book deal

7 Days of DISTANCE Wrap-Up!

I did it! I made it through book release week in one piece. And frankly, aside from the probably-to-be-expected amounts of stress, it was SO MUCH FUN. 

It was fun to spend so much time on social media chatting about my book, both with people who were excited to read it and those who actually were reading it. It was fun to go to my local Barnes & Noble and find my book on the shelf. It was fun to have so many different blog posts (and a podcast!) go live in one week—the culmination of a lot of prep work. And of course, my book launch at Books of Wonder in Manhattan on Tuesday night was SUPER FUN. 

Aside from the party itself—having so many friends and family members in one place, signing all those books, enjoying the delicious snacks—one of the coolest things about my debut week has been hearing from readers. Former coworkers, high school and college friends, distant relatives, and more have come out of the woodwork to tell me they have already finished my book, or that they've bought it and can't wait to start reading, or that they're buying it for a friend or a teen in their life. One person even said she's never read YA before, but wanted to support my writing career! Each and every message has meant so much to me. I will probably be riding this high for a good while. :D

But I promised you launch party photos! Here's a slideshow: 

Aside from a bout of nerves that hit *just* as I was supposed to start reading from my book, everything went smoothly. The audience seemed engaged during my reading and people asked excellent questions during the Q&A portion of the event. The signing was a blur—I wanted to spend so much more time chatting with everyone who walked past! When I got home and collapsed onto the couch, I was still smiling. And then my husband, sister, and I ordered pizza and got into our comfy pants—the perfect end to a pretty much perfect day. 

Thanks to ALL of you who helped make my book release week so special! This has truly been an experience I will cherish forever. :) 

~Kathryn 

7 Days of THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND!

I never get tired of seeing this cover...

I never get tired of seeing this cover...

To celebrate my book, which comes out *ahem* two days from now, I thought I'd organize a mini blog tour. And since THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND takes place over seven days, it seems only fitting to have a seven-day blog-fest, as well. Thus, "7 Days of DISTANCE" was born. Today, The First Day, is all about looking back. 

I've been doing a lot of interviews and guest blog posts lately (some of which you'll get to read later this week!), and I was thinking about what I could share today that I *haven't* talked about in any of those posts. I've also been doing a lot of reflecting on my writing journey thus far—only natural on the eve of my first book being released, right? So, as a look back before I start looking forward, I thought I'd answer one of the most frequently asked questions I get about THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND: 

"How long did it take you to write your book?"

All of the writers reading this know how much of a loaded question that is. Do you mean how long between the initial idea and now? Or how long it took me to complete a draft? Or how many rounds of revision I did? What about all of those months the publisher had the book between when I finished it and its official release? So, here are a few dates: 

  • Late 2011/early 2012: I have the initial germ of the idea that will become THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND—the main character's name. 
  • May 2012: I start writing the first draft. 
  • July 2012: I finish the first draft, take a few weeks off, and then start revising. 
  • August 2012 - March 2013: I do three complete revisions, sharing the manuscript with beta readers for feedback each time. 
  • March 2013: I enter a pitch contest online and connect with my literary agent. 
  • March - April 2013: I do a quick revision with my agent. 
  • May 2013: The book goes on submission to editors and is acquired by HarperCollins. (Woohoo!) 
  • August - December 2013: I go through three rounds of revision with my editor. 
  • 2014 - Now: Copyedits, cover reveal, ARC distribution, marketing plans, and more. There is SO MUCH that goes into creating a finished book! I wrote a whole post about this busy time where it seems like I, the author, am doing practically nothing, back in fall of 2013. Read it HERE
  • February 17, 2015: THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND is on shelves! 

So here we are, only two days away from that finish line. I am exhilarated and anxious—though probably more exhilarated—and overjoyed to share THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND with the world. 

And luckily, several blogs and friends have agreed to help me spread the word during this crucial first week! Here's where you'll be able to find me online during the 7 Days of DISTANCE blog tour: 

The First Day/Sunday, February 15: …it's today. You're reading it. Welcome! Enjoy! 

