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Sirens

Tomorrow I am getting on a plane to go to the Sirens convention in Colorado. Lady monsters, lovely guest authors, and gossip about books!

I have not announced this before because when I said I’d go along, Team Human was still a secret! So Justine Larbalestier, my esteemed co-writer and a Guest of Honor at the convention, said ‘Come along and do a Team Human presentation with me.’

So I said I would, but could not tell the internet! Secret, you see. Like a ninja guest.

Except now you all know about Team Human and I can tear off my ninja mask and reveal myself!

Sirens is quite an important anniversary for me, for reasons I am about to tell you all.

Last year when I went to Sirens, I was so, so sad. Not because of Sirens! Sirens is lovely, and the company and discussions were fabulous. I had lots of friends there, and met lots of lovely new people.

One of these people was Mallory Loehr. I travelled to Sirens with the lovely Holly Black, and she already knew Mallory, as Mallory was the editor for Holly and Ellen Kushner’s Bordertown anthology.

SARAH: Clearly a lady of excellent taste.
HOLLY: I should say! She edits Tamora Pierce.
SARAH: So you are saying she is a genius.
HOLLY: She is the coolest.
SARAH: Now I am scared to meet her! Oh no, here she comes! Holly, stand in front of me.
HOLLY: Sarah, you are a head taller than me. How do you think this is going to work?
MALLORY: Hello Holly! Hello, head of the person standing behind Holly! I hope somebody at this convention talks about Diana Wynne Jones.
SARAH: I… love… Diana Wynne Jones…
MALLORY: She is the best!
SARAH: Holly you were right, Holly! Mallory is the coolest.

‘Yes, Sarah,’ you may be saying to yourself. ‘You met some really cool people and had some excellent discussions. That’s tragic.’

The tragic thing was that at the time I was convinced the whole 'Demon's Noun' trilogy was a complete fluke and I would never be published again. After all, I was the loon who was like ‘Demons! Everyone change points of view like musical chairs! Heroes with no proper feelings! Gay characters, that always helps! Commerciality, what is that? I do what I want!’

I seem to have little sense of commerciality. I mean, I would like to be commercial, in that it means lots of people read your books! I would enjoy that. Also then people keep publishing you, and you can tell more stories and eat and pay for electricity and stuff: I find telling stories and also electricity very enjoyable.

I just don’t… know how to do it right…

A sample of A Conversation About Achieving Commerciality.

LOVELY AGENT KRISTIN: What about YA dystopia? People love dystopia. People love The Hunger Games and that book Matched is coming out. Do you think you would like to write a dystopia?
SARAH: I would love to write a dystopia! Okay I have this one idea for a future world where the social rules are like the court of Eleanor of Aquitaine—and there’s a eunuch romance!
LOVELY AGENT KRISTIN: Eunuch… you… do you have any other ideas for YA dystopia?
SARAH: Totally!
LOVELY AGENT KRISTIN: Oh thank God.
SARAH: Okay, the world has been taken over by ghosts, and there’s a love triangle!
LOVELY AGENT KRISTIN: That one sounds pretty good.
SARAH: The love triangle ends in a threesome!
LOVELY AGENT KRISTIN: … You know, I think we maybe shouldn’t do this. Just write what you want. Follow your star! You are a good writer, even if you are a total lunatic.
SARAH: Then can I write the Gothic story? Oh can I, can I?
LOVELY AGENT KRISTIN: A nice dark gothic romance might actually be…
SARAH: FULL of jokes! And people who don’t like touching!
LOVELY AGENT KRISTIN: Yeah. Okay. Follow that star, kid. It’s yours. March to the beat of a different drummer while you do it. I must go somewhere and cry softly.
SARAH: … I better not tell her I am writing a secret vampires book yet…

So, following my star it was, due to my total uselessness! And I was very happy writing away. But also gloomily contemplating my future. What would I do?

My uselessness was made clear some more when I arrived in Colorado and realised I had no bathing suit.

