Today's blog tour stop is at Little Willow's Bildungsroman blog, where we're chatting the intricacies of sister relationships, family secrets, and why names are important in TMAS - comment here or there to win! (full entry details here.)
Also, YA author Sydney Salter and I discuss stalker ex-boyfriends (and her TELL ME A SECRET giveaway!), and I'm chatting with FREEFALL debut author Mindi Scott over here about Magic 8-balls, music, and superstitions.
It feels a little funny to be telling my own Story Secrets today, after over twenty YA authors have been spilling theirs since the beginning of 2010. In fact, I'm pretty amazed that the secret is out, after being in my heart for six years!
It's been five years since Miranda's sister died in a mysterious and tragic accident. For five years, Miranda has been holding her family together between her suffocating mother and her absentee father - but she longs to escape as Xanda would have. Now, just as Miranda has everything she's hoped for - a ticket to art school, a new friend to unlock her sister's secrets, and a dreamy boyfriend to fly her away - Miranda has a secret, too...one that will destroy everything, and send her on a path to discover her own future.
The idea for TELL ME A SECRET landed in my lap after a painful personal tragedy. Before that, I had been writing stories that were clever or funny but didn't delve into what was meaningful to me. Our experience changed everything, and I almost quit - until a friend, Justina Chen (author of NORTH OF BEAUTIFUL), opened a door and asked if I was thinking of writing about it. We were at a conference, and right after that, we went to hear Libba Bray talk about "Shutting off your brain and getting to the heart of your writing." And that's when the story landed.
I just found the notes I madly scribbled in those precious seconds before the idea took flight again, so I thought I would share a few:
Good-ish girl, double life, get pregnant - parents want her to give up, she wants to abort, boyfriend disappears.
Lives in a fantasy world, what is good versus what is real, forced to seek answers for herself.
Theme of different faces in different areas of her life - each mask stripped away one by one until the real self is left. Process of darkness coming to light.
It's been interesting to see how the story evolved - Kamran, for instance, became much more than the deadbeat boyfriend. Xanda's story emerged. Many characters had secrets, some of them a surprise to me! But some of the themes are still there.
In the original notes, Miranda's situation was supposed to have a very different, and perhaps much more tragic outcome - but when I got there, I couldn't write it. That's when my friend, Janet Lee Carey (the amazing DRAGONS OF NOOR comes out in October from Egmont USA), suggested that maybe the story didn't have to go that way. Maybe Miranda's story could be hers, and not mine. So she closed a door in much the same way Justina opened one.
You will have to read TELL ME A SECRET to find out how Miranda's story ends!
TELL ME A SECRET GIVEAWAY
I found one more ARC that I saved especially for today's giveaway! Now is your chance to tell us a) why you want to read TELL ME A SECRET, b) a secret you have told, or c) a secret idea you've been longing to write about (disclosure of secret not required). The contest will be open until Monday at 5pm PST (US/Canada only at this time, but there's an international contest announced Fri!). Plus comments today go toward this week's TMAS Tour prizes - comment away!