Aug 29, 2013
I decided to combine two of my favorite things. This is the result:
In this epic tale of time travel and romance, an unlikely heroine stumbles into the heart of a massive government conspiracy. Now she must solve family secrets even as she feels herself drawn to the dark, mysterious boy who just can't seem to let her go.
Park Shin Hye as Lydia Bentley
Sung Joon as Wes
Jung Eun-Ji as Mary Bentley
Kim Bum as Lucas Clarke
Ku Hye-Sun as Hannah Sasaki
SO CLOSE TO YOU is poised to become the next big Hallyu hit. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll wish there were more than 16 episodes. But don't worry - the sequel, THIS STRANGE AND FAMILIAR PLACE, is already available!
Aug 28, 2013
This summer SO CLOSE TO YOU was part of the 2013 YA and MG Time Travel Challenge - which is the coolest challenge around, if you ask me. Right now there's still an international giveaway going on at Oops! I Read it Again (run by Dianne, who happens to be one of my fav bloggers), but it closes in three days so hurry and enter!
By the way, here is one of the reasons Dianne is a fav blogger of mine - she wrote a SO CLOSE TO YOU poem!!! I know. Epic. She's been kind enough to let me share it, so here you go:
I can't even describe how awesome it is to have a poem written for Wes and Lydia, especially one so lovely. I've spent the whole summer writing the ending to their story - and it was crazy bittersweet. The first few drafts were rough, but by the end I was literally crying while reading the final draft. Book 3 is in copyediting now, which means I'll only have a few more chances to see it before it's released out into the world.
For my Time Travel Challenge post, I also did an interview as Wes (it was not easy. He's a taciturn gentleman), and I even dream cast him! But it made me realize that I haven't done a big dream cast post yet, which seems criminally wrong. So, here is my dream cast for the SO CLOSE TO YOU universe.
Lydia = Georgie Henley
Now that she's all grown up, Henley would be a perfect Lydia - and it's not just the red hair. She looks smart, down-to-earth, inquisitive, innocent, and dryly funny. She's the girl who's gorgeous but doesn't know it, who seems like she'd be the perfect best friend, but also a kick ass leading lady.
Wes = Douglas Booth
HELLO bone structure...obviously a #1 Wes must have. Plus Booth has got crazy intense, undressing-you-where-you-stand-but-also-maybe-thinking-about-murdering-you eyes. Totally Wes.
Mary = Emily Browning
Browning's got the red hair down, but I totally think she could handle the spunky, positive, boy-crazy role of Mary. Plus don't she and Henley look like they could be related?
Lucas = Lucas Till
Not only do they have the same name, but I think Till would make a perfect easy-going, non-complicated Lucas. I mean just look at that smile.
Hannah = Ellen Wong
Hannah isn't in SO CLOSE TO YOU that much, but she's still one of my favorite characters. She's a major touchstone for Lydia's life in 2012, and I love how sarcastic and honest she is. I think Wong would be the perfect actress to portray all that sass!
I could go on and on with this dream cast stuff, but it's time for me to make dinner. I do promise to come back and cast some of the secondary characters in THIS STRANGE AND FAMILIAR PLACE soon.
What do you guys think? Did you picture all the characters differently or did I nail it?
Jul 2, 2013
Today is the day. THIS STRANGE AND FAMILIAR PLACE is out in the world, just sitting on bookshelves and waiting for people to buy it. I'm happy to tell you that I'm just as excited as I was yesterday, and it only feels natural to be sharing the next step in Lydia's journey with you guys.
Over the next four days I'm having a mini book tour and here are the stops:
Wednesday: J.C. Lillis Author Blog
Thursday: Magnet 4 Books
Friday: A Life Bound By Books
Saturday: Alexa Loves Books
Each stop will have an exclusive (and different!) scene from THIS STRANGE AND FAMILIAR PLACE, and each will be hosting a giveaway. The giveaway is what I'm calling The Time Travel Pack: a paperback of SO CLOSE TO YOU, a signed hardcover of THIS STRANGE AND FAMILIAR PLACE, bookmarks, and a bunch of fun extras. You don't want to miss this, so make sure to check out each stop & sign up for the giveaways all week!
