TwitterFacebookTumblrPinterestGoodreads
Buy on Amazon Buy at Barnes & Noble Buy at IndieBound
Amy Zhang

drafting

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!


Speak up:

2 comments

Life After THE DEAL

It seems like all of my blog posts are prefaced by “ERMAHGERD SORRY I HAZ NOT POSTED IN FOREVER” now.

But yes, I’m back. Hopefully?

So why the hiatus this time? A lot has been happening. We’ve decided on a title for my BOOK (I still get this stupid little grin on my face every time I say it), so hopefully I can share it with you soon! With revisions forthcoming and my spectacular talent for procrastination, the end of summer has devolved into a mad rush of holy crap holy crap I don’t even know where to start working and ugly crying.

Oh, yeah, and I forgot how to write.

I think, as writers, we tend to view a deal as a climax. It’s when the prince defeats the dragon and demonstrates a fetish for unconscious women, and all that’s left is the happily ever after. Which, on the other side of the climax, is kind of a horrifying idea, because it means that we’ve already peaked.

It’s ridiculous, of course. And I told myself so as I sat, day after day, in front of a manuscript that, all of a sudden, was impossible to write. And not just the manuscript–blog posts, interviews, essays. I couldn’t WORDS.

I tried taking a break. I watched all three seasons of Downton Abbey in a weekend and got to level fifty in Candy Crush Saga and devoted, like, twelve hours a day to Pinterest. And then I sat down and tried to write again and the words just wouldn’t come.

So I’m (hopefully) on the tail end of the worst writing schlump of my life, and I’m still terrified that I’ve depleted my quota of reasonable writing ability, terrified that I’ve peaked, terrified that I will never write anything decent again, terrified about what this says about me as a writer, terrified about what this means about the future. I’m terrified that the book I’ve already written won’t sell and everyone will hate it and I’ll have to dye my hair purple and get a new nose and become an alpaca farmer to escape the shame.

I know it’s silly. I know I’ll get over this eventually. But right now I’m terrified, and that’s okay. Because writing isn’t easy and that’s why we can’t stop. Because sometimes we end a story and have to take a deep breath, because endings are frightening and transitions are hard. Because our characters can have happily ever afters and all of my friends are dead endings, but we can’t. We have tomorrows. And it’s okay to be afraid of them.

…but existential crises still suck.

Speak up:

2 comments

NaNo Recap (or, Why I Have Been MIA for the Last Month)

So, for those of you who don’t know, I participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time ever this year! And it was insane. And exhilarating. And exhausting. And so much fun. And here’s a recap of what happened.

Before November 1st, I flip-flopped back and forth on whether or not I actually wanted to do NaNo. As you may or may not know, I’m a junior this year. Which means homework. And standardized testing. And more homework. And more standardized testing. And a whole crap-ton clubs and other things-I-do-to-get-into-a-semi-decent-college-and-maybe-have-a-future. And Forensics (which is a public speaking thing, not a dead body thing) season is about to begin, and winter tennis leagues are starting up. So I wasn’t sure I wanted to commit to NaNo. But due to a number of very convincing CP’s (oh, you know who you are. Stop trying to look innocent ;), I signed up on the website and made outlines and was totally pumped for November to begin.

The novel I planned to write was about a girl dying in a hospital from a car accident. Her car had slid down a hill and crashed into a tree.

On October 29th, a boy in my grade died when his car crashed into a tree.

So…I almost quit NaNo then. See, I go to this teensy school where everyone knows everyone, and our grade only has about a hundred people, so…yeah. That was a very, very hard day of school. I sat down to finish outlining that night, and I  just couldn’t.

What happened? I don’t really know. I didn’t just want to sit there and mope, I guess. I wanted to distract myself. And so, all of my emotions kind of poured into the story, and it ended up being so personal that I’m actually kind of nervous to let people see it.

Also, my other novel (WILDFLOWER, remember?) was supposed to go to acquisitions in the last week of October. Because of Hurricane Sandy, it got moved back. Well, they ended up having it in the first week of November. And I had really high hopes because two senior editors were presenting it. And it had been at acquisitions for so long. And, I dunno, the two editors actually seemed to like it.

Only…the publishing house ended up passing it on because they had a similar project coming out soon.

And yes, I was crushed. I was at a friend’s house when my agent called with the news (and yeah, said friend overheard everything and blackmailed me into telling the whole story, so now there’s one more person who knows…I was SO annoyed), and I still had to go volunteer that night and pretend everything was normal while in reality I just wanted to kick unicorns off a cliff, and honestly, I just didn’t want to write. I was in a very deep why-the-heck-am-I-still-doing-this-I’m-obviously-no-good funk. So the NaNo novel just sat there for a while. I was also very rarely home on weekends this November, and our teachers decided to just bury us in homework, so between all of that, I had almost no hope that I’d finish NaNo.

What happened? Um, I got sick of feeling sorry for myself. Guys, after a while, moping gets boring. And once I started writing, I couldn’t stop. Also, I admit it–I really wanted to win NaNo (I have this weird thing with schedules. Once I make one, I am obsessed with staying on track). And honestly? I just wanted to finish.

And I did.

Speak up:

1 comment