Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

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Happy Monday Everyone! Hope you had a great week. I have a good time with my mom.

Follower News

Stephen Tremp recently released his new book, SALEM'S DAUGHTERS. Here's a blurb: A four
hundred year old evil is unleashed when souls of the daughters of those killed during the Salem Witch Trials find a new generation of people to murder at a popular modern-day bed and breakfast. And here are a few links: For a full synopsis and to download a copy of Salem’s Daughters for $2.99. Click Here.

I have a few winners to announce.

The winner of THE BLACKTHORN KEY is Leandra Wallace!

The winner of LOCK & MORI is Danielle H!

And the winner of HOODO is S.P. Bowers!

Congrats! E-mail me your address so I can have your book sent to you. 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 Laurel Gale here to share about her MG fantasy DEAD BOY that releases tomorrow. It sounds like something that will really appeal to boys too.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:

A darkly funny and literary debut novel about a dead boy named Crow who has a chance at friendship - and a chance at getting his life back

Just because you’re dead doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a life.

Crow Darlingson died in the 4th grade. But he’s still alive. And growing, actually. He can’t eat or taste anything, his body parts sometimes fall off (mom always sews them back on, though), and he’s only allowed to leave his house once per year, on Halloween.

Crow’s parents are separating, and despite their reassurances, he’s pretty sure it’s his fault. After all, having an undead son can’t be much easier than being one. Sneaking out at night only makes things worse, but he can’t resist the chance at a real friendship with Melody Plympton, the new girl next door, who loves mystery more than she minds the stink of his flesh or the maggots that sometimes crawl out of his nose.

Together they investigate the mysterious Meera - a monster living in the nearby park. Logic and fear tell Crow to stay away, but fuzzy memories lure him on. When Crow and Melody venture into its underground lair, Crow’s not just risking the half-life he clings to. He’s also risking the only friend he’s had in years.

The importance of friendship is crystallized as Crow and Melody face tests of loyalty, courage, and honor in this macabre middle grade novel by a debut author.

Hi Laurel! Thanks so much for joining us.

1. Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.

I’ve always loved writing and reading. When I was a kid, I wrote (really bad) poetry and short stories. Later I got busy with college and then work and stopped writing fiction. One day, my husband suggested I try to write a novel. I dismissed the idea as silly, but a seed had been planted in my mind. A few months later, I became obsessed with the idea of becoming a novelist. After a little trial and error, I settled on children’s speculative fiction as my favorite thing to write.

2. That's awesome that your husband got you going on this. Where did you get the idea for DEAD BOY?

The story started with Crow Darlingson, the main character. I imagined him as this lonely little dead boy who just wanted a friend. Normally, I like to write a synopsis before I start a novel, but with DEAD BOY, I kind of just developed it as I went. It was a lot of fun to write.

3. Your book takes place in contemporary times. Share why you decided on a contemporary time period and about your world building process.

I enjoy all types of fantasy and science fiction, but I especially love fantasy that blends elements of reality with magic. I think it’s the idea that there could be a fairy lurking in my local park or a portal to another world hidden somewhere in my own home. I want this to be true! So I tend toward contemporary settings. A lot of my magic is inspired by myth and folklore, but I like to do my own thing with it, make the legends my own.

4. I want a fairy or portal too! Tell us about your main character, Crow, and how he grew as a character as your story developed.

The story started with Crow, so I always had a pretty good sense of who he was: sad and lonely, but still
hopeful and sweet, and also clever and knowledgeable. One thing that deepened as I wrote and revised was my understanding of how his situation—being isolated for two years—would affect his childhood development. The other characters grew a lot as I wrote, and Crow’s relationships with them became more complicated.

5. It is easier when you start out with a vision of your main character. You write middle grade and YA. Do you find differences in your writing for these age groups?

Right now, I’m focused on middle grade, but I enjoy young adult, too. I think there are a lot of differences between the two age groups, with some overlap. Middle grade can be dark, but it’s still innocent. To me, middle grade has this wide-eyed sense of adventure that’s just a ton of fun. Young adult still has the optimism and idealism of middle grade, but it allows for the gritty exploration of more mature themes, and there tends to be a lot of romance.

6. What was your road to publication like?

Not as easy or fast as I would have liked! I wrote several novels before I wrote DEAD BOY. I kept churning them out, improving each time, until finally things fell into place. There was a lot of rejection along the way, but I always had the next project to keep me motivated. And once I signed with fabulous agent David Dunton, things moved really quickly.

7. That's such great advice to keep going with new projects. What have you learned about the year leading up to a debut book release from watching other debut authors go through the process?

The year leading up to publication is really emotional and stressful. For so long, getting a book deal was the goal, but really it’s just the beginning.

I joined a couple of debut groups (the Fearless Fifteeners and the Fall Fifteeners) and I think this was a smart decision. It’s great to have other debut authors to talk to about writing the next book, organizing events, and developing social media. It’s especially helpful to be able to discuss some of the difficulties writers face. Because authors tend to broadcast only the positive developments in their writing career, it’s easy to think that everyone is doing better than you are. Being able to share the ups and downs makes a difference. I’ve found the writing community to be incredibly supportive.

8. Yes, having other authors to talk about the hard parts of being an author would be really helpful. What are you working on now?

I always have a few projects in the works. Right now, I’m focused on my next middle grade novel. I’ll post more details to my website when I can.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Laurel. You can find Laurel at www.laurelgale.com and https://twitter.com/laurel_gale

Laurel has generously offered a copy of DEAD BOY 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 October 10thIf your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter either contest.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. This is for U.S. and Canada.

