IN THE SHADOW OF THE SUN has been out for a month!

IN THE SHADOW OF THE SUN EM Castellan Barnes and Noble

(IN THE SHADOW THE SUN spotted at Barnes & Noble – photo by Jessica Rubinkowski)

Hello gentle reader,

My YA historical fantasy debut IN THE SHADOW OF THE SUN has been out for a month! Here is a quick recap of what’s happened in the last few weeks:

I was interviewed by book blogger Liv on her blog Liv’s Wonderful Escape. You can read the interview here.

I was also interviewed about my book by my agent Carrie Pestritto here.

Another fun interview was with Cynthia Leitich Smith at Cynsations about my inspiration for IN THE SHADOW OF THE SUN and my publishing journey. You can check it out here.

I also took part in a guest post with my agent on the Literary Rambles blog. Carrie and I interviewed each other, and we talked about writing, publishing, and books. You can find the post here. There is also an opportunity to enter a giveaway to win a hardcover copy of IN THE SHADOW OF THE SUN and a query critique from my agent (ends 21st March 2020).

This month I was also tagged in reviews, and I thought this one on the Forever Young Adult website was really fun.

IN THE SHADOW OF THE SUN was also included on this list of 20 SFF YA Debuts to Watch Out For in 2020 on the Nerd Daily website.

Last but not least, IN THE SHADOW OF THE SUN was the ONCE UPON A BOOK CLUB February Young Adult pick! If you haven’t heard of this monthly subscription box that features gifts to open as you read, check it out!

Have you read IN THE SHADOW OF THE SUN since its release? 

If so, feel free to post a review online!

And if not, all the links to buy it as a hardcover, ebook or audiobook can be found here. If you’re in the U.S., you can also request it at your local library! And I’m currently running a giveaway on my Instagram account. You can win a signed hardcover copy (ends 13th March 2020).

Thank you for reading!

IN THE SHADOW OF THE SUN releases today!

Hello gentle reader,

I’m thrilled to share that my YA Historical Fantasy debut IN THE SHADOW OF THE SUN releases today!

From Publishers Weekly:

“Castellan craftily infuses enchantment in every scene alongside romance and intrigue among the royals and their court, while luxurious descriptions and quick-witted dialogue make for a captivating read.”

EM Castellan In the Shadow of the Sun final

“France, 1661 – Henriette of England must navigate her arranged marriage to Louis XIV’s brother while keeping her magical abilities a careful secret from all at the Sun King’s court, but when a mysterious sorcerer uses a forbidden spell to murder royal magicians, she must decide if she will reveal her powers to help Louis defeat him and build a new, enchanted seat of power — the Palace of Versailles.”

US readers can find the links to buy the hardcover, ebook, and audiobook here.

International readers can buy the hardcover via The Book Depository or Wordery.

You can now preorder IN THE SHADOW OF THE SUN!

EM Castellan In the Shadow of the Sun final

Hello gentle reader,

If you want to preorder a hardcover copy of my debut IN THE SHADOW OF THE SUN and receive it on its release day (11th February 2020), you can do so here:

US readers 

(preorders available from IndieBound, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Books-a-Million, and Target)

International readers

(preorders available from Book Depository or Wordery)

It is my understanding that some of these retailers are offering a discounted price for preorders. Thank you in advance for your support!

Cover reveal: IN THE SHADOW OF THE SUN

Hello gentle reader,

I’m very excited to reveal the cover design for my debut IN THE SHADOW OF THE SUN, which will be out on February 11th, 2020 from Feiwel and Friends!

Blurb:

France, 1661 – Henriette of England must navigate her arranged marriage to Louis XIV’s brother while keeping her magical abilities a careful secret from all at the Sun King’s court, but when a mysterious sorcerer uses a forbidden spell to murder royal magicians, she must decide if she will reveal her powers to help Louis defeat him and build a new, enchanted seat of power — the Palace of Versailles.

IN THE SHADOW OF THE SUN on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41067779-in-the-shadow-of-the-sun

And now for the cover reveal…

 

 

 

EM Castellan In the Shadow of the Sun final

Art director: Mallory Grigg  

Make sure to let me know what you think of this cover in the comments below!

And should you share this image elsewhere, please add a courtesy link back to this page. Thank you!

The Book Deal Announcement

Hello gentle reader,

I began seeking traditional publication for my YA Historical Fantasy books in March 2012. I started this blog at the same time, never imagining how long (!) and how full of surprises my publishing journey would be.

Six and a half years later, I’m thrilled to announce that the U.S. publisher Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan) has bought my debut IN THE SHADOW OF THE SUN and its sequel! Here is the Publishers Marketplace announcement:

EMCastellan

IN THE SHADOW OF THE SUN is my 7th completed manuscript. It’s the 6th manuscript I queried and the one that helped me connect with my literary agent Carrie Pestritto (Laura Dail Literary Agency). If you’re curious about my inspiration for this story, here is its Pinterest board.

