When & Where Can I Get This LIARS AND LOSERS LIKE US Book?

Millions of people keep asking when my book is coming out! Okay, not really that many people but my mom has a bad memory, so I am writing this quick post.

Prom gif 1

LIARS AND LOSERS LIKE US is not out yet. However, it can be PRE-ORDERED! You can do this right now online via Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and you can also check your local indie bookstore site. LIARS AND LOSERS LIKE US can also be found on BookLikes and GoodReads…so you can add it to your TBR lists. Even though you can’t hold it yet, DO mark your calendar for MARCH 15, 2016 because that is when it releases! You will then get to read and dance around with my book. MARCH 2016 y’all!

MG dancing at prom

March is a great month. You’ll be able to buy it for your friends, lovers, frenemies, and family for St. Patrick’s Day, Spring, Promposal gifts (because this should be a thing!) and then all the other 2016 holidays.

suprise B

Also, you can find the boutonniere, perfect dress and/or lipstick to coordinate with the LIARS AND LOSERS LIKE US cover for 2016’s prom season. Convenient, eh?

dif dresses   

lipstick

And hey: special thanks to everyone who’s expressed interest and enthusiasm for my book this far. It’s so exciting and very humbling. (Eeeeeee!) I still can’t believe it. (Here’s my book deal story, in case you missed it).

I’ll be sure to update this post whenever I get more details! (Actual day! The cover! Buy Links!) Okay. That’s all.

awk thank you in formal wear

XOami

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Last Will and Testament by Dahlia Adler is here!

LastWillandTestamentCoverHighRes

LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT by Dahlia Adler is out today! LWaT is Dahlia’s first New Adult book and it’s been on my GOTTA HAVE list since I first read about it. (For 411 on Dahlia’s YA Behind The Scenes and those upcoming go HERE).

I’m totally into a book that can combine feelsy, sexy and witty, and Last Will and Testament sounds like it hits all these marks. Read the blurb to see what I mean:

Lizzie Brandt was valedictorian of her high school class, but at Radleigh University, all she’s acing are partying and hooking up with the wrong guys. But all that changes when her parents are killed in a tragic accident, making her guardian to her two younger brothers. To keep them out of foster care, she’ll have to fix up her image, her life, and her GPA—fast. Too bad the only person on campus she can go to for help is her humorless, pedantic Byzantine History TA, Connor Lawson, who isn’t exactly Lizzie’s biggest fan.

But Connor surprises her. Not only is he a great tutor, but he’s also a pretty great babysitter. And chauffeur. And listener. And he understands exactly what it’s like to be on your own before you’re ready. Before long, Lizzie realizes having a responsible-adult type around has its perks… and that she’d like to do some rather irresponsible (but considerably adult) things with him as well. Good thing he’s not the kind of guy who’d ever reciprocate.

Until he does.

Until they turn into far more than teacher and student.

Until the relationship that helped put their lives back together threatens everything they both have left.

Sounds great right? Here’s an excerpt just in case you need proof that you want and need it:

“Did you mean what you said?” he asks. “About dropping?”

“I’m not sure yet.” No point in lying, especially to the one person who’s actually been helping me organize my thoughts. It’s not like I know I can get into another class this late, but I do know the idea of sitting in one with him is torture. And the truth is, it’s not just his class I’ve been thinking about leaving. The more of Tyler’s moodiness I observe, the more I wonder if Radleigh itself just isn’t the right place for us right now.

“You can’t make me the difference between staying and going,” he says tightly, bracing a hand on the back of kitchen chair. He doesn’t meet my eyes, but instead watches his own knuckles go white from his grip. “That’s not fair.”

I snort. “First of all, you’re talking to someone who lost her parents in an instant and became an eighteen-year-old mother of two, so if you want to compete about ‘fair,’ you’ve brought a fucking watergun to the Second Crusade.”

“That’s not—”

“Second of all, this isn’t a ‘boo hoo, the boy I like doesn’t like me back so I’m uprooting my life’ situation, okay? I need an A in all my classes this semester in order to keep my scholarship, which I need to stay here. Now my transcript is shot to hell. Honestly, it’d probably be better for both me and the boys if I stopped wasting money on my tuition altogether and got a full-time job instead. Maybe then I could actually afford to get the boys’ their own damn bedrooms.”

