Come see me at Barnes & Noble!

Friends in South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska! I’m at Barnes & Noble in Sioux Falls this Saturday the 23rd from 1-6 PM for #bfestbuzz! I’ll be playing games, signing books, talking about writing, and letting you all know what a wonderful thing young adult fiction is. It’s empowering, it’s personal, it’s transformative. Come hang out, chat with me, win books/prizes, and get your book signed! Also there will be brilliant bestselling author Lydia Kang, whose new novel The November Girl broke my heart and put it back together again. You need to know about this book. Come have fun with us! Come whenever, stay as long as you like! 

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“You don’t grow out of YA”: My Interview with International Thriller Writers

Last fall, The International Thriller Writers interviewed me– they’re a great organization of highly respected authors who do a wonderful job supporting new thriller writers, with Lee Child, M.J. Rose, R.L. Stein, and other greats on the board. Here’s that interview!

From ITW:

A rural Missouri girl, Kate Brauning fell in love with writing at a young age. She was that child who practically lived in the library, discovering all its treasures. Now, she resides in Iowa with her husband and a Siberian husky, and works in publishing. She loves to connect with readers. If you see her and say hi, she might invite you for a coffee and to talk about books.

Her debut novel HOW WE FALL is a young adult tale about two cousins with a secret relationship, a missing best friend, and strange girl with secrets. Will this strange girl be a harbinger of doom? Will they find their friend? THE BIG THRILL sat down with Brauning to find out more.shadow

When did you start writing?

Oh, I was pretty young. I wrote my first “story” at ten or so, I think. I’ve always had fun writing stories, and I wrote a novel all through high school. I loved it, but it just never occurred to me that I could write for a career. I kept on loving it, though. In college I decided that I loved it too much to not try.

Did you ever want to be anything besides a writer?

I decided early on that I wanted to be an author, so no, not really. Along the road to becoming an author, I’ve discovered I love the publishing world and I love editing, so if I couldn’t write anymore, I’d continue to work with publishing houses as an editor.

What got you interested in YA Fiction?

Great question. I didn’t imagine myself as a YA author to start with, actually. I started out writing adult, but it didn’t quite fit the stories I wanted to tell. Young adult fiction explores the teenage years of a person’s life, and those years are a significant point of change for most of us. Teens are tackling adult issues for the first time—serious relationships, jobs, shifting authority structures, new limits and opportunities—but they’re doing it without the experience, and often without the resources, that adults may have. It’s a vulnerable, heady, thrilling stage in someone’s life. Teens are also adjusting to greater independence and more authority in their own lives, but might still be dealing with limitations at odds with those things, like curfews, not having a car, house rules, and the structures of school. YA tackles that.

The experiences we have in our teenage years are formative ones, and the mistakes and choices we make can follow us into adulthood. There’s great opportunity, uncertainty, and passion in those years, and they leave a mark on us. I didn’t start reading YA until I reached my twenties, and I wish I’d found it earlier—seeing so closely into the lives of other teens who are wrestling with the same changes and struggles I was would have been so helpful as a teen. I still find myself identifying with the characters in these stories, because people never stop struggling with change. You don’t grow out of YA.

Did you have a favorite character to write?

HOW WE FALL is a YA contemporary story about two cousins who are hiding a relationship. I chose Jackie as the perspective character for this story because I really love how she thinks. She’s not really honest with herself, and often says the opposite of what she means, so it was a really interesting voice to write. Since it’s first person, the reader is really close to her thoughts, but I still needed to communicate the difference between her thoughts and reality. It was a really fun style I’m looking forward to doing more with.

What was the road to getting published like?

I’ve been writing since I was a teen, but it wasn’t until after college that I finished a novel I wanted to get published. I researched agents and query letters, developed an interest in the publishing world, and started working first as an internship with a publishing house. Then I worked with a literary agency, and started sending out query letters for my novel. I then moved to a job as an editor with a publishing house. While I was querying, I started writing my second novel, which was HOW WE FALL, and the response from agents was much more encouraging than for my first work. I did revisions and signed with an agent after about six months, then we went on submission right after the holidays and I had an offer in late February. It happened pretty fast and I couldn’t have done it without such a fantastic agent. My debut just released in early November, and it’s been a tough but really wonderful journey.