Here's what's coming up:

Next Monday I have an interview with debut author Jennifer Jenkins and a giveaway of her YA fantasy NAMELESS.

Next Wednesday I have a guest post with debut author Kim Liggett and her agent Josh Adams with a query critique giveaway from Josh and a giveaway of Blood & Salt, Kim's YA fantasy.

The following Monday I have a guest post by long-time follower and debut author Carol Riggs and a giveaway of her YA science fiction THE BODY INSTITUTE.

Wednesday that week I'll be participating in the Spooktacular Book Giveaway Hop.

Hope to see you on Monday!


L. Diane Wolfe said...

We do tend to forget that most people put on a good front. No one wants to let the world that life isn't going well.

Congrats, Laurel.

Karen Lange said...

It's nice to meet and hear about Laurel's journey. The road to publication is seldom all smooth sailing. Thanks to both of you for sharing.

I'll pass on the giveaway this time around. Have a great week!

Christine Rains said...

Congratulations to Laurel! The book sounds fantastic. Thank you for sharing with us your journey. It gives hope to all of us.

Bish Denham said...

I love the premise of this book! I liked Crow right off, just from the blurb. Having the emotional support of other authors, particularly in this day and age, seems to be a must. Congratulations, Laurel!

Bish Denham said...

I love the premise of this book! I liked Crow right off, just from the blurb. Having the emotional support of other authors, particularly in this day and age, seems to be a must. Congratulations, Laurel!

Joanne R. Fritz said...

That does sound macabre! And unusual. A hopeful and sweet dead boy--- how interesting. Congrats to Laurel on her debut. Glad she found support from the Fearless Fifteeners.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Dead Boy sound creepily awesome. Congrats, Laurel!

Angela Brown said...

The book sounds like a mix of sad creepy, mystery and hope. Congrats to Laurel and thanks for a great interview!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

A dead boy names Crow. Despite the dark idea, that really is funny.

Michael G-G said...

I especially love fantasy that blends elements of reality with magic. I think it’s the idea that there could be a fairy lurking in my local park or a portal to another world hidden somewhere in my own home. I want this to be true! So I tend toward contemporary settings.

This describes what I love to write perfectly too! Ergo, MUST READ!
Glad that you have a good visit with your mother, Natalie.

cleemckenzie said...

I'm already sad for this poor little boy!

Tammy Theriault said...

Laurel's book reminds me of the frankenweenie idea. Love it!

dolorah said...

Congrats to the winners. And to Laurel. This sounds like a book my granddaughter would enjoy.

Laura S. said...

Congrats to Laurel's debut! It sounds really good. What a perfect book for this spooky time of year.

Stephen Tremp's Salem's Daughters also sounds great. I love reading Halloween-type books in the autumn!

Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

mshatch said...

What a fun idea! Dead Boy sounds awesome. Congrats to Laurel :)

Unknown said...

Dead Boy sounds so original...both macabre and sensitive! Thank you so much for sharing your journey and congratulations on Dead Boy! I can't wait to read it.

Danielle H. said...

The cover is awesome. The story sounds so unique with touches of my kind of humor. I really want to read this book. I tweeted: https://twitter.com/dhammelef/status/648920479055540224
Thanks for the giveaway!

Carl Scott said...

This sounds pretty sweet, and hilarious at the same time. The middle-graders will love the gross aspects. Thanks for the chance to win a copy. I follow by email: crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com
I also tweeted a link to this post: https://twitter.com/carlrscott/status/648941991259082752
Thanks again.

Greg Pattridge said...

Very intriguing story line that should attract many enthusiastic readers. Good point Laurel made that writing the book is only the beginning of the work involved. Thanks for a great interview.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a really fun and weird (in a good way) read!

Crystal Collier said...

My son just leaned over my shoulder and asked, "What is Dead Boy?" I'm thinking we have a winner.

David Powers King said...

Congrats, Laurel! This kind of stuff is right up my alley. :)

M Pax said...

Glad you had fun! Congrats to Stephen and Laurel!

Liz Brooks said...

Oooh, this book sounds very intriguing. Like, I'm especially interested to find out how Crow died in the first place, and whether there's a chance for him to become a member of society. Thanks for sharing, and thanks for the giveaway! I tweeted about it.

DMS said...

This definitely sounds like an interesting read. I loved hearing about where the idea for this unique story came from. Wishing Laurel the best of luck! Congrats to Stephen too. :)

Unknown said...

What a great premise! It sounds funny and touching at the same time. I wish they'd had great books like this when I was young. Wishing Laurel much success!

Michele Manning said...

Congrats on the debut! Love the tag line. Can't wait to read it and share it with my students!

Anonymous said...

Congrats to Laurel. The description sounds amazing. I just want to grab a copy and start reading.

Stephen Tremp said...

Thank you Natalie for the shout out!Much appreciated. And good luck to Laurel and her debut Dead Boy.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Dead Boy sounds like my kind of a book. Good luck to Laurel!

Natasha said...

Dead Boy sounds like a perfect read for this time of year!
Thanks for the chance to win!
natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

Marlene Detierro said...

I found Dead Boy to be completely novel, highly engaging, and really well-done. It would be easy for many authors to struggle with piecing all those elements together cohesively, but somehow they flow together seamlessly with just the right balance of action, dialogue, description, and exposition. Highly recommended.

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