The Second Day/Monday, February 16: I'm joining the YA Buccaneers' blog hop to celebrate THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND! The crew is writing Love Letters to people who are important to our writing lives, and I know you want to know the recipient of my day-before-pub-date letter… (Plus, there are opportunities to win a finished hardcopy and swag!) UPDATE: The post is live HERE

The Third Day/Tuesday, February 17: Each of the Fearless Fifteeners is celebrating our book launch dates with a post describing our book in three gifs. Head over to see what three images I picked for THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND! UPDATE: The post is live HERE

The Fourth Day/Wednesday, February 18: I'm doing a podcast about THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND and the craft of writing setting over at DIY MFA. Founder Gabriela Pereira and I had a great conversation, and I hope you'll enjoy listening to it! UPDATE: The podcast is live HERE

The Fifth Day/Thursday, February 19: Lovely blogger Dana at Danasquare is hosting an excerpt from THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND, as well as a book giveaway! UPDATE: The post is live HERE

The Sixth Day/Friday, February 20: Equally lovely blogger Jen at Pop! Goes the Reader is hosting my guest post reflecting on the journey to publication. There's a giveaway here, too! UPDATE: The post is live HERE

The Seventh Day/Saturday, February 21: I'll be back here at KathrynHolmes.com, recapping debut week. Expect book launch party photos and more. UPDATE: The post is live HERE

Still with me? Want to keep up with all of these posts without having to check back here each day? I'll be using #7DaysofDISTANCE on social media, so you can follow along. 

Thank you in advance for reading, and for your support and encouragement. I feel like I'm about to jump off the cliff into the sparkling blue ocean—and I can't wait! 

~Kathryn 

My Word for 2015 Is...

Happy New Year, everyone! Can you believe it's 2015?! How crazy is that? I feel like I've been waiting for it to be 2015 for so long, and now… well, my book comes out in six weeks. So if I seem overwhelmed and flustered and exhilarated and stressed all at once in the next couple months, you know the reason why. 

My fellow YA Buccaneer Bridgid Gallagher painted me this watercolor postcard, and it's been hanging above my desk for a year!

My fellow YA Buccaneer Bridgid Gallagher painted me this watercolor postcard, and it's been hanging above my desk for a year!

For the past two years, instead of making a list of resolutions, I've chosen a single word to represent my goals for the year. In 2013, I selected PATIENCE. My aim was to help myself be okay with my publishing path taking longer than I'd wanted and to remind myself that what mattered was writing the best possible book I could write, the book only I could write. In 2014, I chose MOMENTUM. With my debut novel on its way to publication, I wanted to keep working hard and pushing forward, not resting on my laurels or taking a second book deal for granted.

In both cases, having a single word to focus on helped keep me grounded and on track throughout the year. So obviously, I was going to try for a third successful Word of the Year in 2015. After much deliberation, I've picked...

I've been thinking a lot about gratitude lately. Frankly, I have so much to be grateful for at this point in my life. 

I'm grateful that my debut novel is releasing in February. I'm grateful to be surrounded by friends and family who are almost as excited about my book coming out as I am. I'm grateful for my talented, supportive editor, who pushes me to be better, and for my enthusiastic agent, who helps me dream big. I'm grateful for the rest of the folks at HarperTeen, who have turned my Microsoft Word document into a real, live book that I will get to hold in just a few weeks. I'm grateful for the people who taught me to write, who fostered my passion for reading and writing, who critique and comment on my works-in-progress, who bounce ideas back and forth with me endlessly. To all of you who've helped me get to the here and now, I'm so, so grateful. 

I'll stop there, because as you can probably tell, I could go on and on. And the paragraph above is just the book stuff! (Did I mention my husband specifically? Justin, I am beyond grateful for you. Every single day.) So why did I pick this as my word for the entire year? In short, because no matter how grateful I feel as I'm writing this, I know I will still constantly need the reminder. 

When I'm freaking out about my revisions for my next book, I want to remember to be grateful that I get to write another book for publication. I'm lucky to be doing a job I love. I'm lucky that people seem to want to read the stories I create. When I'm fretting about less-than-stellar reviews or lists that my book isn't on, I want to take a step back and think about the people who have told me my book touched them. When I'm getting too caught up in the big scary craziness of What Happens Next—Will people actually buy this thing I wrote? Will I sell another book? Am I running out of ideas? Do I actually have what it takes to be an author?—I want to try to think about the things that make me happy and hopeful and grateful. As cheesy as it sounds, in 2015 I want to live in the moment and enjoy every bit of what I've accomplished.

(And yes, I'm still trying to be patient with myself and my work and to keep up my momentum moving forward…) 

Did you choose a word for 2015? Share it in the comments! 

And once more, happiest of new years to you all! 

~Kathryn 

So ... I Have News!

Perhaps you've been wondering what I've been up to lately. Why I haven't posted much about writing in a while. Why I've seemed unusually busy and flustered and fuzzy-headed and overwhelmed for the past month or so. Why I haven't been answering your emails and texts in a timely fashion. I've been hard at work on … *drum roll* … MY NEXT BOOK!! 

I sold my second book over the summer, and have been busy finishing and polishing my first draft to turn in to my editor. Which I did, on Wednesday.(Cue the fanfare and confetti and imminent collapse from exhaustion in my messy apartment.) Now that the first draft is in my editor's hands, I've been given permission to shout about the new book deal from the social media rooftops—and that's exactly what I intend to do!

