A Debut Author’s First Month: How We Fall

One month ago, my debut novel was released. It’s been hectic, it’s been hard, it’s been wonderful. It’s been more fulfilling than I could have ever thought.

I haven’t hit major bestseller lists. I haven’t been named in best of the year lists.

School Library Journal did name How We Fall in their October list of what’s hot in YA. How We Fall has been ranking on Amazon in 1-3 categories since its release. I am thrilled.

I haven’t gotten fancy endorsements from from bestselling authors.

SLJ, Kirkus, Booklist, and Voya all came back with positive, very kind reviews. I can’t believe it.

I’ve been told that I wrote pornographic smut and I should be run out of town.

I’ve been told How We Fall was a fun, charming, and challenging read, and some readers have told me I’m their new favorite author. That is the height of what I hoped for and it makes all the work worthwhile.

I’ve heard that my soul is lost in darkness and I’m damaging the very readers I’m trying to reach, that teens shouldn’t be reading my books.

Readers from all over the US, and even internationally, have sent me photos of my book on shelves, in their homes, on vacation. Every one of them has made my day.

I’ve been thanked for writing intelligent, true-to-life teens. I’ve been told that it’s awesome that I wrote a book and got it published, I’ve had people tell me I should be having kids instead of writing, I’ve had a signing in New York City, and people have asked me why I couldn’t have written a “happier” book, a “cleaner” book, as if the realistic struggles of teens are something dirty.

My book is out in the world now, and people are finding it, and that alone is a huge reward.

Every kind review has meant the world to me, and I’m so incredibly grateful for all the Facebook, Twitter, and blog support How We Fall has gotten. It’s blown me away.

I believe in what I write. I believe I do write happy books–and to me, that means books where people can change, where bad choices aren’t always the end of things, where life is hard and maybe someone will show up to go through it with you. I am intentional with the content of my books, and I don’t just throw in sex and swearing for sales. Those things don’t increase sales, anyway. I include hard things, and difficult topics and actions, because they are important to me and we need to see those things represented and dealt with or not dealt with by characters in stories.

Publishing is always a mixed bag. But one month in, I love my mixed bag, and it’s a huge victory for me. I’m so thrilled with how well my book is doing, and how many of you have written to me to tell me you love it, and how fulfilling it is to know that because of your support, I might get to do this write-a-book thing again.

I am an author. I plan on sticking around. I still have stories to tell and things to say, so I’m going to keep writing. I love my book, and I love you for reading it.

And in case you haven’t thought of it, How We Fall might make a pretty cool Christmas gift. 🙂

OregonRob Haan's cat & hwfphoto 4

Release Day for How We Fall

Today is my release day. My first novel is now out in the wild– on bookstore shelves, on online bookstores, and in readers’ coverhands. And I couldn’t be happier.

This has been an intense last year. From signing with my agent in September and going on submission in January, to selling the book in March and having it release 8 months later, it’s been fast and furious and wonderful. I’m so incredibly grateful for my agent, Carlie Webber, for helping make all this happen, and to my editor, Jacquelyn Mitchard, for loving my book. The entire team at Merit Press and F&W Media, too, has been wonderfully supportive and enthusiastic. From the cover art to marketing efforts, they’ve been fantastic. Thank you all so much for your work and enthusiasm.

To my friends, family, and critique partners, and all of you on Twitter and to my blog readers, thank you so much for sticking with me and encouraging me and for loving my book. I don’t know what I’d do without your support.

So here. My book is yours now. I wrote a story, one I had to write, and I loved writing it. Storytelling is communication, and while I can write for myself and still love it, there’s something wonderful about turning it over to you and watching you love and hate and argue and think over it. So I wrote a book, and now it’s yours. I hope you enjoy it.



