Author for a Day . . . or Something Like That

By Michelle Andreani

As you may have seen, Mindi and I turned in our pass pages recently. (This means TWBTY is one step closer to being a book-book! YAYAY.) Picking up and dropping off the pass pages gave me the privilege of visiting the HarperCollins offices and our editor, Alex Arnold — which was something in a long list of somethings that have made this Author Business seem real. (Because I have to say, 99% of the time, it does not feel real.)

So, yeah! I went to HarperCollins! To meet an editor! And not because it was a job interview! I was like an author in the movies. And I had this vision of strolling up to the security desk and being all, “Good day, I’m here for HarperCollins. The fancy book publisher. To meet my editor. Because I’m an author. Of a book.” But that didn’t happen because, while the security desk man was very good at his job, I don’t think he cared why I was there? Also, to be honest, he has probably seen authors like Ann Patchett and Gail Carson Levine and The Pioneer Woman breeze through that lobby, so a big shot, I am not. And anyway, saying all of that in my own head was enough.

The Harper offices are basically a utopian society built by readers. THERE ARE BOOKS EVERYWHERE. I snapped some photos, because hugging the bookcases would have been inappropriate.


IMG_2586    FullSizeRender (8)

While there, I got to chat with Mindi’s and my editor, Alex Arnold! Alex’s guidance was a big part of TWBTY, so chatting all things Cloudy and Kyle, getting some inside info, even just seeing all the fun stuff she has in her workspace — it was all so lovely! And hopefully I behaved well enough to be invited again?


So, while I’m maybe a Real Life Author every day now, it certainly doesn’t feel real. Except on some days, when it kind of goes out of its way to prove that it is. 🙂

Where We Are: A TWBTY Timeline!

by Michelle Andreani

It’s been awhile since we’ve updated you on all things THE WAY BACK TO YOU. And so many things have happened! (That’s our excuse for being so bad at the updating. Things happening!) (We’re sorry.) But water under the bridge! We thought the funnest way to share what we’ve been up to is a photo timeline. So, please join us and here we go.

Sure, we wrote TWBTY on our computers, but so many thoughts, and starts, and details went into our character journals. Cloudy and Kyle really came to life in them. This is Mindi’s, packed full of Kyle Knowledge!


While we relied on the internet (and our new best friend, Google Maps, specifically) for research, sometimes we needed to take matters into our own hands. Literally. When I was having a tough time rewriting a scene set in Santa Monica, CA, I drew my own version in my journal. And it helped that scene a ton!  (Map not to scale.)

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Writing and revising TWBTY was fun and lots of work and exciting and sometimes miserable. The misery was courtesy of this guy:


*hates you*

Then! Finally! In June 2015, our draft was complete. And a couple months later, it was copyediting time. At that point, TWBTY was still all electronic, and it looked like this:

Copyedited TWBTY

November arrived sooner than expected, and along with it, pass pages! With those we were able to go through a hard copy of our story; one that was starting to look like a real book! And it required Post-Its. A lot of Post-Its.

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A lot of Post-Its






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Hi, Arm silhouette!

Hi, Arm silhouette!


And that’s where we are with TWBTY. I told you a lot had happened! Now we’re gearing up to share Cloudy, Kyle, Arm, and co. with all of you.  We hope you’re ready to meet them after all this time. 🙂

We Have News.


So. Um. I’m not really sure how to do this. Because I’ve never done anything like this before.

Never ever.

Because I’ve never had a book deal before.

AND WE HAVE A BOOK DEAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Us, all week.

Our book, FAR FROM US, is going to be published.


It’s true! About a week ago, super agent Jim McCarthy, Mindi, and I accepted a deal with Alexandra Arnold of Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins).


PM Deal

And in case you don’t feel like clicking, here’s what it says:

Michelle Andreani and Mindi Scott’s FAR FROM US, a dual narrative in which two grieving teens take a road trip across the Southwest after their friend is killed in an accident and along the way chart a journey of loss, hope, and love as they discover the ways that she lives on even after her death, to Alex Arnold at Katherine Tegen Books, by Jim McCarthy at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management (World).

