Posts Tagged ‘promised’
The third book in the Birthmarked trilogy, Promised, is being released today, April 1st, in Germany as Der Weg der gefallen Sterne (The Path of the Fallen Star).
Naturally, I’m thrilled about this. Oliver Plaschka has doubtless done a fantastic job with the translation, though regrettably I can’t tell for myself since I know only the most paltry German. (“Wo ist der bus für Igles?”) I find it very cool that Oliver is the same translator for Chbosky’s Das also ist mein Leben (The Perks of Being A Wallflower), which I’ve admired for ages. Oliver is also the author of the newly released Das Licht hinter den Wolken: Lied des Zwei-Ringe-Lands, which I would love to read if it becomes available in English. Thank you again, Oliver!
I’m reasonably certain that this is the description of Der Weg der gefallenen Sterne from Heyne, my German publisher:
Der große Höhepunkt von Caragh O’Briens dystopischer Jugendbuchsaga
Die junge Gaia Stone ist Hebamme. Doch in einer zerstörten Welt kann auch sie den verlorenen Kindern nicht mehr helfen, und so trifft Gaia eine schwere Entscheidung. Gemeinsam mit einer Gruppe junger Siedler verlässt sie das Ödland, um zur Stadt hinter der Mauer zurückzukehren und um Hilfe zu bitten. Werden sie die gefährliche Reise überstehen? Und wird sich Gaias Hoffnung auf eine bessere Zukunft endlich erfüllen?
Gerade hat Gaia in der Siedlung Sylum eine neue Heimat gefunden, da steht sie schon wieder vor großen Veränderungen. Denn die Menschen von Sylum leiden an einer sonderbaren Krankheit: Sie können den Ort nur um wenige Meilen verlassen, bevor sie lebensgefährliche Schwächeanfälle erleiden. Ein Hinweis in den Aufzeichnungen ihrer Großmutter zeigt Gaia jedoch, wie sie dieser großen Gefahr entfliehen können. Und so begibt sie sich mit einer Gruppe Siedler auf die gefährliche Reise zurück zu dem Ort, dem sie einst entflohen ist – der Enklave, der Stadt hinter der Mauer. Weder die junge Gaia noch ihre Gefährten wissen, was sie dort erwartet …
For a video on where it all began: Glückliche dunklen Lesen! (Happy dark reading!)
Promised (Birthmarked #3) will be released as an ebook in the UK on Thursday, February 7th, and Simon & Schuster Children’s Books UK has come up with a third cover to complete the series. Isn’t this striking and mysterious? The copy reads: “When the cost of the freedom of others is your own future, would you pay the ultimate price?” Put that way, it sounds heart-wrenchingly difficult. It fascinates me to see what elements are distilled out of a story to be highlighted on the cover, and I have to admit, that dilemma sits at the crux of the novel.
Ever since I saw the second cover (for Prized), with the woman’s face in an evocative, three-quarters turn, I hoped we would see her complete her pivot from profile to full face forward for the third book, and that’s what has happened. It’s so cool to think that Nick Stearn, the cover artist, foresaw this effect years ago, back when he designed the first cover for Birthmarked. I like to think he did it to please me, too. I managed to blurt out once when I met him in London that I hoped the third book would resolve this way. Our latest Twitter correspondence confirms that he remembered.
Big crushes of people packed the Javits Center this weekend for NY Comic Con 2012. What did 100,000 people feel like? A lot of fun. Especially since many of the people were dressed in savage, colorful, and sometimes flesh-baring costumes. Our favorite? A little boy came as Bumblebee in a homemade, cardboard, yellow outfit and when he knelt down and curled up, he transformed into a car. Ingenious.
I am deeply indebted to Katie, S.T., Rufka, Lainey, Chelsea, and Mindy, the volunteers who joined me on the Unbound Stage to act out the first chapter of Promised. It was a dangerous and action-packed scene involving many invisible weapons, precarious heights and heart-rending drama, but my bold volunteers were unfazed. With zero preparation, they rose to the challenge to produce an awesome, super funny scene. I only wish it had gone on longer. I only wish we were still there.
Other highlights included meeting Cecil Castellucci in person after years of email correspondence, seeing fellow MacKids writer Tommy Greenwald with his trademark dry humor on a MG Lit panel, browsing through Artist Alley, meeting up with my agent Kirby Kim to chat, signing books at the table next to Veronica Taylor (the voice of Ash. I actually heard her say “I choose you!”), and hanging out with my fabulous family.
Would I do it again? In a heartbeat.
When my agent suggested I make a book trailer for Promised, I was game. I started asking my writer friends who had made their trailers, and I began watching trailers more critically to see what I liked. I was drawn to the trailers that were short, and those that had voice-overs speaking like a character, not an announcer. I liked trailers that gave a hint of the story without actually explaining it, and I liked the pace to move fast enough, but without getting frantic. In short, I had a happy, vague notion of what I wanted and little idea of how to get there.