How We Fall is available through:

      Barnes & Noble   Indie Bound   Walmart.com   Book-A-Million   Book Depository   Powell’s

Amazon.com Amazon.ca Amazon.co.uk


Attend my launch party:

All book lovers are invited to attend #YAlaunch, a giant book party  for How We Fall and The Hit List on Monday, November 10th, from 6-9pm central time. That’s today! Broadcast live over video, the party will allow you to see, hear, and interact with the authors. 10 YA and adult authors will be discussing everything from writing a series to how they write love interests. They’ll also be playing book games with the audience, taking questions, and giving away 100 books to guests attending online. Authors attending include NYT bestsellers Nicole Baart and Tosca Lee, Kate Brauning, Nikki Urang, Kiersi Burkhart, Bethany Robison, Alex Yuschik, Blair Thornburgh, Kelly Youngblood, and Delia Moran.  It will be a fun and interactive evening for anyone who loves books and wants to spend some time with great authors. For more information and to sign up to attend, please click here. We’d love to see you there!

Monsters, Books, and Halloween

For this post in the How We Fall blog tour, I’m on my own blog! I figured at least some of it should land here. 🙂

We didn’t celebrate Halloween much when I was a kid. Sometimes we did church things, things meant to keep kids off the streets and out of danger, things where you couldn’t dress up as a skeleton or a vampire or a zombie.

But as I’ve started writing, I’ve found myself drawn to books like Warm Bodies and The 5th Wave and Coldest Girl in Coldtown. I’ve discovered I love shows like Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. And there are some very Halloween things about those stories. Fear. Death. Real monsters, human monsters. And I’ve found myself writing about those things, too.

I love Halloween. It’s not that I support anything occult about it and I don’t think kids love it because it’s tempting to be something evil for a day. I don’t think that’s the draw to Halloween.

The draw is that we get to face monsters head-on. We get to eat candy witches’ fingers, not be scared of them. We get to see human bones as something fun, something clever, something cool, not something frightening. We dress up like those monsters, in part, to prove they don’t have control over us.

Opposites exist in contrast to each other. One tells us about the other. Shows about death, the good ones, are really shows about struggle and survival and the value of life. That’s why I write suspense and survival stories and high-stakes relationships. The Harry Potter series, even though so much of it deals with fear and death and dark magic, comes down to friendship, loyalty, and self-sacrifice. Monsters show us people. Fear shows us what courage really is. There’s no way to be brave if there’s nothing at risk, if what’s out there really isn’t that scary.

Fear was a big part of my childhood, and as I’ve gained control over that, I’ve come to love Halloween. Those monsters don’t get to make my choices for me.

Happy Halloween!

Author Bio:www.jenniophotography.com

Kate Brauning grew up in rural Missouri and fell in love with young adult books in college. She now works in publishing and pursues her lifelong dream of telling stories she’d want to read. This is her first novel. Visit her online at http://www.katebrauning.com or on Twitter at @KateBrauning.

How We Fall is available through:

      Barnes & Noble   Indie Bound   Walmart.com   Book-A-Million   Book Depository   Powell’s Amazon.com Amazon.ca Amazon.co.uk

How We FallEver since Jackie moved to her uncle’s sleepy farming town, she’s been flirting way too much–and with her own cousin, Marcus.

Her friendship with him has turned into something she can’t control, and he’s the reason Jackie lost track of her best friend, Ellie, who left for…no one knows where. Now Ellie has been missing for months, and the police, fearing the worst, are searching for her body. Swamped with guilt and the knowledge that acting on her love for Marcus would tear their families apart, Jackie pushes her cousin away. The plan is to fall out of love, and, just as she hoped he would, Marcus falls for the new girl in town. But something isn’t right about this stranger, and Jackie’s suspicions about the new girl’s secrets only drive the wedge deeper between Jackie and Marcus.

Then Marcus is forced to pay the price for someone else’s lies as the mystery around Ellie’s disappearance starts to become horribly clear. Jackie has to face terrible choices. Can she leave her first love behind, and can she go on living with the fact that she failed her best friend?