I’m feeling good this morning. First of all, I have some great news to announce about the secret society girl series:
Turkish rights to Diana Peterfreund’s SECRET SOCIETY GIRL, UNDER THE ROSE, & RITES OF SPRING (BREAK), have sold to Artemis, by Whitney Lee of the Fielding Agency on behalf of Elaine Spencer at the Knight Agency.
Savvy readers will note that this little deal does not include Tap & Gown. Yet. Savvier readers will be just as excited as I was by the name of my new publisher. Seriously, how awesome is that?
Next bit of great news: both of my anthologies out this year (Kiss Me Deadly and Zombies vs. Unicorns) are coming out as audio books! I’m so excited! I’ve never had an audio version of one of my books before.
Next bit of great news: I’ve received some advanced reviews of ASCENDANT and they have made me all happy:
April of Good Books and Wine says:
“Ascendant is a direct sequel to the super-awesome Rampant, which I actually really enjoyed. With Ascendant, the intros and exposition is pretty much out of the way so the book gets right on down to business. There is absolutely more sexual tension, more unicorns, more action, and a lot of moral dilemma. I loved it! What was so cool is how Peterfreund made her events grey areas. By this I mean things were taken out of a black and white context and given complexity and layers. I guess it’s awesome how we get to see two sides of a coin.
“I actually enjoyed Ascendant way more than Rampant. I thought Astrid really came into her own. Confession corner: After I finished I really had trouble finding a book to read. I mean, what’ll measure up to that kind of awesome?”
She also reviewed Rampant recently, AND she is giving away copies of BOTH right now! Go sign up to win!
Cassandra Yorgey of examiner.com also snagged an advanced review copy of ASCENDANT at BEA, and reviews it (along with a plea for a third book) here:
“[A] prominent theme throughout Ascendant is how we treat animals. Animal conservation and medical testing are issues that Astrid is on the fence about. She struggles with these things, often bordering each side of the fence trying desperately to reconcile necessities with human decency. And even if you don’t care one whit about those things, there are still killer freaking unicorns, which is awesome socks no matter how you wrap it up.
“First I just want to rant a little about how there ISN’T GOING TO BE A THIRD BOOK! At least not anytime soon. Which really upset me ’cause I love me some Killer Unicorns! That also had to bring Ascendant down to a 4 star, because if this is how it ends…it just isn’t enough. I think we need to start a petition so that we can get some more Killer Unicorns!
“OK, on to the review! Loved it! Want to give it 5 stars.”
Since I’ve gotten enough emails/twitters/blog discussions/random assumptions on the subject, I feel I should make what is as formal a statement as I can make at this time, namely: I would like to write a third killer unicorn book, and I currently have a two book contract with Harper Collins to write more YA books. The first book in this contract, which I am working on now and will be out in 2011, is a post-apocalyptic retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion. The second book (which will probably be a 2012 release) is undecided as of yet. It may be killer unicorns #3. It may not.
No one is the “bad guy” here. I am not holding killer unicorn stories for ransom (I have three coming out this year!). Additionally, Harper Teen is hugely in support of Rampant and Ascendant. Rampant will be out in paperback this fall (for the low, low price of $8.99), along with the hardcover of Ascendant, which was featured prominently at BEA and is going to be featured prominently again at ALA this weekend. We also have a lot of cool promotional things planned for the fall.
So, to answer the questions I keep getting about what you can do to make sure there is a third unicorn book, all I can say is, tell your friends about Rampant. Tell your local bookseller to stock it. Tell your local librarian to order a copy for her collection. Buy a copy of the paperback (for the low, low price of $8.99) when it comes out this fall. And just be patient, and we can revisit this issue in six to eight months. Think of this like a TV show. I don’t know if I’m “renewed” — I’m still mid-season! (And yes, I am aware of what my options are, one of them being that I’ve got a blank book under contract.)
Back to the great reviews!
Rene Kirkpatrick, a bookseller at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, Washington, is a fan of both books in the series:
“But, are the myths true? Are the unicorns all blood hungry, savage beasts? What about the people who are searching for the remedy, the cure for all disease? Who do you trust when those you want to trust have motives that don’t match yours? Were there nunneries filled with women warriors dating from the time of Diana who could keep the world safe from harm? Wouldn’t it be cool if there were a reason for them to still be viable? Man (and woman)-eating, not fluffy, no pink or purple manes or tales, unicorns; maybe not, huh?
