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Amy Zhang

Updates and Unicorns*

This morning, my mom asked me why I hadn’t updated my blog in a while, to which I responded, “YOU READ MY BLOG?!” But okay, she was right. I haven’t updated in a while because ALL THE THINGS have been happening. Like:

My ARCs arrived! And I hugged them! And I took a billion and a half pictures of them! And I took selfies with them! And I cuddled them while I slept acted like a totally normal human being with them!

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This is my name on a thing I wrote (I WROTE THAT THING IN THE PICTURE. LIKE I MADE THAT IN MY HEAD).
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This is the spine on a thing I wrote (and also a viking rune, because vikings are cool)
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This is the FREAKING GORGEOUS cover of a thing I wrote
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This is a thing I wrote on my ACTUAL, PHYSICAL BOOKSHELF
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This is my face and a thing I wrote. See those fingers?
(Yeah, I know I have toe thumbs. Don’t stare. They’re self-conscious).
Okay, time to get serious. I am so, SO happy and proud to announce (belatedly) that FALLING INTO PLACE was chosen as one of the ten titles featured in the Indies Introduce New Voices program! Here’s what they had to say about FALLING:
“In Falling Into Place, Zhang has composed such a fascinating and captivating investigation of character and humanity that readers will find themselves actively rooting for Liz, desperate for her to realize in time that taking herself out of life is never the answer.” —Sara Hines, Eight Cousins Books
I’m also beyond excited to share that I’ll be doing a panel at BEA this year with Becca Fitzpatrick, Amanda Maciel, and Kresley Cole. It’s called “It’s Not Easy Being Teen,” which is basically the most accurate statement ever. It’ll be on Friday, May 30th from 11:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., so if any of you are coming to BEA, be sure to stop by! I’ll also be signing afterwards.
Here’s the description of the event from the BEA website:
How do you believably and authentically get into the mindset of a teen? It’s simple to skew a voice too young or too old, or to underestimate the breadth of a high schooler’s experience. These authors will talk what it takes to portray teens truthfully and the challenges they have faced both on and off the page. Listen in and meet: Amy Zhang (Falling Into Place), Kresley Cole, (Dead of Winter), Becca Fitzpatrick, (Black Ice), Amanda Maciel, (Tease).
*Yeah, okay, so there weren’t actually any unicorns in this post. Sorry. Bait-and-switch or whatever, amirite?

YA Mythbusters

Okay, let’s face it–a lot of books and movies don’t accurately address teenage life. Like, I, for one, have never hit my head on a chandelier while drunk-dancing, which unfortunately means that I haven’t been caught by a conveniently-placed Heath Ledger, either (womp). So let’s examine a few of the misconceptions, shall we?






What do you guys think? Did I miss anything important? Leave below in the comments, and I’ll do another post. Also, what do you guys think of having a Twitter chat about this? YA authors, do you have questions or want to do a fact-check on your contemp manuscripts?

Countdowns and Love Lists

Today is March 9th. Which means that there are:

6 months
184 days
4, 416 hours
264,960 seconds

…until FALLING INTO PLACE comes out and my head explodes. Wow. Like, I see the numbers and I have a vague concept that months/days/hours/seconds are divisions of time or something, but I can’t actually wrap my head around the idea that this thing I made in my head is going to be…bound? On shelves? Available for purchase? In SIX MONTHS?!

I am terrified and excited and happy beyond words, and to celebrate, I’m going to do a love list, which is a non-exhaustive list of the things you love about a manuscript (inspired by my wonderful CP Mark O’Brien, who was inspired KK Hendin, who was inspired by Rachel, who was inspired by Stephanie Perkins). 

chalk drawings on the roof
scenic towers
jumping off the swings
a 1967 Ford Falcon
being wrong
being right
bouncy balls
wire crowns
twenty-three missed calls
running through the rain
second chances
seven days
fifty-eight minutes
F = ma
green sweaters
flute players
black eyes
the sky
matching friendship rings
cause and effect
Fears Quote
Scenic tower, where Liz once made wishes on sunshine.
Hide and seek behind the old brown couch
beyond the sky...
the cover
the interior
(for more pictures, visit my Pinterest board for FALLING)

COVER REVEAL (and Nostalgia)!!!!


HUGE thanks to the wonderful people at YA Highway, who not only hosted my cover reveal, but managed to put it together in, like, two freaking hours. If that’s not a superpower, I don’t know what is. And also to the amazing, AMAZING team at Greenwillow who designed this breathtaking cover. Can we just sit here for a minute and marvel at how amazeballs they are? Because HOLY CRAP THAT COVER.