This calls for a gif:

dancedanceHere's what you need to know about Book Two, which will be coming your way from HarperTeen in Summer 2016:

Everything's Beautiful is about a 16-year-old ballet dancer, Sam, who struggles with body image issues. After suffering a severe panic attack before her studio's spring concert, Sam is sent to an anxiety camp for elite teen artists and athletes to work through her issues with professional counseling and peer support. She initially resists treatment—in part because the camp conflicts with the summer ballet intensive she's supposed to be attending. Then she hits it off with Andrew, a former college football player who is one of her camp counselors. But is the connection between the two of them just about therapy, or could it lead to something more? And if Sam can't come to terms with the pain and anxiety she's been feeling, is her dance career over before it even begins?

I'm thrilled to have Alexandra Cooper as my editor once again! Alex helped make The Distance Between Lost and Found into a finished product I am so, so proud of, and I know she'll do the same with Everything's Beautiful. And of course I have to give a shout-out to my agent, Alyssa Henkin, who believed in this project from the first time I mentioned writing a book about a ballet dancer who didn't have the ideal body, and who encouraged me to discover the story I needed to tell.

So … that's the exciting news I've been keeping secret for a few months! Yay! :)

~Kathryn

 

It's Fearless Friday!

So guess what? Tonight I get to meet a group of my fellow 2015 debut authors face-to-face for the first time! This weekend is the NY Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) conference, and while I'm not attending the conference itself, many writers I've gotten to know online over the past few months will be there. And, because I'm lucky enough to live in NYC, it's the perfect excuse to meet authors who live elsewhere but who are sharing this crazy debut publishing experience with me! There seem to be about 15 of us meeting up tonight, so it should be a good time. Lots of talking about books, books, books, I'm sure—the perfect evening for a writer. I'll try to grab some group photos, so that when everyone's books come out in a year, I can point at the pictures and say, see, I know him/her!

But this meetup isn't the only fun writing-related event that I've gotten to attend recently. Last night, my Write Night friend Rebecca Behrens held a launch party for her debut, WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE, at Books of Wonder in Manhattan. (I wrote about Rebecca's book HERE.) It was so fun to hear Rebecca read from the book, to get her to sign my shiny new beautiful hardback copy, and to envision doing something similar for my own book in a year or so. It was also awesome to see my Write Night crew out of our usual Panera/Cosi context, and to catch up with a few other authors I know, and to meet ones I hadn't met yet. An all-around great evening!

Rebecca's beautiful book, and the personalized title page!

So what's next for me and my book and such? I've just about finished my copyedits on THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND, which means the text will go into design pretty soon! Meanwhile, my agent has the opening chapters of my potential next project, and I'm waiting with bated breath for her response.

What the past few weeks of wonderful writer community (I'm including last week's reading under this umbrella) have reminded me is that while writing can feel pretty solitary sometimes, when you do get out into the world, there is a great group of people out there who are in the boat with you. Waiting for feedback, pushing through a first draft, battling tough revisions, anxiously waiting for the publisher's side of the process (cover designs, release dates, etc.)—we've all been there, or will be there, or are currently living in it, and the fact that we aren't alone makes the good parts better and the frustrating parts not quite as bad. That's a remarkable thing.

~Kathryn

I'm on Facebook!

Well, I've actually been on Facebook for a while now. But as of today, Kathryn Holmes the Author is on Facebook. And I wanted to let you, my awesome blog followers, know about it! Become a fan of my Author Page and stay up-to-date on all of the awesome book-related things that will be happening in the year ahead. I'm so excited to share more details about this publishing journey with all of you.

"Like" my Facebook page HERE!

With every item I check off of my pre-publishing to-do list, this whole book thing feels more and more real. (I also have a new headshot—check it out on my About page!) Amping up my social media presence is one of those tasks I'm excited about, while also being a little nervous. I've seen authors do social media brilliantly, and I've had authors drive me nuts with constant self-promotion. Obviously, I'll be trying to follow the example of the former category. Do you follow authors whose online presence you enjoy and admire? Let me know, so I can investigate how they do it!

And now, back to my most important job as a writer: writing. I'm charging through my first draft of my new work-in-progress, and I don't want to slow down! I'm hoping to get a lot more done before I get my copyedits back on THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND in a few weeks. More on both books—the new project and the coming-out-in-a-year one—soon.

Hope you're staying warm, wherever you are!

~Kathryn

My Word for 2014 Is...

