Saturday, March 13

Lucky last

Can you believe it's the last day of our third anniversary celebration? I know, crazy right! Anyway, before I start my own little ramble (and trust me, ramble I will) I'd just like to say a big thank you to everyone who has joined us - you guys rock and it's your enthusiasm that helps make our genre so awesome! I'd also like to thank all of my fellow TFCers for your wonderful, insightful, honest and witty posts. I know I'm not the only one who has found them incredibly inspiring!!!!

Now, the theme this week has been about what we were all doing three years ago when Teen Fiction Café first started, and while I don’t always own the best memory in the world, I actually do know the answer to this one.

In March 2007 I was living in England getting ready to move back to New Zealand the following month (and by move, I mean that I was trying to sort my way through the acres of toys that my children had somehow managed to accumulate). As well as packing, I was also waiting for my debut book YOU HAD ME AT HALO to hit the shelves in August.

Halo had actually started life as a young adult book but my editor wanted me to rewrite it as woman’s fiction (which I did, and let’s just say that brains and explosion pretty much summed up that experience). However, the thing is that despite how happy I was to have a book coming out, I still really wanted to write a YA book and so I pitched an idea of a zombie novel to my agent in March 2007.

Back then it was all about vampires and quite honestly the only reason I chose zombies was because I thought that the word was funny. Thankfully my agent loved the idea and so I (rather ambitiously) decided to write the book before I moved. Which meant that yup, I spent three weeks in March 2007 writing Zombie Queen of Newbury High. Thankfully it was worth the effort and a couple of months after I arrived in New Zealand, and just before Halo came out, my agent sold it to Puffin.

Now, like all of my fellow TFCers have mentioned, being an author definitely has its highs and lows and my journey since then has definitely had a collection of both. Despite getting some really great reviews and being nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award, my first book tanked and was remaindered a year later. Zombie fared a bit better and as well as going into a third print run, I’ve also just found out that it’s been selected by the New York Public Library for their Stuff for the Teen Age 2010 list (which, let me tell you, had me doing some very undignified dancing in front of my highly embarrassed children).

Thankfully the good news definitely makes it easier on the hard days when the doubt monkeys sit on my shoulder and scream so loudly in my ear that I can’t imagine how I could ever write another word again. I’m still working on how to get rid of those doubt monkeys (you know like send them to a lovely farm where they can live a long and happy life because honestly the thought of poking them in their beady little eyes with a sharp pencil had never even crossed my sweet little mind. Honest!!!!!).

So that’s me. The last three years have seen me move country, get to see my books in print and meet some really wonderful YA authors and readers. As for what the next three years hold, well I’ve also got another YA book called Fairy Bad Day coming out in Spring next year as well as a midgrade series about an eleven year old girl who accidently gets turned into a djinn the day before she starts sixth grade and then has to learn how to handle her powers while hiding it all from her mom.

And because no party would be complete without prizes I’m going to give away a copy of ZOMBIE QUEEN OF NEWBURY HIGH (what? You didn’t think I was going to share my snacks did you?). To be in with a chance to win all you need to do is leave a comment. Go on, you know you want to!


Rachel Bateman said...

Yay! I want to read Zombie Queen just because of the name! Also, the cover is awesome. word verification is NOMPRIZE

That sounds appropriate for a zombie novel giveaway:

Priiiize *nom*nom*nom*

Heather Kelly said...

Very cool. I know those doubt monkeys! Congrats on the new books coming out, and getting onto the Stuff For the Teen Age 2010 List. That's such wonderful news! I'm going to check out your books, although I've got my fingers crossed that I will win a copy!

bookaholic said...

I have consistently tried to be a part of your celebration. It was awesome reading about your highs,lows ,happy and stressful times in the posts! Thanks for sharing so much and being so candid with us readers. And I do admit,this being the last day of the celebrations,I am a bit dejected..looking forward to the next anniversary!
Please enter me for Zombie Queen...would love to read it. I am already madly in love with the cover!!*sighs*

Thanks so much and wishing you many more successful years!

Shweta said...

Zombie Queen has a pretty cool cover and congrats on ur upcoming releases ..Your middle grade djinn books sounds real fun..

shwetasbookjournal AT gmail DOT com

Alyson Noel said...

I loved the Zombie Queen!! And I'm really looking forward to more books from you--yay!

GABY said...

It has been busy years, writing all your books!! :D

Doubt monkeys! LOL I guess everyone has them (in different shapes and sizes) but we must try to ignore them ;)

I haven't read Zombie Queen so I'll be looking forward to win it, hehe ;)

KrysteyBelle said...