SARAH: *gloomily takes to pool in black undergarments*
HOLLY: You could buy a swimsuit, you know.
SARAH: I shall write millions of books and nobody will ever read them. Ever!
HOLLY: Aw, I really like the new one.
SARAH: Yay! Really, you like the Gothic romance? Yay!
HOLLY: Well, it’s not very romantic… I mean, Kami doesn’t have a romantic bone in her body…
SARAH: I am going to drown myself like Ophelia.
HOLLY: Pretty sure Ophelia wasn’t in her underwear.
SARAH: Oh my God, nobody is going to want to read a Gothic comedy, or the secret book I’m writing!
HOLLY: You’re writing a secret book?!
SARAH: Shhhh. It’s a secret. You can’t know. I’m like a ninja.
HOLLY: You’re yelling. On top of a mountain. In your underwear.
SARAH: …. I said shhhh!

Obviously once I could no longer be a writer, being a ninja was right out. I was thinking maybe being a mascot of some kind. Wear a chicken suit, bring a cricket team good luck, go home and write books. (Possibly while still wearing the chicken suit.)

But then I told my agent that I’d written a secret book. Lovely Kristin, and Justine’s fabulous agent Jill, were both pretty surprised! But after checking us to make sure we did not have fever and reading the book, they sent it out to editors.

KRISTIN: Sarah, fabulous news! Several publishers are going for Team Human. Looks like an auction!
SARAH: No, no, wait, back up a second… by several, do you mean ‘more than one’?
KRISTIN: Yes.
SARAH: I don’t understand. Like, more than zero?
KRISTIN: Sarah, I knew you were bad at maths, but…
SARAH: Are you sure there hasn’t been a misunderstanding?
KRISTIN: Sarah.
SARAH: Ahhhhhh! You’re kidding! You’re kidding! This is unbelievamazing! I am incredulighted!
KRISTIN: Oh, she’s makin’ up the words. Yes, she is makin’ them right up, here we go…
SARAH: This is all thanks to Justine! Yes, that makes sense. Of course people would wish to publish Justine! She is a marvel! Okay I’m going to go out in the street and dance my ‘Vampire Boyfriends Are Hilarious Book Is Getting Published!’ dance.
KRISTIN: Sarah! Sarah, watch out for cars…

And then the time came for Unspoken to go out to editors. I was ready. There was no Justine Marvel to save me now. I was already looking into chicken costumes.

KRISTIN: Sarah! This is so great! There is an auction for Unspoken. And you know that editor at Random House you said you really liked-
SARAH: Mallory! She could not be cooler if she was Queen of Cupcakelandia!
KRISTIN: Sometimes I translate the stuff you say to make sense in the human world.
SARAH: Yeah, don’t worry about that, I’m not cool enough for Mallory, I just wanted to send it to her as like, an offering-
KRISTIN: She wants it.
SARAH: …. Okay, there’s been a mistake.
KRISTIN: There hasn’t been a mistake, Sarah.
SARAH: Whose book did you send her, Kristin?
KRISTIN: I definitely sent her your book, Sarah.
SARAH: … Do you think maybe she hit her head?
KRISTIN: I don’t think that, no, Sarah.
SARAH: Let’s get her medical attention! … Later. Later.

There were several other awesome editors involved in the auction. (I can only imagine a lot of brilliant people had head injuries that week.) I was playing it cool, though, ninja that I am.

KRISTIN: All right, before we talk to Mallory, here are a few things about her you should know-
SARAH: Oh, I know her. I mean, a little. I mean, we hung out. I mean, she’s seen me in my underwear.
KRISTIN: SHE HAS WHAT!!!
KRISTIN: … None of my other authors do this, you know. None of them…
KRISTIN: They don’t write secret books, either.
SARAH: I promise to be good from now on.
KRISTIN: Okay, Sarah. I will trust you. Time to have a phone call with Mallory! Sarah, tone it down, okay? Let’s be chill.
MALLORY: Hi Kristin! Hi Sarah!
SARAH: HEY MALLORY HEY! ARE WE IN A REFRIGERATOR BECAUSE SUDDENLY IT’S SO COOL IN HERE.