I really enjoyed having a word to represent my goals for 2013 (PATIENCE). Unlike a resolution, it wasn't stressful—something I had to check off the to-do list. Instead, thinking about being patient in all of the various facets of my life—fiction writing, work writing, dance, yoga, personal life, and on and on—really set a tone for the year. Am I now a more patient person than I was a year ago? I think I might be, but if you want an honest answer, you'd probably have to ask my husband. :D Regardless, the idea of having a word for the year meant enough to me that I want to do it again in 2014. I've been thinking a lot this week about what I want that word to be, and I keep coming back to the same one:

momentumWhy this word, when I just spent a year trying to sit back and be patient? A lot of amazing things happened in my life in 2013. In particular, I achieved a dream I've had for a long time: getting a book deal. But one of the biggest things I've realized over the last few months is that the work is just beginning. I sold one book; I'd like to sell more. I want writing fiction to eventually be my full-time job. And those things aren't a given. I can't sit around and wait for what's next to land in my lap. As much as I'm enjoying everything that's going on with the book I sold, I need to ride the momentum of 2013 into a year that (hopefully) holds just as much promise.

I've started working again on the first draft of the book I hope to sell next. I want to take the momentum of finishing revisions on THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND—the high I felt when I was making the final few edits in December and reading over everything and being so proud of it—and put it into this new book. I want to use the momentum of my excitement and anticipation as I start doing all of the author-y things I need to do: making an author page on Facebook, networking with people who might be interested in learning more about my book, etc. But the momentum of 2013 isn't just about writing. I had a great dance year last year, and I want to keep that momentum going by going to class even when it's cold outside and I don't necessarily feel like it. I accomplished some yoga goals last year, and I want to keep up the momentum by continuing to push toward the next goals (side crow, perhaps?).

I want to do all of this while, of course, being patient with myself. Trusting my process and trying to avoid comparing myself with other people who might seem to be making progress faster. Knowing that I'm working hard and doing my best.

Easier said than done? Maybe. But that's why I'm giving myself a whole year to get there.

Did you choose a word to represent your goals in 2014? Share it in the comments!

~Kathryn

Looking Back at 2013...

As you're reading this (if all goes well with the scheduled autoposting on Wordpress…), my husband and I are touring around Israel! This amazing trip, which I'm sure you'll hear all about on the blog in a few weeks, was my parents' wedding gift to us, and we're finally able to go (we just had our two-year anniversary in November). An adventure like this feels like a fitting way to end what turned out to be a pretty great year! 2013 had its ups and downs, for sure, but the ups were, well, very up. :)

  • I started this blog! I'd been wanting to blog for years, and hadn't gotten around to it. Now, with almost a full year of blogging under my belt, I'm so glad I took the plunge.
  • My newest nephew was born! He's almost a year old now, and he is a delight. You can see some pictures of him HERE and HERE.
  • I signed with a fabulous literary agent! This was the culmination of several years of blood, sweat, and tears, and when it finally happened, I was over the moon. Of course, that was only the first step along a journey that included...
  • Selling my debut novel to HarperCollins! And I thought signing with an agent felt good. 2015, when my book is slated to be released, can't get here soon enough.
  • I attended my first writer's conference, SCBWI LA! It was fabulous to meet more kidlit writers, as well as to hear some true legends in our field speak. Also, my husband and I took a fun vacation in California when the conference was done.
  • I revised my book. And revised it. And revised it again. That might sound frustrating, and at times it was! But my editor pushed me to make the book the best it can be, and it has become something I'm so proud to send out into the world.
  • I had a dance performance that was fun and challenging and really well received by our audience—all you can ask for, really!
  • I joined the Fearless Fifteeners and the YA Buccaneers!

My word for 2013 was PATIENCE, and I couldn't have chosen a better one—because even as I'm working to be more patient with myself, I've seen my patience pay off in some big ways. And I'm not just talking about the book deal, though that's the obvious one. I've also, in the past few weeks, finally hit some of those yoga milestones I've been chasing. Remember when I posted about trying to be patient as I worked toward arm balances? I now have Crow Pose and Headstand in my bag of tricks! Am I perfectly stable in those poses every single time I attempt them? No. But after spending a year building toward being able to do them consistently, I know that with patience, I'll get there. Oh, and here's the photo evidence of a year's work:

I have titled this photo: "Headstand in the Hallway." :)

A few other random blog-related stats from 2013:

  • My most popular post ever is, to the surprise of probably no one, the post in which I announced my book deal (see link above)!
  • My second most popular post, to my great surprise, is… *drumroll* THIS ONE: my thoughts on Lauren Oliver's Delirium series. This is the Energizer Bunny of blog posts! Just in the past week, it surpassed my agent announcement post, my "About Me" page, and a few other key pages in number of views. So, Lauren Oliver fans who keep finding their way to me: Welcome! Look around. Stay awhile.
  • I reviewed about 50 books on the blog this year, and you can scroll through those posts using the Friday Reads tag. You can see my top 10 out of all of the books I read this year HERE. I'm going to continue reviewing books on the blog in 2014, though I probably won't be as formal with my Friday Reads posts… so keep an eye out!
  • I have 83 blog followers—not too shabby for my first year! I'm happy so many of you are interested in what I have to say.