How would you describe your writing process?

I spend a long time working on the concept of the story—living in the story mentally, churning scenes around, and figuring out the focus—before I actually start drafting it. Once I start drafting, I try to fast-draft the first act so I can see how things work out when I write characters into the situation and the environment. Then I go back and heavily revise that first third to get all the layers in place and make any changes to the plot/characters that I thought of along the way. After I have the first act solidly drafted and revised, then I finish drafting the rest of the book. Of course, it depends some on the book and how well I know the story before I start writing it. Doing revisions in that first third makes starting a manuscript slow for me, but I do find it helps me avoid having to change major parts of the story.

What does 2015 hold for you?

I’d love to know that, myself! I’ve just moved to a new publishing house (Entangled Publishing) where I work as an editor with YA fiction, so I’ll be acquiring and editing some really wonderful YA titles. I’m also hard at work on new projects, both adult and new adult, that I’m really excited about. I’m also attending a lot of conferences (I’m a conference junkie), so be sure to say hi if you see me!

_________

PS Did you know there’s a narrative Pinterest board for How We Fall? Have you ever seen a narrative book board? I worked so hard on it! And I love it so much. Tell me what you think? ~Kate

 

YA Scavenger Hunt

Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one signed book from each author on the hunt in my team, including HOW WE FALL! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!

Also, scroll to the bottom of this page for an excerpt and chance to win HOW WE FALL as an extra giveaway!

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are SIX contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the BLUE TEAM–but there is also a red team, a gold team, an orange team, a red team, and an indie team for a chance to win a whole different set of signed books!

If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.

SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE
 
Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the blue team, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!).
 
Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by April 6, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
SCAVENGER HUNT POST
WIN_20150127_130733 (2)Today, I am hosting Christine Norris on my website for the YA Scavenger Hunt!
Christine Norris is the author of several speculative fiction works for children and adults, most notably The Library of Athena series. She is extremely overeducated, having a B.S. Temple University (Kinesiology), a B.A. from UMUC (English), AND a Masters in Library and Information Science from Southern Connecticut State. All of which means she loves to be in the library, which is her secret day job (whoops…). She is married with one son, two rescued cats, a rescued Jack Russell, and a rescued palomino rabbit. There’s a lot of rescuing. She also has a complete weakness for Doctor Who, Sherlock, and other British television shows, as well as an addiction to movies, re-told fairy tales, and police procedural shows. She also believes in fairies. Christine is represented by Jordy Albert of the Booker Albert Literary Agency.
 
Find out more information by checking out the author website or find more about the author’s book here! Christine’s Website
EXCLUSIVE CONTENT

Ash & Iron eBook 2000Christine here! Thanks to Kate for hosting my part of the YA Scavenger Hunt!

I am not sure how many other authors on the YASH are talking about books that haven’t been released yet, but mine isn’t due out until May 21! I thought it would be fun to write up a list of things people should know about the book before it comes out.

Top Ten Things You Need to Know about A Curse of Ash and Iron
10. The book is set in Philadelphia in 1876. It was a big, important year in the city and I use quite a few historical references, including the Centennial Exposition and the fact the arm of the Statue of Liberty was on display. For fifty cents you could walk up inside, and that was how they funded the rest of the statue.
9. Originally, this book had a different storyline. Like, completely different. It was after I got a really long but very helpful rejection letter from a super-awesome agent (not my agent, who is also awesome), I ripped the whole book apart and totally changed it to what it (mostly) is now.
8. The story is, in fact, a Steampunk retelling of Cinderella. I tried to incorporate as many elements of the original GRIMM’S story as possible. See how many you can find! No mice, because that’s from the Perrault version. Sorry.
7. Almost all of the character’s names in the story come from my family tree. The notable exceptions are Ellie and Olivia. Clarence the cat got his name from my great-grandfather.
6. There is a big scene in the book set in Cape May, NJ, and it includes the famous Cape May Diamonds. Look it up.
5. In the original version, there was no prologue. A certain editor at a big NY publishing house told me it needed a prologue. It’s all his fault.
4. Curse originally had a different publisher. Some people might remember that. It was originally contracted by Strange Chemistry, but then the main publisher shut down the imprint three months before it was supposed to release. But since it happened before the book was published, I got the rights back right away and my agent was able to make a quick turnaround and sell it to Curiosity Quills. They have been awesome!
3. The carriage Ben makes for Ellie (it’s Cinderella, of course there’s a carriage) was originally pumpkin-shaped. That detail ended up being cut when an editor at an NJSCBWI mentoring workshop told me it was a little too ‘on the nose’.
2. The original title for the book was Smoke and Mirrors. The first publisher asked for the title change because there is a book by Neil Gaiman with the same title, and they didn’t want to confuse the two (I wish!) My agent and I brainstormed for days, coming up with alternate titles like Masquerade and Midnight and all manner of other things that just didn’t fit.
1. I actually like the new title better. A Curse of Ash and Iron will be out from Curiosity Quills on May 21!!! You can like it on Goodreads now, though 🙂



