29 August 2008

Midnight Sun cancelled

According to Stephenie Meyer, Midnight Sun will not be published. As depressing as this is, when you hear, or rather read, her reasons you might understand her decision, or you might still be mad.
The rough draft of Midnight Sun was released illegally and posted on the internet. I wasn't aware of this and when I asked my friends they said they weren't either, but apparently the first 250+ pages were released. This is what Stephenie said on her page,

"As some of you may have heard, my partial draft of Midnight Sun was illegally posted on the Internet and has since been virally distributed without my knowledge or permission or the knowledge or permission of my publisher.

I have a good idea of how the leak happened as there were very few copies of Midnight Sun that left my possession and each was unique. Due to little changes I made to the manuscript at different times, I can tell when each left my possession and to whom it was given. The manuscript that was illegally distributed on the Internet was given to trusted individuals for a good purpose. I have no comment beyond that as I believe that there was no malicious intent with the initial distribution.

I did not want my readers to experience Midnight Sun before it was completed, edited and published. I think it is important for everybody to understand that what happened was a huge violation of my rights as an author, not to mention me as a human being. As the author of the Twilight Saga, I control the copyright and it is up to the owner of the copyright to decide when the books should be made public; this is the same for musicians and filmmakers. Just because someone buys a book or movie or song, or gets a download off the Internet, doesn't mean that they own the right to reproduce and distribute it. Unfortunately, with the Internet, it is easy for people to obtain and share items that do not legally belong to them. No matter how this is done, it is still dishonest. This has been a very upsetting experience for me, but I hope it will at least leave my fans with a better understanding of copyright and the importance of artistic control.

So where does this leave Midnight Sun? My first feeling was that there was no way to continue. Writing isn't like math; in math, two plus two always equals four no matter what your mood is like. With writing, the way you feel changes everything. If I tried to write Midnight Sun now, in my current frame of mind, James would probably win and all the Cullens would die, which wouldn't dovetail too well with the original story. In any case, I feel too sad about what has happened to continue working on Midnight Sun, and so it is on hold indefinitely.

I'd rather my fans not read this version of Midnight Sun. It was only an incomplete draft; the writing is messy and flawed and full of mistakes. But how do I comment on this violation without driving more people to look for the illegal posting? It has taken me a while to decide how and if I could respond. But to end the confusion, I've decided to make the draft available here (at the end of this message on the Midnight Sun page). This way, my readers don't have to feel they have to make a sacrifice to stay honest. I hope this fragment gives you further insight into Edward's head and adds a new dimension to the Twilight story. That's what inspired me to write it in the first place.

I do want to take a moment and thank the wonderful fans who have been so supportive of me over the past three years. I cannot begin to tell you how much each of you means to me. I only hope this note will stop all the confusion and online speculation so that the Twilight universe can once again become the happy escape it used to be. After this incredibly busy year, I am now focusing on spending more time with my family and working on some other writing projects."

Now, there are two sides to this.

My bitchy-selfish-OMG-I can't-believe-she-would-do-this-to-us side says: I'm extremely mad about this. Doesn't Stephenie know that when you are famous and have bestselling material it will get leaked. Your music will be illegally copied and downloaded. Movies and TV shows will be recored in theaters and on television and posted on the internet. Details about your personal life will be in tabloids/newspapers/websites. That's just what happens. I think it's unfair for her to cancel Midnight Sun for that. You can't punish everyone for what a handful (in comparison to the people who didn't read it) of people did. Like I said neither my friends nor anyone else I can think of knew about Midnight Sun being posted on the internet, and because what some people did we won't be able to read it, unless we read the copy Stephenie doesn't want us to read. The last chapter of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows was printed in a newspaper, or newspapers, in London. J.K. Rowling didn't cancel Deathly Hallows. Granted she had already finished it so it wouldn't have affected her writing.

My more understanding side says: Completely understandable. In her position I can't say I wouldn't do the same. She most likely feels worse about this than her fans do. Someone she trusted with the rough draft of Midnight Sun leaked it on the internet. If I trusted someone with an advanced story of a story I wrote and did that I would probably drop the story too, depending on how much was leaked and who leaked etc. etc.

Regardless of how I feel and what I think this is the deal. Chances are Midnight Sun will not be published. If we want to read it we'll have to read the rough draft, which I would have no problem with except for the fact she doesn't want people to read it. We can only hope she picks it up again. Or, at least, some other story that has something to do with Twilight. Maybe short stories, like her extras and outtakes, from other points of views will be posted on her website. Maybe she'll even release a book with all the extra goodies.

28 August 2008

Review-I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder

"Girl meet boy.
Girl loses boy.
Girl gets boy back....
.... sort of.
Ava can't see him,
unless she's dreaming.
She can't hear his voice,
except the faint whispers in her mind.
Most would think she's crazy, but she knows he's here.

The boy Ava thought she'd spend the rest of her life with.
He's back from the dead,
as proof love truly knows no bounds."

This is what's written on the back of I Heart You, You Haunt Me, sound good? Oh you have no idea.

The book follows 15 year-old Ava Bender, starting at Jackson's funeral, though the summer to the day after her 16th birthday. Ava blames herself for the Jackson's death and we follow her through her grief, depression, blame, and the other hundreds of emotions she feels after his death. Written in free verse this book makes the reader feel every thing Ava feels and more. I actually cried when I read the funeral part. (First book to ever do bring me to tears.) Schroeder is a very talented author, who was able to captivate her readers without ever boring them. I recommend this book to anyone who likes... Well, books.

