Thursday, July 22, 2010

Hot summer days with no AC, and very few ARCs

This is turning out to be such an interesting summer, one adventure after another. At the moment I am back at home trying to survive July in southern California with no AC. I have bought all kinds of exotic and wonderful fans in the last couple of weeks, but haven't yet given in and spent the bucks for a bona fide air conditioner. We've been holding out and saving our money to replace on existing 22 year old furnace and have AC installed at the same time. Which is expensive. So we're saving.

I grew up in Idaho, where my brother and I used to clap our hands with glee when it was colder than 20 below zero outside, because it meant there was no school and we could go sledding. That's cold so nippy it freezes your nose hair. Cold that crunches under your feet. Cold, I can deal with. I'm a champion with cold. (At least, that's what I say now, although when I was back in Idaho last Christmas everybody started calling me a California wuss. . . must have been all that wussy shivering I did.)

I'm a total wimp with hot. So this last week, when it got up to the high 80s (which meant it was like 85 in my house) I was like a wilted flower. I panted. I complained. I bought numerous fans and set them to blow directly on me. I went to movies just to cool off. Which was really a drag, because what I wanted to be doing was writing.

Another thing that caught me off guard this week was requests pouring in for ARCS. Right now I am getting between 2-4 requests for ARCs PER DAY. This is really great, because it means that people are interested in UNEARTHLY. I love that. But here are the amount of ARCs I currently have:
That's not very many. 9, in fact.

So, for those of you interested in getting your hands on an ARC, here's the deal:

Please email me at my gmail account, not my Goodreads account, since then I have to filter everything I do through Goodreads. In your request, please include all the relevent information about your blog or website or review AND an address to have the ARC sent to. That way I do not have to email you back asking for an address. What I will do then is forward your request to HarperTeen. They have many, many ARCs. Please be patient, since it takes me some time to sort out these emails and forward them in chunks to my people at HC, and it takes them some time to sort through them too. I would LOVE for you to read my book! If for some reason HarperTeen decides NOT to send you an ARC, and you really, really want one and have all kinds of good reasons you should get one, email me again. I'll see what I can do. In the meantime, please know that I will soon be setting up a contest or two to give away some of my ARCs. And that ARCs will also be available on various ARC tours.

Also: I love interviews, yes, I'd love to do interviews and chats and guest posts, because I LOVE the idea of having real (and virtual) contact with my readers! I love talking about Clara and her world! (I'm writing LOVE a lot this post, sheesh. . .) But again, please be patient. I am still working out my schedule for everything, so if you've emailed me about an interview, sit tight for a bit and I promise I will email you back. Also keep in mind that the book doesn't come out until January 4, so it makes more sense for me to appear more often in the month or two leading up to my release date. And, um, after January 4, when people can then rush out and buy my book. :)

Whew. And that's all I have to say about that.

Monday, July 12, 2010

My Cover is Showing

Okay, so my cover has started to float around a little, up on Goodreads and the Harper catalog, so I think the time has come to reveal the cover myself. But here's the thing: the cover that's floating around is the cover for the ARC, not the official cover. My people at HarperTeen tell me that they're working on creating a digital copy of the REAL cover, which reflects how the image will appear when it comes out in hardback this January. The cover is being printed on silver foil with a violet overlay, which means that everything that shows up as white in the ARC image, will, in fact, be silver, and it's shiny and sparkly and when you turn the book in your hands you will be able to see much more of the background behind Clara.

So here's the unofficial cover:
Even this way, I think it's gorgeous. If you agree, please vote for it in the Goodreads Beautiful Covers of 2011 list here.

SQUEEE!!! I've been waiting for ages to share this cover! So glad I finally can! When I get the new and improved pic I will post that too!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Big Apple

Just got home from a few days in New York City. It's been such a surreal week, completed by the fact that Drew Barrymore was on the airplane on the way home! And I was reading a real copy of my book (yes folks, the ARCs have arrived!) during the flight.

I'll back up. Here's my week:

Monday: Flew non-stop to JFK. Met my agent for dinner that night at a Korean restaurant. Had roast duck in lime sauce, wow, so good. I adore Katherine, and it was beyond wonderful to finally meet her in person. I felt like we immediately fell into a natural, easy friendship. And I was so thankful that she made a point to spend a lot of time with me this trip, just so I wouldn't feel alone, country bumpkin in the Big City.

