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2K13 at SCBWI OH

Whew, that’s a lot of acronyms…but The Class of 2K13 is going to be at an event in Ohio next week. Well, six of us are! Here’s the rundown!

 

noscbwi

Reconnect – Recharge – Renew: N. Ohio SCBWI 11th Annual Conference

WHEN: Friday, September 20, 2013 2:00 PM –
Saturday, September 21, 2013 5:30 PM (Eastern Time)

WHERE: Cleveland Airport Sheraton
(216) 267-1500
5300 Riverside Drive
Cleveland, Ohio 44135

WHAT: Reconnect with old friends and make some new friends. You can never have enough acquaintances in this industry. The networking opportunities are AMAZING!!! Recharge and become motivated, educated and inspired with the presentations from experts in the field. Renew leaving the conference with new ideas or goals on making old ideas successful. Feel refreshed and ready to jump into your career of writing and/or illustrating for today’s youth.

WHO: 2K13 Members:

•Kelly Barson, Author of 45 POUNDS (MORE OR LESS)
•Geoffrey Girard, Author of PROJECT CAIN
•Demitria Lunetta, Author of IN THE AFTER
•Mindy McGinnis, Author of NOT A DROP TO DRINK
•Jennifer McGowan, Author of MAID OF SECRETS
•Kate Karyus Quinn, Author of ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE

We will be doing a debut panel on Friday: From Finished Manuscript to First Book: A YA Debut-Author Tells All and a Query panel on Saturday.

There are a ton of other authors and panels, so come check it out! There’s still time to register so we hope to see you all there!

demitria-lunetta-nameplate

 

Celebrating the release of ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE: An interview with Kate Karyus Quinn!

Yesterday, June 11, was release day for ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE by Kate Karyus Quinn. I was so excited to interview Kate recently about her awesome book. Here’s what it’s about:

The spine-tingling horror of Stephen King meets an eerie mystery worthy of Sara Shepard’s Pretty Little Liars series.

On a cool autumn night, Annaliese Rose Gordon stumbled out of the woods and into a high school party. She was screaming. Drenched in blood. Then she vanished.

A year later, Annaliese is found wandering down a road hundreds of miles away. She doesn’t know who she is. She doesn’t know how she got there. She only knows one thing: She is not the real Annaliese Rose Gordon.

Now Annaliese is haunted by strange visions and broken memories. Memories of a reckless, desperate wish . . . a bloody razor . . . and the faces of other girls who disappeared. Piece by piece, Annaliese’s fractured memories come together to reveal a violent, endless cycle that she will never escape—unless she can unlock the twisted secrets of her past.

Another Little Piece

Nicole McInnes: I really enjoyed ALP. It’s like nothing else I’ve ever read, and I’m so excited for the book to be officially out there in the world. So, what are your plans for release day?

Kate Karyus Quinn: My launch party is on my release day, so I plan to be running around like a chicken with its head cut off. So, yeah, really not that different from my average Tuesday. (Nicole’s note: be sure to check with Kate’s blog, Twitter feed, etc. to get an idea of how release day went!)

NM: ALP is one of those books that resists being placed into a clear-cut category. What’s your favorite way to describe it for readers who don’t know what to expect?

KKQ: Yes, it definitely straddles several different categories, and one of the reasons I love writing YA is that we have the ability to do that. I called ALP a paranormal mystery when I was sending out query letters. HarperTeen has categorized it as literary horror. Honestly, I think it is all those things – and there is a little romance in there too!

NM: Your main character, Annaliese, is so intense and multi-faceted (for reasons which become clear throughout the story). Of all of her personality traits, can you name a few you most admire?

KKQ: I think what I most admire about Annaliese is her courage in trying to find out what has happened to her, even as the truth leads her to darker and darker places. I also love how she comes to love the people in Annaliese’s life and how that makes her a stronger better person.

NM: How did you keep track of the multiple points of view that sometimes weren’t as multiple as they seemed?

KKQ: Well I am terrible with naming characters and then coming back to them fifty pages later and calling the same character by a different name. So mostly I try to keep track by going back to what I’ve already written and trying to remember not to contradict myself.

NM: With which of your characters could you most closely relate, and why?

KKQ: Probably the mom. She is an incredibly anxious person, who worries a lot and I definitely have quite a bit of that in myself as well.

NM: Did you draw on your own high school experiences when it came to writing about some of the everyday unpleasantness of high school life?KKQ: Yes. I was a lot like Annaliese, in that I was a quiet and shy girl who tended to crush on boys from afar. I was so concerned that the objects of my crushes might ever get a hint of how I felt that kept a good distance between myself and them, and would have been completely mortified if one of them had ever really talked with me.

NM: Which scene in the book was your favorite scene to write, and why?

KKQ: The final scene was my favorite. Usually I am a pretty slow writer, but the last twenty pages just flowed out of me and just felt so very right. It wasn’t the ending that I thought it was going to be when I started the book, even halfway through I didn’t know how it was going to end. It is embarrassing to admit that I really wanted it to end with an awesome kick-ass fight scene. Once I admitted that this didn’t at all fit with the book I was writing, I was able to find the ending that had been right for it all along.

NM: What’s the best way for readers to find you online?

KKQ: katekaryusquinn.com is probably the one best place and from there you can find my blog, contact me via email, and find links to all the other places where I am online.

Nicole’s note: Here are some of those links, including places where you can order ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE:

Kate’s Twitter

Kate’s Facebook page

Order ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE on Amazon

Order ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE at Barnes & Noble

Order ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE at IndieBound

ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE on Goodreads

The HarperTeen Browse Inside feature where readers can read the first 80 pages

One Smart Thing I Did To Sell ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE

ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE was the third full-length novel I’d written. The first two books are buried deep in a documents folder on my computer, but ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE will be hitting the shelves of bookstores in less than 2 weeks. Why did the first two books fail, while ALP got me an agent and a two-book deal?