“But you’re getting an A in the class….”

“Maybe for now, but you think that’s gonna hold up without you tutoring me?” I all but growl, taking care to make sure the boys can’t hear me through the door. “You think I’m gonna be able to focus in class every day? Watching you hand out papers and remembering how those hands feel on my skin? I’m supposed to listen to you lecture and not think about how you said my name like I was a glass of water and you were dying of thirst?”

“Lizzie, stop.” His knuckles are so white now I swear I can see bone through the skin. But I don’t care. I’m not done.

“I can’t be around you. I’m sorry if that sounds crazy to you or whatever. But I need to focus, and I don’t see myself doing that when all I can think about when I see you is finishing what we started.”

Connor swallows hard. “Even now?”

“I threw myself at you earlier today, Connor. Just because your feelings go away with the snap of your fingers doesn’t mean mine do.” The humiliation of my admission burns in my face, and I gather up the remaining dishes with a clatter and stalk past him to drop them in the sink. When I turn back around, he’s standing in my face, so close I can feel body heat radiating from every inch of him.

“You don’t really think that’s what happened, do you?”

“I don’t know how else to explain it,” I counter, but all the fight’s gone out of my voice. He’s just too close. The heady scent of his aftershave is scrambling my brain cells.

“I told you—because I’m your TA. And everything you just said is exactly why they forbid us from getting involved.”

“Then why are you here?” I rasp.

“Because I can’t not be.” He takes the last step needed to close the space between us and slides his hands into my hair, pulling me into a starving, searching kiss. His tongue sweeps my mouth as if he doesn’t want to miss a spot, and pressed up against him as I am now, there’s no doubt he wants me every bit as much as he did last night, if not more. Even when he pulls away, panting.

Told you you want it. Win a copy by leaving a comment below or retweeting this tweet from my Twitter feed. If you don’t win or just can’t wait until tonight to see if you won a copy, here’s Last Will and Testament on GoodReads and all the links to find & buy your own: Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Smashwords | Kobo

For your chance to win an eCopy of Last Will and Testament, leave a comment below with your name and –not necessary to win–your twitter handle, if you have one or you can retweet the LWaT tweet on my Twitter feed. Winner announced here and Twitter at 9 pm EST!

When One Of Your Most Wildest Dreams Is Coming True

Oh, hi guys! I have a super fun incredibly exciting post for you today.

Yo doooo? (on writing advice from non writers)

Yes, I do. And it’s awesome. I will try to make it quick. No, no I won’t.

When I was 12, my BFF Donna and I would trade books back and forth like they were the most delicious drug of your life. We were two book-loving kindred spirits and it was lovely.

Anne of Gr Gables BFF

Anne of Green Gables, The BabySitter’s Club, Sweet Valley everything, Catcher In The Rye, Wuthering Heights. Basically, we were two badass kids living in an awful religious commune cult at the time and any decent book we could get our hands on was like…high inducing. I am not ashamed, WE WERE FREAKING CRAZY ABOUT THE BOOKS. (And also NKOTB bc duh!)

nkotb cartoon dancing

So. I read Judy Blume’s Tiger Eyes. I loved it. I was inspired. I went from creating mini magazine parodies and drawing cartoons to giving my first actual novel a go. I wanted to write a book with all the feels too. Maybe I wasn’t your average twelve year old: My book was about a girl who watches her depressed friend shoot herself. Donna was my first reader. She was probably freaked out.

KW shocked:scared

Lucky for her, it got tricky to write first person, present tense point-of-view and I gave up. I went back to making little magazines and improv-ing sketches on tape.

