Tuesday, 31 July 2012

TLG Blogpalooza: Interview with Agent Melissa

I find it scary that with each post, and week, we get closer to THE LOST GIRL's pub day! Eeeek. I'm giving stuff away, though, so if this is your first stop, go over here or to the TLG Palooza page to find out what I'm giving away and how to enter.

I'm VERY excited today. I have Agent Melissa with us (she doesn't know that this is how I refer to her, always, but I do. But if you must know, her real name is Melissa Sarver and she's my agent (I know! Cool, hey?). She's with the Elizabeth Kaplan Literary Agency and she's here with me today to tell us about what she does, what she likes, and why she wanted to rep THE LOST GIRL/me.)

Hi, Melissa! Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself?

But, Sangu, don’t you know everything about me already?  Oh, ok.  I’m a literary agent and have been with the Elizabeth Kaplan Literary Agency for 6 years after a brief 3-year stint as an editorial assistant at a women’s magazine.  That was not for me.  I moved to NYC 11 years ago after college in Boston and more than a few internships at magazines and newspapers.  I knew as soon as I started working in book publishing that I had found my “home.”   I enjoy being on the agency side of the business because I can essentially choose the types of projects I work on.  I’m never going to inherit a project someone else took on and left, the way editors often have to.  I represent fiction and non-fiction, so in any given day I’m working on a cookbook, a YA novel, a memoir, etc.  It keeps my job very interesting.  What else do you need to know … I am a musical theatre nut and spent much of my life (age 3 – 22) in a ballet studio.  I love food (but hate the word foodie) and do a fair amount of cooking and baking at home, and eating out at some amazing restaurants in NYC.  I love French and Italian wines that aren’t fruit-forward but a bit dusty and earthy (hint, hint).   Moving right along...

I think we were meant for each other. I love musical theatre! And food! Okay, I can't cook, and I don't know anything about ballet, and the only wine I like is ginger wine... huh. Um, yeah. So what’s an average day like for you?

Hectic!  I think most people have an image of me loftily reading manuscripts all day but that couldn’t be further from the truth.  All that reading is done at home at night or on the weekend.  I like to say I have homework for life.  During the day I’m on the phone with authors and editors, I’m answering emails, I’m vetting contracts, I’m having lunch with editors and meetings with clients or potential clients, I’m occasionally reading queries (though most of this happens at home also), I’m emailing our foreign co-agents to alert them about the exciting things going on with our books, and probably 10 other things I’m forgetting to mention here.

I love words like 'clients' and 'contracts' and 'foreign co-agents'. They make me so happy. (That's me, guys! I'm a client! ME!) And speaking of clients: what made you want to represent THE LOST GIRL when you saw the original manuscript? (obviously apart from the fact that it’s the best thing ever…)

The voice grabbed me instantly, which is priority for me.  Overall the story spoke to me because there are cool fantasy elements but it’s a character-driven story. And that character, despite her special circumstances, is a typical teenage girl dealing with many of the same identity issues as all teenage girls.  That’s what was appealing to me but that I also thought would be appealing to readers, that teenage readers could instantly relate.  I also loved the settings of London and India, as I really enjoy reading about other cultures and places and you don’t see that enough in YA lit, in my opinion. 

A lot of people seem to like the book's settings! What’s one of your favourite—and somewhat spoiler-free!—lines from the book?

“I brought milk,” I say.

And I love when Mina Ma tells Eva she hopes her other dies:
“But if you replace her, you might be safer. So if only for my sake, child, hope this happens.”
“I won’t wish for her to die!”
“Then I will wish it,” she replies, ruthlessly, “Because I don’t know or love her.”

I think Mina Ma is my favourite character, if I do say so myself. THE LOST GIRL was hugely inspired by Frankenstein. What classic do you wish you could have represented?

A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN; I adore that book and re-read it every few years.  Makes me cry every time.  I also love Steinbeck’s EAST OF EDEN.  It’s a family saga and big juicy soap opera.

I haven't read either of those books. Is that sad? I think it's sad. But YAY! That's two more for the To Read pile. And finally: name two things you’d take to a desert island. (I know the standard form of this question asks for three things, but as I’m assuming a copy of THE LOST GIRL would, naturally, be one of them, I’m only asking for two.)

My eyeglasses because I am practically blind without them … but if those are on my face already (yes, they are. I'm not that cruel)… I’m bringing Alice Waters’ cookbook THE ART OF SIMPLE FOOD because we’ll need to eat and I can’t for the life of me ever remember how to make a simple roast chicken without her guidance.  And probably my iPod (assuming there is electricity).  I think life without books and music isn’t really worth living. (So true!)

Yay! Find out more about Melissa at the EKLA website or on Twitter (@mjsarver). Huge thanks to her for that awesome interview. And huge thanks, too, for giving me today's


“I brought milk,” I say.

