Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Some Upcoming Goodness

Today is a happy!

My father in law is visiting us from Germany and it's so wonderful to have him in our home :) My editor LOVES Bloodrose - her stamp of approval and ecstatic praise for the final book of the Nightshade trilogy made me jump for joy.

And more goodness waits on the horizon:

First, tomorrow is the cover shoot for WOLFSBANE. I cannot begin to describe how excited I am for this cover. Once again the phenomenally talented Suza Scalora is photographing, and she's been gracious enough to let us photograph her at work - which means I'll get to do a full cover post on this blog and you'll get the insider's view on how it happens!!
Second, it's nearly August which means it's almost my birthday (whoopee!!) and it's almost time for the debut of the first of the Penguin Five. Next week I'll be hosting Kirsten Miller, author of The Eternal Ones, on this site and I'm so excited to have her. The Eternal Ones is a fantastic book and I'm eager to pick Kirsten's brain about it.
Hope you're all enjoying summer as much as I am!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

You Can Take the Writer Out of the Story...

One of the most frequent questions I get is: Where do you come up with story ideas?

It's a difficult question to answer because I don't find the ideas - they find me. I've never had the experience of thinking "what should I write about" - ideas sneak up on me and once they grab hold, they don't let go. My life as writer reflects the way I move through the world, which is that I'm never quite fully here. Part of me is always looking around, watching, waiting, knowing the next idea will soon strike.

While this way of being is fantastic for my writerly self, it makes life difficult for those closest to me.You know how some people are really charismatic? Great listeners, the people that make you feel like you're the only other person in the world?

I will never be one of those people because I'm never fully present in a moment. It's both a strength and a flaw. The good of this is that I see the world in layers of possibility, the bad is that I can be distant and spacey with friends and family.

Case in point: about a month ago I was at a wedding of close family friends. The wedding took place at the Minnesota Arboretum. It was wonderful and beautiful.And I was totally fixated by this:
To run-of-the-mill Arboretum guests this structure was what it was toted as. A living sculpture.

For me? Pagan sacrificial hut. (Wicker Man, anyone?)I couldn't stop talking about it. I went from being totally freaked out by it, to fascinated, to demanding pictures.
This is a typical example of what life with Andrea is like. I can't have a conversation, or go on a trip without the world of story bleeding into the life I'm leading. In a way I'm always living with a foot in this world and a foot in the writing world.

So if I seem distracted, just keep this in mind: it's not you, it's me.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Creative Much?? A Contest

I'm thrilled to share the news of a very special contest over on Emily's Reading Room where you can let your artistic selves shine!
Design a NIGHTSHADE t-shirt

Contest Overview: Entries can be submitted from July 20 to August 3. Entries can be submitted by filling out the google form at the bottom of this post OR by clicking HERE. Andrea Cremer will judge the entries and choose the winning design, and it will be announced on August 5.

One winner will receive an ARC of NIGHTSHADE and their winning design printed on a t-shirt.

I'm so over the moon about this contest I can hardly stand it! Cannot wait to see your entries!!!

Just one last reminder that contest entries should be posted to Emily's blog, don't leave them here. Emily is running the contest (THANK YOU, EM!!)

(Image by Amy-Lee Foley)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Still Going

More answers!

Let's say there was a big battle and you and one other person was left on the planet, who out of all your characters would that be and why?

Logan Bane. He'd figure out a way to save himself - he's cunning, particularly when it comes to self preservation.

My question: what's the biggest misconception of being an author/writer?

That you have to know someone to get an agent/get published. I was really naive going into this process. I did research on the internet to find my agent, but knew absolutely nothing about the industry. My wonderful agent, Charlie, pulled my manuscript out of the slush pile.

I was just wondering what inspiration brought about Nightshade. Some author's say that they had a dream of a certain scene or one of the characters just really spoke to them. So, for you, what was your inspiration in writing this story, and were there any scenes that really stood out to you?

Nightshade is Calla's story and she was the inspiration for the book. I tend to write from characters and Calla was floating around in my head for a week or two before I started putting her story onto the page. I knew she was a girl who was also a wolf. I knew she was strong, but also in serious trouble. I couldn't figure out how someone so powerful could be in that sort of a fix. That's where Nightshade's world emerged, it was all about building a history and society that explained Calla's predicament.

Was there any part of your publishing journey from original manuscript to final, sold product, that changed your life? And if so, how do you feel about where you are now?

Great question. It's a little odd but I'd say everything has changed and nothing has changed. Here's what I mean: Everything has changed in that the dream I wanted more than anything has come true, I have a multi-book deal, I have amazing new writing and publishing colleagues, and I get to travel to meet fantastic readers. Nothing has changed in that I still have my day job, I still live in Minnesota, and I still spend most days doing the same things I always did - except now when I write without feeling guilty for neglecting other parts of my life - it's what I'm supposed to be doing, it just took me 30 years to figure that out!!

