It’s been a bit quiet here. Why, you ask? Because I have been up to my ears in writing deadlines!
Once upon a time, my agent Amber Caraveo asked me to send her information on my other projects. Among other things, I sent her the synopsis and first few chapters of (what was then called) The Great Tanboor Trade. She loved it… like, a lot.
Like, she sort of wondered if it should be my debut level of a lot.
After having a 24-hour panic attack/identity crisis (“Me? Writing middle grade contemporary? MEE??”), I agreed to do a speed-draft of it so that we could see how it stood next to Illuminate. So in January, February, and the first part of March I wrote the whole thing (maybe I’ll do a post about how that happened later – I used some new techniques that really saved my butt). Shot it off to her. She loved it, again!
So I reached out to my network. As I discovered: I know a rather extensive assortment of people. From experts on Boston to experts on Middle School to NGO workers to refugees, an awesome network of readers rose to the call. And they all took on the challenge to read it in under a month – even those who have English as their second (or third!) language! Seriously blown away.
Here are some of the beautiful pieces of feedback I received:
I wanted to first thank you for letting me read your wonderful book. I absolutely loved and enjoyed reading your story. I love the fact that you didn’t just focus on the negative parts of Sami’s life but also put in focus on him finding new life and hope. I definitely appreciated that a lot as I was reading the story.
– L., Afghan refugee currently living in the US
I could feel what Sami felt in this story. My heart cried several time during reading the story.
– H., Afghan refugee currently living in Europe
I flew through the last couple of chapters, couldn’t stop reading! It’s so great! My comments tailed off because I was enjoying it so much and couldn’t think of anything to improve. You’ve smashed my heart to pieces and built it anew, complete with new knowledge and understanding. YOU ROCK.
– Sarah Driver, author of Huntress: Sea
Excuse me while I go rub this dust out of my eye…
My readers also gave me invaluable insights to weak points in the story, and pushed it on to a whole new level of wonderful. I seriously can’t believe how near-seamlessly this has all come together, and it’s 100% because of the community that’s built this book.
So I turned that over to Amber at the beginning of the month. We’ve hoping to send it off to publishers by the end of the summer…!
Meanwhile, I’m working on proposals for other MG stories, a new bio, and the final revisions of Illuminate. I don’t know what the future holds, but it’s all very exciting! I’m excited to see what comes of all this.
Also, as you may have noticed, the website looks a bit different. I finally got annoyed with the typefaces on my old layout… So of course I burned the whole thing to the ground, bought a premium design, and have spent the last three days troubleshooting it. There are still some things I need to tweak and adjust, but I’m quite pleased with it overall. I’ve updated my bio and Stories & Stuff page, so all that is up to date now.
Let me know what you think! (Or if you find anything broken…)
In the near future, look forward to an extensive Q&A about Bath Spa’s Writing for Young People program and a moodboard for The Eleventh Trade. But for now, I’ve got to get back to revising!