We have the author of Trust Me, I'm Lying here, who's celebrating the release of her debut novel, today. HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY, Mary Elizabeth Summer!!!
While you were in the process of writing this book, have you ever doubt yourself or second guess the reason why you are writing this story? If yes, how did you overcome those obstacles?
Constantly! It's part of the writing process to second guess everything about your story from phrasing to characterization to plot reveals to what your protagonist has for breakfast. Just the other day I was agonizing over whether one of my characters should use contractions or not. Agonizing! I'm still on the fence, to be honest. But there are no absolutes in this business. You could do anything you want in your story. Which is great for variety and creativity, but also crazy-making because sometimes you just want someone to tell you what you should do to get it right. Just keep telling yourself there is no "should"; there is no "right." You're never going to please 100% of readers 100% of the time. It's not possible. So write what you want to read to the best of your ability, and you'll be right every time.
About Getting Published:
As an aspiring author, hearing about how authors got published is always fascinating and inspiring for me. So can you tell us your journey to publication? And what was the first thing you did or said after you got the news about the book deal?
My journey to publication is pretty typical, I think. I decided I was going to participate in NaNoWriMo one year (back in 2005--you do the math), and I actually managed to finish my first novel. It was a crappy novel and shall never see the light of day, but I proved to myself that I could do it. Plus, it was a ton of fun to write, so I also proved to myself that this is what I want to do for a living someday (note that I said 'someday'--I still have a day job despite being published). Fast forward three more novels and nearly seven years later. I had just finished the first draft of Trust Me, I'm Lying (which at the time was titled Catch My Grift), and I thought, "This is it. This novel is actually good enough to submit to agents." I was still kind of in the editing process, and I didn't quite want to get on the query bandwagon yet. But I did want to test my premise to see if it anyone was interested in the idea of the story at least, so I entered an online query contest on Cupid's Literary Connection blog. Not only did my story make it into the contest, I got lots of agent interest, including from my dream agent Laura Bradford. Long story short, she read TMIL and offered me representation and I nearly died of squee. She's my agent to this day, and I love her more than chocolate. So then I edited TMIL with Laura's help, and we sent it off on submission to publishing houses. Fast forward some more, and I ended up accepting Wendy Loggia's offer from Delacorte Press (an imprint of Penguin Random House) in December of 2012. And the whole debut author experience from the beginning of 2013 to nearly the end of 2014 has been crazy and awesome. And crazy. And awesome. ;-)
My first words to my agent when she told me I had an offer on my book: "I think I'm going to puke."
About Being an Author:
Tell us what it's like to be a published author? What was your most favorite moment in this whole experience, aside from seeing and holding a physical copy of your book?
I won't lie. Holding a copy of my actual book with my picture on it and everything made me cry (and I'm not a person that cries very often). Aside from that, I guess my favorite moment was...well, I can't actually say, because it's not official yet. LOL Let me try again. My third favorite moment was when TMIL made the Autumn 2014 Kid's Indie Next List. It was so amazing getting to read the bookseller's recommendation of my book. I think I actually hugged my laptop screen after I read it.
About the Book:
Just like superheroes, I think it's safe to say that books also have an origin story before they became what they are right now. It might have started out as a thought, an experience, a dialogue you heard, a conversation with a friend, or an idea that has been plaguing your brain for quite sometime. So tell us, what's your book's origin story? And what made you decide to write it?
One night back in 2010, I was mainlining episodes of White Collar and Leverage, and I thought, "Man, I wish I could read a book about teenage girl con artist, but I don't think there are any." When I woke up the next morning, I had Julep's voice in my head, fully formed and clamoring at me to write her story. So I did. (Incidentally, I found out later that there are actually several stories featuring teen grifters, but I didn't hear about them until after I finished writing TMIL. LOL)
Something I wholeheartedly believe in is that if you really want to read a book and you haven't seen anything like it on bookshelves (regardless of whether or not it actually does exist and you just don't know about it), then you have to write it. It's not just that you have to write it so you can read it. I mean you are duty-bound to write it. Wanting to read something and it being scarce enough that you haven't heard of it already means that somebody else out there really needs that story, too. And since you are a writer and you want to read it, it's up to you to write it. That is what it means to have a muse. The muse doesn't write your story for you. The muse just makes you want to read the story you're meant to write.
About the Author:
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Mary Elizabeth Summer contributes to the delinquency of minors by writing books about unruly teenagers with criminal leanings. She has a BA in creative writing from Wells College, and her philosophy on life is “you can never go wrong with sriracha sauce.” She lives in Portland Oregon with her wife, their daughter, and their evil overlor—er, cat. TRUST ME, I’M LYING is her debut novel.
Title: Trust Me, I'm Lying
Genre/s: YA, Contemporary, Mystery
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: October 14, 2014
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Summary:Fans of Ally Carter, especially her Heist Society readers, will love this teen mystery/thriller with sarcastic wit, a hint of romance, and Ocean’s Eleven–inspired action.Julep Dupree tells lies. A lot of them. She’s a con artist, a master of disguise, and a sophomore at Chicago’s swanky St. Agatha High, where her father, an old-school grifter with a weakness for the ponies, sends her to so she can learn to mingle with the upper crust. For extra spending money Julep doesn’t rely on her dad—she runs petty scams for her classmates while dodging the dean of students and maintaining an A+ (okay, A-) average.But when she comes home one day to a ransacked apartment and her father gone, Julep’s carefully laid plans for an expenses-paid golden ticket to Yale start to unravel. Even with help from St. Agatha’s resident Prince Charming, Tyler Richland, and her loyal hacker sidekick, Sam, Julep struggles to trace her dad’s trail of clues through a maze of creepy stalkers, hit attempts, family secrets, and worse, the threat of foster care. With everything she has at stake, Julep’s in way over her head . . . but that’s not going to stop her from using every trick in the book to find her dad before his mark finds her. Because that would be criminal.