Eep! Eeeeeeeeeeep!



Are there words that even exist for this?! (I guess that’s not the most impressive thing, announcing a book deal and then being unable to string together some sentences, huh? Yeesh!) But still! It all feels so very surreal, something I haven’t quite wrapped my head around yet, even after years and years of dreaming up a moment just like it. (I was even in my pajamas when it happened – just like I always imagined!) Of course, those were the same years and years of telling myself to take it down a notch, Michelle, it might never happen.

But it did.

It happened. IT’S HAPPENING!!!!!!!


Night cheese, Snuggie happy!

Mindi and I are so, so happy to work with Alex, who has shown such enthusiasm for FFU, and we are so fortunate to have her behind our book! And we’re really excited to join Katherine Tegen Books, the home of so many fantastic stories — including Veronica Roth’s Divergent (MAYBE YOU’VE HEARD OF IT), and another of my favorites, Hilary T. Smith’s Wild Awake.

We are very lucky.

And I feel like the luckiest person ever to have had Mindi in my corner all this time. Without her endless support, crazyyyyy talent, and all-around general wonderfulness, I would not be writing this. And a bazillion thank-yous to Jim, who took a chance on me, was ever encouraging, and fought for FFU all the way.

(Is this where I thank other people? What happens next?? Did I talk about how surreal this is?! My brain is all jumbly!)

A dream come true. That’s all I can think to say about it.

Except that I am bursting with gratitude and excitement and happy-nausea!

This will be my first ever First Book. And I (and we) hope you like it. 🙂



‘The Power of Vulnerability’

by Michelle Andreani


I’m trying to make this a short intro because I really, really, really just want you to watch this video. Especially if you’re someone who, like me, struggles with self-worth and those three slippery words: “I am enough.”

In her powerful TED Talk, Brené Brown calls people who feel worthy of love and belonging “the Wholehearted.” (Which I. am. crazy. about. The Wholehearteds sounds like the coolest club ever!) She also discusses human connection, and how she discovered, through research, that vulnerability might be at the center of it all. Vulnerability is an incredibly significant topic for me, both personally and fictionally — one of our characters has her own vulnerability issues (teaser!), and I am so glad my own research led me to this. I felt understood as I listened. I feel like I can understand more as I write.

Now, I know it’s twenty minutes long, and you’re like, “That’s 19:30 minutes too long for something on YouTube without cats, you monster!” But I promise! Brené is so engaging and funny and she speaks DIRECTLY TO YOUR SOUL and you will possibly spend many more minutes afterward looking up every other thing she has done ever. Like I did!

Anyway. I stumbled on this when I very much needed to hear these things, and I thought you might need to hear these things. So, here. ❤

That Time I Fangirled My Own Character. Sort of.

by Michelle Andreani

First, a little background: Remember when Mindi and I blogged about what Kyle and Cloudy look like? When figuring that out, we decided to use actual humans as a reference. Since we were writing the same characters, we needed the same pictures in our heads.  A good plan, yes? Yes! I agree.

The unfortunate part of all this was I didn’t know the name of the Cloudy-ish girl I’d chosen. (I’d saved the photo a few years ago — for another WIP — and never bothered to add her name when doing so. NICE FORESIGHT, MICHELLE CIRCA 2009.) It would’ve been nice to see if she looked Cloudy-ish in any other photos. And I felt rotten for not being able to credit her and the photographer in my post. Alas! In the end, it didn’t seem completely necessary to know who she was. So, that was that.

But then . . . it wasn’t!

Because God and MTV put Catfish on the air, which brought Google Image Search into our hearts and lives. Finally, I was able to find out this Cloudy-ish girl’s name! (FYI: It’s Devynne. And I only omit her last name in the hopes that she never, ever sees the nerdiness this hath wrought.) So, yep, I was VERY EXCITED when I found out. Very!