If you’re reading this and you’re a writer dreaming of seeing your books in bookstores one day, I hope you’ll take heart in this post: getting traditionally published takes perseverance, a lot of work, and a bit of luck, but it can become a reality if you don’t give up, and if you keep writing the stories you love.

Have a lovely Sunday!

 

The Wattpad Endeavour (part 3)

Hello gentle reader,

Eighteen months after joining Wattpad, my stories have now reached an unbelievable total of 255K reads, with THE BRIGHT AND THE LOST alone close to 200k reads. While I’m still hoping to get my books traditionally published one day soon, I’m also eager to show my gratitude to my Wattpad readers. As a result, and after discussing it with my agent, I’ve decided to start posting online my YA Victorian Fantasy LILY IN THE SHADOWS.

The first few chapters are now available on Wattpad here, and to my surprise, it has already been chosen by the Wattpad team to feature on their “Blast to the Future Past” list as part of the June 2018 Wattpad Picks! I’m absolutely thrilled readers seem to be enjoying this story, and I’m now posting a new chapter every day.

If you’ve been following my writing journey for a while, you may remember LILY IN THE SHADOWS has a long history. I wrote the first draft in 2013, and after querying it, it’s the manuscript that landed me my first agent. Many drafts and quite a few years later, the heart of this story about a deaf flower girl in a London gripped by a magical crisis remains the same, but thanks to many rounds of revisions based on CPs’ and agents’ feedback, the plot and writing have changed a lot. Despite never finding its way to a publisher’s desk, this story remains the one that taught me a lot about writing and revising.

I hope you’ll enjoy it!

LILY IN THE SHADOWS on Wattpad

EM Castellan - LILY IN THE SHADOWS promo

Cover by Stefanie Suzaya

Blurb

A YA Historical Fantasy set in Victorian London that mixes magic, romance and mystery.

It’s 1862, and London high society’s favourite pastime is magic spells. But between trying to make a living as a flower girl, dodging local gang leaders and coping with the fact that she’s deaf, sixteen-year old Lily Scott has no time for such lofty things. The last thing she needs is a strange epidemic killing all the flowers in the city. Out of a job and threatened with starvation on the streets of Whitechapel, Lily decides she can’t leave it up to some stuffy British Museum scientists in top hats to help.

Determined to solve the mystery of the dead flowers, Lily quickly finds herself in over her head as children disappear, librarians get killed by spontaneously combusting books and newspapers blame the phenomena on ‘dark magic’. Soon panic sweeps across the city, and Lily’s investigation becomes deadly when bombs go off everywhere she turns. From East London where the fog takes on a life of its own, to the gardens of Buckingham Palace which have been turned into a haunted forest, Lily needs to follow the clues and learn magic to sort this mess out before society collapses and she loses a lot more than her job.

 

The Wattpad Endeavour (part 2)

Hello gentle reader,

Six months ago I wrote a post about my decision to join Wattpad and to share a couple of my manuscripts online. Since then, my stories have been read over 47,000 times, and on Friday, my YA Historical Fantasy THE BRIGHT AND THE LOST won a “Watty” (a 2017 Wattpad Award).

EM Castellan The Bright and the Lost Wattpad

I’m still amazed this happened. I’m also incredibly grateful to everyone on Wattpad who made this happen.

Wattpad is a VERY crowded platform, where it can be really hard to find an audience. I was extremely lucky when THE BRIGHT AND THE LOST was chosen as a Wattpad Featured Story for 5 months (between February and July 2017). Once in the spotlight, as it were, my story garnered interest. Readers reached out to say they loved my characters and to ask about a sequel. I thought this was as good as it would get.

I still decided to enter the Wattys, but without much hope: there was a mind-blowing total of 195,000 entries for the contest. A month ago, I found out THE BRIGHT AND THE LOST was among the 100 shortlisted stories. It was at the bottom of the list, in the “Newcomers” category, but it was there. I was thrilled! Readers reached out again, saying it would win, for sure. Their confidence and excitement made me smile, but I still didn’t think it would happen. Too many stories on that shortlist, with far more readers than mine.

And then on Friday, I received the news: THE BRIGHT AND THE LOST had won. You can find the complete list of winners here.

Wattys 2017 Newcomers category

When I joined Wattpad, my goal was to have at least 1000 people read my story. Needless to say, what’s happened has gone much beyond my expectations.

So if you’ve read my stories on Wattpad, thank you. Your support means more than you can imagine.

And if you’re a writer wondering if it’s all really worth the effort and the creative anguish, don’t give up. Write your next book. Query widely. Enter contests. Join an online writing platform. Network on Twitter.

In time, good things will happen. Especially the most unexpected.

Have a lovely Sunday!