middle grade

San Diego Festival of Books

I will be making an appearance at the San Diego Festival of Books on Saturday, August 25. Come out and see a bunch of great local authors and writers! Check out the links below for tickets and schedules.

San Diego Festival of Books

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Venues Liberty Station, 2620 Truxtun Road, San Diego, CA 92106

The Many Worlds of Middle Grade

11:25 AM  in Meeting Room 2

A discussion about magic and wonder in middle grade books with John August, Margaret Dilloway, and Kali Wallace, moderated by Sally Pla. The discussion will last 45 minutes, and the authors will be going directly to the signing area for book sales and signatures afterward.

The San Diego Festival of Book is open to everyone. Tickets are $3 for each panel and can be purchased online.

City of Islands blog & interview roundup

Here's a round-up of the blog posts and interviews I've written and given for the release of City of Islands! In them, I talk about writing for children in these dark times, the lessons I learned as a bookworm child, and the importance of fun adventures for young readers.

All of my blog posts and interviews, present and past, can be found on the Other page.

welcome to the world, baby blue

City of Islands is out in the world today! This is my third novel, and first for children, and I am so happy to finally be able to share it with you. It's a fantastical adventure of magic, mystery, and sea monsters, and I hope you--and all the younger readers in your life--enjoy it.

You can buy City of Islands anywhere books are sold, including the following outlets:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Powell's

If you're in the San Diego area, I'll be at Mysterious Galaxy on August 4 at 2 p.m. to talk children's books and fantasy. I would love to see you there! 

I will also most likely be making an appearance at the San Diego Festival of Books on August 25, but the details of that event have yet to be determined. I'll be sure to post the time and location as soon as I know.

City of Islands has been a long time in the making, from my first stab at it during NaNoWriMo in 2010, and through many rewrites and revisions over the years that followed. I am proud of the book it is now, and I am so very thankful for everybody who has offered help and support along the way. 

City of Islands reviews roundup

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.

A starred review for City of Islands!

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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: 

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |

Indiebound | Powell's

Introducing my new monthly newsletter

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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!

year in review

'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.

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Editorial Services for Fiction Writers

I am now offering editorial services for fiction writers. Helping other writers shape their work into the very best it can be has always been one of my favorite parts of being a writer. I love the big-picture process of looking at a rough story and finding the heart of what it could become, as well as polishing the language line by line to make it shine. 

The full details and rates can be found on the Editorial Services page. I offer developmental editing, line editing, first draft consultation, and query critique packages, as well as a world-building consultation service for science fiction and fantasy writers.

I'm happy to work with fiction writers across many genres, with books for any age range of middle grade or higher, including self-published works. If you're a newer writer who has never even tried to edit or revise a novel before, I can help you figure out how to begin. If you're an experienced writer getting into a new story but worried that world-building questions are slowing your progress, I can help with that too. 

Check out the services I offer on the Editorial Services page. Feel free to send me an email at KaliWallaceEditorial@gmail.com if you have any questions, or if you've got a novel in need of revision and you're ready to get to work.

Cover reveal: City of Islands

I am delighted to share the cover of my upcoming middle grade fantasy adventure novel CITY OF ISLANDS. This story has lived in my heart and mind for a long time, and I am so happy that it is getting such a stunningly beautiful cover.

I first began writing the book that would eventually become CITY OF ISLANDS for NaNoWriMo in 2010. I had spent that summer at the Clarion Workshop for science fiction and fantasy writers, and I was just starting to successfully submit and sell my first short stories. I decided I might as well try writing a novel. I won NaNoWriMo that year, but I didn't finish the novel. I set the unfinished manuscript aside, and just a few days later started another novel entirely--the unsold novel that would lead to me getting an agent and, eventually, writing and selling Shallow Graves

But the idea for CITY OF ISLANDS stayed with me. Most of all, it was the city itself that I could not leave behind: that foggy, strange, magical archipelago city full of wonders and oddities. It felt so incredibly real to me I knew I would have to write something for it eventually. I couldn't get it out of my mind; I could see the islands, the ships, the shadows darting under the water. A few years passed before I realized it was the perfect setting for a middle grade fantasy novel, and once that happened CITY OF ISLANDS began to take shape.

Because this story is so very rich in setting and atmosphere, I very much wanted the cover of the finished book to reflect that--but I also wanted it to focus on Mara, the main character, who loves the water and loves diving for treasures. It's hard enough to explain how an imaginary people and places makes you feel in words, even when you have an entire book to do it. It's even harder to convey that feeling to the illustrator charged with giving your book a cover.

