Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Exciting book news! About a new book!

Yes! A new book!

It’s taken a couple of weeks to work out the details, but my agent’s just given me the green light to announce a new book sale! [Insert happy dance here!]

I’ve just signed a two-book contract with Angry Robot for a YA duology. Yay! Let’s have some faqs:

Q: Angry Robot?

A: Angry Robot — actually, Strange Chemistry, their YA imprint — is a small UK press that you might have heard of, if you pay attention to these things. Angry Robot was established in 2009 and started releasing books in the US in 2010. ZOO CITY by Lauren Beukes was one of theirs — it won the Arthur C Clark Award and was nominated for the World Fantasy Award. [Clears throat: I’ll admit here that I didn’t actually like ZOO CITY, but I thought it was really well written and I could see why it was winning stuff.] And they’ve had other award nominees and winners, too, so they plainly know how to get books noticed.

In 2012, Angry Robot spun off its YA imprint, Strange Chemistry, which released five titles that year. In 2013, Strange Chemistry has 11 titles scheduled for release — including EMILIE AND THE HOLLOW WORLD, that YA by Martha Wells, which of course catches my eye because I’m a fan of Wells’ already.

MY BOOK will be on Strange Chemistry’s line up for Spring 2014. Which really is right around the corner!

Q: Why did you go with a small press? Are there advantages to going with a small press?

A: My Random House editor didn’t think a paranormalish darkish contemporary-ish fantasy was right for her line, which of course is perfectly reasonable, though I hope and expect to work with her in the (near) future on other books. And WHOA the Big Six are NOT LOOKING at paranormals right now, let me tell you! But yes, actually, I’ve chatted with plenty of other authors in the last few years about their experiences with Big Six vs smaller presses, and I’m really pleased to have the opportunity to see what it’s like working with a smaller house. Plus, if you check out Strange Chemistry’s website, you’ll see they’re really on the ball. Easy to navigate, inviting, hooked into social media and Goodreads, buy links that are obvious but not obtrusive, links that let you read pages — seriously, it’s a GREAT website, you should click over and explore.

Q: And about your book? Seriously, it’s a “paranormalish darkish contemporary-ish fantasy”?

A: Right! Right! I forget that you don’t actually know the details! This one is a werewolf story, sort of. You can blame Patricia Briggs: I’ve never met her or anything, but I would never have thought of writing a book like BLACK DOG if not for falling in love with her Mercy Thompson books.

Not that BLACK DOG is much like the Mercy Thompson series. At all. Don’t want to give you the wrong impression.

BLACK DOG doesn’t have any vampires in it, let me just say. It really is paranormalish, though the romantic subplot is not quite as front-and-center as you generally get with paranormals. You might call it Urban Fantasy, except it mostly takes place in rural Vermont. It is more or less contemporary, except that the world is a bit sideways from our world. The main pov characters are Hispanic, though their native Mexico is not quite our Mexico.

BLACK DOG probably is a bit darker than some of my other books, but I hope you will all love it! I admit that when Caitlin told me she was getting some interested responses, I kind of [clears throat] re-read the entire ms from front to back. It’s been a while since I wrote it, and I guess I’ve recovered from the revision process. And — this is always a relief — I have to say, I still really love this book!

Q: Why are your main characters in BLACK DOG Hispanic? Was that tough for you to do?

A: They walked into my head that way. Seriously. Who knows why these things happen? There were some plot advantages to having my main characters be from Mexico and newly arrived in Vermont; plus it’s not like there’s an overabundance of Hispanic main characters in YA fantasy; plus it was fun to slip the Spanish words and phrases in there. If by “fun” you mean a challenge. My friend Abi Borrego was indispensable in fixing my hopelessly bad Spanish. Luckily I think she liked the first book enough to help out with the second!

Q: Hey, didn’t you say, this was a two-book contract? Does that mean you have the second book written?

A: Um, not to say written. No. I have 50 pages and a lot of vague ideas. But, hey, that’s plenty to go on with. And I always meant to finish a BLACK DOG sequel this year, among other things.

Q: But that’s not what you’re revising now?

A: No, right now I’m revising a completely unrelated WIP, and after that I need to revise yet a different unrelated WIP.