That was a long time ago. Since then, I’ve written hundreds of poems and songs, an unfinished screenplay, a short story. (You know, all the things that’ll never see the light of day). In 2008, I started a memoir-based novel. But I was also working a job that got kind of…

office don't want to do anything I'm dying

Then long story short I quit that job & decided to get all up in my book writing. I pulled out my one writing book, notebook, files, checked out and bought more writing books, cruised the internet, and learned a lot. I also ditched the memoir-based novel because my writing partner in crime (one of my high school BFFs) Laura said, “Let’s start something new and fun and just write!” So I opened up a new file, and was inspired by high-school, first love, good times, bad times, and of course some 90210 drama.

old 90210

Wait. Not old school 90210, new 90210 with Matt Lanter.

90210 in hallway

I titled the new document PROM BITCH and just started writing. I kept writing and sharing chapters with Laura and also sent them to my non-writerly but gracious, awesome & supportive BFF Jen. These two were so awesome during this time because that first draft was a hundred drafts ago, you guys and was shit so, so rough but Jen & Laura were always like YAY! GO! THIS IS LIKE A REAL STORY! I LOVE IT!

90210 thumbs up

And I queried and got an agent! Victoria Lowes believed in my book too. And then the revisions. I revised once more, then with Victoria, I revised two more times. And then I entered what most writers call “SUB HELL.” This is the time where it’s like querying, but instead of getting an agent to love your book enough to want to sell it, your agent pitches it to editors. Yes, it was hell, I suppose. But for me, it was also really, really exciting. Victoria really guided me with those revisions and I think we got a great book out there so the rejections were actually pretty easy to take. Also, it’s easy for me to say this now. I won’t even lie. Sometimes the process did feel like reliving my twenties. You know:

self-loathing

keep getting knocked down

No leg shaving

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and the Wait! What? Whyyyyyy?

you liked me then you just left gif

& treats to ease the pain:

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Ok Fine. Super Long Story. Wrapping it up. It wasn’t too long before Victoria emailed me with: CALL ME AS SOON AS YOU GET A CHANCE! : ) Right away I knew it was an offer. (because what kind of evil agent would email you something like that if it wasn’t right?!) So I started sweating. I was in Barnes & Noble. I bought my daughter a giant cookie and a toy, put her in her carseat and called Victoria from the parking lot.

stomach hurts, pits are sweating KW

I was right. Victoria said we had an offer! I was very:

huh what KW face (phone text)

So Victoria explained it. Someone wanted my book! An editor wanted it and then my book made it through the acquisitions process–YAY! So, after some OMG hurry up you guys! fun paperworky contract agent/publisher stuff and me having the worst time holding onto this secret…

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I’m super thrilled and excited to announce that I HAVE A BOOK DEAL!

elaine ecstatic

Kristin Kulsavage of SkyHorse Publishing/Sky Pony Press has bought PROM BITCH for release in Fall of 2015! Here’s the deal announcement in Publisher’s Marketplace:

PM PB PIC

In case you can’t read it, it says: “Debut author Ami Allen-Vath’s PROM BITCH, about a high school senior navigating prom season amidst panic attacks, a new boyfriend, & a suicide letter from the class outcast, to Kristin Kulsavage at Sky Pony Press, in a nice deal, for publication Fall 2015, by Victoria Lowes of The Bent Agency.”

You guys! YOU GUYS. My book will be something we can buy and hold and kiss and oh crap…READ, I guess! In Fall of 2015!?!? *kind of faints*

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So huge thanks to everyone who has been with me so far. I am not going to name all the names yet bc how boring would the book’s acknowledgements be if you’d already read them here. But HUGE thank you to the guy who was like “Whoa you’re writing a book? We better go get you a real laptop.” and “You’re gonna ignore me on our anniversary vacation in Puerto Rico to finish writing a book called Prom Bitch? Sure!”

dancing for cop

Yes, that’d be Justin, my amazing husband! (Who totally used to be a cop and totally thinks all my moves rock). Thanks Justin and thank YOU, supportive Family & Friends and Future Readers of my book!

xoxoAMI

Dear YA Author: The Dear Dahlz June Edition

Today begins the Dear YA Author Summer Series where actual teens ask actual YA authors questions about real life. You know, friends, family, dating, school–all the stuff YA authors are busy studying, reminiscing, and writing about. Don’t forget to enter the contest at the end for a signed copy of Dahlia Adler’s YA novel!

