Tuesday, July 31, 2018

THE GIRL YOU THOUGHT I WAS (aka The Book That Almost Killed Me) is here!

I think most authors have heard the horror stories about the Second Book. The often-dreaded Book #2 in a two-book contract. The book that you're contractually obligated to produce for the publisher whether you feel like writing it or not. The book that has a deadline attached and may or may not be approved by your editor once it's finished. The book that tries to kill you.

THE GIRL YOU THOUGHT I WAS was that book for me. When I signed that two-book deal, it wasn't even an idea in my head yet. I had other ideas, one of which I tried to make work and failed. Nothing was clicking. I was getting desperate.

Then, with my deadline a scary five months away, I came across this article about teenage shoplifters. An outline took form, and I spent weeks researching shoplifting, how it's done, and the psychology behind it (I'm surprised the police didn't show up at my door). I read people's stories about being caught, sought out articles by mental health professionals about the personality traits of shoplifters and the reasons why they do it, and I paid attention to things like security cameras and blind spots whenever I was in stores (again, it's amazing that I didn't get arrested). By the end of it, I knew way more about shoplifting than I probably should have, and my narrator Morgan--and her story--emerged and took shape.

Luckily, my editor was into the idea. I spent the next four months drafting, and to be completely honest and transparent here, it was awful. Still burned out from my last book and stressed from other things going on in my life, I had little motivation. I doubted the story at every turn. I doubted myself. I had to force myself to write almost every day. Usually, once I got into it, I was fine, but sometimes I wasn't, and no words came. I longed to finish it and be done with it forever. I told my husband, numerous times, that this would probably be the last book I ever wrote.

That's right. This book almost made me quit writing.

But I got through it. I finished the draft two weeks before my deadline and a huge weight lifted off me. When I sent it to my agent, I was so physically and mentally drained, I wasn't sure if I was sending him a document full of garbage, or if I actually had something workable. A few days later, I woke up to a glowing email from him, gushing about how good it was and how much he loved it. I remember lying in bed with my phone, reading and re-reading his email and crying. Just thinking about that now made me tear up again. I don't think he has any idea how much his words meant to me at that moment. Authors reading this--find yourself an agent who makes you believe in yourself again.

When the manuscript was accepted by HarperTeen, I cried again. When revision time came around, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. The Second Book Curse lifted and, finally, I began to fall in love with the story. With each read (and there were a lot), I connected more and more, and the stress of the past few months faded away.

After revisions, I didn't feel like writing anything new for a long time. I still wasn't sure I ever would again. I was completely past the point of burned out. But gradually, it got better. I knew I was healed when in the shower one day, I got an idea for a book about a boy and a girl who meet during a car accident and eventually fall in love. So, free from deadlines and contracts, and armed with the unwavering support of my amazing family and agent, I wrote another book and enjoyed every minute of it. I'd found the joy again.

As much as it tried to, THE GIRL YOU THOUGHT I WAS didn't kill me. In fact, it made me a stronger writer. I'm proud of it, and proud of myself for not giving up, even when it felt impossible. Today, I can honestly say I love this book, and I hope you all love it too.



THE GIRL YOU THOUGHT I WAS is now available wherever books are sold!

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
IndieBound
Book Depository

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

THE GIRL YOU THOUGHT I WAS cover!

This morning, Jen at Pop! Goes the Reader revealed the cover for my upcoming book, THE GIRL YOU THOUGHT I WAS! This is my second book with HarperTeen, and it's due out on July 31, 2018.

I'm so thrilled with what the cover design team came up with. Isn't it pretty?




What's it about? Well...

No one looking at Morgan Kemper would think that she had a secret — at least not one that she was deeply ashamed of. To everyone she meets, she comes across as pretty, sweet, and put together. But Morgan knows that looks can be deceiving. For over a year, she has shoplifted countless pieces of clothing and makeup. Each time she tells herself it will be the last, and each time it never is.