AND ALSO ginormous thanks to my agent, who played fairy godmother/therapist/shoulder-to-whine-on/superhero/buttsaver this week (and every other week).



*deep breaths*

Seriously, though. I love everything about it. I love the physics equations in the background, even though I’ve spent the last few weeks staring at them and realizing that I forgot everything I learned in physics. I love the car falling and the road and the words. I love my name (DO YOU SEE MY NAME IN THE CORNER THERE BECAUSE OH MY GOD MY NAME IS ON A BOOK). And I love love love love LOVE the hand, because it’s THE IMAGINARY FRIEND’S HAND!!!! AHHHHHHHH!!!!

Okay. Okay. So it’s actually kind of funny that I’m having my reveal today, because it’s exactly one day after the anniversary of my book. That’s right. FALLING INTO PLACE sold on February 28, 2013. And in another one hundred and ninety-three days (that’s ONE HUNDRED AND NINETY-THREE, 19FREAKING3) days, you’ll be able to go to your bookstore and, like, TOUCH IT. AND HOLD IT. AND READ IT.

*brain implodes*

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The life-changing, panic-inducing, holy-hell-it’s-happening text from my agent.

Shameless Self-Promotion


Yes, it’s true–I am actually alive. I am actually blogging. I am (hopefully) here to stay this time. Because I’ve missed you, Internet.

(I just realized that this is my first post of 2014. *stares at calendar* *smacks self*)

Anyway, I’m going to try really super incredibly terribly hard to get back on a blogging schedule, but for today, I thought I’d compile a handy-dandy Here’s-What-Amy-Has-Been-Doing-Instead-of-Blogging guide (also known as shameless self-promotion, but shhhhhhh).

I’ve done some new interviews and guest posts!

Sometimes Books Don’t Sell
Interview at Brooke Reviews
Interview at Rachel Russell Books

I have purchase links!

Barnes & Noble
Book Depository

I have stuff for you to like/add/follow!

Facebook page

2013 Recap

Are we absolutely sure that there were 365 days in 2013? Maybe we skipped a month? I demand a recount. I don’t want this year to end.

It has been a CRAZY AMAZING year. I can’t believe how much has changed since this time last year. I have new interests! I have new friends! I have a friggin’ BOOK DEAL with my dream publisher!!! And so first off, I want to thank all of the people without whom my year would have been very, very different: my editor and the rest the team at Greenwillow, my AMAZING agent, my critique partners, friends, family. Thank you, THANK YOU for indulging all of my writing neuroses (and all other neuroses).

The highlight of my year was probably that “Call me, I have good news” text I got from my agent back in February, but some other ones include meeting my agent and editor without looking too idiotic, seeing my cover and bursting into tears in the middle of class (it is SO BEAUTIFUL. I absolutely CANNOT WAIT to share it with you guys), deciding to go to BEA with one of my critique partners, joining the Class of 2K14 and getting to know so many wonderful ladies, and the crabcakes from G&M Restaurant and Lounge in Baltimore.

I think the best book I read this year has to be Wonder by R.J. Palacio. It’s a fantastic example of so many things–characterization, POV, voice. It made me laugh and cry and stay up until 3:00 a.m, and I don’t regret a minute of it. I also loved Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson, and Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen.

As for 2014…okay, I admit it–I’m terrified. Some of the most fundamental aspects of my life are going to change next year. Most likely, I’ll move halfway across the country. I’ll be on my own for the first time in my life. I’ll have a book on shelves. But here’s the thing–my life changes every year. It changes every day. And change is always terrifying, but I guess all you can do is roll out of bed and put on pants anyway, right? (Ew, pants.)

And lastly, some resolutions: I didn’t complete any manuscripts this year, but I started a few and I’m almost done with one. For 2014, I hope to write and revise three novels: MEMENTO MORI, THIS IS WHERE THE WORLD ENDS, and THE STORYWEAVER. I hope to learn more about publicity and marketing. I hope to keep up this blog. I hope to not go completely insane.

Bring it on, 2014.

S/O to Robert Frost (and Zombies)

On my wall, there is a tree filled with quotes. Last lines. Final words. Famous phrases. Love letters that weren’t meant to be pasted all over the Internet. At the tip of one of the branches, the letters are scattered and bent to shape the vein-branches, but if you were to pull them together, they would spell out this: In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.

