Two Noodler Sales!If you're familiar with the WNP, you'll know we've supported each other in so many ways! I'm thrilled to interview two Posse members who've recently made their first sales.
Actually, I was in bed asleep. I had a horrible sinus infection, was running a fever, and just generally feeling crappy. The phone rings, waking me up, and my first thought was that if it was another one of those automated messages from some guy running for mayor, I was going to be mad. Well, it wasn't. It was my agent, and she started off asking me how I was feeling. She knew I was sick. She'd been sick too, so we talked about how cruddy we both felt. Then she asked me if I'd decided to run for the RWA board again. I said I was but that I was running for a regional director position and not the PRO Liaison position. She then says, "That's good because you're not eligible anymore!" (For those who don't know, the PRO Liaison has to be unpublished.) It took a minute for it to sink in, then we talked about the details of the sale of two young adult novels to Razorbill, an imprint of
Penguin. After I hung up, I started calling family and friends -- at least until my fever went up so much I had to go back to bed. :)
My agent was shopping around my fourth manuscript – Telling Lies. That story should really sell as mainstream, but I’m not a man and I didn’t attend an Ivy League school, so that’s unlikely to happen. You have never seen such glowing rejections for a book. I have one editor’s comment pinned to my wall. “Telling Lies was utterly clever and fun and often startlingly truthful. You’ve really got a wild ride of a writer on your hands. Thanks for the read, which was completely unforgettable.” And then she went on to say thanks but no thanks. So we had pretty much given up on selling that book when Kensington read it and said they were interested in me as an author but did I have anything that would more easily fit into a genre that people actually buy? And I said, “Well, I have this paranormal romance, and I understand that market is doing pretty well.” So they bought it, even though it’s about elves.
Which of course brings up the question...why elves?
Why, indeed. The answer is that the first Lord of the Rings movie had just come out, and I thought Legolas was pretty durn sexy. I never watched any of the sequels, because I’m not a fan of monster armies that leave a trail of slime from all the methylcellulose dripping from their toothy jaws. So instead of watching LOTR2, I created a heroine very like me, living in my town, who meets an elf and falls for him. Bound to Love Her was only my second book. Since then, people have come to associate elves with Harry Potter house elves, and I even get people squinting and saying, “You mean like Keebler® elves? Ew!”
People seem very uncertain about whether elves can be sexy. Kensington didn’t want the words elf, elves, or elven anywhere in the title. We’re sneaking the whole elf thing under the radar. Marta Acosta (author, Midnight Brunch) writes similarly funny books about vampires, and she agreed to read an advance copy of Bound to Love Her, but she warned me that she wasn’t sure she could get behind the “elves are hot” idea. Since then, I have received the following email from her:
I strongly suggest that you tell [your editor] that when she’s requesting a blurb, she should use the word “hawt” a lot in describing your elves. I’m thinking something like,
BOUND TO LOVE HER contains lots of TOTALLY HAWT ELF ACTION. Galan is a WAY HAWT elf, I kid you not. He’s with this girl and they’re kind of stuck with each other, and she’s like, whoa, this pointy-eared dude is SCORCHING HAWT. Stuff happens and it’s really awesome and Galan’s all nekkid and the magic just isn’t in his fingertips, if you know what I mean, and I think you do.
Okay, really I ask...what's the book about?
What, Marta’s description wasn’t enough? Well, Erin is this gal who owns a New Age store but doesn’t particularly believe in the supernatural. (Although she does “believe strongly in harp-oriented CDs and flower-fairy jewelry.”) And one night, she unknowingly intervenes in a battle between Fellseth, a dark elf, and Galan, a good elf, and Galan winds up bound to Erin in the sense that he gets his energy from her instead of the land Fellseth took from him. Lest you think Galan is a wimp because he was defeated, let me say that he was in mourning for his dead wife and had sort of lost interest in life. (Cue, “Awww!”) Galan and Erin spend some time trying to figure out a way to unhitch, although at first she’s not eager to part and then he’s not. Meanwhile, Fellseth discovers that Erin can provide elf energy and decides he wants to finish Galan off and keep Erin as his zombie love slave. Zombie, because elves can put a mind-control whammy on humans, called a glamour. Elves had that before vampires, okay? It’s in, like, medieval poems and stuff.
Anyway, I like to call the book an urban-fantasy, romantic-suspense comedy. If you’ve read Marta (and you should), we have similar styles in terms of having fast-moving plots and mystery elements. I wouldn’t say there’s a ton of HAWT ELF ACTION. There’s definitely some.
Leaving the land of elves, Tricia's book is aimed toward young adults. Heartbreak River (working title) is about a 16-year-old girl whose family runs a river rafting business in Colorado. She's grown up on the river and has always loved it. She's never wanted to do anything other than run the business when she's old enough. But then her dad drowns in a rafting accident, and suddenly she's afraid of the very river she's loved all her life. This book is about her beginning to heal, conquering her fear, and finding love -- both of the river again and the boy who she's been over the moon for since they they were kids.
Both Tricia and Esri have done some interesting things to get readers interested in their books. Tricia - you first.
I've had a personal blog since January 2005, but I recently launched a new blog called The Girl Hood under my YA pseudonym, Tricia Mills. It's targeted toward teenage girls, who are the target audience for my books, and covers everything from books and music to movies and TV...and anything else teen-focused.
Since my first book likely won't hit bookstore shelves until 2009, I'm hoping to build up a teenage following at the blog before the book's launch date.
And you, Esri? What are you doing?
You mean the live-action video trailer? That’s an ambitious idea of mine which I’m going to have to actually do because I mentioned it to my publisher and they loved it. Basically, I’m working on a teaser trailer for the book that uses drama kids from my local university, plus whomever else I can rope in. The tag line is “What if there were elves among us?” and I’m incorporating a big gag in the hope that it will go viral on YouTube.com. It’s a big ol’ risk and represents a lot of time, but if you don’t try, you don’t get. So if you go to ElvesAmongUs.com, which is very preliminary from a book-promotion standpoint, you’ll see all the roles available for people willing to wear long-hair wigs, capes and boots (Huzzah!), and latex ear appliances (must learn to apply those). Clearly I have always wanted to be Rob Reiner only without the beard. I’m already thinking of promotional schwag for the cast, to get them to do my advertising for me.
Okay Tricia - tell me a little more about your transition to published author.
I've been writing novels, mainly romance but also some women's fiction and young adult, since I was in college, seriously since 1996. So it took me 11 years of focused work to sell, and it's the height of irony that after 18 completed manuscripts I actually sold on a single chapter. It still boggles my mind when I think about it, and I'm immensely grateful. Also, I owe a debt to fellow YA author Stephie Davis (aka Stephanie Rowe), who was the one who urged me to try my hand at writing young adult books.
Bound to Love Her by Esri Rose will be available May 2008. You can find out more by going to her website ElvesAmongUs.com or her blog here. Tricia Mills' first book, Heartbreak River will be out sometime in 2009. You can check out her blog here, and her website here.
And remember – elves are hot!