Tag Archives: Laurie Boyle Crompton

The sincerest form of flattery

New and improved title and cover!

New and improved title and cover!

Imitation, they say, is the sincerest form of flattery.

And whoever they are, they’re probably right.

So when the fine members of EMU’s Debuts saw the splendiferous cover of Laurie Boyle Crompton’s soon-to-be-released young adult novel, BLAZE, we knew just what to do.

You see, the heroine of Laurie’s novel has pink hair. Really cool pink hair. So in a tribute to BLAZE making its entrance into the world, we, Laurie’s fellow debut authors, decided to try to match its fuchsia-haired brilliance. We know we’re not as stunning as the cover model, but we hope our misguided but heartfelt tribute lets everyone know how cool we think this book is.

So without further ado, here we are in our cotton-candy brilliance. We figure, how embarrassing can it be? We’ve already shared our texting mishaps.

Meet author Laurie Boyle Crompton (who is normally blonde) …

LBC

And Carol Brendler (who is usually a blazing brunette) …

Carol

Melanie Crowder (whose hair is nicely conditioned — not parched. That’s a little book title humor there. Melanie’s debut novel, PARCHED, comes out in June) …

Melanie

Tara Dairman (whose love for all things pink does not extend to bread products) …

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tara Lazar (who normally has lovely dark brown locks) …

TaraL

Joshua McCune (our only EMU’s Debuts dude, who is also the Photoshop expert behind everyone’s rosy tresses) …

Josh

Me, Pat Zietlow Miller (And, yes, I did really have purple streaks in my hair once) …

Pat

And, finally, Laurie Ann Thompson (whose picture-perfect hair is perfect for a picture book author) …

Laurie

So please join us in celebrating BLAZE. You don’t have to dye your hair pink — although if you do, make sure to send us a picture to post on the blog. Instead, you could:

  • Purchase BLAZE from your favorite bookseller or online site.
  • Request it from your library.
  • Give a copy as a gift or donate one to a needy school library near you.
  • Promote this blog on your facebook, Twitter or other social media feed. It’s like throwing virtual confetti!

And, remember, have an a-blaze-ing day!

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Filed under Book Promotion, Celebrations, Promotion

Finding the perfect title and cover: a peek behind the curtain

*** toots horn ***
I am thrilled to help celebrate the launch of BLAZE this week!
*** throws confetti ***
Join the party by leaving a comment below…
at the end of the week one lucky commenter will win a signed copy!

For Laurie Boyle Crompton, one of the more unusual developments in the path to debut publication was dealing with a delayed release date combined with a new title and cover—after they had all already been revealed to the public! Since my own debut still doesn’t have a title, this topic struck a chord with me, and I wanted to know the backstory. Laurie’s editor at Sourcebooks, Aubrey Poole, graciously agreed to let me ask her a slew of questions about the whole process.

Aubrey Poole

Aubrey Poole, Associate Editor, Sourcebooks Jabberwocky and Fire

LT: Hi Aubrey, Welcome to Emu’s Debuts, and thank you so much for agreeing to let us in one behind-the-scenes decision-making for BLAZE’s title and cover!

AP: Hi Laurie, It’s great to meet you! I’m happy to be a part of the Emu’s Debuts blog. I’m so excited about BLAZE!

LT: As you can tell, we are, too! So, how far into the process were things when you decided that a new title and cover were needed? Fans seemed pretty happy about the original title, FANGIRL, and its cover. Why did you decide to change them, and how hard was it to do?

AP: Well, it was nerve-racking! The decision to change the cover and title happened simultaneously. The funny thing about the first title and cover is that we all liked them. You know, if it’s a bad cover or a bad title, it’s actually easier, because everyone agrees that they need a change. But there was a lot of support for FANGIRL as the title.

Original title and cover

Original title and cover

What started to concern us about the title and cover – especially in combination – is that it was leaning too heavily on the comic book angle. Personally, I’m not much of a comic book reader, but I enjoyed reading Blaze’s story (obviously!). However, if I saw that original title/cover combo on a shelf at Barnes & Noble, I wouldn’t have picked it up, because it looked too “comic-booky.”

