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Meg Waite Clayton and The Four Ms. Bradwells

April 18, 2011 By: larramiefg Category: Book Presentations, Books


National bestselling author Meg Waite Clayton (The Wednesday Sisters) had a dream of becoming a novelist but — not knowing how to achieve that career — she went to college to become a doctor and emerged from academia seven years later as a corporate lawyer. Truth and dreams have a way of being recognized though. They did for Meg and they also did for her characters in The Four Ms. Bradwells.

Intelligent, insightful, and issue-complicated, the story is an ode to the author’s law school friends and the University of Michigan Law School itself. The combination of the two helped her discover and explore the strengths she needed to face the challenges of being a women in a restricted, male-dominated professional world thirty years ago. Have things changed? Well that’s the basis for the novel which asks the intriguing question: What would happen if four women told the truth about their lives?

These women/friends answer as the storyline evolves into the novel’s synopsis:

Mia, Laney, Betts, and Ginger, best friends since law school, have reunited for a long weekend as Betts awaits Senate confirmation of her appointment to the Supreme Court. Nicknamed “the Ms. Bradwells” during their first class at the University of Michigan Law School in 1979—when only three women had ever served full Senate terms and none had been appointed to the Court—the four have supported one another through life’s challenges: marriages and divorces, births and deaths, career setbacks and triumphs large and small. Betts was, and still is, the Funny One. Ginger, the Rebel. Laney, the Good Girl. And Mia, the Savant.

But when the Senate hearings uncover a deeply buried skeleton in the friends’ collective closet, the Ms. Bradwells retreat to a summer house on the Chesapeake Bay, where they find themselves reliving a much darker period in their past—one that stirs up secrets they’ve kept for, and from, one another, and could change their lives forever.

Once again, Meg Waite Clayton writes inspiringly about the complex circumstances facing women and the heartfelt friendships that hold them together. Insightful and affecting, The Four Ms. Bradwells is also a captivating tale of how far people will go to protect the ones they love.

There is critical and popular Praise for the Literary Guild Book Club Fiction Selection
/Mystery Guild Selection as well as an Excerpt of Part I, introducing Mia and her perspective of the present.

Alternating the narration from the first person voices of Mia, Betts, Ginger, and Laney, their personal stories are told in flashbacks colored by the individual’s truths. Some are secrets, guilty evasions, and personal jealousies harbored over the decades. In other words, exactly what one would expect from real life friendships that holds together by a silent bond of loyalty, trust, and love.

The author acknowledges that secrets are a central theme of the novel and she further explains:

“I suppose the thing about secrets is that we often keep them out of shame. And the things that shame us often shouldn’t. They’re often things that are not our fault—and yet they’re also often things that we will be judged for, consciously or not. Or failures that we and others can learn from if we’re willing to examine what happened. Is there a message in that? I suppose that if more of us shared our secrets we might see how common life’s challenges are. But it takes a brave person to come forward.”

Are all the four Ms. Bradwells brave enough to disclose their secrets from thirty years ago in order to save Betts’ Supreme Court Nomination from the skeleton of their past? They buried it back then, however — as the adage promises: The truth will out.

Although Meg Waite Clayton’s characters are strong, independent, and seemingly successful — a journalist, a lawyer turned poet, a senator, a potential Supreme Court Justice — they share the same vulnerabilities as anyone else. For example, each one has had issues with their mother and, now, with their daughters. And, while these friends have survived and succeeded, there remains a nagging doubt if they have achieved what was expected of them.

Complete with storylines of sexual harassment, unreported rape, gay ex-husbands, fellow woman-envy, and even Anita Hill versus Clarence Thomas, The Four Ms. Bradwells is a thought-provoking novel with heart. Yes there is also a mysterious death (no spoilers here) but its suspicious cause serves as a means to tighten the present friendships. The four Ms. Bradwells do tell their truth and, if you’re looking for an honest, reflective book about what it means to be a friend, Meg Waite Clayton has written a “must read.” Enjoy!

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Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away a copy of The Four Ms. Bradwells by Meg Waite Clayton in a random drawing of comments left only on this specific post. Comments left on other posts during the week will not be eligible. The deadline is Wednesday, April 20, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. EDT with the winners to be announced here in Thursday’s post. If you enter, please return Thursday to see if you’re a winner.

