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Yesterday, Amelia gave her fans a special Valentine’s Day present: the announcement of new titles officially under contract!

From the thread on her forum, Amelia says:

    I do love to be able to give good news!

    Official upcoming titles, under contract, are:

    Poison Tree (2012)
    Promises to Keep (2013)
    Maeve’ra Trilogy (2014, 2015, 2016)

    Thanks for the interest!

——————————-

Poison Tree is out this June. Check out the updated Book Page to learn more about the synopsis AND get a brief glimpse!

Promises to Keep‘s narrator is Jay Marinitch, last seen in All Just Glass! According to Amelia on her forum, “Some chapters are narrated by Brina di’Birgetta. The book starts on Christmas Eve, and some events do take place at Haven #2, so some of you can probably think what other characters are likely to show up.”

Amelia once said that Promises “will cause some major changes in Nyeusigrube if I am brave enough to publish it.” Looks like that bravery found her at last! Exciting!

The Maeve’ra Trilogy is what it sounds like: a sequel to the Kiesha’ra Series! It follows three “Children of Obsidian”, descendants of serpiente priestess Maeve (Maeve’ra literally translates to “children of Maeve”).

The Maeve’ra Trilogy is tentatively:

Bloodwitch (Vance Ehecatl’s story)
Bloodkin (Kadee’s story)
Bloodtraitor (Malachi’s story)

These stories take place in 1802 and forward… during the end of the original Midnight’s reign. We wouldn’t be surprised to see all of Amelia’s creations on display: vampires, shapeshifters (serpiente, avians, falcons, Azteka, Mistari?), Tristes, Macht witches, and the battle between Mayhem and Midnight! What old friends might we run into from the Den of Shadows series? Are any of the falcons still alive from the Kiesha’ra, nearly 2000 years before the Maeve’ra? We’ll find out in 2+ years!

Thanks, Amelia, for keeping your fans informed!

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I stumbled upon some info on ‘Poison Tree‘, including the revealed cover and a short synopsis. After a quick trip to www.loc.gov, I confirmed that more info is showing up now.

PT also has an official release date: July 10th, 2012!

Unfortunately I could not locate a price for the hardcover version, only a Kindle edition. I hope that RandomHouse isn’t moving to only ebooks for AAR!

The LOC synopsis says that it takes place at SingleEarth, and that Alysia is the main character. The Amazon synopsis is vague as anything, though confirms that all of Amelia’s creatures will be sharing the spotlight in this one! On the LOC page, too, one of the filers there put in a question as to whether or not this is a sequel to Midnight Predator. With the Bruja Guild mentioned, it very well might be!

So click on the image below to learn more and see a full-sized version of the cover:

Vote: POISON TREE COVER — HOT or NOT?

Personally, this is my least favorite cover I’ve seen so far. Which is a shame. I like the re-printed Den of Shadows covers better, and they were not that hot (especially compared to the original Forests or Demon covers.)

It just reminds me of something you’d find on deviantart in fanart–but if it was fanart, we’d probably know more about what was going on! Is this girl a witch? A vampire? A shapeshifter? A human?

I guess I was hoping for a little more visual hinting on what we’ll find inside. We’ve seen shapeshifters, vampires, hunters, healers and some Tristes before… an exciting cover showing some of those would have been appropriate!

So… What do you think? Leave your vote in the comments!

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March 12, 2013
$16.99 [Hardcover Edition]
$10.99 US [Kindle Edition]
Large format hardcover: 256 pages
ISBN 978-0-385-74192-7 (0-385-74192-8)

EXCERPT COMING SOON!

Description:

Jay Marinitch, a young vampire hunter, may be Earth’s best hope for thwarting the rise of a vampire-controlled slave empire called Midnight, despite his fear that those who question his worth may be right. — From loc.gov

The compendium of creations (SingleEarth, the Bruja guilds, the Midnight empire) intertwine in an exciting, unsettling plot featuring happenings both accidental and deliberate that will forever change the alternate landscape inhabited by vampires, Tristes, shapeshifters et al.

