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Amy Zhang

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#100DaysofFiP Week 2

There are only 86 days until FALLING INTO PLACE is out in the world! What?! Week 2 pictures of #100daysofFiP are below. Day 92 might be my favorite this week–it’s also one of my favorite lines in the book. What about you? Which ones do you guys like?

 

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92 days: “And my heart will beat for someone who deserves it.”

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91 days: “And then there is Matthew Derringer, who is just the slightest bit disappointed, because he has already ordered flowers for the funeral.”

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 90 days: “Wednesdays were important to them. Wednesdays were theirs.” (HINT HINT)

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 89 days: “Suddenly, the trees ended…”

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 88 days: “When she threw her head back, she could see the sky bending away from her, and it seemed closer than usual.”

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 87 days: “Death, unfortunately, is not in the business of lending wings.”

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86 days: “Our breaths carry our dandelion wishes higher, higher, until they become the clouds we watch.”

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#100DaysofFiP Week 1

Week 1 of #100daysofFiP is complete! This week’s pictures are below, along with daily excerpts from FALLING INTO PLACE. Are you following? You can follow me on Instagram @amyzhangbooks for daily updates. I also usually post to my FALLING INTO PLACE Pinterest board and to Twitter.

Let me know what you guys think in the comments! xoxo

 

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100 days: “She is human and bound by the same laws of nature–gravity, in particular–as everyone else. Try as she might, she will never grow wings.”

 photo 2

99 days: “He…just looks at it all, the final diary of a dying girl.”

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98 days: “[We dreamed] until our dreams came true.”

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97 days: “Today, I wear a pink sequined dress. I have the hair of her favorite doll and a pair of shoes she’s designing herself.

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96 days: She walked in time to some indie singer, who called her beautiful and stronger, stronger, stronger.

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95 days: “Within the walls of Meridian High School there is a hush like smoke, like smog.

 

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94 days: “And suddenly it’s very clear to her that every action is an interaction, and everything she has ever done has led to something else.”

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93 days: “Soon, we will get bored and put the chalk away, but right now, we are happy. We draw. We sing.”

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BEA Recap!

My belated BEA recap! I have finally gotten over my BEA hangover and I’ve done that graduating thing and and now AMY IS A FREE ELF.

Okay, so on Thursday morning, I started and finished packing and didn’t forget anything but my blazer, and this was probably the most impressive thing I’ve ever done. Seriously, if I have ever truly deserved a sticker, it would be for this. Around noon, our driver (WE HAD A DRIVER. Like, he wore a SUIT and everything) showed up. He tried to take my suitcase. I thought he was trying to shake my hand, so I kind of forcibly grabbed his fist, and then I was like “Oh god why I am so bad at being human HELP.” Anyway. We got on the plane. I read Kresley Cole’s ENDLESS KNIGHT and developed a crush on Death.

That night, I went to the YA Author and Blogger Party, which was SO MUCH FUN. I got to meet so many Twitter friends, and some pretty amazing people I hadn’t previously known. Also, THERE WERE CUPCAKES WITH COOKIE DOUGH INSIDE. INSIDE THE CUPCAKES. COOKIE DOUGH. Eventually, I made it back to my hotel, which had easily the best showers I’d ever had pleasure of falling in (I’d had this genius idea of wearing five-inch wedges and couldn’t feel my feet. Don’t laugh).

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The view from our hotel. Not half bad, right?

 

And the next morning: BEA! JAVITS! I met with my fabulous publicist and the Harper crew for breakfast, which I forgot to eat because a) Jason Segel is hot and just OMG, b) Carl Hiassen was hilarious, c) Mem Fox is quite literally the coolest person ever, and d) Jeff Kinney is pretty freaking awesome.

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Jason Segel speaking at the Children’s Breakfast.

 

Then I got to watch the Harper galley drop, which was crazy. Watching people take FALLING was just so surreal–like, it actually exists outside of the word doc on my computer? What? Also, SO MANY BOOKS.

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FALLING on the slideshow thingy at the HarperCollins booth

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 Harper galley drop!

 

Then I headed over to one of  the green rooms to get ready for my panel with Becca Fitzpatrick, Amanda Maciel, and Kresley Cole, and moderated by the lovely Aubrey Parks-Fried from Epic Reads. I was nervous and starstruck, my palms were sweating swimming pools, and it’s really a testament to how nice they all are that they didn’t pull away or grimace or anything when I shook their hands. Jason Segel stopped by for a bit in the beginning. See how nonchalant I sounded there? That’s how nonchalant I was when I looked up and saw him standing in the back.