“These books are really good. They are humorous and deal with a lot of the same questions that girls who aren’t unicorn hunters have to deal with. There is high romance, a little low romance, big questions about certain parts of life and how valuable these things can be, big adventure, strong and brave women. Good travel books, too, especially if you are on your way to Rome or France; good descriptions of the nightlife and tourist worlds. They are really good summer books. Ages 14 and up. (HarperTeen. $17.99. Rampant is available now, and Ascendant will be available in October! Ooh. October! Put it on your list, you’re going to want it when you’re done with Rampant.)”
W00T! I love booksellers who love killer unicorns.
And librarians. Seriously, this weekend at ALA, I must meet Betsy Bird (who apparently I know through two different degrees of separation?). Look what she had to say about ASCENDANT in her recent Harper fall 2010 preview:
“In an era of Zombies Vs. Unicorns, it seems appropriate that Diana Peterfreund’s killer unicorn book Rampant should get itself a sequel. Ascendant keeps up the fast pace of its predecessor and Peterfreund has been studying unicorn legends from around the world extensively for these books. Personally, I think Harper Collins is losing a huge opportunity with these covers. If you put a big, ugly, slavering unicorn with blood dripping from its mouth on the jacket, those copies will sell sell sell faster than you can print them up. Oh, and for those of you wondering what else Ms. Peterfreund has up her sleeve, I have five words for you: Post-apocalyptic retelling of Persuasion.”
Gotta say, Betsy, I too am disappointed they couldn’t squeeze a unicorn on that cover. But then again, prettyprettyAstridhair. It’s so hard to put everything that this book is on one cover. Maybe in a dozen years, when my series is recognized as a modern classic, I’ll get new gory covers. Then Roman ruin covers. Then chem lab covers. The possibilities are endless.
And to wrap this up (and then go pick up my car which is finally ready, yay!) I have this lovely review of RAMPANT from a livejournaler called hamsterwoman:
“You know how, in about 90% of my reviews, I will get to the main character and say, “I liked [him/her] OK” or “Him/her I was ‘meh’ on”? Well, ha! Because I freaking LOVE Astrid Llewelyn. She is easily my favorite character in the book, my favorite thing about the book (and I really liked the book), and there isn’t even any question about it. Astrid is awesome!
“Astrid is a real scientist in training. Not only is she interested in science and actively going after becoming a doctor (volunteering in the hospital) even though she is just 16, but she is believable in this role. She has a scientist’s mind, analyzing inputs and details even in high-stress situations — e.g. noticing [snipped for spoilers]. And she thinks in terms of behaviour patterns and hypotheses, and she resents unscientific ideas, like that particular skills run in families, and is frustrated by the others’ reluctance to try an examine the unscientific but apparently true effects scientifically. And she stages actual scientific experiments with her fellow hunters, and uses words like “ambient unicorn influence.” (In retrospect, even at the very beginning her thoughts on her relationship with the douchy boyfriend feel kind of scientist-like — she is trying to maximize the benefits of dating him while minimizing how much groping she lets him get away with.
“I can’t readily express how awesome I find this, but it is. I’ve seen/read quite a few attempts to portray young geeks/science types, and so many of them end up feeling like caricatures to me or like shallow “my nerdness is pasted on” decals, or like someone’s fairly uninformed idea of what would-be scientists are like. And there’s none of that here — Astrid’s the real thing. She thinks and acts and argues in ways that are familiar and true to me. People talk about having different kinds of female heroines for girls to identify with, and there are tomboy types and girly girls and girls out to prove things to the world and girls looking to find themselves and to learn the meaning of love and friendship or whatever, but I don’t think I’ve actually encountered a female heroine before that I could identify with as closely as with Astrid. There have been plenty that I wanted to be like or think I was like, but for sheer identification, yeah, Astrid is pretty much it. And, yes, it’s quite nice to have that, even as an adult.”
I really need to start printing these babies out and pasting them up on my wall or something for those days when I feel like I suck and can’t write consistent characterization to save my life. Because one of Astrid’s core conflicts is trying to resolve the science that she knows is true with the magic that she must, as an astute observer, recognize. I hope with Ascendant that I’ve successfully evolved that inner struggle and kept Astrid a scientist, even if she happens to be a magical one. (I think Cassandra thinks I did.)
And now I’m going to shut up before I start in with the spoilers…