Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What Happens in Vegas...

...Stays in Vegas, unless you come to the Vegas Valley Book Festival and take really embarrassing pictures of me and post them online.

Which is all to say: COME SEE ME IN VEGAS THIS WEEKEND! Saturday is filled with TONS of panels, chock-full of amazing YA authors. And then, to top it all off, I'll be one of your hosts for a Steampunk Ball.


I know, right??

And...and I am cringing just typing this out...yes, I will be in a costume at the ball. It involves a corset. So, either I will be having a TON of fun, or I will be SUPER SUPER GROUCHY AND UNCOMFORTABLE. Likely the only way the former option will come true is if you come to the festival and the ball and hang out with me.

The full schedule is in the linked page, but I will be signing with all the other authors from 3-5, and then at the Steampunk Ball from 7:30-9:30. The whole thing is FREE. And awesome! I'll be there with my darling Stephanie Perkins, so you can get our books signed by each other, too! And there are a ton of authors I, personally, am super excited to meet.


If you can't make this, plan to be in San Diego next weekend on the 10th for the YA In the Sun event, also with a super ton of amazing authors! More info on that to follow.

In the meantime, I have to go glue some gears on some shoes. As one does.

Friday, October 26, 2012


I was trying to think of an eloquent, humble way to introduce this, but all I can say is this: two of my very most-admired, favorite authors have blurbed MIND GAMES. It means so much to me, and makes me so happy, and also includes a good deal of holy crap, seriously? To have authors whose work I read and think, "Why do I even bother??" read my work and love it enough to officially blurb it is pretty freaking incredible.

With no further ado:

"Mind Games is a thriller of the best sort, one with many characters vying to have things their way, who will go as far as they need to get what they want -- and a protagonist who will go even further. A brutal, exciting gem of a book." --Holly Black

(Someday, somehow, Holly and I will go on tour together just so we can call it the "Black, White, and Read All Over" tour.)

And, of course, the blurb I've already posted but let's post again just for fun:

“You might think you know Kiersten White, but here is a darker, more dangerous Kiersten White. A sharp, heart-wrenching, lightning-fast, and fabulously fun read in which twining narratives weave a trap around two extraordinary sisters. Fia may be the angriest narrator I’ve ever loved. I bet you will too.” --Laini Taylor

So happy. So grateful. So excited for you all to get to read MIND GAMES in just under four months! And if you haven't read Laini's amazing DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE, get on it. The sequel comes out in nine days! Also, if you haven't read Holly's Curse Worker series, the good news is all the books are out and you can devour them one after another and find out why it's the series every YA author I talk to wishes they wrote. But of course we couldn't have, because it's Holly's, and Holly is one-of-a-kind.

Meanwhile, back to happy dancing in the White household!

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Secret to Getting Published

Back in the day, before I had an agent or a book deal, I used to scour agent and editor blogs and interviews. I can't even tell you how many hours I spent, how many tens of thousands of words I read looking for THE SECRET.

(No, not that book where apparently if you really want something to happen it will magically happen. Though that feels appropriate for this post, in a "wow that is just not how things work" sort of way.)

I was looking for the secret that would get me published. The one tidbit of information that, when triumphantly wielded by my typing-bruised fingers, would let my bypass everything and jump straight into success. I honestly don't know what I thought that secret would be, or even what it could be. Font size? Query formatting? Trends no one could ever actually predict?

Because here is the secret--the ONLY one--that, when applied, can get you a book deal:

Write the best book you can. Make it as good as you can. And then write the next book*.

The end.

I know, it's not very glamorous, is it? I'd really much rather there be some big password, or a secret handshake, or something. But no. That's all there is to it. My agent pulled my manuscript from the slush. I knew no one in publishing. I had no connections. I sent out fifty queries on my second book before Michelle signed me--and that book didn't even sell. It was my fourth finished novel that finally nudged me over that invisible line. And not every book I've written since then has sold or will sell. The journey continues.

So: if this is something you want, write. Write, and then write, and then write some more. That's really all there is to it. (Oh, except the editing. Which is just as important as the writing. Sorry.) Networking, platforms, so on and so forth cannot make up for the one thing that is solely down to you: the writing.

I don't mean this to be discouraging. I mean it to be exactly the opposite. Because you, too, can be a nobody who knows no one and still get your dream of being an author. There's no secret to it.

Just a lot of work.

