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You’re going to have to excuse this post (and the crappy photo) but I can’t help myself. A package just arrived from my wonderful Australian publisher, Allen & Unwin. It made me scream. In a good way.
This is what was in it:
That’s the official Children’s Book Council of Australia short-listed book sticker and it’s on Liar! And it’s not a joke or an accident!
Um, I may have mentioned that the CBCA awards have always been a huge deal for me. Ever since I was a tiny person. This really is a dream come true.
And on that cliched note1 I am off to attempt to write my next book. I may have to hide the stickered Liar. I keep fondling it . . . *cough*
Me. Writing. Now.
NOTE: I am in Sydney, Australia where it is already April Fool’s Day. However, my blog is set to NYC time cause I was too lazy to change it.
- – -
April Fool’s is the day I began my career as a full-time freelance writer. Back in 2003, having sold only one short story, I took the completely insane plunge. The first year did not go well, but since then it’s mostly worked out great. I’ve been very lucky indeed.
For my own benefit some stats:
Books sold: 81
Books published: 72
Countries books have been sold in: 153
Countries said books have been written in: 64
Published words: 400,000 (Guestimate.)
Books written but not sold: 25
Books started but not finished: 32 (Guestimate.)
Ideas collected: 2,372,456 (Precise measurement. I have an ideaometer.)
This week, as if in celebration of my seven years of freelancery, I discovered that Liar has been shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s 2010 Book of the Year. I fell over I was so shocked.
Let me explain: For those of you who did not grow up in Australia, the CBCA awards are the most prestigious and longest established awards for young readers in Australia. USians: think Newbery. As a kid I would read the award winners and most of the shortlisted books every year. When I was nine I wrote a letter to the editor I was so indignant that the latest Patricia Wrightson6 book had not been considered for a CBCA because the judges decided that it was too old.7 Nine year old me’s head would have exploded to learn that one day something I wrote was going to be shortlisted for a CBCA. Frankly, the me of 2010’s head is not exactly in one piece having learned the news.
Congrats to everyone else on the shortlists and to the notables as well, which include my partner in crime, Scott Westerfeld8 and many, many, many other wonderful writers.
Today is also the day Karen Healey’s first novel, Guardian of the Dead is published in Australia, New Zealand and the US of A. Set in New Zealand, NOT AUSTRALIA AS SO MANY MISGUIDED USIAN REVIEWERS SEEM TO THINK,9 Guardian is one of the most original and unputdownable novel debuts I’ve read in ages. In fact, I was just discussing how cool it is with Melina Marchetta. How could you not buy a book that Melina Marchetta is recommending? I’m not going to tell you anything more about the book except that you should all run out and grab a copy. RIGHT NOW. OR I’LL JUST KEEP SHOUTING AT YOU. AND NO ONE WANTS TO BE SHOUTED AT.
That’s all. Happy April Fool’s day! Don’t believe a word anyone tells you today.
Because I just had a long discussion with some friends about what constitutes being crassly commercial I’ve decided now is the time to let you know where you can buy signed books of mine. What? Some people write and ask me that, you know. Also it’s Sunday no one will notice me being crassly commercial.
I have scribbled on copies of my books in the following places in the US of A:
603 N. Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78703
55 Old Orchard Center
5112 Main St
Downers Grove, IL
Lake Forest Book Store
680 N. Western Ave.
Lake Forest, IL
387 Perkins Ext
1997 Palmer Ave
Books of Wonder
18 W. 18th St.
New York, NY
551 Carpenter Ln
Children’s Book World
17 Haverford Station Road
A Children’s Place
4807 NE Fremont St
Barnes & Noble
12000 SE 82nd Avenue
4326 University Way NE
Third Place Books
17171 Bothell Way NE
Lake Forest Park, WA
Barnes & Noble
19401 Alderwood Mall Parkway
For those of you in Australia, I will be back home and shall try to sign books at various book stores in Sydney in December. I pretty much always manage to make it to Kinokuniya and Galaxy. I’ll keep you posted.
Thus ends this crassly comercial service announcement. Normal service will resume tomorrow.
The Liar pages are live. Ta dah!
There’s a plea for those who have read the book not to spoil it, a lengthy excerpt, a list of places in the world where Liar has sold, and a non-spoilery discussion of some of the influences on the book.
