Thursday, June 26, 2008


Hello my lovely readers!

Thanks you so much for providing me with such great questions during the last contest. There were so many questions that I cannot possibly put them all up on my website, but they were so interesting that in the next couple blog entries I will be answering all of the questions, whether or not they actually make it onto the website.

But first, an update. I've been writing full-time this summer and next week I will finish the first draft of my sequel (yay!) and then the editing starts (boo!) *laugh* Actually it's not that bad. But although I have done a lot of both writing and editing since my book sold, I have not finished a new book since I completed WINGS and it is exciting to finish again. (I finished three before that.;)) Finishing the first draft of a book is such a huge accomplishment to me. Yes there is more work to be done and yes there are still hurdles to overcome before it becomes a "real" book even if, like with this one, it is already under contract. But Dude!! The first draft is finished!!?!?!?! It's a fun feeling and i am looking forward to it next week. Motivates me to work harder till then.:)

Okay, questions:

*How many rejections did you get before Wings was finally accepted by a literary agent?

I actually already had an agent when I wrote WINGS. Jodi Reamer (my lovely and fabulous agent!) signed me with my first book, a traditional fantasy for the adult market. Ironically, Jodi was also the very first agent I sent it to. However, between me sending it to Jodi, and Jodi signing me, I racked up just over 100 rejections.

*When trying to get an agent for WINGS, you wrote that you did market research to help you find a new book idea that would be more appealing to agents since it seemed like the story of WINGS wasn't working. What was involved in that research and how were you able to find out what kinds of stories agents and/or publishers were looking for?

Okay, the way this worked is that I did my market research before I wrote WINGS. Basically, I spent a long time reading agent and editor blogs, gleaning them for advice and what they were currently looking for. (And it's not super hard to find; most agents and editors are very open about what they are looking for because . . . well, they are looking for it.;)) I did luck out, however, because one agent mention in passing that B&N was predicting that faeries would soon overtake vampires as the new trend in YA. Now, I have always loved faeries, and I have always wanted to write about faeries. So when I read that blog I had one thought: you need to write your faerie book and you need to write it NOW! And the rest, as they say, is history.:)

*What is the best part about your first book deal? (I mean, the whole idea of getting published, working with your editor to better your story, ARCs, or anything else...)

The best part of getting my first book deal was the simple knowledge that my little story was going to be a real, hardcover book that I could walk in and see in B&N or Borders. And people who I didn't even know, were going to read it (and hopefully like it!) That is the best part for me.

* Here's a question I've been wondering a lot about lately. You said you had beta readers, I have also heard you talk about AW, so here's the question. Did you ever post and get comments that were totally conflicting: some loved it and some didn't. If so, how did you go about sorting them out?

Okay, two answers here. I really love AW (Absolute Write) as well as the BlueBoards (at but because the people on there are essentially strangers, I don't generally ask them to beta anything but my query letter. I have in the past, but I hold my cards a little closer to my chest these days. For beta readers for my whole book, I use my family, mainly my two sisters since they are close to my target audience demographic, and after they are done, I give it to three sisters in my neighborhood who are excellent readers. If the feedback I get is conflicting, then I use my judgment and make the call on what, if anything, I am going to change. But if their feedback is pretty uniform, I have learned to listen and edit accordingly.

*You mentioned that you were a little nervous to first meet some of the big kahunas on your publishing team. I know I would be! How did you handle that? Did you do any sort of preparation?

I bought new clothes. No, I'm serious! A new outfit makes me feel more confident in my appearance and I believe that kind of confidence shows through. I also created little gift-bags to take along because even if they are unimpressed with me, who can be unimpressed with chocolate? My editor also helped me get comfortable by sitting and chatting with me, my agent, and her former assistant who has been promoted, but is still working with us on the series. That got me in the mode of sitting and chatting about my books so when we went down to the conference room it was just more of the same.

*How do you deal with "writer's block"?

I have never dealt with writer's block. *knock on wood* I do jog along my creativity by bouncing ideas off of my husband (who has fabulous ideas!) Also, I often get great ideas when I am in the shower. (Weird but true!) So I guess if I did have writer's block I would take a long shower and then talk book with my husband.