Friday, 27 July 2012

TLG Blogpalooza: Echoes and Encyclopedias


(Am I excited about it, you ask? Who, me? Excited? Heavens, no. Just... moderately pleased. Excitement is for sillies. Oh, who am I kidding... I am excited about the book trailer. Not because it's, like, the most spectacular thing or anything - it's not - but because I had a lot of fun making it and it's finally out in the world. It's my way of practicing for when the actual book is finally out in the world.)


As for the book: well, some of you have read it already. But some of you have probably only read the description or nothing at all. So I wouldn't blame you if you were a teeny bit confused sometimes. There are lots of words in THE LOST GIRL (lots. I'm sure the sheer volume of them has made every editor and/or copyeditor at HarperCollins Children's Books cry), words that mean one thing in normal everyday use and mean quite another in Eva's world. So I've consulted Sir Matthew, a Weaver, and he somewhat grudgingly allowed me to use extracts from his (I quote) 'definitive encyclopedia on echo behaviour'.

Echo (n.) Sentient being. Copy stitched exclusively to replace its original (better known as its 'other') in the event of the original's demise. Though these copies possess remarkably human characteristics, including (on occasion) a decidedly inconvenient impulse to be individual, it is important to remember that they. Are. Not. Human.
(edit: it is also worth noting that Adrian insisted upon that last bit.)

Weaver (n.) Creator of echoes at the Loom (London, England). Possessor of extraordinary knowledge and skill. The first Weaver was one Henry Borden, Adrian's great-something grandfather, a madman by all accounts (though brilliant. Funny how those traits often go hand in hand). Currently there are three Weavers: Adrian Borden, Elsa Connelly and yours truly, Sir Matthew Mercer. I am by far the handsomest, cleverest and most charming. Moreover, I know everything.
(edit: Elsa thinks I should focus on the task at hand and not wax lyrical about myself. I'll never understand why everyone feels compelled to stick their noses into my affairs.)

Hunters (n.) Lunatics. And minus the brilliance.

Eva (echo.) Irksome brat. 

I hope that clears a few things up.

Tease of the Day

When he pulls away, I catch a look in his eyes that tells me he will never forgive me.

Don't forget I'm giving stuff away! If you haven't entered already, here's how.

Happy weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

THE LOST GIRL Blogpalooza is here!

Update: before I get to the post, I just want to point everyone to The Book Addict's Guide, where I've been interviewed. Brittany asked some awesome questions and there's a giveaway, so stop by.

WELL. Here we are. It's a six-week blogpart-ay! We're celebrating the upcoming release of THE LOST GIRL. Am I excited? Maybe. Am I terrified? YES. A small part of me wants to hide the book away so that no one (else) ever gets hold of it. A small part of me is all WHAT WAS I THINKING?!

But we're ignoring that small part. FUN STUFF ONLY. And here's a sneak peek at what you can expect over the next few weeks

Book trailer
Character interviews and posts
An interview with my agent Melissa
A guest post from my editor Sara
Teasers (Photos, quotes, etc)
I talk about inspiration, editing, music andmore

And no blog party would be complete without a giveaway, so YES I'M GIVING THINGS AWAY! This bundle of goodies,actually:

What that is: a signed, annotated copy of THE LOST GIRL, Eva's personal Post Its, Mark stickers (what is the Mark? You may well wonder...), a pen, bookmarks, (maybe) a few temporary Mark tattoos, a copy of FRANKENSTEIN (not pictured) and a wooden elephant (not pictured), all wrapped up in that nifty bag! 

The giveaway is open internationally. The winner will be announced on August 31st.

How to Enter
1. Comment on posts in the event. The more posts you comment on, the better your chances. Every new comment earns you ONE additional entry. (PLEASE make sure you include an email address with your comment(s).)

2. Tweet about posts with the hashtag #tlgpalooza. ONE additional entry per tweet. (I may miss tweets without the hashtag, so don't forget to include it.)

3. The palooza will wrap up on pub day, August 28th, and I'd love for it to be a grand finish! So you can help by blogging about the book. A pub day splash! You can make a short announcement, or write a full post, or write a review (if you've read the book), whatever you want to do. Don't worry, I'll email all the information you may need about a week before the post date. Doing this will earn you TEN additional entries. (Please make sure you signup here to do this, or I won't know to count you in!)

So there you go!

Also: if you're on Twitter, there's some fun planned there too! My editor (@Sara_Sargent) and I (@SanguMandanna) thought we'd tweet favourite lines/quotes from the book a couple of times a week. My agent (@mjsarver) may get in on the action too! Some of my picks may show up here as my Tease of the Day, some probably won't. Either way, if you want to follow the teaser trail, we're using the hashtag #lostgirlquotes.

And finally
Tease of the Day
And her lips move. She’s telling me to defy them too. Because like Frankenstein’s monster, I could win.

Friday, 20 July 2012


Happy Friday, all! The UK cover of THE LOST GIRL is out. And below. This is (I think) the cover that will also be used in Australia, New Zealand, India, etc. The book is in stores in the UK on 3 January 2013 from Random House Children's Books. It's on Amazon here.

