I Thought I Was Prepared But, Nope, I Wasn’t






What black magic and dark sorcery hath brought this about?

Seriously, guys, I’m only now—two months later—starting to recover from my debut.

All I can say about these last two months is WHOA. I thought I was prepared, but nope, I was not. A thousand nopes to my puny, ignorant preparations!

For one thing, I did so many blog posts and Q & A’s before and during my debut week that I physically could not write anything at all afterward. I’ve really never experienced anything quite like it. In the last two months, I can’t tell you how many times I sat down and tried to write a blog post, and all I could think was, I would rather put my face in a panini press with fresh basil and mozzarella and make a Kristen’s-face-Caprese-sandwich than write a single word.

Yep, it’s been nothing short of TBP (total blog paralysis) paired with USSS (utter self-sickness syndrome).

You see, debuting is a big cocktail of excitement and exhaustion. Then that cocktail is set on fire and mixed with some kind of grain alcohol currently illegal in most states. You know, the kind that causes you to have a total blast, strip naked, and then go irreversibly blind.

And just when you think you’ve had enough, someone suggests you add a chaser. Yes, here you go. Here’s a double shot of fear. Oh, wait. Have another one. And another. Actually, why don’t you just take the whole bottle and chugalug the pure, complete, and unadulterated panic? Sounds great, eh?

And why must you guzzle that Fear?


Oh, those perennial, party-pooping, pernicious expectations!

What exactly are they? Where did they come from? When will they stop?


But there they are, saturating your brain every waking moment, because they are coming from inside your own skull! They are inescapable, rude, and very mean. And not only do they not like you, they think your butt looks fat in those mom jeans you thought looked so smart.

What really got me the worst was believing that I was supposed to be following some script for how to debut properly. Problem was, I didn’t know what the script was or who wrote it or when I was supposed to say my lines or whether or not wearing a gorilla suit was strictly necessary. And more to the point, if I didn’t debut correctly EVERYTHING WOULD BE RUINED FOREVER.

This was in direct opposition to how I’d always tried to operate online. No, not just online but in my actual, you know, life. I’m serious when I say that one of the guiding principles of my life is, “Eh, eff it.” You cannot be free, productive, happy, or true to yourself when fear poisons your heart and mind. There has to be a little eff it deep down in your soul or else someone else’s (or maybe your own) impossible, imagined standards are ruling your existence, and that, in a word, sucks.

But I think I’m finally starting to bounce back. I’m not there entirely. I’m still kind of fragile, but I am feeling a little lighter now that I’ve owned the fact that I had a wee bit of a break down about the whole debut thing. And it’s a good thing too, because, OMG, did I even tell you about the sequel to TABULA RASA?

See? I’ve been too paralyzed to even blog about my sequel.

Right now it’s titled INCOGNITA, and I will tell you this: it’s a direct sequel, not a companion novel, and it takes place 4-6 months after the events of TABULA RASA. That’s pretty much all I can say without spoiling TR for you if you haven’t read it yet. (And if you haven’t, my God, get to it!)

OK, so I guess that’s all. Here’s a gratuitous picture of me at the ALAN 2014 conference, where I met, like, just about every famous young adult writer you can imagine (no, not John Green — of course you had to guess him) and walked around with my mouth hanging open in awe.

With two fellow Egmont USA lovelies, Margaret Coffee and Michelle Bayuk


See you back here soon. Promise. And, geez,  I’ve been so wrapped up in my own drama, I’ve hardly asked you how you’re doing. What’s going on?

3 comments to I Thought I Was Prepared But, Nope, I Wasn’t

  • Thank you, I needed to read this just now! (Not to hear that you were stresses to bits obv, but to hear that there’s no one right way to debut :)

  • It is a whirlwind with each book, and attending events with authors more famous is scary and awesome and I totally feel like an impostor every time.

    Memorable moment from my past:
    CLUELESS ME: Why are there so many people in line here?
    MORE SAVVY AUTHOR: To meet Jerry Spinelli.
    CLUELESS ME: What? (whipping around) Holy Cow! That’s Jerry Spinelli standing right behind me!!!
    JERRY SPINELLI: (looks up at my outburst — and gives me a smile, because he is just the sweetest guy ever, thankfully)

  • All the yes. Bad news? So far, it hasn’t gotten easier; with every book I think I’m prepared, and then, whoops, not so much. But the good news: you’ve got your debut under your belt, and you’ll never be a the start of your writing career again! Actually, that’s also kind of sobering news…but mostly good. <3

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