There are exactly 50 days until the release of CITY OF ISLANDS, and I've got a roundup of trade reviews to share. I am delighted that reviewers are loving Mara and her strange, magical city, and I very much hope that means the book will find its way into the hands of kids who want to read an adventure full of sea monsters, sneaky mages, a whole bunch of sailing songs, excitement, and danger.
In this awkward time in which I am preparing to release one novel, getting ready to edit another, and halfway through writing one vast and terrible behemoth that is going to take many, many months of work to finish, I have been working on a couple of short stories.
These are stories that have been sitting in my mind for a long time--because all short stories sit in my mind for a long time, lurking in the shadows for months or years before I feel ready to write them. It might not seem to make sense, from the outside, that I can dive into writing a novel with very little preparation but require eons of contemplation to get into a short story. But it makes sense to me, and I've been thinking about why.
Friday, April 27 at 7:30 PM, I'll be participating in a panel at Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in San Diego with fellow authors S.B. Divya and Kirsten Imani Kasai. We'll be talking about Kelly Link's wonderful short story collecting Pretty Monsters as part of the NEA Big Read program. The event is free and open to everyone!
Mysterious Galaxy is located at 5943 Balboa Ave Suite 100, San Diego, CA 92111
I am absolutely thrilled to announce the sale of my adult science fiction horror novel HOUSE OF WISDOM! Here is the announcement from Publishers Marketplace:
Kali Wallace's HOUSE OF WISDOM, pitched as an Alien-inspired thriller set in deep space about a cult leader and her hostages trapped aboard an abandoned spaceship along with a virus of mysterious origins, her first book for adults, to Jessica Wade at Ace, at auction, in a two-book deal, by Adriann Ranta Zurhellen at Foundry Literary + Media (NA).
I am so excited to work with Jessica Wade and the team at Ace for my debut into the adult sci fi world, and I am so happy this book has found a home. It's a book I truly love, with all its dark, gruesome, space-bound horror, and I hope you love it too.
CITY OF ISLANDS has received a starred review from Kirkus!
"Wallace builds intrigue, layer by layer, page by page, until readers are glued to each word right up to the magnificent end. The captivating worldbuilding is supported by a sturdy third-person narrative that’s filled with people of various skin tones, personalities, and abilities who find a way to work together to right the wrongs of corruption.... Inspiration and excitement from beginning to end."
You can read the full review here, and you can preorder CITY OF ISLANDS anywhere books are sold:
The novel I'm writing now is longer and more complex than any I've tried to write before. This is a good thing! It is exciting and epic and full of things I love and there are monsters everywhere!
But it is also long and complex and full of characters and everything is interconnected across miles of story geography and years of story time and tens of thousands of story words, which means that it is a lot to handle. I am trying to be better about thoughtful first draft writing. That is, rather than jumping head first into a story and assuming I'll figure it out later, I am trying to plan a bit more. I'm not full-on outlining, but I am trying to be more deliberate about each step I take in the story--even when that step comes as a result of a wild idea that strikes in the middle of the night.
That means than when I hit a snag--which I do all the time, because it is a big and complicated story--I try to figure out why I've hit a snag, rather than barreling through or giving up entirely. I try to think about the problem in a way that actually helps solve the problem and gets me writing again. To do this, I ask myself some questions about the story to figure out what's keeping me from moving forward.
I've been thinking about some questions that often come up at author readings and events. When there are writers in the audience, somebody will usually ask, "How do you pick which idea to write? How do you decide what to spend your time on?"
I am starting a monthly newsletter to provide readers with updates and news. Stay Out of the Forest will go out no more than once a month, and it will contain book news, publishing updates, occasional musings on writing and publishing, recommendations and raves, and, of course, a collection of cocktail recipes. I promise to keep things interesting, and I will never spam you with unrelated emails.
This is my way of staying in touch with readers, friends, and fellow authors in a publishing world that has become increasingly overwhelmed by the fast-moving and aggressive social media environment. Because I write everything from adventurous children's novels to high-concept speculative short fiction, I want a way to reach all interested readers and colleagues without individual announcements being lost in the shuffle.
As thanks for signing up, all new subscribers will receive a sneak peek at the first chapter of CITY OF ISLANDS.
If you are want to receive the newsletter, please provide your email via the form below. You'll receive an email containing a link to a PDF with the CITY OF ISLANDS chapter. Thank you very much!
The fantastic horror magazine The Dark is fundraising for its next two years of operation, expansion, and filling you brain with disturbing and unsettling stories. I've published one story with The Dark (Caroline at Dusk) and hope to publish with them in the future, as they're a wonderful market full of creepy and unique stories, and they were a joy to work with.
So I'm offering up some rewards for their Kickstarter:
1. A signed advanced readers copy of CITY OF ISLANDS, my upcoming children's fantasy novel;
2. Signed hardcover copies of both Shallow Graves and The Memory Trees;
3. A custom cross-stitch featuring a quotation and imagery from Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House.
There are a bunch of authors offering books, critiques, artwork, and more. Check it out:
'Tis the season in which writers are listing the works they published during the year, for the purposes of clarifying awards eligibility and whatnot.
Alas: I didn't publish any short stories during 2017. I sold a couple to not-yet-published anthologies, and I wrote several more that are now in various stages of revision. I hope to get some new short fiction out into the world in 2018.
I did publish a novel this year. I am proud of The Memory Trees. I think it's a good book, and hearing from people who read and loved it means the world to me. But the entire experience of trying to promote and launch it was such a nightmare from beginning to end that I really just don't want to think about it anymore. I'm glad the eleven people who read it enjoyed it. If you ever dare ask me why more people didn't read it or even hear about it, my hair will turn to snakes and strangle you. I have a lot of hair. It would be a lot of snakes.
I also finished revising and editing City of Islands, which will be published next July, although I feel like I have scarcely had time to catch my breath from the last book release. The thing I have learned from this experience is that nine months between books is too short. But I am excited to have City of Islands creeping out into the world. It's a fun book, full of magic and salty sea adventures, and I hope readers enjoy it.
So, onward. I wrote a novel I love during 2017. It's about spaceships and corpses and cults and death. (This is where I start humming, "These are a few of my favorites things….") My current publisher had zero interest in it, and I decided to write it anyway. That was an easy decision. I hope you get to read it someday.
As for the next step: I know what book I want to write in 2018. I've been thinking about it for a long time. It will be big and complicated and full of generational trauma and gruesome magic and beautiful mountains. (Once again I am humming, "These are a few of my favorite things….") I have no idea if anybody will want to publish it, but, well, the world may well be ending in fire and flood and fascism, so what's the point of waiting? Nobody is ever going to wobble around on their Mad Max: Fury Road acid wasteland stilts saying, "Man, I wish I had spent more time trying to write something more popular and marketable by arbitrary commercial standards."
That is my writing & publishing 2017 in review. Have a picture of Ireland.