Sometimes my agent has to lie down and put a cool cloth on her face and murmur things about secret books.

So, Sirens is where I was secretly super unhappy thinking nobody would ever read another of my books after Demon’s Surrender. It is where I let slip the secret of Team Human, and it where I met the editor of Unspoken.

And now I am off to give a speech about women who love vampires who eat women with my lovely colleague! I am almost excited for this as I am for people to read the new books.

I am bringing my bathing suit this time.

Comments

( 58 comments — Leave a comment )
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sdskuld
Oct. 5th, 2011 06:51 pm (UTC)
Enjoy the convention.

NEVER CHANGE.

(I mean, never change who you are because you are tremendous fun. You can still change your clothes. Otherwise bringing the bathing suit would be pointless.)
grangrangran
Oct. 5th, 2011 07:16 pm (UTC)
Or require extensive planning ahead and layering.
blackholly
Oct. 5th, 2011 07:02 pm (UTC)
That's pretty much how I remember Sirens, yes. Except that I kept fainting and getting nosebleeds from the elevation and you kept having to prop me up.

And your gothic romance is plenty romantic NOW. It was just going through a phase.
sarahtales
Oct. 5th, 2011 07:05 pm (UTC)
My poor Holly. I found your swoons very graceful and Gothically inspiring!
(no subject) - deliasherman - Oct. 5th, 2011 09:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
thegreatmissjj
Oct. 5th, 2011 07:02 pm (UTC)
Future world where the social rules are like the court of Eleanor of Aquitaine—and there’s a eunuch romance!

Um, Sarah, I would read THE HELL out of this. I WOULD.
sarahtales
Oct. 5th, 2011 07:23 pm (UTC)
I wrote it as a short story instead. ;) YA anthology called After, so it all works out!
(no subject) - dormouse_in_tea - Oct. 6th, 2011 03:13 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sarahtales - Oct. 6th, 2011 05:53 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ravelled_ribbon - Oct. 6th, 2011 12:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
mizzy2k
Oct. 5th, 2011 07:02 pm (UTC)
BRB, LOLing forever.

...for a minute I thought your icon said meat. Then I accepted, as a vampire book, meat could be interchangeable in your icon for team.

I have been having trouble not really having a whole... name... for the Demon's Lexicon trilogy. Mostly in the forms of conversations with my mum when I mentioned I was tweeting at some of the marmalade fish. She forgot what tweeting was first, then explaining the fish... Trouble is the TL;DR version of the conversation. So now I can use "Demon's Noun trilogy", I'm pretty happy, thank you for solving that dilemma.
sarahtales
Oct. 5th, 2011 07:06 pm (UTC)
Well, the name is officially the Demon's Lexicon trilogy, but I admit to usually using the Demon's Noun myself. ;)
(no subject) - mizzy2k - Oct. 5th, 2011 07:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
khasael
Oct. 5th, 2011 07:08 pm (UTC)
Missing the conference again this year due to being short-staffed in the bakery.

Any chance you'll be anywhere else in CO or near Denver while you're in the state for Sirens, for signing purposes?
roozette
Oct. 5th, 2011 07:21 pm (UTC)
Yeah for you!!!!

Also, it is perfectly natural to bring chicken suits to wear in your downtime. Just saying.