It all begins with a wrong turn and a crashed party, and from there it’s an epic clash of elements and the promise of more chaos still to come. At the center of the storm is Jay, a young vampire hunter that no one would ever have predicted might be earth’s best bet to thwart the rise of a vampire-controlled slave empire called Midnight.

Teens will find themselves drawn to Jay, who struggles to prove his worth even while he has his own fears that those who have written him off may be right to do so. — from Amazon.com

In the Author’s Words

* In the fall of 2009, “I wrote a story called Promises to Keep, which will cause some major changes in Nyeusigrube if I am brave enough to publish it.”

* On October 23, 2011, on her forum [1], Amelia said, “The primary narrator is Jay Marinitch (if you read AJG, you met Jay there), though some chapters are narrated by Brina di’Birgetta. The book starts on Christmas Eve, and some events do take place at Haven #2, so some of you can probably think what other characters are likely to show up.” For those following along at home with the Inbox of Diana Smoke, that probably means Caryn Smoke (has a wedding planned for that New Year’s Eve/Day) and possibly other folks seen in All Just Glass at Haven #2. Brina, by the way, was last spoken of in Midnight Predator, the sister of Turquoise’s former master Lord Daryl di’Birgetta.

* On March 3, 2013 on Hypable.com, Amelia said, “I had this character that I just wanted to try – Jay – and he grabbed it by the reins and ran for a while. Unfortunately the way NaNo’s go I got part of the way through the story in the first draft and had no idea what I was doing. Because I had a character, I had this opening scene that I really liked and my character really just wanted to take a nap instead of engaging in any real plot.”

She accredits a turn in her process of the novel to the member of her writing group who suggested to her that if she was bored of the story she either had to stop writing it or change it and do something unexpected. That’s when Atwater-Rhodes got the idea to revisit and idea she had played around with about a decade ago but hadn’t had the courage to go for. Something had changed since she first came up with the idea. “I had characters who could finally make it happen – who were powerful enough to – who were strong enough to perform the magic that I needed them to perform. I just took the plunge and I wrote the manuscript.”

This needed to happen, says the author. The humans, Bruja Guild, Midnight, and Single Earth are all at the height of their power and so something needed to give. The worlds will collide in what she says will be an unexpected way. She also explains that a lot of readers are going to be concerned about where the story ends and will want more. But she says, “That’s okay with me, I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next.”

Jay, she says, came out of nowhere. It started with a 100 word drabble about a lizard that she wrote down. “I had this character contemplating a lizard – that’s the kind of thing Jay does,” she says, “and then he showed up in All Just Glass as a supporting character and was intriguing enough that I needed to take a closer look at him.”

While she says there will be some interesting pairings, Jay and romance are a strange combination. She explains, “As he puts it – it’s hard to get a date when you can read everyone’s thoughts so everyone’s gross to you and their internal monologue is just so much more interesting than what they’re saying out loud.”

Atwater-Rhodes also says her favorite scene to write in Promises to Keep was between Jay and Xeke, which she attributes to Xeke being an outrageous flirt. “I think they’re both such brash and outlandish characters in such ways that putting them together was just hysterical,” she says. “It was really hard to get them back on task but it was a lot of fun to write.” She also adds that the two characters were just fun to have together.[3]

Did you know..?

