Welcome to Smugglivus 2011! Throughout this month, we will have daily guests – authors and bloggers alike – looking back at their favorite reads of 2011, and looking forward to events and upcoming books in 2012.
Who: Sarah Rees Brennan,the lovely author behind the Demon’s Lexicon books – an awesome supernatural YA series that Ana happens to love. Sarah also is an supergeek of the highest measure, hilarious, and wicked smart to boot. We love her, precious. Yes we do.
Recent Work: The third book in her Demon’s Lexicon trilogy, The Demon’s Surrender (which, as mentioned before, Ana loved).
Give it up for Sarah, people!
Hope, Despair and the Fiction That Gets Us Through It All
I spent January of this year throwing up.
I know, I know, writers are so glamorous!
It wasn’t because I had a horrible hangover. (Correction for truthiness: it wasn’t because I had a horrible hangover that lasted all month…)
Last year for Smugglivus, I talked about finishing my first series, and being convinced that there would never be another. It’s hard to know what to do, I said, when you get your dream and it didn’t work out. But then I got awesome news in November 2010…
I wasn’t allowed to tell you guys back then, but it was this: the vampire comedy I’d written with Justine Larbalestier about being a girl whose best friend falls in love with a vampire (he’s so dreamy! do you think he likes me? do you think 113 years is too much of an age gap?) was bought by Harper Collins. And it’s coming out July 3rd, 2012.
But if you got good news in November, Sarah, you may well ask, why were you throwing up in January?
SARAH: Well. Okay. So Team Human worked out. But only because of Justine Larbalestier. Magical Justine! Of course they would wish to publish Justine. But not just me on my own. No, never again. Doomed, doomed, doomed.
LOVELY AGENT KRISTIN: So, you have written this book. Do you want to send it out to publishers?
SARAH: Might as well get it over with… because it’s all over… doom, doom, doom…
LOVELY AGENT KRISTIN: Are you playing a little drum?
SARAH (with dignity): I believe certain doom should come with a musical accompaniment.
I knew it was all going to go wrong.
I’d written a Gothic romance. (Good job Sarah, only twenty years too late…) I wanted to do creepy manors, and ancestral secrets, and strange feudal towns in modern times. And I wanted to interrogate the idea of romance I saw in a lot of fiction: having a soul bond, being co-dependent: love at first sight with a hot stranger is fun, I’m sure (myself, I have never experienced it), but I wanted to see people dealing with the problems–the scary elements–inherent in a lot of this stuff.
My heroine has an imaginary friend who turns out to be a real boy. How different would someone be, outside your head? How different would you be to them? How scary would it be–and would you have any romantic feelings for them? Would you feel like you should–or like you really, really shouldn’t? Wouldn’t you be freaked out by them being physical at all?
It all seemed like such a good idea until the book was complete, and I’d sent it off. ‘A Little Less Action, Little More Conversation Please’ – OH WAIT! THAT’S NOT HOW THE SONG GOES! Oh Lord, what had I done? Nobody was going to want a book like this… especially one written by me, Queen of Loony Decisions!
I spent forty-eight hours in the bathroom, wrapped in a quilt, and then the auction happened. I was radiantly, transcendantly happy to have Unspoken bought by Random House. And I remain absolutely convinced something will go wrong. (I did have a cover artist go on the lam, never to be heard of again. You see I’m right. Disaster follows me everywhere I go… though that cover artist’s Mysterious Disappearance did result in my getting another cover, the most beautiful cover of all time. So possibly I will soon be under suspicion of doing away with her…)
Unspoken is out September 25th, 2012. Two books out within three months! Maybe the thing that will go wrong is that I will go completely doolally, and do events where I look benevolently around and say ‘Hello, friendly spiders. I am the banana of the ocean. Join me in my dance.’
I’m so scared about 2012. But enough about me me me me me–that’s not the point! The point is that fiction gets you through terror, and into happiness (and back again to terror…) New Books I Am Super Looking Forward To in 2012, Guaranteed to be Awesome:
The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman
A book set in Prague with a murder mystery and historical and literary drama llama! Like The Secret History but better! So different from the usual, and so, so good.
Adaptation by Malinda Lo
Malinda Lo is writing a sci-fi series! With a love triangle… in which Our Heroine is torn between a dude and a mysterious hot new lady! Give it to me! Autumn’s too long to wait! Where is the cover! What is happening? I keep banging this spoon against the table, and yet nothing happens…
Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake
I loooooved the scary-girl smitten-boy ghost-hunter-falls-for-ghost first book, Anna Dressed In Blood, and have offered both bribes and threats in my quest to get the second in the series. I ain’t proud.
And my greatest discovery of 2011…
The TV show Revenge.