Have fun! Looking forward to the new books!
talkjive
Oct. 5th, 2011 07:41 pm (UTC)
I want your eunuch romance set in alt-Aquitaine court SO MUCH. AND THE THREESOME BOOK TOO. I would buy them in hardback. Why can't my tastes be marketable. /weeps gently

I hope you have such a good time!
blythe025
Oct. 5th, 2011 07:51 pm (UTC)
I want the eurnuch romance, too!
(no subject) - sarahtales - Oct. 5th, 2011 07:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - blackoakdreams - Oct. 5th, 2011 09:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - deliasherman - Oct. 5th, 2011 09:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ravelled_ribbon - Oct. 6th, 2011 12:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - talkjive - Oct. 5th, 2011 10:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
blythe025
Oct. 5th, 2011 07:51 pm (UTC)
You are hilarious. This entire post has made me unbelievamazingly happy. :D
mizkit
Oct. 5th, 2011 08:15 pm (UTC)
You poor darling. :)
ZMarriott
Oct. 5th, 2011 08:18 pm (UTC)
AH ha ha ha ha HA! Behold my laughter of incredulity! I WROTE the threesome book! And two of the people in the threesome were girls who were in love with each other as well as the boy! But... my editor made me change it. She said the world was not ready. The world is not ready for our brilliance, Sarah. And, in fairness, I am very glad we are going to get Unspoken and Team Human anyway.
eavanmoore
Oct. 5th, 2011 08:37 pm (UTC)
That makes me wonder if Justine Larbalestier only got her own threesome scene into Liar because, like everything in the book, it didn't necessarily happen.
(no subject) - ZMarriott - Oct. 6th, 2011 11:27 am (UTC) - Expand
penrynsdreams
Oct. 5th, 2011 08:33 pm (UTC)
I so wanted to go to Sirens this year. Monsters! Lady writers!

But alas and alack, the money wasn't there. I hope you have all the fun with all the awesome people who are really so awesome that it makes my heart hurt I won't get to see them and hear them talk and be so smart and awesome! Yay!
tommyrotter
Oct. 5th, 2011 08:35 pm (UTC)
Congratulations, and I'm glad you're in a happier place this Sirens vs. the last. I'm looking forward to both of your new books, as lady-friendships always call to me :)

I will say, I hope you are able to do the ghosty threesome dystopia book, as ghosts are some of my favorite paranormal things to read about and I think a threesome would be new and refreshing! Most important question though--one of the three would be a ghost, right? ;)
janni
Oct. 5th, 2011 09:15 pm (UTC)
Congratulations!!!

(Every time the RH division of RH acquires something awesome, it makes me quietly a tiny bit happier to be publishing with them. :-))
sarahtales
Oct. 5th, 2011 09:22 pm (UTC)
House high five!
(no subject) - janni - Oct. 5th, 2011 09:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
deliasherman
Oct. 5th, 2011 09:43 pm (UTC)
Oh, and many congratulations! Seems to me that you and Mallory are the proverbial Match Made In Heaven.
slythwolf
Oct. 5th, 2011 11:42 pm (UTC)
You are like the adorable and overexcited terrier puppy of the publishing world. It is the greatest thing ever.
themadpoker
Oct. 5th, 2011 11:43 pm (UTC)
*_____* I'd just like to add mine to the chorus of voices saying I would absolutely read the eunuch romance and ghost threesome books. I'd buy them in hardcover even! Perhaps you will still write them someday?
sarahtales
Oct. 6th, 2011 05:55 am (UTC)
Perhaps, but I am happy right now to have written my first choices. ;) Dystopias, so few chances to make jokes!
ursulav
Oct. 6th, 2011 01:28 am (UTC)
I TOO WRITE SECRET BOOKS!

And then my friends go "For the love of god, have you sent this to your agent?!" and I go "What? No! Of course not! This is a delusional thing! No one will buy this!"