To kick things off & to celebrate the release, I'm giving you a bonus exclusive scene below. I first shared this during the Spring YA Scavenger Hunt, but here it is again. It is SPOILERY. So do not read on if you want to remain in the dark. And thank you everyone for everything! What a great day. :-)
Bellevue Hospital sprawls across the east side of the city. Over the years it has been added to and adapted and now it is a series of tall buildings made of glass, concrete, and red brick. A black wrought iron fence still sections off the original buildings. There is something creepy about the dark metal juxtaposed against the modern glass structure.
Wes and I find the entrance and approach a wide front desk. “We’re looking for the psychiatric ward,” I tell the young female receptionist. “My…uncle is a patient there.”
She doesn’t look up from her desk. Her hair is a teased, puffy blond cloud, and her nails are long and red. “Emergency room or committed.”
The word makes her finally lift her head. “How long?”
“About four weeks now.”
“Psychosis or drugs and alcohol related?”
I swallow. “Psychosis.”
“You want Unit Nineteenth North.” Her voice is a little softer. She quickly gives us directions.
We walk through a few hallways until we reach an elevator. The car we get on is filled with people, and we have to squish together just to fit.
As soon as we get off on the psychiatric ward, the atmosphere changes. Instead of a busy hallway, with doctors and staff and patients teeming the halls, this place is quieter, more deserted. In the distance I hear someone shouting.
We approach a heavy metal door with a red button on it. I push the buzzer and hear someone fumble with a lock on the other side. The door opens a little, and a male nurse in pale blue scrubs sticks his head out. “Yes?” he asks.
“We came to see Peter Bentley,” I reply. “He’s a patient here?”
The man frowns. He is young, though the fluorescent light overhead bounces off the dark, shiny skin of his scalp. “Is he expecting you?”
I shake my head.
“It’s visiting hours, isn’t it?” Wes asks.
The man scratches his bushy eyebrow, then looks over his shoulder. I can only see a little of the room behind him. It has white walls and shiny beige floors. “Wait a second,” he says. The door shuts, and Wes and I are alone in the hallway.
After a minute the door opens again, and the nurse gestures us forward. “We don’t usually let visitors into this area,” he says. “But Bentley is a special case. We can’t move him right now. Keep your hands to yourself and don’t talk to any of the other patients.”
I exchange a glance with Wes before we step into the psychiatric ward. The nurse locks the door behind us with a key. We’re standing in a long, wide hallway. Directly across from us is an open entertainment room. I can hear a cartoon on the TV in the background, with loud, exaggerated sound effects. To our right is the main nurses’ office, with glass windows that look out onto the hallway.
There are a few patients roaming around, some accompanied by nurses, some alone. A woman with taped up glasses and wild hair sees us hovering near the doorway. “I hate this place,” she says, her words slurring. “It doesn’t work. It doesn’t work.” Her voice is getting louder and louder. A nurse comes forward and takes her arm, steering her back down the hallway.
“Welcome to the loony bin.” The male nurse laughs loudly, a booming sound.
Wes and I are both silent.
“This way,” he says, still chuckling.
The hallway is covered in cheerful landscapes in gold frames. Though the walls are white, the doorways are painted a sunny yellow. I remember reading that color can effect mood, and that yellow is supposed to make people feel happy and productive. I wonder if it actually works.
We pass a door with the word SECLUSION written on a narrow window. Inside, a man rocks back and forth on a mattress on the ground, staring at nothing. I slow down as I watch him, wondering who he is, and if my grandfather has ever ended up here in this room. Wes must feel me pause, because he turns around and follows my gaze. His face softens, and he steps back until he’s close enough to whisper in my ear. “Are you sure you want to do this?”
I straighten my shoulders and nod. His hand finds the small of my back, and together we walk down the hallway toward my grandfather’s room.
The nurse knocks. There’s no response, but he opens the door anyway. “Mr. Bentley?” he calls out into the room. “You have another visitor. She says she’s your niece.”
There’s a groaning sound, and then a muted thump, like a body turning over in bed. “Have no niece,” a scratchy voice responds.
I gasp. It sounds rusty and low, but I definitely recognize that voice.
“Of course you don’t,” the nurse says soothingly. “But why don’t you talk to the pretty girl anyway?”
There’s no answer. The nurse steps back from the door. “Go on in,” he says. “He’s not dangerous to anyone, and he’s having a good day. I’ll be just outside the door in case you need me.”
