January 29th, 2016
Spoilers in the title, guys! I’m just back from an afternoon signing at the OLA Super Conference and, since it’s official:
An Inheritance of Ashes has been named one of the Ontario Library Association’s 2015 Best Bets selections.
Here is a picture with its nice new sticker and everything.
I am very pleased and flattered and going to celebrate with a nice if extremely late lunch.
October 6th, 2015
It’s October 6th, which means An Inheritance of Ashes officially hits shelves today.
This has been a pretty long road between the first drops of an idea and the book loosing into the world, and one that a lot of people carried and/or dragged me along when my proverbial legs got wobbly. So while I know most people preview a book with the first chapter? I’d like to show you my acknowledgments.
Here are the people I owe Ashes to.
An Inheritance of Ashes was a book that asked a lot of me. I wrote my first book as a writer, but I wrote this one as a person, and bringing your whole self to a book when you are a person, with so much more than books to love, is a harder set of compromises. A lot of people supported and carried me during writing Above; for An Inheritance of Ashes, a great many people offered, in the face of those more complicated things, so much that made such a difference: kindness, experience, and patience.
For all the work, thought, and encouragement that went into fostering this idea, even though the external things didn’t work out: Cheryl Klein.
For their patience with a very drafty first draft, and their comments on it: Michael Matheson and Ian Keeling.
Lindsey Shorser and Jeff Yagar, who put up with my occasionally collaring them to go: “Is this cool or stupid?” and reciting random plot points at high speed.
Kelly Jones, Pam McNew, and Jennifer Adam, for taking the time to not only talk about the writing, but to point out some of the things this particular city girl assumed or misunderstood about running a small farm.
Emma Bull, whose wisdom on other projects came forward to vastly improve this one; Merrie Haskell, who generously shared both her insights and experience, and made the way there much, much clearer; and Michelle Sagara West, for her invaluable knowledge and invaluable practicality, and willingness to share both.
Chandra Rooney, for probably a million hours’ worth of work dates all over the west end, talking out plot points, talking about positioning, beta-reading chapters that just changed completely anyway, double-checking my instincts on cover copy when it was midnight and my brain stopped working, making me write words instead of bailing to see Batman even though I really wanted to bail and see Batman, and finally, telling me it was going to be okay in a way she knew I’d believe. Which is what the best writing partners do, and the best friends.
The Ontario Arts Council, whose Writers’ Works in Progress grant program let me jump face-first into the scary, wonderful life of a full-time writer. Thanks for believing in this book at its very beginnings, and for the chance to, well, take a chance.
My literary agent, Caitlin Blasdell, for knowing exactly where to take a weird little book; Diane Kerner at Scholastic Canada for the immediate and ongoing faith throughout the life of this project; and Anne Hoppe at Clarion, whose patience and enthusiasm were the bedrock that made this manuscript happen—a bedrock that not excessively dented by teaching one anxious and occasionally very opinionated author the ins and outs of writing on proposal (and a few things about prose clarity and structural tics, besides). Thank you for the immense effort and care put into this book. It has meant everything.
And finally, Philippe McNally, who understands. In the acknowledgments for Above I said that now I understood all those acknowledgment-page stereotypes; what Ashes taught me is how a partner who wants you to make good art makes everything suddenly possible.
Thank you, love, for doing more than your equal share of a lot of things while I rewrote whole chapters; for the infinite supply of gross deadline snacks; for drawing both the Nopetopus and the capybaras with machine guns, which clearly contributed to my process; for making it clear that time I take away from Us Things for Book Things is not, in your eyes, a favour you do me or a debt to collect; and for, knowing full well that this is going to happen every book, marrying me anyway. I love you like a whole forest of adorable kittens where there is also an astronaut convention taking place. I love you like the sky. Thank you.
I sincerely hope you all enjoy it.
March 9th, 2015
A lot of things have finalized as AN INHERITANCE OF ASHES trucks along to its publication date (last week of September in Canada! October 6 everywhere else!). So I’m really pleased this morning to be able to show you not just the front cover for AN INHERITANCE OF ASHES:
–but also the absolutely gorgeous full jacket:
Basically it is beautiful, that bird has no head, its headlessness is great, I have no idea how it caws, and I’m excited.
June 12th, 2013
It feels good. Here, look:
I will be spending the next little while cleaning my Deadline House (TM) and seeing some concerts and otherwise doing things that aren’t writing books.
April 3rd, 2013
It’s in Publishers Marketplace, and that makes it true, so:
My second young adult novel, On Roadstead Farm, will be published by Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, with editor Anne Hoppe, who’s also edited Melissa Marr, Merrie Haskell, Garth Nix, and Terry Pratchett (!).
What is this book even about? Have some unofficial cover copy I just wrote up right now!
Hallie Hoffmann has spent her sixteenth summer trying desperately to keep her family farm together. Her sister, Marthe, is pregnant, and her brother-in-law Thomas marched in the spring to war against the Wicked God Southward–a war which ended at midsummer when a normal man turned hero, the mysterious John Balsam, cut out the Wicked God’s heart and disappeared.
The trouble is, so has Thom.
When a mysterious war veteran from the north asks to hire on for the winter, Hallie sees her chance to keep Roadstead Farm alive–and to apologize to her sister for a summer of fighting by protecting their home. But the Wicked God’s twisted creations aren’t far behind: monstrous animals whose touch sucks the life from flesh, trees, or stone. Because the kindly Heron has the one thing everyone in the world wants: The knife that somehow killed a God.
And all hell is coming after him.
So basically it’s a post-epic fantasy, post-apocalyptic, literary dustbowl novel with bonus! Creepy Spider-birds and dealing with people’s war PTSD and a good helping of kissing. Like you do.
Street date when I have one.