Next I contacted a couple of the trailer makers to ask about timelines, pricing, and how they obtained the images and music they used in regard to copyrights. Jeff Somers had fair replies, and more important, even within a few emails, he revealed a friendly sense of humor and a receptive way of exchanging ideas. I sent him a file of my novel and the copy from the jacket cover. My agent’s assistant lined up a five-way phone meeting with my agent, two of the creative marketing people at Macmillan, Jeff and me for us to swap preliminary ideas. The Mac people suggested we include mentions of Books 1 and 2 at the beginning, and they knew the technical specs for their media outlets. Jeff asked them for high-resolution images of the covers, wrap-around. We talked a bit about what we all expected, and Jeff offered to send me a preliminary draft the next week.
Writing a script was the next key step. Jeff wrote one based on the jacket copy, and I wrote one based on Gaia’s character, and we merged them into one that we both liked. He said he’d start looking for a voice-over artist with a young, Midwestern voice.
A few days later, Jeff sent me the first draft of the trailer, and that’s when the fun began. From teaching broadcasting, I know just enough about film editing to appreciate how flexible it is and how hours can vanish while you fiddle with clips. Jeff and I got honest with each other real fast. I’d send him a bullet list of what was working for me in each draft and what was not, with a list of other clips he could try. Have you ever searched Stock.XCHNG or VideoBlocks? Fun stuff. We switched out the music twice. Jeff found more images for a better fit, substituting, for instance, the noose for an earlier image of a gun and bullets. He searched three different times for the girl’s face that appears towards the end. He adjusted the timing, the pans, the zooms, the colors, the aging effects, and the fades. Four drafts in, I showed the trailer to some teenagers I trust for their feedback. They nixed the voice. Jeff found a second voice-over artist, Julie Smith, who was a closer match to Gaia, and she recorded the script for us twice. Six drafts in, we ran it by the Mac people and my agent again for feedback, and we tweaked some more. By seven drafts, we were finished.
Thank you, Jeff!
Aside from being fun, working on this trailer has given me an interesting, different way to think about my characters and the mood of my book. I expected an image of an orange would fit in somewhere, but it didn’t. I never would have guessed that a clothesline in the wind could capture a feeling for my book, but does.
Take a look: Go, Gaia!
Friday evenings are always sweet, aren’t they? My son is watching League of Legends next to me on the couch, I’m back from visiting a poet friend and her writer husband, my husband’s cooking dinner, and the evening stretches wild and free before us into a long weekend. We even have the windows open to an unseasonably warm October breeze.
For my final stop on the Promised Blog Tour, I’m talking with Bailey at IB Book Blogging. Her important questions cover the zombie apocalypse and what else might be fun to read, presumably after we’ve vanquished the zombies. Thanks again to all the great bloggers who’ve had me by for the tour!
One of my favorite things about teaching was Independent Reading. No matter what grade I was teaching, or which level, whether it was regular English or Creative Writing or Intro to Journalism and Broadcasting, we would stop for half an hour every Friday to read in silence. The students would bring books of their own choice and we’d just kick back. The only thing you’d hear was pages turning. Sometimes we’d get to the end of our thirty minutes and take a vote to see if we should keep reading for another ten. Sometimes, after that, we’d take another vote.
Please don’t tell me that teenagers don’t like to read. They might not like to read what’s required, but whose fault is that?
I taught one “Standard” level 9th grade English class with 12 boys and 2 girls. Some of the kids had never finished reading a book in their entire lives. We decided to do an experiment and read for half an hour every day for four weeks, just independent reading of books the students chose themselves: Crash, Twilight, Scar Tissue, Bleachers, Flipped, Calvin and Hobbes, Eragon, you name it. At the end of four weeks, most of the kids were reading with a fluency and comprehension they’d never had before. Some liked reading and felt successful at it for the first time ever, at age 14. I can’t remember what I skipped in the curriculum to make it happen, but was it worth it? I’d say so. Wouldn’t it be nice if we let teachers let students have what they really need? They’ll suck in what they want to learn like Slurpees up big straws.
Today on the Promised Blog Tour, Emily at The Ninja Librarian asks me how my teaching influenced my writing, and whether I thought of my novels for “reading across the curriculum” when I was writing them. I’ll tell you now, I learned far more as a teacher than I ever taught.
I had such a nice time at the UConn Coop last night. Thanks to Suzy Staubach and Sharon for putting on such a nice event, and thanks to my friends and family for coming by to help celebrate the release of Promised. I really love living in a small town with my buds and our own, familiar bookstore.
My next stop on the Promised Blog Tour is with Usagi at Birth of a New Witch, where we talk about how women’s rights figure in the Birthmarked trilogy and what readers might expect in Promised. Usagi came up with some great questions.
I’m happy about Promised coming out today and hopeful that readers will enjoy finding out where Gaia’s adventures take her next. This trilogy was not a solo effort, that’s for sure. Special thanks to my editor Nancy Mercado and the team at Roaring Brook for all their brilliant ideas and help over the past four years. Thank you to Kirby Kim, my agent. I’m grateful to my family and friends, too, for ongoing support. My novels would not have happened without you!
Today I’m writing, hanging out with my family, baking a few cupcakes, and heading over to the UConn Coop later for a reading. It’s the perfect way to celebrate.
Online, the Promised Blog Tour takes me today to Starting the Next Chapter. There Marla digs into my deepest secrets and asks which scene from the Birthmarked trilogy was most memorable to write. I’ve tried not to be too evasive.