Tag Archives: frankenstein

in which three book things are happening

Hello my friends.

It’s been a while.

That’s because I have been otherwise occupied by the fact that MY FIRST BOOK COMES OUT IN 27 DAYS1!

So let me quickly catch you up on some of the things that you should know about in relation to this whole “book comes out in 27 days” things, because, I’m so sorry loyal blog readers who have words, but this is ALL I CAN THINK ABOUT RIGHT NOW.

Firstly, if you are gearing up for reading THIS MONSTROUS THING but worried you might not fully appreciate it because you haven’t read FRANKENSTEIN2, there’s a video for that! One time, during a Boston snowpocalypse snow storm, I got really caffeinated and made a five minute synopsis of Frankenstein that I promise is the fastest you will ever hear another human being speak. Also it’s shorter than SparkNotes. Your’e welcome.

Secondly, on Friday, EpicReads will be revealing the BOOK TRAILER for THIS MONSTROUS THING! Remember when we filmed this? And it was freezing? And there was fake blood and a mechanical arm?

Well it’s nearly time, friends, when it will be revealed to the wide world.

Alive Dead Trailer

Steel thyself for Friday at noon. The monsters are coming.

Third of all, I got my first finished hard cover copy of the book! I swooned and cried and still grin nonsensically when I think of the fact that it is sitting in my apartment, a real thing and not just a dream. It just gets realer and realer!

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27 DAYS! This book thing is starting to look like it’s actually going to happen.

  1. Heavy breathing.
  2. No judgement, but what is wrong with you?!
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in which my book cover is revealed

Yesterday, my book cover and synopsis were released into the world slash internet. So as you can imagine I can think of little else.

The cover looks like this: ThisMonstrousThing hc c. finalJPG Pardon me while I make a high-pitched keening sound of joy.

Because really, isn’t it just great? I could go on for days about it, but for now, let me tell you the top ten things I love about my book cover:

  1. Dat clock tower. *shivers of happy*
  2. I love that it could conceivably be a cover for Frankenstein. If you changed the title and author obviously. The tagline can stay.
  3. I love how it’s a little black and white and that lightning is a nice callback to the classic Boris Karloff Frankenstein. You know, the version most people think of when they think of Frankenstein. Unless you are thinking of this Frankenstein.
  4. So this is a book about two brothers. BUT WHICH BROTHER IS THAT ON THE COVER!? Is it the doctor brother, or the creature brother? AND WHICH OF THEM IS THE MONSTROUS THING? Ambiguity FTW.
  5. I freaking love the tagline and how it’s placed between the title, even though my mom keeps being a pest and calling it “This Alive Monstrous Dead Thing Alive Again” like it is one whole title. Moms. Sheesh.
  6. IT HAS MY NAME ON IT OMG A BOOK IS GOING TO HAVE MY NAME ON IT
  7. It’s so spooky and rainy and atmospheric and Gothic and this book is all of those things.
  8. The European architecture in the back! Did I mention this book takes place in Switzerland? Because that looks like Switzerland to me.
  9. That red sky is loooovely.
  10. IT IS THE COVER OF MY BOOK *faints*

With the cover was also released the official synopsis and it is truly excellent and I am so excited to share with people more than just “steampunk Frankenstein”. BUT I know it’s a lot of words. I don’t blame you if you don’t read it. If you found yourself thinking, “I’d really like to know what this book is about, but don’t want to go to the trouble of actually reading all those words about it!”

Don’t worry–I saw you coming, and did an illustrated version just for you. Fair warning, I am embarrassingly bad artist. Maybe that will entice you even more to check out my illustrated synopsis.

So click here to see the illustrated synopsis of This Monstrous Thing! It is pretty excellent, if I do say so myself. And also the result of a lot of boredom during a lot of snow days.

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in which i visit an imagined place

My first night in Geneva, I was lying in a stranger’s bedroom, reading Mary Shelley on my phone, and hovering on the edges of a panic attack. Golden light from the streetlamps filtered in through the open window. Somewhere down the road, the tram bell rang.

Maybe I should explain.

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First of all, in spite of how it sounds, I was not having a one-night-stand with a handsome Swiss cheesemaker. I was in a stranger’s bedroom because Marx and I were doing Switzerland cheap, so we were staying with a woman who we found on a couch surfing website. She was an environmentalist, spoke little English, and offered us a variety of extravagant teas1.

I was reading History of a Six Weeks Tour by Mary Shelley on my phone because I have so far only been able to find it online, and this was our first real wifi in a while. The book is a compilation of letters written between Mary Shelley, her husband, and their friends while the pair was living abroad, including in Geneva, which is where she wrote Frankenstein.

Which is why we were in Geneva. Oh yes, the panic. My novel—the one that comes out next year, and is a reimagining of Frankenstein, if you’re new here—is set there.

