Jenna and Jonah's Fauxmance--This idea was pitched to us by an editor who subsequently rejected the book. WTF. We were working on this and a Twilight parody at the same time, and this is the one that ended up selling. (The Twilight parody was pretty clever...perhaps at some point we'll release the 50 or so pages we did of this just for kicks). It was a fun book to write--it's definitely nice to imagine being young, hot and fabulously wealthy, since none of those conditions currently apply. My favorite stuff to write was the part when they got to the Shakespeare festival. This was kind of my tribute to the great experience I had in my high school plays. In a very strange twist of fate, Andy Paris, who was in some of those plays with me, wound up reading the Fielding/Aaron chapters for the audio book.
Tessa Masterson Will Go to Prom--Emily had the idea to write this ripped from the headlines tale. We were initially going to set it in the South, but I realized I have no experience at all with Southern culture or anything, and I was much more comfortable in a Midwestern environment. Brookfield in this novel is based on my memories of Brookville, IN, where my aunt and five cousins used to live. So it's based on my memories of Brookville from the early 80's. I have no idea what Brookville is like now. But in my imagination, it became Brookfield. I forgot to mention this when writing about Forever Changes, but this is the 2nd book in which I wrote a working class character. I think economic diversity is pretty rare in YA literature, and I really wanted to represent a kid who doesn't really have much money.
Title TK--This is the one Trish and I were calling Escape From Assland, which I still think is a Boss Hogg title, but apparently unsellable. So we're still working on the title. Trish came up with the idea for this one--it's about two kids who meet at a therapeutic boarding school. My guy is depressed, and I'm really proud of how I wrote about depression in his sections. I think I did a good job. But lest you think it's all moody relating, I assure you there is a madcap caper involved. My favorite character in this book is actually a secondary character--a mean, foul-mouthed, and hilarious kid named Diana. Wait and see. This book is great. Coming next year from Egmont USA.
Terror at the Shore-- I just wrote this for pure fun. I'm a big fan of horror comics in the EC vein (You know, Tales From the Crypt and such), and I just wanted to write a horror novel that had that kind of tone. I started with the last story, "The Master's Bait," (one of the joys of doing an ebook by myself is that I got to keep the eye-rolling title) which was inspired by a visit to a haunted house in Ocean City, MD. (I know, I know--not the Jersey Shore. But I do go to the Jersey Shore every summer!) I started it as a book and then realized it was going to top out at novella length. So then the other three stories just kind of popped into place in my mind and I went back and wrote them all. I think the influences are pretty clear. I also think this is a really fun book.
Enter the Bluebird--It's a noir-ish YA superhero novel. It is completely kick ass and is, in many respects, the book I think I've been wanting to write all along. Which is to say it's a fast-paced action story that works as an adventure, but it's also got some depth to it. I was very proud of the fact that I was finally able to write non-realistic fiction without my tongue in my cheek. The book arose from the backstory I wsa creating for a character in the monthly Mutants & Masterminds game I've been a part of for the last year and a half or so. She's a 15-year-old sidekick in training who finds herself having to take over when her mother goes missing. I was creating the character and just thought, "Hey, this is a pretty good story..." and kept going. You will see this in some form. Not sure exactly what form yet, but it's definitely coming. I honestly feel like it's way too good to keep to myself, which is a level of confidence about my writing I don't always feel.