…wait, no, actually I forgot the English language. Whatever.

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Left to right: Aubry Parks-Fried, me, Amanda Maciel, Becca Fitzpatrick, and Kresley Cole. Look, you can practically see my swimming pool palms in the picture!

 

 

So, a few microphone issues aside, the panel was really laid back and a lot of fun. Especially after I remembered the how to say words. Honestly, I’m still trying to convince myself that it actually happened. There were, like, people there. And they, like, listened to me say things. Hopefully I didn’t sound too much like an idiot?

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Post-panel pic with these lovely ladies. My face says “normal” but my eyes say “FANGIRLING SO HARD.”

 

After that, we got lunch and headed over to my signing. The week before BEA, I kept having this nightmare during which I’d get to my signing table and wait and wait and…tumbleweeds. No one. That didn’t happen at the actual signing (THANK GOD).  The line was actually already forming when I headed over to the Green Room a bit early, so, I mean–like, there was a line, so it already exceeded my expectations. It was crazy and so much fun (apologies to anyone who got one of the loopy scribble copies…oops). I was so freaking nervous and it turned out to be so much freaking fun.

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* loopy scribble*

I got to walk the floor with my agent for a while after that, which was amazing because I had been lusting over BEA for years. I would stalk the hashtag every May, and now I was HERE. I got ARCs and met people and I didn’t even trip once. Later, we headed to the ABA lounge for the Indies Introduce reception and met with some booksellers, many of whom seemed genuinely excited for FALLING, which blew my mind. These were the people who would actually put the book into the hands of readers. It’s a hard concept to wrap your head around–I definitely haven’t managed it yet.

 

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ARCs at the ABA lounge. Also my face.

And then my editor took me to see an early screening of THE FAULT IN OUR STARS! It was so, SO good. They gave us special tissue packets and I sobbed audibly into them. John Green, Nat Wolff, Josh Boone, Elizabeth Gabler, and a few of the screenwriters (I think?) stopped by afterwards to do a Q&A, and I alternated my crazy OH-MY-GOD-IS-THIS-REAL-LIFE stare between John and Nat (we are on a first name basis now because I’m pretty sure we made eye contact. EYE. CONTACT).

SO YEAH. THAT HAPPENED.

Basically it was the greatest two days of my life and I still have not recovered from my FEELS. Okay? Okay. Now go get your tickets for the movie. GO. NOW.

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Bonus: that graduation thing

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#100daysofFiP

HELLO. Guess what today is?

TODAY MARKS EXACTLY ONE HUNDRED DAYS UNTIL FALLING INTO PLACE COMES OUT!!! *CONFETTI*

Woohoo! To celebrate, I’ve decided to do a FALLING INTO PLACE photo project. Basically, what’ll happen is this: every day, I’ll post a picture and a line from FALLING INTO PLACE on Instagram with the hashtag #100daysofFiP. I’ll recap the week every Sunday. I’ll also be cross-posting on Twitter, Facebook, etc. So if you want a sneak peek of FALLING, follow along! It’ll be fun. I promise.

Without further ado…here’s the link to today’s picture and sentence(s): http://instagram.com/p/ot5CEhOleO/

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I’m Feeling Lucky

Last year at this time, I was waiting to announce my book deal. FALLING INTO PLACE was in between titles. I was euphoric every time I thought about the fact that my baby book was going to be a real book, a book that sat on bookshelves, a book that people would hold and read and maybe even love. I was working off the sleep deck that resulted from getting up at ungodly hours every morning to write. My hair was twenty-four inches long. I was getting ready to take what would hopefully be my last SAT (it wasn’t).

Two years ago at this time, my agent and I were just getting ready to submit my YA fantasy, WILDFLOWER. Remember WILDFLOWER? I was halfway through high school. I was just starting to get to know my critique group. I was working on another fantasy about a nameless girl and a lost boy and wolves. Somewhere, jotted down in one of my idea folders, was a line about a girl who explained her suicide in terms of Newton’s laws of motion.