My question: when did you realize you wanted to become a writer (and a potential author)? Was it a lightbulb moment or was it one of those slow realizations over many years? Did you ever at some point think, "This may not be for me"?

I'd spent my whole life writing, but I never pursued publication. Then two summers ago I was in a horseback riding accident where I ended up with a broken foot. I couldn't walk for eight weeks, so I decided to finally go after my dream of writing a novel. I was hooked instantly and knew there was no going back. I wrote two "practice" novels that will live forever in my desk drawers and then I wrote Nightshade. I knew from the beginning it was "the one," and I began querying agents. Charlie Olsen, my phenomenal agent at InkWell, requested the full manuscript and called me to say he loved it in March 2009. I did more revisions with Charlie and we went on submission in the summer of 2009, receiving a pre-empt from Michael Green at Philomel shortly thereafter. It was amazing - and in the publishing world, it happened at record speed.

I didn't know anything about publishing going into the process and I am so grateful for the positive (and fast!!!) experience I've had. My publisher and editor and the whole Penguin team are wonderful people who I consider my friends now. They love Nightshade just like I do and we make a great team! Having said that, when I began querying it was one of the scariest things I've ever done. I knew I wanted to pursue a writing career more than anything else, but I felt like I was jumping into the deep end of a pool without knowing how to swim. At times I was sure I'd never see my dream of being a novelist materialize. Fortunately I have a wonderful husband, family, and friends who were always cheering me on.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


With BEA and ALA past, Nightshade ARCs have been getting reviews. I want to send a HUGE thanks to readers for taking the time to offer your kind, thoughtful reviews - they make me so happy.

Here's a round-up of what I've seen out there. If I missed your review I apologize - I know I probably haven't found all of them!

Super Reader Girl's Reviews

Karen's Addictions

The Publication Follies of Alexandra Shostak

YA Addict

Fire and Ice

Wicked Walker

Shut Up I'm Reading

Ellz Reads

Woo hoo!!

If you'd like to win a pre-ordered Nightshade of your very own - there's a chance to win a copy as part of A Book Lovers' Review "Guess Who Q&A?" Contest; check it out :)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

More Answers!

Since there were so many awesome questions for the contest I'm going to post answers over the course of several blog posts. FYI if your question doesn't get answered it's because I couldn't answer it without spoilers and I have a strict no spoiler policy.

So my question is what inspired the names of Calla and the other characters in Nightshade?

I spend a lot of times on character names - I have to love the way the name sounds, it has to fit his or her personality and the meaning of the name usually has significance as well. Calla's name is related to her coloring - white blond hair and golden eyes, like a Calla lily, it also reflects the conflict in her life. She's a warrior, but too often she's expected to be delicate, like a lily and she hates that.

How the frak did you come up with the idea for this wickedly awesome and totally random yet justified contest?

So glad you liked it - I hold once monthly Q&A's on the blog and it seemed like it would be a fun twist to make it into a contest. I also love Battlestar Galactica - so thanks for the reference :)

How are you balancing teaching, promotion, and writing?

I was a plate-spinner in a past life. Of course I'm kidding. I have no idea. I think I'm juggling - I hope to make it to balancing some day.

When I read Goodreads reviews of Nightshade I found two reviews using Twilight as a sort of comparison/reference. In my mind that can turn people onto your novel or off of it. What do you think about being compared to other novels (not just Twilight but anything)? If you had a quote on your front novel saying for fans of _____, would you want that or would you rather a quote just talk about how good "your" novel is without name-dropping?

Great question. I'm delighted when Nightshade comes up in the context of any book readers are passionate about - and the more passionate a reader gets the more strong reactions to a novel or series can be, positive or negative. Comparisons are impossible to avoid and I don't mind them as long as they are gracious - opinions of books are subjective, so I think someone could love Twilight (or any other paranormal) and also love Nightshade or they could like one book and not the other. The most I can hope for is that when readers pick up Nightshade they are drawn into Calla's story and her world on its own merits.

If you could have any mythical creature for a pet, what would you choose and why?

A pegasus because I love horses and I'd love a horse that I could ride or fly on. I would have gone with dragon, but I just worry about how much control it would really have over that whole fire breathing thing.

If Nightshade is made into a movie(yay!),whom would you cast as the leads and why?

I actually did a separate blog post on this. You can see my picks here!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Winner and Chapter 1

Thanks so much to everyone who entered the 300 followers contest :)

The winner, selected by the Randomizer, is Anya!!!

Congrats Anya - send your mailing address to andreacremerwrites (at) gmail (dot) com and I'll send your ARC and swag :)

Keep watching for future contests. Until then I have a prize for everyone - you can read the first chapter of Nightshade at Amazon!
Click here to read!

