Today Wendy and I are pleased to debut the cover of her third book in the Stork trilogy,
Cover art. It’s one of the few areas of which a writer has no control. And once paired, image and story fuse, becoming part of a book’s overall identity.
Imagine, then, an author’s curiosity as to how the assigned artist will visually interpret a book. So fun. So fascinating. And, knock on wood, so fulfilling.
FLOCK, the third novel in my STORK trilogy, finally has a jacket image that I can share. I love it! (Big thanks and kudos to the talented Kate Cunningham at Candlewick.) And as companion art to the first two in the series, I think this cover works beautifully.
So who is that, anyway? It’s Penny, my main character Kat’s best friend. Isn’t she adorable? And I, for one, love that she’s finally getting her fifteen minutes. Here’s to all the humble literary sidekicks out there. Those reliable buddies who so stoically shoulder subplot after subplot, while the flashier, alpha-type protag gets the bulk of attention.
Not to worry, Jack fans. Although he never got a cover, he’s still rocking Kat’s world and a huge part of the story. An interesting note is that a first-round of proposed art for this book had a guy on the cover (not Jack, interestingly enough), but it didn’t pass muster. I almost think it’s best not to cast Jack visually. He’s such a sweet guy. And hopelessly into Kat. I like to think that there are a few girls out there picturing their own minds-eye Jack.
For those interested in hearing about this final installment, here’s the cover tagline:
An untenable pact. No ally safe. And the advent of an ancient prophecy that jeopardizes everything.
A story teaser:
Having barely survived an eleventh grade of adventures rivaling any mythological tale, human Stork Katla Leblanc is hoping for an ordinary senior year. But when two Icelandic exchange students turn up at Norse Falls High, an uneventful school years seems out of the question. Although tricked into the initial deal, Katla is constrained by a celestial bargain that puts everyone—including her boyfriend, Jack, and best friend, Penny—at risk. She’ll have to use her wits, her wit, her soul-delivering powers, and a few out-of-this-world colleagues to fend off a disaster of epic proportions.
FLOCK takes flight on September 11th, 2012.
ARCs should start circulating soon.
Thank you to everyone—my friend Gabrielle, for instance—who have been such great supporters. I am sincerely touched by your enthusiasm for Kat’s journey. I hope you like the cover as much as I do.
I was excited to write this post because names are a huge deal for me in my books. I feel as if the name is so connected with the character that I cannot begin writing until I have nailed down the first and last names of all the main characters. Here were my specific thoughts as I decided character names in Ripper:
Arabella Sharp: I came up with Arabella pretty early. First, I needed a name used in the Victorian period. Arabella was unique; it was used in the nineteenth century but not overly popular. The meaning of Arabella is beautiful lion which I thought was perfect for her. With her untamed red hair and strong spirit, well…my heroine’s name just had to be Arabella.
Simon St. John: The love triangle in Ripper emerges from the love triangle in Jane Eyre. The sensible and yet enigmatic Simon St. John is based on St. John Rivers in Brontë’s novel. I did have some trouble negotiating his character with Rivers. Simon has Rivers’s classic good looks and brains, his strong interest in theology and humanitarianism, and yet, although veiled, unreadable at times, (I think) he is kinder than St. John Rivers.
William Siddal: William seemed to be the perfect name for Abbie’s broody Rochester-like love interest. The name was, of course, popular in the nineteenth-century and it has such a strong connotation to it. Quite literally the name means to be strong-willed or a protector. Also, the name seemed so much more solid than other Victorian names like Godfrey or, say, Alistair.
Chester Clairmont: A sniffly self-absorbed suitor for Abbie. Could his name be anything else?
Mariah Crawley: I truly loved Mariah’s character from the first time I began sketching notes for her. Abbie certainly pushes against the limits of her society, but she does so mainly for her career ambitions or to follow her steely conscience; however, Mariah likes to be shocking often simply for the sake of being shocking. Like Abbie, she is intelligent and career minded, and yet she smokes cigars, she has love affairs and is quite sexually liberated. Because of all these reasons, it was very important for me to have a bold and yet respectable name for her. “Mariah” seemed to fit well. I couldn’t picture this character with anything delicate like say, Maisie or Lilly. Mariah seemed to be the perfect fit.
Amy Carol Reeves has a PhD in nineteenth-century British literature. She published academic articles before deciding that it would be much more fun to write about Jack the Ripper. When she is not writing or teaching college classes, she enjoys running around her neighborhood with her giant Labrador retriever and serial reading Jane Austen novels. She lives in Columbia, South Carolina with her husband and two children. Ripper is her debut novel.
Look down, now back at me. Do you see a speck of green upon your person? No?! Then I give you a virtual pinch.
Now, onto the giveaway.
Harlequin Teen has been kind enough to provide one hardback copy of Julie Kagawa's newest novel The Immortal Rules for a lucky winner. The book will be sent to one resident of the USA or Canada after the publication date.
It was never my intention to be gimmicky with the names in Embrace. Sometimes I had a particular reason for giving a character a particular name, other times I stumbled into a reason, and other times, I just like the name. But when dealing with the masses of mythology that surround the subject of angels, it is hard not to turn ones mind to the importance and meaning of some names and I felt it was important to incorporate them at times. So here is a run down of a few of the names in Embrace.
