It’s such fun to be sharing the cover for the UK edition of One Moment!
I’ve been so fortunate to work with the incredible team at Usborne UK and am thrilled with this gorgeous cover.
UK Release Date: July 1, 2013
The panel that I participated in at Wright State University on March 5 happens to be one of my all-time favorites, for many reasons. First was the setting. Wright State University is my alma mater, so I felt a little like I was driving home when I pulled off the highway and made my way toward campus. Second was the panel of authors I was honored to be part of, including Sharon Short, Katrina Kittle, and Trudy Krisher. Each are talented and wonderful and so very willing to share all their knowledge of and experience in the industry. Third was the lovely moderator, Stephanie Bange, who led the four of us as we opened up and got down to the nitty-gritty. Lastly, I so enjoyed our audience, which consisted of several different classes of English and Education majors. We fielded questions about research, our writing process, the difficulties of isolation when we are submerged in a book, and so much more.
Because my nickname happens to be “Listy Kristi,” I think the best way to share the insight from our discussion would be to list a my top ten favorite tips. So, here goes . . .
10. Read. Read. And read some more. Paying attention to the things that work (and also the things that don’t work) within the genre of what you are writing is one of the best learning tools you can utilize.
9. Befriend your local librarians (even if they might embarrass you by sharing over the loud speaker that the book on pedophiles you requested has arrived, which actually happened to Katrina Kittle!) and spend an ample amount of time on research to make your story credible.
8. Don’t bother forcing yourself to follow a trend. By the time your book is completed, the trend will likely have passed. Instead, write what inspires you most, whatever that may be. Trudy Krisher highlighted this point by saying that the books that come from the heart of who we really are tend to be the most powerful.
7. Hurry up and wait. The waiting game in the business of writing is terribly difficult to handle. It’s common for years to pass between an author typing “The End” and an actual book hitting shelves. Have a plan to use your waiting time wisely . . . a back-pocket project, for instance, that you can work on in stages, might further hone your skill and will give you an additional chance at publication.
6. Have a plan for rejection. It’s one of the hardest and most prevalent aspects of this business. Most authors face a multitude of rejection before they ever connect with the right premise/book/agent/editor and take the next step toward publication. Yes. You read that right. There is rejection at every stage of the game. Even after you are published. My plan is simple: I allow myself a specific number of days to mourn the rejection – the number appropriately corresponding to the weight of the rejection. And I eat all the chocolate my broken heart desires. After the allotted time passes (usually no more than two or three days), I move on. Which means I get back in the game and start writing again.
5. Writers Write. You can talk about writing all you want – and lots of people do – but writers sit down and they write. It’s that simple. All writers have a different process, sure, but no writer will get anywhere without actually putting ideas down on a page. These ideas are often messy and disorganized during a first draft. But that’s okay, because the only way to reach a finished draft is to get through all the drafts that come before it.
4. Ignore that ugly voice of doubt. We all face doubt, hearing different versions of it as we move through the stages of the writing process. Sharon Short pictures her doubt as an ugly little gnome sitting on a very large couch, his fat gnome legs swinging back and forth, which diminishes his size and the importance of what he’s saying. (For the record, I’m working on creating my own mental picture of this large couch and offensive little gnome.)
3. Be prepared for revision. Nothing is perfect as it flows from your mind to the page during that first draft. But you can’t fix a scene or chapter if it isn’t there. So ignore your nasty little gnomes, sit down, write, and allow yourself to be a little messy. Once you have it down, you can work it, like clay, molding the story into exactly what you’re aiming to write. (Another excellent visual offered up by the brilliant Sharon Short.)
2. Pay Yourself First. This direct quote comes from Katrina Kittle, and is an especially crucial point to mention. So many of us are weighted down by the pressures of the outside world, we are often too tired to take care of our own desires. Time and again, I hear of authors who wake early to get their writing time in before the start of their day. Honor your writing time. Don’t allow anyone or anything to encroach upon it. If you take your writing seriously, others will be forced to follow suit.