My agent has some very strange stuff in her in-box, and occasionally she sends me an e-mail to the effect of "Did you send me something about people riding giant moths?" and I am forced to admit that I did. Occasionally she even finds someone else to buy them.
malinbe
Oct. 6th, 2011 01:40 am (UTC)
Oooh, Sarah, I had to put down my cup of tea and take a moment to swallow because I was laughing SO HARD. You are just so witty and funny! I'm buying ANYTHING with your name on the cover, even if the title says "The most boring book ever". I don't care how much Amazon decides it costs to ship then to my little corner of the world, this time, I'm getting them as soon as they come out!
anjali_organna
Oct. 6th, 2011 01:46 am (UTC)
You know, I often think about your experience in publishing with the Demon's Not Adjectives books and feel rather stressed out, because I totally identify with what you wanted to do in those books, and the stories you wanted to focus on telling (ie not a Romance--not that there's anything wrong with that! Lots of people are writing Romances and I enjoy them! But I am not so good at writing them myself! Anyways!) are similar in vein to the types of stories I want to tell. And I think it is interesting that they *sold* the way they did, because quite clearly the publishing world wanted what you were selling, and the books seemed to have a big marketing push behind them, and I noticed co-op space as well, plus the re-jacketing of the American versions, which all point to the fact that S&S were committed to them.

And then...you've alluded to what happened, and I wonder sometimes if the echo chamber that I inhabit, with regard to my online friends and the things that I read and gravitate to, have really...I don't know, blinded, maybe? me to the reality of what the greater public wants. Which is romance, and love triangles, and weirdly creepy vampire boyfriends.

I *am* heartened by the fact that people want to keep publishing your work, a) because I think it's fantastic and necessary for a voice like yours, you who are telling stories about family and about POC and Ladies and queer folk, and b) because it gives me hope for my hypothetical novel that exists only in my head but maybe someday will be real.

So, thank you, for talking about it, even though it is probably not easy for you. You're giving the rest of us hope.
madhatterpan
Oct. 6th, 2011 02:15 am (UTC)
Oh, to be honest, I'd buy a book that consisted of your lj posts. I'd even settle for one of just Tweets. It'd be like a poetry book, except without the poetry and much more lovely Sarahisms.

I shake an impotent fist at commercialism and trends and whatnot. One day, they'll be all, look at that Sarah Rees Brennan. A writer ahead of her times! However did she know that in the future Peter Pan would come out as a spy and eunuchs would make a comeback?
messiah_noire
Oct. 6th, 2011 02:15 am (UTC)
People love dystopia.
Ngnrngnooooooo~!
Sarah, please don't listen to your agent (at least not about the dystopia thing, I'm sure apart from that she is amazing and everything!), I absolutely can't stand dystopia, but I am practically addicted to everything you write, and if you actually wrote dystopia I would be in a horrible predicament. :(
(And most likely end up reading it anyway, and then being horrendously depressed... Although, seeing as it would be you who writes it, it may still turn out fabulously crazy...)
Um... just... FOLLOW YOUR STAR!!
And have fun at Sirens! :)
boothyisawesome
Oct. 6th, 2011 04:08 am (UTC)
I love this post- it is full of hilarity and awesomeness (aside from you, there's also the editor for Tamora Pierce?! OMG!!!). I laughed out loud multiple times. I can't wait for your upcoming Gothic comedy and hilarious vampire boyfriends books (and also that ghost book ending in a threesome- I'd read that! Why choose? Just have both hotties- that's what I always say!)

Have fun at the conference!! :)
timeripple
Oct. 6th, 2011 05:06 am (UTC)
Since the eunuch romance was my favorite part of Cindy Pon's Fury of the Phoenix, I suspect I would quite enjoy one written by you. Though as always, I look forward to all your forthcoming projects, eunuchs or no.

Sirens sounds like a most excellent time and I hope you will favor us with a report in your own fashion. Indeed I depend on you, since I cannot go myself but must instead stay here at my job selling books to innocent children.

Do keep us updated on your progress with Asian dramas, as well. If you have not already seen it, you may be interested in a Japanese drama called "Untouchable", as it has a lady reporter. (Having seen only one episode, however, I cannot vouch for its quality. I hear it gets better after a few episodes.)
swan_tower
Oct. 6th, 2011 06:16 am (UTC)
I remembered a bathing suit, too. There must be celebratory swimming, yessss. :-)

(After which we shall freeze our asses off, given the weather forecast. But still. Congrats!)
sartorias
Oct. 6th, 2011 11:54 am (UTC)
Oh I do wish I could be there--have a great time!
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