* Jay Marinitch, last seen in All Just Glass, is one of the presumed narrators for PtK. **CONFIRMED 10/23/11
* Rumored to be involved: Kendra (last seen in All Just Glass)
* “The Inbox of Diana Smoke” (on Amelia’s site) fills in the gaps between All Just Glass (in world: November 2009) and Poison Tree (in world: December 2009). Promises to Keep takes place from Christmas through New Year’s of 2009, shortly after PT ends! But we’ll have to wait until 2013 at the earliest to read this tale… More rumors and speculation as the info comes in!
* The title comes from a Robert Frost poem, ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’, and the lines “The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,/ But I have promises to keep,/ And miles to go before I sleep…” The poem is featured at the beginning of the novel.[2]
* PtK previously was set to release on January 10th, 2013 but a “publisher SNAFU” delayed it by two months! Theories persist that the Random House/Penguin merger may have caused this delay.
* PtK began as a NaNoWriMo.org story. The opening scene is an intentional juxtaposition against Shattered Mirror in which Sarah walks into a vampire party.[3]
* Fans can also expect to see many familiar faces along with some new ones. We’ll be meeting Lady Brina di’Birgetta for the first time, who is the sister of Lord Daryl from Midnight Predator. Caryn Smoke will also be playing a large part in the novel and we’ll meet her fiancé. We’ll also see one of [Amelia’s] favorite characters from Demon in My View as well as Jaguar from Midnight Predator and Kendra. And the novel won’t just focus on the action; Atwater-Rhodes teases that there will be a little bit of romance. [3]
* This may be sad for some fans to learn but Promises to Keep will be the last book in the Den of Shadows series, although [Amelia’s] not sure how her publisher Random House will feel about it if she says that she considers this new novel to be the last in the series that kick-started her career. Fear not, it won’t be her last novel about the world she created. She explains, “I do have more stories that I’m planning on writing. But like I said the world is very different.”[3]
* Everything in [the Nyeusigrube] world will change after Promises to Keep.[3]

Alternate Covers:

None yet!

References

[1] Nyeusigrube.com Forum – “Promises to keep?” http://nyeusigrube.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=4085&p=101863#p101863
[2] Wikipedia.org – “Promises to Keep (novel)” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Promises_to_Keep_(novel)
[3] Hypable.com – “‘Promises to Keep’ author Amelia Atwater-Rhodes talks her journey, writing, and her new novel” http://www.hypable.com/2013/03/03/promises-to-keep-author-amelia-atwater-rhodes-talks-her-journey-writing-and-her-new-novel/

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July 10, 2012
$15.99 [Hardcover Edition]
$10.99 US [Kindle Edition]
Large format hardcover: 272 pages

CLICK TO READ AN EXCERPT! Prologue through Chapter 2

Description:

Alysia has quickly moved to a position of responsibility in SingleEarth, working among shapeshifters and witches who fight against vampires, but she is hiding secret alliances that could put her fellow mediators at risk.

The rich stew of the author’s creations—SingleEarth, vampires, shapeshifters, Tristes, the Bruja Guilds—are at full boil here in the story of two 20-ish young women trying to out run their very different pasts, and figure out where they fit in and who they might become. Each has landed in a more “normal” place, and each wonders if, like a tattoo that can’t be covered up, they can ever really fit into “normal.”

-Text from Amazon.com and Library of Congress http://www.loc.gov
Delacorte Books for Young Readers (c) 2012
Cover art by Miranda Adria

Synopsis from Nyeusigrube.com:

Alysia Greengray considers herself a realist. She certainly isn’t an optimistic idealist, convinced that the world would be a better place if everyone learned to get along. A few years ago, she had been a hair away from either death or jail, wishing she were a sociopath so it would stop bothering her that no one cared, that nothing mattered. It had been an assassin named Sarta who saved her from herself, who had brought her into the Frost ring of the Bruja Guilds, she would have died on the streets. So how did she end up as the human representative of the North American Single Earth Mediator’s Table?

Sarik kuloka Mari, a Mistari shapeshifter, was raised by her father, as a shining symbol of his power, and as his heir. Stifled by the rigid Mistari laws and driven to join the wide world that her native culture denied her, she ran away from home and all she knew when she was a teenager, and was taken in by SingleEarth Haven. Since then, she has flourished, happy in a way she never had been before. Now, she is the Elavie representative of the North American Single Earth Mediator’s Table- and she will do anything and everything in her power to see that her new life, her chosen world, remains safe.

Now, someone is hunting SingleEarth. First a Triste is targeted, then a shapeshifter; finally Michael, the vampiric representative of the Table, is hit with a firestone bolt. So far, there have been no fatalities, but only because SingleEarth has many powerful healers, and its members are willing to bare their throats if necessary to help their own regain their strength.

