Photo credit: Kristi Hedberg PhotographyHello! I'm a young adult book writer living in Asheville, NC. My debut novel, THE MADMAN'S DAUGHTER, is the first in a Gothic trilogy coming January 29, 2013 from Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins. I am represented by Josh Adams of Adams Literary.


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The Madman's Daughter cover

I hope you all had a chance yesterday to swing by YA Books Central and check out the cool cover reveal they put together, along with a giveaway for an ARC of The Madman's Daughter and one of Ellen Oh's Prophecy. If not, you can still enter through the end of the month.

So without further ado, here it is...

Isn't it gorgeous?! I nearly died when I first saw it. I was hoping for something beautiful but creepy, that would capture the Gothic and romantic feel, and I think the designers did a wonderful job with this. They held a photo shoot specifically for this cover, and the photographer did a perfect job juxtaposing the beautiful dress with the desolate background. 

Several months ago, as part of the Friday the Thirteeners blog, I did a Truth or Dare that was: Design your own fake cover for your book. So, yeah. I am clearly not a designer. This is what I came up with. 

It's not totally inaccurate. It shows the book is historical (note top hat), and a thriller (note shady lurking monster) and a romance (in case that wasn't obvious). And who doesn't like both an errupting volcano AND a shirtless man on the cover?

But yes, I suppose it lacks a little of the "moodiness" and "tone" and "professional design quality" of the real cover. If you want to hear me explain how I came up with this fake cover, there's a video of me describing it here

I cannot thank everyone enough for their support and kind words about the cover. Yesterday's joint cover reveal with Ellen Oh's Prophecy was so popular, it crashed the YA Books Central server! Over 10,000 people were trying to see the covers at once. That kind of news just makes my head spin. I am thrilled you guys like it as much as I do, and I can't wait until you can read the book. 

In the meantime, I'd love to hear what you think of the cover!


It's LIVE! (the cover, that is)

The cover for The Madman's Daughter is live! Check it out here along with Ellen Oh's cover reveal for Prophecy! Thanks to Mandy at YA Books Central for hosting the exclusive reveal. I'll post the cover here tomorrow with some more thoughts about why I love it.

Did I mention there's an international giveaway? Enter here

Note: The covers went live at noon and the YA Books Central site has been crashing since then, so please be patient. There are just too many of ya'll wanting to see it at the same time. That makes me all kinds of happy!


Cover reveal TOMORROW & international giveaway!

You know that feeling when you're a kid, and it's Christmas Eve, and you can't sleep because the next day is going to be really exciting? I feel like that!

Tomorrow, I can reveal the cover of The Madman's Daughter to the world. The lovely lady behind the Young Adult Books Central blog has agreed to host my cover reveal (along with the fabulous Ellen Oh's YA debut, Prophecy) so all kinds of people who love young adult literature can sneak a first peek at our covers. But it's extra exciting because as part of the reveal Ellen and I are doing an international giveaway!

Ellen and I are each giving away an ARC (advanced readers copy) of our books to one grand prize winner. This means you can be one of the first people to read it. Plus, we may try to sneak some bonus swag in there if we get it in time. Both of our ARCs won't be printed until July, so you'll have to be a little patient, but we'll put them in the mail to you as soon as we get them!

What do you have to do to see the cover and enter the contest? Just go to Young Adult Books Central tomorrow, Monday, June 18! (cover will go live at noon EST)


Visit to HarperCollins

This past week was a cool milestone in my career as a writer. I went up to New York City to meet my editor, Kristin Daly Rens, for the first time, as well as the fabulous people behind the marketing and sales of The Madman's Daughter.

Lots of people are surprised to hear that I hadn't met my editor before. The deal for The Madman's Daughter went through about a year ago, and Kristin and I have talked many times, but always over email and phone. I've been dying to meet Kristin and the HarperCollins folks in person, and see where they worked, and also I'll take any excuse to talk about how excited I am about the book :) 

The wonderful Kristin Daly Rens, aka Super Editor

Kristin and I met for breakfast where she debriefed me on all the craziness that was BEA (BookExpo America), which ended a few days ago, and we talked about blogs and marketing and Chapel Hill, where we both went to school, and all kinds of things. Then we went to the HarperCollins offices right next door, in the heart of downtown NYC. Kristin and her editorial assistant Sara Sargent had organized a meeting with tons of Balzer+Bray and Harper folks who work on The Madman's Daughter in various ways. I had no idea we were meeting with so many people, and it was incredible! 

There was from Emilie (who also went to Chapel Hill...I'm detecting a trend!), Stefanie, and Jenna from marketing; Andrea, Fran, Deb, Liz, and Heather from sales, who work with Indiebound, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and other booksellers and distributors; the director of subrights, Jean; Molly, who works to market books to schools and libraries, and the fabulous Alessandra Balzer (of Balzer+Bray!), and Kate Jackson, editor-in-chief of Harper Children's and Susan Katz, the publisher of Harper Children's! Oh my gosh, just going over that list of amazing people (thanks, Kristin, for helping me remember everyone's names, hope I didn't forget anyone!) makes me excited all over again.

I had the best time talking to these folks. They have such amazing things planned for promoting The Madman's Daughter: a playlist for the book, a book trailer, blog tours, and so much more. I wasn't sure it was possible to get more excited about the book coming out, but after meeting them, I absolutely am. 

I was only in the city for two days, so I didn't get much chance to sight-see while I was there, but I did go to an incredible production called Sleep No More. Some writer friends recommended seeing this, which is an immersive theater experience where the audience wears white masks and follows actors through a recreated 1920s-style, five story hotel set as they interpret MacBeth through a variety of mind-bending and totally insane ways. You've never seen anything like this, so if you're the kind of person who thinks this sounds cool, then I strongly encourage you to go see it!

I also met with my wonderful writer friend Victoria Schwab, author of The Near Witch and The Archived, at an adorable little cafe downtown, and then toured the studio where one of my favorite shows, Saturday Night Live, is recorded. All in all, the trip was so much fun and so inspiring, and I left New York feeling so incredibly fortunate to be able to do what I love.

And some more news...the cover of The Madman's Daughter is going to be revealed on MONDAY! You will be able to see it first at the Young Adult Books Central blog on Monday, June 18. Please check it out on Monday and let me know what you think. I'm sure you'll all love it as much as I do.


Plotting and Mapping, Detective-Style

A couple months ago I went to London to research creepy Victorian settings for The Madman's Daughter series. I came back with an entire suitcase filled with resources, but this was my favorite find.

I found this London Street Map from 1891 at the Museum of London giftshop. My books take place in that same era, so it's perfect to know what was located where, which parks and streets and neighborhoods were different back then, and in general get a feel for how the city used to be laid out.

I put the map up on my office wall (it's huge) and then put colored sticky flags to mark specific places, such as where my characters might have lived, worked, shopped, and you know, commited murder. I also took some inspiring photos while I was there, such as this palace and townhome that make the perfect homes for some of my wealthier characters.

My husband calls it my "Dexter" board because all it needs is pieces of yarn connecting everything to be the kind of board half-crazy, obsessive detectives use to track serial killers. Not to mention how I tend to pace in front of it, muttering to myself about distances and shady alleyways. Did I mention my office doubles as our guest room? So yes, I get weird looks from guests who have to wake up to mapped-out images of Victorian crime scenes and creepy buildings.