*When do you find time to write with all those kids to look after? (not including your hubby in that category, of course!)

I tell everyone that there is one secret to writing with kids.

You ready?

Have low-maintenance kids.

That's it. I have been incredibly lucky to have very, very low maintenance kids. I know moms who get up at the crack of dawn every day for a single hour of good writing time. I'm very lucky in that I don't have to do that. My kids will generally just leave me alone for at least an hour each day.

However, another huge part of this (and the reason I got WINGS done in time to catch the trend at all) is that my husband is a law student and during the summers he watches the kids and lets me write uninterrupted in out office. That has been immensely helpful.

*You mention church occasionally in your blog. How (if at all) does your faith affect what you write?

This is a really good question. I actually try not to let it affect my writing by making my characters non-religious. In the book I am working on next (not in the WINGS series) the main character is agnostic. That being said, I also try to write in such a way that parents who have children who are my religion will feel like they can let their kids read my book.

*Hey, you're a writer! Can I send you my manuscript / novel / poem / screenplay to look over?

Yeah, I get this a lot. And the answer is almost always no. For liability purposes, I can't review unpublished material simply because I have to protect myself form any kind of plagiarism lawsuit. I will, however, sometimes look at queries because it's something I'm good at and probably will never have to do for myself again. However, that is always based on how much time I have. Also, if your book is getting published and you are looking for someone to read it for a possible quote, that is something I am really looking forward to doing!

Okay, I've now spent almost forty-five minutes blogging and must get back to writing. I will cover all of the questions in the next week or two though, so if you don't see yours, it's coming up!


Thursday, June 19, 2008

I'm Baaaaaaa-aaaaack!!!!!

I'm back from my incredibly awesome trip to New York City! And I have lots, and lots of news.

First, the news I've been itching to tell you guys for two months. I've finally been given permission to announce that Random House Germany has acquired all four books in the WINGS series in an absolutely amazing pre-empt! They will be publishing the first book in Summer of 2010 (a year after it is released in the US) but then they will release the subsequent books every 6-9 months after that so the fourth book will come out about the same time in Germany as it does in the US.

Also, it's been confirmed now that Mark Tucker will be doing the photos for my cover! He's done another book some of you just might have heard of *wink* called Wicked Lovely. I am so incrediby excited about this news and have so fallen in love with his work. And on top of that, I found out that he has read my book and is brainstorming with my editor the perfect image.:)

Third in the news of awesomeness, "Cuileann" is the winner of a copy of A Curse Dark as Gold and a signed bookplate form Elizabeth! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!! Please send me an email at aprilynne pike at gmail dot com (with no spaces and the dot become a . :)) Also, although she didn't win the book, I was so impressed with Sarah (magicrealism)'s LJ icon, that she wins something special too. (I haven't decided what yet, but that icon deserves a prize!) So Sarah, would you please email me at the above address too.:)

Okay, on to the New York report. I'm just going to go blow by blow, and for those who find it boring, I did warn you.;)

The bad news is that my flight from Denver to NYC got canceled TWICE so I didn't get to attend the event I had hoped to on Monday night, which was a gathering of many of the teen lit authors who live in New York City, including Cassandra Clare, David Levithan, and Holly Black to name a few. But hopefully there will be another time to do that.

On Wednesday morning I started out by going to Writers House to meet my agent Jodi Reamer. We've been working together for over a year and a half and this is the first time we have gotten to meet in person! That was really awesome. I got to see some of the agency which is so historic and beautiful and--above all--full of books! Books everywhere!! It was so awesome! We met in the conference room and the foreign rights people came in to talk with me. They have been very excited about this series right from the beginning so it was really exciting to meet with them.

