Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Inside my tornado there are tacos and faith

A quick post to say hello (Hello.) and to say hey wow, STILL LIFE WITH TORNADO got its fourth starred review yesterday and I'm kinda tripping about it. I used to eat tacos every time I got a star but last night I opted for fresh corn on the cob here in Amish country. Two ears. It was delicious.



I want to talk about my editor, Andrew Karre. He's a wonderful man and a genius editor. If you're reading this and are still unpublished and you're feeling like it will never happen and you're starting to buy into those conspiracy theories like, "Agents don't want unpublished writers...you have to know someone in NYC to get published...the only people getting published are X,Y,& Z types of writers...no one wants to publish me because I am _________..." let me tell you: I've been there.

From the age of 24 to the age of 40 I wrote novels and didn't get published.
I collected 400+ paper rejection letters. I have no idea how many if we count email once they started using that in publishing.
I wrote 8 novels in that time. If you've read my blog before, you know that those novels were not good enough and I'm okay with that now. But back then? I started to believe the theories. I should be writing different books--not weird books. I should be a man. I should be an older man with NYC connections. I should be someone else. I will never get published if I keep writing what I'm writing.

I once wrote the meanest and most horrible and insane query letter to a random agent. I went off on some tangent about these theories. I blamed him for the state of my non-existent career. I felt the same way I feel now when they make remakes of old movies--WHY REMAKE SOMETHING? THERE ARE NEW ORIGINAL SCRIPTS OUT THERE! In short, I felt like this: WHAT ABOUT MEEEEEEE?

I never heard back from the agent and I'm glad I didn't. God, I was such an asshole in that letter.
Hitting bottom during 15 years of writing and trying happened more than once (still happens, really) but that time I really went too far.
We all do sometimes.
And I hope that agent's assistant deleted my letter immediately and never thought of it again and it isn't printed and hanging on some NYC bathroom wall of desperate-writer shame.

It feels personal, rejection. It feels really personal after 8 books and 15 years. It feels personal when 400+ paper rejection letters are taking up space in your filing cabinet. It feels personal when you see all the books being published and ask that awful question: But why not me? It feels personal when you look inside and make up answers to that question. There can be a lot of crying and destructive thinking and a lot of outward-aimed blame during this time. But eventually, after each blow, I took that personal question and made it into new books. Weird books. Because I write like I write and I can't do much about it.

And then Andrew Karre liked one of my weird books. And he published it. And now I am here, in my office, writing this post instead of writing my next book for him because I'm a little bit burned out at the moment after eight years of writing nonstop in a frenzy of If I stop, I will lose everything I've worked for.

Every time I think about Andrew, and I don't think he knows this, I think about how he saved my life. Not in that way, no. But in the way where someone (me) is meant to do something (write books) for some reason the universe decided and that person does that thing and 15 years go by and the person is starting to lose faith in a serious way and then, BAM! the person's faith is restored. Andrew Karre didn't know I started writing novels at age 24 and had been writing them for 15 years. He didn't know I'd been through any of this. He just liked my book and allowed me the chance of writing and selling another book. He had no idea he was restoring my faith in the universe.

---

In the last two weeks, I have heard "I'd love to write a book about X, Y, Z, but I don't have time" about nine times. I'm not sure why this is happening in the last fortnight--I've heard it many times before but this is excessive. I even just read it in an article yesterday. Someone saying they'd really like to write a book, but "I don't have the time."

This is the best way to avoid rejection.

It's the best way to avoid haters, bad reviews, and angry letters from readers.

It's the best way to avoid years of asking yourself why not me? 

It's the best way to avoid the whole mess of traditional publishing. (Define that in your own way.)

I used to get really agitated when people said this to me. I still have two other jobs, two growing kids, a lot to do, and I certainly don't have a lot of free time. But the universe wanted me to write books, so I wrote books even when I didn't have time and didn't have money and didn't have faith in the universe's plan for me.

I'm glad I did. Rejections, haters, bad reviews, angry letters, the mess of publishing, and the why not me? have somehow helped me become crazy enough to keep doing this.

And every time I get an email from Andrew Karre, or see a Facebook post like the one above, there's a little sound that goes off in my head and I'm reminded that the universe has a plan for me if I just have faith. PING! That's the sound. PING!

If you're reading this and you're a writer and you want to be a published writer but you haven't quite gotten there yet, hear my PING! Go write more books. Find the time. It's okay that you hit bottom sometimes. When you get there, look for the graffiti I left on the wall the last time I was there.

It says: PING!



A photo posted by A.S. King (@as_king_) on

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Fall 2016 Tour Info

I told you I'd be back. I'm not usually very good with that, so I bet you're surprised. 

I promised you a picture of my basement, which is a pretty weird thing to promise people, but I'm going for it. This is a before and after kind of thing. And it's already old because we now have things down there to sit on and stuff, but hey, you get what you get. 

I can't seem to find a good before picture without the first of the panels up, but this is good enough.
And the after picture is while we were painting the floor.
Also, before I got the sockets wired.
But.
It's now the Ping Pong/music room heaven we dreamed of.
With a washing machine.
Phase two starts in spring. 

