Monday, October 14, 2013

I've been MIA because...

It feels like forever since I've been on Twitter or the blog or any form of social media. Email has been neglected. Housework has been neglected. Family has been neglected. Lately anything that doesn't involve staring at a laptop screen while simultaneously hearing voices in my head has been woefully neglected. Why?

Because I sold my second book.

I'm terribly excited, but also terribly terrified. I sold this novel, again to Michelle Poploff at Delacorte, on a single sample chapter and an outline on August 21. It will release early 2015. I have been working like mad to put together a readable draft--due on November 1.

Here is the one-sentence summary: A young white girl and her black best friend fight to protect their taboo interracial friendship amidst the KKK attacks and North Smithfield bombings of 1949 Alabama.

The book is tentatively titled STANDING TALL ON MULBERRY HILL. Like EVERY DAY AFTER, this story was also inspired by family events--though this time the inspiration arose from my maternal rather than paternal grandmother.

Why did I take so long to announce the sale?

Because as I said, I was (and am) terribly terrified--and terribly superstitious. I didn't want to jinx anything by opening my big mouth too soon. I first thought I would announce the sale once the contract arrived. Then I thought I would announce the sale once Random House had received the signed contract. Then I thought I would announce the sale once I had finished the first draft. (Are you sensing my fine skill at procrastination?)

All of the above have been achieved--by a couple of weeks. So why have I finally decided to announce the sale?

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to spend some time with Michelle on Friday. She came into Birmingham as a faculty member for our regional SCBWI conference. Michael and I picked her up at the airport and took her on a mini-tour of Birmingham, showing her many of the historical sites that are relevant to this new story. She mentioned that she would discuss both EVERY DAY AFTER and my forthcoming book at the conference. I figured if she was going to talk publicly about the book then I was being overly analytical (and overly superstitious) about the announcement.

So I have officially announced. Finally. Fingers double and triple crossed all goes smoothly with this next book and, more importantly, that I can do the heavy subject matter justice.

Michelle and me standing in Kelly Ingram Park in Birmingham. Directly behind us is the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. In the background to the right is the 16th Street Baptist Church where four little girls were killed by a KKK bomb on September 15, 1963. To our left is a gorgeous memorial to the four girls. It is the work of Elizabeth McQueen and is called "Four Spirits". One girl is releasing doves in remembrance of two boys who were also murdered that same day--16 year-old Johnny Robinson and 13 year-old Virgil Ware. 


  1. Congratulations, Laura! And how exciting that you announced this news at the same time as sharing your setting with your editor. Crossing my fingers for you, too, but given how wonderful EVERY DAY AFTER was, I'm sure STANDING TALL ON MULBERRY HILL will be equally impressive.

  2. Woo-hoo! This is so exciting! You'll do great--just keep plugging away at it, because I know I'm not the only one who can't wait to read this!

  3. enjoyed meeting you this pasted weekend... I read the first chapter of your book last night... what a great voice you have. I have three books started (what doesn't everyone have an audio, one on the kindle and one in person started?? you have to cover all situations, right) your book will be the next in person one

  4. Congrats on "officialdom", Laura! I love the new title. And what a gritty concept...I see great things in your future :)

  5. Congratulations on your Second book sale! I love the premise. And I forgive you for falling off of the email planet. I too have ignored my blog and twitter as I'm drafting a new novel and revising another simultaneously. Trying to treat my personal deadlines like real publishing deadlines.
    I'm so proud of you. You are so talented and a very sweet person and it's inspiring to see your writing career take off.