Welcome to another Debut Author Bash Feature! Today I'm featuring debut author Danielle Mages Amato and her book The Hidden Memories of Objects. Danielle will be sharing a guest post with us so please show her some love in the comments!
Title: The Hidden Memories of Objects
Published: March 21st 2017 by Balzer & Bray
Megan Brown’s brother, Tyler, is dead, but the cops are killing him all over again. They say he died of a drug overdose, potentially suicide—something Megan cannot accept. Determined to figure out what happened in the months before Tyler’s death, Megan turns to the things he left behind. After all, she understands the stories objects can tell—at fifteen, she is a gifted collage artist with a flair for creating found-object pieces. However, she now realizes that her artistic talent has developed into something more: she can see memories attached to some of Tyler’s belongings—and those memories reveal a brother she never knew.
Enlisting the help of an artifact detective who shares her ability and specializes in murderabilia—objects tainted by violence or the deaths of their owners—Megan finds herself drawn into a world of painful personal and national memories. Along with a trusted classmate and her brother's charming friend, she chases down the troubling truth about Tyler across Washington, DC, while reclaiming her own stifled identity with a vengeance.
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10 Things I Wish I Knew About Being an Author I Didn’t Know Before
As an author, I’m still a baby. My debut novel, a YA mystery called The Hidden Memory of Objects, was published by Balzer+Bray / HarperCollins in March 2017. Here are a few things the past year has taught me about this brave new world of authoring.
10. Writing doesn’t get easier.
“My novel sold! I’m going to be published! This will be great motivation to crank out page after page of material for my next novel!”
It turns out that selling a novel had no impact at all on how hard it was for me to sit down and face the blank page. The page was still blank. I still had to face it. The work of writing was the same, and being an agented/contracted/published author didn’t change that one bit.
9. Writing is a solitary pursuit. Publishing is not.
When I started writing The Hidden Memory of Objects, my life was already full. I had a full-time job I loved, a spouse, and two kids just starting elementary school. I wrote late at night and early in the morning. I wrote because I wanted something just for me. Writing was an adventure I set off on, all by myself, every single day, without leaving the house. And I loved that.
Being an author, on the other hand, is all about other people. Agents, editors, copyeditors, sales team, designers, proofreaders, readers. Beloved readers. The book you created by yourself, for yourself, is suddenly a product that belongs to dozens, hundreds, even thousands of people. It becomes collaborative, and I loved that, too.
8. Other authors are amazing people.
I never anticipated the community and support I got from other writers. I honestly couldn’t have made it through the publishing process without a group of like-minded, caring, brilliant, and hilarious fellow writers to both buoy me up and keep me grounded. My group formed online around a contest we all joined (Pitch Wars 2014 4-EVA), but there are countless other ways to find and form these communities.
7. A good agent relationship is like a good marriage. The negative is also true.
Publishing is full of crazy jargon, intimidating legal documents, powerful corporations, long waits, bewildering emails, and important decisions that feel completely out of your hands. Your agent is your advocate, steering the ship with you through the whole journey. When the relationship is right, your agent answers your emails, has tough conversations both with you and for you, holds your hand, kicks your butt, makes your writing better, and makes your goals their goals. I have the boundless good fortune to be represented by Lana Popović at Chalberg & Sussman, an amazing author in her own right, as well as a colleague and friend I give thanks for daily. But I’ve watched other authors in bad agent relationships feeling abandoned, stressed out, and floundering on the publishing shoals. Divorce can be a good thing. It’s better to be single than in a bad marriage.
6. Writing doesn’t get easier.
Still hard. Still have to do it. I’ve got a dozen other, sexier, easier-to-tackle author tasks now that have to get done. (Design a bookmark! Review cover comps!) It’s very easy to conflate the work of being an author with the work of writing. But that blank page is still just sitting there. Looming.
5. You have to do marketing.
Yes, even if you’re published by a Big 5 house. Yes, even though it takes up time you’d rather spend editing or writing or possibly walking across hot coals. No one cares more about the book doing well than you do, so it’s incumbent upon you to do everything you can.
4. You probably stink at marketing.
I definitely do. But it’s a valuable skill, and you can learn it. Read a book, take a class, evaluate your options. Some authors spend their whole first advance marketing their debut books. Some use it to pay the rent. But all of us have to educate ourselves about marketing.
3. If external validation is the goal, no validation will ever be enough.
I thought once I got the validation of a publishing contract, I’d feel like I had finally arrived. I’d be able to call myself a “real author” and all my insecurities would fade away. But there’s always an author who gets a bigger advance. More starred reviews. Lands on a bestseller list or a best-of-the-year list. Gets a movie deal. Sells another series. Theodore Roosevelt may have said that “comparison is the thief of joy,” but it’s also so incredibly hard to avoid. I need constant reminders to keep my eyes on my own paper and measure myself by the goals that are under my own control.
2. SERENITY NOW!
Speaking of control, this year has taught me how very little I have, in publishing or in life. So often I’ve felt like Frank Costanza from Seinfeld, screaming “SERENITY NOW!” at the top of my lungs, trying to accept the many things I cannot change.
1. Writing doesn’t get easier.
The writing I once did for myself, as a solitary late-night adventure, now has a whole host of expectations attached to it. Readers and editors are waiting on this book. Sales teams are hoping it will be marketable. I myself want to create something better and more successful than I did before. All that expectation makes writing even harder. But it all comes back to this: the blank page, the empty screen, and the courage to show up and keep creating.
About the Author:
Danielle Mages Amato works as the dramaturg for a theatre company in California. When she's not collaborating with playwrights on new work or researching obscure facts about theatre history, she writes YA novels about the places where the past and the present collide. Her debut THE HIDDEN MEMORY OF OBJECTS has been optioned for television, and is coming from Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins in March 2017.
Two copies of the book with swag packs included. Open INT.
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