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Ask the Cougar

Archives For December 2013

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Since graduating from the Honors College in 2009, Ryan Graudin has been putting the skills she learned as an English major to use.  Her love for books (plus a lot of blood, sweat and tears) has landed Ryan a contract with a major publisher. On February 11th, 2014, HarperTeen–publisher of popular young adult novels like the Pretty Little Liars series–will officially launch All That Glows.  Blue Bicycle Books on King Street will be hosting a launch party on Saturday, February 15th, 2014 from 5-7pm.

What inspired you to write a young adult book, specifically a fantasy book?

“All my life I’ve been an avid reader. My parents didn’t own a television for several years while I was growing up, so I spent my evenings curled up with books! The young adult genre and especially fantasy were my first loves. The Harry Potter series, the Redwall series, Ella Enchanted, the Abhorsen trilogy… these were just a few of the books that I grew to love. And they’re the kind of books I love to write. I find that this love is incredibly necessary to finishing a project.”

 What advice do you give our current students or anyone who is interested in writing/publishing a book? 

“It starts with a whole lot of reading. Read everything you can get your hands on. Poetry, non-fiction essays, newspapers, picture books, travel guides. Reading makes you a better writer. The second step is writing. A lot of writing, every day. When you finish a manuscript, you send it out to critique partners who tear it apart. You listen to them. You rewrite it. You make it as perfect as it can be and then even more so. Then, if you want to get published by a traditional publishing house, you start looking for a literary agent. You research them on sites like querytracker.com and put together lists of agents you feel like would be a good fit for the kind of writing career you want. You write what’s called a “query letter,” which is basically a cover letter describing your book in a paragraph as well as any accolades you might have scraped up along the way. You send these letters out and pray to the stars that one of these agents will want to read your manuscript. If they do, and they love it, and they think they can sell it, they will offer representation. If this happens, you will dance around in your living room like a wild thing for ten minutes. Then you will work on more revisions with said agent. Then you will go out on submission to actual editors at actual publishing houses. You will once again pray to the stars and hope that they think your novel is amazing and want to publish it. If this happens, you will dance around in your living room like a wild thing for thirty minutes. Then you will work on more revisions. And more revisions. Eventually you’ll find yourself with a real book on your hands!

The above scenario generally takes years, tears, lots of hard, hard work and a dash of luck. The key is to be determined, keep writing and never give up.”

What College of Charleston professors and/or classes helped prepare you for all of this?

“I was an English major with a concentration in creative writing (fiction). Bret Lott was a HUGE influence in terms of showing me the dedication necessary to break into the publishing industry. I took every single class he offered. Paul Allen’s poetry classes helped me discover that I actually did have something of a poet inside me. Anthony Varallo and Malinda McCollum were also very encouraging in their fiction classes.

Trish Ward’s Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings classes helped me look at the young adult and fantasy genres in a critical light. Doryjane Birrer’s senior seminar on the His Dark Materials series was when I knew I was supposed to be a young adult writer.

Honestly, there was hardly an English class I took that didn’t in some way prepare me for crafting stories. Both in terms of writing and in terms of critical thinking. I am so, so thankful for my time at CofC and all of the wonderful professors who took the time to encourage me.”

What are your future plans after All That Glows launches in February?

“I have a gritty, young adult thriller called The Walled City coming out in November 2014 with Little, Brown. In 2015 I’ll have two more young adult books coming out and at least one more scheduled in 2016. So for now I’m writing full time and loving it!”

Book synopsis of All That Glows:

Emrys—a fiery, red-headed Fae—always embraced her life in the Highlands, far from the city’s draining technology, until she’s sent to London to rejoin the Faery Guard. But this isn’t any normal assignment—she’s sent to guard Prince Richard: Britain’s notorious, partying bad boy and soon-to-be King. The prince’s careless ways and royal blood make him the irresistible for the dark spirits that feed on mortals. Sweet, disheveled, and alive with adventure—Richard is one charge who will put Emrys’s magic and heart to the test.

When an ancient force begins preying on the monarchy, Emrys must hunt through the London’s magical underworld, facing down Banshees, Black Dogs and Green Women to find the one who threatens Richard’s life. In this chaos of dark magic, palace murders and paparazzi, Emrys finds herself facing an impossible choice. For despite all her powers, Emrys has discovered a force that burns brighter than magic: love.

If you cannot make it to Blue Bicycle Books on February 15th and would like to pre-order a copy of All That Glows it is available here and here.

 

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