WorldCon writing & submitting panel

My second panel is now on the draft schedule for WorldCon 75, and this one is about when it's time to stop fussing over your stories and get them out into the world. And, honestly, don't come to this one to hear me talk--come to this one to hear the wisdom of the other amazing panelists!

Thursday, August 10 at 12:00

Messukeskus 101d

Just Send It!: When to Stop Rewriting and Just Get Your Work Out There

Ken LiuKali WallaceEllen DatlowKatri Alatalo

The plot works, the character interactions and dialogue flow well but, there's just "one or two more things" you need to fix. This way lies madness. Edits and rewrites are part of the writing process but at some point you need to stop polishing your work and submit it. Our panelists offer advice on figuring out where that point is and getting enough confidence in your work to submit it.

WorldCon YA panel

The preliminary WorldCon 75 schedule is online, so I can announce my participation in the following panel! (As always, details may change.) I am very excited for this chance to talk about representation and diversity of stories in young adult literature. If you're going to be at WorldCon 75 in Helsinki in a few weeks, stop by to join the conversation!

Thursday, August 10 at 11:00 in Messukeskus 203a

ASEXUALITY IN YA

Marguerite KennerLaura LamPeadar Ó GuilínKali Wallace

Are asexual characters well - or at all - represented in YA fiction? Is romance such an integral component of Young Adult fiction that it simply cannot be left out at all?

A starred review from Kirkus!

The early reviews for The Memory Trees are starting to come in, and I am absolutely delighted to learn that it has received a starred review from Kirkus! They say: "An absorbing, lyrically drawn mystery, examination of grief, and cautionary tale."

You can read the full review here, and find preorder links for The Memory Trees here.

The Foundry: A Literary Reading Series

On Saturday, June 10, I will be reading at The Foundry #5, a literary reading event hosted by San Diego's So Say We All, a literary and performing arts organization. The Foundry is once again taking over the Public Square Coffee House in La Mesa, CA. The readings will begin at 7 p.m. I'll be there along with writers Matt Young, Hari Alluri, Elizabeth Marro, and Steph Cha.

Please join us for an evening of literature and food and drinks! Everybody is welcome.

The Foundry #5 - Saturday, June 10 at 7 p.m.

Public Square Coffee House

8278 La Mesa Blvd, La Mesa, CA 91942

March 11 at Mysterious Galaxy

Join me and fellow YA authors Elizabeth Briggs and Emily Skrutskie this Saturday, March 11, 2017, at Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in San Diego! It's part of Elizabeth's tour to launch her novel FUTURE THREAT, and we'll be talking about speculative fiction world-building in a changing world, writing kickass female characters, and the ups and downs of being an author. 

Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore

March 11, 2017 at 2 p.m.

5943 Balboa Avenue, Suite #100, San Diego, CA 92111

The Memory Trees cover reveal!

I am absolutely delighted to reveal the cover of my second novel, The Memory Trees, posted first by the fantastic folks at YA Books Central. Check out that post for my thoughts on the cover and a chance to win a signed hardcover copy of Shallow Graves.

The Memory Trees

coming October 10, 2017

Sorrow Lovegood's life has been shaped by the stories of her ancestors: brave, resilient women who have lived for generations on a capricious apple orchard in Vermont. Sorrow and her family take pride in their land and its strange history. Their offbeat way of living may be ridiculed by the townspeople--especially their neighbors, the Abrams family--but for the first eight years of her life, the orchard is Sorrow's whole world.

Then one winter night everything changes. Sorrow's sister Patience is tragically killed. Their mother suffers a mental breakdown. Sorrow is sent to live with her father in Miami, away from the only home she’s ever known.

Now sixteen, Sorrow's memories of her life in Vermont are maddeningly hazy; even the details of her sister's death are unclear. She returns to the orchard for the summer, determined to learn more about her troubled childhood and the family she left eight years ago. Why has her mother kept her distance over the years? What actually happened the night Patience died? Is the orchard trying to tell her something, or is she just imagining things?

The Memory Trees is a darkly magical novel about a mysterious family legacy, the bonds of sisterhood, and the strange and powerful ways we are shaped by the places we call home.

