“Students Want to Know” is a cool blog run by Ms. Anderson and the students in her English class. All of the questions are generated by the students, and they asked some excellent questions. Check out the interview here: http://addicted2reading.wordpress.com/2011/02/26/students-want-to-know-ty-roth/.
My local Borders has constructed a mall side window display featuring So Shelly. The manager has shared with me that they can’t keep it in stock and have been forced to make several re-orders in the attempt to keep up with demand, and has asked me repeatedly to do a signing/Q. and A. at the store. This should be, as Shakespeare said, “the stuff dreams are made of.” Then why am I not looking for property on Cloud Nine?
I have several theories for my lack of exuberance: First theory: the “Postpartum Theory.” Now that Shelly is between covers and on shelves, I miss all of the build-up and the unbridled (if also unrealistic) expectations for its success. Also, at this point, she is what she is; there’s no changing her. As I see her on the shelf or featured in online bookstores, I can’t help but – like the father looking through the nursery window compares his offspring to the other newborns – compare her to the other novels in the “new release” section, measure her against them, and find her somewhat lacking. Second theory: “That Damn Keats! Theory” In “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” Keats all-too-poignantly wrote, “Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter.” In other words, all things are better in the imagining of them. Sadly, reality always disappoints. The actual experience of walking into my local bookstore and seeing – can you believe it? – my book on a shelf never had a chance of measuring up to the way I had imagined that very experience during countless daydreaming sessions. My third theory: “I Don’t Do Happy Theory.” For better or worse, happiness has always scared the crap out of me. I think it’s because of my acute awareness of life’s ironies. I’m afraid that if I allow myself to be too happy, the very thing that I thought would be one of the greatest things that ever happened to me will somehow turn out to be the worst. So, I don’t want to tempt fate, let my guard down, and enjoy this accomplishment too much. Like I said, I don’t do happy. The final theory: “No Rest for the Wicked Theory.” The very day that Shelly debuted, my agent sent for my perusal her final edits for my second novel. Since then, I’ve been picking at the manuscript and trying to get her in shape for submission to my editor at Random. Point being: I’ve had literally no time to simply enjoy the laurels of Shelly. I guess, as the Haitian proverb says, “There are mountains beyond the mountains.”
Please don’t take any of this as self-pity. With all of my good fortune and considering the number of far-more-talented writers than me who would kill to be in my stead, I know I have no room or right to whine. I guess it’s the result of my Romantic, Young Wertherian (for you Goethe fans) disposition.
This past week I performed two readings/signings at local libraries and had a blast (See pictures below.). Going in, I was a little nervous. Although I have absolutely no fear of and plenty of experience in public speaking, I had never read my own fiction in public. Trust me, it was a strange experience that left me feeling quite exposed and vulnerable. At first, it felt a little like hearing my voice on a recording and swearing, “I don’t sound like that,” but I soon found myself assuming the voice of the narrator, John Keats, and swept into my own story. I was beyond pleased on both occasions when the audience, many of whom were reading along, gasped and laughed at the appropriate passages, which completely validated my effort and ability as a writer. In twenty minutes, I read the first two chapters. At the end of which, I felt I had sufficiently and effectively whetted their appetite for more of the story. (For other authors, although it worked for my story, I’d warn that twenty minutes is at the upper end of the duration you want to read to an audience.)
After the readings, I entertained questions from the audience. I wasn’t surprised that the majority of the questions were regarding process: “How long did it take you to write your novel?” (Eighteen months of drafting, six months of editing, nearly two years of “in-between time”) “How did you find an agent?” (the old-fashioned way: I queried my butt off) “How much was your editor involved?” (A lot! She’s a genius.) “Did you write from an outline?” (No. I see the beginning and I see the end, then I write from point A to point B in a very organic fashion.) “Will your next book be a sequel and when will it be released?” (No. It shares the setting and a few minor characters with So Shelly, but the plot does not pick up where Shelly left off, and the second novel will not be released before the spring of 2012 – maybe later, depending on the success of Shelly or the lack thereof.) The questions, in general, were thought-provoking and, in many ways, self-revelatory.
Each evening concluded with a book signing sessions. Although, I’m beyond flattered to sign copies of So Shelly, I must admit that I find the experience very humbling and somewhat awkward. It is simply beyond my comprehension that someone would stand in line to wait for my signature. The most difficult part for me is that I want to tell each one of them that I LOVE THEM for buying and reading my book, but that would be odd; therefore, whatever I do write sounds inadequate to express my appreciation.