Guest Meg Waite Clayton on
Thoughts on Perfect Necks and Imperfect Friends

April 12, 2011 By: larramiefg Category: Guest Posts

[Although quick to note that her novels are not autobiographical, Meg Waite Clayton
(The Wednesday Sisters) admits that she falls back on her own emotions and experiences while writing. And, in today’s guest post, the author offers how her past shine through in The Four Ms. Bradwells.]

Thoughts on Perfect Necks and Imperfect Friends

Lovely neck on that The Four Ms. Bradwells book jacket, isn’t it? Pretty much the perfect neck. The perfect young neck in perfect white pearls on the cover of a book about four perfect…

Well, not exactly perfect.

O.K., not even close to exactly perfect.

Like all of us, Mia, Laney, Betts, and Ginger – a.k.a. the four Ms. Bradwells – are flawed. They are grown-up women who have been friends since the days when they may or may not have had gorgeous necks like the one on the cover of The Four Ms. Bradwells. The novel cuts back and forth between the present starting-to-feel-bad-about-my neck phase of their lives – when Betts is in confirmation hearings to become a Supreme Court justice – and their good-neck years. That’s when things began to go bad for them, in their good-neck years. The skeleton they buried together back then – one with a considerably more masculine neck – has surfaced. Untimely questions are being asked.

Mia’s neck would have been a bit chubbier than “the neck” even back then, when they were burying that skeleton, on an island in the Chesapeake Bay where Ginger’s family had a summer house, and still does. Laney has the best neck now, but even she would tell you her neck was scrawny back in the day. Betts … Well, Betts would joke that they should have wrung that neck when they had a chance to, but she would never lay claim to it. Ginger might or might not; one never knows with Ginger. She’s the Ms. Bradwell most likely to have had “the neck.”

Ginger’s mom, Faith, almost certainly had the neck. She had pearls, too, although they were gray pearls rather than white. Sadly, when we tried gray pearls on the cover, they didn’t “pop.”

Women of any age can relate to “the neck,” my publisher assured me, and I went off happily repeating that phrase: we can all relate to that neck, as if I might once have had “the neck” myself.

“Admire the neck on the cover,” I emailed my friend Sheryl, whom I’ve known since the sixth grade. “Surely we had necks like this, didn’t we?”

Her response: I NEVER HAD A NECK LIKE THIS. THIS IS A FICTIONAL NECK.

Her caps.

It made me laugh, the way dear friends do leave you laughing at the less important things in life. Like the Ms. Bradwells laugh together, even when things look grim.

Like them, Sheryl and I have both been through enough of life’s challenges to place much importance on the state of our necks.

O.K., not too much importance on the state of our necks.

But for the record, if Sheryl didn’t have the neck, then nobody did. More importantly, she was smart and thoughtful, and a wonderful friend.

The Four Ms. Bradwells is in some small way a tribute to friends like Sheryl, and like my own law school roommates who lived together on Division Street, in a house with a ratty old couch on the front port, like the Ms. Bradwells’ house. Jenn and Darby and Sheri. You can see their young necks here. Look at Jenn, on the far left of the top photo. Pretty nice neck, isn’t it?

It was a pleasure to sit down to write each morning, to wrap myself up in those friendships, and write from that wonderful, warm place.

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Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away a copy of Jael McHenry’s The Kitchen Daughter in a random drawing of comments left only on this specific post, Jael McHenry and The Kitchen Daughter. Comments left on other posts during the week will not be eligible. The deadline is Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. EDT with the winners to be announced here in Thursday’s post. If you enter, please return Thursday to see if you’re a winner.

The Revealing of Meg Waite Clayton

April 06, 2011 By: larramiefg Category: Profiles, Q&A

Following the success of her national bestseller The Wednesday Sisters, Meg Waite Clayton returns with another tale of friendship in The Four Ms. Bradwells available in local bookstores and at online retailers now.

A Literary Guild Book Club Fiction Selection
 and A Mystery Guild Selection, the book’s one sentence description promises: A page-turning novel that explores the secrets we keep, even from those closest to us, and celebrates the enduring power of friendship.

