Guest Post by AE Rought and Amanda Rutter
On March 7th, I recieved a press release from Angry Robot books. It was about a new book they had just signed, by author AE Rought, and the synopsis really got me excited to read the book … so excited I HAD to have a guest post all about it, so you could be excited with me. I asked the author and Amanda Rutter at Angry Robot’s YA imprint Strange Chemistry both if they could share with us what they hope for this book, and how they feel about its pending publication. So, without further ado, a guest post, by AE Rought and Amanda Rutter.
Imagine my surprise, shortly after BROKEN’s press release to be approached about a guest post. Thanks for the invite, Jessica!
To start things off, here’s the synopsis that caught Amanda’s eye:
A string of suspicious deaths near a small Michigan town ends with a fall that claims the life of Emma Gentry’s boyfriend, Daniel. Emma is broken, a hollow shell mechanically moving through her days. She and Daniel had been made for each other, complete only when they were together. Now she restlessly wanders the town in the late Fall gloom, haunting the cemetery and its white-marbled tombs, feeling Daniel everywhere, his spectre in the moonlight and the fog.
When she encounters newcomer Alex Franks, only son of a renowned widowed surgeon, she’s intrigued despite herself. He’s an enigma, melting into shadows, preferring to keep to himself. But he is as drawn to her as she is to him. He is strangely…familiar. From the way he knows how to open her locker when it sticks, to the nickname she shared only with Daniel, even his hazel eyes with brown flecks are just like Daniel’s. The closer they become, though, the more something inside her screams there’s something very wrong with Alex Franks.
And when Emma stumbles across a grotesque and terrifying menagerie of mangled but living animals within the walls of the Franks’ estate, creatures she surely knows must have died from their injuries, she knows.
BROKEN really is the book of my heart. Not sure what that says about me with how I twisted Emma and Alex’s lives… But, it’s the book I HAD to write.
I’ve always been a reader, and went to college for creative writing, but I was never exactly sure what I intended to do with it. Journalism wasn’t my thing. Teaching, either. Then, I decided to give writing a whirl after a visit to the bookstore left me empty handed. A couple years later, some serious spanking in edits, and I had my first novel. It sold to a start-up company, and I settled in, growing and learning as the company did.
Then, I guess I started to grow out of what I had been writing.
While I write adult romance, I hardly ever read it. I read YA. So, when I decided it was time for a change, I wanted to “go home” and try to create what I’ve devoured. The switch wasn’t easy, and I have to go back and cool off some of the heat in a of couple books. The subject matters, tension and pacing, romantic and sexual tensions are all different in YA, and I LOVE it here. It sounds so trite and silly, but it just fits.
BROKEN isn’t my first written YA novel. After utterly rewriting a YA novel, I struggled to really connect with any of the others I had started. Tired of my brain barking at the end of its chain, I called my best YA beta buddy. I told her I had to write something dark and twisted, epic and achingly romantic, because nothing else was working for me. She didn’t call me crazy—I hadn’t written a story like that yet—she listened while I explained what I needed to write, and then we bounced ideas around. I’d started another reimagining, had a blast with it, but it didn’t give me the dark romance I craved. Once the discussion turned to Gothic novels, things suddenly clicked into place. She said, “Ohmigod, if you write that I’m gonna cry,” and my writing fate was sealed.
When my agent told me Amanda at Strange Chemistry was interested in the book, I was thrilled. More than anything, I wanted an editor to “get it” and want my book. Amanda taking it to Acquisitions made me beyond happy. (And so did the contract offer!!) Angry Robot puts out amazing books—it’s an honor to be a Strange Chemist as Amanda calls us.
All I really want when I write is to have readers love the book. Sure, I think rabid fans would be fun, and I can tell you in excruciating detail what Alex should look like if BROKEN were to ever go to film. (Tall, hot, scarred!) But I tend not to be a dreamer. Putting more readers into tears would be awesome, giving them the willies would too. Hell, I creeped myself out in one scene. But, what I truly hope for is YA readers who want to live in a dark, heart wrenching story to love BROKEN, and to tell their friends about it. If they close the cover, with that bittersweet ache in their chest because of loving it, and wishing it wasn’t over, well… I couldn’t ask for more.
My turn – me being Amanda Rutter, the editor for Strange Chemistry! It’s always interesting when you receive a new manuscript into your inbox from an agent – definitely an exciting event, but also one that leaves you wondering whether this will be the right “fit” for the list of books you want to build.
Well! As you can see from the synopsis above, there was absolutely no doubt in my mind that I had to take a look at Broken. From the perspective of an editor, it also helped that Ann had been previously published and obviously had great enthusiasm and knowledge of the YA market. For me, this is an important factor in deciding to take on a book, because you know the author will “get” what they need to do.
When I read Broken I was entirely drawn into the story of Emma and Alex. I gasped and sighed and stayed late at work to finish it – there is no better sign than this that a book should be published. Now I just can’t wait for other people to read it!
In terms of the market, I can see people loving this if they loved the dark, heart-rending relationships in Buffy; if they loved the breathless love of Twilight and L J Smith novels; if they like the twisted scares of old Point Horror. Broken is a novel that has a truly timeless quality and will appeal to many on its release in January 2013. Are you excited yet?
UPDATE: I had the opportunity to review Broken October 8, 2012. You can (and should!) read that here.