Thursday, April 26, 2012

Blather, + a Bit of Advice for Writers Nervous About Promotion

Serbian cover of Graceling, published by Carobna knjiga. I didn't even know this book was out until Carobna knjiga's Fire landed in my mailbox. Click to enbiggen, this is a cool one! I love the blood in the font. ----->

For those who've been wondering, my ankle is feeling better every day. I'll just be careful to leave extra time for getting places on the tour, and I'll resist the urge to rush to catch planes. I intend to set new records for packing light. Inspired by Laurie Halse-Anderson, I'll take a picture of my tiny luggage and post it here if I get the chance. Of course, Laurie was packing for a five-week tour. Mine is only a week and a half (because I am a WIMP). So make sure you're duly impressed by Laurie's feats of packing!

For anyone who wants to know a little more about what my events will be like: I'll start by reading from Bitterblue for maybe 10-15 minutes; then I'll talk for a few more minutes about the process of writing the book, maybe with some pictures, depending on whether the store can accommodate them; then it'll be time for Q&A; and finally, I'll sign books. It's usually pretty fun -- people ask good questions. :)

Randomly: have you heard about Maura Pozek, a high school senior in Missouri who makes her prom dresses out of random stuff?

I want to end with a word of advice for newly published (or oldly published!) writers who are just starting to go out into the world to promote their books and who may be frightened. Dear writers: I understand the pressure you feel, the anxiety that you will disappoint people at your events. I want to remind you of something: You don't have to be amazing out there. You don't have to wow everyone at your events. If you think you do, then you're forgetting something: You already did the amazing thing. You wrote the book. Now, all you have to do is be yourself, be friendly, be openhearted if you can, and don't forget to take care of yourself. The hard work is done. Stand proudly in your book's glow.

If anyone needs a bit more encouragement/advice, check out the post I wrote once called Some Public Speaking Tips from a Shy Person Who Has Learned to Love Public Speaking.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Adventures in Walking. Stuff and Things. Plus, My Tour Schedule

I signed lots of books for lots of people in a very short time on Thursday, and a number of souls, probably noticing the mania in my eyes, kindly expressed concern for my health. On the off chance that any of those same people later saw me being wheeled through the Houston airport, please allow me to reassure you that I did not fall into a faint from too much signing or anything like that. No, what I did was, I stepped creatively off of a curb. In the horrible moment after it happened, a moment during which I replayed the dreadful snapping noise over and over in my mind and discovered that I truly could not stand, I feared that I'd broken my ankle (which it turns out I hadn't), and all I could think was that my book tour started in 12 days. My book tour started in 12 days, and I had to go and miss the curb and do something SO FREAKING STUPID. It's not like I was rushing headlong down a hill while attached to a spastic dog. It's not like I was jumping off a boat onto a dock in high heels on New Year's Eve. (Those are two of the other times I've sprained an ankle. Actually, both of those were also pretty stupid.) No, I was walking. Just walking! How do we live in these perilous bodies?

Anyway. A minute or so later, I found I was able to stand, and also hobble. Hobbling is underrated. It's effective, if slow. Slowness is also underrated. These past few days, people have been zipping past me. Zip zip! I hope they're watching out for curbs.

As of now, we intend the tour to continue as planned, because 12 days is LOADS of time, right? I've been having an interesting dialogue with my own denial. When my doctor wrote me a script for crutches, I was like, Crutches?! HA HA HAR-DE-HAR! I'm certain I don't need crutches! The reason I'm certain is that a person starting a book tour in 12 days would never be on crutches!  But it turns out that the crutches are a big help. They mean that I can take tiny little forays out into the spring weather without setting back my recovery. Though I will say that crutches are not the magical mobility device I once thought they were. Why did anyone think it was a good idea for someone who is already injured to take up the activity of swinging around unsteadily on two sticks? Isn't that a bit risky? Better suited for able-bodied people?

One thing I was sad to miss on account of my injury was Lesley Kinzel's event at my local indie, Harvard Book Store, for her new book, Two Whole Cakes: How to Stop Dieting and Learn to Love Your Body. I haven't had a chance to read this book yet, but people whose opinions I trust have read it, and say it's wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.

One thing I did manage to do, with the help of a crutch (for short distances, one crutch strikes me as being much less hazardous than two crutches), was go to the Cambridge Winter Farmers Market, which is in its last couple weeks. Local people, check out this market some Saturday, if you have a chance. If you miss this season, make a note of it for next. Many wonderful local vendors. My two personal favorites are Shady Oaks Organics fresh mushrooms and the ravioli and pasta at Valicenti Organico.