And its early Praise confirms:

“This is a stirring and compelling novel about women’s changing roles.” –-Booklist

“Fans of Elizabeth Noble, Ann Hood, Elin Hilderbrand, and other luminaries of female friendship fiction will find much to captivate them.”Library Journal

“An exquisitely written novel about the heartbreaking and heartwarming moments of life and friendship and everything in between, The Four Ms. Bradwells will resonate with you long after you’ve turned the final page on these wonderful women. Don’t miss a second of their journey.”—Allison Winn Scotch, New York Times bestselling author of Time of My Life and The One That I Want

The Divining Wand has scheduled a presentation/review of The Four Ms. Bradwells for Monday, April 18, 2011 but, in the meantime, let’s meet the author through her “official” bio:

Meg Waite Clayton is the author of the national bestseller, THE WEDNESDAY SISTERS, THE LANGUAGE OF LIGHT, which was a Bellwether Prize finalist, and the forthcoming THE FOUR MS. BRADWELLS (Ballantine, March 2011). She’s also hosts the blog, 1st Books: Stories of How Writers Get Started, which features award-winning and bestselling authors sharing stories about their paths to writing and publishing. Her short stories and essays have been read on public radio and have appeared in commercial and literary magazines. She’s a graduate of the University of Michigan and Michigan Law School, and lives with her family in Palo Alto, California.

Now, for the upclose and personal profile, as Meg reveals:

Q: How would you describe your life in 8 words?
A: Living the dream with family, books, and pen

Q: What is your motto or maxim?
A: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”— Eleanor Roosevelt

Q: How would you describe perfect happiness?
A: A warm manuscript

Q: What’s your greatest fear?
A: Losing one of my sons

Q: If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A: Somewhere I’ve never been before. Top choice at the moment: Iguazu Falls

Q: With whom in history do you most identify?
A: Identify? I’m not admitting that!

Q: Which living person do you most admire?
A: I’m going to narrow the field to living writers, and say Harper Lee.

Q: What are your most overused words or phrases?
A: “anyway” in speach. “and” in writing

Q: If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A: Singing

Q: What is your greatest achievement?
A: My sons – can they count as an achievement? They are both amazing, but I suppose I can’t claim all the credit for them. So if not them, then my books

Q: What’s your greatest flaw?
A: Oh, just name any one of the seven deady sins!

Q: What’s your best quality?
A: (running though the seven virtues, which admittedly I had to google first: Prudence? Not so much. Restraint? Ha!)
I’m probably not bad at love, although perhaps that’s cheating. It’s easy to love back, given all the love I get.

Q: What do you regret most?
A: That Mac had to propose seven times before I said yes. What was I thinking?!

Q: If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A: A novelist. 🙂

Q: What trait is most noticeable about you?
A: Freckles. If I spend too much time in the sun, they start to run together so that my face looks dirty. Seriously.

Q: Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A: Dorothea Brooke from Middlemarch

Q: Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A: Lucy Steele from Sense and Sensibility

Q: If you could meet any athlete, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A: I had the great thrill of meeting the athlete I most wanted to meet – Joan Benoit Samuelson (winner of the gold medal in the first women’s Olympic marathon) – at a breakfast the day before a half marathon we both ran a few months after The Wednesday Sisters released. I’m afraid I stammered something incomprehensible.

Q: What is your biggest pet peeve?
A: selfishness

Q: What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A: Can I say this one in polite company?

Q: What’s your fantasy profession?
A: Again, that would be novelist. Pinch me!

Q: What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A: Generosity of Spirit
Intelligence
Thoughtfulness

Q: If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A: Extra Dark Chocolate

Q: What are your 5 favorite songs?
A: And So it Goes by Billy Joel, when sang by my son Nick.

I could list four others, but they would be such distant seconds…

Q: What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Middlemarch by George Eliot
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

A believer in the power of women and the value of friendship, Meg Waite Clayton is an author to learn from by following her on Twitter and becoming a fan on Facebook.

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Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away a copy of Darien Gee’s Friendship Bread in a random drawing of comments left only on this specific post, Darien Gee and Friendship Bread. Comments left on other posts during the week will not be eligible. The deadline is tonight at 7:00 p.m. EDT with the winners to be announced here in tomorrow’s post. If you enter, please return tomorrow to see if you’re a winner.

Winter/Spring 2011 Coming Attractions

December 09, 2010 By: larramiefg Category: Advance News, Books

The year of 2010 has been a glorious one here at The Divining Wand. With our authors/friends providing first-class quality through their books and more, how much better could it be?