Three years ago at this time, I had just finished drafting my query. I was going to send my first one on the last day that I was fourteen. I had just finished freshman year, and it hadn’t been as horrible as everyone made it out to be. I still didn’t like Wisconsin. It was getting too hot too quickly, and the world smelled like cow manure. I closed myself in my closet every day to write. Maybe because I wasn’t distracted there. Maybe because in the dark, I could pretend I was somewhere else.

Four years ago at this time, I had just finished my first manuscript. It was about five kids who saved the world from villains based off of kids in school I didn’t like. It was bad. More importantly, I had learned to acknowledge that it was bad. And more important still—I had decided not to give up. I was going to keep writing.

Five years ago at this time, I was clueless. I didn’t know that I was about to move to Wisconsin, didn’t know that the move would make me so determined to be miserable. I thought I would grow up and go into the math or science field. Maybe both. All I knew about writing was that I wasn’t good at it. When we got our final report cards that year, one of my friends looked over and was surprised. “I can’t believe you scored higher than me in English,” she said. “I’m better at the, you know, creative stuff. And you’re better at math and stuff.”

I’ve been reflecting on all of that a lot this week. I’ve seen a few reviews of FALLING already. I’ve seen Waiting on Wednesdays. I’ve seen that people are looking forward to reading it, and it blows me away. It doesn’t seem real—ever. I say I can’t even a lot, too much, because I. Cannot. Even. I can’t wrap my mind around how freaking lucky I feel. I can’t comprehend any of it—I see those snapshots of my life above and I can’t entirely connect them. Like. What happened? How?

This year, right now, I’m packing for BEA. I’m getting ready for my panel. I have pens for my signing. I’m filling out my housing information for college. I’m graduating on Sunday. I’m terrified to leave. I miss my friends already. Sometimes I hold my ARC while I watch a movie or sit around, and I flip through it and look at my name and think, holy. Freaking. Crap. I still have doubts, I still have secrets, I am still incoherent on a regular basis.

I am very happy. I like who I am. They say that doesn’t happen a lot in high school—maybe that’s true, maybe it isn’t, but either way, I’m lucky.

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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). 

FALLING INTO PLACE
voicemails
chalk drawings on the roof
scenic towers
flying
jumping off the swings
snapshots
countdowns
Newton
a 1967 Ford Falcon
being wrong
being right
being
hide-and-seek
gravity
bouncy balls
wire crowns
twenty-three missed calls
running through the rain
second chances
rolling
seven days
fifty-eight minutes
inertia
F = ma
equals
opposites
green sweaters
flute players
black eyes
the sky
tag
matching friendship rings
wishing
falling
cause and effect
blue
yes
Fears Quote
Dandelion
Snapshot
Scenic tower, where Liz once made wishes on sunshine.
awesome!!
TP-ing
Hide and seek behind the old brown couch
beyond the sky...
BONUS:
the cover
THIS IS MY COVER GUYS THE COVER OF MY BOOK OMFG
the interior
(for more pictures, visit my Pinterest board for FALLING)

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“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.

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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.

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The Next Big Thing Meme

The fabulous Lori M. Lee tagged me for this one! I’m going to cheat a bit and tell you about both my about-to-be-published book and my WIP, because ERMAHGERD, guys, I’m so excited for both of them. Okay? Okay.

(Side note: those of you who have added my book on Goodreads, THANK YOU, but that isn’t the official Goodreads page. My publisher didn’t make it. And whoever did mixed me up with another author, so…yeah. Not me. I’ll let you guys know when there’s a book to add–it’ll be around the time that I get to share my title with all of you!)

1. WHAT IS THE WORKING TITLE OF YOUR NEXT BOOK?

Still can’t tell! But I CAN tell you that I submitted it as FOR EVERY LIFE, which is a reference to Newton’s Third Law of Motion, and I CAN tell you that the title of my WIP is MEMENTO MORI, which is Latin for “remember you will die.” Mori is also the name of my protagonist (who’s dying. Shocker, huh?)

2. WHERE DID YOUR IDEA 

FOR 

THE BOOK 

COME FROM?

UNTITLED (we’ll just call it that for now–isn’t it easier?) actually began as two short stories–one about an abandoned imaginary friend, and one about a girl who tries to commit suicide. UNTITLED is their lovechild. I’m not sure where the ideas for the two original short stories came from, but I knew there was a connection between them and I knew I wanted to develop that connection into a full-length novel.