I'm really only here to give you some dates. I'm hitting some awesome places I've never been before and I can't wait. 

Come say hello if I'm in your town. 

----

Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center
522 W. Maple St.
Allentown, PA
September 28, 2016
6-8pm


*** STILL LIFE WITH TORNADO LAUNCH PARTY! ***
Be one of the first to get your hands on this book and join us for food and fun!

TACOS & TORNADOES
Aaron's Books
Lititz, PA
Sunday, October 9th
1pm

RSVP REQUIRED--DO IT HERE

Note: The party is getting very close to full already. Once we're at capacity, there will be an overflow list in case someone can't make it. If you haven't reserved a spot yet and pre-ordered, do it now.

Can't make it but want to pre-order a signed book?
PRE-ORDER SIGNED BOOKS HERE
Order before Oct 7th and get a 15% Discount!

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Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library
Jonesboro, Arkansas
Round Room
7pm
Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016

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KidLitCon
Friday Keynote Speaker
Drury Plaza Hotel
Wichita, Kansas
 October 14-15, 2016

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Twin Cities Book Festival
Minnesota State Fairgrounds
St. Paul, MN
Saturday, October 15, 2016

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*** Clinton Book Shop ***
Come see me at one of my favorite independent bookstores!
Clinton, New Jersey
Friday, October 21, 2016
7pm

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*** Children's Book World ***
Come see me at one of my favorite independent bookstores!
Haverford, PA
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
7pm

---

Central Library
400 Civic Center, Tulsa OK 74103
Thursday, October 27th
7pm

--

Texas Book Festival
Austin, TX
November 5-6, 2016
More details TBA

---

NYC
November 12, 2016-ish
More details to come

---

The ALAN Workshop
Monday Keynote Speaker
Atlanta, Georgia
November 20-22, 2016

---

Spring 2017 dates to come...
If you're in Portland, Oregon save May 2nd!
And I'll be back in Rochester for the festival again in 2017...May 20th! 



I'll leave you with this promised vague mention of a book for younger readers. 

Here is a lovely cover. 

Coming Jan 31, 2017



Monday, August 15, 2016

Let's catch up.

Before I forget, tomorrow, August 16, is release day for the paperback of I CRAWL THROUGH IT.

I once wrote a post here called "We make paper boats; We cannot control the wind." The post was about how this book came to be. How I quit. How it didn't let me quit. Something like that.



At the end of the post I talked about how we make paper boats, but we can't control the wind. I knew I CRAWL THROUGH IT would be way out of some readers' comfort zones. I'm kinda used to making people uncomfortable. I CRAWL THROUGH IT is a surrealist novel. It's not for everyone. And yet, the letters and comments I get about it from teens and from adults alike are always tear-filled and urgent--the same way the book came to me. 

Anyway. 
Tuesday. 
Paperback of I CRAWL THROUGH IT. Grab one for yourself or for anyone who might enjoy weird, thoughtful things. 

"This novel is an ambitious, haunting work of art."
--SLJ (starred review)



NEWS:

I have a lot of news because it's been months since I've been here. But I don't think you want me to bore you with most of my news. (No, I didn't get the deck done; yes, I got the tree in front of my house down but haven't replaced it yet and it now looks like a meteor hit; yes, I planted the front flowerbed; yes, we got the basement job finished and it looks awesome! (I'll post a picture next time if you want.) I am still the ping pong champ in my house. And I got a new fuel pump for my car...etc.) What really matters is: new book release on October 11th, tour info, and vague mention of another book coming in January for younger readers. 

But first: Want to come party with me? Want to get your hands on Still Life with Tornado two days before it officially comes out? Aaron's Books has room for 55 people and I'd love for you to be one of them. 


TACOS & TORNADOES

LAUNCH PARTY FOR STILL LIFE WITH TORNADO
Aaron's Books, 35 E. Main Street, Lititz, PA 17543. 
Sunday, October 9th, 2016
1pm-3pm

RSVP is required. Do it here. 

If you can't make the party, PRE-ORDER your SIGNED copy HERE and Aaron's Books will send it to you! Pre-order before October 6th and you get a 15% discount. 


REVIEWS ARE COMING IN...

Still Life with Tornado is getting some killer trade reviews, including three starred reviews. 
(That's three more reasons to eat tacos.)

★"Lack of original ideas is not something found in work by A.S. King, who blurs reality, truth, violence, emotion, creativity, and art in a show of respect for YA readers."--Horn Book Magazine

★"One of the things that sets Sarah’s existential crisis in motion is her art teacher’s comment that there is no such thing as an original idea; clearly, Miss Smith has never read one of King’s novels. The presentation of the surreal as real, the deeply thoughtful questions she poses, the way she empowers her teenage characters to change the trajectory of their lives—King writes with the confidence of a tightrope walker working without a net."--PW

★"A deeply moving, frank, and compassionate exploration of trauma and resilience, filled to the brim with incisive, grounded wisdom."--Booklist Magazine

"King understands and writes teen anxieties like no other, resulting in difficult, resonant, compelling characters and stories." --Kirkus Reviews


I don't want to bog you down with too much in one post. So I will post tour dates later this week. 

I'll also save the vague book news for later, too. 

Back soon. Promise.