So a while back, the nice folks at my UK publisher, which also happens to be Jackson Pearce's UK publisher, asked if Jack and I would be interested in doing a video together. And since I really enjoyed Sisters Red and she really enjoyed Knife a.k.a. Spell Hunter and Rebel a.k.a. Wayfarer, coming up with questions to ask each other was no hardship!

However, Jack is a veteran of video blogging and I... am not. So it's a bit squirrelly near the end where I suddenly realized I'd deleted one of my crucial clips and had to re-film it, but couldn't quite get the camera angle right.

Other than that, though, it turned out great! Really!



(Note to self: get a better camera.)
I am delighted to announce that my UK publisher, Orchard Books, has just signed me up for another two-book deal!

So that means that after Swift comes out in early 2012, readers in the UK and Ireland can look forward to a sequel to that book (tentatively entitled Nomad), and also a companion novel to my YA paranormal thriller Ultraviolet (tentatively entitled Quicksilver), in 2013/14.

***

Also in the good news department: just this very day, Knife was announced as the winning title for this year's Concorde Book Award!

I would love to have attended the ceremony at Downend School in South Gloucestershire, but had to be content with sending a video acceptance speech instead (isn't technology grand?).

***

And now I am off to celebrate with cookies!
I am thinking that perhaps, to keep my hand in and warm up for Swift, I should write some fanfic short stories about the faeries of the Oakenwyld (and/or elsewhere).

I cannot absolutely guarantee that said stories will happen, but... if I were going to do such a thing, or things, what characters/incidents would my readers be most interested in hearing about?

I will screen comments, so as not to spoil anyone who hasn't read Arrow (or perhaps even Rebel / Wayfarer) yet.
Here I am resurfacing from the wilds of nowhere (where I have been reading a great many books, and getting housework done, and other mundane but necessary things -- not that reading books is mundane, because it is actually quite awesome; but chores and such, definitely) to share with you an assortment of Things Relevant To Your (or possibly just My) Interests.

***

First, I think it is very important that you all learn the correct way to peel a banana.

Helpful video under the cut )

Seriously, I had NO IDEA. Why did no one tell me about this?! It's brilliant! I want to open bananas all day long now, and I don't even like them that much!

***

Second, the hardcover of Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter may be listed as a bargain book on Amazon ($6.80, people! Buy one for Aunt Bessie while you can!), but it is doing rather nicely in other respects -- including being nominated for the Clive Staples Award. Right now the coordinator of the awards, Rebecca LuElla Miller, is doing an in-depth survey of all the titles with links to excerpts, reviews and so on, and I have to say I've got some pretty stiff competition here!

To vote, you have to have read at least two of the nominated titles, so this isn't just a popularity contest to see who has the biggest fanbase -- it's meant to encourage the reading and writing of speculative fiction by Christian authors. And I am totally behind that, so I plan to check out one or two of the other nominated titles myself! Voting begins in August.

***

Third, I am gearing up for this weekend when I appear on the panel "FTW = Fandom Trained Writers" along with Naomi Novik, Sarah Rees Brennan, Karen Healey, Ali Wilgus and Peg Kerr at Infinitus 2010 in Orlando. I am ridiculously excited about this and looking forward to creating large amounts of havoc with Sarah and Karen, which you can count on Sarah to sum up in hilarious fashion on her LJ when we get back. (Or else I will be very boring and she will just have to make up a pack of outrageous lies, but she is good at that too!)

***

Fourth, I went to see Crowded House in Toronto last night with two of my three older brothers. This was a landmark occasion, not only because Pete and Mark are fab people, but because the last time I attended a Crowded House concert was on my 16th birthday and I will always remember that as the best concert I've ever been to in my entire life. So I knew that even though the band has aged considerably since then (and so have I), I would not be disappointed.

And oh my, I was not. It was a wonderful show indeed. AND THEN THEY PLAYED THIS SONG, which made me insanely happy:

Video from the concert )

"Fingers of Love" (link is to album version) is on the Touching Indigo soundtrack, and rightly so. The way the music crashes in on "Colour is its own reward" alone makes me see stars, and I'm not even a synaesthete. Sigh.

