Monday, June 21, 2010

MY NEW BOOK IS ANNOUNCED!

YayyyyyyyyyYAAAAAAYaAaAaAaAaAaAyYyYyYyY!!!!!!

Here it is, my news, my new book, at last! A few weeks ago when I was mysteriously happy (aw, I'm always happy), it was because my current novel was at auction and I was overflowing with glee. But I couldn't say anything, so I hinted and twiddled my fingers, and then the auction was won by the amazing Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, but I still couldn't say anything, because the official announcement had to wait until we could come up with a title.

It is now tentatively titled Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and here is the announcement as it appears in Publisher's Weekly this morning:

LBBYR Lands NBA Finalist
Little Brown Books for Young Readers senior editor Alvina Ling won world rights (excluding U.K. and Commonwealth) at auction to Laini Taylor's tentatively titled new YA novel, Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Ling beat four other houses for the work, which was put on the block by Jane Putch at Eyebait Licensing & Management. Daughter, which is scheduled for fall 2011, is about a pair of star-crossed lovers kept apart by the fact that one's an angel and the other's a demon; also woven into the tale is the story of the devil's adopted daughter, a blue-haired art student in Prague. LBBYR is promising a significant marketing push for the title, which it believes will have crossover appeal to adults. Taylor's NBA finalist, 2009's Lips Touch, was published by Scholastic.



And there you have it! It has been a "devilishly" difficult book to summarize, as well as title, and the above description may have become a tad misleading in abridgment from the full announcement, but that's okay. There is indeed a strong "Romeo & Juliet with angels and devils" element to the story, but . . . what exactly do I mean by "angels and devils"? The way the supernatural elements in Lips Touch were not "textbook", neither is this, and my angels and devils are not your usual angels and devils.

For fun, here's a little background on this project:

After I finished Silksinger and it became clear that the publisher (Penguin) was not hungering for another Dreamdark book at that moment in history*, I set about writing a sci-fi book that was burning in my brain. I spent a few months on it, and . . . it was not going well. I just couldn't get a feel for it. I wasn't having FUN. Not at all. To the point, many of you will know what of I speak, that cranking up the computer in the morning (yes, I have a hand-crank computer. No, not really.) was filled with a fair amount of dread and reluctance. There's a brilliant quote:

"There are some books which refuse to be written. They stand their ground year after year and will not be persuaded. It isn't because the book is not there and worth being written -- it is only because the right form of the story does not present itself. There is only one right form for a story and if you fail to find that form the story will not tell itself."
- Mark Twain


For myself, I find this to be so so true, and the sci-fi book, I am convinced, had not found its right form. So I was mired in the un-fun of it, the un-progress of it, and looking back in my blog to those days, I see the record of how Daughter of Smoke and Bone got itself to exist. One day:

"sitting down with a big cup of coffee and a really fun idea that has got my fingers twitching to start writing something unexpected. Just for fun, just for today. (Maybe. Then again. . .) There are wishes in it, and strings of teeth, and a scar from a bullet wound, and blue hair in pigtails, and mean widows who would probably taste like wild boar sausage if you were to eat them. Which of course you wouldn't. Gross."

(And all of that IS in this book, except the widows who taste like wild boar sausage. So far, anyway!)

And then the next entry was THIS ONE. Ah, I remember that day so well, and I'm so glad I have the blog post to commemorate it. I felt lighter than air. I still have the exact text of that first day of writing. The book has veered and grown and grown and grown, but in that first day's work there is still the spirit of it, and all the fun and promise.

The next blog entry, incidentally:

"The writing of the weird new thing progresses newly and weirdly. Still fabulous fun. Strange things are happening involving marionettes, chinese swords, rosary beads, and a beautiful boy who is half-Maasai. In Venice."

Ha ha. None of those things are still in the book! Well, maybe the Chinese swords . . . sort of.