Wow, now I have another zombie book I need to read. Yay.

Iffath♥Ahmed said...

LOL, fantastic! I would love to enter to win Zombie Queen! Like Rachel said, definitely becuase of the name! Zombies rock! Looking forward to reading some of your books :)

Jenn-ay said...

Zombie Queen seems awesome and I can't wait to get my hands on it. BTW I love the cover!!!

Wendy Toliver said...

I love Zombie Queen and can't wait for your upcoming books, Amanda!
And I'm there with you on the doubt monkeys.
Great post, thanks for sharing!

Lea said...

That's awesome that eventually you got to write a YA story! I've heard Zombie Queen... is a great story!

Paromita said...

please enter me. i could so do with a win as lovely as this.

Sara Hantz said...

As your esteemed crit partner I can let everyone know that they are going to LOVE Fairy Bad Day and the Djinn series..... so banish those doubt monkeys and let them find another shoulder to peer over (not mine, thanks :))

jpetroroy said...

Great post! It must be such a great feeling to persevere through the highs and lows!

jpetroroy at gmail dot com

Sweet Lady Jess said...

Oh wow! Thank you for the chance to win Zombie Queen of Newbury High. Wishing you dolls the best!

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Love the Zombie Queen and looking forward to the new books!

Amanda Ashby said...

Rachel - hehehe - nomprize is the perfect word verification and in fact I'm a little jealous!!

Heather - I wish that no one else had to deal with the badly behaved doubt monkeys. They are so evil! Anyway thank you and good luck!

Bookaholic - I don't think we realized when we chose this topic, just how it would turn out, but I agree that all of the candid posts have really made this party so amazing. And thank you from all of us for your support! Same time next year!!!

Shweta - thank you!

Alyson - thank you for taking the time to quote Zombie when you have such a crazy schedule!!!!

Gaby - hehehe, I like your positive thinking. Very cool!

KrysteyBelle - my theory is that you can never have too many zombie books so fingers crossed for you!!!!

Iffath - Actually I still can't believe they let me keep my title. A bottle of wine was involved in the making of that!!!!

Jenn-ay - I know, I love the cover so much that I rewrote that dress into the book!!!

Wendy - I think we need to be on Team Get Lost Doubt Monkeys (or TGLDM for short!)

Lea - I know. I just love YA and it's mainly what I read so I would've been bummed if I couldn't write it!

PAromita - yup, you're entered!

Sara - always with the toilet humor!!!!! And hahaha I bet you won't say that about Fairy if you have to read it one more time!!!!

jpetroroy - you totally nailed it. The hard times just make the good times seem even better, which is probably why we all stick with it (plus it's so cool to make stuff up and get paid for it!!!)

Sweetladyjess - oooh I want to be called a doll all the time!!!!!! Thank for the lovely comment and good luck!!!!

Lauren - you're such an angel (a prolific, amazing, super cool angel of course!!!!)

Cari said...

Awesome sauce!

I'd love to read Zombie Queen. :)

Congratulations on the 3rd anniversary!

neohippy10 hotmail

hannah r0x yoUR soX! said...

Zombie Queen is probably the coolest title ever! :)
My titles have always been so lame... (Not that I ever actually wrote much. Just little stories from when I was little) My personal favorite is one from when I was seven. The story was about a she cat who lost six of her kittens. Guess what I named the short story?
Yup, you guessed it. I named it Cat.
Well, almost.

Love, Hannah

Cherie J said...

Great post! Aww! Does the party have to end alredy. It's been so much fun. Sounds like you have had an exciting three years filled with lots of changes. Doubt monkeys plague us all. What makes us human.

Amanda Ashby said...

Cari - thank you!!!

Hannah - hahahaha - Cat is a genius title!! In fact I might now have title envy!!!!!

Cherie J - I think you might be a very wise woman!!!!! Those doubt monkeys sure make us work hard to get what we want!!!!!

aurora M. said...

Zombie.....the sound of that word just makes me giggle!!!!!! I would love to win your book enter me please! Three years and so many changes.....Work/Cancer/UK vacation/ many things all crammed in 3 years....I hope the next 3 hold out for a more boring life for me. :)

Audrey; (AyC) said...

Team Zombie!!! I want to read this book just because of that!

TheDreamer said...

Too bad its the last day! I hope I'll read that book or any of those others! Since I live in Greece it's pretty hard to get them! :(

Amanda Ashby said...

Aurora - I want to give you a big hug - that is a crazy/exhausting three years that you've had but here, here to your next three years being gorgeously fabulous! (and yup, zombie is such a funny word! Plus you have no idea how many bad zombie jokes there are to be told!!!)