But I was lucky: this beautiful illustration is the work of artist Jensine Eckwall, who has captured perfectly this story of a moody, magical archipelago city and the girl named Mara who lives there. The deep shades of blue, the mysterious bones, the bright glow of the magical lantern, and Mara reaching so confidently as she dives, all of it is perfect for how this book and its world feel to me. (And just wait until you see the map in the final book--it's every bit as fantastic and perfect!)

Here it is, in all its moody blue glory:

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In a foggy archipelago called the City of Islands, magic drifts on the air as songs. Twelve-year old Mara has always been fascinated by the spell-songs and dreams of becoming a great mage. Orphaned as a little girl, Mara was taken in by a bone-mage called Bindy. But when Bindy was killed by a rival, Mara lost both her home and her best chance to learn magic.
Now Mara is a servant for the powerful Lady of the Tides. She earns her keep by diving in the murky ocean, searching for magical treasures that might please the Lady. Mara still yearns to learn magic, but it’s hard for a poor, orphaned servant to dream when the path to becoming a mage is open to only an elite few.
Then one day, while diving for the Lady, Mara finds the skeletons of strange hybrid creatures: a lizard with wings, a horse with horns, and many more, the likes of which have not existed in the city for centuries. The entire trove of bones is humming with a powerful spell-song.
Mara is convinced the bones will earn her the opportunity to study magic. But rather than rewarding her discovery, the Lady gives Mara a challenge: to learn where the magical bones came from by sneaking into the Winter Blade, an island fortress ruled by the very same sorcerer who killed Bindy years ago.
What Mara finds will reveal chilling truths about her own past, as well as secrets about the history of her beloved city that are more dangerous--and magical--than she had ever imagined.

CITY OF ISLANDS will be coming out Summer 2018 from Katherine Tegen Books / HarperCollins. You can add it on Goodreads here.

November 1, 2016 debuts

Saving Hamlet by Molly Booth

Disney-Hyperion

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

Emma Allen couldn't be more excited to start her sophomore year. Not only is she the assistant stage manager for the drama club's production of Hamlet, but her crush Brandon is directing, and she's rocking a new haircut that's sure to get his attention. But soon after school starts, everything goes haywire. Emma's promoted to stage manager with zero experience, her best friend Lulu stops talking to her, and Josh--the adorable soccer boy who's cast as the lead--turns out to be a disaster. It's up to Emma to fix it all, but she has no clue where to start.

One night after rehearsal, Emma stays behind to think through her life's latest crises and distractedly falls through the stage's trap door . . . landing in the basement of the Globe Theater.

It's London, 1601, and with her awesome new pixie cut, everyone thinks Emma's a boy--even Will Shakespeare himself. With no clue how to get home, Emma gamely plays her role as backstage assistant to the original production of Hamlet, learning a thing or two about the theater, and meeting an incredibly hot actor named Alex who finds Emma as intriguing as she finds him. But once Emma starts traveling back and forth through time, things get really confusing. Which boy is the one for her? In which reality does she belong? Will Lulu ever forgive her? And can she possibly save two disastrous productions of Hamlet before time runs out?

"First-time author Booth captures the thrills of the theater in two eras while providing an striking portrait of Shakespeare and the Chamberlain’s Men through Emma’s eyes... As enlightening as it is enjoyable, this whimsical novel deserves applause of its own."
-- Publishers Weekly starred review
"Emma’s narration includes enough minutiae to please theater-loving readers. Her transitions between times are handled fairly smoothly, Emma employing her knowledge of Elizabethan English to communicate successfully in the 17th century. This entertaining and original novel deals not just with growing up, but with a fresh and different interpretation of 'to be or not to be.'"
-- Kirkus starred review

Future scientist Madeline Little is dreading the start of middle school. Nothing has been right since her grandfather died and her best friend changed schools. Maddie would rather help her father in his research lab or write Standard Operating Procedures in her lab notebook than hang out with a bunch of kids who aren’t even her friends. Despite Maddie’s reluctance, some new friends start coming her way—until they discover what she’s written in that secret notebook. And that’s just part of the trouble. Can this future scientific genius find the formula for straightening out her life?

"First-time author Teagan underscores the importance of compassion and forgiveness as she provides thoughtful insight into a girl working hard to try to maintain control over a life filled with unwelcome developments."
-- Publishers Weekly

"Teagan offers a smart, breezy narrative that is both clever and approachable, offering a fresh twist on the familiar topic of middle school angst. Her characters are realistic and funny as they fumble through early adolescence and grapple with the reality of change. "
-- Kirkus starred review