And don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of signed books by me, Christine, and more! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is  5.  Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the blue team and you’ll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!

CONTINUE THE HUNT
 
To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author! Lisa Tawn Bergren
As my own super exciting extra giveaway, I’m giving away a SECOND copy of How We Fall! Hardcover if you live in the continental US, or ebook if you live outside the continental US. Click the link to access the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

On Classic Movies In How We Fall

Below is a really fun interview Kiersi from over at The Prolific Novelista did with me!

I’m so excited to have author Kate Brauning and her debut YA novel, HOW WE FALL, on the blog today! She’s got some really fun, exclusive content for us.

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I was lucky enough to get an ARC of HOW WE FALL, which I reviewed on Goodreads. It’s thrilling, emotional, fast-paced and un-put-downable. I may have cried a couple times.

One thing that features prominently in the novel are classic movies, so I decided to ask Kate a couple questions about how they found their way into HOW WE FALL.

  1. How did you personally get into classic movies?

When I was growing up, we frequently had family movie nights– something all seven of us could do together. But since my mother used to insist nothing good was made after 1960, that meant we watched a lot of classic movies. Musicals, especially. Men in suits, smoky bars, lavish parties with women in Grace Kelly gowns. Political intrigue, heady romance, subtle, character-driven stories. In some ways, I think it skewed my perception of adulthood, but I also learned to watch the stories carefully.

  1. So, in HOW WE FALL, Jackie absolutely adores her classic movies—is this characteristic, by chance, a reflection of you? Because she sure seems to know a lot of them, and a lot about them. ;)

I love a good story well-told, and that means there are a lot of classic and modern movies I love, but I particularly liked the classics for Jackie as a way for her to sort through her life.

As a teen (and even earlier), we watched Singing in the Rain, White Christmas, and The Sound of Music, of course, but also The King and I and My Fair Lady. The somewhat taboo relationships of those last two caught my interest even then. The boundaries and hurdles between the main characters fascinated me. Roman Holiday, actually, was another favorite of mine with a taboo love story, but I also really hated it the first few times I saw it. It enraged my optimistic teen self that the writers didn’t find a way for Princess Anne and Joe Bradley to be together. I thought it was ridiculously unfair, even though the tragedy of it makes more sense to me now, and I’ve learned to love an edge of tragedy in a story. I didn’t know it at the time, but even as a twelve-year-old girl my brain was gathering up material that would one day make it into How We Fall.

I also fell in love with Rear Window and Jimmy Stewart, and that was my introduction to Hitchcock, which was less my mother’s taste, but definitely mine. The symbolism and tragedy and obsession in Hitchcock’s work made a huge impression on me as a teenager, and I started looking for that in both my reading and my writing. I also learned to love sharp wit and black humor– Walter Matthau and Rex Harrison are always fun to watch, and to this day I don’t think I’ve seen anything funnier than William Powell’s Life With Father.

  1. Why do you like them? Are your reasons the same as Jackie’s?

Great question. I gave classic films to Jackie as a way to think through her life, partially because the slower pace and the more traditional, old-fashioned lifestyle fits with what Jackie wishes she had. Her combined family is loud and chaotic, and living in an earth-sheltered home with somewhat hippie parents draws too much attention for an introverted, uprooted teen to enjoy. But as she digs into these movies, she starts to realize so many of those stories deal with the same things she’s working through, even forbidden or taboo relationships. The parallels help her figure out what she wants out of life.

