Thursday, May 26, 2011

Before & After: Jennifer Archer

A Baby Boomer Is Born: I am born in a small town in North Central Texas the same year Humphrey Bogart dies, the same year "Beatnik" becomes a commonly used word in the American vocabulary and the first living being…a dog…orbits outer space on Sputnik II. Author Jack Kerouac’s On the Road and Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat hit bookstore shelves that year, the play West Side Story opens in New York City, and Bridgette Bardot’s movie And God Created Woman sparks controversy over its sexual content. What is the year of my birth? I’ll let you figure it out.

Only 25 days until my debut Young Adult novel, THROUGH HER EYES, makes an entrance into the world! I feel like an expectant mother, excited to show of my baby. There’s so much left to do to get ready for the big day, and because of that I’m also feeling a little scattered – uncertain of what to do first and afraid I’m forgetting something important. My three week blog tour begins next week, so I’ve been double-checking to make sure all the fantastic bloggers participating have all the information they need. After the book’s release, I’ll be speaking to students at a few schools, and I’m preparing my presentations. And I’ll be attending a couple of conferences in the weeks ahead, as well as going on a live book tour, so I’ve been scheduling flights and booking hotel rooms.

In between all of this, I’m waiting on revisions from my editor for my second Young Adult novel, THE SHADOW GIRL. And I’ve been working on a new story that I’m really excited about, so that helps me take my mind off of all my nervousness about the release of THROUGH HER EYES. Why am I nervous? I want readers to love the book as much as I do. Tansy, Tate, Bethyl Ann, Henry and Isabel – the characters – became real to me while writing the book, and I care about them. And, of course, I hope readers will care about them, too. So far, the reviews have been good, so I tell myself that’s a promising sign!

Mostly, however, I feel fortunate and happy that THROUGH HER EYES found a “home” at Harper Teen. Because of that, I get to spend my days doing work I love. And that is truly a gift.

Ten days have passed since the release of my debut YA novel THROUGH HER EYES and life is crazy busy but good! I attended the Texas Library Association convention in Austin last week and autographed books in the Harper Teen booth. It was wonderful to meet some of the librarians and so many teens that are excited about reading and books. Three girls stand out in my mind most of all. After the signing, I was walking through the convention center and met these young ladies. I handed them each a bookmark and they squealed! One of them said, "You wrote this book? We've been hearing great things about it." It was an unforgettable moment and the best feeling in the world. Yesterday I had a booksigning in my hometown of Amarillo, Texas and sold out! I feel so fortunate to have such support from my community.

In spite of all this good news, I still fret. I can't help it. I worry because bookstores are struggling and I know that, because of this, a lot of them aren't ordering as many copies of a debut YA novel than they would have a year ago. I worry that readers will go to the store and not be able to find the book, and that they won't realize they can ask the store to order it for them without being charged for shipping. I worry that my book will not be on the shelf when a potential reader looking for a new author to try is browsing the bookstore aisles, so they won't be drawn to the beautiful cover of THROUGH HER EYES.

The world of publishing is in a major state of change at the moment, and I am doing everything I can to learn how to change, as well, in the ways I must if I want to remain a part of it. I want to continue doing what I love to do -- write stories that I hope will be a source of enjoyment for a segment of readers.

Reviews of Through Her Eyes
The Book Scout
The Elliott Review
Electrifying Reviews


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