SARAH: La la la, I guess it might be funny to check out the pilot of that TV show which has the girl from Everwood and the sheriff’s son from Roswell and the little bro from Gossip Girl and… man, I watch too much TV…
SARAH: Wait, wait, wait. Is this the Count of Monte Cristo set in modern times with a female lead? Oh my God, I do believe it IS!
SARAH: The lead is a deceptive, cold-hearted, ruthless lady who is basically BATMAN. She has a cruel lady rival who looks like a VAMPIRE. The boys are her good-hearted, beautiful pawns! Except for the eccentric billionaire boy who knows what she’s up to, and he mainly admires her revengey ways while being taken aback sometimes by her ruthlessness! He says ‘You scare me’ and she says ‘Good’ and then… they don’t kiss… and I don’t understand why… I don’t understanddddd… Her facade is FLAWLESS! He tries to get revenge on Hamptons society by dressing really badly and ordering froofy drinks! She is in CHARGE!
SARAH: Marry me, Revenge.
Look at her porcelain-doll face and her shark eyes. Love, love, love.
Partners in crime. Ladies in charge. I’m a woman of simple needs. I’m confident that 2012 will fulfill them.
What are your hopes and fears for 2012? Share with me… to win a thing!
I will explain the thing. Unspoken is the first book in the Lynburn Legacy: the Lynburns being The Family Who Live In the Manor, engaged in all sorts of unspeakable things, their family motto may or may not be ‘Hot Blond Death.’ In their quest to win the coveted Creepiest Family in England trophy, part of the manor’s decor is drowned ladies with flowing locks. Behold this gold-ish pin to commemorate such creepiness!
Also, an excerpt.
“Jared’s nothing but issues,” Ash said bitterly. “And the urge to take them out on other people.” He set off toward the principal’s office
“Wait,” Kami said, and her voice caught on the word. “His name’s Jared?”
Ash gave her an impatient glance. “Yeah, so?”
Ash nodded and walked away.
It was nothing, Kami told herself. Plenty of people had that name. She just didn’t like hearing it out loud.
It made her remember being in London for the first time, holding her dad’s hand and enjoying the novel sensation of having nobody know her name or her entire life history, having nobody even notice she was Asian because it was an everyday unremarkable thing here. She’d heard someone shout out “Jared!” and spun around, stood up on the stone parapet of Blackfriars Bridge and looked for him.
But Kami wasn’t a child anymore, to search for him in every crowd. It was a name like any other. She still found herself feeling possessive. Jared was hers, his name was his, and it annoyed her that it was shared by some delinquent.
“Hey, he’s cute,” Holly said, looking after Ash. “Actually, they’re both cute. The new guys, I mean. Ash is cuter, but crazy Jared might be more fun.”
“Yeah, getting expelled from school and spending your life in a chain gang: such fun.” Kami grabbed Holly’s elbow and steered her back inside. “I need to talk to this guy.”
Holly blinked. “Because he’s cute?”
“Because he’s crazy,” said Kami. “And that’s news. Besides, he’s a Lynburn, and I want to know about them. That Lynburn seems a little busy just at present. But can you snag him and bring him to me tomorrow?”
“You know,” Holly drawled, “I’ve never had a problem snagging them.”
Kami felt Jared reach for her, as if he knew she was thinking about him. I’m bored, he said. What are you doing?
Talking about hot guys, Kami informed him.
Jared said, Oh my God.
You did ask.
It’s a topic of absorbing interest, Jared said. I’m sure. Obviously, as a hot guy myself, I wouldn’t know.
I find your skepticism very hurtful, Jared said. I’m extremely hot. Except not so much in the face.
If you’re saying a lot of people want to buy tickets to your imaginary gun show, Kami said, I’m very happy for you.
His amusement rippled through her, making her smile, as she and Holly reached their classroom. Holly was giving her a strange look, which made Kami realize that she had been communing silently with the empty air for too long and had also just laughed at nothing.
“Well, thanks, Holly, you’re a pal,” Kami said hastily.
How do you deal with it? Kami asked Jared. The laughing at nothing and occasionally stopping dead in your tracks.
I have a system where when I stop, I lean casually against something, Jared told her. It makes people think I’m a bad boy. Or possibly that I have a bad back.
Kami laughed again and Holly gave her a familiar look that said she was worried Kami was crazy. Kami subsided and flipped open her notebook to start plotting her interview with the delinquent.
Holly was bringing him to her tomorrow. She had to be prepared.
Happy Smugglivus! I wish you all a year of much joy, both fiction and nonfiction.
You heard the woman! If you want to win this fantastically creepy gold-ish pin to commemorate Unspoken, leave a comment here letting us know your hopes and fears for 2012! The contest is open to all and will run until Saturday December 31 at 11:59 PM (PST). Good luck!