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!

A Writer in the Spotlight – Amanda Foody

A Writer In The Spotlight Logo

Hello gentle reader,

In 2014, I interviewed Amanda Foody about her successful query. Three years later and her debut DAUGHTER OF THE BURNING CITY is about to come out. I thought it was time to have another chat with her – this time about her writing process and her upcoming books. I hope you’ll enjoy this interview!

My interview (10th July 2017)

amanda_foody_author_photo_2016Credit to Steph Faucher Photography

Did you always know you wanted to be a writer? When/How did you decide to be a writer?

I wanted to be a writer since I started reading. My earliest stories are from when I was five years old, and I have so many memories of spending hours alone as a child, typing away on my parents’ old box computers in the “computer room,” starting book after book (but rarely finishing them). Even though I often had other aspirations, usually in the business or STEM fields, I always wanted to write as well. In high school, I decided to stop waiting to “be a grown-up” and to start pursuing it professionally then. I learned a lot very quickly, and I regret nothing!

Are you a full-time writer? When and where do you write?

I am not. I am a tax accountant by day, living a double life between the two sides of my brain. I typically write in the evening when I get home from work, or on the weekends. I do a lot of writing in bed.

What do you say to writers who want to be traditionally published one day?

Read as much as you can about the craft of writing! Craft books were my greatest teachers, and I still refer back to them whenever I can. They are truly invaluable, and often overlooked.

DaughterOfTheBurningCity
To write DAUGHTER OF THE BURNING CITY, where did you get your inspiration from?

In the midst of drafting it, I read THE NIGHT CIRCUS for the first time and loved what Erin Morganstern did with her world-building and tone. I also read a lot of Agatha Christie as a kid, so I reflected a lot on classic mystery plots and how I could convert that to a fully fantastical story.

The story takes place in a travelling circus. What kind of research did you do for it?

Not too much, really. I definitely had to do some thinking on the mechanics of the city and how it moves and feeds itself and functions, but I tend to shy away from research and draw a lot from my own imagination, particular for this book. Most of my research was for extraneous things, like on bugs for Sorina’s bug collection, or poisons for Luca’s poison collection (My characters have some weird interests).

Your cover is gorgeous, did your publishers ask for your input while designing it?

Thank you! They asked what sort of cover I had in mind, and then when in a totally different direction. I love the final product, though. It’s very eye-catching and unique. They did a great job unifying the title, cover, and tagline into a single aesthetic.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on my second book, ACE OF SHADES. DAUGHTER OF THE BURNING CITY is a stand-alone, and ACE is the first in a YA fantasy series. I’m currently deep into the editorial work, somewhere between intensive revisions and line edits, and I’m uber excited for how the story is turning out. I started this project when I was seventeen, and I honestly feel that this book taught me how to write. I’m so proud of how far it’s come.

A little about the project: it releases on April 24, 2018. We call it SIX OF CROWS meets SPIRITED AWAY. It takes place in the City of Sin, known for its reckless gambling culture, scandalous cabarets, and extensive criminal underworld. Enne Salta comes from a world of etiquette, pirouettes, and doilies–exactly the opposite of the City of Sin–but she journeys there anyway in order to find her mother, who’s gone missing there…and could potentially be dead. She teams up with Levi Glaisyer, a famous card dealer and con man, who’s gotten himself into some hot water for running an illegal investment scam. The two uncover some sinister secrets about Enne’s mother and must face a number of terrible enemies in the city, who thrust them into a perilous game for their lives. It’s got all my favorite things: ruthless villains, an endearing yet cutthroat group cast, and sexy thrills! 😉

What are your favourite books this year? 

So many! Just to list: STRANGE THE DREAMER by Laini Taylor; WARCROSS by Marie Lu; MASK OF SHADOWS by Linsey Miller; and UPROOTED by Naomi Novik.

Thanks for this interview, Amanda!

You can add Amanda’s books on Goodreads here.

Check out Amanda’s beautiful website here to find out more about her and her books.

 

 

The Wattpad Endeavour

Hello gentle reader,

Last November, I joined Wattpad and posted online one of my manuscripts, THE BRIGHT AND THE LOST. If you follow me on Twitter, you probably know I’m still working on getting traditionally published, but I decided to reach out to YA readers via a different channel in the meantime. Having had to shelve THE BRIGHT AND THE LOST for various reasons two years ago, I decided it would be the perfect story to share online for free.

In February, THE BRIGHT AND THE LOST was picked to become a Wattpad Featured Story. It has had over 13K reads so far, and it has made it into the Top 25 on the Wattpad Historical Hot List.

Following this positive first experience with Wattpad, I posted on the website a short story, THE FORBIDDEN ROOM. So far the first four chapters are available, and I will upload the rest of the story in the weeks to come.

If you’re a Wattpad user, or if you’re interested in reading my stories, you’ll find the links below. I’d be delighted to connect with you on Wattpad and to read your comments on my stories. Don’t hesitate to get in touch!

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THE BRIGHT AND THE LOST

DOWNTON ABBEY meets Libba Bray’s THE DIVINERS in this YA Historical Fantasy set in 1922 England.

THE FORBIDDEN ROOM FINAL promo

THE FORBIDDEN ROOM

**A Blue Beard retelling** Based on Charles Perrault’s fairytale, this short story set in Victorian England mixes romance, magic and mystery.

Are you a Wattpader? If so, leave me a comment below!