There’s also a review section on account of the astonishing number of early reviews that have appeared. (Bless you, book bloggers!) Though I decided not to include the blurbs from dead writers because I didn’t want my fellow alive writers to get jealous of my powerful ouija board:
Liar is almost as dark as one of my books. Not bad, Larbalestier.
If you can’t get hold of a good book I suppose you could give Liar a go.
So creepy I had to put it down and seek solace in Anne of Green Gables.
Liar proves everything I said about parents was true.
There would also be an essay on how Scrivener influenced the writing of the book. However, I’ve decided to hold off on posting that until after Liar is published. On account of how the Scrivener essay won’t really make any sense unless you have read the book. And not many people have at the moment on account of Liar doesn’t publish for another three months. Such a long time . . .
So there you have it some Liar content that is not even a tiny bit spoilery.
Last week was a very big week for me. I found out that How to Ditch Your Fairy sold in Japan and Liar in France and Germany. (I also had my first lindy hop lesson. Next one is on Tuesday.)
How to Ditch Your Fairy sold to Tokyo Sogensha in Japan, who also publish Diana Wynne Jones. I know it’s tenuous proximity but it makes me happy, okay?
I can’t give more details on the French sale but I can say that my German publisher continues to be Bertelsmann Jugendbuch Verlag, who published the Magic or Madness trilogy in quick succession last year. It’s doing amazingly well over there, which I put down to the glory that is the covers:
Bertelsmann will also be publishing How to Ditch Your Fairy later this year. I met some of the crew over in Bologna last year and they were wonderful. Feels fabulous to have a solid home in Germany, which is one of the biggest book publishing markets in the world. Germans love to read. Bless them.
Sometimes I can’t believe this is real. It took twenty years to find anyone who wanted to publish for my fiction. I never dreamed it would appear in any language other than English. Yet here I am with a whole shelf full of various different editions of my books. Please let this last another twenty years.1 Fingers crossed!
In other yay news, Scott has previewed the final cover of Leviathan. It’s spectacular. And I say that as someone who loved the first version.
I know I said a while back that I would no longer be linking to reviews of my books. I’m making an exception today for the the very first review of Liar because I’m so grateful that Jenn Hartley’s review contains no spoilers. Bless you, Jenn.
Liar is the most complicated book I’ve written to date. It’s my first attempt at a psychological thriller and contains many twists and turns. I’m convinced that reading it will be a lot more interesting if you don’t know any of them ahead of time. I’d be really grateful if those of you who have an advanced copy would keep those reversals and surprises to yourself. If you’re bursting to talk about it you can always email me. Or Maureen Johnson she’s read it.
I know some people love to be spoiled but maybe you could just whisper a few spoilers in their ears rather than post it on your blogs? I really would be ever so grateful.
My mini How To Ditch Your Fairy tour of Australia (well of Melbourne, Perth, Sydney) begins on Sunday. I can’t believe it’s so soon! How did that happen?
To prepare yourself here’s an article about Sunday’s gig which features an interview with the fabulous Simmone Howell. I just finished her latest, Everything Beautiful, last night. It’s astonishingly good. I don’t even like realism and I LOVED this book. Go read it immediately.
Also Allen & Unwin have created a How To Ditch Your Fairy site. This is a first for me. A publisher creating a whole site devoted to one of my books! I may faint. Have I mentioned that I love my Aussie publisher?
And wait till you see the new US cover of HTDYF. Best. Cover. Ever.
For those of you in Melbourne here’s where you’ll find me:
Sunday, 22 Feb 2009, 2:00PM - 3:30PM
Me and Simmone Howell in conversation + cake
State Library of Victoria—Conference Centre
328 Swanston Street
(Entrance 3 on La Trobe Street)
Go here to book
Monday, 23 Feb, 2009, 6.00PM
Talk & signing
North Melbourne Library
66 Errol St
North Melbourne, VIC
Tuesday, 24 Feb 2009, 6:30PM
Australian launch of How To Ditch Your Fairy
309 Lygon St
Hope to see some of you there. I’ll be the one eating a mangosteen and discoursing on the merits of Elvis’ 1968 comeback special.
What larks we shall have!