1. Write what you love. Follow your heart. Be true to yourself. These might sound cliché, but the sentiment was repeated throughout our discussion and all four of us truly believe it’s the key to success.
Stephanie Bange and Amber Vlasnik
Katrina Kittle, Trudy Krisher, Kristina McBride, Sharon Short
Book festivals are so much fun. I mean, really. What’s better than hanging out in a room full of authors, surrounded by books for an entire day? Not much. Especially when the author list includes some of my top faves of all time. The best part, though, is meeting the wide variety of the people who come through. As an author for young adults, one of my favorite things is to meet teen readers who are as excited about reading as I was at their age. My day in Cincinnati was a special one for many reasons, but one of the best moments was when a sixteen-year-old girl walking through stopped at my table, excited to see the cover of my first book, The Tension of Opposites. She pointed and said, “I bought that book when we were here last year and I love it. I’ve read it four times already!” Now, that, my friends, is why I write. (Well, that and the fact that I’m not sure what else to do with the voices in my head.)
I have other favorite moments too. Like spending the day getting to know my table mate, Colleen Clayton, and my neighbor at the table next to us, NYT bestselling author, Katherine Howe. Discussing “Great YA Reads” for an hour as part of a panel with a group of super talented YA authors. Hanging out with a bunch of my of YA author friends. Meeting a slew of teachers and librarians who were on the hunt for good books to take back to their readers. Simply being around all of those readers and authors and books – their very nearness inspiring, uplifting, and validating. And, the highlight of all highlights, meeting my latest fave NYT bestselling author, Gillian Flynn. It was a surreal moment where I fell into Blubbering Idiot mode. But I’m okay with that. Gone Girl is most definitely a book to blubber about. (Did I mention that there was ONE TABLE between us for the entire day? I felt as if I were basking in her greatness. CrAzY!)
The best part of all, though, is that Books by the Banks is an annual event, which means that if you missed the festival this year, you can plan to attend in 2013.
Because I love pictures, I’ll close with a few shots that highlight my day . . .
Me with Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl, Dark Places, and Sharp Objects.
(I’m in total fangirl freak-out mode here, but trying to hold it together.)
Me and Colleen Clayton, author of the recently released What Happens Next.
My neighbor, Katherine Howe, author of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane (ah-mazing) and her latest, The House of Velvet and Glass.
A sampling of YA authors who attended the event:
Colleen Clayton – What Happens Next
Rae Carson – The Girl of Fire and Thorns and Crown of Embers
Mike Mullin – Ashfall and Ashen Winter
Julia Karr – XVI and Truth
Kristina McBride – The Tension of Opposites and One Moment (but you knew that part, right?)
Me and my lovely friend, Sharon Short, who is the director of the Antioch Writers’ Workshop as well as the author of the upcoming (incredibly beautiful) My One Square Inch of Alaska.
I love author events! One of my favorites each year is Books by the Banks in Cincinnati, Ohio. This festival draws 100+ super cool, national, regional, and local authors (this year’s cast of authors includes my fangirl fave, Gillian Flynn!), as well as a great audience. It’s a perfect place to find holiday gifts. Because what’s better than giving a loved one a new book, personalized and signed by the author? Nothing, right? It’s also the perfect place for teachers and librarians to meet authors and chat about possible author visits. Because author visits are always so much fun for everyone.
So, if you’re near Cincinnati on Saturday, October 20th, from 10 am to 4 pm, head to the Duke Energy Convention Center and take a stroll through the festival, stop by one of the many panel sessions, and pick up a few new reads. Admission is free. But I warn you, once surrounded by such good reading, you may have trouble controlling yourself. (Or is this just me?)
It’s official. My second novel, One Moment, has released! Which means readers can actually buy it! Crazy!
I was so fortunate to have the opportunity to celebrate the release with family and friends, as well as some people I’d never even met (how cool is that?!) this past Friday evening at my launch party, which was hosted by the Books and Company at The Greene in Dayton, Ohio. It’s a gorgeous store! The first time I walked through the doors and stepped inside this particular Books and Company (years before I had completed my first manuscript, but already dreaming of the release), I looked at my husband and told him that some day I would sign my very own books at the location. I love being right! Especially in this instance.