I cannot move, so Wes nods for us and takes my hand. He tugs me gently, and I step forward. The room is bare—there are only two beds pushed against opposite walls, and two freestanding wooden closets. A big, white lump occupies one of the beds. The other bed is empty and neatly made.
I slowly walk forward. The rubber soles of my shoes squeak against the linoleum floor. As I get closer, the white lump turns into the outline of arms and legs, a rounded middle, and finally a head with black and grey hair that sticks up out of the blanket.
The head turns and looks up at me. I squeeze my hands into fists, and my breath comes shallow and tight. This man looks like a stranger, with his longish curly hair and snarling grin.
And then something in his face changes, calms, and I want to throw myself against him. This is the man who helped raise me. My grandfather.
WHERE TO BUY THIS STRANGE AND FAMILIAR PLACE:
Jul 1, 2013
THIS STRANGE AND FAMILIAR PLACE comes out tomorrow. To. Morrow. TOMORROW. AHHH. I still can't believe I wrote ONE book and that it's available on the shelves of bookstores. Now I'll have two. I cannot wait for you guys to read about what happens to Lydia & Wes in this one. It's a little epic/don't hate me.
In honor of my book-birthday eve, I'm reposting the trailer for SO CLOSE TO YOU, which is still one of my most favorite things ever:
It so perfectly captures the vibe of the books - mysterious, old fashioned, and a little creepy. Plus I can picture this as Lydia's voice now and it makes certain scenes pop even more.
At this moment I'm really excited. I'm not sure how I'll feel tomorrow. After SO CLOSE TO YOU came out I felt weird - a little sick to my stomach, nervous, and just off. I've talked to a bunch of writers since then and they all say the same thing. Everyone feels really strongly about having their books come out, but it isn't a completely happy feeling. Not that we aren't mostly happy, but it's more complicated than that - I think it's because we're finally letting go of this thing we've nutured and cared for so privately, and now it's out in the public, floating there, exposed and vulnerable. The reviews start (some good, some bad), the sales numbers start, the promotions start, the comments from your family and friends start. Of course the excitement ultimately outweighs any other feelings - it's AMAZING to see your book in a bookstore, in a library, or to have people tell you they've read it...people who aren't even related to you. But there are also other feelings going on, and it all seems to explode on your release day until you're left feeling a little confused, overwhelmed, and anxious. It's like a birthday or a concert you've been super anticipating - it is so built up in your head that it's hard to live in the moment while you're experiencing the actual reality.
So we'll see what tomorrow brings. But in the meantime I'm going to ride this train of excitement and try not to look back.
And there are a lot of cool things happening! All this week Epic Reads is doing a Time Travel Week on their blog. It starts today with the 20s, and then later this week it will feature a couple posts from me. (Yay!) Check it out if you can!
I'm also in the process of looking for bloggers to help with a mini blog tour. It's a little last minute, but I'd love to hear from anyone who's willing to help. Just email me at RachelCarterya@gmail.com
And don't forget to preorder THIS STRANGE AND FAMILIAR PLACE!! I'm not trying to be dramatic, but this is literally your last chance to say you preordered. ;-)
Jun 27, 2013
I was incredibly lucky to go to both RT (the Romantic Times Convention) and BEA (the Book Expo of America) this year. And I had such an amazing time at both. Here's a round-up of my photos, with a little bit more on what happened. Also, I am aware that this post is super late, but whatever:
In early May, I arrived at the Romantic Times in Kansas City and immediately realized that it was going to be a surreal experience. This helped tip me off:
My keycard also had a naked guy on it, and there was x-rated swag everywhere. Literally, romance novelists took control of this hotel. It was the sexiest coup d'état in history.
View from my window:
Don't let it fool you: Kanas City was yucky. Freezing and blizzardy. But I never really left the hotel, so I didn't have to deal with it much.
I got to meet some of the people I only know through Twitter (like Rachel Harris and Lisa Burstein (who I failed to get pics with, but they're both so lovely)). And Zoraida Cordova, who is pretty much the coolest:
I did some amazing events, like the Avon Red Slipper Party where I signed a gazillion books:
And the Giant Book Fair, where I signed less books, but one girl gave me a cookie:
I sat between Kiera Cass (who is super sweet and bubbly and my dress twin)...