I rushed to edit that previous post, and finally give credit where it was due.  A few days later, I innocently clicked on a WordPress link (fine, it was an EW article about The Vampire Diaries), and I saw that I had a notification pending. A pretty, yellow star! It was this notification:






It was terrifyinggggggg.

Right away, I discounted the possibility that this was an Impostor Devynne . . . I don’t know why. Because I felt like it? After that, I was able to focus on the reality of her knowing I’d based a fictional character ON HER FACE. And clearly, she was now commenting to say I was big time creep, and to quit it already, oh and also she’s calling her lawyer.

But that wasn’t her comment at all.  She was full-on lovely — especially considering it is maybe not the most normal thing to stumble upon yourself in this context. She didn’t think I was crazy! Or, I mean, she didn’t SAY IT in text form, which totally counts legally!!!!!

So, then things went a little like this:

I’m serious. I had the kind of out-of-body experience that only comes from the purest, code-red kind of fangirling. Obviously, Devynne is not Cloudy. She is her own person, and very much incredibly separate from the Cloudy I know. But for a little while, just like when I met Max Irons (swoooon), it was sort of like this person who doesn’t actually exist did, well, exist. And she’d broken through and talked to me.

So I texted Mindi, and while I’m sure she was like, “Hey, that’s cool, just maybe calm the eff down?”, she nonethless gave me the sage advice to reply in a gracious and complimentary manner. So I did — at least, I hope I did. (After a looooot of agonizing, obviously.)

And I think I succeeded! Maybe not. I haven’t heard from any lawyers., though. That’s something! 😉

When Characters Become Real. I Mean, Like, Really Real

by Michelle Andreani

Have Mindi and I ever told you about Matty? We really, really like talking about Matty.

He’s been one of the funnest characters to write so far: silly and playful and sweet. And dreamy. There, I said it. But despite bubbling up with inner charm, Matty needed some outer-ness, and the first thing that struck me about Matty was that he’d have a killer smile. (Also a rest-of-his-body, and probably hair, but a face-brightening grin was what I automatically associated with him.) So, when I came across this gif of a smirky Max Irons . . .


And I was also like: “*giggles coquettishly*”

I digress. (But seriously, let’s talk about Matty being dreamy sometime, yeah?) This gif has an overall Matty-ness to it and, thankfully, Mindi seemed on-board with this vision. All was well!

Fast forward some months to this February, when I was visiting a dear friend in Washington, DC. As luck would have it, Stephenie Meyer (yes, that one!) was on a small-ish book tour promoting her new novel-turned-movie, The Host. And her DC stop just so happened to coincide with my DC vacation. Stars aligned, I tell ya!

Oh, wait. I feel obligated to tell you here that I like the Twilight series. Sometimes I even like it a lot! I am okay with this. And while I like it for various reasons, I know that many people dislike it for various reasons, and we agree to disagree, and hooray for different opinions! (But if you are one of those people who cannot agree to disagree, I must direct you here. Thank you.)

My friend and I were all over that signing, if only because Stephenie Meyer is not the most accessible of authors these days. (And the signing was at Politics and Prose, a DC bookstore I’ve always wanted to get to.) But I’ll be honest, I was equally excited when I found out there’d be additional guests at the event – some handsome actor-types from the film.


Apologies for the bad quality. I blame the adorable smiles! (That's costar Jake Abel to his right.)

Adorable Boy Smiles screw with photo quality, I say! (That’s costar Jake Abel on the left.)

You guys. Beholding Max Irons was like seeing Matty in the flesh. (Only not, of course, because Max Irons is Max Irons and not a fictional teen boy. But still!) Seeing this person who so resembles a character in our book was a surreal moment – especially when he flashed that grin. (*giggles coquettishly*) It was as if, at least for a few minutes, Matty had come to real, flesh-and-blood life. How often do writers get to experience that? So, it was a total thrill for me – and Mindi, once I texted her the photo – considering how much time Matty spends locked up in our heads. Sometimes characters need to stretch their legs, I guess. 😉

And you’ll be happy to know that smile is just as effective in reality as it is in that gif above. Totally Matty-worthy.

