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Amy Zhang

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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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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?

VERDICT: BUSTED

 VERDICT: I DON’T EVEN KNOW

VERDICT: BUSTED

VERDICT: PFFT. EVERYBODY PROCRASTINATES

VERDICT: YOU DECIDE
VERDICT: BUSTED


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?

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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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COVER REVEAL (and Nostalgia)!!!!

MY COVER! IT’S MY COVER! ALSO A GIVEAWAY! AND MY COVER! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

http://www.yahighway.com/2014/02/cover-reveal-and-giveaway-falling-into.html?m=1

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).

NOW GO LOOK AT THAT COVER. GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO!!!!!!!!







AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH IT’S SO PRETTY I’M GONNA DIE!!!!!

*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*

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

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Shameless Self-Promotion

HELLOOOO, INTERNET.

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
Amazon
Book Depository
HarperCollins
Books-A-Million

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

Facebook page
Goodreads

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On

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. 

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Sh*t People Say to Writers

Last Sunday, my local newspaper wrote a story about me…and my writing…and stuff. Those of you who have followed my blog for a while know that I used to be very, very secretive about writing. I never talked about it. So this week was WEIRD and awkward and generally hard for me, but on the bright side, I FINALLY get to write this post! I’ve always wanted to. 🙂

So you wrote a book?
Actually, I’ve written five novel-length works. The first one will never, ever see the light of day. I queried the second one and found my agent with it (YAY!), but it never made it past acquisitions. I also wrote a (very bad) sequel to it that clocked in around 200K (LOLZ). I wrote a standalone Norse-inspired fantasy about wolves and hot chocolate and losing your first love, which I’m planning to revise. Then I wrote this one, which sold. And I’m currently working on a few projects–
Like, a novel? Fiction or nonfiction? Wait, what are you doing? Why are you poking me?
I’m trying to edit your redundancy, but your “delete” button seems to be broken.
How many pages is your fiction novel?
OH MY–*breathes* never mind. And I don’t know. 51,000 words. Ish.
What is your book about?
image
(via Title To Come)
BONUS: What is your book about (old church ladies edition)
It’s about fornication and drinking and drugs and abortion and basically what your grandson/granddaughter does on weekends, except I’m not going to tell you that because I’m afraid you’ll have a literal heart attack.
Childhood, ma’am. It’s about childhood and growing up. *insert smile and innocent head-tilt*
So how much did you have to, like, pay for them to publish this book?
Actually, in traditional publishing, the publishing house gives you money for the–
What?! How much did you make?
Good question. Would you like to know how much I weigh, too?
Dude, I wish I had the time to write a book.
What? What is this time thing that you speak of?
What’s your book called?
Um, I can’t tell you right now. I went through a title change, and the new title is still confidential. Hopefully I can share soon, though!
Whatever. You just don’t want us to buy it, do you?
I actually really, really want you to buy it, because your money will trickle down to me. And I do like money an awful lot.
Okay, so can I read it now?

But you need someone to read it! What if it sucks?
Gee, that isn’t the stuff of my nightmares or anything.
Am I in your book?
Oh, honey. Would I really tell you if you were?
Can I be in your next book?
Sure. I’ll kill you brutally within the opening pages. I’ll even let you choose your own method of death. Sound good? (but if I DO put you in a book and you don’t like what you read, remember this conversation, kay? xoxoxo).
Well, can I be in the movie?
On the teensy chance that they make a movie…no.
Do you know J.K. Rowling?
Yup. We had lunch the other day.
Why did you write a book about suicide? You’re not suicidal, are you?
No, but once I wrote a fantasy about a world at war and a girl who kills people, and I’m not homicidal.
Yet.

