Monday, July 30, 2012

When You Wish Upon a Star...

When I was four years old, I read Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff. So enchanted was I with this little book that I decided, then and there, it needed a sequel. And I decided I was the perfect person to write it. So I gathered up some notebook paper, penned my tale, illustrated it, and then stapled it together and plunked it onto my preschool classroom's bookshelf. I also forced all my classmates and teacher to read it. So yes, my writing career began with four-year-old force-fed fan fiction--and I am not ashamed.

Since then, it's been my dream to be a "real" author. I can't tell you how many times I've daydreamed about opening the front door, finding a box, and discovering copies of my first novel inside. It's a moment every writer dreams of. I always wondered what I'd do, whether I'd scream and hug the UPS guy or faint or cry. It was my most cherished dream and the moment I had been anticipating since I was four years old. It was the fantasy my mind drifted into during road trips or math class. You know the scene in the Back to the Future movies when Marty's dad gets a box with his latest sci-fi novel inside? I choked up at that part, you guys. That's how real and deep this dream has been for me.

Today, that dream came true.

As it happened, I didn't hug the UPS guy--probably because I didn't know yet what was in the box. I thought it was just more advance proofs of the book for giveaways on my blog, which was awesome, but not too exciting since I already had some. So I almost didn't open the box at all, thinking I'd wait until later. OH. So glad I didn't wait. I opened the box and I was confused for a moment--ARCs aren't usually that shiny--and then OH! MY! GOSH! THOSE ARE FINISHED HARDCOVERS. Snap them up. Hug them. Cry. Dance a little dance. Rip through them, staring at the ISBN and the acknowledgements and the spine. Tear off the jacket cover to fawn over the binding. The whole shebang, my friends. I have now combed every centimeter of this thing and I am in love. It's like they've just delivered my first child into my hands and I'm counting all the fingers and toes and hairs on its head. AND YOU GUYS. It is perfect. 

So I'm a happy mama. This baby's not leaving my sight for the next month, probably. Unfortunately for you guys, it won't be in stores until September 4th--but hang in there! Check out this free sampler which contains the first three chapters of Origin and pre-order your copy--so when Sept. 4th rolls around, you too can open the front door and find this sitting on the mat:

Engraving on the front binding, under jacket (I obsess over cool bindings, so I definitely squeaked when I saw this):

35 days!!

AND guess what guess what--the ORIGIN book trailer is going to be revealed on MTV's Hollywood Crush blog on Friday! To tease you guys, we're posting stills from the trailer Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Go to the Breathless Reads tumblr at 11am each day for your first shot, and to the Breathless Reads Facebook page at 2pm each day for the second! Then, on Friday, partay time!


Friday, July 27, 2012

ORIGIN Film Rights!

I can finally say it--

The film rights for Origin have been optioned!

So BASICALLY this is what is happening inside my head right now.

More details to come, I promise--I want to walk you guys through it all and share all the crazy happy feelings, but for now, enjoy my cheesy gifs, read the official press release from the Hollywood Reporter, and pre-order your copy of Origin!

So yes, the film rights have been optioned--but that doesn't mean I'm out buying a dress for the premiere just yet (though trust me--don't think I'm not prepared to do just that). Plenty of books get optioned and never made (but of course we have high hopes for Origin!) so questions like "When is it coming out?" and "Can I be an extra?" and "Who is playing Pia?" are still a bit premature. One step a time--and there are a lot of steps involved in making a movie--and this is only the very first step!

I can tell you now, though, that I am over-the-moon-and-somewhere-in-the-vicinity-of-the-late-Pluto thrilled to have Origin in the hands of Scott and Dylan over at Scott Pictures and Stone Village. I first talked to these guys several months ago, and was immediately impressed by their excitement for the book and their passion for bringing Pia, Eio, and the others to the big screen. I am so, so happy to work with this team and couldn't ask for anything more!

And I must shout out a humongoloid thank you to my agent Lucy Carson at the Friedrich Agency and my film agent Michelle Weiner at CAA for being so supportive, helpful, and fantastically savvy throughout this whole process. Honestly, I couldn't even begin to describe the awesome things to come without expressing the sheer magnificence of these ladies!

To stay updated on all things Origin, join my Facebook page--and check out the first three chapters for free on Penguin's newly launched Origin site!


