|Is Promised going to be released in the UK and Australia?
Simon and Schuster Children’s UK has offered for the e-book rights for Promised, so the third book in the series will soon be available in digital format to readers in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. The release date is February 7th, 2013.
Is Leon okay?
Unfortunately, I have no way to answer this without spoilers. For readers who have finished Birthmarked, I’ve written a short story, “Tortured” that may answer some questions. It is available free on Kindle and Nook, and for those without e-readers, the entire text is featured on Tor.com.
Where did you get the idea for Birthmarked?
The very first ideas began to come when I was driving across the U.S. a few years ago, and went through a drought in the South.The waterless lakes made me feel like climate change was already here, and I started to consider the social and political effects we’ll face in the coming years.Then I wondered what it would take to survive, and Gaia’s story began to form. I started writing the first chapter a couple weeks later.
Are you writing a sequel?
Yes. Though I didn’t originally plan to write more of Gaia’s story, and, in fact, the early drafts of Birthmarked had a different ending, Roaring Brook offered me a three-book contract, so I’m working on the sequels. Prized was released in November, 2011, and Promised is due out October 2nd, 2012.
Are you writing a Story 2.5 like you did a Story 1.5?
Yes. “Ruled” will be up for free on Tor.com on Tuesday, September 25, 2012, a week before Promised is released. It will also be available on Kindle, and Nook, though less free there. The story is from Leon’s perspective, and it’s the very last thing I wrote for the series.
Why is your book called Birthmarked?
When a baby is born in my story, a certain midwife tattoos the baby’s ankle with four freckles in the shape of Orion’s belt and the point star of his sword. Such a person is “birthmarked,” and the tattoos matter later.
Do you have any tattoos?
Not so far.
How do you pronounce your name?
“Caragh” rhymes with “JAR-uh,” and the “-gh” is silent. It’s Gaelic, and I’m named after a lake in Ireland. I hope to visit it some day.
How did you come up with the code?
The main code is a variation on one I played around with when I was a kid. I thought my brother Tim taught it to me, but when I asked him about it recently, he didn’t remember it.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Where do you live now?
I live in a small town in rural Connecticut.
How old are you?
I decline to state my age publicly.
Do you miss teaching?
Yes, I do. I resigned from teaching high school English to write full-time in 2010, and I miss my students. I’m also very happy writing, so it was the right decision. Now I volunteer as a visiting writer at a local program for incarcerated teens, and it gives me great delight to explore writing and reading with them.
Is Birthmarked available in other languages?
Yes. Rights have sold in France, Germany, China, Spain, Brazil and Turkey. They’ve sold in the UK, too, which apparently also involves some translation. There’s a nifty French website / site Web français with a book trailer, and a very fancy German Video / deutsches Video that, regrettably, I can’t understand at all.
Was it hard to find a publisher for your book?
No. I found my agent by coming through the slush pile, and then he submitted my book to editors he knew would be interested. I feel very fortunate.
I’m a first time writer and I’m getting kind of overwhelmed. Are there any tips you can give on how to get published, maybe some good agents and publishers?
Sure. Basically, to get a novel published these days, it helps to find a literary agent to represent your work. A good agent knows which editors will be most likely to offer for your novel, and he or she will handle submitting it, negotiating an advantageous contract, and protecting your rights in exchange for 15% of what you earn.
Another option is to self-publish your novel, which you can do for free online. Self-publishing, despite certain drawbacks, gets more respect all the time. (See Smashwords, Amazon’s Kindle Direct, or Create Space for starters.)
Be aware: the honest, fair people in publishing don’t ask writers to pay for services, so don’t be scammed. Traditional publishers pay writers an advance before a book comes out. Legitimate agents never charge fees up front.
So, where do you go from here? I have found two sites to be invaluable.
AgentQuery.com is a free site that has great info about how to find an agent, plus tips on how publishing works.
Verla Kay’s Blueboards are a free forum where writers exchange information and encourage each other on their paths to publishing YA and Kidslit. You can read about many practical topics and join to ask questions and comment.
It takes time to write, and time to learn about publishing and submitting, too. Never let your efforts to publish undermine the joy you find in your own writing, and you’ll be in good shape.
For details on how I found a publisher for Birthmarked, see my related post.
Do you earn much money?
I earn about as much from writing as I did from teaching.
Will Birthmarked be turned into a movie?
Probably not. The chances of a novel being turned into a film are remote, so I’m expecting Birthmarked to exist only as a novel.
Is Birthmarked going to be an audio book?
Yes. The audio rights for the trilogy have recently been bought by Tantor Audio, and they are being released in January, 2013. The audio books are available at Tantor, Amazon, Audible, and Barnes & Noble.
My book group is reading Birthmarked and I’d like to find some discussion questions. Do you have any?
You and your friends are likely to discuss what interests you most if you simply start with your honest reactions to the novel. I hope you enjoy where the book leads you! Also, I wrote some questions to ponder that are included in the back matter of the paperback edition of Birthmarked. Please be warned that they include spoilers and are meant to be considered only after reading the novel. I’m including them here in case they might be helpful: Pondering Questions for Birthmarked.
Will you Skype with my book group?
Probably. Send me a message here and I’ll gladly look at my calendar.
Hello. I read your book for an english assignment and i was wondering what made you write this book? What inspired you? What was happening in the time that made this book possible? What are the themes of birthmarked?
Please forgive me if I’m unable to provide answers for your assignment. I need my time to work on writing my next novel. Perhaps you could ask your teacher if you could write a story instead of answering the questions. That would help you learn about the choices writers make.