MEMENTO, on the other hand, has been sitting in the back of my mind for…a year? Two? I don’t remember where the idea came from, or when I got it, but I remember thinking, “I have to write this story. I have to.” 


3. IN WHAT GENRE DOES YOUR BOOK FALL?


UNTITLED is YA contemporary with a touch of magical realism. MEMENTO is YA contemporary with a touch of ice cream (or a lot of ice cream).


4. WHAT ACTORS WOULD YOU CHOOSE TO PLAY THE PART OF YOUR CHARACTERS IN THE MOVIE RENDITION?


Something about UNTITLED: there are no descriptions of the character’s appearances. None. I want people to be able to see themselves in Liz and Kennie and Julia. I want them to be able to see their friends. I want the characters to be anyone, everyone. So no actors 🙂

As for MEMENTO….I don’t know I’m just really bad with actors and stuff okay LEAVE ME ALONE


5. WHAT IS THE ONE-SENTENCE SYNOPSIS OF YOUR BOOK?


UNTITLED is about a girl who tries to end her short and catastrophic attempt at life, told from the perspective of her abandoned imaginary friend.

MEMENTO MORI is about a girl with half an immune system, a boy with half of his muscles, a cat named Schrödinger, and the road trip they take to solve the paradox of life.


6. WHO IS PUBLISHING YOUR BOOK?


UNTITLED is coming out in fall of 2014 from Greenwillow/HarperCollins. MEMENTO MORI is not currently under contract.


7. HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE THE FIRST DRAFT OF THE MANUSCRIPT?

I wrote the first draft of UNTITLED during NaNoWriMo 2012–so, a month. I’m actually super proud of that, mostly because November was a rough month for me, and I was under word count the entire time. I managed to pound out something like 13K in the last two days. Then I revised for about two months, and it sold the following February.

As for MEMENTO…well. I’ve been drafting for the last four months or so, and I have about another 15K to go.

8. WHAT OTHER BOOKS WOULD YOU COMPARE YOUR STORY TO WITHIN YOUR GENRE?


UNTITLED: BEFORE I FALL meets THIRTEEN REASONS WHY

MEMENTO: Hmmm….I’m not sure. My CP says it reminds him a bit of THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, except, you know, far less AMAZEBALLS.


9. WHO OR WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS BOOK?


“Isn’t this basically the same as question #2?”


Lori’s answer, which I’m seconding. 


10. WHAT ELSE ABOUT THE BOOK MIGHT PIQUE THE READER’S INTEREST?


UNTITLED is told by an imaginary friend, which opened up these incredible options for the story. The story is actually told in a non-linear fashion–there are three main times: a countdown from seven days before Liz crashes her car, a countdown of the hour before Liz crashes her car, and the day after Liz crashes her car. And there’s a chapter with eleven words. I love that chapter.

In MEMENTO, Mori has written letters to the dead for as long as she can remember, and the book is actually her last notebook of letters. Among the addressees: Maurice Sendak, Gregory Peck, Nannerl Mozart, Georgiana Cavendish, and, of course, Schrödinger. I really love playing around with narration (have you noticed?)
I’m tagging fellow Greenwillow author Chessie Zappia, whose book ASK AGAIN LATER sounds totally amazefrackingballs and Mark O’Brien, because he’s working on this new MS that I want everyone to be excited about. Take it away, guys!


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Class of 2K14 Website Launch

More exciting news! I’m a part of the Class of 2K14, and today is the launch of our website! *throws confetti*

We’re a group of twenty YA and MG debut authors with books that range from historical to contemporary to sci-fi. In particular, we target booksellers, librarians, and teachers (BLTs!), and we try to get some fantabulous books in the hands of readers. There are some CRAZY amazing people in this group, guys, so make sure you keep an eye out for the books.

The website features the authors, the books, opportunities for author visits, and information for BLTs, including fortchoming discussion guides and other curricular materials (the wonderful Addie Degenhardt is making mine! It’s SO EXCITING because all of this seems so REAL now! I’m abusing exclamation points again!). There will be TONS of giveaways in coming months, including monthly ones of the Class of 2K13’s books, but for the launch, we’re giving away…a $100 gift card to the book retailer of your choice!

One. Hundred. Dollars. For. Books. You know you want it.

NOW GO CHECK IT OUT!!!

And make sure you also check out our Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and Goodreads page!

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