Tuesday: This was the big day for me, the whole reason I came. In the morning there was a meeting about my book at HarperCollins. I came into the conference room and there, sitting on the table with the fruit tray, were three real copies of my book! The Advanced Readers Copies (ARCs, as I said before) have been printed. Yippee! (I tried not to shout yippee at the meeting. . .) There were lots of people at the meeting, enough that I finally gave up trying to remember everybody's name--my editor and her assistant, Katherine, marketing people and sales people and people in charge. And they all seemed to have read the book and liked it. I sat at the end of the table and they talked about how much they loved Unearthly and asked me questions about how I came up with different ideas and about the characters and about my schedule for winter.

After that they hustled me over to a studio and shot the author's video. That too was crazy surreal, especially when they had me look into the camera and say, "Hi Barnes and Noble readers, I'm Cynthia Hand, author of Unearthly," and then like 6 other bookstores, one after another. I hope the video turns out okay--it's so weird being a writer at this stage, because writing is such a solitary act and then suddenly they drag you out into the spotlight and you have to perform, in a way. I should be okay at this: I minored in theatre, was in probably 25 or so plays way back when, but I still thought it was hard. A lot of pressure, like this is a huge chance to connect with my reader, this is a part where I am actively selling my own book. I really didn't want to screw it up. But then I tried to remind myself that it will only get easier with time, just like with teaching when at first I was stiff and partially terrified during every class I taught and now I'm relaxed and enjoy myself so much. So too, with this marketing stuff.

After the video I hung out in my editor's office for a while and then we headed off to lunch (me, Farrin my editor, and Catherine, her assistant). Again, the food was amazing. New York definitely has some fantastic restaurants, and the people taking me out all the time always knew the best places, so I dined like a queen on my trip. Yum. And again, it was wonderful to get to interact with these people face to face.

After lunch I wandered over to Rockefeller Center and took the Top of the Rock tour, which meant I rode the elevator to the top and looked out on the city. I noticed, not for the first time in NYC, that I am not terribly comfortable in elevators crammed with people. I got someone to take my picture at the top:
Notice that I'm clutching a book--yep, it's MY book, actually an ARC wrapped in the hardback cover sample they gave me. Notice also the lavender shirt I'm wearing--my good friend Kristin Naca (HarperCollins poet herself) Fed-Exed the shirt to me at my hotel. She knew I was having a tough time deciding on what to wear, which she fully understood because she had to do a video interview with Yusef Komunyakaa for the MTVU award. So she sent me the shirt, which turned out to be perfect. It evens looks good with my book, which has purple overtones. Don't I have awesome friends?

That afternoon I headed downtown to Curtis Brown to meet up with Katherine again, and got to meet my other fabulous agents: Holly, my film agent, and Ginger, my foreign rights agent. So fun to sit in a room with them and just get to know them a little. By this point I'd been smiling so much that day that my teeth were all dry. Afterwards Katherine and I caught a movie (Cyrus, pretty funny) and had some dinner. Again with the delicious food.

It was a day that seriously felt like I could have dreamed it up. Even now it doesn't feel totally real.

Wednesday: my birthday. I woke up early and headed over to the Met (the Metropolitan Museum of Art). I had intended to spend a few hours there and then walk around Central Park but I ended up spending lots of hours there, since it was so huge and it had such amazing stuff! It has a whole Picasso wing! It had multiple paintings by famous artists: Monet, Matisse, Van Gogh, Cezanne, Cassatt, Degas, the list goes on and on. It also has an amazing Egyptian exhibit. (I'll load the pics to facebook.)

Then I went to Broadway to see Wicked. I have wanted to see this show for ages, since I've been an avid fan of Oz since I was a kid and read Maguire's book when it first came out. And it was great. I had to laugh at the little boy behind me who kept complaining, "Why do they always have to sing so high?"

After that I walked back to my hotel and rested for about an hour, then headed off again to the East Village for dinner with Katherine and Farrin at a little Mexican place. Again, spectacular food and company. Riding back to my hotel in a cab, I was overtaken by a wave of sadness that it was all over. The trip I'd been wildly anticipating for months was pretty much done.

Thursday: Airport. Drew Barrymore on the plane! And then home, home, home, where my son looked so delighted to see me that it totally melted my heart. Later, as I was putting him to bed I said, "I missed you so much. Every day I woke up and thought, where's my little boy? I miss him!" and he said, "I was right here, Mommy, waiting for you to come back." Aw.

It's good to be home. And writing again, moving forward into Book 2. And yesterday I got the galleys in the mail, my last chance to comb through Unearthly and make changes. So that's what I'll be up to the next few days.