Audrey - so cool to hear that someone else is on the side of the feet shuffling, brain sucking living dead!! After all, let's face it, the odds are stacked against them!!!!

The Dreamer - so cool you live in Greece. I had a ball when I was there and the food was just so insanely gorgeous! Fingers crossed that you win one of the great prizes that me and my fellow TFCers have going on!!!

YA Vampire Books said...

What great three years it's been! I'd love to win a copy of Zombie Queen of Newbury High - it sounds awesome! :)

S.o.L.a.R. said...

I won the Tim Tams from you last year was it? They were AMAZING! Since then I have been really wanting to read You Had Me at Halo...but Zombie Queen doesn't sound too bad either :)

Ellen Conti said...

catchy title, sassy cover - i love it!
it'd be great to win a copy :)

Jennzah said...

awesome, enter me please! :)

Anonymous said...

Wow, for your cover of ZOMBIE QUEEN, the girl's hand slip is the cutest thing I ever saw.
And the title is possibly even cooler!
I cross my fingers that I'll win, but either way, that is definitely going on my shelf!
Thank you!
-Caitlin G.

mariska said...

wohooo Congrats Amanda !

Hey, you are a new author for me, and i'd like to read Zombie Queen !

pick ME please :)

uniquas atymail dot com

Andye said...

Kudos on going for the Zombie book instead of Vampires!! I can't wait to read it! I absolutely adore the cover. I'm really excited about the Fairy book, too! I love fairy/faerie/faery books. How to ditch your fairy was one of my favorites.

Good luck!

Andye @ Reading Teen

Llehn said...

I am really digging the zombie trend!

purplg8r said...

Yay for your new books...adding them to my WL!

I would love to win Zombie Queen...its been on my WL!


Cassay said...

Congrats on the new books

Laurena said...

I've got another book on my to-read list now. Can't wait to read Zombie Queen. Thanks for sharing your past three years with us. And those doubt monkeys really do get around.

Congratulations on your upcoming book, I'll want to read that one too!

Amanda Ashby said...

Hey guys - thank you so much for all the great comments. I'm loving them big time!!!

YA Vampire books - heheeh - I will do my best to lure you over to the zombie side (though I do like me some vampires as well!!!!)

SoLaR - yay that you won the TimTams - they are a slice of heaven aren't they! If you win, I'll be happy to send you Halo instead!

Ellen - thank you!

Jennzah - you're entered!

Caitlin - I know - I love the entire outfit. I so would've worn that dress when I was 17. And I also love the wilted flowers on Mia's wrist - so cute!

Mariska - thank you!

Andye - How to Ditch Your Fairy has been on my tbr pile for ages but I can't wait to read it. I love fairy books as well - though my fairies are sort of odd. For a start they eat Skittles and like shopping a bit too much!!!

Llehn - there are so many great zombie books out there right now. I feel lucky to be part of it!

purplg8r - that's so cool! Fingers crossed you win!

Cassay - thank you so much!

Laurena - your reading pile sounds like mine - the cool thing is that you can never have too many books!!!!

Suzette said...

all your books seem very interesting!! thanks for sharing!

hope i win your book

Joanne Graves said...

All the best on the new books, Amanda. They all sound so terrific.

Bee said...

Aww, I'll miss the TFC anniversary party. This was so much fun, I loved it! Thanks a TON!!

Both You Had Me At Halo and Zombie Queen sound so cool, I'd love to win your book.

Hope the next three years will bring greater success to all of you!! Happy writing <33

Becca J. Heath said...

Congrats on the new book coming out. it sounds great!

Marjolein said...

Loved this celebration week and posts!

Amanda Ashby said...

Suzette - thank you!

Joanne - so cool to see you here!!!!

Bee - I know, it's been so much fun - still it will be cool tomorrow to see who has won all the goodies!

Becca - thank you!

Marjolein - thank you so much for supporting us - I have a feeling we'll be doing one of these again!!!

Aliya said...

Thanks for sharing your snacks, the cover is wicked :)

I can't believe its over! Le sigh, oh well, I can still read all the awesome books and posts till next anniversary!

Kristen said...

Great news! I still need to read Zombie Queen so I'd love to win it. :-D

dragonzgoil at gmail dot com

Karen W. said...

Just a drive-by wave to you, Amanda. :) No need to enter me in the contest.

Melissa Walker said...

Love your tale, Amanda!

Jill of The O.W.L. said...

Zombies rock! I'd love a copy of this :)

foltzsfantasticbooks at