CURRENT GIVEAWAY CONTESTS
Here are my current Giveaway Contests
THE PRINCESS AND THE PAGE through April 22nd
Natalie Lakosil Query Critique and THE STAR THIEF through April 22nd
Happy Easter Giveaway Hop through April 30th
Tracy Marchini Query Critique through April 29th
THE WINGSNATCHERS through May 4th
Lauren Spieller Query Critique through May 13th
Upcoming Agent Spotlights and Query Critique Giveaways
Loren Oberweger on 5/10/2017
Alyssa Jennette on 5/24/2017
Bibi Lewis on 6/12/2017
Kelly Van Sant on 6/21/2017
HOLLY SCHINDLER GUEST POST AND FERAL GIVEAWAY
Happy Monday Everyone! Hope you had a great few weeks. I enjoyed my blog break, but nothing exciting happened. Just been working and working on swim team activities. We’ve already had a successful cleaning the pool area day, picnic organizational meeting, and bonfire team bonding event. This is going to be a super busy week with an 8 team relay, a sleepover, and working concessions at a U of M game. Once we get through this, the work will slow down until the end of season as we’re only hosting 5 meets. Yay! I did get some reading in these past few weeks.
And here are a few links:
Also, I have some winners to announce
The winner of GATES OF THREAD AND STONE is Emma A!
The winner of COPPER MAGIC is Reader Noir!
And the winner of my Beach Reads Giveaway Hop is Shannon R who chose the $10 Amazon Gift Card!
Congrats! E-mail me your address so I can send you your books. Please e-mail me by the end of Wednesday or I’ll have to pick another winner.
Today I have a fantastic guest post by Holly Schindler, who writes in both MG and YA stories, and a giveaway of FERAL, her new YA novel. Details about the giveaway will be at the end of the post. So here’s Holly!
FERAL AND FINDING THE RIGHT AGE GROUP
My third YA, FERAL, releases tomorrow. It’s both a psychological thriller and a gritty read about
In the MG version, the book was a straight mystery (rather than a psychological thriller) about a young girl trying to get to the bottom of a cold case that centered on the death of a former student at her middle school. But during the revision process, the book got increasingly darker—and I began to suspect it was growing too gritty for the MG category, that it might need to be a YA instead.
You’d think that bumping a book up in age would be a fairly simple process: you’d keep your characters but age them, and would also hang on to the original genre / subgenre. You’d think it’d be a process of trading out bicycles and giving characters cars. Making the dialogue a bit older. But I found that bumping a book from the MG category into YA involved far more than that. It was a real overhaul.
So how can you know if your own book really should be bumped up in category? I’d argue the decision centers on three components: Character, Theme, and Genre.
• Character: We’re not the same people at seventeen that we were at thirteen. I discovered that the MG character I’d created didn’t belong in my YA at ALL. I actually needed a new protagonist that fit with the grittier surroundings. You may feel, as I did, that brainstorming a new character is somewhat freeing. That it’s bringing you closer to what your book really needs to be. You may also feel that you’re losing something vital (voice, perspective) to your novel. If that’s the case, it may be an indication that you need to keep your book in the MG category.
• Theme: As I brainstormed a character sketch for my new protagonist, I discovered a pretty chilling backstory: Claire had survived a brutal gang beating in her hometown of Chicago. When I had that backstory, I knew I also had a theme for the book that meshed with the dark, gritty YA I was also creating: I knew the book needed to be about recovering from violence. That’s a theme that might not make it into the MG category—at least, not in the way I was beginning to imagine it. Yet another indication that turning my book into a YA was moving in the right direction.
• Genre / Subgenre: Once I knew who my protagonist was and had nailed down the overall theme, I also knew the genre needed to change. Rather than a straight mystery, I knew FERAL needed to be a psychological thriller. That format was going to allow me to focus my attention on the “psychological”—the inner workings of my main character—while exploring, in brutal detail, the terrifying aspect of recovering from violence. Some genres just lend themselves more to YA (for example, romance). I felt that the psychological thriller also lent itself better to the YA readership.
I’ve learned to be open to literally anything as I plunge into revision. I have to let my book talk to me, tell me what it wants to be. I’m certainly glad I listened to my book and pushed it into the YA world.
For you, listening to your own book may mean bumping your WIP up into another age group—but it also may mean listening to your book tell you that the revisions should continue to take place within the MG category. After all, being open to any possibility means being open to the possibility that your first instincts were right all along!
Here’s a blurb of FERAL from the jacket copy:
It’s too late for you. You’re dead. Those words continue to haunt Claire Cain months after she barely survived a brutal beating in Chicago. So when her father is offered a job in another state, Claire is hopeful that getting out will offer her a way to start anew.
But when she arrives in Peculiar, Missouri, Claire feels an overwhelming sense of danger, and her fears are confirmed when she discovers the body of a popular high school student in the icy woods behind the school, surrounded by the town’s feral cats. While everyone is quick to say it was an accident, Claire knows there’s more to it, and vows to learn the truth about what happened.
But the closer she gets to uncovering the mystery, the closer she also gets to realizing a frightening reality about herself and the damage she truly sustained in that Chicago alley….
Holly Schindler’s gripping story is filled with heart-stopping twists and turns that will keep readers guessing until the very last page.
Holly Schindler Bio:
Holly Schindler is the author of the critically acclaimed A BLUE SO DARK (Booklist starred review, ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year silver medal recipient, IPPY Awards gold medal recipient) as well as PLAYING HURT (both YAs).
Her debut MG, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY also released in ’14, and became a favorite of teachers and librarians, who used the book as a read-aloud. Kirkus Reviews called THE JUNCTION “...a heartwarming and uplifting story...[that] shines...with vibrant themes of community, self-empowerment and artistic vision delivered with a satisfying verve.”
FERAL is Schindler’s third YA and first psychological thriller. Publishers Weekly gave FERAL a starred review, stating, “Opening with back-to-back scenes of exquisitely imagined yet very real horror, Schindler’s third YA novel hearkens to the uncompromising demands of her debut, A BLUE SO DARK…This time, the focus is on women’s voices and the consequences they suffer for speaking…This is a story about reclaiming and healing, a process that is scary, imperfect, and carries no guarantees.”
Schindler encourages readers to get in touch. Booksellers, teen librarians, and teachers can also contact her directly regarding Skype visits. She can be reached at hollyschindlerbooks (at) gmail (dot) com, and can also be found at hollyschindler.com, hollyschindler.blogspot.com, @holly_schindler, Facebook.com/HollySchindlerAuthor, and http://hollyschindler.tumblr.com/
Holly has generously offered a copy of FERAL 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 through September 6th. I’ll announce the winner on September 8th. 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. This is for US and Canada only.
Here’s what’s coming up:
On Wednesday, September 3rd, I have a guest post by debut author Kerry Cerra and a giveaway of JUST A DROP OF WATER, her MG contemporary.
The following Monday I have an interview with debut author Stephanie Gaither and a giveaway of FALLS THE SHADOW, a YA futurist story about cloning replacement kids. I was hooked in the first few pages.
The following Monday I have a guest post by PJ Hoover and a giveaway of TUT, her YA story with mythological themes. I’m a huge fan of PJ’s and am excited to see how her books have been both traditionally published and self-published.
Wednesday that week I have a guest post by long time follower and debut author Joshua Bellin with a giveaway of SURVIVAL COLONY NINE, a YA sci-fi story.
And don’t forget Casey’s Thursday Agent Spotlights.
Hope to see you on Wednesday, September 2nd!
Posted by Natalie Aguirre on Monday, August 25, 2014