Inside the Writer Brain and A Few of My Favorite Authors

Hello lovely readers!

It’s JUNE already!  How did that HAPPEN??  My children will be out of school in a week and a half!  And then I have to entertain them all summer!  ACK!  Which means I’d better finish this manuscript tout suite…which means I really shouldn’t be blogging, but I have exciting things to tell you about!

First of all, I have a couple of events coming up, which I hope you’ll come out and join me for!  This FRIDAY, June 5, I’ll be at the Blue Bunny in Dedham for their summer reading kickoff party, where I’ll talk about my own books, but I’ll also be talking about some of my favorite books by OTHER people (I’m much better at that! I still feel weird being like, “read my book!”, but if you would like to hear about Diana Wynne Jones or Grace Lin or Roald Dahl for three hours, come sit by me.)  There will be prizes and refreshments!  Hooray!  It should be lots of fun — please come if you can!  And feel free to tell me all YOUR favorite books, too!

Then the following weekend I’ll be in Connecticut (new state! not very far away, but still!) at Barnes & Noble in Waterbury on Friday night (June 12) and then at a Beacon Falls library event on Saturday morning (June 13).  Those two events will be with the lovely and brilliant Christine Taylor-Butler, so Connecticut people, I hope you can join us!

(And then I must crawl into a hole and finish this book by the end of June!  So if there’s no blog for a while, that’s why — sorry!)

The next super-exciting news item is that Scholastic is doing this very cool thing right now where they’re posting Wings of Fire Book One: The Dragonet Prophecy FOR FREE over on the Wings of Fire website, just for the month of June!  So if you know anyone who’s been curious to check it out, send them over there!  Tell everyone you know!

And for those of you who have already read it and are total experts, it’ll hopefully still be interesting because I’ve gone through and annotated it!  I know, what does that even mean?  It’s kind of like a director’s commentary, or a peek inside the writer-brain, where you find out what I was thinking as I was writing.  (And hopefully the whole thing doesn’t turn out to be me going, “OOOO, yes, this is BRILLIANT, what GENIUS wrote this?”)  😉  Hee!

I hope it’s interesting!  I love hearing about how other writers think, and I know there are a lot of amazing future authors among the FanWings, so I figured this might be fun for all of us.

I got the idea from Lev Grossman’s blog, actually, where he posted an excerpt of The Magicians which he annotated (so fascinating!).  And then I got to MEET Lev in person at BEA last week!  He moderated a panel I was on about animal fantasy, and he was AWESOME — super-smart and funny and easy to talk with and generally a great moderator (in addition to being a fabulous writer!).

he Wild at Heart panel!  Look at us, all full of fantasy wisdom!

The other authors on the panel were all so wonderful, too . . . first up, Inbali Iserles!

She just had a baby! What is she even doing here being so gorgeous and smart and coherent?

Inbali is a fellow Erin Hunter (woo!) and has a new series coming out soon that you will all LOVE.  It’s called Foxcraft and it’s a magical, thrilling fox adventure:


(How great is that cover?!)  Her different kinds of fox magic are so cool, you guys!  Warriors and Seekers fans, hunt this book down!

(I also thought it was pretty cool that she was wearing a fox necklace and I was wearing a dragon necklace.  Just in case we got lost and anyone needed to identify which authors we were!)  😉

The other two authors on the panel were Jackson Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater, whom you have heard of, possibly even right here, because Maggie wrote ONE OF MY FAVORITE BOOKS OF ALL TIME, The Scorpio Races, and I suspect I’ve raved about it before.  (Go read it at once; it is AMAZING.)  She also wrote the second Spirit Animals book!

Me and Maggie!  Eeee yay!

In fact, there were FOUR Spirit Animals authors roaming the floor that day, and I managed to meet all of the other three, although I somehow spaced and didn’t get a picture with Marie Lu (who I’m also crazy about because Legend is so so wonderful).

But I DID finally get to meet SHANNON HALE!, an author I’m absolutely in love with, both for her fantastic books and because she says smart things on the Internet all the time.  And she was as wonderful in person as I knew she would be!

Me and Shannon!  Can you sense how excited I am?

One of the smart things she talks about is how important it is to encourage boys to read ALL books, including books about girls, rather than accepting that boys will only read “boy books” with, like, a truck or a robot on the cover.  I’m lucky my two boys haven’t even conceived of this idea yet, that books could possibly be segregated by gender.  They love everything with pages, basically, including anything with a princess on the cover.  ESPECIALLY if that princess is wearing her black NINJA MASK!

Yes, I was on a quest for my five-year-old — he basically only let me go to NYC because I told him I was on a mission for him, although I didn’t reveal the goal until I had it: to acquire an early copy of Princess in Black 2!  Yay!

And it is just as marvelous as we hoped!  We read it together immediately and he’s already reread it on his own at least three times, plus he keeps bringing it out to show all his bewildered visitors (“Her glitter-stone ring keeps ringing and ringing!  It rings like a THOUSAND TIMES!”)  So thank you so much, Shannon, for writing books that light him up like this!  🙂

Anyway, the panel was enormously fun, and the rest of BEA was wonderful, too — especially because I got to spend the day with my editor Amanda, who happens to be an amazing YA writer herself (I’m sure I’ve told you to read her book Tease — it’s crazy-great!).

Amanda and me! (and our Starbucks support system — hey, remember, all this was happening in the morning, which is not normally my most awake time of day!)

Oh, AND Scholastic was handing out copies of BOOK SEVEN on my signing line!  Yes, the book that won’t be in the world for another month yet!  See, this is one reason you should be extra-nice to librarians and booksellers, because they’re the ones who can get their hands on early excitement like that…  🙂

All right, I should go work on this looming manuscript!  But I’ll be posting on the forums on Tuesdays this month, as new sections of book one appear, and if you go over there you’ll also be able to see a sneak peek of the cover for BOOK EIGHT (it’s SO gorgeous!).  I’ll post it here soon, too, but right now I have to go write the darn thing, so THAT IS WHAT I AM DOING.  Right now, Internet!  Stop distracting me!

Happy June, everybody!  Summer reading and Winter Turning, here we come!  🙂

What We’re Reading:
Me:  The Walls Around Us, by Nova Ren Suma; The Raven Boys, by Maggie Stiefvater; and Bone Gap, by Laura Ruby (so basically ALL WONDERFUL THINGS)

With my bigger bear:  The Princess in Black 2, by Shannon Hale and the Wayside School books by Louis Sachar (he picked these up and started reading them himself, and I’m discovering that they’re a little dark for a five-year-old!)

With my littler bear:  The Cat, the Dog, Little Red, the Exploding Eggs, and Grandma, by Diane and Christyan Fox, and all things Fancy Nancy