So let's recap the covers, shall we? 

I think I've been incredibly lucky. They all ooze incredible amounts of loveliness, don't they?

Also: THE LOST GIRL Blogpalooza starts Tuesday. Woo!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Elephants Remember

I've always had a pretty good memory. I'm forgetful, i.e. I can wander into the kitchen, get distracted, and then can't remember what I went in there for in the first place, but I have a good long-term memory. I remember important dates, I can sing whole musicals (badly, it's true, but I can sing them nevertheless), and I remember almost everything about every book I've read and loved.

See the problem?

I love rereading my favourite books. Unfortunately, I'm never surprised twice. I always know what's coming. I've mentioned my love of Sherlock Holmes before. I also love practically everything Agatha Christie ever wrote. Only, remembering the who kind of takes some of the joy from a whodunnit, doesn't it? There are a few exceptions to this: Daphne du Maurier's Frenchman's Creek, for example. I've read that about ten times in the last two years alone and I never find it any less beautiful.

So, my strategies: put up with it and just reread the book. Or hold off on rereading the book for at least five years. Sigh.

Anyone else have this problem? What do you do to be surprised again? And is there a particular book you can reread till the cows come home and you'll still love it as much as you did the first time?

PS. A big thank you to everyone who's signed up for my LOST GIRL Pub Day Splash so far! If you're interested and haven't yet signed up, you can do so here. I'm giving things away!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Heroines and Help

I'm about halfway through Diana Peterfreund's FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS, which was inspired by Jane Austen's classic Persuasion. So far I love it, especially heroine Elliot, so expect to hear more from me about it when I'm finished!

I also promised last week that I'd create a place for people to sign up to the end of my LOST GIRL Blogpalooza. The fun starts in two weeks! As for the signup, basically: the palooza will wrap up on pub day, August 28th, and it would be lovely if it had a grand finish! So you can help me out by blogging about the book. A pub day splash! You can make a short announcement, or write a full post, or write a review (if you've read the book), whatever you want to do. I'd really, really appreciate it. (Don't worry, I'll email all the information you may need about a week before the post date.) 

Also: blogging about the book on pub day will earn you a whole lot of entries into my giveaway, so yay!

Anyway, here's where you can sign up to do this below. The form will also be available on the TLG Blogpalooza's page here.

Thanks, guys!

So what are you reading this week?

Friday, 6 July 2012

Perpetually Imbalanced

Happy Friday, everyone! Today I'm over at Dystopian Domination III, where Eva of THE LOST GIRL has answered some very cool questions, so do pop over there and have a look. Bonus: you could win bookmarks and a signed copy of the book!

I don't know about you, but I've never been one of those writers who has been able to just write. By which I mean I've never been able to devote a working day to writing, then switch off and be 'home' the rest of the evening and/or weekend. I have always had to balance writing with something else, or, more often than not, with many other things. Writing and high school. Writing and a family holiday. Writing and university. Writing and looking for a job to pay the bills. For me, it's always been a quest to find the perfect balance.

I've never found it.

These days, more often than not, it's writing and my seven-month-old creature/baby. And for the first time, writing has been losing. Seriously, in the past I was the kind of person who stared off into space during dinner with my parents (who learned to ignore that look and pretend I wasn't there until I was ready to return to the real world). Or who left a university essay to the last minute because I had one more page of my newest book that I wanted to write. Or whose husband came home, kissed me on the head, said hello and went on with his life, only to have me turn around twenty minutes later and yelp 'STEVE! When did you get home?'

Now I find that writing is the thing I normally do only after I've dealt with everything my baby needs, wants or does. Which is sad, but I don't really regret it, because he's going to be this little only so long, and I really should appreciate what he is before these moments vanish.

So, no. I have never found a balance. In fact, I've paused in writing this three times because the first time, my son crawled into a door (oops); the second, he started chewing on the dust cover of my printer (egad) and the third, he started chewing on my toe (ouch).

I wish I could say, this is how I do it and it works. I wish I had a magic trick that meant I gave everything my undivided time in perfect, even slots. I wish I could spend time with my baby without thinking 'but I have so much work to do!' or could write my book without thinking 'am I neglecting Jeremy?' I wish I wasn't often so tired that I find myself struggling to enjoy any of the things I'm trying to balance.

But I can't, unfortunately, and I don't think it's realistic to expect myself to be able to. 

I don't think true balance is possible. You can't give everything your all, every single minute of the day. You can't do everything and still enjoy all of it. You can't be perfect.

I think, instead, it's about finding a balance within the imbalance. To give yourself a break, for the love of Heathcliff. To find a way to enjoy the things I do do and not fret about the things I don't, to enjoy a little bit of every single day instead of finding everything too full and stressful, to appreciate my crawling, toe-chewing child and love the moments I have with my much-loved new book.

I'm not quite there yet. I haven't yet found the right balance within my perpetual imbalance. But I'm not far away.

Anyone struggle with the same imbalance? How do you juggle everything in your life?