For more info on the series, disclaimer that advice is not in lieu of a professional’s, and submitting your own questions or as an author, see this post.

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The June edition features funny and straightforward author Dahlia Adler. Dahlia’s BEHIND THE SCENES is out on shelves June 24. I’ve read an ARC and it definitely met my high expectations. It was funny, romancy, and I know this sounds corny, but it had heart. I laughed out loud and even cried a little when the *SPOILER* storyline ended in such a *SPOILER* *SPOILER* way. I’m still thinking about this book and can’t wait for you guys to read it. Here’s the blurb:

High school senior Ally Duncan’s best friend may be the Vanessa Park – star of TV’s hottest new teen drama – but Ally’s not interested in following in her BFF’s Hollywood footsteps. In fact, the only thing Ally’s ever really wanted is to go to Columbia and study abroad in Paris. But when her father’s mounting medical bills threaten to stop her dream in its tracks, Ally nabs a position as Van’s on-set assistant to get the cash she needs.

Spending the extra time with Van turns out to be fun, and getting to know her sexy co-star Liam is an added bonus. But when the actors’ publicist arranges for Van and Liam to “date” for the tabloids just after he and Ally share their first kiss, Ally will have to decide exactly what role she’s capable of playing in their world of make believe. If she can’t play by Hollywood’s rules, she may lose her best friend, her dream future, and her first shot at love.

How could you not need this book, right? Speaking of love and friendships, let’s get right to the tough questions. And please note, if you’ve sent in a question, and it’s not featured in this edition, come back next time–I promise we’ll get to it!

Dear YA Author,

With college approaching and the stress it brings, I’ve been distancing myself from my friends. I don’t think that we are going to be friends after college, so I think it’s best to just cut ties now. How do I bring this up without sounding totally inconsiderate?

Sincerely,

“Breaking Ties”

DAHLZ: I might be a little biased because most of my best friends now are friends I went to high school and even elementary school with, but…I don’t get it. You may be right about the fact that you aren’t going to be friends with these people after college (I mean, you’re definitely right if you distance yourself from them now), but right now, all you’re doing is creating a self-fulfilling prophecy and making high school more unpleasant for both yourself and those friends. What exactly do you feel is “best” about cutting ties now? Why is this better than saying goodbye after graduation and letting the natural drifting you clearly anticipate happen? This isn’t like breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend when you see it isn’t going anywhere; you can make new friends while keeping these old ones. So what’s the point?

I realize none of this answers your actual question. That answer would be, “You can’t. Because it is inconsiderate, or at least unkind.” You don’t want to put in extra effort? Don’t. But to inform them this is intentional is cruel at best. In fact, I will always remember a friend who said something along these lines when we graduated—how all future communication will just be “catching up.” It wasn’t. We stayed friends throughout college. We hung out last month. She wasn’t wrong that we wouldn’t stay close and catch-up would be necessary, but she wasn’t right about how distant we would be, either.

And even though we aren’t, the fact that she needlessly vocalized assuming we would be has always stuck with me. So, ya know—don’t be that girl/guy.

Dear YA Author,

My best friend just got into a relationship. I’m extremely happy for her, don’t get me wrong, it’s just…I’ve been kicked to the curb. I don’t see her much and when I do, she’s always texting him. I’ve tried talking to her about it but she assures me that I’m just paranoid. What do I do?

Sincerely,

“(Boy)Friendless” 

DAHLZ: The brutal truth is that this happens to so many people, and it always sucks. Good for you for trying to talk to her about it and not just letting yourself get quietly fume-y, and I’m sorry that hasn’t had the desired result. Here’s the thing: You feel how you feel. She may not agree with your read on the situation, but the fact is, if you feel neglected, you feel neglected. “Paranoia” doesn’t factor in here. All you can really do is keep being honest about your feelings—but make sure you’re clear on that they’re your feelings. Saying “You’re neglecting me” is accusatory and may make her feel defensive. Saying, “I’ve been feeling kinda lonely and it’d be cool to hang out more like we used to” may be a better approach.