What I enjoy in my favorite classic films is the same thing I enjoy about great story in general—a gripping character, sharp wit, and a story that makes me think.

  1. What’s your favorite film of all time, and why?

That’s about like asking me what my favorite book is. Narrowing it down is tough. One of my definite favorites, though, is Stranger Than Fiction, with Will Ferrell, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, and Emma Thompson. It’s has a fun angle on an author’s life, sure, but more than that, I love a story that works a character toward fully living life, and this one does it with unexpected depth and charm. I love the way it tackles the idea of killing of characters, too, and it’s so wonderfully funny and hopeful and thought-provoking.

Thank you so much for appearing on the blog today, Kate! I have to agree with you on Stranger Than Fiction. That’s one of my all-time favorite movies, too!

 

I originally wrote this post for The Prolific Novelista as part of my blog tour for my book release– I wrote about 30 posts that went up on different sites over November and December, and with all that content out there, I’d like to keep it all in one place, so I’m posting it here for archiving purposes. Hope you enjoyed!

#YAlaunch: 10 Authors Talking Writing, Debuts, & Publishing

I’ve meant to blog about Yalaunch for months, but… my first book released in November, I moved to a new job acquiring fiction for Entangled Publishing, I went to the East Coast for two weeks, and then I went to ALA in Chicago. But I am home now, and catching up on everything, and YAlaunch was JUST TOO GOOD to not tell you about. Honestly, it was one of the most wonderful, fulfilling experiences of my life.

Nikki Urang, my critique partner, and I both had our first novels release November 11, and in the wildly stressful and exciting process of figuring out how to actually celebrate the launch of our books, I decided I wanted a writing retreat with my fellow authors. 4 days in an awesome Omaha hotel writing, drinking, sharing work, eating great food, and staying up far too late– ending with a 3-hour livestream where we played games with the audience on Twitter and Facebook, talked about our books, answered audience questions, and gave away over 100 books. Almost 400 people visited the livestream over the course of the night, and it was such fun to hear the brilliant minds of my fellow authors at work. It was half party, half mini-conference, and ridiculously fun. Here’s a recap, and at the end, I’m including the video, so you can watch the whole thing:

What was it, and who was there?

List of the 100 books we gave away

Once everyone arrived, we (after lots of talking/eating) got to work at the hotel:

Authors  Writing

And that weekend, THIS happened:

It was such a wonderful experience to sit down with 10 other authors (shout-out to author Tonya Kuper, who joined us for an evening, too!) and write. Word sprints, plot hole discussions, brainstorming sessions, and “do you think this works?” and “does this make sense?” happened ’round the clock, and I’m thrilled to report we actually got a lot of real work done.

And then it was Monday, and the #YAlaunch livestream happened! Basically, it was my launch party. Check out the #YAlaunch hashtag on Twitter to see all the awesome crazy, but here are the highlights.

 

And viewers seemed excited, too!

 

We had viewers from Mexico, Australia, Canada, the U.S., the Dominican Republic, and several more wonderful places. Book lovers reach around the world. 🙂

set 1 set 2

Use the times listed in the descriptions below to jump to sections of the video you find interesting, or watch the whole thing!

We kicked off the livestream with a panel discussion on our favorite genres to write, and whether we read genres we don’t write, and questions from the audience covered what New Adult is, how we all feel about fanfiction, solving writer’s block, and what we do for day jobs in addition to writing, if we have another occupation. (first 29 minutes of the video.)

At 29:19 on the time stamp, I interviewed with Alex Yuschik and Blair Thornburgh about gravity racing, the importance of passion in their work, obsessive characters, and writing retellings.

To end the interview, we played an awesome word scramble game of scrambled book titles. You’re all much better at word scrambles than I am!

At 51:48, Nikki Urang interviews Kelly Youngblood and Delia Moran about historical fiction, Kelly’s collection of 1000 books and her transition from writing nonfiction to fiction, traditional vs. self publishing, plotting and “pantsing,” and played a game guessing which books a collection of first lines came from.

