When Cedric, crowned prince of Caelum, and his fellow royal friends (including his betrothed, Kat) find themselves stranded in modern-day L.A. via a magical portal and an evil traitor named Malquin, all they want to do is get home to Caelum—soon. Then they meet Liv, a filmmaker foster girl who just wants to get out of the system and on with her life. As she and Cedric bond, they’ll discover that she’s more connected to his world than they ever could’ve imagined…and that finding home is no easy task…
Hi! Thanks so much for having me. I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. I stapled together my own stories as a kid, read everything I could get my hands on, and studied creative writing in college. After school, I worked as an assistant and then an associate editor for some trade publications in Chicago before moving to Los Angeles to become a TV writer. I was fortunate enough to work as an assistant on some teen TV shows, and it was during that time I wrote, revised (and revised, and revised), and eventually sold THE MARKED GIRL.
I’ve always loved portal stories (many of those early, stapled-together books I wrote as a kid were portal stories), and the idea of doing a portal story in reverse intrigued me. I also loved the idea of taking these characters from a fantasy world and putting them not just in our modern world, but in a city that many people think of as kind of a fantasy place in itself – Los Angeles.
The very first kernel of an idea for this story came about when I was showing my family around LA for the first time. I was excited to see all of these cool parts of the city through their fresh eyes, and it was almost like I was seeing them for the first time again, too. A lot of people have preconceived notions (often negative) of LA, but I love it, and I wanted to share what I loved about it with people who were unfamiliar with it, or even wary of it. Liv in THE MARKED GIRL tries to do the exact same thing, although in a much more heightened situation. It’s a powerful feeling, to love a place enough to call it home, and that’s a lot of what this book series is about.
I loved being a writers’ assistant! On most TV shows, all the writers sit together in a room every day and come up with, or ‘break’ stories. My job was to write down and organize everything the writers said so everyone could keep track of the various storylines being created. You have to listen hard and type fast, but it’s incredibly rewarding to be around smart people who are making things up all day for a living.
I learned a lot about writing YA while working on those shows. I learned how to keep story flowing, how to write to act breaks, and how to create emotional and plot-y cliffhangers. All of those things translate well to YA. I think (or at least, I hope) that learning from those writers and watching them work also taught me how to give information well in dialogue and visual cues, rather than just through internal narration.
I reached out to Reiko in the traditional way – through a query. Previous to that, I had revised THE MARKED GIRL a LOT. I had close friends read it and give notes, I reached out to other writers who were friends of friends of friends to get notes (thankfully, they were kind enough to do so), and I absorbed those notes into many, many drafts until I felt strong enough to start querying. Then, working with Reiko, I revised some more, and she sold the book to HarperCollins just a few months later, because she’s a rock star.
Lindsey has generously offered a signed copy of THE MARKETED GIRL for a giveaway.
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Here's what's coming up:
I'm off next Monday for Memorial Day. My first Monday off since the first of the year!
Next Wednesday I have a guest post by Fauzia Burke, who has spent her career working in book promotion and marketing and has worked with authors like Sue Grafton, Tim Burton, and Deepak Chopra, and a giveaway of her book, ONLINE MARKETING FOR BUSY AUTHORS: A STEP BY STEP GUIDE.
The following Monday I have a guest post by Cassandra Brown, a freelance editor, with a query, synopsis, 10 page manuscript critique, or 30 minute consultation--winner's choice.
Thursday that week I'll be participating in the Debut Author Book Giveaway Hop. I'll have both YA and MG debut books to choose from.
The following Monday I have a guest post by debut author Jen Bishop and a giveaway of her MG contemporary THE DISTANCE HOME.