Then Jodi and I took the subway (yay!) up to meet Tara for lunch and that was fun. (I just think that the subway is one of those things you should totally do in New York, but I was not going to try to do it alone. I would have SO gotten lost. So I was excited when Jodi said we would go via subway.;) (Why yes, I am easily amused.;))

We met Tara and she was so FRIENDLY!! I fell in love with her instantly! She made me feel SO comfortable and we chatted so easily. Then we went on to Harper. I wasn't really sure what to expect, but Tara really eased me into everything gently. First I met her new assistant, Jocelyn (who is, ironically, one of Heather's friends!) and she was SO cute!! Really nice woman. Then I met Erica, Tara's old assistant who has now been promoted to associate editor, but who will still be working very closely with Tara on the Wings series. The four of us (Tara, Jodi, Erica, and me) all sat and chatted in Tara's office for a while and Tara found me a copy of Neil Gaiman's Coraline: the graphic novel, and also an ARC of his mew MG, The Graveyard Book! (for those of you who don't know, I am a HUGE Neil Gaiman fan!!) Then we all headed down to the conference room.

Where everybody was already gathered.

I have talked to other authors who have gone in to do meet and greets and they all warned me that even though the sales and marketing (etc.) people would be excited about selling my book, that I shouldn't expect them to have read it because they have SO many books to read. So I was expecting that.

They had ALL read it!!

And they were totally excited about it! Everyone had something nice to say that clearly showed that they had actually read it, and read the whole thing!! I was blown away. Then they all sat around and told me what their department was planning for my series. It was so very cool!

After our meeting at Harper I went walking int he city, just looking around. it was totally awesome!! I really enjoyed it. I passed a Barnes and Noble and was very pleased to find several book I wanted that they did not have in stock in my local B&N . . . and, of course, the whole time I was wondering where my book would be if I came back in a year!

The next morning I went back to Harper and met up with Tara to do the video thing. We went up to Harper's new studio where I got miked and they spent about ten minutes rearranging a vase of flowers that sat on the table beside me. The whole video thing was a lot of fun and when we got done, the lady who was in charge of the studio came in and was like, "So . . . have you done this before?" (Which I have. I've done a bunch of stage and a fair amount of film stuff.) So apparently the shoot went really well!

After that I went to Soho where I met a bunch of friends from my Debs group at the Feast of Awesome. We had a really lovely lunch and it was so fun to meet them. And I am totally remiss in that I did not get any pictures of our lunch!!! I am so bad!! (Actually, I didn't get nearly as many pictures as I intended to anywhere so, bad me!) But we had a blast and then Sarah O and Sarah Cross walked me around for almost an hour helping me find some bubble tea. (Thanks!!)

After that I hopped in a taxi, picked up my bags, and took another taxi to the airport where--having not counted on traffic--I missed my flight, had to run for the last minute flight I found, and barely made it home on the right day. *rolls eyes* All in all, a very fun and successful trip and I feel like I accomplished all of the goals I set out for myself.:)

Throughout the rest of the week I will be answering the incredible questions you have left for me in the comments section (thanks so much!!!) and will pick several of them to go on my website. I really appreciate you guys' help!! And there will be another fun book giveaway in about two weeks.:)


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Books, Books, Books!

Okay, so I have been reading a lot of books lately and I have even more in my TBR list, so I thought I would share some of the good ones.

First up, NIGHT ROAD by A.M. Jenkins. There's a story behind this one. I got this book as an ARC with my first round of line edits. Obviously I had no time to actually read then (I wish!) but I had heard really great things about this book so I put it at the top of my TBR pile. However, I have a sister who is really into vampires and werewolves and all things that go bump in the night and I am . . . how shall I say it nicely . . . not. So I went ahead and let her read it first. Two months and three siblings later, I finally got it back. And with mixed reviews. My younger sister liked it, my older sister didn't see the point, and my brother thought it was a good read. However, one thing you have to understand going into this is that it is not a typical vampire book. In fact, you only see "the V word," once in the whole book. And there is as little blood as possible in a book about people who subsist on . . . blood. It's not horror, it's a coming of age story. An emotional journey of a centuries-old vampire (Heme) being reminded what it was like to be human while trying to teach a brand new Heme to forget. I actually enjoyed this book more than I expected and it stayed with me for several days after I finished it. I definitely recommend it. *Content is suitable for all ages of teens, but the mood and philosophy would probably be more appreciated by older teens, adults, and particularly male readers.*