I’d like to write a novel. How does it work? Can you tell your publisher to buy my book?
Well. I can tell you that it DOESN’T work like that. First you have to write a novel and edit the unmerciful suck out of it. And after it’s nice and pretty and polished, you have to slug through the query trenches and hope you find an agent who loves it enough to sub it for you, and then you have to hope that an editor loves it enough to invest money and time and tears and sweat and passion into it.
Okay…so–
NO, I CANNOT TELL MY PUBLISHER TO BUY YOUR NONEXISTENT BOOK.
So…YA magical realism? That’s like Twilight, isn’t it?
Why won’t you answer any of our questions? You won’t even tell us what the title is. Stop being so stuck up about it.
Eek! I don’t mean to come off that way–but I’ve never really talked about my writing with people, and this makes me feel so incredibly uncomfortable that I’ve pretty much depleted what little social ability I have. But I really can’t tell you the title!
Geez, you talk about this so often. You sound so stuck up.
But–YOU ASKED! I don’t mean to sound stuck up! But this is something I’m genuinely and overwhelmingly happy about, and I’m sorry if I’m doing something to make you misinterpret this. But I AM proud of myself, I DO love writing, and sometimes it’s hard not to smile like an idiot about it.
image

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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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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.

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ALL. THE. FEELS. (Part II)

Part DOS:

After the phone call, I went to lunch and flailed and I’m sure other things happened, but I was drunk on happiness and honestly don’t remember very much of it. I called my agent as soon as I got home to figure out the finer points of EVERYTHING, and I finally figured out that the offer was a pre-empt, and I had to give an answer like, yesterday.
It was all a bit hectic because my phone was acting up and the connection was crappy and I was barely at home all day because of prior commitments (stupid prior commitments). Everything was happening INSANELY fast, and I was still giddy and my sanity was questionable, so I wanted a second opinion (or a number of them) on the offer before I accepted (but HOLY CRAP AN OFFER I WANT IT GIMME NAO), so I talked with my family and my agent–
(Okay, I need to take a minute and gush about how fantabulous Emily Keyes is. You guys have no idea how much of my flailing she’s had to put up with in these last few months. Emily, THANK YOU for believing in my writing and being the bestest agent a girl could ever ask for 🙂
–and the amazing Louise Fury, who all gave me wonderful advice, and at the end of the very hectic, badly-connected, most wonderfulicious phone call EVER, I accepted the deal.
(I really did this, but about 1/100000th as gracefully).
The next day, I got to talk to Virginia Duncan over email. She was lovely and enthusiastic, and the best part? GUYS. SHE SAID SHE LOVED MY BOOK. SHE SAID SHE WAS THRILLED TO BE WORKING WITH IT. AND ME.
ME.
Except I was mostly too starstruck to form intelligible responses.
And we talked about revisions and the contract and the FUTURE, and it was so wonderfully wonderful that I have honestly stared at the screen for about ten minutes trying to figure out how to describe it, except I. Cannot. Describe. My. Feelz.
So what happened after that? Why didn’t you guys get to hear my news sooner? Why all of my mysterious tweets and hints in the last four months? Something got in the way, Internet.
THE LAW.
See, apparently being a minor causes all sorts of silly problems, like not being able to sign a contract or receiving more than a certain amount of money without court-appointed Fancyschmancy Guardians of My Estate or Something (and no one would hop on my anarchy bandwagon. I mean, no law = no messy litigation things, amirite? JUST KIDDING. Anarchy is bad, boys and girls) I…am still relatively unclear as to what happened because it was all narrated in fancy lawyer lingo. Basically I needed a lawyer and my parents needed a different lawyer, and we went to court  and I tripped in front of the judge and almost fell on my face.
And then finally, FINALLY, I could tell all of your wonderful faces my news (I think I’ve said “wonderful” about a thousand times in this post, but guys. GUYS. It was all so wonderful and you are all wonderful and cheese is wonderful). SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am so, so, SO unbelievably excited that you guys will get to read my ickle-widdle-squishy baby manuscript. I loved writing it, I love the story, I love the characters, and I hope you will, too. I still haven’t completely wrapped my head around the idea that in just over a year, people will actually be able to like, HOLD IT. AND READ IT. I feel crazy-lucky that I have this opportunity, and crazy-luckier that I’ve been surrounded by absolutely INCREDIBLE people through this thing (looking at you, Mark, John, Ari, and Olivia <= BEST CPs IN THE WORLD).
So…thank you. All of you. For caring what I have to say. 🙂 xoxoxoxoxoxox
(P.S. I ultimately decided not to make start another Rafflecopter giveaway, but in celebration of Part Dos, I’ve added another prize to the first giveaway. It’s a fancyschmancy wall hanging like this:
which I will make with a quote of your choice and send in addition to the two YA books of your choice and a copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Writer’s Inspiration) SO GO ENTER!!!! 😀

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