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So here I was, in a stranger’s bedroom, trying to fall asleep reading, waiting for morning so I could walk through a place that had up until this moment only existed in my head.

Visiting Geneva felt like coming to an imagined place, like Narnia or Gondor, or visiting my own thoughts. Geneva was the first place I had ever written about that I hadn’t visited. Sure, I spent hours on Google maps, read books—of both the historical and the vacation-prep variety—along with every travel blog and photo essay and newspaper article about Geneva I could find.

But I hadn’t been there. And being there is something totally different.

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I’m a very setting-heavy writer. The word that most frequently gets tossed around to describe my writing is atmospheric, and I am one-hundred percent okay with that. I love travel. I love place. I’ve had whole novels spring out of places I’ve visited2. But atmosphere is more than just streets and geography and place names. It’s a feeling, and that’s why I love traveling—to feel a place.

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So what if I got out in Geneva and realized that I got had got that feeling wrong? As soon as I visited, there would be a right and wrong answer to what I had written. Maybe this was a terrible mistake, I thought. I almost woke Marx up right then and asked her if we could maybe just hang out at the airport for the next three days until our flight left. I’m a rational human being.

But I didn’t. The next morning, we woke up and set out to explore Geneva.

Mary Shelley did not like Geneva. When you read her letters, she goes on and on about how much she loves the countryside, and the Alps, and even the wildlife3, but when she writes about Geneva itself, she sounds sort of grumbly and unhappy. She thought the buildings were too high, too ugly. She hated that the guards at the city gates couldn’t be bribed into letting you into the city past ten pm. “There is nothing… in [Geneva],” she writes, “that can repay you for the trouble of walking over its rough stones.”

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On the afternoon of our first day in the city, I left Marx by a fountain on the edge of the old town and went wandering on my own, thinking about what Mary had written, and what I had written, and the things we had both imagined happening on these streets, and mostly how much I liked Geneva. I liked the rough cobblestones and the hills. I liked the silt-colored buildings that made the streets into hallways. I liked the fountains, and the window boxes, and the wind off the lake. I liked the sound of people speaking French. I liked the Alps in the distance, and the foothills, and the vineyards that climbed up them.

Screw you, Mary Shelley. I liked Geneva.

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So I walked the streets of Mary’s book, and my book–the one big thing we shared–and thought about what we didn’t share, and the filters though which we saw this city. There’s the space between us–both the time, and the distance, and places we’d come from. The experiences we’d had. Who we were and where we were and what we were doing there and why. All the things we’d done and the things we hadn’t and all the things that made this city different for the pair of us.

This city existed in both of our heads. It was both of our imagined places4.

 

  1. We declined.
  2. Including large parts of this novel, which came from my Christmas market trip with Magwitch two years ago.
  3. One of my favorite lines from the letters is, Did I tell you there are wolves among these mountains? Someday I plan to analyze the crap out of that line, and make it into some poetic metaphor that hipsters will Photoshop overtop of their filtered Instagram landscapes.
  4. Also we found this steampunk carousel and I loved it and it didn’t fit anywhere in the post, so I’m just going to stick it here instead. DSC_1127
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In which the book deal is announced

If you have been around me at all this past week, you might have found yourself asking questions such as, “Why does Mackenzie seem so happy?” “Why has all her usual grump and cynicism been replaced by aggressive cheer?” “Why is she smiling at me like that? It’s creepy. Make her stop smiling at me like that.”

Well at long last, I can tell you! I can finally explain why I have spent the last week vomiting happiness on everyone I came in contact with.

Two words, friends: book deal.

Book. Deal.

I’ll let the official announcement from today’s Publisher’s Marketplace1 explain further:

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So this is happening! It is a real thing and not just the fever dream I have sustained for the past three years!

What does this mean for you, my lovely friends? Well, two things, really. One, you all are going to have to put up with my Frankenstein obsession for at least another year and a half, so prepare yourself for every conversation we have—online or off—to include some sort of tangential reference to Shelley. Two, and more importantly, it means that at some point next fall, you will be able to walk into your local independent bookstore, mosey over to the YA section, and pick up a shiny hard-backed edition of my incredibly weird post-modern revisionist steampunk-lite meta-gothic-horror Frankenstein reimagining2.

My novel is going to be published3!!! There are not enough exclamation points in the world to convey how I feel about this!! I have been dancing to myself all week, and now you all can dance with me!

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Friends, I am SO EXCITED. And even that is an understatement.

 

  1. Publisher’s Marketplace! I feel so fancy and legit!
  2. And at an undisclosed time after that, you will be able to buy ANOTHER book of mine. Because did you see—two book deal! That means I get to write another one!
  3. By, in case you missed it in the PM announcement, Katherine Tegen Books, a YA imprint of HarperCollins. You might have heard of them. They publish a little book called Divergent.

 

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