28 May 2015

My Book Launch is Coming! My Book Launch is Coming!

My debut novel will be released into the wild (aka bookstores and libraries) on June 16! Want to come to the party? It's taking place at the Hockessin Book Shelf in Hockessin, Delaware, from 6-8 p.m. 

RSVP here if you can make it! 

19 May 2015

Book Giveaway and Release Day Guest Post by Hilary T. Smith, author of A SENSE OF THE INFINITE

Today I'm very pleased to have my friend and pen pal Hilary T. Smith on the blog today to celebrate the release of her new YA contemporary novel, A SENSE OF THE INFINITE. It's a beautiful book that I fell in love with when I read an earlier draft of the manuscript, and I can't wait to own a final copy (and read it again and again). 


By the author of the critically acclaimed Wild Awake, a beautiful coming-of-age story about deep friendship, the weight of secrets, and the healing power of nature.

It's senior year of high school, and Annabeth is ready—ready for everything she and her best friend, Noe, have been planning and dreaming. But there are some things Annabeth isn't prepared for, like the constant presence of Noe's new boyfriend. Like how her relationship with her mom is wearing and fraying. And like the way the secret she's been keeping hidden deep inside her for years has started clawing at her insides, making it hard to eat or even breathe.

But most especially, she isn't prepared to lose Noe.

For years, Noe has anchored Annabeth and set their joint path. Now Noe is drifting in another direction, making new plans and dreams that don't involve Annabeth. Without Noe's constant companionship, Annabeth's world begins to crumble. But as a chain of events pulls Annabeth further and further away from Noe, she finds herself closer and closer to discovering who she's really meant to be—with her best friend or without.

Hilary T. Smith's second novel is a gorgeously written meditation on identity, loss, and the bonds of friendship.

Order it from Powell'syour local bookseller, Barnes & Noble or Amazon.

Here's a guest post from Hilary, reflecting on the bonds of an important friendship in her own life:

Author Hilary T. Smith

One of the bittersweet aspects of writing A SENSE OF THE INFINITE was getting to pore over my own relationship with my high school best friend—a relationship that, although deep, transformative, and full of love and humor, nevertheless did not survive past our senior year.

P. lived between a peach orchard and the train tracks, a short bike ride from my house. In the summer we’d follow a dusty trail to a place we called the Grove of Serendipity, where there was a rope swing in the trees, and fireflies at twilight. We both took piano lessons; we’d both read piles of books. We were both scholarship students at a private highschool full of very wealthy, put-together kids who didn’t even seem to breathe the same kind of oxygen as we did; perhaps more important than having a lot in common with each other, was the fact that we had so little in common with everyone else.

P.’s life was frequently in crisis. Her mother had died recently, her relationship with her father was fraught, and she had become the main caregiver for her little sister. Her arms were covered in self-inflicted scars. Although she was exceptionally bright, the chaos of her day-to-day existence made it hard to hand in assignments, with the result that she always seemed to be teetering on the verge of academic disaster. She was a big-hearted, exuberant, funny and frustrating person, and I loved her with an intensity I’d never had for a friend before.

And me? Who was I? A classic nerd child, physically awkward and shy to the point of muteness, fluent in French and adept in music theory but timid in social interactions. Whereas P.’s monsters were big and obvious, mine were so stealthy I didn’t even have words for them, much less physical scars for other people to see. Over the years, I was sometimes jealous of her for this reason—the nature of her problems meant that teachers were always reaching out to help her, but I kept everything so tightly wrapped that it would have taken a professional psychic and possibly a polygraph machine to detect when I was struggling too.

Our first year of friendship, we formed a secret society whose sole mission was to collect as many thumbtacks and pushpins as possible from our highschool’s bulletin boards. We sorted them by color and kept them in a fishing tackle box that is probably still in my parents’ basement. At lunch, we’d go to the music practice practice rooms and play piano together, or to the library to pore over yearbooks from the 1970’s. Our conversations brimmed over with secrets and inside jokes, code words and made-up songs. I would have fought a tiger for her, and I know she would have done the same for me.

When I’ve tried to figure out why our friendship began to fade away, partway through senior year, I used to come up with a blank. There was no cataclysmic argument, no specific betrayal. Things just seemed to stiffen. A brittleness developed, seemingly out of nowhere, and neither of us had the words to call it out or talk about it. Slowly, we each began to transfer our time to other people, our attention to divergent interests and pursuits. The change was painful and frightening, but even in my attempts to bridge the widening gap, I sensed that it was unstoppable.

Near the end of the revision process for A Sense of the Infinite, I went to my ten-year high school reunion. I knew that P. would be there; I hadn’t seen her since I was a teenager. As the evening of the dinner approached, I felt more and more sick to my stomach. What would it be like to see her? Would it be terrible? Would the awkwardness that seeped into our last months together come right back? Would we talk about it? Again and again, I resolved not to go, only to bully myself back into it. Finally, I got in the car and drove to the highschool.

A few minutes after I arrived, I spotted her. My heart started pounding. This was the moment I’d been dreading ever since I’d gotten to town. She spun around—she was wearing a flowered dress and high heels—and beamed at me. “Hilary!” she shouted, and rushed over to wrap me in a hug.

We sat together at dinner and had a nice time. It didn’t feel like we were thirteen again, hurrying down the hall together with our arms linked. It didn’t feel like we were fifteen, meeting in the park on a hot summer day. I barely recognized this new, adult version of P. at all, although I remembered who I’d been when we were at school together. It felt like we were two birds who had shared a nest for a while before feathering into different creatures entirely. And that was OK. The end of that phase of our relationship wasn’t a great failure or a tragedy—it was part of nature. People aren’t static. We’re ever-changing, ever-growing, and death (whether of a relationship, a habit, or a personality trait) is a natural and essential part of that process. I’m grateful P. and I were there for each other when we were small birds, and glad that life called us both to fly away.

To celebrate the release of A SENSE OF THE INFINITE, Hilary has kindly offered a signed copy for a giveaway. Enter the Rafflecopter below to win! (U.S. Only.)

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13 May 2015

Celebrating One Month Until Release Date of BETWEEN THE NOTES with an ARC giveaway!

I'm giving away the last of my ARCs (advance reader copies) to celebrate the fact that it's only a month until BETWEEN THE NOTES comes out. (Cue Kermit flail!) 

Please enter to win! (Open internationally.)

And come see me, if you can, at one of my book events. I'll be celebrating my book release at a launch party in Delaware on June 16, and appearing at events on east and west coasts this summer and fall. Hope to see you somewhere along the way!

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