But when she is caught and sentenced to thirty hours of community service, the image Moran has carefully constructed starts to crumble. She is determined to complete her punishment without her friends discovering the truth about her sticky fingers, but that is easier said than done… Especially once she meets Eli, the charming, handsome nephew of the owner of the charity shop where Morgan is volunteering. Soon Morgan is faced with an impossible decision: continue to conceal the truth, or admit that she has lied to everyone in her life, including the boy she is falling for.

Don't forget to add The Girl You Thought I Was on Goodreads! Preorder links should be up soon too, not to mention ARCs and giveaways and maybe even some book swag!



Tuesday, August 1, 2017

THESE THINGS I'VE DONE IS HERE!

It's been about a year and a half since my agent and I accepted a two-book deal with HarperTeen. Now, after many months of waiting, THESE THINGS I'VE DONE is officially out in the world!

I'm extremely proud of this book. It was my most challenging one to date, and I worked so hard on it. Seeing it on shelves is pure joy.

I'm forever grateful to my wonderful agent, Eric Smith. These past almost-two-years as Eric's client have been such a pleasure, and I'm so excited for whatever's next on this journey of ours. Being part of #TeamRocks is the absolute best.

I've thanked Cara Bertrand 1000 times already, and I'll probably thank her 1000 times more. This book started in her brain, and I was just lucky enough to have her share it with me.

Thank you all the amazing bloggers who are participating in my blog tour this week! Keep an eye on my Twitter, because I'll be sharing some cool giveaways over the next few days!

Here's where you can buy THESE THINGS I'VE DONE:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
Indie Bound

As always, thanks to my family and friends for their supportive messages, RTs, Facebook posts, and just generally being awesome. I appreciate you all! 💕




Thursday, June 1, 2017

Two more months!

THESE THINGS I'VE DONE, my first book with HarperTeen, will be out two months from today! I can't believe it's so soon. While we wait, I thought I'd give you all some important links:

Want to pre-order? Head over to AmazonBarnes and Noble, or IndieBound.

Want to review a digital ARC? Request a copy on Edelweiss.

Want to win an advance copy? Enter the giveaways on Goodreads and on Epic Reads.

Want to join me at my book launch? Info is here.

Want me to do an interview or guest post for your blog? Let me know.


Monday, October 24, 2016

THESE THING I'VE DONE cover!

Today, the cover for THESE THINGS I'VE DONE, my first book with HarperTeen, was revealed on YA Interrobang. I'd like to also post it here so I can properly gush over it:





*happy sigh*

YOU GUYS, this cover. TTID is my seventh book and therefore my seventh cover, but damn, out of the seven of them, I think I love this one best. Because LOOK AT IT.

While I was writing Dara, I pictured her in my mind as this tall, blond, curvy girl who wasn't very comfortable with her height and build. I was binging Friday Night Lights for the first time while drafting this book, so after a while she sort of started to look like Julie Taylor in my head. But anyway.

As soon as I saw the girl on this cover, I was like THAT'S DARA. And she's sitting on dead fall leaves, which is also perfect. The after/present tense chapters take place mostly in the fall, and this girl, whoever she is in real life, is my Present Dara to a T.

What's this book all about, you may ask? Well, here's the description:

Before:

Dara and Aubrey have been inseparable since they became best friends in sixth grade. However, as they begin their sophomore year of high school, cracks in their friendship begin to form, testing the bond they always thought was unbreakable.

After:


It's been fifteen months since the accident that killed Aubrey, and not a day goes by that Dara isn't racked with guilt over her role in her best friend's death. Dara thought nothing could be worse than confronting the memories of Aubrey that relentlessly haunt her, but she soon realizes it isn't half as difficult as seeing Ethan, Aubrey's brother, every day. Not just because he's a walking reminder of what she did, but because the more her feelings for him change, the more she knows she's betraying her best friend one final time.



If you haven't already, you can add THESE THINGS I'VE DONE on Goodreads.

Stay tuned for more news and other awesome stuff as we count down to the release on August 1, 2017!