Well, beginning Monday, January 3, 2011, when Eileen Cook’s (Unpredictable, What Would Emma Do? YA, Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood YA) latest YA novel The Education of Hailey Kendrick — already earning a Kirkus starred review — is presented/reviewed, it will launch our exciting winter/spring season.

Look for other of your favorites to return, including:

~Sarah Pekkanen (The Opposite of Me) with her second novel, Skipping a Beat coming February 22, 2010, and praised by Emily Giffin.

~Meg Waite Clayton’s (The Wednesday Sisters) highly anticipated The Four Ms. Bradwells releases on March 22, 2011.

~Claire Cook (Seven Year Switch, Must Love Dogs, Life’s A Beach, and the rest in Bibliography) celebrates with her 8th book, Best Staged Plans, on May 31, 2011.

And, of course, there will be more!

During the past few months many about-to-be authors have been introduced to you, but now let’s put their names and titles into order of debut appearance:

~Eleanor Brown (The Weird Sisters coming January 20, 2011)

~Kristina McMorris (Letters From Home coming February 22, 2011)

~Lori Roy (Bent Road coming March 31, 2011)

~Jael McHenry (The Kitchen Daughter coming April 12, 2011)

~Rebecca Rasmussen (The Bird Sisters coming April 12, 2011)

~Sarah Jio (The Violets of March coming April 26, 2011)

~Meg Mitchell Moore (The Arrivals coming May 25, 2011)

TRUST: There’s great buzz about each one of these authors. Please explore their websites and/or Pre-order their books.

Here’s to new authors/friends and great reading in the New Year!

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Announcement: The winners of What I Thought I Knew by Alice Eve Cohen are Mary Quackenbush and Ruthie Congratulations!

Please email diviningwand (at) gmail (dot) com with your mailing address and your book will be sent out promptly.

AND

Announcement: The winners of Slim to None by Jenny Gardiner are Dee and Sarah Congratulations!

Please email diviningwand (at) gmail (dot) com with your mailing address and your book will be sent out promptly OR indicate you’d like the Kindle Edition.

Current and Coming Attractions

September 16, 2010 By: larramiefg Category: Advance News, Book Trailers, News

Although The Divining Wand authors have been busy writing, publishing, and keeping TBR books piled high, it’s only natural to wonder what’s next for our favorite writers. And what follows is a tasty sampling to whet your reading appetite.

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As of today, Thursday, September 16, 2010, Eileen Cook (Unpredictable, What Would Emma Do? YA, Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood YA, releasing in paperback September 21, 2010, The Education of Hailey Kendrick YA coming January 4, 2011, and Fourth Grade Fairy ages 9 – 11 coming April 19, 2011) celebrates the paperback release of Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood with the first video in a series of six.

As Eileen explains:

“The idea behind the videos is that the snotty Lauren Wood has her own video blog where she offers popularity tips. You can probably imagine what great advice Lauren has! I am going to have videos come out every couple days until all six are up. Please visit Lauren’s new website and click on the You Tube icon.

And now for the future:

~Robin Antalek (The Summer We Fell Apart):

“I’m currently working on a book set on a private island off the west coast of Florida about a woman who has experienced the premature death of her mother and sets out to find the family she never knew while her mother was alive. Tentative title: The Blooms of Ella Island.”

~Stacey Ballis (The Spinster Sisters, Room for Improvement, the rest in Bibliography, and Good Enough to Eat):

“Working on a new book that is a real departure for me, much more mainstream fiction. It is a questing story of a young woman who may or may not be dying, and how it explodes her quiet life.”

~Melanie Benjamin (Alice I Have Been):

“I’ll be appearing at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, TN, October 8-10. The paperback release of ALICE I HAVE BEEN is December 28th and I’ll be touring for that in January, dates & locations TBA. I’ve been blogging for the Huffington Post, and just joined a new group blog called the Girlfriends’ Book Club. My next historical fiction will be released by Random House in August of 2011; I’ll be announcing the title of the book very shortly!”

~Meg Waite Clayton’s The Wednesday Sisters, The Four Ms. Bradwells coming March 22, 2011):

“The Four Ms. Bradwells, coming March 22 from Ballantine. And my first novel, The Language of Light, will be reissued in paperback in the summer.”

