ADAPTATION is out today in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand

Today I’m thrilled that my novel Adaptation is now available in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand, published by Hodder Children’s Books! And look at the nifty animated cover they made for it:

Here’s the cover description:

Flocks of birds are hurling themselves at aeroplanes across America. Thousands of people die. Millions are stranded. Everyone knows the world will never be the same.

On Reese’s long drive home, along a stretch of empty highway at night, a bird flies into their headlights. The car flips over. When they wake up in a military hospital, the doctor won’t tell them what happened. For Reese, though, this is just the start. She can’t remember anything from the time between her accident and the day she woke up almost a month later. She only knows one thing: she’s different now.

Torn between longtime crush David and new girl Amber, the real question is: who can she trust?

Here’s the book trailer:

And even more extras:

Get Adaptation at:

Behind the Scenes of the Adaptation Trailer

This post was originally published at Shelf Elf.

Over the past few years, book trailers have become quite a thing in YA. I've never been entirely sure if they succeed in making people want to read a book, but I've been fascinated to see how book trailers have developed. They used to be slide shows of still photos with text — remember 2009? But recently, some book trailers have become elaborate productions with casts, crews, costumes, and very! dramatic! music!

I wasn't initially planning to make a book trailer for Adaptation because I didn't think I was up for such a big ordeal. However, when I saw the book trailer that author Nina LaCour shot for her novel The Disenchantments, I thought: Whoa. That is the kind of trailer I would like! So when I learned that Nina and her friend, Amanda Krampf, had launched a mini book trailer production company, Less Than Perfect Productions, I knew that I wanted to hire them to make a trailer for Adaptation. Even better? Nina and Amanda live in the San Francisco Bay Area, so we could work on this in person.

I immediately emailed Nina to see if she was up for it, and I was very excited when she and Amanda said yes. After that, I emailed my editor at Little, Brown to get her input. We talked about different concepts for the trailer, and ultimately settled on a very quick, 30-second video that would act as a teaser for the novel. The goal was not to summarize the whole book in 30 seconds, but to get viewers to want to read the book. That meant the trailer had to convey the hook of Adaptation as well as show (visually!) the mood of the novel.

While many book trailers have text crawling across the screen, I knew that I wanted to have a voiceover narrator. I took the text that is excerpted on the back cover of Adaptation and built the voiceover narration around that, because I thought it expressed the novel's premise pretty clearly. Then, Nina, Amanda, my editor and I thought about various images that could convey some of the things that happen in the novel.

In one of the scenes in Adaptation, the main character attends a funeral at Cypress Lawn Cemetery in Colma, CA, which is just south of San Francisco. (Notable fact: Colma was founded in 1924 as a necropolis; 1.5 million people are buried there. Also, nobody is buried in San Francisco anymore — they're all in Colma.) When I was writing Adaptation, I visited Cypress Lawn as part of my research. It has a giant, beautiful mausoleum that looks like a palace. I suggested that we film part of the trailer on location at the mausoleum, where we could shoot the main character running after a man in black within the mausoleum itself. I thought it would not only look gorgeous on film, it would look creepy, and I wanted to make sure the book's creepy vibe came through.

Additionally, Nina arranged to have some video shot that showed other aspects of the novel: driving down a highway, some scenes in an an airport, and the main character waking up in a hospital gown. Rather than a soundtrack, Nina suggested using the sound of a human heartbeat. I liked this idea a lot because sometimes I find the music in book trailers to be too dramatic; I wanted a minimalist yet creepy (again!) vibe.

Once we had an okay from Little, Brown on the concept, Nina and Amanda began to hire actors (including the awesome Matia Emsellem who recorded the voiceover) and a videographer. In mid-July, I joined Amanda, videographer Josh Blank, and two actors (Roma Oeh who played the main character, Reese; and Evan Pricco who played the man in black) at Cypress Lawn Cemetery to shoot the mausoleum scene.

We shot a bunch of stuff in one of the mausoleum's main corridors, which was as beautiful as I remembered:

Then one of the cemetery's staffers showed us a separate wing that was darker and creepier. We reshot everything in this wing:

Finally, we shot Reese coming out of the mausoleum bathroom, which was part of the scene in Adaptation:

Here are a couple of photos of us at the end of the mausoleum shoot:

After wrapping up at the mausoleum, I went home while Amanda, Josh, and Roma went to shoot the waking-up-from-the-hospital scene. A few days later, Amanda sent me the rough cut of the trailer, which blew me away because it looked exactly like what I had hoped for. We made a few tweaks to the timing, and ultimately we decided to cut the bathroom scene entirely (which I was bummed about) because it didn't seem to fit in with the rest of the trailer.

I was very happy with the final product, which I think perfectly captures the pacing and mood of the novel. Here it is:

I hope it causes viewers to want to pick up the book!

An Adaptation Playlist

This post was originally published at Fat Girl Reading.