Violet Eden: At first, I simply chose the name Violet because I liked it. But later, when I was researching for the book, I also researched the name, color, history, and mythology – basically everything – to do with the word violet. I quickly realized that many references to the color violet linked back to my story and the concepts that I was introducing and it led to more in depth development of her character. It was a stroke of luck really. One I am very grateful for.
Evelyn (Violet’s mother): I chose her name because Violet is on a path of self-discovery but she is also unique – the first of her kind in many ways. Evelyn, or rather Eve, seemed appropriate – harking back to the tales of Adam and Eve. Plus I liked it and it was an appropriate name to Evelyn’s generation.
Lincoln: I simply LOVE this name. There is something about it that is special – it has a regal tone to it that I am really drawn to. I never considered another option for this character.
Phoenix: He is a conundrum. Reinventing himself has been his method of survival. He has been cast out and shunned and has been left with no choice but to start over again and again. In Embrace, Phoenix attempts to reform, to be his best version of himself. He is a Phoenix in so many ways, burned and reborn and immortal despite the pain.
Steph (Violet’s bff): Because not every name needs to have a hidden meaning. She is the much-needed breath of normality in Violet’s life. Her name is therefore without hidden meaning.
Griffin: Is a Grigori – a warrior made by the high-ranking angels – the Seraphim. He is the leader in the city and a mentor to Violet. The legend of the Griffin depicts them with the body of a lion and head of an eagle. They are considered the king of the creatures, powerful and magical. The Griffin was thought to be a symbol of divine power and a guardian of the divine. This suited him perfectly.
Malachi: Is an exiled angel. I named him Malachi because the Hebrew word for ‘angel’ is ‘malak’ and I wanted to incorporate this somehow.
Onyx: He is very much the villain in Embrace, and an exile of dark. Black Onyx is the blackest of stones, a substance that is part of the earth’s makeup. It seemed fitting that even though he is incredibly evil, his name represented something not man made, but rather, natural.
At 16, she was kidnapped and murdered by a madman named Bonesaw. But that's not the problem.
The problem is she landed in purgatory. And while it's not a fiery inferno, it's certainly no heaven.
It's gray, ashen, and crumbling more and more by the day, and everyone has a job to do. Which doesn't leave Velveteen much time to do anything about what's really on her mind.
Velveteen aches to deliver the bloody punishment her killer deserves. And she's figured out just how to do it. She'll haunt him for the rest of his days. It'll be brutal . . . and awesome.
But crossing the divide between the living and the dead has devastating consequences.
Velveteen's obsessive haunting cracks the foundations of purgatory and jeopardizes her very soul. A risk she's willing to take—except fate has just given her reason to stick around: an unreasonably hot and completely off-limits coworker.
Velveteen can't help herself when it comes to breaking rules . . . or getting revenge. And she just might be angry enough to take everyone down with her.
Three ARCs are up for grabs on each of the host blogs, easy peasy. Just comment on all three for three chances to win. BUT THERE'S MORE!
Each cover reveal post contains a special contest. An author photo contest! Each blog has a different author photo that was up for possible inclusion on VELVETEEN dust jacket but only one was selected! Win the ARC on the blog with the actual author photo and you'll win a SURPRISE GRAB BAG (photo not actual size).
Don't bother asking me what's in it. I'll never tell. Ever. Like Ever. There might be clues in the included fake bios...or not. Who knows! That's half the fun. Just make sure to comment on each of the blogs!
DANIEL MARKS fled the priesthood in 2005 and began a whirlwind romance with adventure shortly thereafter. His thirst for danger is legendary and unquenchable and yet he remains pure and virtuous, much to the chagrin of his wretched detractors. Now settled into a pastoral life, he writes sweet romantic young adult books and tends a small flock of sheep on a secluded Wyoming ranch. VELVETEEN is his first novel and because of his background couldn't possibly be about ghost kids possessing dead bodies, making out and reeking havoc on the living. It's just not possible.
Today Kim Purcell, debut novelist of Trafficked joins me on MPB with an interview that has set the bar here on MPB.
GC: Why write about human trafficking?
KP: Many people don’t realize that we have more slavery in the world today than we did during the slave trade, and I wanted to bring awareness to the issue, but this isn’t the main reason I wrote about it.
I was teaching English as a Second Language to poor illegal immigrants in LA when I learned about the issue. I’d look at my students and think, man, this could happen to any of you. These wonderful Mexican women would bring these fabulous crispy tortillas and macaroni salad and salsa and Mexican pastries to class every day. They’d fill the classroom with such amazing, joyful laughter. Sometimes they’d cry. I imagined them being trafficked and becoming slaves, and this is what made me want to know more. Women like them were the ones being trafficked. I was in the middle of writing a different novel, but I wanted to understand how someone could do that to another person and how anyone could get caught in this terrible situation. As I read more stories of people who’d been trafficked, I learned that in almost every case, these people had chances to escape. Many times there were no physical restraints. They’d been threatened and filled with such fear that they couldn’t move. And I realized that modern-day slaves weren’t any different from many of us, really. We are all stopped at times from doing things we want to do or things we should do because we’re afraid. We all form boxes around ourselves to keep ourselves safe. I wanted to see what it would be like to live within a character’s own box of fear and then help her move past it.