Since I'm on my couch a lot, I'm watching a lot of TV. You would think, with the recent glut of Dickens adaptations on PBS, I'd be sick to death of it, but I really really love the most recent version of Great Expectations. It's been ages since I read the book, so I can't remember how faithful this version would be to the book, but I think it hangs together well, and there are some lovely characterizations. I particularly appreciate the scenes between Pip (played by Douglas Booth) and Magwitch (played by Ray Winstone), and every time Joe Gargery (Shaun Dooley) and/or Estella Havisham Junior ^_^ (Vanessa Kirby) are onscreen. This is the first time I've ever connected to Estella as a character. Oh, and Herbert Pocket (Harry Lloyd)! ♥ And wow, the design and the photography! Warning that the creepy parts of this production are EXTREMELY creepy. Miss Havisham (Gillian Anderson) and her house made my skin crawl, and there were times when I couldn't even look at Orlick (Jack Roth) straight on.

Finally, at long last -- here is my tour schedule:

Tuesday, May 1, 6 pm
Cambridge Public Library with
Porter Square Books
Lecture Hall
449 Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02138

Wednesday, May 2, 7 pm
Oblong Books and Music
6422 Montgomery Street (Rt. 9)
Rhinebeck, NY 12572

Thursday, May 3, 7 pm
Children's Book World
17 Haverford Station Road
Haverford, PA 19041

Friday, May 4. 4:30 pm
Bethesda Library with
Politics and Prose
7400 Arlington Road
Bethesda, Maryland 20814

Saturday, May 5, 2 pm (PLEASE NOTE THE TIME CHANGE)
Anderson’s Bookshop
123 West Jefferson
Naperville, IL 60540

Sunday, May 6, 3:30 PM
The Red Balloon
891 Grand Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55105
Monday, May 7, 7 pm
Hennepin County Library
Ridgedale Branch with
The Red Balloon
12601 Ridgedale Dr.
Minnetonka, MN  55305

Wednesday, May 9, 7 pm
University Temple
United Methodist Church
with the University Book Store
1415 NE 43rd St
Seattle, WA 98105

Thursday, May 10, 7 pm
Copperfield’s Books
138 N. Main Street
Sebastapol, CA 95472

Thursday, May 31, 7 pm
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Free Ebook Sampler + Some Silly Letters

For any readers with ebook devices, there's currently a free sampler of my work available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple's iTunes Store. The sampler contains excerpts from Graceling, Fire, and Bitterblue, plus an extra thingamajig: some (silly!) letters that Bitterblue, Katsa, Raffin, Bann, and Po wrote to each other during the spring before Bitterblue's 18th birthday (in other words, in the spring before the events of Bitterblue take place). Just search for my name and it should come up.

For any readers who don't have ebook devices but want to read these letters, do not despair. I solemnly swear that they will be available for reading here on my blog as of Sunday, May 6. (And I promise that in the meantime, they aren't important plot-wise or anything!)

Monday, April 16, 2012

It's Crazy Season on the Blog

French cover of BB ---->

Someday, I will have a plane to catch and not feel like I'm on the wrong side of an insurmountable To Do list. I'm sorry guys, I have lots of good books I want to talk about, but I just can't get it together right now. I also want to talk about So You Think You Can Dance Australia (that link will open one of my favorite group routines from season one), which is different from the American show in a number of refreshing ways (less homophobia!). But there's no time! ACK! I fear it's going to be this way until the Bitterblue release. There is so much to do.

I should have tour details soon. In the meantime: local people! My first tour event is at the Main Branch of the Cambridge Public Library at 6 PM on May 1. Porter Square Books will be there, selling books.

Nonlocal people, here is a VERY ROUGH schedule with no details, subject to change and also to additions: May 2 Rhinebeck NY; May 3 Philadelphia PA; May 4 Washington DC/Bethesda MD; May 5 Naperville IL; May 6 Minneapolis MN; May 7 Minnetonka MN; May 9 Seattle WA; May 10 Sebastopol CA. Stay tuned for more information.

