one of my very favorite book people says nice things about BECAUSE IT IS MY BLOOD in the Atlantic Wire

One of my very favorite book people says nice things about BECAUSE IT IS MY BLOOD in the Atlantic Wire

Northington sums it up: “Future New York mafia! Anya is the bad-assest heroine I’ve met in a while—on her way to being a psychopath, but a really compelling psychopath.” Godfather fans, this is your Y.A

I asked my publisher if we could put “bad-assest” on the cover.

tuesday hijinks no. 10: Printers Row Book Festival in Chicago, suitcase postmortem


1. I packed my red shoes but did not wear them. They make the photo because they go well with the ARC of Because It Is My Blood.

2. I bought the print at the festival. The verse reads:

Lady Tulip, stately dame,

From across the ocean came;

Liked this country very much,

Although she only spoke in Dutch.

This puts me in mind of a few lyrics I like from a Bright Eyes song called “Road to Joy.”

I could have been a famous singer

If I had someone else’s voice

But failure always sounded better

Let’s f*** it up, boys, make some noise.

Tuesday Hijinks, No. 8: You know you’re in Los Angeles when the cashier at the hotel gift shop gives you a handwritten list of her favorite documentaries. 

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, April 2012

tuesday hijinks no. 7: epigraph no. 1

The selection of an epigraph is a serious matter. Because It Is My Blood has two of them. The first, which you’ll find below, is a Stephen Crane poem, and the title of Because It Is My Blood is derived from the it:

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said, “Is it good, friend?”
“It is bitter—bitter,” he answered;
“But I like it
Because it is bitter,
And because it is my heart.”

Stephen Crane is certainly not my favorite poet nor is “In the Desert” my favorite poem by a mile – nay, a marathon. On some level, I’m not even sure I LIKE this poem.* Alas, it is the poem that most suits the book, Anya in the story, and probably my frame of mind at the time I was writing. 


*My policy is not to criticize other writers online. However, Stephen Crane is long dead, so I feel I’m in the clear here. 

Tuesday Hijinks, No. 4:  An interview with me about the paperback version of All These Things I’ve Done and title reveal for the second book.

Something I wanted to put in the interview but didn’t. All the titles of the books in the series add up to form a synopsis of the series. At this point, you have half the sentence: All these things I’ve done because it is my blood… etc. 

P.S. The jacket on my tumblr is – I believe – the final version; it’s a little bit different than the one on BookPage.

Hi, I like your books — esp. Elsewhere. A nosy question… A while ago I remember reading on your webpage that you don’t exactly dislike “annoyingly-social” YA writers, but it’s the Web presence/marketing-ness that made you uncomfortable, as if it obliged you to go out and hustle. (or something like that). It’s been a while since you wrote it, and I was wondering, after more years in the biz, did this change? Only asking, as that little comment quite comforted the loner in me…

This is going to be a multi-part answer.

1) In the last year or so, I have made peace with being online. I want people to read my books; being online seems to be an aspect of the job of author these days.

2) On the other hand, I think it’s sad that people can’t experience books separate from writers anymore. It’s worth noting that “liking an author” is not at all the same thing as “liking a novel” – and yet I’m not sure many young readers bother to note the difference. And when we make our book-buying decisions based on an author being, say, “funny on twitter,” we are not necessarily buying the best books. Books should not be tribute gifts because authors are amusing. There are several deeply amusing people on Twitter who write boring, pedestrian novels.

3) The flip side again: Just because an author is antisocial doesn’t mean his/her books aren’t beautiful/wonderful/life-changing/amazing. Authors are not always their books. (And books are sometimes more interesting than tweets.)

4) I am still a loner and I still struggle with all of this. I sometimes wish I weren’t online at all. I think, for instance, I am adding nothing to twitter except “sound and fury signifying nothing.” (emphasis on nothing)… I still believe in deliberation and reflection before airing an opinion for the world to see. (The reason I like tumblr, by the way, is because I am impressed by  the variety of interests and curatorial* skill you see on it.)

5) On the other hand — that’s my third hand — I like communicating with readers. I like being able to say thank you to those who have enjoyed my books and chosen to tell me so in a thoughtful manner.

6)  And so I’m trying to stop fighting everything. I take a deep breath and remind myself of the E.M. Forster quote: “only connect.”


*I know people are sensitive about using the word curatorial outside of a museum context, but I am using it anyway.