At 1:07:33, after a round-table introduction of what we all write, I hosted a panel discussion on writing a series, trilogies, companion novels, and stand-alones. We discussed how that affects our process and changes our work, how we know when a story needs more than one book, and when to best leave the story so that we don’t drain the concept and not wear out the readers. We also discussed writing in a male POV, avoiding leaning on cultural stereotypes for a “male” sound, and how parents who write balance kids and the author life.

At 1:31:18, Nikki Urang interviews Kiersi Burkhart and Bethany Robison about drafting vs revising, their writing process, and the difference between writing for MG and YA. We tried to play a “name that cover” but of course we were owed some kind of technical difficulty, and that’s when it happened.

1:52:00 Eventually we got the game to work, and went back to the main table for a roundtable discussion on when reader reactions differ widely, why we think YA is so popular and what’s drawing people to the category and how Harry Potter changed YA. We also gained a giant platter of unbelievably wonderful cupcakes, and Kiersi performed an impressive cross-table lunge for them.

At 2:04:00, we discussed using social media and multimedia in our books, as well as writing multiple points of view and what we think of the value of formal writing education. We also discussed how to find critique partners, using humor and acting experience to inform writing, and the community and collaboration so often involved in great books. Blair got very wise about first and third person and writing from opposite genders, too. We were also under strict orders to pass around the cupcakes.

At 2:26:00, I got to interview New York Times bestselling authors Nicole Baart and Tosca Lee. We talked about their hobbies, upmarket women’s fiction, historical biblical fiction, Nicole’s upcoming April release THE BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTERS from Atria, how the industry has changed during their 8-book publication journey, and their advice for new authors. I particularly loved what Tosca had to say about being brave and continuing to write fearlessly as your audience grows, and how Nicole has seen readers change in the last ten years and balancing writing with interacting with readers. They also discussed their paths to publication, and what it’s been like to see 8 novels each published traditionally.

At 2:55:15 we went back to the big table for a game of ABC books, and you definitely want to see 10 authors competing to shout out alphabetical book titles. It got crazy. For authors, we had a surprisingly difficult time with the alphabet.

At 3:01:00, we began a panel discussion on book-to-film adaptations. What makes a good one, if any of our own work has ever been adapted to screen, and screenplays written by the author or involved in the adaptation as in Gone Girl, The Hunger Games, and Game of Thrones.

https://twitter.com/meggie_spoes/status/532009222184005633

And then all 8 authors interviewed Nikki Urang and me about our debuts. Title changes, our involvement in our book covers, how the experience of being a debut author has gone for us, how being an editor helps/hinders me as an author, what next for both of us as authors, and what we hope readers take away from our books.

Basically, over the course of four hours, debut, nonfiction, fiction, and multipublished authors talked through everything from fan fiction and using social media to writing dual POV and writing as an art. I learned so much from these incredibly talented ladies on set with me, and I was so humbled and thrilled that they all came to help us celebrate the release of HOW WE FALL and THE HIT LIST.

Here’s the full video:


If you still haven’t gotten your copies, you can get HOW WE FALL here and THE HIT LIST here!

Some Things on YA, Obsession, and Hot Chocolate

Back in October for my blog tour, Victoria Dougherty, author of The Bone Church and writer of chilling and magical historical thrillers, interviewed me for her blog, Cold. I’m posting the interview here for my own readers! I was so honored to be interviewed by her because I don’t think I could love her writing more if I tried. Definitely check out her books and give The Bone Church a read!

Kate Brauning Has Fallen into the Cold…But She’s Got Hot Cocoa

October 27, 2014 Victoria Dougherty

www.jenniophotography.com

 

Meet Kate Brauning.

YA author extraordinaire and a damn fine editor, too.

In her debut novel, How We Fall, Kate drives us through the scenic routes of a small town, focusing her keen eye on its passions, its friendships and the secrets that could burn it to the ground. She sees the subtleties that the rest of us often miss; the gradations of emotional color that can be so elusive to writer and reader alike. And she gets on a gut level the swollen, hammering hearts of the young, because her own heart continues to beat with the same relentlessness.

And given Kate’s background, it’s no wonder.