December 27, 2016 debut

Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, a legendary bounty hunter—that is, until her father is murdered. The alleged killer is none other than Cohen Mackay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart.  

She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a force to be reckoned with.

"Debut author Summerill makes use of familiar story elements—avenging a parent’s death, a potential betrayal by an estranged first love, a main character with unrealized power—but incorporates them into an richly described world populated by engaging characters."
-- Publishers Weekly

December 6, 2016 debut

If anyone saw the prom boards Amelia Blanco makes on her favorite fashion app, they'd think Ethan Laurenti was her boyfriend. They wouldn't know that all the plans she's made for them are just dreams, and that she's the girl who watches him from the kitchen while her parents cook for his famous family. 

When Amelia's abuelita enrolls her in a month-long fashion internship in NYC, Amelia can't imagine leaving Miami--and Ethan--for that long. As soon as she gets to New York, however, she finds a bigger world and new possibilities. She meets people her own age who can actually carry on a conversation about stitching and design. Her pin boards become less about prom with Ethan and more about creating her own style. By the time she returns to Miami, Amelia feels like she can accomplish anything, and surprises herself by agreeing to help Ethan's awkward, Steve-Jobs-wannabe brother, Liam, create his own fashion app. 

As Liam and Amelia get closer, Ethan realizes that this newly confident, stylish girl may be the one for him after all . . . even though he has a reality TV star girlfriend he conveniently keeps forgetting about. The "new and improved" Amelia soon finds herself in between two brothers, a whole lot of drama, and choice she never dreamed she'd have to make.

December 2, 2016 debut

Ellery wants to die. Nothing is going right. Her younger sister is dead, and her family is in a shambles. But on the day that she tries to end it all, even the gun won't work. When she tries to return it, she's intercepted by a security guard who also happens to be a boy in one of her classes, Colter Sawyer.

Colter recognizes Ellery's desperation and begins working hard to earn her trust. Why does this cute boy care about my worthless life?, Ellery wonders. But as the story unfolds, it becomes clear that Colter has very good reasons for his vigilance, deep, personal reasons. And whether Ellery likes it or not, he won't let go. 

"Ellery’s voice is engaging and authentic... Sadness gives way to redemption and an unforced hope in this thoughtful read."
-- Kirkus Reviews

November 29, 2016 debut

Everyone in Phoebe Ferris’s life tells a different version of the truth.

Her mother, Meg, ex-rock star and professional question evader, shares only the end of the story—the post-fame calm that Phoebe’s always known. Her sister Luna, indie rock darling of Brooklyn, preaches a stormy truth of her own making, selectively ignoring the facts she doesn’t like. And her father, Kieran, the co-founder of Meg’s beloved band, hasn’t said anything at all since he stopped calling three years ago.

But Phoebe, a budding poet in search of an identity to call her own, is tired of half-truths and vague explanations. When she visits Luna in New York, she’s determined to find out how she fits in to this family of storytellers, and maybe even to continue her own tale—the one with the musician boy she’s been secretly writing for months.

This soul-searching, authentic debut weaves together Phoebe’s story with scenes from the romance between Meg and Kieran that started it all—leaving behind a heartfelt reflection on family, fame, and finding your own way.

"McNally is a polished storyteller, her prose alive with vivid descriptions, the excitement of romance, and an artist’s yearning to create."

-- Publishers Weekly

My review: This is such a beautiful book! It's the story of a family told past and present, from the points of view of both a daughter and a mother, It's like being invited to spend one dreamy, lyrical week with this family of poets and musicians. They're a complicated, fractured family, sure, with problems and rifts pushing them apart, with secrets and misunderstandings, and they all feel so incredibly REAL. 

The way McNally writes them and their relationships with each other is stunning. I love the different versions of each person they see, the different stories they all remember and cling to, and the fact that they're all carrying their own version of the truth. They're people who have hurt and disappointed each other, but there is so much love and hope and understanding here too.

I don't even know how to explain it except to say that reading this book feels good. It feels like wandering through a beloved city on a summer afternoon, or listening to a favorite record on scratchy vinyl, or sharing a starlit walk with a loved one. It's that kind of feeling, warm and so full of life, and I am in awe of Janet McNally for capturing it so well.