So I guess all that's left to say is, thanks for a great 2013, and here's hoping that 2014 brings even more good times and good news! Happy New Year, everyone!!

~Kathryn

The Friends and Family Guide to Book Publishing

That's so awesome that you sold your book! When do I get to read it? What?! 2015?! How could it possibly take that long?  I've been hearing some version of the above from a lot of my friends and family lately, so I thought I might fill you in en masse on what's going to happen over the next year! But first, let me say up front: I can't say thank you enough for your enthusiasm and encouragement about my book deal. Your support means the world!

I know I've posted a lot about the process so far—signing with my agent, selling the book, signing my contract, changing my title, revising the manuscript—but I thought you might be interested to hear a little more about what else goes into making this thing that I imagined and wrote into a real, honest-to-God book that you can hold in your hands and buy at Barnes & Noble. So, here it is! The overview. "The Friends and Family Guide to Book Publishing." (With the caveat that I obviously haven't done most of this yet, so you could get more detail down the line…)

Revisions

Right now, I am in the middle of my second round of revisions with my editor. When I'm done implementing her notes, the book will be very close to its final version! We'll most likely do one more round of line edits to make sure we're happy with every word in the book (time to nitpick!), and then, if all goes well, my book will be "accepted" by the publisher. That means my main role in writing and editing it will be done!

Copyedits

At the start of 2014, my "finished" manuscript will go to copyeditors, who will read through it and make lots of edits that I will then have to read through and accept. The copyeditors will catch typos, make sure names and other facts are consistent throughout the book, standardize style elements (like how TV shows and movies are written, for instance), and do loads more. Copyeditors are very important people—they help to make the text polished and professional!

Cover Design

Meanwhile, over in the art department, someone will be designing possible covers for my book. Before you ask, I will not get to dictate what my cover will look like. There are people far more qualified to do that job, who are already employed by my publisher. That said, when they've tinkered and redesigned and finally gotten down to a top choice or a few choices, they'll send it/them to me to check out. Cover designs are a collaboration between the editors, the art department, and the sales and marketing teams, because everyone wants the book to sell its best. When my book's cover is finalized, I'll be given the go-ahead to share it with you. And believe me—I will be making a big deal of it!

Page Proofs and Galleys

When I've sent back the copyedited manuscript, it will go into layout—which basically means it will start to look like a proper book. Then I'll get sent the manuscript again to read over and make sure nothing got, say, cut out accidentally while the text was being flowed in. I'll probably do several passes in the page proof phase, over the course of a few weeks or months. The book will also be made into galleys, as well as advance reader copies (ARCs). These advance copies are often sent to reviewers, booksellers, and other people in the industry who need to see books before their official release date.

Sales and Marketing Stuff

Once my book has a release season (and, eventually, an actual date), I'll get slotted into the publisher's catalog, so I can be promoted to booksellers. I'll probably also get assigned a publicist who will help me come up with the best ways to promote the book. A lot of people have already asked about my book tour plans. Hopefully, I'll get to do at least a small tour! But that isn't the only option these days. For instance, a lot of authors do blog tours, or visit bookstores, libraries, and classrooms via Skype instead of in person. Trust me, when we're a few months away from my book's release, you'll start hearing me talk a lot more about this part of the process.

The Next Book

What's my job while all of this is going on behind the scenes? I'll be hard at work on my next manuscript. After all, I'm doing all of this because I love to write, and because I want this to be my career. Having a single finished book on the shelves will be amazing and mind-blowing, but having two books there, or three, or more… that's the dream. So I'll be hard at work with my agent and editor planning out what's next while Book One is in production. And you'll probably hear about that, too.

Whew! So that's the nutshell version of what I'll be dealing with in 2014, and why you won't see a finished book until 2015. I hope it was interesting to get a glimpse into the inner workings of the publishing machine. I know I can't wait to reach each point in the process!

~Kathryn

Book Revisions, Take Two :)

It's that time again… I'm back to revising THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND! I received the second round of notes from my editor on Monday, and so I'm getting ready to dive back in. I'm pretty excited! Especially because my editor really liked a lot of the changes I made in the first revision, which means I won't have nearly as much to change this time around. In fact, most of what I'm down to is the nitpicky stuff—those tiny tweaks that can make such a big difference in the overall story. In general, while I was reading over the editorial letter and thinking about how to tackle her requests, the coolest thing was realizing how close the book is to its final version—the version that will be published. PUBLISHED! There's a part of me that still can't believe that's happening. So picture me cracking my knuckles and doing some shoulder rolls in front of my computer, loosening up. I have coffee…lots of coffee. Maybe some snacks. Definitely chocolate. I have Pandora set to the right station for this book. (Want to hear some of what I listened to while writing THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND? Make a Pandora station using the band The Civil Wars.) My desk is a mess, but my computer desktop is organized and ready for action.