Kate Brauning grew up in the 2nd poorest county in Missouri; the same region in which How We Fall is set. A homeschooled pastor’s daughter, and one of five kids, her young life was lived in the tempest of a big, crazy household.

For her, real life happened as much in the books she borrowed from the library as it did on the twenty acres where her family raised purebred Siberian Huskies and German Shepherds. She loved YA books, primarily. Those stories lived in tandem with movie nights at the Brauning house – the bonzai optimism of 1950s musicals and broken-mirror storytelling of Alfred Hitchcock.

Her mother believed that no good movies were made after 1960, so Kate and her siblings didn’t watch them.

Grown-up Kate Brauning could spend all day at a zoo or a good aquarium and come back the next. She loves making three-tiered cakes and has a serious weakness for pie.

She’s wanted to be a writer since she was twelve years-old, and that dream, or rather, destiny, has come to pass.

But instead of giving you a synopsis of How We Fall (which I will do, but way down there) and bragging to you about what Kirkus Reviews and School Library Journal has said about her work (which I’ll also do), I thought I’d present Cold readers with a chance to experience Kate in her own words, thinking on her feet.

I asked her to select three images that evoke the mood or storyline of How We Fall and then asked if she would write to those images. And if you don’t want to order her novel after taking a look at what she’s got to offer us here, then I’m afraid your heart is no longer young. You need to go carve your initials into a tree, write a love letter, make a cup of Kate’s hot cocoa (recipe below), and come back and try again, for Pete’s sake.

HOW WE FALL

How We Fall

This image says so much about How We Fall, to me. The story is very much a best friends romance, and there’s something terrifying and wonderful about falling for someone you never wanted or expect to love. The teens here are close, comfortable with each other—it’s clear just from their body language. They’re not even doing anything particularly romantic, but you can see their relationship anyway. I love writing stories like that, because the romance tests the friendship. The more invested the people are in the friendship, the higher the stakes are when things start to change.

How We Fall 2

Bravery is a major theme in the story. The difference between bravery and recklessness, especially. Even though she’s a bit of a brash character, Jackie’s afraid of the social stigma and potential consequences of being with her cousin. When someone consumes you, the freefall of that relationship can change everything—and not always in positive ways. Bravery was a struggle for me as a teen, and I think a lot of young people struggle with it, too. I wanted to be bold and confident, but so many little—and some bigger—fears held me back. I think a lot of it comes down to what we’re willing to fight for, and how hard we’re willing to fight.

How We Fall 3

Jackie’s missing friend, Ellie, becomes a catalyst in her relationship with Marcus. Obsession becomes a factor in both conflicts—not being able to see past someone is a dangerous place to be. I particularly love writing teens into these situations. So many teens are hitting these serious adult issues for the first time, but they’re having to go through those issues without the experience and often without the resources of older adults. Most teens don’t have easy, black-and-white lives, and How We Fall explores some of those darker struggles. I saw and experienced a lot of dark things myself as a teen, and a lot of it would leave me floundering and having to re-evaluate everything I thought I knew. It’s a tough, challenging stage in life with a lot of heartache and a lot of battles. Because of those heartaches and battles, though, there’s also a lot of persistence and vibrancy and truth.

A Note from the author:

The hot chocolate Marcus makes in How We Fall is significant to me. I’ve always had a minor war going on with cocoa mixes. They’re always too sweet and not dark enough for me, and I don’t like marshmallows (please don’t hate me). I started altering mixes, adding more cocoa, but soon gave that up and just figured out how to make my own. I make it strong, dark, and bittersweet– and nothing tastes more like fall to me. Marcus teaches Jackie how to make it and I want to teach Cold readers, too. Everyone deserves a great cup of cocoa, after all. – Love, Kate

Marcus’s Hot Chocolate:

Warm 1 ½ cups milk in a sauce pan on medium-high heat. (Use 2% or whole milk for richer hot chocolate.) When the milk starts to steam, whisk in 2 tablespoons dark cocoa and 1 tablespoon sugar. Turn the heat down to medium so the milk doesn’t scorch, and whisk constantly for about three minutes, until it looks smooth and not silty on a spoon. Makes 1 serving.

hot chocolate

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.

Love,

Kate

How We Fall is available through:

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

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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!