Next, OBEDIENCE by Will Lavender. Oh man, this was an awesome book. This is not a YA, it's an adult psychological thriller. I was traipsing along reading this book and--I'm not going to tell you exactly where--but someplace before page 100, I turned to my husband and said, "I know how this book ends. And it's a brilliant ending, but I think he gave just one hint too many a little too early." People, I fell 174%, hook, line, and sinker for the most incredible red-herring ever. The end of this book Blew. Me. Away. An amazing--AMAZING-- twisting plot that leads you every which way at once. The story is about a small group of students in a Logic class where, on the first day, the professor announces that there will be a murder. A hypothetical murder. And their assignment is to solve it in the six weeks of the class or the subject will die. But as the class continues and the clues grow sinister, the students begin to suspect that there is something not-so-hypothetical about this whole situation. A fabulously done, well-rounded, little bit of everything thriller. Highly recommended. *This is an adult book with some language and some sex. I personally feel it is appropriate for about age 16 and up, but the complexity of the plot may require a higher age.*

Next, SWITCH, by Carol Snow. This book isn't out until September, (which is why there's no cover image available) so I got it in ARC form. Of the three I'm recommending today, it's the lightest one. It's a fast, interesting read that doesn't require burning a lot of brain cells. Which is not the same as saying it's not interesting, It's quite interesting! I like a light read in between hard reads.:) It is the story of a girl who involuntarily switches bodies with girls born in the same month as her during thunderstorms. Generally everything goes back to normal by the next morning, but when she switches with a new girl everything goes wrong and she can't get back into her own body. But considering this plain, athletic girl is now in a drop-dead gorgeous body that her long-time crush is Jonesing on . . . maybe she doesn't want to switch back. This is a good teen book about how no one's life is perfect and that having what you want is not the same thing as being who you are. It's about sacrifice and doing what's right. My one beef with this book is that I think the entire first chapter should have been cut . . . but I'm a minimalist, so take that with a grain of salt.:) A fun, fast read that is perfect for anyone just starting high school. *Appropriate for all teens. No strong language or sex. I'd say ages 12 and up.*

And I just wanted to mention a couple of books I am excited about in my TBR pile.

I just picked up AUDREY,WAIT by Robin Benway. I read the first chapter online somewhere and am excited to read the whole thing. It is about a girl who breaks up with her boyfriend who is the lead singer in a small-time bad. He writes a song about her dumping him and it skyrockets to the top of the charts making her famous--well infamous--instantly. It sounds way fun!

Next, I also just picked up THE MAGIC THIEF by Sarah Prineas and can't wait to dive into this one! It is about a young boy who gets caught trying to steal a wizard's magic stone. The very act of touching it should have killed him, but it didn't. Intrigued, the wizard takes the boy on as his apprentice. This is the first of a series of at least three by an author who is really a wonderful person.

I am also itching to get into EVERNIGHT by Claudia Gray. As I mentioned above, I am really not into vampires, and this is a vampire book. But I know this author and on top of that it has gotten some really wonderful reviews from people whose opinion I trust, so I am putting my vampire prejudice aside for this one.:) (Plus I am way envious of the gorgeous font they gave her for her title!!)

So how about you? What have you read that is awesome? What are you excited to read! I'd love to add more to my TBR pile, so bring it on!!


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Very Long Grab Bag and A Curse Dark as Gold Giveaway!

Sorry for the delay in posts.My life has been so busy the last several weeks because my husband has been gone twelve hours a day (at least!) doing an internship with the Utah Supreme court in Salt Lake City, an hour away from where we live. But he completed his last day yesterday, so guess what!?!?!?! Tomorrow I get to start being a full-time writer for the summer! Yay!!!! (I'm excited, can you tell?:)) I am planning on finishing the sequel to WINGS as well as the Miss Snark book this summer, so I have a lot of work ahead of me.

Also, as all of you are aware, I am heading to New York on Monday and since my hotel has free high-speed internet, I will blog about my journey every night with lots of pictures and commentary! It will be a fun week!

On the business end, if you live near Salt Lake City, Utah (and I know some of you do *grin*) the lovely, talented, and fabulous Shannon Hale is organizing a "Write for Charity" workshop supporting an organization that provide wheelchairs to handicapped people who can't afford them. This workshop focuses solely on children's, middle grade, and young adult writing and has a lot of awesome authors attending, including myself. (My first workshop! I'm so excited!) If this interests you, here is the official press release!