The flap copy:

Meg Waite Clayton’s national bestseller The Wednesday Sisters was a word-of-mouth sensation and book club favorite. Now the beloved author is back with a page-turning novel that explores the secrets we keep, even from those closest to us, and celebrates the enduring power of friendship.

Mia, Laney, Betts, and Ginger, best friends since law school, have reunited for a long weekend as Betts awaits Senate confirmation of her appointment to the Supreme Court. Nicknamed “the Ms. Bradwells” during their first class at the University of Michigan Law School in 1979—when only three women had ever served full Senate terms and none had been appointed to the Court—the four have supported one another through life’s challenges: marriages and divorces, births and deaths, career setbacks and triumphs large and small. Betts was, and still is, the Funny One. Ginger, the Rebel. Laney, the Good Girl. And Mia, the Savant.

But when the Senate hearings uncover a deeply buried skeleton in the friends’ collective closet, the Ms. Bradwells retreat to a summer house on the Chesapeake Bay, where they find themselves reliving a much darker period in their past—one that stirs up secrets they’ve kept for, and from, one another, and could change their lives forever.

Once again, Meg Waite Clayton writes inspiringly about the complex circumstances facing women and the heartfelt friendships that hold them together. Insightful and affecting, The Four Ms. Bradwells is also a captivating tale of how far people will go to protect the ones they love.

~Meredith Cole (Posed for Murder, Dead in the Water):

“I’ve just finished up the third Lydia McKenzie mystery, tentatively called “‘An Artful Death.'” Lydia is hired by a real estate company to help catch illegal tenants. She finds an elderly Russian woman murdered in her apartment and suspects that the landlord got impatient. In the midst of her investigation, her parents arrive with another mystery to solve.”

~Tanya Egan Gibson (How to Buy a Love of Reading):

“I’m working on a novel set in an underwater-themed amusement park. The main character is an eighteen-year-old former competitive figure skater whose now skates in the park’s ice show wearing a full-body jellyfish costume. One of the most fun parts of writing this so far is brainstorming ideas for amusement park rides! (My five-year-old daughter has been helping me.)”

~Kristy Kiernan (Between Friends, Matters of Faith, and Catching Genius):

“I’m working on my new novel, A THOUSAND CRANES.”

~Allie Larkin (Stay):

“I’m working on a piece for an anthology of dog-related essays that Wade Rouse is editing called I’M NOT THE BIGGEST BITCH IN THIS RELATIONSHIP. Published in 2011, proceeds will benefit The Humane Society and other animal causes.”

~Kate Ledger (Remedies):

“I’ve begun a new novel. If it were a pregnancy, I’m in that hesitant phase of the first trimester, and I’m not ready to discuss too much. I can tell this: The next novel also centers on family relationships and has medical themes because that’s what I’m interested in. Having finished a book, I feel I have a good sense of the arc of a novel, the overall shape it will take. I also know how long and hard the process is. My hope is that this gestation will be briefer than the last.”

~ Shana Mahaffey (Sounds Like Crazy):

“I am working on my second novel right now. I can tell you that the book is about a woman who has to correct a mistake she doesn’t know she made and guiding her through this process is her best friends dead brother.”

~Leah Stewart (Husband and Wife, The Myth of You and Me, Body of a Girl):

“I’m working on a book about adult siblings. It started out being about location and identity (I was going to call it ELSEWHERE) but it’s gotten further and further away from that theme to become about all the complex emotions of siblinghood. Which, alas, probably means I have to think of a new title.”

~Wendy Tokunaga (Midori By Moonlight, Love in Translation):

“I’m working on a non-fiction book called “‘Marriage in Translation: Interviews with Foreign Wives of Japanese Husbands,'” which takes an intimate and sometimes surprising look at the rewards and challenges of cross-cultural relationships. I’m also teaching an online class this Fall through Stanford University Extension called “‘Writing Novels About Women’s Lives.”‘

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Announcement: The winner of Leah Stewart’s Husband and Wife is Shannon. Congratulations!

Please email diviningwand (at) gmail (dot) com with your mailing address and your book will be sent out promptly.

And thank you all for entering. If my wand was truly magical, there would be a book for everyone.

What If….Robin Antalek and Meg Waite Clayton?