Unfortunately, there’s probably not much else you can do for a while; it’s the kind of thing where one day, she’ll realize she’s been neglecting her best friend, and she’ll feel bad about it…but today isn’t that day. Hopefully you can nurture some other friendships during this time, and maybe either she’ll come around, or you won’t mind that she doesn’t. Fingers crossed!

Dear YA Author,

 My parents are fighting. At first, it was just here and there, but recently, it’s been getting worse and worse. I don’t know if they will separate or not. I’m old enough to handle it well, but my little brother is the one who is going to be shaken by it the worst. Should I talk to him about it? I don’t even know where to begin.

Sincerely,

“Split Siblings”

DAHLZ: I’m so sorry to hear things have been really tough at home. Those are always really scary situations, especially because they’re so out of your control. But having a sibling can also be really great during tough times like these, because they’re as close to being in your exact position as a person can get.

Should you talk to your brother? Yes, definitely. But don’t put the pressure on yourself to have ideal words of wisdom for this situation. A) There aren’t any, and B) You don’t know anything for sure about what’s going on other than that there’s fighting. Sometimes, couples have situational rough patches; it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a split ahead. The best thing you can do is make clear that you’re there to talk, and let him feel comfortable opening up if he needs to. Talk, but it doesn’t have to be about this. Sometimes, just knowing you have a friend/ally in your house is everything.

Dear YA Author,

Recently, my friends have taken an interest in partying…a little too hard you could say. I’m all for having a good time, yet they go overboard and it’s gotten to the point where I don’t want to hang out with them anymore. I love them to death, but I’m afraid that hanging out with them will only bring trouble. How do I tell them without seeming like a total buzzkill?

Sincerely, 

“Buzzkill”

DAHLZ: Aw, Buzzkill—I remember these days. In my grade in high school, everyone smoked pot, and I was just so not interested. For a while, it didn’t matter. Then, suddenly, it really did. And I hated that. And it wasn’t even that I didn’t want to hang out with them anymore; it’s more that it made them not wanna hang out with me.

Whoops, I’m kinda digressing here. Anyway, the point is, you shouldn’t put yourself in any situation that makes you uncomfortable. It sounds like you still like your friends, but you don’t like certain social situations with them. The key is to make clear that it isn’t about them, and it isn’t about judgment, but that you’re not really up for the partying; if you can present fun alternate plans that don’t really lend themselves to hard partying, all the better.

****

A GIANT THANK YOU to all the teens that sent in their questions, to the readers that stopped by to read, and of course to Dahlz! Everyone please run out to get Dahlia Adler’s BEHIND THE SCENES on June 24! Find it everywhere: Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, & The Book DepositoryYou can also find Dahlia everywhere on the internet too! Dahlia’s WebsiteOn Twitter, Her awesome blog that’s a great support to writers, Tumblr, & Pinterest.

And as a special surprise, Dahlia is offering a free signed copy of BEHIND THE SCENES! Just comment below with any YA book you’d recommend to one of the teens who asked Dahlia a question today. The winner will be chosen at the end of BEHIND THE SCENES’ debut day–June 24!

 

SUCKER LITERARY VOLUME 3 Cover Reveal, Y’all!

Sucker Literary Volume 3 will be out April 15, 2014 and now has an awesome suckerlicious cover and it’s very own book trailer!

Check out the blurb on the eleven stories in Volume 3 and then scroll down for the long anticipated cover and of course the book trailer too.

Bullied and alone, Ainsley seeks refuge in the arms of a strange boy. Time is slipping away for overachieving Sadie Lin, but reigniting an old flame might help. Scarred by a pressuring ex, Alexandra finally faces the rain. “Pasty and chubby” Charlotte makes a public play for the “Tan and Smooth” king. The beautiful girl in the black, lacy push-up bra says that it’s time for Brenn to stop lying . . . at least to herself. A halfway house is no home for Dawn—or is it? How will Dana survive knowing everyone at school thinks she’s a monster, when they just may be right? JJ and her crush finally get a moment alone—at his girlfriend’s hottest party of the year. Sixteen-year old Sarah prepares for her first day of school by chaining up her Mamí in her bedroom. Alyssa’s life is a well-rehearsed ballet until a tragedy sends her hurtling towards a fall. Loving a boy is as simple as chemistry . . . unless that boy is an unstable element.