By: Justine Larbalestier
Blog: Justine Larbalestier
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Yup, it’s my annual what-I-did-this-year skiting post. I write these mostly for myself so I can easily keep track. Hence the last day of the year category. Thus you are absolutely free to skip it.1
This year was exceptional. I’m still pinching myself. My first Bloomsbury USA book, How To Ditch Your Fairy, was published and seems to be doing well. I was sent on my first book tour, which was fabulous. It’s insane how much fun I had and how many fabulous schools, book shops and libraries I visited in California, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas. Thank you to everyone who came to see me while I was on the road. It was a blast getting to meet you all! I loved hearing what fairies you all have!
Now this is going to sound like the acknowledgments page but bear with me cause I thanked my fabulous editor, Melanie Cecka in print, but not the wonderful publicity and sales and marketing folks because, well, I didn’t know them back then. Deb Shapiro is the best and funniest publicist I’ve ever worked with, Beth Eller is a genius of marketing, and all the sales reps who’ve been flogging the fairy book mercilessly across the USA are too fabulous for words. Extra special thanks to Anne Hellman, Kevin Peters, and Melissa Weisberg.
HTDYF also sold (along with the liar book) to Allen & Unwin in Australia. This is a huge deal because it’s the first time I’ve had a multi-book deal in Australia and A&U publishes many of the best writers in Australia, including Margo Lanagan, Garth Nix, Penni Russon and Lili Wilkinson. My editor and publisher, Jodie Webster, is a joy to work with. So’s Sarah Tran and Erica Wagner and Hilary Reynolds and everyone else on the Alien Onion team. Bless!
Both Bloomsbury and A&U seem even more excited about the liar book than they were about HTDYF. Which is a huge relief to me because, um, it is not the most obvious follow-up to the fairy book. Older, darker, scarier, completely different. Stuff like that. Here’s hoping that not too long into the new year I’ll be sharing the title, the cover, a sneak preview, and other such fabulous things.
The fairy book also sold in Germany to Bertelsmann, who published the Magic or Madness trilogy there and gave it the best covers ever. It was awesome getting to meet the two Suzannes: Krebs and Stark in Bologna. Thank you for believing in my book so strongly that you bought it when it was still in manuscript. I still can’t quite believe it.
Speaking of the trilogy it sold in Korea to Chungeorahm Publishing, which means it’s now published in ten different countries and eight different languages. All of it Whitney Lee’s doing. It’s astonishing to me how well the trilogy is doing more than three years after first publication. Fingers crossed that will continue.
I also had two short stories published. A rarity for me. My last short story was published back in 2004. These two were the first I’d written since then. Short stories are not my thing. They’re so much harder to write than a novel. ““Pashin’ or The Worst Kiss Ever” appeared in First Kiss (Then Tell): A Collection of True Lip-Locked Moments edited by Cylin Busby and was universally declared to be the grossest story ever. “Thinner Than Water” is in Love is Hell edited by Farrin Jacobs. I’m proud of them both for very different reasons. But don’t expect any more. Writing short stories hurt my brain.
Last year I was wise and only aimed to write one novel in 2008. Just as well because that’s all I did this year no stories, no articles, nothing else. I wrote the liar book and began the 1930s book. It’s very clear that I’m a one-book-a-year girl.
I also mentioned in that one-year-ago post that I had three sekrit projects. The first is no longer a secret: the Zombie Versus Unicorn anthology that I’m editing with Holly Black, which marks the first time I’ve edited original fiction. Am I excited? Why, yes, I am. It will be out from Simon & Schuster in 2010 and we’ll be announcing our insanely excellent line up of authors in the new year. Truly, you will die at how great our writers are.
One of the other sekrit projects morphed into a solo project (the 1930s book) and I’m still hoping that the last of the sekrit projects will go ahead some time next year. Here’s looking at you co-conspirator of my last remaining sekrit project! You know who you are.
Next year will be taken up with writing the 1930s book and editing the Zombie v Unicorn antho. The 1930s book is the biggest most ambitious book I’ve tried to write since my very first novel set in ancient Cambodia. I’m loving the researching and writing. Immersing myself in another era is the most fun ever! I think my next ten books will all be set in the 1930s.
My 2009 publications. This is a WAY shorter list than last year:
September: the liar novel for Bloomsbury USA.
October: the liar novel for Allen & Unwin.