Here goes!

Oh, and I know blogging has been sporadic this fall, but I promise not to disappear for the next month. There's too much awesome stuff going on and too many books to talk about for me to let the blog languish. So keep an eye out for updates!

And thanks, as always, for reading. :)

~Kathryn

Introducing the Fearless Fifteeners!

Fun news today! I'm excited to introduce a fantastic new group and website for 2015 debut Young Adult and Middle Grade authors, the Fearless Fifteeners! I'm lucky to get to be on the admin team that has been putting together this group, and today we are officially launching and accepting new members. fearless15banner-31

Do you have a book deal for a YA or MG book that is scheduled to come out in 2015? Are you an avid reader who wants to get the scoop on awesome upcoming books months (or more than a year!) before they're scheduled to release? You definitely need to go to FearlessFifteeners.wordpress.com

On our website, you'll be able to:

  • Apply to be part of the group, if you're a 2015 debut
  • Read blog posts spotlighting our various authors and their fabulous books
  • See cover reveals and more behind-the-scenes action
  • Get a glimpse into everything that goes on in the months leading up to book publication
  • Find tons of great authors and connect with them on social media
  • And more!

Personally, I can't wait for the ball to get rolling. It's so exciting to meet more authors who are in the same boat I am (2015 is SO FAR AWAY!), and to know that we'll get to help each other spread the word about our books, commiserate about the ups and downs of the publishing process, and most of all make new friends in the book world. I'm also pumped at the prospect of adding so many books to my "to-read" list... :)

So here's to 2015, and to the wonderful books it will bring with it!

~Kathryn

Title Change Ahoy!

It's time to make a book-related announcement! I officially have a new title! My book, which you will be able to read in early 2015, is now called... 

*drumroll* 

THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND

What do you think? I pretty much love it. That's not to say that I didn't have a mourning period for THE CREATION OF HALLELUJAH CALHOUN, but the more I think about this new title, the more right I think it is. It reflects the physical journey my characters go on as much as their emotional/spiritual journeys. It sounds nice. Kind of rolls off the tongue. And it will—I hope—draw readers in. 

I don't generally find titles easy (aside from coming up with punny headlines for freelance dance articles!). This latest titling process was no exception. (As an aside, the only fiction title I ever came up with easily was THE CREATION OF HALLELUJAH CALHOUN.) That said, with brainstorming help from my agent, my editor, my husband, and a few trusted friends/readers, we found the right answer remarkably quickly. I'm hoping I can learn from our marathon brainstorming session the next time I have to title something! 

In the meantime, I'm getting used to my book's new title. I'm saying it out loud a lot, to practice: "This is my book, THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND." I can't wait for the next phase of Wow, this is starting to feel like a real book—seeing this new title on a mocked-up book cover! Whoa. (And yes, I know finding the right book cover can be just as difficult as finding the right title, but I'm still excited. Don't burst my bubble!) 

That's all for this Wednesday... 

~Kathryn 

The Draft Is In! (Plus Some Friday Reads...)

Yup. I turned in my book draft on Tuesday, which felt really, really good. I can't wait to get back more notes on the changes I made and make the book even better—okay, actually, I can wait. I'm definitely looking forward to a few weeks with a little less on my mind! But at the same time, I'm eager to hear my editor's thoughts. In a few weeks. When I've recovered. In the meantime, I had a birthday on Tuesday, I have rehearsals for my dance performance that's coming up at the end of this month, I took a quick freelance assignment from Dance Spirit, I'm catching up on other freelance work, my husband and I are seeing Matilda The Musical on Broadway tomorrow night (yay, birthday and yay, book deal!), we're going to visit his family next weekend, and... I know my free time, such as it is, is already completely booked up! But at least, for now, the draft is in.

One thing I was thrilled to do a lot this week is READ! I made my way through two really spectacular books, and since I haven't done a Friday Reads post in eons, I thought I might do one today.

First up, I read David Levithan's newest, TWO BOYS KISSING:

two boys kissing

Admittedly, I'll read pretty much anything David Levithan writes. Not only because I was lucky enough to have him as a professor in grad school, but also because I just really enjoy his work. Plus, TWO BOYS KISSING has gotten a lot of hype lately—including making the longlist for the National Book Awards.