I leave for Houston and TLA Tuesday. Sorry about the crazy, nonbloggy state of the blog.  Things will calm down eventually!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Thank You

A book release can be overwhelming. A lot of factors converge at once. Reviews, to be honest, don't really faze me, but they do create a lot of swirling noise. There's a lot of noise in general during a book release, and when you're trying to ground yourself in what matters, noise can be decentering. Also, during a book release, a writer is transitioning from working alone in a room on an intensely private project to being the star of public speaking events :). Am I nervous about that? Sure. Nerves contribute to the release being overwhelming.

But this morning, I managed to isolate, at least for a few moments, the reason why this release is extra hard. Unlike Katsa and Fire, Bitterblue is just a regular person. She doesn't have any superpowers; she's only got her own courage, smarts, determination, her heart. She feels vulnerable to me, more than Katsa and Fire ever did. And now she's grown up, and it's time for me to fling her out into the scary world on her own. It's time for me to let her go. Maybe most painful, it's time for me to accept that she doesn't need me anymore.

I am a little bit heartbroken; I am grieving. Yes, this is over an imaginary person. Mock me at will. I know that what I'm feeling is real.

Thank you, dear readers who take my characters into your hearts. Whether you love her or not, whether you fight with her, feel indifferent to her, or become her best friend, I know Bitterblue will be okay, because she'll be with you. That's where she was always meant to be.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Everyone's a Critic

The response of my two-year-old niece, codename: Isis, when she saw the ARC of Bitterblue: "It no have pictures in it."

Well, guess what, Isis? You're going to like the final version of the book better, because it does have pictures in it. The lovely Ian Schoenherr, who most recently did the art for The Apothecary, has created maps, castle diagrams, various Appendix illustrations, endpapers, the cover page, ornamental chapter openers, and, probably my favorite illustrations of all, double-spread part openers (the book is in five parts) for Bitterblue, and the final result makes me SO HAPPY.

If you "like" the Graceling Realm page on Facebook, you'll have access to some of the art, which is slowly being revealed there.

The process of working with my publisher and Ian on the art was fascinating. It was surprising -- and delightful -- to realize how involved I needed to be, and lots of fun, too -- I enjoyed every minute of it. Often, it wasn't until I saw a sketch that I realized there was some physical aspect of a space I hadn't bothered to explain to Ian, because I'd internalized it so much that I'd forgotten that other people wouldn't necessarily be imagining it the way I did. I had to re-learn that we all see different things when we read words. And it's really helpful to have a visual artist picking your book apart and trying to interpret it. Ian found some inconsistencies no one else had caught -- like a clock tower I'd slapped onto the wrong bridge -- just in time for me to change them in the text. And every time one of his sketches came in, I sat there speechless, overwhelmed by how lucky I was to have an artist who was making my world so beautiful. Feeling, deeply, that Ian was making my world more beautiful than I had ever managed to make it.

Thank you, thank you, Ian, for what you've done for Bitterblue. I'm certain Bitterblue herself would love the art too.

By the way, as long as I'm talking about the physical book, I'd like to share something about it, a little book secret that makes this author very, very happy. Look what's under the dust jacket:

 Nothing could be more appropriate for Bitterblue
than a secret key hidden under the dust jacket

The next part of this post is rawther promotion-y. I apologize for that. I'm trying to put everything all together in one post, so that I can get back to my usual blogging style next time and forget about the release for a while!

Some housekeeping: There's now a new way to follow my blog. I've joined Twitter, @kristincashore. I intend to use it only as an amalgamation feed for my blog -- whenever I blog, it will automatically tweet a link to the blog post. I will not be reading @-replies. Please pass my Twitter name on to anyone you think might want to follow my blog now that they can do so on Twitter! 

A frequently asked question: Will I be traveling for Bitterblue's release? Yes, I will, domestically and probably also internationally. Domestically, I'll be at TLA in Houston in April, and then I'll be doing a book tour starting release day, May 1. I don't have my times or locations yet for the tour, but I'll pass them on as soon as I do. I'll also be at BEA in New York in June, though I don't know my schedule yet. If there is an international tour, it'll probably be in the fall. I'll keep you all posted on that possibility.

Finally, if you've visited the Graceling Realm on Facebook, you may already have seen this trailer... but for those of you not on Facebook (like me! I'm not on Facebook), here it is. Thank you to everyone at Penguin who worked so hard to put this together!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Birth of a Book

Hey everybody, sorry for the radio silence this past week. I've been on the road. I plan to be back next week, hopefully with some info about the Bitterblue release. Until then, I thought I'd share this beautiful little video of a book being born. Make it big on your screen; it looks great. Thanks, Jess.