The Table convenes. Alysia recognizes the bolts; how could she not? She was once a member of Onyx, after all… not that she would admit that to SingleEarth. This is a new kind of hunt, now: a hunt for a villain who would stalk an organization focused purely on peace- the villain responsible for Alysia’s having to become a bleeder, to save a vampire’s life and protect her own secrets. Sarik and Alysia are the ones chosen to speak to Onyx’s leader to try to find information on why their people have been targeted.

Sarik had distrusted Alysia from the moment she joined the mediator’s table two weeks ago, and the humans’ sudden, intimate knowledge of Onyx does nothing to disarm that distrust. Neither does the fact that, as they step into the shadowy Onyx Hall, the leader greets Alysia as an old friend. Why have they come here- when the villain is obviously one of their own?

Reviews:

* Publisher’s Weekly Review of Poison Tree, “[A]ction scenes are brilliantly executed, with a speed and brutality that fits the high-powered players. …fascinating, believable, and ready for further adventures.” – 6/11/2012 – http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-385-73754-8

* Kirkus Review of Poison Tree, “Readers may need to chart it all to keep things straight. … Enriched with plenty of fighting and weaponry … Possibilities left open for plenty of sequels … Complicated, but suspenseful.” – June 2012 – https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/amelia-atwater-rhodes/poison-tree-atwater-rhodes/#review

Did you know..?

* Before it was “Poison Tree”, this story’s working title was “Tiger Eyes”! [2]
* Ravyn, from Midnight Predator, has a cameo in this novel! [3]
* Originally slated for a January 2012 release, Amelia announced on her Nyeusigrube Forum that the publishing date has been moved back to July 2012. [4]
* It is speculated on the Nyeusigrube Forum that the Mistari, tiger shapeshifters, are involved in this novel! [5] **CONFIRMED on publishing!**
* “Poison Tree” had been up for publication post-“Midnight Predator”. When it was passed on, Amelia began publishing the Kiesha’ra instead, starting with “Hawksong” in 2003.

In the Author’s Words

“After All Just Glass, I’m planning on another long-time-in-the-works story currently titled Poison Tree, which deals with both SingleEarth and the Bruja guilds- two major organizations, one introduced in Shattered Mirror and one in Midnight Predator, who are polar opposites when it comes to their philosophies. Poison Tree will also teach a little more about Tristes, a breed referenced briefly in In the Forests of the Night and Midnight Predator, but never discussed in detail. After that… well, I have some exciting stories I am playing with, but I have not decided for certain what will happen with them.” [1]

“The most interesting thing about writing Tiger Eyes (beyond the fact that I got to work with Bruja again, and finally learn more about Tristes) was that it is narrated by dual protagonists. They don’t like each other, they don’t respect each other, and they certainly don’t trust each other- but they are both SingleEarth mediators, and so they play nice, smile and act sincere. The mutual feelings are well justified, of course, because both characters have layers of secrets.

This is SingleEarth, the place where people go when they want to hide from who and what they used to be. Who doesn’t have secrets?

But they are both in danger now, both targets of an assassin who is trying to send a message… if only they could understand it.”

About SingleEarth: “SingleEarth is an international organization dedicated to allowing peaceful relations between all the inhabitants of Nyeusigrube, mortal and immortal, human and less so. Though they acknowledge that they cannot force every creature in the world to lay down the deep-seeded prejudices of predators and prey, they work to provide safe havens for those who seek peaceful community. Within SingleEarth, vampires, Tristes, shapeshifters, witches and humans live peacefully, side by side.”

About the Bruja Guilds: “Bruja is a centuries-old fighting guild. The members of its three rings- Crimson, Onyx and Frost- include many of the world’s most dangerous hunters. Most of its members are human; some are less so. Some hunt for revenge, some for profit, some for glory, and some simply because they can. The only thing they have in common is that each one of them is a predator. Rumors say the Bruja Guilds were first founded by a vampire fighting against the reign of Midnight, but no such over branching purpose exists today. There are predators and there are prey; all that matters is that you’re not the latter.”

A Brief Glimpse

From the Nyeusigrube website… (c) Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Her hair, windblown and dripping rain, fell in her face in great disarray. Sahara did not bother to brush it back as she knelt in the shadows, balancing the crossbow on one raised knee. She loaded it carefully, and then waited, while the rain plastered her clothing to her skin. Everything went still, in complete, black concentration.