But that work can lead to very happy endings, like the one just revealed in all its gorgeous cover glory on my dear friend Natalie Whipple's blog! Go see her cover. Ogle. And know that it could be you someday, no secrets needed.

SECRET PUBLISHING HIGH FIVE FOR NATALIE! By which I mean a regular high five, because again: no secrets.

*Write another book, not a sequel. It's not the greatest idea to write sequels to books that haven't sold. Your time is better spent on a separate project.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Easter Eggs

I sometimes get asked if I ever hide things in my books. I don't know if "hide" is the right word--because you'd have to be one seriously devoted and creepy stalker to understand every reference or joke that relates to my actual life--but I do occasionally use things/people from my real life in my books. Here's an incomplete* list of little Easter Eggs!

● My editor's dog has a cameo in the beginning of MIND GAMES that sets off the entire plot.

● My agent is an actual character in THE CHAOS OF STARS, as the woman in charge of a museum.

● A main character in THE CHAOS OF STARS is named after my editor's assistant. I asked her permission first, but I think it was like our second or third email ever. I said, "CAN I PLEASE STEAL YOUR NAME?" and she was probably terrified I was crazy so she said yes. Spoiler: She was right! Totally crazy.

● A scene in MIND GAMES pulled directly from my own childhood was flagged by my (wonderful) copyeditors for being a bit unbelievable. EVEN THOUGH IT HAPPENED IN REAL LIFE. Four words: poison oak treasure hunt.

● Steve the Vampire from PARANORMALCY and SUPERNATURALLY was named for a longtime internet friend.

● I am weird about numbers and so are most of my friends, so when I have to include a specific number I always choose one either I like or a friend does. (I recognize it is irrational to prefer certain numbers over others, but recognizing it does not change the fact that numbers in multiples of five are always more pleasant.)

● For a long time, every single father character I wrote was named David, both so I could actually remember the names and as a joke to a friend named Dave.

● I have sisters named Erin and Lauren, and once wrote a book where the love interests were...Aaron and Loren. It wasn't on purpose. Fortunately for sisterly relations, that book will never be published. When I need a throwaway name in a book I often use my siblings'. Good thing I have four of them.

*incomplete because honestly I forget things the moment I turn them in, which is nice when it comes to re-reading my books ("Ha! That's great! No idea how I wrote it.") but less nice when it comes to answering really specific questions about them

Monday, October 15, 2012

Once Upon a Time

When Hot Stuff and I went to England last April, we stayed in a castle. (Actually, we stayed in the top of a TOWER in a castle, which makes it infinitely cooler, no?) This is not actually something we make a habit of, so it was kind of special. Bonus: the city it is in is called Thornbury, which of course needs to be said with a ridiculous and completely inaccurately exaggerated accent.

The bed was not nearly big enough for the two of us. Wait. I mean, the bed was big enough for Henry the 8th and all of his wives, headless or otherwise.

What is that odd wooden chair next to the bath? THE TOILET, OF COURSE. Because toilets in castles have to be extra special, you know? Also, every shower should have its own fireplace, I've decided.

 Oh, you know, just a centuries-old church as viewed from the above bathroom. No biggie. We went and visited and were regaled with local stories of MURDER AND INTRIGUE by an adorable woman who lives there. I am not even kidding.

A Tudor castle? Well, no, it actually had more than two doors. HA HA HA.
Sorry. Had to.

 It was rainy and misty, which felt very appropriate. Well done, England!

 "Ha ha! I am in ENGLAND! At a CASTLE! Sneaking through HEDGES! And it is RAINING! I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO HAPPY."

I love that end section where the second floor has fallen apart and they just left it. ENGLAND: You do everything right.

Anne Boleyn and Henry the 8th ALSO stayed here. But they checked out before we arrived.
JUST MISSED THEM. Like, by a few centuries.

 Even ruined stone walls are better in England.

 Sure, Thornbury museum. A conductor's baton. We believe that. MM HMM.
Totally a wand.

And finally, if Hot Stuff and I ever have to pick a family crest, we are totally copying this:


Monday, October 1, 2012


Congratulations, JG! Please email me or leave in the comments who you would like Shannon to personalize the book to.

Remember, if you're in Southern California, Shannon's signing is tomorrow at the Oceanside Barnes and Noble at 6:30 PM! I hear her mom is bringing cupcakes. Enough said.

If you're not in Southern California, KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES comes out tomorrow everywhere, not just this sunny, super expensive paradise! You can get it, too, without even having to pay California taxes! LUCKY YOU!