Eleven stories that delve into the depths of our experience—driven by fierce and untouched love that makes us seek, lose, fear, desire, long, reflect, survive, steal, protect, fall, and confess.

And now, scroll down for the cover…

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Look! Here it is:

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If you haven’t seen it, you ABSOLUTELY MUST check out the awesome Book Trailer. Yes click that now–go watch it!

And now that you can’t wait to read SUCKER LITERARY VOLUME 3, mark your calendar for April 15 & Add it on Goodreads! 

More about Sucker Literary & Volume 3:

Sucker Literary is a platform for established and emerging, hugely intelligent writers who have the grit and talent to create compelling, authentic young adult literature that both adults and teens can enjoy. We are a literary enterprise dedicated to showcasing and promoting undiscovered and established writers who write for young adults (this is not to be mistaken for young adult writers). We are not affiliated with any writer’s organization or program and welcome writers at any stage of their writing career/ journey.Founding Editor: Hannah R. Goodman

Contributors:

The H8TE Lilliam Rivera

Valentine’s Day Claudia Classon 

Halfway From Shelli Cornelison

Her Tree Boy Blaze Lina Branter

How To Fall Kacey Vanderkarr 

If it Rains Kristina Wojtaszek

Black Lacy  Kimberly Kreines

Superpower Mary Malhotra 

The Chemistry of You and Me Evelyn Ehrlich

Just a Matter of Time Charity Tahmaseb

A Different Kind of Cute Hannah R. Goodman

Check Sucker out online: www.suckerliterary.com Twitter: @suckerlitmag

What’s On Your SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY Bucket List?

side effects

I love list-making so it’s weird that creating a real bucket list has been the only item on my said bucket list. Since Julie Murphy’s SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY releases on the 18th of March, I’ve decided to share some things I’ve had floating around in my head the last days, years or decades.

But before I throw down my bucket list, let’s talk “To Be Read” Lists. Lemme drop this awesome cover & blurb for one of the 2014 book releases I’ve been waiting for. You’ll want to add this to your own “To Be Read” list and grab one on Tuesday, okay?

side effects cover

The Fault in Our Stars meets Sarah Dessen in this lyrical novel about a girl with cancer who creates a take-no-prisoners bucket list that sets off a war at school—only to discover she’s gone into remission.

When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs. So she convinces her best friend to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge as it is about hope. But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission, and now she must face the consequences of all she’s said and done.

Contemporary realistic fiction fans who adore Susane Colasanti and Jenny Han and stories filled with romance and humor will find much to love in this incredible debut.

Sounds like an awesome read, right? 

BUY SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY:

IndieBound or Barnes & Noble or Amazon 

Find the author Julie Murphy online: via her website (www.juliemurphywrites.com), tumblr (www.andimjulie.tumblr.com), or twitter (www.twitter.com/andimjulie).

Without a big to-do or confetti and fanfare, here is my surprisingly humble list for now:

AMI’S BUCKET LIST

THE SIMPLE:

Go on a 4-8 day vacation by myself, somewhere warm where I’ll write and read and eat all the lovely things 

Re-read my favorite Judy Blume books, and some Nancy Drew and Christopher Pike books

Travel to: Switzerland, France, Italy, & Germany again as an adult

Go back to Aruba with the husband

Go on a family vacation via winnebago

THE DREAMS:

Walk into Barnes & Noble and pick up a book with my name (by Ami Allen-Vath) on the cover

Do a reading and autograph signing for a book I’ve written

EXTRAVAGANT:

Win an Oscar for being in an amazing movie but never having to deal with the whole being famous bit

Have a personal chef, masseuse, housekeeper, and driver

Not so much to ask for, right? So, what things are on your bucket list? I want to know–the simple things, the dreams, the extravagant? Let me know an item or a few in the comments below.