So, did I go back to that poor, tortuous sci-fi book, or abandon it right then and there? Well . . . actually, I followed my own rule of not being seduced by "the slutty new idea" and I kept slogging at the sci-fi book! I behaved. Well, I am here to tell you that behaving is not always for the best! I finished a draft of that sci-fi, and I never even read it. I tacked that "the end" on with the sound of a door slamming, and I have NEVER read that manuscript! It was misery to write, and I'm sure it would be misery to read! Did I learn a lesson? I don't know. But getting back to the blue-haired girl book was like . . . getting out of jail? Maybe a little. The timing was perfect: I had a beach weekend writing retreat set up with a couple of friends (this was early in my pregnancy with Clementine), and on the first day of the retreat I wrote the first chapter of "Daughter." (That is now Chapter 13, by the way), and I haven't looked back. I have only taken long, long pauses. Ha ha. I found pregnancy delightful and distracting, and then there were those newborn months. They may also, er, ahem, have been another book written in the interim. (What? What are you looking at? )

So that's the history of this book so far, and I'm am SO THRILLED about where it stands now, in the amazing, creative hands of the team at Little, Brown, who have knocked my socks off from the first moment of the auction. This is my writer's life fairy tale, with the caveat that in the fairy tale, the writing part is easier! And this book is STILL deeply, deeply fun, but of course it is work too. I have many notebook pages of roads not taken with this idea, which at every moment is sending off shoots in tantalizing directions, so that I have to be a ruthless gardener and prune and snip and cull. (Me and my mixed writing metaphors!)

There's something I talked about in my plotting talk at SCBWI WW recently, and it really should be its own blog post, so perhaps I'll expand upon it in my next post, but it's: the willingness to write scenes in the spirit of discovery, even knowing they might not make it into the book. I have so many discarded scenes, but they all contribute a richness to the plot and characterization, even if it only sneaks in in hints and hues on account of me having made the world of the story real to myself in discarded chapters. More on that later!


So, to sum up: WHOOOOOP! Hurray! Thank you thank you THANK YOU, Little, Brown, and Alvina Ling (my new editor!), as well as my FABULOUS agent, Jane Putch, for some of the most exciting weeks of my professional life! I look to the future with such excitement as the life of this new book unrolls ahead of me.
That said, back to writing!

*re: more Dreamdark books: some day I will finish the series! I am deeply committed to Magpie and crew and feel sick about leaving them in limbo. I will see their story through. It is just not in the cards for the next few years.

73 comments:

Erinn said...

YAY congrats!!! That's SUPER exciting.

Jenn (From the Mixed-Up Files) said...

Oh, I'm so excited to hear this news! I've been wondering when I'd hear an announcement about your next to be published work. I was anticipating and hoping it would be a Dreamdark book, but that was before I heard the description of Daughter of Smoke and Bone. (Really love that title, btw) The plot summary sounds intriguing, but really it's knowing that YOU will be the one to tell this story that has me so excited for it. Can't wait! Congratulations!!! (And PS. I am of course STILL looking forward to future stories in the world of Magpie, but I can be patient for those.)

Kiersten White said...

YAY YAY YAY!!! I'm so thrilled for you!! I've been telling my husband what an incredibly talented writer you are--one of the best in YA/MG right now, in my opinion--and I am SO HAPPY that amazing editors realize the same thing : ) Can't wait to read it!

Cat @ Beyond Books said...

Looking forward to this new novel by you! You have an enchanting way of writing words on the page.

erica_henry said...

Awesome awesome awesome!!!! I can't wait until I can make a post like this :)

Kristan said...

Congratulations! Wow, that is an amazing announcement, and the book sounds fascinating.

I also particularly enjoyed your musings on a book not writing itself because it's not in the right form. Something for me to ponder with some of my latent ideas... :)

Natalie Whipple said...

What lovely news! I'm loving this Monday more and more!

Carrie Harris said...

WOO HOO! I'm shaking pompons for you!

No. Really. I REALLY am. My kids are looking at me funny, too.

Lisa Schroeder said...

And to think I was there when this book was just a wee little babe. :)

You got the fairy tale, Laini!!!!!! I remember sitting next to you just a few months ago as you wished hard for that fairy tale. And your wish came true!!

I must wish out loud more often, is what I'm thinking!

CONGRATULATIONS!

Cheryl Renee Herbsman said...

Congratulations! That sounds incredibly exciting! And thank you for posting such a genuine, honest portrayal of the ups and the downs of the writing life!

nomadshan said...

Congratulations!

Amy Baskin said...

Congratulations! I'm so ready for DAUGHTER! But my actual daughter (age 7) is writhing on the floor after learning how long she'll have to wait for more Magpie and Whisper!

Paul Greci said...

congrats to you!!

xegbp said...

Congratulations Laini,

Can not wait to read it, a whole dang year!!

xoxox
Xegbp

xegbp said...

Congratulations Laini,

Can not wait to read it, a whole dang year!!

xoxox
Xegbp

Anonymous said...