AP: So, first we started brainstorming title ideas. We loved Blaze’s status as a quirky outsider; we thought that was relatable to a lot of teens, so we started there. We actually used the movie Easy A as a comp (industry lingo for competitive or comparison). I looked at blogs and websites for gamer girls and geek girls. We had many ideas with “geek girl” in the title. We played on comic book words and characters; we tried using text-lingo to play up the online aspect of the book. We had pages of title alternatives — probably close to 100 different ideas. Then those got whittled down to our favorites, but there was still a lot of internal debate, so we turned to the fans for their input. And I have to give a big thank you to all those on Teen Fire for hearting “Love in the Time of Supervillains” as much as I did! Although, there were quite a few people who still liked FANGIRL better. And I get it – we liked it too. But we felt like the new title direction would appeal to a broader audience. It was actually my colleague, Leah Hultenschmidt, who came up with the idea of combining two of our favorite titles into one – and that’s how BLAZE (OR LOVE IN THE TIME OF SUPERVILLAINS) came about!

AP: Next came the cover. Everyone loved the colors and how fierce it was – but it was still too “comic booky.” We sent it back to the designer, Christian Fuenfhausen, with a new direction and the new title, and then it just clicked. Actually, here is an excerpt from the email I sent to the design team about the new “positioning” (some more publishing lingo):

“We think this new title is fun and quirky and expresses the tone of the book perfectly. It’s a character-driven story, so the title focuses in on the most important component – Blaze herself – and Love in the Time of Supervillains is intriguing and will make readers wonder about its meaning and want to pick up the book to find out more. While we want the cover to be quirky and fun, we don’t want to hang the packaging on the comic-book element. Tapping into the “geek chic” or “geeky is cool” counterculture trend is something to consider but we don’t want to narrow the audience to comic book fans. Drawing comics is what makes Blaze a quirky outsider, but it’s not what the book is about.”

New and improved title and cover!

New and improved title and cover!

AP: So, then we got back the cover with the pink hair blowing straight back like a blaze, and everyone just knew that we had nailed it! Now we just had to worry about replacing all of those images out there in cyberspace.

AP: Because of these changes (and because we decided to hire an illustrator to draw Blaze’s comic for the interior covers and to add a few illustrations throughout the book), we actually pushed back the release date on this book from August to February. We thought we had a good package, but we wanted to make it truly special. We’re sort of infamous (in our own minds at least) for the number of iterations our covers go through. We want to make beautiful books!

LT: Wow, Aubrey, that’s fascinating! Here’s a question that’s been on my mind all along… One thing that jumped out to me, personally, about the original title/cover combo is that it felt very middle-grade. When I later learned about some of the main very YA plot points in the book, I was more than a little surprised! Was steering the book toward an older, more appropriate teen audience at all part of the title/cover consideration?

AP: That’s a really interesting observation about the original cover/title feeling middle-grade. Maybe what I perceived as ‘comic-booky’ was coming off as cartoonish and young to you. But to be honest, I was more worried about the cover not appealing to a broad enough audience. There are definitely some sensitive topics in the book, though, so I’m glad the new cover is more appealing to an older audience.

LT: Okay, two more, just for fun… First, I know you must have been very excited about this book to acquire it in the first place, and I admire the decision to push back the release date to allow time for interior art as well as the new cover and title, but how did you stand it–knowing that you had this super book that no one would see until February 1st!? Didn’t it drive you crazy?

AP: Sure! Well, yes and no. As editors we’re working on books a year or more in advance, so I’m pretty used to being excited about a book that no one else will see for a while. So pushing back the date wasn’t too hard. But when I got the final art it and the I saw the final cover – that’s when I started to get antsy. Lucky for me, I was able to show off the ARCs to friends and family, and I could get a fix by eagerly scanning the Waiting on Wednesdays blogs that have been so supportive and enthusiastic for the book. The toughest and most gratifying have been the last couple of months as the release date crept closer. I’m dying to finally see it in the hands of readers, but there’s also been some fantastic pre-pub buzz that’s elevated the book’s profile. The marketing and PR team have gotten very excited by the general enthusiasm and are planning some additional fun promos like a book trailer.

LT: And last but not least: I’ve seen the ARC, but I can’t wait to see what the final released version looks like. I know you must be SUPER excited that launch day is almost here. How does it feel to finally be at this point? Is it any different than other books you’ve edited?

AP: For me, this year is particularly exciting. I’ve been acquiring books for a while now but only two have been released so far – an adult romance and another YA called SEND by Patty Blount. SEND was a Junior Library Guild pick and has been doing really well. So, it was a very gratifying moment for me to realize that other people liked the book, but it also set the bar kinda high. But the majority of the books I’ve acquired are coming out this year: BLAZE in February followed by three middle grade books in each successive month, including MY EPIC FAIRY TALE FAIL by Anna Staniszewski [Ed. note: a fellow EMu!], THIS JOURNAL BELONGS TO RATCHET by Nancy J. Cavanaugh, and WONDER LIGHT by R.R. Russell. (The last two are even debuts!) So, it’s going to be a bit of a roller coaster Spring. I feel like I’ve climbed to the top of that first epic hill, and now I’m waiting in my car, teetering at brink, about to have my stomach float up into my chest… I can’t wait!