Yup, just the one novel from me. Sorry! You should also get hold of Cassandra Clare’s City of Glass when it comes out. It’s the final book of the City of Bones trilogy and the best of the three. I read it in one sitting on my computer.2 Then later in the year there’s Robin Wasserman’s sequel to Skinned. You know you want it! Yet another book I read in one go. Also on my computer. Think how much better it will be between actual covers.
Then there’s the three YA debuts I’ve been talking about by Peterfreund, Rees Brennan and Ryan. If you read no other books in 2009 make sure you read those three. I’m also dying to read the sequel to Kathleen Duey’s Skin Hunger, which was my favourite book of 2007.
Last, but not least, the old man has his first novel in two years, Leviathan. Fully illustrated by the fabulous artist Keith Thompson and better than anything else Scott’s ever written. I’m so proud of him and of this book. You’ll all love it. Seriously, it’s worth the price just for the endpapers!
I travelled way too much this year. Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, the UK, France, Canada, all over the USA, and home to Australia. Again. Looks like the same for next year. I have no idea what to do about that. I guess when you try to live in two different countries at the same time that’s the price. Oh, and lots and lots of offsets. We try to be good.
This is where I usually say that I think the coming year’s going to be fabulous. But this year I’m not sure. The economic news back in the United States has been dire. Friends have lost their jobs, their editor, their imprint. It’s scary in publishing right now and it’s even scarier in many other industries. I really hope good governance in the USA will make a difference world wide. But I just don’t know. I had great hopes for the Rudd government and here he is botching the fight against climate change and trying to put up a filter for the internet in Australia. Ridiculous. Surely Obama’s government will not be so stupid.
Here’s hoping 2009 will see a return to sanity all around the world, but especially here in Australia.
Happy new year!
Firstly, the polls: I thought you all should know that the result of the poll was that Nevada is our chosen smoking state of the US of A. Closely followed by Wyoming. Hope you’re happy, Mr Williams!
The new poll is on fashion atrocities. I’m a bit cross that no one has voted for espadrilles yet. Oh, how I HATE them! Soles of shoes are not supposed to be made of rope! It’s UGLY, people! Are you all blind?! (Poll is to your right.)
Matter the second, the word count discussion has been interesting and enlightening. In fact, it made me realise more fully the why of my word count dislike. I do not care to share my day-by-day process. Don’t get me wrong I adore talking about process. But I like to talk about it overall: here’s some thoughts on rewriting, here’s a very silly set of suggestions for writing a novel, here’s how I wrote this book, here’s how I find looking at other people’s writing incredibly useful and so on and so forth.
But posting daily on my struggles or successes in the writing coal mine? Nah. Too close to the bone. I feel like I’ll come across as a massive whinger (Oh my Elvis writing this book is killing me! Why are leopard ballet sequence so bloody difficult?! What was I thinking?! I’m a hack! A talentless hack!!) or the most conceited self-satisfied writer in the universe (Wow, I am a genius! I am the Lord Barham of writing! Look at these pearls of unspeakable genius that I crafted today! How could perfection such as the crystalline words that coruscate from my fingers exist in this oh so imperfect world?! It astonishes me!). So I confine such thoughts to myself.
Oh, hang on—wooops!
Look over there: Leopards dancing! Flying giant woolly squirrels playing badminton with quokkas!
There is no matter the third.
As you were.
An ARC1 of How To Ditch Your Fairy just arrived! I am filled with squee. HTDYF is almost a real book!
Here’s what it looks like:
You know what the most fabulous part of it is? (Other than the quote from Libba Bray2 ) My name is as big as the title. My name is bigger than it’s ever been! Oh, happy day!
The happiness continues when I turn the ARC over and gaze on the back cover where there’s a marketing plan. A marketing plan!
I’ve never had one of those on the back of an ARC before. And it includes the words “multi-city author tour”. So maybe I’ll be getting to your city and have a chance to meet you later this year!
My very first author tour. Who’d've thunk it?
Look what I saw in an actual bookshop, RavensBuch in Friedrichshafen! Isn’t it gorgeous?:
Yup, it’s the German version of Magic or Madness. It’s even more beautiful in real life. Sigh. The book next to mine (the yellow one) is by John Marsden. Two Aussies together in Germany. I’ve been stunned by how many Aussie books I’ve been seeing in translation on our travels. Oodles of them by the likes of Trudi Canavan, Sara Douglass, Sonya Hartnett, John Marsden, Garth Nix, Marcus Zusak etc., etc. World domination!