Oh, Laini! Huge congratulations! And how like you to not only share your wonderful news but to also share these inspiring bits of process. Your generosity continues to amaze me. Good for you!!! So well deserved.

Susan

Malinda Lo said...

Congratulations, Laini! I'm with L,B too and I love them and I am SO EXCITED that you'll be published with them! I adored LIPS TOUCH and am really looking forward to reading this one. Yay!

Debbie Barr said...

Great news! Little Brown is a fantastic publisher and I am so excited for you and the new book! :)

Vijaya said...

Oooh, I cannot wait to read it when it's out! You've developed trust in your readers, Laini. I trust you to take me on a wild ride.

Congratulations!

Enna Isilee said...

AHHH!!! That sounds like the coolest book ever!!!

tone almhjell said...

This is the most glorious news. Daughter of smoke and bone! Let me try to tell you how much I love it, both the title, and the idea:


no, I can't. It's that awesome. I want to read it now!

Congratulations, Laini, not only on the book deal, but on the wonderful attic of your mind, full of beautiful furniture with hidden compartments, and treasure chests, and books of magic. You are so lucky to live there!

Larissa said...

Yay! How exciting. Congratulations!!!

Katie said...

Oh my gosh, can this day get any better??

Laini,

As you can imagine, I will be counting the days until the release of this book :) I honestly credit you for opening my eyes (while reading LIPS TOUCH) to the beauty of "the weird." That book enabled me to think way out of the box on my WIP and I believe made it stronger. I am so happy for you and your lucky editor!

Congrats! Congrats! Congrats!

Li said...

Congratulations~!

After reading all of that it's all I can do to tell my inner bibliophile to be patient. I do wonder how you'll twist things, and for that I can wait.

Cuppa Jolie said...

Congrats, Laini! Such exciting news. I'm glad we don't have to wait longer than '11!!!

storyqueen said...

This is the best possible way to start a week, I think. I mean, even though you've known about it for a while.....It is so encouraging for the rest of us out there in hopeland.......

Well done, you!!!

Shelley

kelly rae said...

amazing! i LOVED reading the whole backstory. there is so much to learn and juice in this post!!!!!!!
congratulations, mama!!!
xxo

MonsterAteMy said...

The new book sounds amazing and I can't wait to read it.
I'm sad that no new Dreamdark book is forthcoming any time soon. I bet a lot of folks would be happy to buy an e-version, should you decide to just put one out there anyway. (whistles innocently)
One of my favorite fantasy writers, Barbara Hambly, has been selling new stories set in some of her worlds and I think that's such a wonderful idea. (hint hint)

Louise said...

That's soooooo great, Laini!! Congratulations! I love fairy tales. Isn't it great when wishes come true?!
I'm so glad for you (-:

Christina said...

YAYE!!

Congratulations, this is fabulous news! This new book sounds intriguing, and I am totally ready for more of your fabulous writing. As it is, I've been recommending Lips Touch and the Dreamdark books to as many people as I can.

One question though... this line "Little Brown Books for Young Readers senior editor Alvina Ling won world rights (excluding U.K. and Commonwealth)" caught my attention. Does this mean that us Commonwealth people will have to wait longer for the release of Daughter? Should I start planning a trip to the USA for autumn 2011?

Anonymous said...

Yay Fattae!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Debbie Faith Mickelson said...

Congratulations, Laini. This is awesome news!

shvetufae said...

Congratulations, Laini! Five houses at auction?! That's amazing. I can't wait to read the book.

And as for Dreamdark, I will miss it, but I hope one day you can write and sell the rest of them.

P.S. The title of your hot forthcoming work is lovely, too!

P.P.S. Yay on the significant marketing push!

Amber said...

Thrillled for you!
And I LOVE that title.Whaaaaaat?! That is very cool sounding! People will pick that book up.

:)

Jes said...

Such exciting news! Congratulations! Reading your blog is like tearing into a pomegranate--so very many ruby jewels of joy spill out, every time! Delicious, and totally inspiring.

side-note: I keep lending out new copies of Lips Touch, and I keep not getting them back. I think this is a very good sign. ;)

holly cupala said...

Wondrous news, Laini! Congratulations!

Stephanie Perkins said...

*BIGGEST HAPPY DANCE OF THE YEAR*

I LOVE this big beautiful gorgeous luscious book with the passion and fire of a thousand suns, and I can't wait for everyone else to read it! The world will pee their collective pants!! HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY!!!

Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!

:D :D :D :D :D

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

What great news! It sounds like an amazing book, and I can't wait to read it. I love Lips Touch and the Dreamdark books. You deserve the fairy tale.

Heather said...

YAY! YAY! YAY! CAN'T WAIT!!!

Catherine Denton said...

You. Rock. This is so thrilling and inspiring. FIVE houses were fighting over you!!!! Eeeeep! I can't WAIT to read it!
Winged Writer

Lee Wind said...

Hurray!
doing the happy dance for you!
Namaste and Hugs all round,
Lee

lkmadigan said...

YAYYYY!!!!

Oh Laini.

I'm so happy for you - and the cutest little family in the world - and US, your devoted readers!

Thank you for reminding me about discovery scenes ... I need to let go of some that are padding my book. As always, your blog is a treasure ... and today it's also PARTYLAND!!

xo

Lisa

Reverie said...

I may be a little too excited! I was just talking to a friend the other day how we need another Laini Taylor book!!!


HUGE Congrats and YAY for us!

Colleen said...

Oh Prague! This sounds soooo yummy! Can't wait to read it!

Laini Taylor said...

Thank you to everyone for the wonderful words, and for sharing my excitement! I am sorry to break the Dreamdark news. Believe me, nobody is sorrier than me to leave Magpie and Talon hanging, but I will finish their story. In response to MonsterAteMy, I appreciate the thought, and it is not beyond the realm of possibility that a *tiny* Dreamdark story could come to exist here on my blog some time before another Dreamdark book is published (which is not to say I have such a story planned), but the ebook thing is not really a good option. Being a slow and painstaking writer (and one who needs to make a living), it's just not something I would ever consider. Sorry!

And to answer Christina's question about UK & Commonwealth, all that means is that my agent, Jane Putch, retained those rights to sell herself, while Little, Brown holds all other rights. There will be a UK edition, and I can't WAIT for that! I'm a major sucker for foreign editions, and I don't have a UK edition for my other books yet!

Cheers!

Sarah Beth Durst said...

Yay, Laini!!! Congratulations on your new book! It sounds fabulous. I'm so happy for you! Snoopy dance of joy!

All best wishes,
Sarah

Marianne said...

Prague? Daughter of smoke and bone?

I'm in love already.

SOOOOOOOO happy for you Laini, and for the rest of us who get to look forward to another of your fabulous creations.

I'm sorry about Magpie too, but I absolutely trust that her moment will come again and I can wait.

xx
M

Faith Pray said...

Hurray for your news! I hope the publishing world will sometime soon catch the fever for Dreamdark, having just caught it myself after reading your fabulous novels, but hurray for more Laini books!

Melody Violine said...

Congratulations! :D

Heidi said...

Oh my god i'm so excited for this!

And at the same time, GUH! my book is about angels and demons but my own spin on them, because everything about them that's out at the moment is so cliched. It's scary knowing that I started this three years ago and suddenly angels are a big hit and I'm freaking out every time I see someone else writing about them. However, it looks like yours is more of a romance kind of plot, (phew) because mine is more... kid discovering his roots and having adventures and then lots of twists and turns without the whole relationships and love interests part to it.

And I was delighted to see you sold it to the Commonwealth! That's me! can't wait for it. :) I'm buying.

Heidi said...

And in venice, oh my god :(
haha, no it's okay. Mine just looks like venice...
Have you ever been there? You can't NOT be inspired to write something in that gorgeous city. If you haven't, definitely go there. Try go during Carneval, it was like Halloween, everyone on the island was dressed up in amazing costumes and wandering around the streets ... and we don't even have Halloween in Australia so I was freaking out. A couple walked past me dressed in witches hats and wearing black capes and I remember filming them going "oh my god... wizards... out in the open... Voldemort must be dead!"

Christine Fletcher said...

Laini, this is such wonderful news! DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE sounds delicious and marvelous and rich and I CANNOT wait to read it. Congratulations!!

Myrna Foster said...

Yay! I can't wait to read it!

Amy said...

CONGRATS!!! This sounds super exciting and I really can't wait! Please update us as soon as you get any info on release date, cover, etc!

One more thing--the devil and the demon are not the same person, right? :)

persnickety_jen said...

HOORAY! I love, love, love the title! Can't wait for DAUGHTER to hit the shelves. In the meantime, good luck with the deadlines!