Books and Company – The Greene – Dayton, Ohio
This photo was taken BEFORE the storm. Just so you know.
Hours before the party, my husband broke the news that a storm was on its way to town. A really big and powerful storm. I started to worry because I knew that I had several friends and also some family driving in from out of town. Then I let it go – sometimes that’s all you can do – and hoped for the best. The storm couldn’t be THAT bad, could it?
Um. Yes. It could be THAT bad. Actually, it could be WORSE.
About an hour before I was scheduled to leave home to head for Books and Company, the wind hit. I’m talking record-breaking gusts of 75+mph. And then the rain started to fall. Along with some massive trees. Which meant power lines were dropping as well. LIVE power lines, causing mass power outages as the police blocked roads all over town. And I haven’t even mentioned the insane lightning streaking across the sky. When it was time for me to leave, I took a deep breath and slid into the car. Along the way, I had to dodge several fallen trees sprawling across my path, avoid a detour due to downed power lines, all while watching the sky for any possible funnel clouds. It was a Freaky Friday, that’s for sure.
Lucky for me, the storm was fast-moving. By the time I arrived at Books and Company, the rain had slowed to not-quite-torrential, and I had some hope that I might not be the only person celebrating the launch of One Moment. As the beginning of the event approached, people started streaming in – friends and family, some really cool people I’d never even met before, as well as a super-incredible group of author friends (several still shaking from the insanity of their drives in to town).
I started by thanking lots of people (gratitude is so important in life!), then introduced the premise of my novel and talked a bit about the inspiration behind the story. I took a few minutes to read the first section of chapter two, titled “The Ripple of My Fear”, and then opened up for a super-cool Q&A session. Lots of great questions came at me, but my favorite moment was when my son, who is 4 years old, raised his arm and started waving his little hand in the air. I was a bit nervous, unsure what he might say if I called on him, because, really, you never know with kids, but I took a risk. Sitting in the middle of the crowd, The Boy Child didn’t have a question. He simply wanted to share one thing: “I love you, Mommy.” (Melting again just thinking about it!)
I then offered up a few prizes and sat down for an epic signing where I only had a minute or two to talk to each person patient enough to come through the line. (I hate that part! If only I could REALLY talk to everyone!)
Bottom line? In spite of the insane storm (one guest described his drive to Dayton as being “just like a scene from that movie Twister!”) the launch was a total success! Thanks to all who braved the weather to make it out! And thanks to all who wished they could be there, but couldn’t!
Because pictures make every post a little more sparkly, I’m posting some highlights here. Enjoy!
Me, The Girl Child, and The Boy Child
Some of My Awesome Author Friends
Katrina Kittle and Sharon Short
Linda Gerber, Jennifer McGowan, Me, Rae Carson, Kay Cassidy
Super-cool bloggers from We Heart YA!
My cousin and her children (I have the best family ever!)
My first reader, a talented writer herself, Janet Irvin.
To celebrate the launch of One Moment, I’m offering signed copies through several different giveaways!
I’ll link you to each as soon as they are posted.
Because who doesn’t love free books?
Former Contests – Entry Period Has Closed
Enter for the chance to win a signed hardcover of One Moment and a paperback of The Tension of Opposites on Jay Asher’s blog. (CONTEST OVER – Ended 11:59 PST June 27)
The above contest includes a bundle of awesomeness – signed copies of The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler, Miracle by Elizabeth Scott, Forgotten and Revived by Cat Patrick, and Struck by Jennifer Bosworth! Entering is easy – just go to Jay’s blog and post a comment about your first concert. Mine? Howard Jones!
Enter for the chance to win a signed hardcover on Cat Patrick’s blog. (CONTEST OVER – Ended July 1)
Another easy entry – just go to Cat’s blog or her Facebook page and leave a comment about about one, perfect moment in your life you’d like to relive.
Enter for the chance to win a signed hardcover from Katrina Kittle’s FB Fan Page. (CONTEST OVER – Ended July 6th)
In one sentence, simply list one moment that changed your life forever.