People were coming and going near the doorway. At this distance, in the rain, she could not tell who was who. Even so, she knew from the movements of one what he was- a vampire. The rain obliterated any scent or sound that could give away the species, but Sahara could recognize the undead a mile away.

She flipped the crossbow down and took aim. She pulled the trigger, and heard him cry out as the bolt hit his stomach. The sound made her flinch, but she did not wait around for the crowd to react. Instead, she hooked the crossbow across her back and fled into the hotel room she had reserved earlier for just this escape.

With the lights off and the curtains drawn, there was nothing about the room to alert them. She could easily wait here for the flurry to die down. Her heart was pounding, and her breath fluttered in and out of her lungs in quick, shallow gasps. She wasn’t afraid of getting caught; this plan had been well formed, and her opponent had little in the way of defense.

The fear came from a different source. She knew whom she had just shot; the sound of his voice had put a face to the anonymous victim. That sound of pain would echo inside her brain for the rest of her life.

It wasn’t her fault. None of this would have been necessary, if that two-faced traitor hadn’t gotten in the way.

Alternate Covers:

None yet!

References

[1] Blog Tour Stop: Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, Author of Token of Darkness http://thebookbutterfly.com/2010/03/blog-tour-stop-amelia-atwater-rhodes.html – March 5, 2010
[2] Wyvernhail, Signing, Other Stuff, http://www.myspace.com/atwaterrhodes/blog/309235795 – September 17, 2007
[3] Topic : Q&A with Amelia Atwater-Rhodes – April 2011 http://www.randombuzzers.com/the-buzz/boards/topic/121881/#post_121881 – April 2011
[4] New Stuff to Read! (we’re live!) http://nyeusigrube.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=0&t=3991&p=101248#p101248 – June 28, 2011
[5] Nyeusigrube Forum topic: Poison Tree?, http://nyeusigrube.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=3850&start=0 – July 1, 2011

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Feb 9th, 2010
$16.99 US
Large format hardcover: 208 pages

CLICK TO READ AN EXCERPT!

Description:

Cooper Blake has everything going for him—until he wakes from a car accident with his football career in ruins and a mysterious, attractive girl by his side. Cooper doesn’t know how Samantha got there or why he can see her; all he knows is that she’s a ghost, and the shadows that surround her seem intent on destroying her.

No one from Cooper’s old life would understand what he can barely grasp himself. . . . But Delilah, the captain of the cheerleading squad, has secrets of her own, like her ability to see beyond the physical world, and her tangled history with Brent, a loner from a neighboring school who can hear strangers’ most intimate thoughts. Delilah and Brent know that Cooper is in more trouble than he realizes, and that Samantha may not be as innocent as she has led Cooper to believe. But the only way to figure out where Samantha came from will put them all in more danger than they ever dreamed possible.
-Text from Amazon.com
Delacorte Press (c) 2010
Cover art by —

Reviews:

*
*

In the Author’s Words

From The Ravenous Reader Blog Tour:
Token of Darkness was an odd story for me to write. It is in many ways very different from my previous books. When I read the back of the book for the first time (no, I don’t write those blurbs), I literally paused and went, “Huh. I wrote that?”

The main character, Cooper, is not my normal protagonist. He is very mainstream, from a happy home; he is a football player with a healthy social life and normal dreams of his future, and he would have been happy to stay that way if the person writing his fate (me) hadn’t insisted on causing trouble. Also, although Token takes place in the exact same world as all my other published works, Cooper never (to his knowledge or mine) interacts with any of those characters or even breeds- no vampires, no Tristes, no Macht witches, no shapeshifters. There was originally a scene with Cooper in Persistence of Memory, where Erin met him briefly at SingleEarth, but it ended up cut from both books. Interestingly enough, the character Brent was also originally in Persistence of Memory. He (who used to be a she named Bri) was cut from Persistence as Sassy began to take a larger role, but then was perfect for Token… except that s/he had to be a guy to get the right kind of dynamic with Cooper.