Laini Taylor said...

Hi all!
Heidi, it ended up NOT being set in Venice after all; that was early stuff. (though I LOVE Venice. Jim asked me to marry him on a gondola under the Bridge of Sighs, and we have always planned to return for our 10th anniversary, which will be next year!) The book, though, is set mostly in Prague and Morocco! (Have been to Prague, not Morocco. YET :-)

And yeah, the whole angel and demon trend . . . as you can see from the date of the blog post that indicates when this idea was born . . . Sept 2008 . . . it was before the trend really hit! Alas, it's taken me this long to get it together, and now there are a bunch of angel books. But whatever. I read an agent tweet just the other day claiming the genre was "done" but I have to say it isn't so. No genre ever is, is it? It's all in the execution.

And Amy, re: the "devil" and "demon", well, that's some of the "misleading" I was speaking of. It's really impossible to parse the story line from that cryptic blurb, which is fine -- I'll keep the mystique for now! In fact, they're not devils OR demons, but something else that is most easily categorized as such for the purpose of blurbage. It really is a very difficult book to summarize, and the jacket copy will be a really treat to write when its time comes (I suppose that falls to Alvina, and I don't envy her!)

Persnickety_Jen, I'm glad you love the title! So happy to hear it :-)

ann foxlee said...

Wheee!!!!! Congratulations, and long live slutty new ideas!

I'm enjoying indulging my SNI for the moment, so it is great to hear that yours turned out to be the thing you ought to be writing.

Love the title, and can't wait to read it!

Heidi said...

I can't wait to read it anyway! :D
It's so weird how that happens, how the secret idea you're working on suddenly becomes the next big thing and you're like "But im not ready to submit yet!!"

PS. I used to have hot pink streaks in my hair like yours. Sometimes I wish I'd done the whole lot! But maybe I'd never have been able to work in an office hehe

Charlotte said...

Congratulations from me too, Laine! I will look forward to it gleefully.

blessedmatch said...

That is such wonderful news. Congratulations, Laini. Can't wait to read the book.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations!I'm so glad for you but I'm also very glad foryour fans whomhave been looking forward for this piece of news. The synopsis sounds awesome. Once again Congratulations. Have fun celebrating!

Anonymous said...

but...but...but...no more Dreamdark for a while? This is terrible! Terrible! You have to finish the series before my daughter is too old to give me cover for reading the most wonderful kids books ever!

I'm thrilled for the new book, but PLEASE go back to Magpie sooner rather than later!

Lisa said...

CONGRATULATIONS! IT SOUNDS AWESOME!

Brooke said...

CONGRATS! I'm really looking forward to Daughters, it sounds like something I'd love to read. :)

Kimberley Griffiths Little said...

Totally awesome, girl!!! It sounds FANTABULOUS!!! Congrats!

Kiki Hamilton said...

Congratulations!!! Sounds fabulous! I remember when you visited Prague a few years ago - did you know you would write this book then?

Laini Taylor said...

Hi Kiki! No -- Jim and I had a different story in mind then for Prague, one I'd still like to write one day, and which might be linkable to this one. I see some more trips to Prague in the future :-)

Talei said...

Congrats Laini, you have a lovely way with words. Looking forward to reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone - love the title! ;)

Anonymous said...

congradulations and all, but i can't wait for the dreamdark series! their so exiting, i can never put them down! please continue writing them soon!

Evie said...

I'll give you chocolate and love you forever for an ARC of Daughter of Smoke and Bone!!!

No? Well, I just had to try...but I really do love your writing. You have a magical imagination and I'm so glad you're sharing it with the world.

I just found out I'm going to be a grandmother and I've already purchased a set of your books for the baby! I can't wait to read them aloud.

Congratulations. You deserve it. I think you're the best out there, across the board, hands down. Write. Write. Write. And write some more!

BrittLit said...

Congrats! I'm super excited too!

Gardenpoet said...

Okay,this post is rather outdated, but...no more dreamdark for a while? You mean, I have to WAIT?! But I need to know what happens...whine. Please, please, pretty pretty please, sooner as opposed to later!
I am absolutely in love with the dreamdark books, they are every bit equal to the other two serieses that make up my very favorite and most highly recommened books. I have read them both blackbringer and silksinger now fewer than ten times each. Seriously. So...please?

Gardenpoet said...

Oops, that was supposed to be "no fewer", not "now fewer"!