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Hooray!!! 300 blog followers! Amazing!

Thanks so much to everyone who's following - it's wonderful to know you're here and I love your comments :) Welcome to new followers and thanks to followers who've been around since the beginning when all I had was my computer, a manuscript, and big, big dreams.

Starting a blog is a lonely business and it's just marvelous to have been on this writing journey with so many of you!

To celebrate this landmark let's do another giveaway!! Of course I'll send the winner a signed Nightshade ARC and I'll throw in a surprise (something wolfy) for good measure.

This time around I'd like to ask you to help spread the news about Nightshade. We're three months away from publication - which I know will go by fast, but it still seems soooooo long. I cannot wait for October!

To enter the contest tell someone why you're excited about Nightshade and in the comments below let me know who you told. I'll select the winner by random drawing on Tuesday.

Hope you're having a great summer - maybe something like this:

Friday, July 9, 2010

If You Didn't Win...

Check out this interview and contest at Novel Thoughts!!

Happy Friday :)

For the record - I love Twilight and I thought Eclipse was the best of the films yet, but this is still hilarious:

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Globe Trotting

So Germany lost in the semi-final. I'm bummed about that. My husband went to high school in Berlin and his father still lives in Bavaria so I have family connections in Germany that sway my soccer loyalties.
Now the final is Netherlands vs. Spain: who to cheer for?

I've decided to let my foreign sales choose for me. Those of you who regularly peek at the left sidebar of my blog might have noticed that the rights to Nightshade have gone increasingly global. With the most recent additions of Thailand and Indonesia, Nightshade will be published in 17 territories and counting! I can't believe it!

I'd like to give a huge shout out to my goddess of foreign rights, Lyndsey Blessing, at InkWell. Not only is she brilliant at international book relations, but she's an all around lovely person. Thanks, Lyndsey :)

I'm beyond thrilled that Nightshade will reach so many readers and I can't wait to see it printed in foreign languages - I've already been having fun exchanges with publishers about translation. It's a hoot!

If you're wondering when Nightshade might show up in your neck of the woods, keep an eye out on the publishers' web site. At this moment I'm only sure about the UK/Commonwealth date: January 6, 2011.

Getting back to the World Cup final - Spain has acquired rights to Nightshade, but the Netherlands...not yet. So for now I'll be cheering on Espana. Holland, if you want to change my mind, call Lyndsey before Sunday ;)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Winners! Answers!

Thank you so much for the fabulous questions!!! The five questions answered below are the randomly selected winners of a signed Nightshade ARC. I will, however, try to answer all the questions asked in future blog posts.

Here they are:

AmandaJ asks

Who is cuter, Fizzgig from The Dark Crystal, or Gizmo from Gremlins? :) Because I have a soft spot for both of them and could probably never choose between them.

Fizzgig! Because Gizmo never does this:

The Itzel Library asks

Which character was the most difficult to write?

Funnily enough it's Calla. You'd think I'd be smart enough not to choose the most difficult character as the narrator of my series. Calla is tough to pin down because she tries hard to bury her feelings, worrying that they might keep her from being the alpha she should be. She's more concerned about being a good leader and a strong warrior than dealing with her fears and secret desires. Sometimes getting a read on her emotions was like pulling teeth, but I knew from the very beginning that it was her story so I didn't have much choice.

LynseyNewton asks My question is - what book do you WISH you had written? It can be any book out there in existence.

Wow - that's hard. I wish I had written Marion Zimmer Bradley's
The Firebrand, which is one of my all-time favorite books. It's a brilliant retelling of the Fall of Troy from the perspective of the princess and priestess Kassandra.

@thekams asks

You're chosen to pick two books to send on the next Voyager space craft. In the hope that aliens will find it and the items - what two books would you pick and why?

Yikes! So much responsibility. Also - I wonder if the aliens are benevolent or hostile because if it's the latter I feel like I should send them scary books that make humans seem evil and best avoided like an Edgar Allan Poe or Shirley Jackson anthology so they'll stay away.

But assuming they're nice, happy aliens I'd like to send the Harry Potter series (yes, I'm cheating and calling the series one book) and Michel Rolph Trouillot's Silencing the Past, which is one of my favorite books about confronting history.

Tez Miller asks

If you're Professor Chaos, then who is your General Disarray? ;-)

Definitely my husband. While I'm an out-of-control idealist he's very sensible. So when I, like Professor Chaos, come up with vast plans for world domination my husband very pragmatically helps me sort out what's viable, what's silly, and what the Simpsons have already done.

Congrats to the winners!!! Send your mailing address to: andreacremerwrites (at) gmail (dot) com and I'll send your ARC.

Thanks to everyone who offered a question - I'll continue to post answers in the coming weeks. Also - keep an eye out for more giveaways this summer.