Finally, Token is also more personal than many of my books. There is a lot of “me” in it, not in an obvious way for strangers, but obvious enough that I had beta readers who know me well read it and go, “I’ve heard you say that” or “I can tell you liked writing this scene.”

Did you know..?

* Inspiration for ToD came from a reference in Persistence of Memory, a doodle of a girl with brightly-colored hair and clothes sitting in shadows on a stool on a wall, and a traffic accident Amelia witnessed while driving home from Maryland on the New Jersey Turnpike. The accident was “one of the more horrible things” Amelia had ever seen; she started writing for catharsis.
* Before settling on the published title, the working title was “Night’s Plutonian Shore”!

Alternate Covers:

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POMcoverDec 9th, 2008
$15.99 US
Large format hardcover: 224 pages

Diagnosed with schizophrenia as a child, sixteen-year-old Erin has spent half of her life in therapy and on drugs, but now must face the possibility of weird things in the real world, including shapeshifting friends and her “alter,” a centuries-old vampire.
-Text from http://catalog.loc.gov/
The Library of Congress Online Catalog

CLICK TO READ AN EXCERPT!

Description:

Sixteen-year-old Erin Misrahe just wants to be like everyone else in her new school. But Erin has more to worry about than passing AP Chemistry or making friends. In times of stress, she has always been overcome by her alter ego, Shevaun, whose violent behavior wreaks havoc on those around her. Erin can never remember anything about these episodes, and she’s grateful to have been spared them for a while.

But when a protective friend comes back into Erin’s life, he insists that Shevaun is a vampire who actually exists apart from Erin. Shevaun has dangerous allies, like the handsome witch Adjila—and they’re determined to sever Shevaun’s connection to Erin once and for all.
-Text from RandomHouse

Delacorte Press (c) 2008
Cover by Cliff Neilson

Videos:

Amelia Atwater-Rhodes Book Video Award 2008 Finalist (Persistence of Memory)

Reviews:

* The Book Girl Reviews
* Young Adult Book Reviews
* TeenReads
* Vampires.com Review

In the Author’s Words

From SlayGround, Blog Tour:
Persistence of Memory… was a story I started in 2000, when I was in tenth grade, and did not finish until 2007. I experienced writer’s block about halfway in, and put it aside for years, not just once but twice.

Did you know..?

* Amelia had started this story (“0113 Untitled”) when she was in high school. Many of the original characters were named after members of her fencing team. It wasn’t until years later, when Amelia spent the night in the emergency room comforting a close friend, that Amelia returned to Erin’s story to finish it!

Alternate Covers:

Click for larger image

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ITFOTNcoverMay 1999
$8.95 US/ $13.95 CAN
Small format hardcover: 147 pages
$4.99 US/ $6.99 CAN
Mass Market paperback: 176 pages

Risika, a teenage vampire, wanders back in time to the year 1684 when, as a human, she died and was transformed against her will.
-Text from http://catalog.loc.gov
Library of Congress Online Catalog

Buy IN THE FORESTS OF THE NIGHT at Amazon.com!

CLICK HERE TO READ AN EXCERPT!

Description

I was born to the name Rachel Weatere in the year 1684, more than three hundred years ago.

The one who changed me named me Risika, and Risika I became, though I never asked what it meant. I continue to call myself Risika, even though I was transformed into what I am against my will.

By day, Risika sleeps in a shaded room in Concord, Massachusetts. By night, she hunts the streets of New York City. She is used to being alone.

But now, someone is following Risika. Someone has left her a black rose, the same sort of rose that sealed her fate three hundred years ago.

Three hundred years ago Risika had a family- a brother and a sister who she loved. Three hundred years ago she was human.

Now she is a vampire, a powerful one. And her past has come back to torment her.

This atmospheric, haunting tale marks the stunning debut of a promising young novelist.