" Writing for Charity

This summer have unfettered access to professional children’s authors, all in the name of charity! Saturday, July 19 several local authors will host a Writing for Charity event in Salt Lake City, with all profits going to The Wheelchair Project. Come hear writers talk about their process, how to write for a young audience, storytelling tips, and the ins and outs of the publishing business. In addition, have your picture book text or first page of your novel (the most important page!) workshopped by professionals.

Saturday, July 19, 9 am to 1 pm

Salt Lake Main Library
200 East 400 South
Salt Lake City, Utah

$45 (should be tax deductible!)

Event breakdown:
9:00 am -- Registration
9:15 - 10:15 am -- Panel discussion in the auditorium
10:30 - 11:15 -- Break out discussions in topic groups
11:30 - 1:00 -- Small group workshops

Authors include Brandon Mull, Shannon Hale, Mette Ivie Harrison, Ann Cannon, Kristyn Crow, Becky Hickox, Kimberley Heuston, Anne Bowen, Aprilynne Pike, Ann Dee Ellis, Mike Knudson, and Wendy Toliver.

Space is limited, first come first serve. To reserve your spot, mail in the $45 registration fee.

Mailing address:
1176 E 2620th N
Provo, UT 84604-4132

Make checks to:
“LDS Philanthropies” (the organization that runs The Wheelchair Project) and write “Wheelchair” in the memo line.

Also include:
Your name, age, phone number, and area of interest--picture book writing, fantasy novel, or realistic fiction novel.

On the day of the event, bring 15 copies of the first page of your novel or picture book text (maximum word count: 300 words) for some hands-on workshopping.

100% of the proceeds (after the nominal location fee) go to The Wheelchair Project, a wonderful charity that donates new wheelchairs to people in third world countries, many of whom have never had one. A wheelchair can completely change the life of a disabled person, offering mobility, increased independence, and a chance to go to school or find employment. Because this charity is administered by volunteers with LDS Philanthropy, there is no overhead and every penny donated goes directly to purchasing wheelchairs. This is not a religious charity--the wheelchairs go to the needy regardless of their faith. Thank you for supporting this extraordinary cause!"

Okay, and now on to our next book giveaway!

I am so excited to give this book away because I really , *really* adored it. The day after I finished it (stayed up till 2:00 AM finishing it!) I told everyone I knew about it and went to the bookstore and turned it face out.;) (Just a note, it must be selling well because when I went to the bookstore this morning, they had turned the whole stack face out on their own.:)) So without further ado, I give you the beautiful cover from A Curse Dark as Gold.

Now I have always thought the story of Rumpelstiltskin was really lame. It just seemed corny to me. So I was skeptical about this book. But Elizabeth if a lovely friendly person and a lot of the authors over at the Blue Boards recommended it so highly that I went ahead and picked it up. And I am so glad I did!! It is a dark, riveting story set just before the Industrial Revolution about a girl who inherits a mill when her father dies and the dark deals she has to make to keep it alive. And just when you think you know what is going to happen, Elizabeth throws something new but completely perfect at you. You will not actually find the name Rumpelstiltskin in this book, nor is Charlotte a simpering maid who happily trades her firstborn child for a crown. No, this story is deeper, darker, scarier, and much, much more reasonable than Grimm's tale every dreamed of being. A fabulous, fabulous book. And even if you don't manage to win it here, go find it. Buy it, steal it, check it out from the library, whatever you need to do. Okay, don't actually steal it, but read this book. It is amazing!

So here are the rules. You must enter via the comments section by Wednesday, June 18th, at 11:59 PM Mountain Standard Time. But I am going to require just a little bit more from you this time.;) I am putting together content for my Website and I need some FAQs! So post a comment with a question you would like to see on my website and you are entered into the contest! And like last time, you may enter at either my Blogger blog, or my LiveJournal. If you want to double your chances, you may enter at both sites, but you must ask two different questions for it to count. Clear as mud?? If you have any questions about the rules please feel free to email me. My address is up in my profile.

Oh, and if you are interested in my website, it's here . . . or at least the barebones version.;)

ETA: Elizabeth has offered to throw in a signed bookplate for whoever wins the book!! Thanks Elizabeth!!

Good Luck!!