Well, this is it: the day Weave a Circle Round, my weird little book about the mysterious neighbours and the teenage girl who would like them to stop breaking the laws of physics now, please, makes its way into the world. Existential terror is fun.
I haven’t been posting much here lately because “I should be marking” is my motto, so let’s get a bunch of stuff out at once. Thus:
1) This is the weirdest thing I have ever done.
This is weirder than music. It’s weirder than webcomics. It’s weirder than the first time I bought a cell phone.* It’s weirder than that time my sister and her friends decided they were going to swim across a lake…during gym class…in January. I feel weird. I want to hide under furniture. I’m really glad I’ve managed to get a book out, as it’s the one thing I’ve always wanted to do, but it’s still like taking a piece of me and catapulting it haphazardly into the unknown. Now people are judging that piece. I really need some furniture to hide under.
2) Many people seem to like the book so far.
Others don’t, which is fine. Some are profoundly confused by it. Of the people who aren’t confused (or who are confused but welcome the confusion), here are three of my favourites:
Publishers Weekly (starred review): “This is an ambitious, intricate, joyful coming-of-age tale, with memorable characters and a powerful sense of wonder.”
Library Journal (starred review, Debut of the Month): “Maaren’s characters are by turns charming, annoying, and frequently hilarious. The quick pace and dialog may remind readers of Madeleine L’Engle or Jasper Fforde, making the protagonists timeless in their own way. VERDICT: With definite YA crossover appeal but enough action and intrigue for adults, Maaren’s enchanting debut is for anyone who enjoys stretching their imagination or is nostalgic for their teenage years.”
WACR is also a Junior Library Guild Selection (in the US) and #3 on the Loan Stars Top 10 list for November (in Canada). It’s on Barnes & Noble’s “Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Books of November 2017” list and its “Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of 2017” list.
3) Categorisation is…categorisation.
Tor has been marketing WACR as straight fantasy (i.e., not YA or Middle Grade). This has caused some misunderstandings; some readers seem to go into it assuming it’s primarily for adults, and they end up a wee bit baffled. Tor is going for “all ages,” but “all ages” is not a marketing category. Therefore, everyone is sort of all over the place. A lot of the reviews treat it as adult fiction but add a stipulation that it has “YA crossover appeal.” Many libraries seem to be shelving it with adult fiction. The Loan Stars list is for adult fiction. The Junior Library Guild does kids’ lit, and it has characterised WACR as YA. A few Goodreads reviewers have declared it Middle Grade. Others call it YA. Personally, I see it as an old-fashioned kids’ book. It has a mysterious nature, apparently.
4) I am apparently doing a blog tour.
My editor, Diana Pho, asked me to write a bunch of blog entries in the spring. I wrote twelve and sent them to her. Now they are popping up all over the Internet. Some of them are about writing. Some of them are about tropes. If you’d like to read them, here’s a list (some may be missing; I don’t always notice them when they appear):
“Picking Up the Banjo: Unusual Paths to a Writing Career” (Tor/Forge Blog, 2017/11/02): I discuss how eclectic creativity is not necessarily a bad thing.
“Trinity Must Die: The Problem of the More Competent Female Sidekick” (Tor Teen Blog, 2017/11/09): I talk about a certain type of “strong” female character and why she’s becoming a problem.
“Unfinished: Writing Through Grief” (Tor/Forge Blog, 2017/11/13): I tell the story of my mother’s Alzheimer’s disease, which coincided with Weave a Circle Round‘s journey towards publication.
“In Defense of Cowardly Protagonists” (Book Riot, 2017/11/13): Cowards are some of my favourite fictional people. Here, I talk about why.
“So You Want to Write a Time-Travel Story” (Fantasy Literature, 2017/11/24): I like time travel. Time travel is cool. Oh…and this one includes a giveaway. There are, like, ten entrants so far. Enter the giveaway, people.
5) I have a bookplate. It has an upside-down house on it.
It was recently brought to my attention that it would be easier to commission some personalised bookplates and send them out to far-flung people who wanted signed copies than it would be to get people to send their books to me. So yes, I totally have bookplates now. They arrived yesterday. I like them.
4) So I drew these pictures a while ago…
I originally had this grand plan that I was going to make all these blog posts illustrated with portraits of my novel’s major characters. Then life happened, and the blog posts didn’t. However, I do have the portraits. The first two have already appeared, but the other three haven’t. Therefore, let’s end with my illustrations of Weave of Circle Round‘s five major characters, complete with snarky notes about their personalities.