Robert Frost. Quoted too often, right? Cliche (side note: isn’t that kind of sad? We erode words. We say them too often and they start to lose meaning: it goes on. It goes on. Itgoesonitgoesonitgoeson). But here’s the thing: sometimes you don’t want it to. You get another rejection letter. You get food poisoning from the peppermint frappuccino at your favorite coffee shop. Some dude predicts another apocalypse right after you finish disassembling your zombie shelter, and all you really want is for the world to stop spinning for a minute, two, so you can crumple in a dramatic heap and take a nap.

Disappointment–we try to ignore it. You know what? It’s okay to cry over your zombie shelter. It’s okay to sit among your missile-proof pieces and wallow and dread the idea of putting them back together again. Have some hot chocolate. Reread your comfort-food book (you know the one). Sit in that heap and take a nap. A long one.

Because here’s the thing: disappointment is not a road block. It’s not a dead end. It isn’t even a speed bump, really. It happens and then it ends, and you hope for other things. You wake up from your nap and the world is still spinning.

It goes on.

(I mean, unless you’re a zombie).

“BLOGFEST: Class of 2k14 is Thankful For…”

Hey, guys! The Class of 2K14 is doing this blogfest for Thanksgiving. What are you thankful for? Leave it in the comments!
I’m thankful for everyone who has supported my writing—agent, editor, friends, family. I’m thankful for my critique partners, who deserve a category all to themselves. I’m thankful that my book sold to my dream publisher. I’m thankful that I’m debuting with so many amazing people. I’m thankful that this year has given me the opportunity to grow up a little. I’m thankful that this thing called perspective exists. I’m thankful for this line in A Member of the Wedding: “It seems to me I feel the world going around very fast. I feel it turning and it makes me dizzy.”

Most of all, I’m thankful that though my parents often refused to buy me candy or clothes or movies, they never refused to buy me books.


Every year, my church holds this pie sale. We go in for a night or two, peel hundreds of apples, make pounds and pounds of crumble topping, and throw food at each other. It would be fun, except we’re not allowed to eat anything—all those pies, DO NOT TOUCH.

Last year, on Annual Pie-Making Day, my novel was rejected at acquisitions. I was crushed. I cried in the car.

This year, I couldn’t stop smiling because my editor had just emailed me, saying that she had read my revision and cried again.

(I like making people cry.)

It’s funny—so much has changed. So much hasn’t. Robert Frost said it best, I think: “In three words, I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”

I touched one of the pies tonight. I ate some crumble topping, and it was fantastic. 

Post-Deadline Thoughts

As of 1:14 A.M. October 21st, I have finished my first round of revisions. I have met my first deadline, and it feels unbelievable.

Revising this book was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Drafting it had been so simple–the story told itself, poured through my fingertips as if I were only a vessel for it. It is, as my publisher says, a “jigsaw puzzle,” and while drafting, the pieces had fallen into place all by themselves, and I had expected revising it to be just as easily.

It didn’t, of course. Because the book is told in a non-linear fashion, I couldn’t move a scene without changing two scenes before it and three scenes that followed. I would try to make subtle revisions, a nudge here, a shift there, and everything would fall apart, and I would sit curled on my floor with my laptop cast among the circle of charts and revision plans and the pages of my edit letter, thinking about all that could go wrong, all that was going wrong. I thought about all that homework piling up and all of that college stuff I hadn’t touched yet. I thought about the thirty, forty, fifty chapters of my book I had yet to edit. I thought about all of the chapters from contests that I had yet to critique and all those manuscripts from my internship that I had yet to read.

Basically, I sat there and whimpered. Cried. Sent panicky, all-caps emails to just about everyone–critique partners, non-writer friends, teachers, my agent. Cried some more, thinking about marketing and publicity and how I didn’t know how to do any of it. A bit more, imagining all of the bad reviews I was sure to get. And then some more, because there was so much to do, and I would have more time to do if I would stop bawling.

Today, of all days, I should have had a breakdown. I had noticed a pattern–they usually came during the ungodly hours of Monday morning, surprise, start off the week strong! Today (well, yesterday, really) was the last day before my deadline, and I wasn’t finished with my final read-through. It was a perfect opportunity to eat chocolate and cry, and I was ready to, when I was suddenly struck by what an incredible thing it was for me to be stressed at all.

I was stressing over turning in my manuscript on time to my dream publisher. My editor brought some of my favorite books, books that I’ve grown up with, into the world–she had made it possible for me to fall in love with these characters and peek into their distant lands and take them with me, between covers designed by people who were now working on my cover, copyedited by people who were combing my manuscript for mistakes, loved by a team that was now taking an enormous risk by loving my book as well.

It’s two in the morning. I am exhausted, sleep-deprived, barely aware of what I’m typing, and I am the happiest person in the world.