Speaking of Germany. Random House Deutschland has just made an offer for How to Ditch Your Fairy. A very enthusiastic offer and they’ll be publishing it in hardcover. I am very happy. I met my German publishers in Bologna and they’re all lovely. Possibly because they’re all named Susanne.
This is the first time one of my books has sold to another market before publication. Very exciting. HTDYF will be out in the US in early September. And I may be sharing the cover with you some time soon . . .
Another year, another anniversary. Once again I mark 1 April not by being silly like some I could mention but by saying, “Oh my Elvis. I’ve been a freelance writer for exactly five years! And I’m not starving! How on Earth did I manage that?”1
For my own benefit some stats:
Books sold: 72
Books published: 53
Countries books have been sold in: 104
Countries said books have been written in: 65
Published words: 372,0006
Books written and unsold: 27
Ideas collected: 372,4568
Lots of fun had at fair today. Much publishing gossip and wisdom attained. Will share with you when not exhausted. I sleep now in order to make it to the drinks, dinner and party appointments that lie ahead of me today. Yes, my life continues to be gruelling!
Sartorias aka Sherwood Smith continues the cranky discussion. Both threads have really excellent comments. Fascinating stuff. If only I weren’t in computer hell, I’d be contributing to said discussions. Once things stop sucking in computerland I’ll plunge in. There’s LOTS more to be said.
In other news I just found out that the Magic or Madness trilogy has now sold to PT Gramedia in Indonesia. I’m particularly stoked about this sale as I studied Bahasa Indonesia for four years in high school. It’s a country I’ve always been fascinated by. For those keeping count—I know I am—the trilogy has now sold to ten different countries.
By: Justine Larbalestier
Blog: Justine Larbalestier
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Another review of First Kiss (Then Tell) edited by Cylin Busby and here’s my story’s mention:
Hands down favorite for sheer grossness (it was so gross it was funny!) was Justine Larbalestier’s “Pashin’”, a tale of her friend’s first kiss.
I am the grossest of them all.
Recently several friends have been on the receiving end of some very bad blurb etiquette and they have requested that I set the world straight about how blurbage should actually work. I live to serve.
What is a blurb? It’s the little quotes that typically appear on the back of a book saying how wonderful it is. For instance here is what Libba Bray has to say about How To Ditch Your Fairy:1
Justine Larbalestier has a super-cool writing fairy, and I am vastly jealous! Thoroughly entertaining, totally enchanting, wickedly funny, and 110% doos, How To Ditch Your Fairy had me grinning from page one (when I wasn’t laughing out loud). And as soon as I can figure out how to do it I’m going to ask to swap fairies with Justine.
—Libba Bray, New York Times Bestselling author of A Great and Terrible Beauty
A while back I talked at length about my policy on blurbs. The short version is: Yes, I am happy to look at books and if I love them I will blurb them.2 Turns out that there are other aspects of blurbage that I did not cover. Mostly because I did not know these things happen. But apparently they do.
- Never offer to swap blurbs with an author. “Hey, I have a book coming out. If you blurb it I’ll blurb your book!” This is a terrible idea. I may be a blurb purist but all the authors I know only blurb books that they enjoyed reading. They do not blurb books because that person blurbed their book and they especially don’t do that for someone who has never had a book published before and therefore has no track record. Blurbs are supposed to help to sell books but they’re useless if no one knows who the blurber is.
- If the author who agreed to look at your book does not get back to you DO NOT bug them. There are several reasons for not blurbing a book such as not liking it, not having time to read it, and losing said book. Putting the author in the position of having to explain which reason applies is not fair. No author wants to explain to another why they didn’t like their book well enough to blurb it. Just assume it was lack of time.
- There is nothing wrong with receiving a blurb from a friend unless of course that’s the only reason they’re doing it. I blurbed Cassie Clare’s City of Bones because I could not put it down. I loved it. The reason I know some of the wonderful writers who have blurbed me—Karen Joy Fowler, Samuel R. Delany, Libba Bray, Holly Black—is because I love their writing. They are my friends because of writing. None of them would blurb my books if they weren’t into them. It’s not worth our reputations to blurb books of varying quality. Every author I know has said no to blurbing a book by a friend. It’s awkward, but not as awkward as having your name eternally on the back of a book you don’t love.
