Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Time is Now

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Mr. V meets Imaginary Oprah

Thanks everyone for all of the congrats and well-wishes about the book sale. I know I keep saying it, but it's true - I really, really like what Flux is doing, and I'm happy to be a part of it.

Folks have asked a lot of questions about me, the novel, my agent, Flux, and just about everything else over the last week. I figured now would be a good time to answer some of those questions.

Imaginary Oprah: Congratulations on the novel. Can you tell us what it's about?

Mr. V: Umm, didn't you read the blurb on my last post?

Imaginary Oprah: Of course I did. Your blurb didn't give much of a description about the book, though. What causes Rhonda's life to be turned "upside down"? Why is she avoiding the in-crowd?

Mr. V: None of your business. You'll get more answers as the publication date nears.

Imaginary Oprah: But -

Mr. V: I said to drop it. Don't make me call Dr. Phil.

Imaginary Oprah (as she mumbles something under her breath): A lot of people were unhappy with the way you ended your first novel. Will this novel end in similar fashion?

Mr. V: No one buys the farm in this novel.

IO: That's good to hear. Now, according to your blurb, this is your first YA novel. Is that correct?

Mr. V: Finally, a good question. My first novel, although written as a YA novel, was released as adult fiction. My publisher said that we would target both the YA and the adult markets for the novel. Unfortunately, I must not have gotten the memo where they decided to revise their marketing scheme.

IO: You sound bitter for someone whose novel made the Essense Bestseller list.

Mr. V: No, I'm not bitter. It's just that for the past few years, I've felt like a YA author trapped in the land of adult fiction. I had spent all of my time and resources preparing for the YA market. The book hit the stores (well, some stores) and I wasn't prepared for how to handle marketing and promoting an adult fiction book.

IO: Your new publisher, Flux, seems to focus primarily on teen fiction. How do you feel about that?

Mr. V: What kind of question is that? I'm happy about it, of course. I write teen fiction, remember?

IO (narrowing her eyes): You'd better be glad I'm a figment of your imagination, because if not, I'd reach through that computer screen and-

Mr. V: Save the threats for Stedman. Just keep asking questions.

IO: Sara Crowe with the Harvey Klinger Agency negotiated the deal. Do you have any comments on that?

Mr. V: Sara's a great agent. She knows the market, and she knows what I need as an author. I'm lucky to be represented by her.

IO: Flux's belief that YA is a point of view, not a reading level, is a great tagline. By any chance do you have a tagline?

Mr. V: Yeah. I make shit up.

IO (frowning): I thought you were a YA novelist. Shouldn't you keep your language PG, for the kids?

Mr. V: What planet are you living on? Have you heard a teenager talk lately? They stopped keeping it PG in elementary school. But that's a topic for another day.

IO (shaking her head): What do you Flux people call yourselves?

Mr. V: According to Christine Kole Maclean (who's book, How it's Done, is coming out next month with Flux), we're either Flux-ians or Flux-onites. Personally, I think we're a bunch of Bad Mother Fluxers.

IO (as she salutes me): Who's a bad mother fluxer now?

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Saturday, August 12, 2006

In Flux

Varian Johnson's debut young adult novel, MY LIFE AS A RHOMBUS, the story of Rhonda Lee, an overweight, African-American math genius with a simple goal - to get a scholarship to Georgia Tech while avoiding the "in-crowd" as much as possible - whose life is turned upside-down when she finds herself forced to tutor Sarah Gamble, Senior Class Goddess, to Andrew Karre at Flux, by Sara Crowe at Harvey Klinger, Inc.

This ran in Publishers Lunch last week, so I figured I'd go ahead and break the news (sorry for the long delay). I'm really excited about being a part of Flux's line. Andrew Karre, the Flux editor, is putting out the types of books that I like to read, so naturally I think I'll be right at home with all the Flux folks.

This has kinda been in the works for a while. Andrew called about a month ago to discuss the manuscript with me. He had a lot of good suggestions, and he picked up on a lot of the things I was trying to do in the novel. He also asked if I was open to revisions (umm...of course), and then he ended the conversation saying that he'd be in touch. Sara contacted me a little later to say that Flux planned to put in an offer for the novel. Sara and Andrew did their "thing" (God, I love agents) and voila, I have a new publisher.

Although Flux is a new line, I've actually known about the imprint for some time. I met Megan Atwood, the previous acquisitions editor for Flux (Llewellyn), at the national SCBWI conference last year. We talked some about Red Polka Dot, and she ended the conversation by handing me her card and suggesting that I send her some of my work.

Megan is no longer with Llewellyn, but I've heard nothing but good things about Andrew from some of his authors. And, he keeps a blog. Anyone who has a blog is cool, right?

I know that the Pub Lunch description isn't very telling about the novel, but I like it that way. I've give out more nuggets about the novel as we get closer to the publication date. I've really enjoyed getting to know Rhonda Lee, and I think y'all will enjoy reading about her as well.

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Thursday, August 10, 2006


Sara called a few days ago to give me the good news. Details will be coming...soon.

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Monday, August 07, 2006

Chapter 9, Take 4

I've been saying that I was going add another post to my blog just as soon as I finished up the current chapter of my WIP. Well, I have finished the chapter - three times, to be exact.

Sufficed to say, I'm stuck.

Maybe I jinxed myself. Just a few weeks ago, I was almost bragging about how well the manuscript was going. And now, I can’t even figure out if my characters are happy or angry with each other. I know I should just move on to the next chapter, but Chapter 9 is a very important chapter, and any slight changes here have much larger repercussions for the end of the novel.

But as frustrated as I may sound, I'm not really worried. The process of writing a novel is long and cruel and unforgiving, but eventually I will force my way through the chapter well enough so that I can complete the novel.

Writing a novel isn't supposed to be easy. If it was, everyone would do it.