(PS: If you think this makes me sound like a creep, just WAIT until my next post, wherein I ask the question: “Can you fangirl your own character?” And answer it with: “I don’t know BUT I DID.”)

Very Superstitious (aka The 1st Book I Read This Year Will Dictate Everything)

by Michelle Andreani

So, I used to have this ritual: my first read of  a fresh year had to be a book I loved. The first published words I read in January had to be magic. And I know that’s kind of flashing my OCD membership card, but what better way to start a new year than with some good reading mojo?

To ensure true book love on January 1st, the book I read had to be one I’d already fallen in love with. I mean, new books were too unpredictable! What if I hated this new book? Or worse. What if it was a meh-fest and I didn’t even care enough to hate it? Are you kidding me? MY YEAR WOULD BE RUINED.

But this year, something happened.

My library books were reaching their due date.

I was itching for something different.

And so, my first book of 2013 was brand new.

A risk!

. . .

Fine, it was a Melina Marchetta book. Not really a risk, admittedly, because it’s a statistical impossibility to read a bad Melina Marchetta book since “a bad Melina Marchetta book” is like, not even a thing. It was a (maybe strategized) cheat, for sure, to choose this one from the pile, but it totally counts as a new read (and you can’t take that away from me!). The book was Looking for Alibrandi. And I did love it. It made me laugh and tear up and most definitely swirled up some good reading juju for 2013.

So, yep, I broke my old ritual (have mercy). I didn’t start this year with the security of words I already know and love, but with shiny, exciting new words that I never saw coming. And that’s not a bad way to start fresh. 🙂

Now, tell me! What was your first read of 2013?

Here’s to 2013!

by Michelle Andreani

Whew, 2012! It’s been quite a year — and frankly, not one I’m sorry to see go. But that’s not 2012’s fault. You see, I put a lot of pressure on this year to be The Year. I expected big things in my writing, big changes in my professional and personal lives, and 2012 certainly has a nice symmetrical sound do it, so why wouldn’t this be The Year?! My Year.

2012 never stood a chance. Poor thing.

These past 365 days were hardly a loss. I traveled more than I ever have in a single year, and I wrote more than I did in 2011. But compared to my 2012 Expectations of Glorious Glory (I wanted to visit the UK, which I didn’t. I wanted to write an entire novel, which I didn’t.), these accomplishments sound … wimpy. And that’s stupid.

So, here’s to a frothy new year! One not weighed down in expectation and stress from the get-go, but helium-filled with possibility and promise. Goals that make us bright and better. The little accomplishments that make us proud of ourselves, and make the little failures seem not so bad. And milkshake rewards, of course!

Let’s do this, 2013. Here’s to a happy, happy one. 🙂

Cloudy Snippet #2

by Michelle Andreani
“Thank God,” I groan, reaching to click off the ancient CD player. The sounds of overlapping guitars and the la-la-la-ing singer stop abruptly, my car now mercifully silent. I shudder all over like the power button is covered in raw meatloaf. “No more music by sad boys.”
Zoë, in the passenger seat, crosses her arms over her chest. “You said I could choose.”
“My mistake.” I put the Honda in Park and turn off the engine.
“Well, they’re not sad. They’re—”
“Passionate,” my little sister says, decisively and dreamy-eyed.
“Oh, gag.” I snap off my seatbelt and twist to grab my puffy coat from the backseat. Slipping it on, I say, “Just so you know, on the way home we’re listening to someone . . . blond.”
Zoë’s eyes scrunch up behind her glasses. “Blond?”
“Blond”—I count it off on one finger, then more—“and fond of drum machines. And clapping.”