-Text from Random House- In the Forests of the Night
Delacorte Press (c) 1999
Cover art: Eric Dinyer

Reviews

Teen Ink
KidzWorld

In the Author’s Words

* Amelia began writing White Wine in May 1997 when she was 13. According to Boston.com Article “Young Adults Are Reading One of Their Own, “I finished it in August,” she says. “It was the first book I showed to my friends, and they said, `This is good. You should publish this.’ I decided it wouldn’t hurt to try, so I did all the research on literary agents. I promised myself I would send it out before the end of the year, and on Dec. 31 I was at the post office with my mother, mailing submissions to agents. All of them were rejected.”

Amelia’s Letter About The Book’s History:

    In the Forests of the Night was started on my beloved Mac, my first computer. I use “my” loosely here, as it was actually a computer Mother bought for work. She never used it. I always used it. I plopped a red recliner chair in front of it, cranked up Alanis Morisette’s “Jagged Little Pill” (Perfect, Forgiven, Not the Doctor, Mary Jane, Wake Up), and started typing up a scrap of scene I had jotted into my notebook– a blue, 5-section CVS paper-cover wide-ruled notebook at this time– at school during lunch that day while my best friend recited William Blake’s “The Tiger” over and over at super speed as practice for a recitation she had to do in English class.

    A cage of steel.

    I believe those words, the first words I wrote for this book, remain even still.

    About half-way into the book, I hit a snag. Writer’s Block– a tiny
    little demon that lives under the “Esc” key on every writer’s
    keyboard, and asserts itself when it has had its sleep interrupted too
    much lately by a writer’s work.

    Around this time, I hit a more major problem– absolute computer failure. In a panic, I backed up the computer, only to have my backup disks destroyed. I managed to print everything I was working on before the computer, my darling Mac, died.

    We all still mourn.

    Then I went on vacation, and if you’re reading this, you probably already have heard of Panthera Tigriess of Ni!, which my mother bought me at Cape Hattaras. I was writing about a tiger; I decided I wanted a tiger. It sat on my head one day, and I was inspired.

    I made a few little changes. Ather’s bloodbonded human Aubrey was promoted to one of the most powerful vampires in history, for example. Rachel’s mother died. Little things like that, you see… which gave the book a plot, and vwola!

    But the story ends not there, where the books final pages were written on a laptop during a few late-night stints at my aunt’s house on the eastern shore of Maryland.

    It does not even end after I printed the manuscript.

    In fact, I suppose it ends in your hands… for that manuscript was my first to be published, and is now the beautiful book you– assuming you are a fan, for if you aren’t, I don’t know why you’re reading this– have either read, seen, or own.

Did you know..?

* In the Forests of the Night was the sixth or seventh book Amelia wrote in Nyeusigrube.

* Because of how young she was, at first Amelia was going to use a pen name to publish her novels. It was later agreed upon to use her real name, though some sites still list Forests as being written by both Amelia Atwater-Rhodes and the once-upon-a-time pen name of Carol Sutch!

* Early in 1998, Atwater-Rhodes and her eighth-grade friends were touring Concord-Carlisle Regional High School in preparation for attending in the fall when she met Thomas Hart, chairman of the English department and a part-time literary agent. “I knew her name,” Hart says. “She and my son were classmates, and I had taught her sister.” One of the visitors told him Atwater-Rhodes had written a novel.

“I wanted to be a nice guy,” says Hart, who represents adult literary authors. “I said I’d take a look and give her some gentle professional feedback. I’m not a fan of vampire fantasy novels, but when I read the manuscript, I thought, `This is quite good. It goes down easily.’ ” He agreed to take it on and that spring sent it to several publishers. “It was the fastest sale I ever made,” he says. When Random House offered a contract, Hart called the author to tell her. It was April 16, her 14th birthday, and the family was just sitting down to birthday cake.

Hart, who says he is not seeking other young-adult authors, says the quality of Atwater-Rhodes’s writing is only one of her strengths as an author. The other part is her capacity for sustained work and disciplined rewriting. After he sold “In the Forests of the Night,” Hart recalls, “I knew she liked to write, and I asked her what else she might have on the way. She said, `Wait here,’ went upstairs, and came down with five or six completed manuscripts of novels. She is a consummate pro and has been since she was about 13. I would be happy if some of the adult authors I work with had her ability to keep plugging.”

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