Enter for the chance to win an ARC of One Moment on PJ Hoover’s blog. (CONTEST OVER – Ended July 7)
An easy entry, just fill out the Rafflecopter form at the end of the post.
Enter for the chance to win a signed hardcover on We Heart YA’s Blog. (CONTEST OVER – Ended July 14th)
An easy entry, just list “one moment” that changed your life in the comments section.
Romanian Readers Only: You have the chance to win a copy of One Moment from I Eat The Books blog. (CONTEST OVER – Ended August 4, 2012)
Fill out the Rafflecopter form at the end of the interview.
Enter for the chance to win a signed hardcover of One Moment and a signed paperback of The Tension of Opposites on Ed and Em’s Reviews. (CONTEST OVER – Ended August 5)
Enter for the chance to win a signed hardcover on Goodreads. (CONTEST OVER – Ended August 15)
In honor of One Moment’s release (this week!), I’m hosting a giveaway.
Thanks to my generous and oh-so-lovely editor, the prize pack will include:
One Moment by Kristina McBride (that’s me, so I’ll sign it, of course)
The Tension of Opposites by Kristina McBride (I’ll sign this one, too)
Hourglass by Myra McEntire
Timepiece (just released!) by Myra McEntire
Shift by Em Bailey
Notes from Ghost Town (ARC) by Kate Ellison (See the gorgeous cover in the pic below)
An Ashes/Shadows tote bag (awesome for toting books!)
My favorite candy (M&Ms!)
One Moment bookmarks (in case you want to help spread the word)
Here’s a pretty picture of the entire prize pack, just so you can see all the books, hanging together in their awesomeness:
THE SCOOP: One Moment explores the theme that it only takes one moment to change everything in a person’s world. To enter, list one of your own life-changing moments in the comments below or on my Facebook author page. The contest ends at 11:59 (EST) tonight. I will reply to the winner’s comment to request mailing info.
ONE OF MY OWN LIFE-CHANING MOMENTS: Now, this contest is only fair if I share one of my own life-changing moments, right? Sometimes change is good, bringing joy and happiness. Other times the change is so tragic it leaves you feeling crushed to nothing. Either way, you never look at life the same way again. I’ve experienced many moments that have given me a new perspective on life – two years ago, I nearly lost my father; six years ago, I gave birth to my first child; nine years ago, I married my best friend. Those moments drew clear lines in the path of my life – distinct befores and afters.
One such moment that I am still terribly shaken from occurred nearly twenty years ago. It’s one of those moments that has never let me go, and when I started writing One Moment, I drew from the emotion, still so raw after nearly two decades, that flooded me during that time.
It was summer – the middle of a beautiful June night – and I was sleeping soundly until the loud beep from the front entrance of my apartment complex alerted me that someone was at my door. After several minutes of the insistent beeping, I called the police. It was after two in the morning and I was unnerved, certain that nothing good could be waiting for me on the other side of that door. Once I had the police on the line, they told me to answer the door, that just outside was an officer waiting to speak with me. Foggy from sleep, I stepped outside and they asked a few questions. I quickly deduced that both of my parents, who were out of town, were okay, but relief didn’t come because just as quickly, I understood that the officer was there to ask about the teenaged son of a very close family friend. Seventeen-year-old Bobby had been in an accident and they were looking for his father, who, like my parents, was out of town. Being the only family (ish) contact in town, I gave them what information I had, frantically asking where Bobby was – I wanted to get to him as quickly as possible. The look the officer gave me answered the one question I had been too afraid to even formulate in my mind, let alone ask. There was nowhere for me to go. We had lost Bobby. Forever.
This moment settled deep within me, changing everything in my world in a single instant. I had just seen Bobby a few hours before – he was watering the plants at his father’s house, totally alive and well, excited even, as he was on his way to Florida with one of his friends. What if I’d asked him to have dinner with me – something I’d debated as we stood talking – instead of just saying goodbye and driving away? What if I’d spent one minute longer standing in the driveway, asking for more details about his recent trip white water rafting in West Virginia? What if one single moment could have altered the rest of his evening, putting him in the intersection a little sooner or later? Would he have even been in an accident? If so, could he possibly have survived?
