton of fun and managed not to fall down, throw up, or otherwise humiliate myself in public, so I think they went pretty well!
9. How cool you go to ALA every year. I’d love to go there someday. What are you working on now?
All Our Yesterdays #2! It’s slowly killing me.
Thanks for sharing all your advice, Cristin. You can find Cristin at her website, Twitter, Tumblr, or Facebook.
Cristin and her publisher, Disney, have generously offered an ARC of ALL OUR YESTERDAYS for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment by midnight on August 17th. I’ll announce the winner on August 19th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, please leave it in the comments.
If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 or older to enter. International entries are welcome.
Here’s what’s coming up next:
On Monday I’m interviewing Ellen Boorman and giving away a copy of TEXTING THE UNIVERSE, a middle grade paranormal story told from a boy’s POV. This is Ellen’s third book so I know she’ll have a lot of great advice to share with us.
The following Monday I’m interviewing author Dianne Salerni’s (author of THE CAGED GRAVES) 16-year old daughter about how she finds out about books and the writer’s club she started at her high school for my Ask The Expert series. And I’ll be giving away a copy of ICONS. It’s another sci-fi/dystopian story I really enjoyed. I was struck by how different it is from THE 5th WAVE that I spotlighted last month.
Wednesday that week, I’m interviewing Darcy Pattision and giving away a copy of her new book, START YOUR NOVEL-SIX WINNING STEPS TOWARD A COMPELLING OPENING LINE, SCENE, AND CHAPTER. Darcy’s the author of picture books, non fiction books, and a YA novel. And she’s also the author of NOVEL METAMORPHOSIS: UNCOMMON WAYS TO REVISE NOVELS, a fantastic book that I found really helpful when revising my novel. I know she’ll have lots of great advice to share with us.
The Monday after that I’m thrilled to have C.J. Redwine back to talk about her new book, DECEPTION, the sequel to DEFIANCE. I really loved how C.J. took the story in a totally different direction I didn’t anticipate. And of course, I’ll be giving away an ARC of this.
And don't forget our Tuesday Tips and Casey's Thursday agent spotlights.
Hope to see you next Monday!