***

And I think that is all for now!
Yesterday and today have been full of such astonishingly good news I will burst if I don't share it (and I will probably burst ANYWAY, just from sheer glee):

First, my YA paranormal thriller Touching Indigo, which I sold to my UK publisher earlier this year, has now found a home in North America as well! Andrew Karre at Carolrhoda Lab, the new YA division of Lerner Publishing, has bought Indigo for publication in Fall 2011. Andrew and I have already had a great conversation about the book over the phone and I know he not only "gets" what it's about and what I was hoping to achieve with it, but has some wonderful ideas about how to make it stronger. I am really excited about having the chance to work with him.

And second, I woke up this morning to find that [livejournal.com profile] irrel, one of my favorite fan artists and an all-around lovely person, had done this gorgeous fanart of Knife and Paul. It is so utterly wonderful that pretty much all I can do at the moment is point and say "glug," or possibly "wkrstfst". <3 GO LOOK. RIGHT NOW. THEN TELL HER HOW FAB SHE IS.

*blissful sigh*

Some Knife-related news and other lovely things that have cropped up in the past few weeks:

First, the end of February brought me a new LJ friend, who drew this lovely piece of fan art and captured the Knife in my head so perfectly that when I first saw it I cried with happiness. It also came with a beautiful review of the book -- thank you, [livejournal.com profile] cirtholien!

***

Early in March I learned that Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter has been shortlisted for the Canadian Library Association’s Children’s Book of the Year award. It also made the Ontario Library Association’s Best Bets For Children, which is a list of ten books selected on the basis of their literary/artistic merit, as well as their appeal for children. I'm thrilled and honoured to be on both these lists!

***

Then, from March 23-25, Spell Hunter was the first-ever mass market title to be featured on the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour. When I signed up for the tour I wasn't sure how well Knife's story would be received or how many would be interested even in reading it -- but I have to say I was blown away by the number and quality of the reviews and the depth and insight that many of the reviewers brought to the book. Even though a couple of participants had misgivings about the content or felt the story was less meaningful than they'd hoped, they always expressed themselves graciously and there were some terrific discussions in comments. Here are some highlights:

Rebecca LuElla Miller's opening post on why books like Spell Hunter are worthwhile and also her excellent review;

My fellow Blue Boarder Sally Apokedak talking about Weaving in Worldview and how to handle spiritual truth without preaching;

Fred Warren's shrewd, humorous series of posts.

Thanks to all the CSFF bloggers who read Spell Hunter and took the time to post about it!

***

And lastly, look at what showed up in my mailbox today! It's the complete and unabridged audio book version of Knife, as read by Emma Parish, from Oakhill Audio in the UK! I can't wait to sit down and give it a proper listen...

***

And tomorrow, I look forward to telling you all how much I adored and enjoyed "The Eleventh Hour", also known as the first episode of the new season of Doctor Who. Though I suppose I've just told you what I thought of it already... but rest assured, I have much more rabbiting on to do about the new Doctor, the new companion, and the story than that!
Congratulations to [livejournal.com profile] hakkai_duo, who won my auction on [livejournal.com profile] help_haiti by donating $50 to UNICEF in exchange for a signed copy of Rebel! And thanks to the hundreds of others who participated, offered donations and made generous bids to help raise funds for earthquake relief in Haiti.

But if you missed the auction, don't worry, there's more to come --

The 2009 Debs have banded together with The Leaky Cauldron Fansite for an event called Helping Haiti Heal. This weekend, donations will be taken for the cause, with prizes given away to random, lucky donors.

Here's the contents of the Debs' Massive Prize Package, which some fortunate person will win:

Full list of more than 30 books below )

The livecast will be on Saturday, January 23rd starting at 2 p.m. EST and running through to 6 p.m. EST -- see you there!
OH HAI GUYS I FORGOT TO MENTION I'M DOING A SIGNING IN TORONTO TODAY:

January 7, 2010 @ 7 p.m., Yorkdale Mall Indigo Books
with Megan Crewe (author of Give Up The Ghost)
and Neesha Meminger (author of
Shine, Coconut Moon)

Both Megan and Neesha's books are beautifully written and they are also lovely people, so even if you are justifiably sick of me waving Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter under your nose, you might want to come out and say hello to them and pick up some great new reads in the process.

Or, you know, you could say hi to me and get me to sign your books and stuff. Whatever.

***

Also, today is the OFFICIAL release date of Rebel in the UK which means it should now be freely had at all good bookstores (including the noble law-abiding ones in Ireland who have been clinging fast to that embargo notice). Yay!