P.S. On Ms. Schroeder's sight I found a list of other in verse novels.
Reaching for Sun by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer
Shark Girl by Kelly Bingham
Hugging the Rock by Susan Taylor Brown
What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones
Rubber Houses by Ellen Yeomans
Home of the Brave by Katherine Aplegate
Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff
Heartbeat by Sharon Creech
Pieces of Georgia by Jen Bryant

27 August 2008

Interview with Lisa Schroeder

How long ago did you decide to try writing?
I started writing seriously, for publication, about eight years ago. I think I completed my first novel about six years ago, a middle-grade that never sold. I wrote two more middle grade novels after that, and they didn’t sell either. I like to think of those books as my schooling. There is so much to learn about writing a novel. With the first one, it was just proving to myself that I could do it. When you’re starting, writing an entire novel seems so daunting. Heck, even when you’ve done it many times, it can seem daunting - turning that seed of an idea into a full-grown book.

How long did it take before you found your publisher?
My agent started submitting I HEART YOU in November of 2006. We received quite a few rejections, mostly because I think it’s so different. It’s hard to take a chance on something that’s different. Fortunately for me, we had an offer from Simon Pulse the first part of March, 2007, and it was wonderful because my editor really got my book. I think it showed me that we really have to trust the timing of things, and sometimes we may want things to happen more quickly, but the universe usually knows what it’s doing.

How long ago did you start from writing I Heart You, You Haunt Me?
I started writing the book in March, 2006, and had a first draft finished in a month. The story poured out of me. It was awesome. I wish that would happen more often. I spent the next six months polishing it up, and then got an agent in the fall of that same year.

Do you believe in ghosts?
I’m not sure. I think I do believe that our loved ones in the afterlife are closer than we think. And I don’t think they haunt us as much as they just want us to know they are okay, and they love us.

How did you get the ideas for I Heart You, You Haunt Me and Far From You?
For I HEART YOU, I had a dream about a girl whose boyfriend died and loved her so much, he couldn’t leave her behind. I sat down the next morning and started writing. I don’t dream often, and I had been praying for some inspiration for a new book, so I really believe it was a gift, one I’m very thankful for, obviously.
FAR FROM YOU came about as I was thinking about the incredible verse novel, OUT OF THE DUST. The dryness and dustiness in the book is almost like another character, and it got me thinking about the weather and how maybe I could do something with a teenage character having to survive in some harsh elements. Combining snow and angels appealed to me, and so, I was off. Like I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME, it’s a story of love and loss, forgiveness and hope, but in very different ways. And, the main character, Alice, is a singer/songwriter, so the book has a couple of songs I wrote specifically for the book, which was fun!

When you first got the ideas did you plan for them to be in free verse?

Great question. With I HEART YOU, I didn’t plan for it to be in verse, it just came out that way. I wrote a few pages and I was like, what am I doing? Do I know what I’m doing? Do I want to do this totally risky thing and do a paranormal story in VERSE? But at that point, Ava’s voice, and the story, had a mind of its own, and I just had to keep going.
FAR FROM YOU was a little more intentional. I had written a book in between these two that wasn’t in verse, and it wasn’t as well received. I think sometimes as a writer, we have to play to our strengths and do what it is we do best. I do well in being somewhat poetic and trying to describe something in as few words as possible, for whatever reason.

Why choose to write in free verse?
It allows me, and forces me, at different times and in different ways, to get at the heart of the matter. I am very much a wear-my-heart-on-my-sleeve kind of person. I feel things very deeply. Writing in verse allows me to express those emotions in a unique and special way, and even thought it’s challenging at times, trying to be poetic while also telling a story, I love it. And it’s much easier to do something when you love it.

Can we expect any more books from you after Far From You?
I sure hope so! I have a middle-grade novel out on submission right now to a handful of editors. And my agent has a proposal and 70 pages for another novel-in-verse. The publishing business is just that – a business, so any time I have a project I love to see made into a book, I have to be prepared that it may not happen.
But I definitely plan to keep writing, no doubt about that! ☺

Do you plan for all the novels your write to be free verse?
No. Not all stories are going to work well in verse. A novel that needs lots of dialogue, for example, isn’t going to work well in verse. It takes the right story to be told in that way, I think. I have an idea for another YA novel that I’ll probably work on after I find out what, if anything, is going to happen with that proposal on my agent’s desk, and it won’t be in verse. It will be in regular old chapters!

Were any characters from your novels based on or inspired by people you know? If so, which ones?
No, not really. I will say that I envisioned Jackson as a young Chris Daughtry, who was on American Idol at the time I was writing I HEART YOU.

Are there any rituals you need to perform before you can write, like listen to a certain band or do you need complete silence? Do you like to write outside or inside, etc.
When I’m in the zone, writing, I pretty much need to have things quiet. I do listen to music to get me in the mood, though, and sometimes play the same song over and over, if it’s a song that makes me feel the way I want my readers to feel. When I was writing FAR FROM YOU, it was all about Lifehouse and Sara McLachlan.

What were you favorite books as a teen? And now?
I read a lot of Judy Blume and V.C. Andrews as a teen, and that’s about it. If only we’d had the kinds of books we have today for teens – wow!
Today, I’m a huge John Green fan – love all his books, including his new one, PAPER TOWNS. I also adore Laurie Halse Anderson, Sarah Dessen, Sara Zarr, Cecil Castelluci, Elizabeth Scott… I could go on and on and ON!

Other than your wonderful books, what are some recommendations?
Some debut books I’ve enjoyed and would encourage you to check out, since I always love to help the debut author when I can. It’s hard being a debut author – I know!
Jennifer Bradbury – SHIFT
Lisa McMann – WAKE

Thanks so much for having me here! And thanks to you and others who have read I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME. I appreciate it more than I can say!