Well, there are lots of reasons, but in the end – for me – it boils down to the Goldilocks Syndrome.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Wow, the Goldilocks Syndrome sounds like something you just made up right now for the purposes of this blog post.”

Wow, you are perceptive.

Yes, I did just make it up, but that doesn’t make it any less true, so *please* just stick with me here.

My first book was the bowl of porridge that was too cold. It was a romance novel that was too much like other contemporary romances that I’d read and loved. It was a paint by numbers book and the end result wasn’t exactly ugly, but was actually something even worse – DUN DUN DUN!! It was unoriginal. Yuck.

My second book was the bowl of porridge that was too hot. I wrote an urban fantasy and threw everything I had into it. There were chases, all kinds of crazy creatures, and a cast of characters that numbered into the double digits. It was wildly original and also a hot mess. Yuck.

My third book was the bowl of porridge that was juuuuust right. I’d learned to color inside the lines and also waaaay outside the lines. Now, I put both of them together.

This is why in some ways ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE is little bit different and maybe even weird. Some things are small – like I didn’t number the chapters. Other things are bigger, like throughout the book there are jumps back and forth in time, but the reader is never explicitly told where or when they are. Readers, along with my main character, have to put together the pieces of what happened to Annaliese Rose Gordon. I also pushed the envelope a bit on mature content (ie: violence, language, and sex. You can read more about that here.). There are also little bits of poetry that intertwine with the narrative.

Of course, in other ways, ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE is not that different from other young adult books. There’s a teenage girl. A romantic interest. A best friend. Parents. Mean kids at school. Pretty much all the usual teenage trappings are present and accounted for… only they’re twisted a tiny bit.

Anyone who cooks knows that the best way to make sure your porridge turns out just right, is to taste it while you are still cooking. The problem with applying this theory to writing is that you aren’t cooking one meal over the course of several months. This long stretch of time makes it much harder to tell when something tastes off. So to keep myself on track and make sure I was staying in that ‘juuust right’ porridge spot, I read.

Jellicoe Road, Bleeding Violet, The Sky is Everywhere, When You Reach Me, and many other wonderful and original books where all on my reading list. I used them as palate cleansers, sign posts (yes, I know I’m mixing metaphors, and I apologize but it can’t be helped), and inspiration. These books, all wildly original in their own ways, helped me make sure I was making my own path without going too far off into the wilderness.

Now I can only hope that when readers take a bite of my porridge (yes! back to the food metaphor) they will also find it to be: juuuuust right.

Kate karyus quinn nameplate

The Horrific Teen Years

My own children, age 5 and 3, are still a good distance away from their teen years. Despite the pains of potty training and runny noses and having to retie shoes ten times a day, I already know that these are the golden years, the times that I will look back at in a decades time and wonder, “Where did those sweet babies go?”

I know this, because I have already watched adorable children turn into teenage monsters.

I am the second oldest of five children – all of us girls. My older sister and I are close in age – just a little over a year apart. But my next sister is three years younger than me, the fourth in line is five years younger, and the baby of the family was born nine years after me.

Growing up, the whole family referred to the three youngest as, “the little ones.” The name stuck for a long time – even as they got older and not so little. When I left for college, I still thought of my baby sister as an actual baby – even though she was almost a pre-teen.

So I was shocked when I started getting reports from my mother about the ‘little ones’ and the trouble they were getting into. My older sister and I had been pretty tame teenagers (ie: nerds) and didn’t get into a whole lot of trouble. The little ones, though, were a whole different story. My mom struggled to deal with them, to help them get through those terrible teen years, while I watched from the safe distance of my college life and wondered what had happened to the sweet little sisters that I used to have tea parties with after school.

In ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE, the idea that sweet children become unrecognizable monsters with sometimes shocking wishes and desires is a big part of the story. I liked asking the question: How do you know this stranger in your child’s body and how do you love them?

Kate karyus quinn nameplate

 

Apples and Oranges and Another Little Piece

Last time on the blog, I talked about books that are comparable to ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE. I even put together a handy-dandy little infographic.

Of course, comparing any two (or three or four or five or… well you get the point) books is a bit like comparing apples and oranges, which is to say – you’re gonna find both similarities and differences. And that’s why, even though there are many plot elements and characters and situations in ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE that may be similar to other books you’ve read – ALP is also unique and completely its own.

For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s the synopsis:

The last time anyone saw Annaliese, she was stumbling out of the woods. Screaming. Drenched in blood. Then she vanished.

Now she’s been found—or so it seems.

But the Annaliese who returns has no memory of who she is…. All she knows is that she is not the real Annaliese. Trapped in a body that isn’t hers, she must unlock the mystery of her past in order to escape the horrors of her future.

For me, the biggest thing that sets ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE apart is the mystery and the way that Annaliese’s past is slowly revealed. Throughout the book Annaliese struggles with the question of who she is, who she was, and what she’s done. Then she has to figure out how to fix it…  or if it’s even fixable at all.

Another difference is the handling of memory loss. We all know that while amnesia is rare in real life, it is a condition that flourishes in fictional atmospheres. However, the reason why Annaliese forgets and the way in which she recovers her memories – I think – gives the trope a unique spin.

And finally, the last difference I want to discuss is Annaliese’s love interest. He is a nice guy and most definitely NOT an alpha male. Despite that, I think he is a cutie and I hope that readers fall for him the same way that Annaliese and I did.

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