How Ayesha Patel Got an Agent, Book Deal, & How She’ll BRING IT in the Upcoming NA Novel, PRIYA IN HEELS

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An agent and a book deal in 2013! What the heel? (See my Priya reference there?)

Author Ayesha Patel, repped by Victoria Lowes of The Bent Agency has recently signed with Entangled to publish her NA Romance, PRIYA IN HEELS! Here to give us the behind the scenes on getting the agent AND the deal in the same year and the scoop on Priya, is Ayesha herself.

Ami: I’m aware that your alter ego has other work out there, so can you give us your background, publishing creds, and tell us how your upcoming book, Priya In Heels came to be?

Ayesha: Love the pun, first of all! I’ve been known for a while as Kaylie Austen who writes YA and adult in both sci-fi and fantasy. I’m Indian, and obviously Kaylie Austen isn’t an Indian Name. I chose that pen name because I subconsciously plucked Kaylie from Firefly and Austen because I like Jane Austen and I grew up in Austin, TX. I’ve moved over to Ayesha Patel, taking my maiden name, to speak to more Indian and Asian readers and also to give readers the chance to pick up a book, see Patel, and know they have a good chance of getting into some multicultural themes in my books. I’m basically getting back to my roots and everything in these new books have strong Indian heritage mixed in with other cultures, as well as tidbits of my life.

As Kaylie Austen, I’ve published a YA sci-fi, Ravens, where children are transported to a parallel world whey they gain super powers and are hunted by humans. That was definitely inspired by my love of XMen. Hellhound is a paranormal mystery where descendants of Greek gods live among us but one of their strongest is murdered and his daughter is given the task of hunting down the accused, who happens to be her illicit lover. Song of the Sirens is a YA dark fantasy where a human girl stumbles upon the horrific remnants of what used to be bloodthirsty sirens, now pissed off more than ever, decrepit zombie mermaids. Come to think of it, they were all published in 2013! So this has been a productive year!

I wrote Priya in Heels (Priya) because I wanted to write something completely different and touch base with my Indian roots. The fusion of Indian/American cultures, familial obligations, prohibited love, taboos, pain, loss, the very epitome of my life is in this book. I had this idea for a few months, although I wanted to write it for a year. I read my first contemporary women’s fiction last year and it moved my muse to get this story told. I wrote Priya in a couple of months and absolutely loved it. Honestly, I cried so hard when I wrote certain scenes because they were so close to my heart, and I hope that translates across to readers. I hope readers will laugh and cry with me.

I work in the medical field, so Priya is a medical resident. I also have a cousin named Priya, but my Priya has nothing to do with her! I chose the name because it’s pretty and common, and fans of The Big Bang Theory will recognize it as an Indian name. Priya, like me, loves plaid and tennis shoes vs. heels. She’s into The Big Bang Theory and Battlestar Gallactica.

Tyler, my leading man, is the hot Irish guy with the soul-shattering green eyes down the hall. He’s a lot like my husband, except he works at NASA, which is one of my dream jobs.

Ami: Can you give us some insight on your agent journey for PRIYA? (What book was this for you? How many other books had you queried? How many queries did you send out—to agents, to pubs? Tell us about the call!)

Ayesha: My journey to an agent was a very long one, through more books than I care to remember and enough rejections to literally fill a notebook. I still have that notebook. Some of those books went on to publication, but for the most part, the querying business forced me to take a long, hard look at my writing. I’m embarrassed about the earlier pieces!

While many of my fellow query trench friends signed with agents and publishers, went on book tours and hit bestsellers lists, I tweaked everything from style to genre. I never gave up. No matter how depressed I became, I never stopped. For one thing, I’m a writer and stories will always come to me. For another thing, you never know if the book you would’ve written next will be the one.

I queried Victoria because she was with one of my top ten agencies, she was new, and she repped every genre I wrote. I already digged Entangled and had a good relationship with their editors, so I knew I didn’t mind if Victoria went digital first. She asked for my full based off a query and sample pages. When I saw the email to set up a call, I thought it was just another “Unfortunately, this isn’t right for me…” When I read the email, I though maybe she wanted a revision.