Luckily, this book lived up to its hype. It's so gorgeous! TWO BOYS KISSING is actually about eight boys. Craig and Harry are trying to break the Guinness World Record for longest kiss. They're doing it on behalf of their friend Tariq, who was brutally attacked for being gay. Peter and Neil are in a happy long-term relationship, and are figuring out what that means. Avery and Ryan just met, and have instant chemistry. And Cooper is alone, barely interacting with the world outside his computer. While all of these stories are told thoughtfully and realistically, it's the narration that really sets this book apart. TWO BOYS KISSING is narrated by a chorus of men who died during the AIDS crisis. They watch over the current generation, commenting on how different the world has become—and how similar it still is. The narrators' memories about their lives—and deaths—and their pleas to the characters to cherish the lives they have were so powerful. The ending moved me to tears.

When I set that book down, I picked up the other new release I was dying to read, Rainbow Rowell's FANGIRL:

fangirl

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you might remember me raving about Rowell's last book, ELEANOR & PARK (post HERE). Because I loved that book so much, I absolutely couldn't wait to read FANGIRL, which about a freshman in college, Cath, who is a shy, slightly nerdy writer of fanfiction about Simon Snow (a Harry Potter–esque fantasy series). Well... I loved this book. So much. I actually went back and reread a few scenes when I was done because I wasn't ready to leave these characters and their world yet. Also, because I wanted to swoon some more. There is a lot to swoon about in this book...

What you need to know about teenaged Kathryn is that ... I wrote fanfiction. About The X-Files. I discovered the fanfiction section on Fox TV's official X-Files Internet message board when I was 16, and almost immediately got sucked into these amazing stories people were writing about the characters. I started writing my own. I wrote short scenes and a few full-length "X-files" by myself. I co-wrote a few stories with friends I met on the message boards. I even started working on a crossover fanfic in which Agents Mulder and Scully found themselves hunting for a mysterious artifact that was also being chased down by the characters from the TV show La Femme Nikita.

I was really into it, for several years, is what I'm saying. My screenname was XKitty.

So reading FANGIRL brought all of that back to me. The nerves of being a college freshman and not knowing anyone. The lure of my online friends and fans, and the excitement of knowing there were people actually waiting to see what I'd post next. The thrill when I shared my first full-length story with a new college friend who also happened to love The X-Files. Oh, and the not-so-positive response I got from a creative writing professor when I mentioned that I hadn't written a lot of original fiction, but I did write fanfiction...

All of that said, you don't have to have written fanfic to appreciate and love FANGIRL! It has family drama, an adorable love interest, fish-out-of-water college shenanigans, and characters you genuinely care about. I really, really recommend this one. I am a Rainbow Rowell fangirl.

Wow, that was a long post. I guess it was all that time away from blogging...it got backed up.

Until next time!

~Kathryn

Another Dispatch From the Revision Cave

It’s been two weeks since I last checked in, so here I am! I’m still chugging along on my revision, still juggling work commitments and dance rehearsals and other responsibilities while my head is filled to the brim with thoughts about my book. Revising is still going smoothly—though as I approach my deadline, the nerves are starting to kick in. Am I making the right choices? Will my editor like the changes I’ve made? Am I getting closer to having the final version that will be on bookshelves in a little over a year? I know this draft won’t be my very last, and I know that my editor’s job is to guide me along the path. Still, I’m feeling pressure to Get It Right. The good news is, when I take my editor and the publication process and potential future readers out of the equation and just look at the BOOK, I do feel that it’s getting stronger. My editor is pushing me to dig deeper, to fill in the gaps, to make my characters as three-dimensional as possible and the world that they live in as realistic as possible. To draw readers in from page one and make them care. And I think it’s working.

Over the weekend, I was thinking about a revision like this as a closet cleanout. In particular, I was thinking about the last time I had to go through my closet in my old bedroom at my parents’ house. I’m a bit of a packrat when it comes to things that have memories attached to them. Or things that I haven’t used in ages but might one day need or want again. At the same time, I don’t love clutter, so I like to keep packrat things out of sight, filed away in boxes or drawers or baskets so the whole area looks relatively organized and neat.

Here there be...skeletons?

It’s easy enough to do a surface clean when you keep your clutter organized. It’s easy to dust and vacuum and straighten the shelves. It’s also easy to open a box or a drawer, poke around in it, and say, “Eh—this stuff isn’t bothering anyone. I’ll deal with it later.”

This revision has been about the stuff inside those boxes. This has been the nitpicky, meticulous revision. The one where I have to open each drawer, set out all of the items stored inside, and decide if I truly need those things. In some cases, I do—but I have to justify why. In other cases, they’re just not necessary. Right now, I’m doing editing work I avoided—or didn’t yet realize I needed to do—in earlier revisions. I’m doing work that I couldn’t have done without the organizing and sorting and surface cleaning of previous revisions. When I finish, I will have the neatest, most organized, most streamlined closet—er, manuscript draft—I can produce.