GC: What was the response when you queried for agents, and sent the manuscript to editors? Were they as receptive to the idea of this sort of YA novel as you and I are? KP: I only queried one agent, Kate Lee at ICM, and I was lucky because she loved the book and wanted to sign me right away. I’d queried several agents for an earlier novel, so I know how soul-crushing that can be. After a couple revisions, we sent it out to one round of six editors. A couple of them didn’t like the main character, Hannah. Kate said we could send the book out to more editors, or I could work on Hannah. That was really a hard moment. Changing a character, the main character, means a full rewrite, and I’d worked on the book already for about five years. But you know, I could see what they were talking about. I didn’t like Hannah that much either at that point – I realized I’d made her into a miserable, joyless person, who wasn’t anything like the girls I’d met when I traveled to Moldova. So I reimagined her, rewrote the book, and fell in love with her. A year later, just as we were about to send it out again, I had another serendipitous moment. I was on the subway, talking to some friends about my book and an editor happened to be listening. She also happened to get off at my stop. She said that she was sorry for eavesdropping, but my book sounded like the kind of book she’d been wanting to work on. She asked if I had an editor. I said I didn’t. So, she gave me her card. I looked down – Penguin. They bought it a week later.
GC: I can only assume that writing this book was a deeply emotional roller coaster. Can you share any particular moment of writing with us that stands out to you?
KP: That’s a great question. It was a very emotional roller coaster, especially writing the scenes in which Hannah gets hurt. After I worked on one of those scenes, I had a hard time coming out of the experience. I really get into the writing emotionally. My back gets all curled up, my head comes close to the computer, my adrenalin is rushing – I’m like this mad scientist. It’s not great for my back, and it’s also hard to snap out of it, and be a mom or a wife or just a regular person. I have very little transition time between writing and being a mom. I write while my youngest daughter is at preschool. And so I would go to pick-up and people would be asking me these regular person questions and I’d stare at them, like what are you talking about?
GC: Do you hope to continue to write in the same vein as Trafficked in the future?
KP: I think this is the only way I can write, from a deeply emotional place. I like writing about fear. I imagine my books will always have some element of fear and suspense within them. I like writing about how the human spirit has the ability to overcome trauma. So, yeah, I might not write just contemporary fiction - I love fantasy and paranormal fiction too - but I’ll always have some kind of thriller element to my writing.
GC: What do you hope your readers will come away from the book with?
KP: I hope they come away with a feeling that Hannah is a survivor and that people do recover from this kind of experience. I believe that if we create more awareness about the issue and more protection for people who come forward and report their traffickers to the police, we can decrease slavery in this country and around the world. I hope too that after people read this book, they’ll will be kinder to people they meet who don’t speak English perfectly, people who might be illegal or legal, who work very hard to make a living in this country and have so many beautiful qualities if only people would give them a few minutes of their time.
By the grace of God SOPA/PIPA did not pass and now I think I understand why:
If SOPA/PIPA had won, taking this Social-Media centered action to stop the Rebels would not be possible.
The platforms we have cultivated as bloggers do wonders for different communities, different products, and different people seeking different things.
However in one regard we were all united; we went black, making what was once visible, invisible, so that people would understand what a World Wide Web under the dominian of SOPA/PIPA would look like.
Now we must make the invisible, visible.
We must make Kony famous, not to celebrate him, but to bring to light his crimes against humanity, his crimes against families, and most importantly, his crimes against the children of Uganda and other African nations.
This is Joseph Kony, the Invisible Man who has taken young girls and boys from their homes in the dead of night to become sex slaves and child soldiers for over twenty-five years:
We will see him captured. We will see the children he has taken brought home. We will see this happen this year.
First of all, I urge you to pray for this uprising to be effectual, pray for the families who created the Invisible Children documentaries that started this whole thing, and for the hearts of American leaders to accept that doing what is right is more important than doing what is easy.
Second, I urge you to sign the official petition and spread the word in every way you can, bringing people back to this post, to the original video and to the Invisible Children Website. Follow @Invisible on Twitter and watch #Kony2012 trend!
Thirdly, to all my fellow bloggers, to my readers, to my twitter followers and Facebook friends, to anyone who reads my reviews on Goodreads, or follows this blog by e-mail, I ask that on April 20th you will join me by covering the online streets and world-wide walls of the Internet with posters like these:
Include the documentary/link that explains why one man began this journey and why we have seen fit to follow in his footsteps.
Please plan to participate, and add your name to the Mr. Linky below so that on April 20th we can find each other and tweet each other's posts, comment on each other's messages, and watch each other's Youtube videos.
Then pass this along. Make a blog post, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you the HTML of this exact post. Tweet about it constantly; get your friends talking on Facebook when you make this your cover photo and Kony's face your profile picture.