Wednesday, July 1, 2015

True Heroes

I'm so excited to announce that I am one of the authors contributing to this collection of short stories and gorgeous photographs featuring children with cancer and their dreams. TRUE HEROES releases on September 8th from Shadow Mountain Publishing and you can pre-order it here.


I had so much fun writing about Sarah whose dream is to be a space explorer. Here's a little more about the book:

Twenty-one imaginative authors were paired up with twenty-one extraordinary kids. What makes these kids so special? They all have two things in common: They all have very big hopes and dreams, and they all have battled cancer.

Photographer Jonathan Diaz asked each of these remarkable children, “If you could be anything, what would you be?” Their answers were the inspiration for this one-of-a-kind book.

So turn the page and meet Korbyn the firefighter, Bre the dancer, Braelyn the superhero, William the dragon rider, Tristan the football star, and Rae the princess—and more—who were all photographed in full costume and digitally inserted into a background showing them as the hero of their own story. Then read the original short stories that were based on each child’s specific dream.

True Heroes shares the powerful message that children can do hard things. They are dreamers. They are fighters. They are heroes.

“This beautiful volume provides a hopeful antidote that combines fantastical and inspirational pictures with prose designed to engage children’s imaginations and remind them that they are full of power, strength, and hope.” —Richard Paul Evans, #1 New York Times bestselling author


We are young and unafraid.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Where in the world is my book?

I have some fun news! My publisher sold Turkish rights for REMAKE a while back, and the book released a few weeks ago. How neat is that? The title is simply "9" and it has a new cover and everything. So if you're ever in Istanbul...



Also, I recently did an interview for the WIFYR blog in which I divulge a little fact about my first kiss. And a local paper reviewed REMAKE. The reviewer says, "I would highly recommend this book to be read either on your own or in a book club. Remake is a story that both adults and youth can enjoy and learn from and will spark conversation." I agree, haha.

Remake 2 is done and I'm finishing up another book before diving into book 3. Summer is so busy but I love the warm weather and lots of family time. What have you been up to this summer?

Even though it's not always heaven, we still fly together...

Monday, May 4, 2015

Remake book trailer debut + giveaway!

It's here! It's here! The book trailer for REMAKE has arrived. Check it out...


I love it so much. I think it captures the feel of the book and Nine's dilemma perfectly. You can read more about REMAKE and how to purchase it here.

I'm also giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to celebrate the trailer release. Let me know what you thought about the trailer, follow me and Ideas For Hollywood (the producer of the video) online, or share the trailer with friends to enter. Details can be found in the Rafflecopter thingy below.

A great big thanks to everyone helping me spread the word!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

April Crazies

My little Nine has been busy. REMAKE is a Foreword Reviews' 2014 INDIEFAB finalist in the Young Adult Fiction category. I am thrilled with this news and love being in such amazing company. Winners will be announced at the ALA conference in June.

REMAKE was also reviewed in the Examiner. I appreciated the mention of Nine's character development as realistic and beautiful, as that was one of my favorite parts about writing the book.

And REMAKE made Kiss The Book's yearly top 50 list for Secondary 2015 which is presented every year at the Utah school librarians's conference, so that's cool.

I did a guest post on the Insecure Writer's Support Group blog along with Dianne Salerni and Stephanie Faris about the author-agent relationship.

The Writing For Charity conference was a big success. I helped to critique attendee's first pages, spoke on a couple of panels (Writing Diverse Books and Dealing With Writer's Block), and donated a couple of items for the silent auction. All the money earned at the conference goes toward the We Need Diverse Books organization and First Book, which gets books into the hands of needy children. I'm already excited for next year!

Writer's Block Panel
Catching up with writer friends

Diversity Panel

In addition to spending time with my family this week for spring break, this Saturday I'll be teaching at Teen Author Boot Camp. And next Thursday, I'm teaching about characters at the Pleasant Grove Library--free! What are your plans this April?

I hope everyone had a great Easter!

Set sail!


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

March Update!

Here's a quick update on what I've been up to:

I'm smiling because the
filming is over, lol. *shaka*
I was interviewed by my local CBS station. They came to my house and we sat down to talk about everything from writing to Remake to homeschool to Hawaii. Since the reporter and cameraman have ties to Hawaii, we had a great time talking about the islands, making me miss home. :) You can watch the interview here.

REMAKE is a Whitney award finalist in two categories: Best YA Speculative Novel and Best Novel by a New Author. I may have done a fistpump or two upon hearing the news. I'm up against some tough competition, including NYT best selling authors, so I think my chances of winning are slim, but becoming a Whitney finalist is one of my writing bucket-list items, so the fact that I can check that one off makes me absolutely giddy. You can find all the finalists here.

Me, Rachelle Christensen, Shelly Brown,
Josi Kilpack, Sarah Eden

I've updated the events tab above so you can see where I'll be this spring--mostly teaching at several local writing conferences.

My publisher hosted an author appreciation dinner, and it was so much fun enjoying a fancy date night with my husband. We got to rub shoulders with other authors, and I met a ton of people who work behind the scenes in getting my book out in the public. I also learned some incredible news from my editors about REMAKE that I hope to share soon. :)

Playboy roll (my fav) and squid
I also just finished drafting my 9th novel. Woot! I've been working on this one off and on for a long time, and I have to admit it's my favorite story I've written so far. It's another YA sci-fi with themes of virtue and self-worth featuring a mixed-race main character who I absolutely love. I can't wait to dive into revisions. The book takes place in an East-Asian inspired future, so of course we celebrated with sushi. (note: I celebrate everything with sushi, ha) Yum!