Q: So you’re simultaneously working on multiple unrelated books? Does switching back and forth like that give you whiplash?

A: Yes. Ow. I work on this revision, then turn off the computer and immediately start to write scenes in my head for the BLACK DOG sequel. My goal is to have both revision 1 and revision 2 both out of the way really soon. Then I can switch over to the BLACK DOG sequel without feeling like I’m being pulled in all different directions!

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13 Comments Exciting book news! About a new book!

  1. ELaine T

    does happy dance.

    Congratulations! Looking forward to reading them.

    Isn’t BLACK DOG the one you were saying you weren’t sure a publisher would touch, but you’d do it yourself, if you had to?

  2. Rachel

    Sure is!

    But distribution into real bookstores is still important and still something you get only with a publisher, so I’m happy I didn’t have to. Not to mention the, you know, validation and all that good stuff! I was quite right about the difficulty of placing a paranormal right now; obviously I am now convinced of Amanda Rutter’s (my new editor) highly superior taste.

  3. Cheryl L

    That’s wonderful news Rachel. Angry Robot clearly have excellent taste if they’re publishing both yourself and Martha Wells!

  4. Mary Beth

    Oh wow, congratulations! I’ve been looking forward to BLACK DOG since you first posted a snippet, and I’m so delighted to hear that we’ll finally be getting it. (With a sequel, no less!) I’ve been impressed with Angry Robot books in the past, so REALLY looking forward to Spring 2014.

    Also, on the issue of Hispanic main characters: My roommate is Mexican-American, and has frequently mentioned the difficulty of growing up as a girl who loved fantasy when NONE of the characters she loved looked like her. I told her about BLACK DOG and she said: “That sounds delightful and I must have it.” So there’s two of us. :)

    And finally, I’m curious — if the paranormal surge is finally slowing, what’s your sense of the next Big Trend?

  5. Rachel

    Glad you’re going to be looking for it — and glad to hear your roommate will as well. Yes, you hear comments like that all the time, so I might have chosen to make my main characters Hispanic anyway, if I’d thought of it — but as I said, they really did step into the first scene with names and personalities and histories all in place. I have no idea what subconscious processes generates characters!

    I have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what the next trend might possibly be. But if I did, I would probably try to avoid it. It is just a pain to wind up writing a book on the downhill side of a trend. Agent blogs can be a place to keep an eye out for what trends may be shaping up, though — I like Kristen Nelson’s blog, Pub Rants. She sometimes comments on a possible trend she thinks might be developing.

  6. Rachel

    Also, has your roommate read GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS? Because it’s really good, and set in a sort of secondary South America or Mexico.

  7. Mary Beth

    Yes, she’s read GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS; I got it for her on her last birthday.

    And I followed up on the Barbara Hambly recommendation you made a while ago — read THOSE WHO HUNT THE NIGHT and loved it. Very fun. I’ll have to keep an eye out for the sequels. I also just read Kij Johnson’s THE FOX WOMAN and loved it. Very different, very evocative, and beautifully written, I thought. Picking up the sequel this weekend (and then Wells’ ebook release of DEATH OF THE NECROMANCER.)

  8. Rachel

    I have THE FOX WOMAN on my TBR pile! Kind of up toward the top! Also DEATH OF THE NECROMANCER. I have quite a few books jostling for space on those shelves, as always. After I’ve done these revisions and before seriously getting into the BLACK DOG sequel, I will definitely take a week or two to read a lot of books. But which?

    At the moment, the ones I plan to read first are PANTOMIME by Laura Lam, THE ASSASSIN’S CURSE by Cassandra Rose Clark — those are both Strange Chemistry books and I’m interested — and A NATURAL HISTORY OF DRAGONS by Marie Brennen. Then I don’t know, but maybe I would pull out THE FOX WOMAN. I’ve always liked kitsune.

  9. Matthew

    Congratulations!

    Plus, hearing that you’ve got a new book coming out means that a good day just got better for me. :)

  10. Keertana

    I just saw this and now I’m so excited! I love werewolves, I love dark stories, and Strange Chemistry has published some amazing novels this past year. CONGRATS! :D You’ve given me the motivation I need to finish all of your other books before BLACK DOG releases now! ;)

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