One of my favorite things to do while working on a novel is look for music that fits a character or a particular mood. At least, this is the way I justify all the time and money I spend on iTunes! Music can give me a gut-level sense of connection to a character, and it can help me get in the proper frame of mind to write a scene. Sometimes I listen to music when writing to motivate myself, and often I listen to the playlists I create for my novels while I'm walking or driving. Because I listen to these songs repeatedly while I think about what I'm writing, I start to identify the music with the story. Then, when I'm stuck or need a nudge to get to work, listening to a particular song can actually flip the creative switch in me, enabling me to dive right into the scene I'm working on.

I created eight playlists while writing Adaptation, some very short and focusing on particular characters; others much longer and centering on mood. Out of all these playlists I've selected 12 tracks that represent the book to me. Whenever I hear one of these, I always think of some aspect of Adaptation. Here's the playlist and some of my thoughts on why I chose these songs:

1. "Help I'm Alive" by Metric — This was the first song that truly connected me to the main character, Reese. What I love about this song is that the lyrics seem like a cry for help ("help I'm alive") but the music beneath it isn't at all weak. I like that contradiction. In the chorus, Emily Haines sings: "Hard to be soft / Tough to be tender." The words imply that the person crying for help isn't soft or tender; she struggles to be tender. I think this is at the heart of Reese's character arc throughout Adaptation and its sequel.

2. "Magical World" featuring Nelly Furtado by Bassnectar — This was the first song I listened to that carried the mood of the book that I wanted to write: mysterious, futuristic, and sexy. Also: "not everything in this magical world is quite what it seems." That is the truth!

3. "Twilight Galaxy" by Metric — To be honest, Adaptation's theme band could be Metric. I listened to their albums Fantasies and Live It Out repeatedly while writing the book. This is one of my favorite songs from Fantasies.

4, 5. "Crash and Burn Girl" by Robyn; "Liar" by Dragonette — These two are fun, addictive pop songs about "bad" girls. That's why some girls are "bad": they do wrong things, but you can't resist them. There is a girl like that in Adaptation.

6, 7, 8. "Assassinations" by Stateless; "Between Two Points" featuring Swan by The Glitch Mob; "Timestretch" by Bassnectar — All songs I listened to for mood: creepiness, depressing angst, and mysterious plot acceleration. Is "mysterious plot acceleration" a mood? It was in Adaptation!

9. "Leave My Body" by Florence + the Machine — I listened to this song on repeat while writing Chapter 36. I listened to a lot of Flo in this chapter!

10, 11. "Bluetrace" by Stateless; "How to Be Eaten By a Woman" by The Glitch Mob — I listened to a lot of electronic music while writing Adaptation, including the Stateless albums Stateless and Matilda; and every Glitch Mob track I could find. They all go under "mysterious plot acceleration."

12. "Cosmic Love" by Florence + the Machine — I've always connected this song to the romance in Adaptation, but the lyrics surprised me by being completely relevant to Chapter 39.

And there you have it. If you enjoy the tracks, please support the artist if you can and buy them!


The sequel is finished!

Today I turned in the final draft of the sequel to Adaptation! Here's a photo of the manuscript:

That's part of the reason I disappeared from my website for the last week. The other reason? I was deathly ill. It didn't hit me until after all my fun events in New York City (which I will post photos of soon), but when it struck, it totally knocked me out. Unfortunately I also had to finish those revisions to the sequel. So the last week I was ensconced in one corner of my sofa (because working at my desk seemed way too horrible) with the manuscript, my green pen, my thesaurus and dictionary, Kleenex and cough drops and endless cups of medicinal tea.

It was not the ideal revising experience, but being sick did prove useful in that everything that wasn't related to revision was promptly ignored. For the last week, all I did was think about the words in this book. I deleted a lot of completely useless "she saids" and "justs" and repeated phrases. (Wow, there were a lot.) I tried to dot every I and cross every T when it came to the plot. (Wow, there was a lot of plot.) And I'm really pleased with this book, which I have managed to write in ten months. TEN MONTHS PEOPLE. This is not a speed at which I am normally accustomed to writing novels!

Here are some stats, updated to reflect this draft:

Word count of Draft #3: 118,633 Word count of Draft #2: 121,500 Word count of Draft #1: 93,300

Total number of days spent on revision (so far): 68 Number of days spent on draft #3: 17 Number of days spent on draft #2: 51 Number of days spent writing draft #1: 61

Next up is copyediting, when a copyeditor goes through my manuscript to find spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors. The copyeditor also makes sure the plot details line up and things happen on the correct days.

Next up for me? Well, I'm going to take the night off and have a lovely codeine-laced nightcap so I can sleep for a long, long time. Then I will resume my normal blogging duties, because hey, Adaptation just came out! I have many more Adaptation events coming up, and I'm looking forward to doing them without the revision deadline hanging over my head.

More tomorrow!