We’ve all had moments like this, moments where we wonder if something we have done, or failed to do, may have drastically altered the course of our own, or someone else’s, lives. One Moment was a way for me to explore those emotions, a way for me to bring to life some of the feelings and questions I dealt with after Bobby’s death.
Now, that is one horribly sad, life-changing moment that I experienced. Quite a bit about One Moment is sad, as well. But the novel is ultimately about healing and hope. So I’m going to share one more moment, one that brought healing and hope to my own life:
Jumping into this author game is tricky and extremely difficult. I struggled through three complete novels before I landed my agent, then revised painstakingly for almost a year. The entire time, there was no guarantee. Just because I was revising didn’t mean my agent would ever think my book worked well enough to submit to a publishing house. But finally, she did. Which was super exciting! But it still didn’t guarantee that any editors would make an offer to actually publish the book. So I forgot about the submission (as well as I could) and went about my daily life.
One summer day, about a week after the book went on submission, exhausted to the point of wilting after spending hours at the pool with two toddlers, I was bracing myself between the wall and bathtub in my kids’ bathroom, trying to lather up their extremely slippery, sun-screened bodies, when the phone rang. I muttered something under my breath about how THE LAST THING I wanted to do in that moment was answer a phone. One child screamed about me pulling her hair, the other shouted about getting shampoo in his eyes, and I promptly forgot about the call. Until later, when I happened to walk past the answering machine and noticed that the little red light was blinking. Rolling my eyes (because that little red light took me right back to the stress of the bathtub and my two slippery squirmers), I hit the little play button and leaned against the wall to listen to the message. Crazy surprise! It was my agent! I had my first offer!
This moment is one that I will never forget – for all the right reasons. It changed everything! I finally knew what I’d always wondered. I can write a book. I can land myself a kick-ass literary agent. I can deal with revisions and see the book through to the end. And, best yet, my writing is good enough for publication! My book will sit on the shelves of bookstores and libraries, be clutched by readers’ hands, tucked under readers’ arms, and slipped between other books on readers’ shelves!
I had done it! Dared to dream, and taken the risk of failing by following through. And it had worked!
So there you have it – one negative and one positive life-changing moment from my own life.
Your turn! (Don’t worry, you don’t have to go into major detail, just share a moment that changed your life forever.)
*Contest open to residents of US and Canada.
*Contest officially closed. The lucky winner? Alicia Marie! Read her moving story in the comments section below.
I lost my writing partner this week. It’s natural, I know, the whole life and death thing, and I was lucky enough to have her by my side for more than thirteen years. But I miss her. And nothing will ever be the same without her. We had so many moments together – our fist and our last, and millions in between. Like the time I had to protect her from a charging goose; the way she greeted me and my husband after our wedding; and the months she spent on high-alert, watching over the kids when they were babies.
I wish I could have one more moment with her, happy and healthy, chasing squirrels in the backyard or snuggled up to my side on the couch. But that’s not how this works. So I’ll remember her often and soak in the final lesson she’s leaving me with. Life is full of change – some happy and some so very sad – and it’s important to live every moment so you are left with no regrets. Stop and listen. Really look into one another’s eyes. Appreciate. And most of all, love. Life is all about feeling – the feelings we send and the feelings we receive – so it’s important that we make each and every moment, each and every thought and feeling, each and every word and action, count.
Early Praise for One Moment
“Good, solid drama about the power of secrets to test the bounds of friendship, with just enough tension to satisfy teen readers.”
“McBride (The Tension of Opposites) skillfully interweaves Maggie’s flashes of memory with present action, making for a tense and absorbing psychological mystery. The dynamics among the tight-knit group of friends are well-drawn, and Maggie’s voice persuasively conveys her guilt, disorientation, and pain as she uncovers her friends’ secrets.”
- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
“Kristina McBride has written a poignant, heartbreaking tale of how one moment in a person’s life can change everything . . . a worthy addition to teen collections.”