Winter Snow
Originally uploaded by rj-anderson
An utterly inconsequential video really, but it is proof that I have discovered how to shoot videos with my camera and upload them to the Internet, which may mean very bad good things later on.

And speaking of multimedia, I discovered today that the complete and unabridged audiobook of Knife as read by British actor Emma Parish is now available for sale. There's a 5-minute sample from the first chapter on that page if you're interested -- the accent she's given Wink is rather adorable, IMO!

And finally, I have decided that SWIFT (book #4 in my faery series) will be set in Cornwall, land of my maternal ancestors, and that I ought to go there as soon as possible in the interests of eating pasties and saffron buns until I asplode research. Whether this will actually happen is anyone's guess, but I like to think about it, you know?
I have been waiting and waiting for the opportunity to share this good news, and today I finally got the go-ahead from my agent to tell the world about it --

I have sold two more faery books to Orchard, my wonderful publisher in the UK!

Like Knife and Rebel, these next two novels will be more or less complete stories in themselves, but (like Rebel) they are also sequels to the earlier books, so we'll be seeing some familiar characters and plot threads cropping up as well.

If all goes well, then Arrow, the third book, will hit bookstores in the UK and Commonwealth in 2011 and Swift, the fourth volume, in 2012.

My delighted thanks to the good folks at Orchard Books UK, and to all the enthusiastic and loyal young readers, librarians, teachers and booksellers overseas who have helped to make my faery books a success!
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Nearly all my good news these days seems to be coming from the other side of the pond -- which is not a bad thing by any means! But in any case, I found out this week courtesy of some schoolchildren who e-mailed me from the UK that Knife has been nominated for the Hillingdon Secondary School Book of the Year for 2010. The nominees are selected by a team of librarians, copies of the nominated books are read by students at all participating schools and then the final award winner is voted on by the students themselves, so I'm really delighted to be part of this!

And also related to the UK editions of my books, I just completed a short "Meet the Author" video where I talk about the inspirations behind Knife and Rebel, for Orchard Books to use on their website:



I have already been mocked* for the Scarf That Ate Rebecca's Head, so you can hold off on that one. :) Next time I shall know better.

--
* Not by my publisher, I hasten to add. And it was all in good fun anyway.

KNIFE on TV!

Nov. 30th, 2009 10:41 pm
rj_anderson: (Knife - UK Cover Full Length)
Thanks to Rebecca Matthews on Facebook (who hasn't even read my book yet, but says she's planning to), I was just made aware that Knife received a glowing review on The Shak, a popular teen show on Australia's Nine TV network... and after a bit of sleuthing, I was able to hunt down the video. Click on the link below to check it out!

Review This!
Review This!
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Flying Visits

Nov. 18th, 2009 03:26 pm
rj_anderson: (Author Portrait)
I drove to Toronto this morning to do an author visit with fifty schoolchildren aged 9-11, and it was so much fun. The kids all sat cross-legged on the floor and looked up at me with big eyes, which is pretty endearing to start with, and they were really attentive while I was talking about the book and reading. And afterward, they asked great questions -- I've been amazed by the insight and degree of interest some of these kids have in the process of writing.

I got a chuckle out of the boy in the front row who raised his hand toward the end of the session and asked plaintively, "Do you have any books that aren't about faeries?" He was so polite about it!

Really, I love doing visits and readings. And I hope to do some more of them now that I've joined the Skype an Author Network, which makes me potentially available to school groups, book clubs, and libraries all over the world by web chat. I got to do a little test run with a group of librarians yesterday thanks to [livejournal.com profile] kmessner, just a 15-minute meet the author thing (including a super-short reading from Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter), and it went off without a hitch.

So if you're a librarian or a teacher anywhere in the world, and you think you might like to have me speak to your school group or book club, check out my author page on Skype an Author Network and drop me a line!
This past Thursday I flew down to the AASL (American Association of School Librarians) conference in Charlotte, NC to meet some fellow [livejournal.com profile] debut2009 authors, hang out with my agent, drive up to visit [livejournal.com profile] cesario, and maybe, if all went well, get to sign a few of my books at the AASL PitStop. Those were my expectations, and they were modest and practical ones, and I had no idea that there was even the possibility of anything more. Especially since I'd left my laptop at home, my Canadian cell phone doesn't work in the US, and I wouldn't have access to e-mail or Internet until I got back Sunday night.