And then my editor will come in and ask me if I really need those cross-stitch patterns from when I went through my sewing phase in middle school, and I’ll hem and haw, and probably ultimately decide she’s right. And the book will be even better for it.

Did this metaphor get away from me? I blame revision-brain. (And I didn't even get to the part where, when cleaning out a closet, you have to make the mess much worse before it gets better!)

So back to work. This manuscript won't be done until it's done—and I can't wait until I get to share the final product with all of you. :)

~Kathryn

Dispatch From the Revision Cave

Last time I blogged, I mentioned that I was waiting for my editor's notes on my manuscript. Well—I got them! And I've spent the past week and a half deeply engrossed in revisions. I can't stop thinking about my book. It's in my head when I wake up in the morning and as I lie in bed trying to fall asleep—and so much of the time in between. I am so excited about taking my editor's notes and finding ways to make this the best possible book it can be. And...yeah, okay, it hasn't all been easy. I don't believe it will all be smooth sailing for the next month. But it's rewarding work! (And you have my complete permission to remind me of the enthusiasm in this post if I start to complain or freak out in the weeks to come!) Considering that this is the first time I've had to revise a book with a deadline, I feel like things are going pretty well. I have my to-do list of edits. I'm working my way through the biggest, most wide-reaching changes first, asking big questions about my characters and their motivations. I'm revising a few hours a day, almost every day. I have a lot of momentum, and I hope I can keep it up.

There have been a few downsides to spending so much time working on my book revision. One, it's kind of hard to focus on my other work when all I want to do is write! Two, I haven't been able to fit in my usual full roster of dance classes. (Especially because rehearsals for my dance performance in October are also picking up speed!) And three, our apartment is kind of a mess. When I need to procrastinate, picking up the house is one of my favorite ways to do it. When I'm wrapped up in work I'm enjoying, on the other hand, cleaning is the first thing to fall by the wayside. I'm trying to decide how little housework I can get away with until my draft is due in a month. Or if I just have to suck it up and squeeze in an hour with the vacuum, the dishes, the toilet cleaner, etc...

Oh, and the fourth downside: fewer blog posts! I've been saving my creative time and energy for my revision. But I promise, when I turn in this draft, I'll get back to posting Friday Reads and other updates on writing, reading, and fun stuff. So please stick around for my eventual return to regularly scheduled blog posts!

For now, back into the revision cave I go. Wish me luck! More dispatches to follow...

~Kathryn

Announcing...My Book Deal!!!

About a year and a half ago, I had an idea for a book. About 13 months ago, I wrote the first words of the first draft of that book. Three drafts (and many, many query letter revisions) later, I was offered literary representation by the amazing Alyssa Eisner Henkin, who has been nothing less than the best agent I could have asked for. And about a month and a half ago, my book went out on submission to editors at various publishing houses. Now...

I am so excited to announce that my debut novel, THE CREATION OF HALLELUJAH CALHOUN, has been acquired by HarperCollins! And sometime soon (most likely early 2015), my book will be on the shelves in bookstores across the country (and on digital platforms) for everyone to read!

As you might imagine, I am over-the-moon excited. This is something I've been dreaming about and working toward for years. I'm so proud of this book and I can't wait to find out what my editor, Alexandra Cooper, has in mind to make it even better. I know there is more work ahead, but I am so ready to tackle it—and to eventually share this book with all of you. Yay!!!

But first, some thank-yous:

Thanks to my family, who always believed I could do this and who have supported me along the journey. Thanks especially to my wonderful, smart, sweet, kind husband, who is always willing to be a sounding board and a cheerleader and a shoulder to cry on, and who is easily as excited about this big next step as I am. Thanks to all of the friends and friends of friends who have listened to me talk about writing for years, and who have encouraged me to keep at it. Thanks to every single person who read HALLELUJAH in draft form and offered thoughts; you helped shape the book in so many ways. Thank you ALL for listening, for commenting, for caring, for critiquing, and for understanding when I can't do social things because I have to write. And finally, my heartfelt thanks to Alyssa and Alexandra, for believing in me and my manuscript and for helping guide me to this exciting moment. I couldn't have done it without any of you.

I am truly lucky.

THE CREATION OF HALLELUJAH CALHOUN is about a 16-year-old girl who gets lost in the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, along with two other teens. Even as they're fighting to survive in the mountains with no supplies, Hallie is fighting to overcome her own personal issues—in particular, the fallout from a lie told about her by a popular, cruel boy about something that happened between them a year ago. Hallie has to find her voice and her strength—and let go of her past—if she wants to make it home alive.

I can't wait to give you more details about the book! In the meantime, please enjoy this gif of Lucille Bluth from "Arrested Development"—and imagine me doing this:

~Kathryn