I’m excited to be a part of the blog tour for BREAKING by Danielle Rollins!
About the Book:
Author: Danielle Rollins
Pub. Date: June 6, 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Companion novel to Burning.
Prep school gets a twist of supernatural suspense in this commercial YA thriller.
Charlotte has always been content in the shadow of her two best friends at the prestigious Underhill Preparatory Institute. Ariel is daring and mysterious. Devon is beautiful and brilliant. Although Charlotte never lived up to the standards of the school—or her demanding mother—her two best friends became the family she never had. When Ariel and Devon suddenly commit suicide within a month of each other, Charlotte refuses to accept it as a coincidence. But as the clues point to a dangerous secret about Underhill Prep, Charlotte is suddenly in over her head. There’s a reason the students of Underhill are so exceptional, and the people responsible are willing to kill to protect the truth…
Suspenseful and scintillating, with hints of the supernatural, this fast-paced thriller will keep readers hooked.
Author of the best-selling MERCILESS series, SURVIVE THE NIGHT, BURNING, and BREAKING. I’m currently working on the last installment of the Merciless books, & starting a new series to be announced later this year.
3 winners will receive a finished copy of BREAKING, US Only. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!
And now, here’s the guest post from Danielle!
WANDERING BARK BOOKS
3 Reasons Crit Groups are So Important
The cabin is the size of a small bedroom, the glass in the windows so thin it shakes each time the wind blows. It’s dark out—not city dark, where the ambient glow of streetlights tints everything in gold. This is country dark. Utterly black. All around us are trees and mountains and small, skittering animals.
Leah’s face is lit-up by the glow of her computer screen. Her voice slows as she reaches the end of her chapter—the twist in the murder mystery story she’s been working on all week. Anna and I hold our breath, eyes wide. She says the final line and her eyes flick up, questioning.
“Well?” she asks, snapping the laptop shut. “What do you guys think?”
We’re nodding before we can form words. Yes. Yes. Keep going. It’s so so good.
This is our ritual. The three of us retreat to the woods and spend the whole day working on some new, exciting project we haven’t shared with the outside world yet. Then, after dinner, we curl up in one of our tiny cabins and read the day’s writing out loud, getting feedback from the other two on what’s working, and what’s not. In three years of professional, fulltime writing, it’s the most effective way I’ve found of determining whether a story is ready to become a book.
So what makes a crit group so magical? I’ve given this a lot of thought over the years…
- You believe criticism more when it comes from writers you respect
I’ve known Anna and Leah for six years, before any of us had much success with publishing. We met in a writing class and started critiquing each other’s work outside of class hours, after we all realized we appreciated each other’s feedback more than any of the other students’. This is all to say that, by the time we became an official group, we really trusted each other’s comments. If Leah says she doesn’t get a character motivation, I know it’s not working. If Anna says a line of dialogue isn’t landing, it gets cut.
- Positive feedback is just as important as negative feedback
Criticism is great, especially when it’s constructive, but it’s by no means the most important thing I get from my group. Positive feedback, in many ways, is even more valuable than negative.
When I was first starting to work on BREAKING (which is sort of like STRANGER THINGS meets THE VIRGIN SUICIDES) I read the first chapter out loud to the group during one of these retreats. I wasn’t sure whether the story worked, and didn’t know if I was going to pursue it. But Anna and Leah’s reaction to that first chapter convinced me that I had something sort of special. They picked out individual lines that they loved, and talked over how I’d done a good job creating an atmosphere of slow, chilling horror. Because of their feedback, I went back to the story and kept working. BREAKING hits bookshelves on June 6 of this year, and they’re both a big part of the reason why.
- Writing can be lonely
I quit my job to write fulltime after selling THE MERCILESS series (which I wrote under the pseudonym Danielle Vega.) A few months later, I was lucky enough to find a publisher for BURNING and BREAKING, companion psychological thrillers. I was over the moon. It felt like I’d made it—like I finally had my dream job.
It didn’t take long before I realized that my dream of being a full time writer, and the reality of writing all day every day were very different things. I didn’t like working by myself, and writing from home meant that I didn’t have a reason to put on pants or brush my teeth. I’d often lose hours of work time watching television or cleaning out my closet. I realized that I missed corporate life. I liked having people around to bounce my ideas off of.
I’m not the type of person to quit when things get hard, so I made a list of things I could do to make the reality of writing fulltime more like the dream I’d had for so many years. Right at the top of that list was one word, “coworkers.” That seemed like an easy enough thing to find.
Over the next few months, I made it my mission to expand my writing circle. I joined a co-working space just for writers, and made it a mission to introduce myself to the other YA novelists there. I reached out to Leah and Anna. When I went to conferences, I made sure to get email addresses and phone numbers.
If you’re not published yet, chances are this can seem impossible. But I met Leah and Anna at a writing class I took long before I had a book deal. One of the best friends I made at my co-working space is still working on finding an agent for her novel. And—years and years ago—I met a great community of writers at a conference where I spent the summer volunteering. Finding your tribe is important, no matter what stage of the publishing journey you’re at.
Where did you find your critique group? Or are you still looking? Tell me in the comments, or hit me up on Twitter or Instagram @vegarollins.
5/29/2017- The Cover Contessa– Interview
5/29/2017- A Dream Within A Dream– Review
5/30/2017- YA Books Central– Guest Post
5/30/2017- a GREAT read– Review
5/31/2017- Pandora’s Books– Excerpt
5/31/2017- Sweet Southern Home– Review
6/1/2017- BookHounds YA– Guest Post
6/1/2017- Dazzled by Books– Review
6/2/2017- Tales of the Ravenous Reader– Interview
6/2/2017- Don’t Judge, Read– Review
6/5/2017- Wandering Bark Books– Guest Post
6/5/2017- Pretty Deadly Reviews– Review
6/6/2017- Two Chicks on Books– Excerpt
6/6/2017- Novel Novice– Review
6/7/2017- Literary Meanderings – Guest Post
6/7/2017- YA Book Madness– Review
6/8/2017- Mama Reads Blog– Excerpt
6/8/2017- A Gingerly Review- Review
6/9/2017- Portrait of a Book– Guest Post
6/9/2017- Storybook Slayers– Review