Do you like being in front of the camera? What was your favorite novel of 2014? Will I see you at any writing conferences this year? How do you celebrate reaching your writing goals?

'Cause life's for living right.

 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Interview with "Silence" author Deborah Lytton

I want to wish a happy book birthday to my friend Deborah Lytton and her novel SILENCE! I loved this book and will be rereading it often. It has excellent writing, a sweet clean romance, and a heart-melting story with endearing characters I wish I could meet in real life. I highly recommend this book. Here's a little bit about it:


Isn't this cover gorgeous?
Stella was born to sing. Someday Broadway. Even though she is only a sophomore at a new high school, her voice has given her the status as a cool kid. But then a tragic accident renders her deaf. She cannot hear herself sing not to mention speak. She cannot hear anything. Silence. What happens when everything you have dreamed of and hoped for is shattered in a single moment?
Enter Hayden, the boy with blonde curls who stutters. He is treated like an outcast because he is not normal. And, yet, Stella feels an attraction to him that she cannot explain. As Hayden reaches out to help Stella discover a world without sound his own tragic past warns him to keep a distance. But their connection is undeniable. Can the boy who stutters and the girl who's deaf find a happily-ever-after?
SILENCE is a story of friendship and hope with a lesson that sometimes it takes a tragedy to help us find beauty and love in unexpected places.

I had the chance to meet Deborah last year at ALA in Las Vegas. She is the sweetest person you will ever meet and I adore her daughters. I'm thrilled she agreed to answer a few questions about herself and her writing.

I: Tell us about yourself.

D: I'm a single mother of two girls who are 10 and 13. I work as an attorney in the daytime and write at night and on weekends. We have a funny little dog with giant ears called Faith. One more super important fact about me is that I can't go a day without chocolate. SILENCE (Shadow Mountain) is my second published novel. My first published book, JANE IN BLOOM (Dutton), was released in 2009.

I: I need my daily chocolate fix too, lol. Have you always wanted to be a writer?

D: I never imagined I could become a writer. I was a child actor from the age of six to eighteen, so I thought I would always work in the entertainment industry. I had dreams of becoming a film director. In my twenties, I was a singer and songwriter. The first significant thing I ever wrote was a screenplay, but I realized fairly quickly that I had more to say than would fit in a script. So I turned to writing novels. Being an actress and singer helped me to access emotions in my writing and translate them into words.

I: I can totally see how acting would help in writing stories with emotion. What’s your favorite book?

D: That's such a hard question to answer because I have so many!  My favorite author is Jane Austen, so if I have to choose only one book, then it has to be PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.

I: I love P&P! Good choice. :) How did you come up with the idea for SILENCE?

D: I wanted to tell a story about a girl who loses everything that matters to her and has to find a way to reimagine herself with the help of a boy who is the only one who can communicate with her. I wanted to share their love story with readers who might feel broken to give them hope.

I: Can you tell us a little bit about Hayden and Stella?

D: Stella is a singer who is immensely talented--she is one of those people who seems destined for stardom. Her entire identity is wrapped up in this persona. When a terrible accident happens (I don't want to give too much away), all this changes. Stella is forced to see herself differently--and this is painful and difficult for her.

Hayden is an outcast with a tragic past. He has so many gifts to share but no one to share them with until he meets Stella. In helping Stella with her journey, he is able to be the person he has always wanted to be.

I: I adore Hayden and think Stella is such a good match for him. Which character in the story do you identify with most?

D: I can identify with Stella because I too was a singer and a performer, and I also understand her loss in giving up a dream. I admire Hayden because he is a survivor and instead of being bitter and angry, he is generous and caring.

I: I really liked the way you handled Stella being deaf and Hayden's stutter. Do you have any experience with stuttering or deafness, or did you have to research it?

D: I do not have personal experience with either stuttering or deafness, and I needed to research all of it. Although SILENCE is a work of fiction, I tried to make it as realistic as possible.

I: Well, I think you did an excellent job. What’s your favorite scene or line in the book?

D: My favorite scene is Hayden and Stella's date in the plant nursery. I love the romance and the honesty from both characters in that scene because they are both in the same place at the same time with their feelings for one another.

I: I love that scene. Can you tell us about your writing process?

D: I like to daydream about my stories before I actually begin writing. I have notebooks that I use to jot down plot ideas or character sketches. When the story has come together in my imagination, I begin writing, sometimes on the computer and sometimes in my notebook. I have a general sense of where I am going, but I don't outline in specifics. Instead, I let the characters direct the flow of the story. I read sections out loud to my daughters as I write to see if the voice is working. Sometimes I act out scenes as well.

I: How fun to have your daughters involved in your writing process. What’s your favorite thing about writing?

D: Freedom. Writing is pure freedom for the imagination. I love to see where it will take me.

I: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

D: Write every single day. If a novel seems overwhelming, try short stories, poetry, blogging, songwriting. Also, save everything you write because you might want to come back to it later.  

I: Fantastic advice. Can I ask what you are working on next?

D: I am working on a story about stereotypes, bullying and true love.

I: I can't wait to read it! Thanks so much for the fabulous interview and good luck with your book launch!

D: Thank you so much, Ilima!