So I was wholly unprepared, when I met the Debs for breakfast on Friday morning, to find out from [livejournal.com profile] carrie_ryan that Knife has been nominated for one of the most prestigious children's book awards in the English-speaking world. The Carnegie Medal. We are talking the British equivalent of the Newbery or the National Book Award, people. C.S. Lewis won it for The Last Battle. So did Richard Adams for Watership Down.

I may have stared blankly at Carrie for about thirty seconds before I started flailing. And then I spent the whole weekend in a happy daze and I haven't come down since.

Congratulations to my fellow nominees [livejournal.com profile] sarahtales (The Demon's Lexicon) and [livejournal.com profile] halseanderson (Chains)!
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I'm featured on Cynsations today (which is a really fantastic newsletter/roundup for those interested in YA lit -- if you're not subscribed to it yet, you should be), talking about the technical aspects of writing Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter.

If you'd like to know why I chose third rather than first-person point of view, or find out more about the research and the worldbuilding that went into the book, check it out!

Faery Things

Sep. 6th, 2009 01:26 pm
rj_anderson: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] jadetrekeast just sent me this link to a friend's craft blog, and I was utterly charmed:

Summer Dreams and Faery Wings

A jar of faery wings (and eggs!) with a fanciful label makes me think of something my fellow small faery author Laini Taylor would have in her house. I am completely non-crafty and no good at decorating, but I love seeing and enjoying the creativity of others!
First, the good stuff:

Find Out What's In The Bag And Win It Today


And now for a long-overdue heads-up on what I've been doing. Namely, working on my paranormal YA Touching Indigo every spare moment I get. I was delighted with my 12K progress for the first week -- especially since about a third of that was new material -- but this week it's slowed down considerably due to a houseful of bored kids and my participation in London Book Camp (that's London ONTARIO, FYI -- nobody has offered to fly me to the UK yet!). Still, I have hopes of catching up to my target of 20K by Monday.

To help me stay motivated without an Official Editorial Deadline, I've told myself that if I get the first draft of this book finished by the second week of October at the LATEST, I can buy myself a new laptop. Which, considering that my current laptop is an eleven-year-old refurbished Toshiba with zero Internet capability and a busted hinge, is a pretty good incentive. Now I just have to think of an extra treat I can give myself if I get it all done by the end of September...

In the meantime, I've been delighted to find three Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter reviews in the past month from major US publications. First Booklist came through with some very nice words in their July issue, and then just this past week I got the nod from School Library Journal and VOYA, both of which you can check out on the Barnes & Noble page for Spell Hunter if you're curious.

I'll be offline for the next week, doing family stuff and focusing on getting caught up with Touching Indigo, but I look forward to catching up with everyone when I get back!
I was beginning to fear that the major US review journals were going to overlook Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter entirely, but then Booklist came through in a big way. The full review is subscription-only, but most of it is summary anyway, so I'll just share the Good Stuff:

... First-time novelist Anderson has created a vivid, dysfunctional world ... this is a highly readable, sophisticated tale of romance and self-sacrifice, and readers will hope for more from this talented new author.


Not a starred review, but it might as well be! I am much relieved. Thank you, Booklist!

*dances*
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My first audio interview! If you want to hear all about how Knife's story came to be, my road to publication, some Q & A's about characters and events in the book, and a few tidbits about what's coming up next for Knife and the Oakenfolk, all you have to do is listen to this podcast:

KiscoCast 11. A conversation with R.J. Anderson

Thanks to the lovely librarians at the Mount Kisco Public Library for asking such wonderful questions and inviting me to take part in their podcast.
I asked the Twitter folk if I should post the soundtrack I listened to during the final editing stages of Knife a.k.a. Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter, and the consensus seemed to be that yes, people are interested in such things. So here, with special thanks to [livejournal.com profile] megancrewe (who has a much broader knowledge of recent music than I do, particularly where female artists are concerned), are some samples from the Highly Unofficial Soundtrack for Knife:

If I had to pick the one song on this list that I felt was utterly and completely perfect for this book, it would be "Somebody's Daughter" by Beth Orton. "Rock In This Pocket" by Suzanne Vega comes a very close second, but believe it or not that song fits better with Wayfarer a.k.a. Rebel than it does here...

Anyway, if you do give the songs a listen, let me know what you think!

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