Thus far, I have two public readings scheduled for March: Tuesday, March 22nd at the Elmore Public Library and Tuesday, March 29th at the Genoa Public Library. I’d love it for fans and friends in those areas to come out. I’d also like to remind everyone that I am available to read and to discuss So Shelly with groups or book clubs. I only ask a minimum of ten participants. I will also do readings by Skype for those outside of a reasonable driving distance. I promise that you will be entertained and greatly appreciated.
I was planning on posting an article about my launch party last weekend, but my writer-friend, Linda, has done such a magnificent job of it, I decided to simply link to her page. Check it out here: http://layinda.wordpress.com/2011/02/13/great-book-great-party-great-time/
I spent my Valentine’s Day with close to forty lovers – of books. The Sandusky Library invited me to speak, read from So Shelly, take questions from the audience, and to sign copies of my book. I greatly enjoyed the surreal experience of reading my own text to a live audience. It was exciting for me to assume the role of the story’s narrator, John Keats, as I performed the first two chapters. I was especially pleased to hear those reading and listening along gasp and laugh and groan at all of the appropriate passages. It’s a rare yet valuable opportunity for an author to receive the validation of his writing from a live audience and to know that they “get it.” The audience members were especially interested in my personal writing process and especially curious regarding the mysterious workings of the publishing industry. The evening ended with a book signing – an experience I’m struggling to grow comfortable with as I just can’t conceive of anyone wanting my signature. The experience is humbling beyond explanation. I’ve included a few pictures below.
A new review from one of my favorite bloggers: Kelsey from “The Book Scout.” http://thebookscout.blogspot.com/
Why I read this: Cover lust really. I was like ooo pretty. And I really cannot resist a debut novel, for sure. 🙂
Plot: So, some of you may not know, but this basically throws the famous poets Keats, Shelley, and Byron into a high school setting and well, it makes for quite the interesting story. This book was exactly what I needed after drudging through some “typical” paranormal romance. Ty’s writing is like poetry compared to what I’ve been reading lately and I probably am not the first to say this, but I can see Literature teachers teaching this book in the future (most likely High School or College though..). It’s that good.
Back to the plot, the book is told from the point of view of John Keats, who is in love with Shelly, who is in love with Gordon. Ty does a fantastic job of melding the history of the three with the current situation – which is the two boys stealing Shelly’s ashes (after her ‘accidental’ drowning) to grant her last wishes. Weaving the colorful pasts of Gordon and Shelly into the story, you really get a feel for the characters in this book. That being said, there is a lot of sex in this book. Younger YA readers beware, Gordon certainly has some infamy with the opposite sex.
Characters: Keats may be the least mentioned character in this book, but you get a feel for his voice, you get enough information about it, but he is definitely shadowed when it comes to Shelly and Gordon. Gordon is such a colorful character, one that you try really hard to hate, but you really can’t – because his character is so warped and so Byron-like you simply understand him and keep watching him for his next insane move.
Shelly reminds me of John Green’s female characters all mixed in one – overdramatic, overloving, and never falling for the right guy. And always with a mission in mind. The clues she leaves also remind me of Paper Towns (a novel I highly suggest if you loved this one). I couldn’t help but love her and her undying love for Gordon, the unattainable male that actually does love Shelly in a way that really cannot be described.
Relatability: Lovers of John Green will fall in love with this novel. I think Gordon will have more fans than us readers would like to admit and is easily the most insanely likable scoundrel I’ve ever read.
Cover Commentary: Gorgeous, like I said, it’s probably the main reason I picked this one up.
Check out this awesome interview with Trish from The Apocalypsies. FYI: The Apocalypsies are a group of writers whose novels are scheduled to debut in 2010 – that is if the world doesn’t end. I’m sure glad I am an Elevensie! http://apocalypsies.blogspot.com/
With SO SHELLY just hours from shelves and already in transit for all of you lovelies who pre-ordered, I have three different interviews to share. I especially like the interview with Carly from “Writing from the Tub.” She asked probing questions that elicited what I think to be interesting responses.
The beautiful and talented Eleni at La Femme Readers has put together a beautiful post on her blog featuring my Ten Things To Do or Places To Visit. It’s a sort of bucket list. Eleni has 2,300 followers on her blog. When you see how well it is constructed and maintained, you’ll know why. Thanks, Eleni! http://lafemmereaders.blogspot.com/2011/02/guest-post-ty-roth-author-of-so-shelly.html