- Never claim to have a blurb from an author if that is not the case. If the author in question has agreed to look at your book with the possibilty of providing a blurb that DOES NOT mean they are going to blurb you. I looked at several books last year and blurbed none of them. The author has agreed to read your book NOTHING more. If you go around boasting that you have a blurb when you don’t odds are it will get back to the author, who will then be much less inclined to blurb you. This is a very small industry. Word gets around.
This last point leads to a bigger point: Anyone who advises you that lying: claiming blurbs you don’t have, doctoring your publications list, claiming non-existent connections etc. etc. is a good way to get “your foot in the door” is full of it.
Don’t do this. Not ever.
Finding out that someone you have NEVER met is using your name to get ahead is vastly cranky-making. Also in the age of the internet it’s almost impossible to get away with these shenanigans. Google knows when you lie.
I think that about covers it, but if I’ve missed anything do please let me know.
Thought youse might be interested in a new interview with me and Ekaterina Sedia (who wrote the truly marvelous Secret History of Moscow) that just went up at Fantasy Magazine. The interview was conducted by the insightful Tempest Bradford and was all about what it’s like to be a foreignor in the US of A something me and Ekaterina know a lot about. It’s one of them most enjoyable interviews I’ve done. Any time I’m not asked to describe my books, I’m happy.
There’s a new review of First Kiss (Then Tell) the fabulous anthology I have a story in. After talking about her favourite stories the reviewer has this to say:
I didn’t love every story in this collection; some were just, “eh,” and some were good but not really my thing (I have a weak stomach, so some of them made me rather nauseous!).
She’s talking about my story! The one that Booklist called “disgusting yet hilarious”. I made the reviewer queasy. Tee hee. She also says the stories range from “funny to sweet and awkward to disgusting“. Disgusting! That’s my story again! I’m so happy.
You must all read the anthology and then let me know whether you think mine is the most disgusting story. I guarantee that it is. I’m so proud.
My big news is that my next two books are going to be published by Bloomsbury USA. That’s right the great Aussie cricket mangosteen monkey knife fighting fairy YA novel has found a home! Not to mention an actual title: The Ultimate Fairy Book.
I am so excited I cannot sit still. I’m bouncing as I type this. I am all over with yays!
My new editor is Melanie Cecka who is wonderful. We had a three-hour lunch last year where we learned conclusively that we are each girls after each other’s heart. Hot sauce! Mexican food! Dessert! Love of many of the same books!
The whole team at Bloomsbury are incredibly impressive and seem to be almost as excited about my book as I am about becoming a Bloomsbury girl. It’s a match made in heaven. Just take a look at some of the books they publish! I am going to be on the same list as Shannon Hale, Simmone Howell, Susan Vaught, Herbie Brennan, Phillip Reeve! What’s not to love?
Before you ask The Ultimate Fairy Book or the UFB is scheduled to be published in Fall 2008 (ie September or October of next year). I know some of you will think that is a long, long, long, way away, but I was very surprised that they’re going to publish it so soon. Most publishers have already planned their Fall 08 list and are now plannning their 2009 books. I squealed when I heard it was coming out next year. More yays!
Also being on the Fall list in the US of A (and let’s face it where else do they even have a fall*?) is a Very Big Deal. The majority of the books featured at BEA, for instance, are Fall titles.
*Where I come from it’s autumn.
Thanks so much for all the warm yummy wishes. I’m bubbly and bouncing!
I’ve been getting some questions about my next book. I figured it would be most efficient to answer them all here:
Q: Will it be in hardcover or paperback?
A: Hardcover first and then later (don’t know how much later) paperback.
Q: Penni asked: Are you signing a contract for a book you haven’t written yet?
A: It’s like this: Bloomsbury have bought two books from me, the already-written UFB + an unwritten second book. Yes, that means I’ll be writing one novel of the contract to deadline. I know I said I wouldn’t do that anymore. But the writing-a-book-at-my-own-pace thing (which resulted in the UFB) was an experiment. I think I’m ready to tackle novel to deadline once again. Especially as I’ll have oodles of time and have already started a new novel. Plus Bloomsbury wanting a second book shows that they as a company are committed to me as a writer, which makes me feel warm and bubbly.
Q: Dess asked: Is there a difference between fairies and faeries?
