The paperback of FOX FOREVER is out today!! At last all three books in The Jenna Fox Chronicles match! I love the spines too. I feel like I'm being watched in my office by a timeless trio. And my wonderful publisher . . .
Don't you want these books looking over your shoulder? Yeah, they got your back.
THEY MATCH--AT LAST!
is doing an AWESOME sweepstakes giveaway--FIVE grand prize winners of The Jenna Fox Chronicles! Details HERE on the MacTeenBooks site! Spread the word!
Thank you Readers for your overwhelming positive response to the final book in the Jenna Fox Chronicles trilogy, Fox Forever! Here are just a few things you've been saying:
*"Gripping and bittersweet."--Publisher's Weekly, starred review *"A wrenching read."--Shelf Awareness, starred review *"Thrilling and brilliant conclusion."--School Library Journal, starred review "Epic science fiction saga . . . Fox Forever is a dramatic and exciting finale to an impressive trilogy."--SciFiChick.com "Locke's romance with Raine was incredible. I couldn't put this book down."--Danasquare Reviews "Brilliant conclusion is a roller coaster . . . ends in the most beautiful and powerful way imaginable."--Alamosa Books "It’s one of the most satisfying series ends I’ve ever read."--Alice Marvels Reviews "I cannot recommend this series highly enough. It will blow your mind." --The Valentines Book Rave
You are all made of awesome! Thank you!
Now with a Pub Date set (details to come soon!) for my next trilogy (!!!), I want to celebrate the one that has been near and dear to my heart for many years. So, your choice! Three winners will be chosen randomly. To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment below, here on this post, saying which book in The Jenna Fox Chronicles that you hope to win: The Adoration of Jenna Fox, OR, The Fox Inheritance, OR, Fox Forever.
Deadline to enter is midnight PST on October 30, 2013! Winners will be announced October 31. Spread the word!
The last several months have been crazy. I've spent much of it tucked back in this corner of my yard--yes, even in winter with a blanket wrapped around me--writing on my laptop.
Being out there gave me an "away" spot where phones, doorbells, and the internet weren't distractions, but I was still near my research and notes in my upstairs office if I needed to get to it. I had a tight deadline which meant that I had to write every day and all day. I not only had to finish the first book in a new trilogy, I had so many details to work out for how this whole new world worked. Details!
The surprising thing was, I found I loved writing even more when I wrote this way--non stop. There was less agonizing over what came next. The juices were always churning. Except for a few days around Christmas, I never missed a single day of writing from November through April. That was almost 6 months of non-stop writing! And pretty much all day long.
For me this was a huge leap. But I definitely had to make some changes in how I approached my writing. For one thing I increased my daily word count goals to 1200-1500. I know for some writers that is nothing, but for me that is a lot.
Another thing I did was NOT incessantly revise as I wrote. I had a habit of spending as much or more time revising each day as I did writing. That was a hard habit to break. I like to see things pretty and perfect and my words to sparkle and they definitely weren't doing that. Also, revising is so much more fun than heading into uncharted territory. But this time, I was writing a true ROUGH draft. This actually made more sense because why spend hours making something perfect if it might get cut in the revision or totally overhauled? Still, I love playing with words and getting only the most essential ones down, and getting the emotional tone fine-tuned, so I had to get tough and turn a blind eye to the crappiness. The carrot I held out to myself was that when I was finished I could revise to my heart's delight--my favorite part of the process. (But my poor editor and beta-readers had to deal with abundant yards of burlap, purple, and knotted prose.)
As I wrote I looked for writing inspiration from time to time, perusing again my writing library, or looking for new tidbits, and I came across this from Laini Taylor: "Be an unstoppable force. Write with an imaginary machete strapped to your thigh." All of her writing advice was great but this really hit me because I already had this sort image lurking in my brain along with the order, "Be fearless!" If I expected my characters to forge ahead, I could expect nothing less from myself. That became my daily motto--along with a scary me waving a machete.
I also came across this from Rachel Aaron. I especially found the "Knowledge" advice so completely helpful. The thing was, I was already doing something similar but in a less effective way. Each day when I finished writing, I used to jot down a few words or sentences of where I thought I wanted to go the next day. I reversed that and started keeping a notebook, a daily log where I spent 10-20 minutes writing out scenes, interactions, key points I thought should happen, all in much more thoughtful detail than I used to, each day just before I began writing. It set the tone and my writing goals. Did it all happen or go the way I thought? Never. At least not exactly, but it gave me something to work with, or diverge from--not just empty white space to get lost in. And if I did feel lost, I would look back at this log and revise my plan!
I've always kept daily word counts for my books--it helps me "see" in a concrete way the progress I have made. (I'm also a list maker because I love to cross things off!) but this time my emphasis was on the DAILY part. This is a picture of my log for my newest book which will be out next year. I loved seeing the words add up and be able to go back and see a week's worth of progress. It also helped me predict how much I was capable of writing in a month, because I really wasn't sure before. I'm just about ready to dig into Book 2 which means it's time to print out a fresh sheet and start filling in those rectangles.
With each book I've written, I've tackled it a little differently, but this time I tackled it a lot differently. I think it's good for a writer (well, at least for me) to shake it up now and then and get out of their comfort zone. You learn new things about yourself and maybe add a new tool to your writing chest.
