This weeks Unpublished Me post comes to you from the author of one of my all time favourite books Geekerella, Ashley Poston! Ashely loves dread pirates, moving castles and starry night skies. She graduated from the University of South Carolina with a B.A. in How to Kick Butt Without Even Trying (aka English), and fell in love with the Romantics. When not proclaiming her love for Lord Byron (in that #problematicfavs sort of way), she's in search for her next great adventure. She lives in South Carolina with her bossy cat, and they are firm believers that we're all a bunch of weirdos looking at other weirdos, asking for their usernames.
Dear Ash of 2015,
You’re bent over a manuscript, editing by the kitchen light in your small Brooklyn apartment. There is snow on the sill of your kitchen window, and outside you can see the neighbor across the way putting up his Christmas tree in the living room. Don’t look at the clock, you’ll just be reminded of how long you’ve stared at page 294 (and that you still have work in the morning).
Your chest is tight from anxiety—or is it heart burn from the day-old pizza? Or are you having a heart attack? Oh god, you hope you aren’t having a heart attack. You can’t—you have to turn in this R&R to the editor who might buy this book and change your life. Nothing will stop you. Nothing can stop you.
You are the living, breathing embodiment of absolute stubbornness.
You can’t even remember the last time you bathed okay, so it was this morning because otherwise you’re a shambling zombie with exciting hair), or the last time you ate (five seconds ago, because you stress-eat peanut butter like PacMan noms dots). All you know is that this story—this book—has been your lifeblood for so long, you have Dragon Ball Z Fusion’d yourself with it to create a superior Ashley Poston—
Ultimate Super Author Ashley Poston!
ULTIMATE SUPER AUTHOR ASHLEY POSTON MEETS DEADLINES.
ULTIMATE SUPER AUTHOR ASHLEY POSTON WILL MAKE BOOK PERFECT.
ULTIMATE SUPER ASHLEY POSTON CAN DO ANYTHING.
Your stubbornness only grows when you remember all the people who told you that being an author is a nice dream—but when are you going to get a real job? You’re haunted by the memory of an empty college classroom the day you were to read your short story, your classmates having skipped yours because you wrote YA. You remember the fifty-six agent rejections you pinned to your wall, and you remember the feeling of finally—finally—getting an offer of representation. For this story, no less! For these characters! This world! This idea!
So you’re fueled by so many things, and they all keep you ravenous for more.
This is your shot, you tell yourself.
Be like Hamilton and don’t waste it.
But really, you don’t look very Ultimate Super Author. You just look tired. You’re missing a December snowfall you’ve never gotten a chance to see before. You haven’t yet gone to Rockerfeller to stare in awe at the gigantic tree. You haven’t gotten presents for your family—you barely remember your work’s holiday party. The month has gone by in a blur of computer pages, and unbeknownst to you, you will never live in a New York City December again.
Take a breath, Ash. Skype your cat, who you miss dearly. Go outside and feel the bite of cold against your nose and inhale the city air fresh with snowfall. See the tree, take a picture or two, make jokes about what big balls it has (ornaments, they were tree ornaments).
That passage your stressing over won’t even be in the final draft. The character you’re thinking of cutting? Tomorrow you’ll realize that you need to add his POV.
While you’re lost in a world you created, don’t forget that the world outside is passing you by. Be in it, enjoy the moment—and don’t be afraid of setting this story aside for the evening. Because what you don’t realize yet is that you will never leave the world in your head, you’ll carry it with you wherever you go.
Meet new friends, go to book events, stare up at the impossibly tall buildings and revel in the moment because you are in New York City. You just signed a work-for-hire for this little publisher called Quirk Books, and you don’t know it yet, but that little story of Cinderella at a Comic-Con will take you places you never thought possible.
So don’t worry about this R&R—one story will never define you, because you will write multitudes of stories, and each one of them will build your castle.
Because in March? You’ll get the call. And you’ll cry at your work desk, not because of the news itself, but because you realize that after all these years of writing a story about a girl searching for home, she finally found one.
Three years later, on February 27th, 2018, you will share Heart of Iron with the world. And still you won’t feel like Ultimate Super Author Ashley Poston, because there’s another deadline, and another edit, and another book.
And so you build your castle.
Forever with Love,
(PS – Please wear your wrist guards.)
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: 27th February 2018
Seventeen-year-old Ana is a scoundrel by nurture and an outlaw by nature. Found as a child drifting through space with a sentient android called D09, Ana was saved by a fearsome space captain and the grizzled crew she now calls family. But D09—one of the last remaining illegal Metals—has been glitching, and Ana will stop at nothing to find a way to fix him.
Ana’s desperate effort to save D09 leads her on a quest to steal the coordinates to a lost ship that could offer all the answers. But at the last moment, a spoiled Ironblood boy beats Ana to her prize. He has his own reasons for taking the coordinates, and he doesn’t care what he’ll sacrifice to keep them.
When everything goes wrong, she and the Ironblood end up as fugitives on the run. Now their entire kingdom is after them—and the coordinates—and not everyone wants them captured alive.
What they find in a lost corner of the universe will change all their lives—and unearth dangerous secrets. But when a darkness from Ana’s past returns, she must face an impossible choice: does she protect a kingdom that wants her dead or save the Metal boy she loves?