The BEST part of RT was meeting my fellow writers. The YA community is so supportive - we would go to dinner at night and end up taking over restaurants because we had so many people. I met some of my all time writing-idols and a lot of new-idols.
I met my fellow ya time travel writers: Myra McEntire of HOURGLASS, Tamara Ireland Stone of TIME BETWEEN US & Julie Cross of TEMPEST - and we bonded over how hard it is to write time travel. (Hard, guys. Really hard.)
They were all SO sweet & Tamara is my new bff.
It was my first RT, but it definitely won't be my last (especially as next year takes place in New Orleans!!!)
In the end of May/beginning of June I went to BEA, which was a whirlwind for me - I was moving out of the city that weekend (I LITERALLY left my signing to go pick up the Uhaul), so I didn't get as many pictures.
Night one I went to the Harper blogger party and took a super blurry photo with these ladies:
Aubry from EpicReads and Katie Sise of THE BOYFRIEND APP. Hilarious. Awesome. Lovelovelove.
Day two I went to the Harper party and then crashed a YA rooftop party with so many awesome writers I can't name them all here (I finally got to meet Susan Dennard, who I've been twitter-stalking for about a year, and Sarah Maas, her partner in crime. So fun!). This was the stupid pretty view.
Then on Saturday I signed arcs of THIS STRANGE AND FAMILIAR PLACE.
It was awesome - I got to meet a ton of fans I've been interacting with online, and everyone was so lovely. I was also interviewed for EpicReads, but as I don't have a picture of that, here's Amy Tintera instead (I want to steal all her clothes):
I really hope I can be a part of these events next year - I had a blast, and had so much fun meeting so many amazing authors.
Don't forget that THIS STRANGE AND FAMILIAR PLACE comes out in FIVE DAYS. Ahh!!!
Jun 21, 2013
I've been really distracted lately - from life, from writing, from blogging - and here's why:
I spent the last seven years of my life living in New York City, starting in Manhattan, and eventually moving out to Brooklyn. New York was where I made all of my adult friends. It was where I wrote my first, and second, and third, books. I love a lot of stuff about New York: the food (oh god, the food), the energy, the feeling that you're in the middle of something huge and important all the time, and the people I love who live there.
But NYC is exhausting. It is a huge, expensive city, and as much as I enjoyed my time there, it never really felt like home. Commuting to work in the morning made me start to feel like a rat stuffed underground with thousands of other rats, shuffling past each other with no acknowledgment. There were more people in one subway car than in my entire graduating high school class (45, btw).
I had to work really hard in order to afford to live there. I think this is something writers don't talk about that much, but I'll lay it out for you: I have always had a day job in addition to writing books. And sometimes more than one. By the end, in NYC, I had three part time jobs. It becomes very hard to write when you have other jobs and commute a minimum of two hours a day.
This all sounds very complainy, and I don't mean it to - I'm just trying to paint a picture of why I chose to leave NYC, a place I called my home for years and years.
I ended up in New York because of grad school, but I grew up in Vermont. In the country. In the woods. My nearest neighbor was half a mile away, and behind our house were hundreds of acres of untouched forrest. I am used to silence, to stars, to the way sunlight streams through leaves, to darkness. I have never considered myself much of a country girl, and certainly not a hippie - the roughly 100 dresses I own should give you some hint to my level of 'maintenance' (High. It's very high.) - but I think I was more country than I realized. I wanted to be in lakes and ponds that were clean and empty. I wanted to wake up to the sound of birds again.
So three weeks ago I packed up my apartment, said goodbye to my roommates of five years, and moved back to Vermont. This coincided - almost exactly - with me turning in one of the last drafts of the final book in my time travel series.
It is a scary thing to start your life over. Especially when it means moving back in with your parents when you're almost 30 (only temporary, thank god). I'm not the most easy-going person - I don't know many writers who are - and I don't take big decisions lightly. There's a lot of stewing and thinking and worrying and calling up my friends crying. So while I know this was the right decision, I'm working on adjusting to a new and old place. A place I left as a child but am now returning to as an adult. I don't know how to live here yet, and I find myself missing the ease of living in New York - the coffee shop across from my house, the place where you could drop your laundry off. But I'm also so grateful to look outside my window and see green.