Saturday, July 21, 2012

ALA 2012

At the end of last month, I had the incredible honor of attending the American Library Association's annual conference in Anaheim, CA. You guys. It was amazing. I still can't believe I got to go. I met so many fantastic authors, illustrators, readers, and industry professions that I was a little starry-eyed all weekend. Plus, I got to go to some groovy dinners and parties--and I had to speak for the first time! It was so scary, you guys, but so awesome. And I had great advice and support from so many people that everything went smoothly and, hopefully, I didn't look too green up there. =)

On Friday night, I attended a dinner put together by Penguin featuring authors and their editors. Ally Condie (Matched) and Marie Lu (Legend, Prodigy) spoke, and then I spoke last. We were each introduced by our editors, who shared about how they first received the manuscripts for each of our books, and what prompted them to buy them. My editor, Laura Arnold, unfortunately couldn't make it (she's about to have her first baby!) but Ben Schrank, the president of my imprint Razorbill, was kind enough to step in for her. A lot of teens, teachers, and librarians were at the dinner, and I got to sit at each table and chat with them all. It was such a privilege to meet so many avid and passionate readers! Ally and Marie were wonderfully gracious and gave me some great advice, both at the dinner and at the panel we did on Sunday.

Another highlight was getting to hear Chris Colfer speak about his new release The Land of Stories. I am a total Gleek, and I'd missed hearing him speak at BEA in New York, so I was doubly glad to make it to his presentation. He was so adorable, you guys, and very down-to-earth. I wanted to talk to him, but of course he's across this huge auditorium on the platform, and though I did gauge the distance between us and speculate how quickly I could make it to the stage, there were the bodyguards to be dealt with. In the end, I settled for making up some random question to ask during the Q&A, so at least I know he saw me and I saw him and, you guys, we had a moment. Mission complete. =)

Another highlight--seriously, the whole weekend was one highlight after another--was getting to dash madly around Disneyland for the two hours before closing with Gennifer Albin (author of October release Crewel). We hit the main rides, and it was so dark that we couldn't see the stuff we missed, so all good. Gen was very sweet and tricked me into sitting in the front on Splash Mountain. As you can tell from the photo below. Thanks, Gen. You will be repaid in kind, my dear. >:-)

I was so, so thrilled to have my grandmother with me all weekend. She is a travel nurse and has been working in New Mexico for the past several years, so I don't get to see her nearly often enough. But she flew to Anaheim to stay the weekend with me (at the totally magical Grand Californian Disneyland Hotel--YOU GUYS. They had Bambi shower curtains. Don't think I didn't consider stuffing that nonsense into my suitcase, btw. In the end, my integrity and fear of jail won out). Here's my Grandma. She ROCKS. We had breakfast at the Rainforest Cafe, because 1) it kinda made me feel like I was having breakfast with Origin, and 2) I'm just cheesy that way, okay? Btw, breakfast was DELISHUSSS.

Sunday afternoon was my signing. Ben and I had to run to the convention center to make it in time, having spent too much time spying on the YALSA teens doing their shindig (my gosh, why didn't I know about YALSA when I was a teen? Those kids are wickedly intelligent and I got goosebumps listening to them speak about what they had been reading). Anyway, so we got to the Penguin booth and there's this enormous line in our way. So we're fighting our way through to get to the signing table and Ben asks them what they're in line for. And they said "Origin." I about fainted then and there, but that would have been rude, so I pressed on. We gave away every last ARC and I met some fantastic readers--including a few who had entered my Pinterest contest a few weeks back, some of my Twitter buds, and--this was totally out of the blue and so cool--my Dutch publisher! She'd stopped by the booth and we got to chat a bit about Onsterfelijk (Origin's Dutch title). It was so surreal.

Schnazzy poster of Origin (and me, of course, grinning like an idiot). I am not a kleptomaniac, I swear--but I did consider sneaking this home too.

In all, ALA was a blast! I finished my time in Anaheim by attending the Caldecott/Newbery banquet, where I heard winners Jack Gantos (Dead End in Norvelt, Newbery) and Chris Raschka (A Ball for Daisy, Caldecott) speak about writing and their books and winning prestigious medals. It was such a great night, y'all, and I never dreamed I'd ever get to go to something like that.

So that wraps it up! I am so happy I had the honor to be at ALA, and hope to attend many more in the future. Thanks for reading! =)