A: There is. While as Diana pointed out they all have the same etymological root, in modern fantasy using “faerie” usually means the story will be influenced by Celtic or English mythology. There are lots of ballads that deal with the faerie folk. Those are a big influence on Holly Black’s work for instance. Her faerie are darker and scarier than mine. Also mine are invisible and not influenced by the Celtic or English traditions at all.
Q: Are there mangosteens and cricket matches and Elvis and monkey-knife fights in it?
Q: Is it set in Australia?
A: Um. Sort of.
Q: Why did you leave your old publisher?
A: I had a three-book deal with Penguin/Razorbill for the Magic or Madness trilogy. So my contract with them was done. My new book is so completely different from the trilogy that it seemed a good time to find the best possible match for it. My agent and I both agree Bloomsbury are a wonderful home for the UFB.
Q: Maggie asked: Are ultimate fairies anything like extreme fairies?
A: Could be.
On our way to Adelaide way back when, I checked out the bookshop at the Qantas domestic terminal in Sydney.
Lo and behold, there were multiple copies of Magic’s Child. Woo hoo! I’ve never seen one of my books in an airport bookshop before. But even better there were books by Maureen Johnson and David Levithan and Garth Nix!!! All friends of mine.
And now looking at the photo I see there are books by Jack Heath (who I met at Reading Matters in Melbourne) and Melina Marchetta (who we house swapped with) and Sonya Hartnett (who I briefly met at Reading Matters). So not only is one of my books in an actual airport bookshop, it’s there with books by people I know and adore who are amazing writers. Woo hoo!!!
Yes, it is very sad what gets writers excited.
Update: Wow. That was quick. Someone just emailed to say they can’t tell which book is which.
Here’s a closer look:
From right to left. Sonya Hartnett’s Forest, Jack Heath’s Remote Control, and Maureen Johnson’s 13 Little Blue Envelopes. Then there’s Magic’s Child and David Levithan’s Are We There Yet?. And, last but definitely not least, Melina Marchetta’s Jellicoe Road above many Garth Nix books.
Thanks to Sean and Tole, I just found out that Daughters of Earth has won the William Atheling Jr. Award. Woo hooo!!!! This is the award given by the Australian science fiction community for the best criticism.
I’m stoked beyond stokage.
My first interview for Colleen Mondor’s summer blog tour went up this morning. Twas conducted by the lovely Liz B of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy.
Bored with reading about me? (Elvis knows, I am!) Then check out all these other interviews with folks like Gene Yang who won the Printz for American Born Chinese.
This whole week will be awash with interviewy goodness.
PS This is the post I was trying to put up when everything went down (again) this morning. It’s post number? 666.
So, um, I seem to have won three awards this year. I know! I was as shocked as you. Anyways, I thought it might be fun to have a squiz at ‘em. For annoying scheduling reasons I managed not to be at any of the award ceremonies so I’ve only just got my hands on two of them and have yet to see the third. It’s back home in Sydney being babysat by my parents (thanks Jan and John!).
Here’s the Susan Koppelman (thanks for accepting it for me, Brian):
Photo by Scott Westerfeld
The Norton (thanks, Eloise):
Photo by Scott Westerfeld
And the William Atheling (thanks, Sean):
Photo by Niki Bern
Contrast in awards styles, eh? I loves it!
My first appearance in an anthology is now on the shelves: First Kiss (Then Tell): A Collection of True Lip-Locked Moments edited by Cylin Busby. I’m stoked to be in this collection. It’s dead funny and there’s not a dud story in sight. How could there be when they’re penned by the likes of Cecil Castellucci, Shannon Hale, David Levithan, Sarah Mlynowski, Laren Myracle, Robin Wasserman and Scott Wetserfeld?1 If you don’t believe me about the fabulosity of this anthology then would you believe Booklist?
This entertaining collection of true “first kiss” stories by popular YA authors arrives just in time for Valentine’s Day. The risk of veering into groan-worthy, “when-I-was-your-age” territory always exists when adults reminisce about their teen years, but these authors treat their own stories with the same freshness and respect with which they approach their YA novels. The stories include Deb Caletti’s thrilling and empowering kiss, “as right as warm sidewalks and plums bought at roadside stands”; Cecil Castellucci’s secret and slightly shameful smooches with a bad boy; and Justine Larbalestier’s disgusting yet hilarious drunken kiss on a floating dock. Some stories are poems, one is a play, and a few are in comic form; despite the reality-based entries and mix of forms, the collection is classified as fiction. Kissing quotes and facts are interspersed, making this a good collection for browsing. The reader will finish this volume and know that whether a first kiss is anticipated or unexpected, dreamy or forgettable, this rite of passage provokes a complex mix of fear, excitement, and relief.