I think now I understand what Lydia is going through a little bit more in THIS STRANGE AND FAMILIAR PLACE. She is also trying to adjust to a place that is both home but not home, old but new, and, well, strange but familiar. I wrote the book a year ago, with no idea that I would end up in a similar situation. I also did not know that I could look at one of my own characters and find inspiration from her. Though let's face it, Lydia is a much stronger person than I am, and while I may have made a huge life change, I did not have to travel through time to do it.
So that's where I've been lately, and what I've been up to. And while my life has been a little hectic, the world hasn't stopping turning. THIS STRANGE AND FAMILIAR PLACE comes out in eleven days. ELEVEN. DAYS. Crazy. I got the finished copy recently and it is so beautiful. The colors are shades of red where SO CLOSE TO YOU was blue, and it's so perfectly representative of the book - darker and grittier than the first one, with Lydia's emotions heightened as she tries to navigate this new world she created.
A more accurate picture of the red:
Isn't it perfect? I'm so excited by it, and so happy to share it with all of you.... Which is why I'm doing a giveaway! And this one is kind of extensive - I'm giving away TWO books to TWO readers. The first winner will get a brand new copy of THIS STRANGE AND FAMILIAR PLACE and a paperback of SO CLOSE TO YOU (Which still has deckled pages - how awesome is that??). The second winner will get an ARC of TS&FP and a paperback of SCTY. And of course I'll sign all the books all over the place, and give you bookmarks too. (Only US though!)
Good luck to all who enter and thank you for your constant and lovely support.
May 3, 2013
Hello world. I just finished editing a book. It was the second draft of book 3 and it was a pretty big rewrite - mostly because I had such a tough time writing the first draft. I really struggled with the exposition and how much to tell or not tell. I think that struggle showed, and my goal for draft 2 was to pull it way back and remember my own writing style.
Does that make sense? Let me rephrase: I felt lost writing the first draft, and on a reread it felt like someone else's book entirely. I needed to find my voice as a writer again - which for me meant losing a lot of that exposition and adding more descriptive scenes, and just letting the story tell itself rather than having the character tell it. Exposition is hard, turns out, and it's especially hard in book 3 when SO MUCH has happened. There was a part of me that thought - oh this is book 3, I should totally know what I'm doing by now, and I was having a hard time with the fact that I was having a hard time. But I need to learn how to not beat myself up. Every book is different, even in a series. Every book has its own unique struggles (both within and with the way the author struggles with it). It doesn't mean I haven't learned anything if I hit new struggles along the way.
Thank god for my editors - who helped me see what was happening in a way I couldn't. And also thank god for Jeramey Kraatz, who gave me a Book 3 Survival Kit that has been completely indispensable. I wanted to share it with you guys since it's so amazing.
The opening photo:
1. Jeramey is forever trying to get me to put a velociraptor in my books 2. He also came up with the brilliant idea that when you put the titles of all three books together they will create a complete sentence (with a few prepositions thrown in for fun). And I recently titled book 3....I don't want to give anything away, but let's just say he's pretty smart, that one.
Here are all the goodies I found underneath (mild profanity/booze ahead):
For when I get sleepy.
For when I get too excited and I need to chill out/write more.
For when I hit a scene that seems impossible to write.
For when I hit my word count.
For when I need a break.
For when I'm at that really dark place where I'm wondering if I'll ever finish and I'm starting to seriously question my life choices.
And, lastly, for when I am stuck. These include things like: Fight scene here. Someone touches someone's face. Stable boy shows up. Etc, etc.
Jeramey is brilliant. The box made me feel soooo much better and I don't think I would have gotten through the past few months without it. And, honestly, I feel really happy with the book I turned in this week. I feel like it's the right ending for Wes and Lydia - it stays true to them, but also to me. I still have a ways to go before it's finished, but I'm that much closer to the end of this trilogy (sad face!).
Right now I am typing this from my hotel room in Kansas City, where I'm at the 2013 Romantic Times Convention. (I literally finished my draft then hopped on a plane.) I've been meeting my author idols, chatting with friends from Twitter, and it has generally been a blast so far - and exactly what I needed after finishing the book. If you're in this area, come to the Giant Book Fair tomorrow - details here: http://www.rtconvention.com/ - where I'll be signing copies of SO CLOSE TO YOU and anything else you want me to. Post-its, skin, other people's books - the sky is the limit.