July 07, 2010 By: larramiefg Category: Authors' Favorites

What a day — or more — for a daydream in the summer heat of July. In fact it feels like the perfect time to wonder “what if” The Divining Wand possessed magical powers and could grant authors, who create their own magic with “what if,” the following two questions:

Based only on their writing, what author would you want to be?

AND

If given the opportunity to have written ONE book in your lifetime, what would that title be?

~ Robin Antalek (The Summer We Fell Apart):

“I can pick only one? Yikes. Okay. If I have to…. It would be Ellen Gilchrist. She is a wonderful writer that has created a body of work over her lifetime that I would be thrilled to claim ownership of—her stories – her characters – her depictions of the deep south are astounding. Simply and utterly astounding. I return to her stories again and again.”

“I don’t prescribe to any one religion so I don’t want my answer to be taken in that context, but it would have to be The Bible. Every plot in existence is contained within those pages: virgin births, famine, poverty, wives who turn to salt, magical tablets, brother against brother, prostitutes who love holy men and seas that part. It goes on and on – and I doubt there isn’t a novel in existence whose plot couldn’t be traced back to the pages of The Bible.”

~ Meg Waite Clayton’s (The Wednesday Sisters, The Four Ms. Bradwells coming March 22, 2011):

“George Eliot. Middlemarch.”

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The Facts and Factors of A Novel’s Word Count, I

April 22, 2010 By: larramiefg Category: Q&A

A recent question posted on The Divining Wand’s Q & A page sounded simple enough and an overwhelming number of authors responded to answer:

Here’s another question for your authors: What is the word count of most of their novels?

I know that we here all sorts of estimates of what a novel should be, 70,000 to 100,000 words. But what is the actual count for the novels featured here, and do your authors think about word count as they’re writing?

Jessica Barksdale Inclan (Being With Him, Intimate Beings, The Beautiful Being):

“Great question (I can’t wait to see all the answers). My latest manuscript Swimming Lessons is 75,656. But some of mine go up 10 109,000. the shortest was 65,000 or so.”

Emily Winslow (The Whole World coming May 25, 2010):

“THE WHOLE WORLD was about 80k when I submitted it, and about 90k after editing. (I know for most writers, editing involves taking away. I write sparely, and am more likely to add scenes in editing.) I’m very conscious of word count as I write. I generally break it down to a certain number of words for each chapter, and sometimes even scene. I don’t force conforming to that goal, but it helps me keep a sense of proportion as I craft the whole.”

Jenny Gardiner (Sleeping with Ward Cleaver, Winging It: Twenty Years of Caring for a Vengeful Bird Determined to Kill Me):

“I’d say for commercial fiction around 90K words is good. Used to be they wanted lots of words but with publication costs, etc, over the past few years it’s been downsized–in fact something w/ 100K words or more would definitely give an editor/agent pause.

“I’m not sure about YA fiction but I’m thinking 45 – 60K (I’m sure YA authors can tell you more precisely).”

Eileen Cook (Unpredictable, What Would Emma Do? YA and Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood YA ):

“My biggest advice for word count is to write your book and then when it is done figure out where you are in terms of word count. My two YA novels (What Would Emma Do? and Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood) have been around 65k words. My adult title, Unpredictable was just under 80k words and the middle grade I am writing now will come in at about 27k words.

“The only thought I give to word count when I’m writing is measuring my progress. I have set weekly word count goals based on a rough idea of the estimated length of the book, otherwise I ignore word count until I’m done.”

Therese Fowler (Souvenir, Reunion):

“Word count “requirements” (I use the term loosely because there are always exceptions) vary by genre. I write mainstream/women’s fiction, aiming, as I write, for about 100k-115k words–which, if I’ve done my job, means I’ll have produced a layered, complex story with subplots in place. My first drafts tend to be pretty complete, but not every writer works that way. Some like to put down a fast “sketch” and then go back in to fill things out. I’m not saying that my first drafts don’t need a fair amount of revision, just that the word count doesn’t change dramatically from one draft to the next.”

Alicia Bessettte (Simply from Scratch coming August 5, 2010):

“I’m very word-count oriented, thanks to my magazine/newspaper background. Whenever I get a freelance assignment, my first question is, How many words?

