Sunday, 12 November 2017

Sunday Street Team - This Mortal Coil

Catarina Agatta is a hacker. She can cripple mainframes and crash through firewalls, but that’s not what makes her special. In Cat’s world, people are implanted with technology to recode their DNA, allowing them to change their bodies in any way they want. And Cat happens to be a gene-hacking genius.

That’s no surprise, since Cat’s father is Dr. Lachlan Agatta, a legendary geneticist who may be the last hope for defeating a plague that has brought humanity to the brink of extinction. But during the outbreak, Lachlan was kidnapped by a shadowy organization called Cartaxus, leaving Cat to survive the last two years on her own.

When a Cartaxus soldier, Cole, arrives with news that her father has been killed, Cat’s instincts tell her it’s just another Cartaxus lie. But Cole also brings a message: before Lachlan died, he managed to create a vaccine, and Cole needs Cat’s help to release it and save the human race.

Now Cat must decide who she can trust: The soldier with secrets of his own? The father who made her promise to hide from Cartaxus at all costs? In a world where nature itself can be rewritten, how much can she even trust herself?

About the author

Emily Suvada was born and raised in Australia, where she went on to study mathematics and astrophysics. She previously worked as a data scientist, and still spends hours writing algorithms to perform tasks which would only take minutes to complete on her own. When not writing, she can be found hiking, cycling, and conducting chemistry experiments in her kitchen. She currently lives in Portland, OR, with her husband.

Ten things Emily Suvada would tell her past self when she first started writing

#1 - Don’t write what you think people want to read!
This one is SO important. If you try to write to the market, or to what you think people will want to read or buy, you’ll never find your own voice, and your work will probably be out-of-date. If a book takes a year to write and sell, it’ll probably be at least another year before it’s released - sometimes two. That’s up to three years between an idea and its publication. By that time, any trend you were chasing when you started will be over. You also won’t be able to find your own voice if you’re trying to match the tone or focus of the market, or what you think people want to read. I sat down and wrote This Mortal Coil and accepted from the beginning that it could be a tough sell - it’s a wild book - but that allowed me to really find my voice and have fun with it. If I’d done this years ago, when I started writing, maybe I could have saved myself some time!

#2 - Industrial-grade earmuffs are your friend.
I find noise really distracting while writing, so I often write with white noise tracks playing through headphones. When I need silence, I wear the kind of earmuffs that people use while operating heavy machinery! They’re pretty cheap, too - and comfortable!

#3 - Critique partners and groups are the best!
The two most important things you can do for your writing are giving critique, and seeking it out. Giving critique is a magical thing - you often notice weaknesses in other people’s writing that you then realize are in your own, even though you hadn’t noticed them before! It’s extremely illuminating, and sharpens your ability to edit your own work. Receiving critique can be tough at first, but it’s a crucial step to take and become comfortable with. You’ll be amazed at how deeply other people can understand what you’re trying to accomplish with your work - often they can see it more clearly than you! So many of the best parts of my writing came about through suggestions from my critique partners and later, my agent and editors.

#4 - Other writers don’t bite!
If you’re part of an online writing community, either on social media or another platform, you’ve probably admired other writers from afar - both published and aspiring. Generally speaking - writers are very friendly and love to connect with other people who share their interests! They’ll probably love you reaching out to them, and may even offer advice or become your friend. This can make you feel like a real part of the community and help your motivation.

#5 - There are so many incredible people in the writing community to learn from.
Following on from #4, even if you’re not comfortable interacting with writers, being part of the community online is still important. There are discussions taking place in YA twitter every day about important issues that are shaping the landscape of the childrens’ book world - making it an inclusive, diverse and meaningful space for all readers, while also highlighting ways to help independent booksellers, libraries, and offering advice for authors in this fast-changing digital world. There are authors and community members whose combined voices offer an education that can’t be found anywhere else. Follow them, learn from them, and support their work and their books!

#6 - Find your tools!
There is more to life than Microsoft Word. Try out different writing software, like Scrivener, and look into distraction-free software and tools. Try drafting or editing on paper. Your writing methods can have a big effect on your craft - so try as many methods as possible!

#7 - Don’t edit while you’re drafting.

Drafting is not editing. Drafting is drafting. Edit once you have a draft. If you’re only going to listen to one point on this list - make it this one. You’ll thank me!

#8 - Be prepared to keep secrets for a looooong time

Publishing is a long, slow process, full of secrets that you’re not allowed to share. Deals fall through, titles change, books are altered and delayed. Sometimes contracts can just take a really, really long time to get signed. Some secrets - like a new book deal, a cover, or exciting film or foreign rights news - can feel like they’re going to make you explode, but part of being a professional writer is keeping your lips sealed. It’s not easy.

#9 - Celebrate when you can!
Following on from #8 - in this industry, it often won’t feel totally right to celebrate exciting news. Deals might come together slowly, with constant risk of them falling through. Do you celebrate when you strike a deal, when you sign your contract - or when you announce? Do you celebrate sending the book off to copyedits? What about first pass pages? There are so many small milestones, none of which might feel “big” enough to pop open champagne for. My advice is to go with those mini champagne bottles, or fancy desserts, or take-out - celebrating whenever you can. You’re only going to debut once, so enjoy it!

#10 - People are going to love your book one day, and it’s going to blow your mind.
No, really. People are going to read your book, and some of them are going to “get” it, and love it, and talk about it. There is no preparing you for this feeling. I didn’t know I could have so much love for so many people. Putting this book into the world and seeing people connect with it has transformed my life. I feel like my heart has grown a thousand times, trying to fit so many wonderful readers into it. There’s nothing quite like it - it’s what writers live for!


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