“Disgusting yet hilarious”. I am SO proud. Those words pretty much sum me up. However, the kiss I describe in that story was not, in fact, mine. I cheated and stole someone else’s story. And to make matters worse I can’t even remember whose story it is.
If you only read one anthology this year make it First Kiss!
And because I’m curious—anyone care to share the story of their first kiss? I’d share mine but I really can’t remember it. Sad, but true.
By: Justine Larbalestier
Blog: Justine Larbalestier
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I will confess that I was nervous about going to High Voltage ConFusion. There were several reasons for this:
- I’m afraid of cold places. And Detroit in winter is COLD.1
- I’d never been a guest of honour before and was worried I’d be crappy at it.
- I was aware that most of the people at the con would not have heard of me or Scott and was worried that they would feel dudded of a proper author guest of honour what wrote adult sf and fantasy.
I need not have had any concerns at all. I was right that most of the people there didn’t know us or our work (unless they were a teen librarian or had teen children—there were precious few actual teens in attendance). But it turned out to be a really good thing. No pressure and no expectations. It was really relaxing. One of the most relaxing weekends I’ve had in ages.
Mostly because of Anne Murphy, our liaison. I had no idea that guests of honour get someone to take care of them. It was fabulous. Anne made sure we were fed and happy. She is the best liaison of all time. Thank you, Anne! Why can’t she take care of us all the time? We’re lost without you, Anne!
There was much fun. The Opening Ceremonies were hilarious. A picture of which below. Scalzi interviewing us was very silly and totally enjoyable. Though I was bummed he didn’t bring up
unicorns or quokkas.
We got to design our own panels. Thank you so much con organisers for indulging us! And thus were able to vent about stuff that’s been bugging us for ages. Why is there so little sport in fantasy and sf? Why did our audience turn on us during that panel back in Boston in 2004? Do they really just love wheat?
Thus the wheat panel which was FABULOUS therapy for me and Scott, though audience members expecting us to follow the panel description might have been disappointed. Sorry about that! But thank you for not turning on us. You were the best audience ever. Actually, all the panel audiences were smart and engaged and awesome. Me and Scott were dead chuffed that as the weekend went on more and more folks were showing up to hear us gasbag and pontificate. Yay!
The sport panel was also wonderful. Though we had way too much to say and not enough time to say it in. I especially loved that the audience was almost entirely women. Hah! There was also a sports writer, Dave Hogg, in the audience (he really should have been on the panel) who turned out—along with his partner—to be a huge Detroit Shock fan. Go, WNBA! We had an excellently geeky women’s hoops gossip.
I’ll admit that my last few cons had left me with panel fatigue. But now I love them all over again. I wish I’d gotten to see some of the panels I wasn’t on. I heard that all of Kevin Dunn’s (the science guest of honour) were brilliant. He explained soap and and all sorts of other Caveman Chemistry. I can’t wait to read his book.
You’ll be shocked to hear, however, that the best fun was not had during the panels, but at the parties and in the bar, and just generally hanging out. The ConFusion organisers and regulars are the best people on the planet. Seriously I got into so many great conversations and arguments and teasing contests. I can’t wait to go back!2
May I share with you the three best words in the world?
Roaming Pirate Party
Thanks again, Hugh, for the photo.
I haz met the Roaming Pirate Party. They haz rum3 and pirate hats and jollity by the galleon load. Best pirates ever! I shall treasure my pirate hat and t-shirt for ever!
We got to catch up with old friends like Karen Meisner, John & Krissy Scalzi, and Doselle Young. Why don’t they all live MUCH closer to me? I miss you all already. Waahh!! Not to mention making stacks of new friends. You know who you are! Yanni! Brian! Aaron! And SO MANY OTHERS! You all made it the best weekend ever.
Hell, we even got to see a movie: Cloverfield and it were good. Very good indeed.
If anyone needs a guest of honour me and Scott are so up for it!