I love this book.
I might love this book more than anything else I've ever written. And for those of you who don't really know much about it, it's got quite a story. And in celebration of the cover reveal that's coming up this week, I wanted to share the story of Life After Theft.
Which begins way back in November of 2006. Six months before I had any inkling I was going to write Wings I woke up with a first chapter, and a voice. I mean a writing voice, not like a voice in my head. Though some people do it that way too.:D I literally got up early (and if you know me you know how rare it is for me to do that voluntarily) and wrote a query pitch (yes, the query pitch is what came to me first, maybe it was the 300 agents I'd queried in the previous two years) and the first chapter.
I spent several days messing with this idea, but mostly it was just a query pitch, and a first chapter. For those of you who remember Miss Snark, the most awesome thing happened--she decided to hold what she called a Crap 'o Meter and she would read and give feedback on a . . . wait for it, wait for it . . . pitch and then first 500 words. I'm telling you, it was fate.
I was at a pretty down point in my writing journey; I had written three books, I had a couple of agents reading fulls after putting in a massive, massive revision that turned two of those books into one, but I was on my last round of agents and was looking into the yawning chasm with which all aspiring authors are familiar--the point at which you need to shelve your manuscript and start a new one. And I wasn't sure it was worth it.
Long story short, Miss Snark loved the pitch and the first 500 words and actually had an agent contact her asking for my information. I ended up signing with my agent (a different one) just a few weeks after that and Life After Theft got pushed to the back burner. But that one experience, having two agents not only approve of, but want more of my little book, gave me that jolt of confidence that the long, grueling query process had stripped away. Not to mention a ton of new blog readers. A big percentage of my long-term blog readers can be traced back to that contest. It was . . . a major light during a dark time.
Fast forward to six months later when no one wanted my book. The one I signed with my agent with. I was at the yawning chasm again! I had a choice--choose to believe blindly in my book and write its sequel (rarely a good idea, just sayin'), finish Life After Theft (which probably had three or four chapters at this point), or write something completely new.
I wanted to write Life After Theft, but sadly, despite having a query pitch, it really didn't have . . . oh, how to put this nicely? . . . a plot. So I decided to do something new. But writing the little bit that I had on Life After Theft made me realize something--I like writing teenaged characters. (The book my agent had shopped was an adult.) So even though it would ultimately be Wings that was both written and published first, it was Life After Theft that made me realize I wanted to write YA. And talk about a decision I have never once regretted!
So then Wings happened and revisions happened and deadlines happened. Life After Theft was slowly growing a plot, but every time the actually-contracted books came calling, Life After Theft had to go to the back burner.
By the time I finished the draft of Life After Theft that my agent sold to Harper, it had been just shy of three years since I'd started. By the time I finished edits and got a firm publication date it was two years later. Next month marks six years and when it comes out in April (well, April 30, so basically May :D) it will have been a six and and a half year journey.
Life After Theft means a lot to me--it's the book that gave me the confidence to keep writing, that helped me realize I wanted to write for teens, the first book that got me any attention in the publishing industry, the book I have fought for and refused to compromise on often enough that I worry my team thinks I've become a difficult author. It's what I think Beth Revis termed The Book of My Heart. This book has more of me in it that any of my other books including my upcoming Earthbound series. I. Love. This. Book. And I'm so excited that it is coming out soon(ish) and that I get to share the cover with you this week!
But be warned, this book is not like Wings. No, this book is pretty much nothing like Wings. Boy protag, first person, a little edgy. There's a ghost but I wouldn't call it fantasy, and there's kissing, though I wouldn't call it a romance. It's . . . it's something else entirely. So I'm letting you know before you pick it up, not to expect it to be like Wings. Because you will be disappointed. And I so very much do not want you to be disappointed by this book.:)
So, the whole point of this very long story is, as I've alluded, the cover reveal!! Which will . . . not be here!:D Melania Tolan of Fangs, Felines, Fins, and Fun Fiction is hosting my cover reveal with an ARC giveaway and a couple of teasers! (In fact, because I was supposed to have this post up yesterday, she's already got the teaser up there.;)
So go check it out!!!