LT: As debut authors, I think we can all relate to that feeling! Fantastic interview, Aubrey, and best of luck with your upcoming releases. Thank you again for giving us an insider’s peek into the process!

AP: My pleasure. Thank you!

Remember, if you’d like a chance to win a signed copy of BLAZE, please leave a comment on this or any other post this week!

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Filed under Celebrations, cover art, Editor, Interviews

It’s launch week for BLAZE!

It is my supreme honor today to kick off launch week for Laurie Boyle Crompton’s fantastic YA debut novel, BLAZE (or Love in the Time of Supervillains). Hurrah! BLAZE will officially hit bookstore and digital shelves this Friday, February 1, and we’ll have special posts up here at EMU’s Debuts every day this week to celebrate. (And we’re also giving away a signed copy of BLAZE to one lucky commenter!)

Lucky EMU that I am, I got to read an advance copy of BLAZE, so I hope you don’t mind if I go all fangirl (hee hee) for a moment and tell you how awesome it is. The main character Blaze’s voice is both hilarious and authentic, and she kept me rooting for her and laughing even as she went through some of the toughest stuff high school can throw at a person.

Here’s a little more info, courtesy of a rave review from Publisher’s Weekly:

First-time novelist Crompton handily establishes Blaze as a diehard comics fan who’s not entirely comfortable in her own skin; her funny-crass interactions with her friends and her younger brother make for entertaining reading. What makes the story truly valuable, however, has less to do with comics than with the way Crompton takes on the practice of slut-shaming—the novel forces readers to reconsider the way they treat their peers, especially girls, over their sexual behavior, real or imagined.

Now, who better to help kick off launch week than the author herself? I asked Laurie Boyle Crompton three behind-the-scenes questions about BLAZE, and here are her answers.

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Tara Dairman: We’d love to hear a bit of the story behind BLAZE. How did you dream up this butt-kicking heroine and her journey?

Laurie Boyle Crompton: Blaze came into my mind fully-formed as this comic-obsessed girl who was completely stuck in her life but was making the best of things. I immediately knew I wanted to set her free. Unfortunately, once I started writing her story I discovered things get much, much worse for her before they get better! The comic book element was definitely drawn from real life since I was a bit of a comic book nerd back in high school, but I was careful to make the novel accessible to those who don’t speak comic-geek. I also wanted to highlight that sibling bond that can only be formed by spending thousands of hours stuck driving around together, and then the minivan sort of became a sidekick character unto itself.

TD: As fellow writers, we EMUs are always interested in hearing about other writers’ processes. Did this book pour out of you, or take years to write? And did the story undergo any massive changes in the editing process?

LBC: BLAZE was a lot of fun to write and I really enjoyed spending time with these characters, so the drafting was fairly painless. I worked on it in between doing other revisions, and so it took me over a year to get it submission-ready. Then we had early interest from an editor who basically wanted me to change the second half of the book. I remember having a long talk with Joan [agent Ammi-Joan Paquette], and the next morning I drafted an e-mail listing all the reasons why I couldn’t possibly make the changes. I never sent that e-mail because in the middle of writing it I had an idea that made everything click. I gradually got more and more excited about the new direction, held my breath and dove into the full rewrite. Because I knew my characters so well, I was able to complete the rewrite within a few months and the book is much better for it. The experience taught me to never be afraid to give a revision a chance, no matter how impossible it may seem.

TD: Your author bio on Amazon says that you spray-painted your car hot pink as a teenager–kind of like how Blaze transforms her Superturd minivan in the book. 🙂 Are there any other elements of BLAZE that readers might be surprised to learn were borrowed from or inspired by real life?

I love the fact that I was able to write that pink car into one of my novels! My friends from high school still talk about that car.

Blaze’s role as the Eternal Chauffeur to the gang of Soccer Cretins came from my vast experience shuttling younger siblings about in the pink car. We’d often play the Cows game that’s described in the beginning of the book. In fact, my family just played ‘Cows’ this past summer as we drove across Spain; although I suppose we should have called the game ‘La Vaca.’ Also (bonus trivia!), the CB handles ‘Maniac’ and ‘Butterfly’ are ones my husband and I used years ago when we did a lot of traveling.

***

Thank you, Laurie, and congratulations on the publication of BLAZE!!

And if you’d like to enter to win a signed copy of BLAZE, please leave a comment on this post or any other post this week!

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Filed under Book Promotion, Celebrations, Interviews, Promotion