“As I wrote Simply From Scratch, I stayed conscious of my goal of 80,000 words, give or take 5,000. My agent later told me 80,000 words is the perfect length for upmarket women’s fiction.

“A previous, unpublished fantasy novel I wrote was less than 60,000 words, and several agents told me that was far too short for the adult fantasy genre. Each genre seems to have what is generally considered an ideal length. But then again, there are notable exceptions. The Harry Potter books are often singled out as exceptions, because they’re longer than average children’s books.

“I’m curious to know whether other novelists keep word count in mind as they write, or if it’s more of an editing goal.”

Carleen Brice (Orange Mint and Honey, Children of the Waters):

“My word count for Orange Mint and Honey was something like 76,000 and for Children of the Water 81,000. I absolutely think about word count as I’m writing. It’s definitely helpful. One way it’s helpful is if parts of the book that should carry a lot of weight are much briefer than other parts. Or if you have more than one POV character that should have equal weight in the story, are their word counts about the same? ”

Robert Gregory Browne (Kill Her Again, etc. and Down Among the Dead Men coming May 25, 2010):

“My typical word count is about 100,000 to 125,000 words. And yes, I do think about word count because I’m contractually obligated to turn in a book at that length. Word count differs, however, depending on the editor and how he or she actually counts the words. Some still use the old method of 250 words a page, while others rely on computer count, which seems to be the trend these days. I consider this less accurate because it doesn’t take into consideration the space on each page, the way old method does.”

Meg Waite Clayton (The Wednesday Sisters):

“The Wednesday Sisters is about 93,000 words. And yes, it’s something I keep an eye on. When I was writing the first draft of my new one, The Four Ms. Bradwells (Ballantine, March 2011), I celebrated the halfway point at 40,000 words. At 80,000 I began to panic as the end was nowhere in site. At 120,000… And the complete first draft was 140,000 – yikes! My contract with Random House contemplates a novel of approximately 100,000 words. The final version – just put into production last week – is a bit longer than that, but closer far closer to it than to 140,000. I like to think I shoot for 80,000 words, although obviously I miss the mark on a regular basis.”

Tish Cohen (Town House, Inside Out Girl, Little Black Lies YA, The Truth About Delilah Blue coming June 8, 2010):

“I never think about word count. Nor have I had a single editor bring it up. The Truth About Delilah Blue likely runs about 90,000 words or about 450 book pages– the longest of my books so far.”

Katie Alender (Bad Girls Don’t Die YA):

“I write YA, and my first book was about 68,000, which seems to put me just on the longer side. My next book will be a few thousand words more. Some authors don’t think about wordcount at all, but I use it to gauge my progress and make sure I’m getting enough work done–typically on a first draft, I shoot for 2,000 words a day (and come out at about 1200-1600 most days).”

Robin Antalek (The Summer We Fell Apart):

“Word count is one of those things that is in the back of my mind — but not something I’m aware of until the manuscript is finished and my computer gives me the number. The Summer We Fell Apart comes in at 115,103 words give or take and that final word count was based upon when I thought the novel was done — not some magic number I thought I needed to reach. When I was writing more short stories and submitting them — I was more aware of not exceeding a certain number since some journal requirements are fairly specific — and I have a tendency to cram a novel’s worth of information into a short story. Writing novels gave me the luxury of writing long and I suppose, given my word count on Summer, you could say I embraced it.”

To be continued…

Literary Visuals

September 15, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Book Trailers

If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many pages would a Book Trailer be? Today is all about our author’s videos, so settle back and enjoy!

Meg Waite Clayton’s The Wednesday Sisters is available in trade paperback. A national bestseller, this novel was a Target Bookmarked Club Pick for the Summer and a Borders Book Club Pick. Watch The Wednesday Sisters Book Trailer now.

31 Hours by Masha Hamilton uses the New York City subway as one of its characters. View the subway Photo Gallery and then catch the Book Trailer.

Due to be released on Tuesday, January 29th, The Beautiful Being by Jessica Barksdale Inclan offers a paranormal romance. Interested? Here’s The Beautiful Being Book Trailer.

With a sneak peek into January, Debutante Maria Garcia-Kalb invites you to view the promo video for 101 Ways to Torture Your Husband.

And Founder Deb Eileen Cook’s second YA novel, Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood will also be released in January 2010. First, however, there is the Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood Book Trailer.