In the midst of all this writing, I did have other things going on, including the publication of the last book (!) in The Jenna Fox Chronicles, Fox Forever--and all that went along with that, including some fun travels (Thank you Houston, Rochester, and Fort Worth!) These travels included a first for me--presenting in a church on the altar no less--with stained glass saints looking on! It somehow felt scandalous. (Jessica Brody, Marissa Meyer, and Lauren DeStefano, I'm looking at you.)
Other book news is simmering that I hope I can share soon. In the meantime, I'm getting ready to revise the above mentioned book (3rd round) which is still untitled and I'm quite eager to jump into Book 2. I've fallen in love with my characters over these past months. I want to see what happens next! I'm sure more months of craziness lie ahead.
Hooray! The Fox Inheritance is out in paperback today!
And today marks the ONE MONTH countdown until Fox Forever is out!
If you haven't read the first two books I hope you'll catch up on them now before the final book is out! A few early reviews of Fox Forever say:
"A speedy thriller . . . crucial, memorable conclusion for readers." --Kirkus Reviews
"The Jenna Fox Chronicles distinguish themselves among the many dystopian novels because of their unique combination of genre appeal and literary merit." --Horn Book Review
"This is my kind of book . . . All of the elements that made the previous books so good are here too: fast pace, interesting world-building, complex thematic ideas about humanity and morality." --Stacked - librarians, reviews, mayhem
I love ALAN. It's one of my favorite conferences. Don't ask me to repeat what ALAN stands for. I know Assembly is in there, and Adolescent, and Literature. But I always mangle the whole name. The important thing is it's all about YA books, and the people who love them, and teach them, and share them. If you happen to be going, I hope I'll see you there. Here's my schedule:
Sunday: 9-10 a.m. I'll be signing ARCs for FOX FOREVER at the Macmillan Booth #511! It's my first signing for my final book in the series! Very excited.
Sunday nightI'll be at the ALAN kickoff reception which is always so much fun.
Monday and Tuesday I'll be hanging out listening to all the great panels so I hope I might run into some of you then.
And on Tuesday afternoon from 2:40-3:40, I'll be on a panel discussing speculative fiction. (And I think I might be signing after that too?) so I hope you'll come to that too.
Then whisking home to get ready for turkey day. Hope you all have a great Thanksgiving!
Indiana, here I come! Zionsville, Indiana to be exact!
On November 7th I'll be visiting teens and college students at the Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Public Library. And get this: If you hurry and preregister, you get a free copy of The Adoration of Jenna Fox. But you must preregister. Space and books are limited. Here's the registration form and instructions. I'm excited. I've been to the states on either side of it, but I've never been to Indiana before! If you know a teen or college student in the Zionsville area, please pass along the information. I would love to meet them! Patricia VanArsdale, the Librarian Goddess who has arranged the visit, says teachers and media specialists are also welcome. I will also be giving away an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of Fox Forever!
In other authory visit news, I will be in Las Vegas November 17-20 for the ALAN conference! I love this conference because it's all about young adult literature and it's loaded with people who love YA books! My schedule is as follows: Sunday Nov 18th - 9-10 am signing at the Macmillan Children's Booth #511 Monday - free day to take in the sessions and ??? Tuesday Nov 20th - 2:40-3:40 Science Fiction Breakout Session - More info to come on topic and fellow panelists!
Oh! I'll also be making a virtual author visit via Skype on November 3rd for the Sam Houston State University's Children's Book Festival! It will be in the morning, 8:30ish, but I will confirm the time soon. I'll be chatting and sharing with teachers, librarians, and library science students--virtually! So if you'll be at the festival, stop in and say hello!
The ARCs are here! Well, I got two at least, but I know there are more out there somewhere, and Fox Forever, the final book in The Jenna Fox Chronicles trilogy is being read by someone. Who? I don't know!
This is always a nail-biting but wonderful stage in the publication of a book, and every time feels like the first time. It's no longer just my story. Others are reading it and bringing their own life experience to the words and characters and it's becoming something different. Edmund Wilson, a literary critic and editor, said it best: "No two people ever read the same book." Which is one of the things that makes a book so exciting. It has an infinite number of incarnations, depending on who reads it, and yet there is always that shared experience too.
It's exhilarating when the story you worked on for so many months and sometimes years, is finally starting to look like the real thing--a book! Of course an ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) is not the final product. It's a sneak peek. It's produced before the final final edits are complete, so there are mistakes and sometimes there are small changes in the story too. Very often even the cover is not the final cover, as is the case with Fox Forever. There will be some changes to that too. (But isn't it gorgeous already? I love it!)
I haven't really said too much to anyone what this final book is about, but the short synopsis is up on most bookselling sites. But for me in this final book, the world Matthew Fox spun into existence came full circle and it explored what it means to be human from multiple perspectives and from start to finish.
I must admit, it was a very satisfying but bittersweet moment as I typed the last words. I've spent a lot of time with Locke and Jenna and so many of the other characters too. It was hard to say goodbye.
Sneak peaks aside, this last book of the trilogy will be out on March 19--only a few months away!