You see, I’ve been rejected far too much to get too excited about anything. I hoped for the best, but expected something less. My author friends were practically throwing confetti, which started to get me excited.

I spoke with Victoria the following morning. I always thought I’d jump around and squeal, but I felt that I was pretty cool. Victoria said she loved Priya, and that’s what every author needs: an agent who loves their work. We talked and we clicked.

I posted more in depth about The Call on my blog, but it was all a very laid-back, professional call after a very long and emotional journey. It wasn’t until that evening when I finally listened to the playlist for Priya, which I told myself I wouldn’t play unless the book went somewhere, that it hit me. I Have An Agent. It felt surreal. I didn’t get used to it, or accept it as my new reality, until I signed with Entangled.

Ami: And finally, tell us about the day you found out that Entangled wanted to publish Priya In Heels and how hard has it been not to shout it from every roof top, text everyone and their aunt, post it on every social media site while you waited for the ink to dry?

Ayesha: I knew the editor loved Priya from a LONG time ago. Priya is so much a part of me that I thought a rather unsettling part of me would die if Priya didn’t get anywhere. I’ve wanted to be with Entangled for years, like that boy you’ve crushed on for so long. When they said they wanted the full, it was like that boy finally noticed me. When they said they wanted me, it was like that boy said, “Hey, girl, you kinda fly.”

I was thrilled! I’ve dreamt of being on their blockbuster team for a long while, and this is a dream come true.

The day I found out was actually the day after I signed with Victoria. I sent my editor an email to let her know I’d signed. She responded the following day with a big congrats and oh, great things happen in pairs. I’d just pulled out of the garage, on my way to class, when I had the habit of checking my emails on my phone. Are you kidding how hard it was not to text and drive at the same time!

I missed Victoria’s call to let me know, and I missed half of the emails on my phone as I hurriedly sent back emails during class. You better believe I was on cloud nine, checking my phone all during class, texting during class (bad me!). I’m not going to lie, I have a big mouth. Co-workers and family heard about it, but they weren’t going to spring announcements anywhere. I managed to keep the official, public announcements non-existent until I had the green light.

When I actually signed, of course, was a different day. I happened to be with NYT bestselling author of the Lunar Chronicles, Marissa Meyer, at one of the many cafes we were trying out last month. I’d just ordered coffee and lunch and started up my laptop when the contract came through. It was pretty darn amazing to be with someone who I admire as much as Marissa, as a person and an impressive writer, for that moment.

Ami: I am just getting into the whole NA scene and I love it. I think I speak for a lot of readers when I say we are craving MORE of everything in NA. What can we expect? In other words, I know you can’t say too much about the book but can we get the tiny insider’s scoop on how PRIYA IN HEELS is gonna bring it?

Ayesha: First of all, Priya is multicultural. My NA characters are still young but successful with good heads on their shoulders, which makes the downhill spiral in the story devastating. They aren’t fresh out of high school, but right out of college, settled, focused, logical.

Priya will take readers through my hometown of Austin, TX. All the way across seas to the place of my birth in Gujarat, India. There’s an assumption that all NA romances out there focus on sex, but Priya focuses on relationships; relationships between mother and daughter, family members, friends, arranged fiancés, and prohibited lovers, and what happens when a simple decision in the American culture demolishes a woman who straddles multiple cultures. Readers will laugh, cry (a lot), swoon, and get a look at the world through the eyes of a young woman who is both contemporary American and traditional Indian.

Ami: Thanks for the interview Ayesha, you’ve been awesome! Congrats on your success thus far and we’ll all be waiting to hear the release date for Priya In Heels. I’m also highly anticipating an amazing cover from Entangled!

If you want to stalk this up and coming NA Author Extraordinaire, you can find her—not in real life, but electronically:

Ayesha’s Blog: www.ayeshapatelwrites.com

Twitter: @ayeshapatel17

Facebook: http://facebook.com/ayeshapatel17

Kaylie Austen Blog: www.kaylieausten.blogspot.com