We Picked Up the Phone!

by mindi scott

In 2012, Michelle wrote on this blog about how she and I communicate together regarding our joint writing projects. (Summary: We use G-chat, email, and texts non-stop.)

The method we’d never used? THE TELEPHONE.

And, in fact, the only times Michelle and I had spoken on the phone together at all ever were during conference calls with our agent and/or editor.

On December 4, 2015, everything changed.

Yes, on that day, Michelle and I opted to discuss with our voices all the final edits we’d each decided  in advance would need to to submitted back to our publisher from the Proofread First Pass Galleys. IMG_5365

After combined total of about five hours on our headsets, one accidental hangup, and one dead battery, we got it all done!

It wasn’t terrible; it was fun, actually. We learned that we each pronounce the name “Devynne,” (a minor character from The Way Back to You) differently, which we’d never have learned from textual communication. I don’t know about Michelle, but I might be up for Conducting Writing Business by Phone again one day. Maybe.  😉

Author Photos!

by mindi scott

Before Michelle came to Washington to visit me this summer, we got  a few price quotes from local photographers, and then set  an appointment to get photos of us together for  The Way Back to You‘s marketing needs.

We quickly learned that as stressful as it was to select a photographer, that had been the easiest part.

Because what in the world were we going to wear?????

We each spent countless hours online, looking for outfits and reading reviews. We wanted our clothes to coordinate, but not necessarily look like we’d coordinated on purpose. You know how it is.

We communicated with a ModCloth stylist. We set up a secret Pinterest with tons of options. We made collages of our favorite dresses positioned side by side. We ordered items. We returned items. IT WAS A PROCESS.

Here are a few selected-at-random shots of us taken by the lovely Brandy Stockwell while we’re wearing our carefully-selected dresses (and cloud necklaces!) from ModCloth. (In case you wondered, our photo shoot was at Flaming Geyser State Park. Also? Anytime Michelle looks taller than me, it’s an illusion! Haha.)
MnM Author Shoot-2447MnM Author Shoot-2469 MnM Author Shoot-2435MnM Author Shoot-2420MnM Author Shoot-2413MnM Author Shoot--2MnM Author Shoot-2423

How It Started

Me with Michelle - March 2014

Photo by Dwayne Scott. March 2014

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been over three years since Michelle and I started brainstorming for the story we’ve been writing together. As you might have seen yesterday, our book is going to be published by HarperCollins, perhaps in late-2015 or early-ish 2016! (Edit: It will be summer 2016.) And if you haven’t, please check out Michelle’s post. We are so excited about this!!!!

I thought it would be fun to share Michelle’s and my original correspondence about the story that would become FAR FROM US, so I’ve pasted below two days’ worth of emails from 2011. Some of what we discussed in these first emails didn’t come to be at all (like our two narrators not loving the girl who died), but a lot of it will be in the book in some form. For extra context, here’s a one-sentence pitch Michelle and I put together very recently:

FAR FROM US is a dual narrative of heartbreak, hijinks, and healing, in which two grieving teens, Cloudy and Kyle, who have avoided each other for the past year, spend their mid-winter break traveling, along with a stray kitten, through Oregon, California, Arizona, and Nevada to see the organ recipients of Cloudy’s deceased best friend, who was also Kyle’s girlfriend.

FYI: These emails are unedited. Michelle’s are in black and my responses are in blue. The conversation ends abruptly because all the emails that followed are incredibly lengthy and detailed; we’d decided at that point that we were really going to write this. It took a while to start it, though, because I was on deadline with my second novel for all of 2011. 🙂


From: Michelle Andreani
To: Mindi Scott
Sent: Fri, April 22, 2011 6:26:47 AM
Subject: RE: Does this sound stupid?

Hey! I know you’re in the middle of your first draft right now, so sorry to bother you! 

But I had an idea on the ride up to work and wanted to share it before a) I forgot it, and b) before I thought about it anymore, only to find out it’s stupid. (I think the subject line of this email is perfect, btw.)

So, this is it: A girl whose best friend/sister/boyfriend/parent/miscellaneous loved one has died, and she somehow goes to find the people who received this loved one’s donated organs. Wouldn’t that be an interesting road trip??

Is that gross?! Or creepy? Or too sentimental? 

Okay, sorry again. Back to work!


Date: Fri, 22 Apr 2011 11:38:26 -0700
From: Mindi Scott
Subject: Re: Does this sound stupid?
To: Michelle Andreani

Ha, I’m so glad we’re able to keep using this subject line!

I don’t think it sounds stupid! It sounds like it has the potential to be very, very emotional. I think it’s more along the lines of sentimental than gross or creepy, but it wouldn’t have to be TOO sentimental. There are all sorts of possibilities as far as who she will encounter, who (if anyone) will go with her, and what sorts of revelations she’ll have along the way!
From: Michelle Andreani
To: Mindi Scott
Sent: Fri, April 22, 2011 11:57:18 AM
Subject: RE: Does this sound stupid?

Thanks for the input! I have no intention of writing this any time soon (besides, saving the road trip for OUR story, woo!). I just wanted your opinion 🙂Hope your writing is getting done!
Date: Fri, 22 Apr 2011 12:03:49 -0700
From: Mindi Scott
Subject: Re: Does this sound stupid?
To: Michelle Andreani

See, and when I read this idea, I was thinking, Hey! I wonder if we could use this for Claudia and Kyle. But then I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want you to feel like you’re being held back from working on any stories that strike your fancy on account of me! 🙂
From: Michelle Andreani
To: Mindi Scott
Sent: Fri, April 22, 2011 2:48:35 PM
Subject: RE: Does this sound stupid?

Hahaha! Well, as soon as I thought Road trip!, I of course thought of our story, but I didn’t want to say anything because what if you hated this organ donor nonsense?? 

PS: I think Claudia might be Stormy again, because I’ve since had interactions with a Claudia I didn’t care for…

Continue reading

YOU ARE HERE with Kristina Springer


Today, Kristina Springer is sharing a photo of one of her favorite places… the type of place that most book-loving people would LOVE to be able to have of their own!


Contributor: Author Kristina Springer

My favorite room in my house is the library. I’d always wanted a library so when we moved earlier this year I was thrilled to have one in our new house. And this one comes with a coffee bar so I’m hooked. Anyway, it’s a little room right off of the family room and the kids (and me) love to go in here to read.”


Kristina Springer’s newest release, My Fake Boyfriend is Better Than Yours, was recently released and she’s a having a contest over at her blog.  The winner will get:  A $20 gift card (Starbucks or Amazon, your choice!),  autographed copy of My Fake Boyfriend is Better Than Yours,  Fake Boyfriend Emergency Kit, and a variety of bookmarks/stickers from all of her books. To find out more and to enter the contest, definitely check out this link!

MFBIBTYAbout My Fake Boyfriend is Better Than Yours:  Seventh grade was supposed to be fun, but Tori is having major drama with her BFF, Sienna. Sienna changed a lot over the summer—on the first day of school she’s tan, confident, and full of stories about her new dreamy boyfriend. Tori knows that she’s totally making this guy up. So Tori invents her own fake boyfriend, who is better than Sienna’s in every way. Things are going great—unless you count the whole lying-to-your-best-friend thing—until everyone insists Tori and Sienna bring their boyfriends to the back-to-school dance.

YOU ARE HERE with Sara Hantz


Yay! I’m so excited to share with you another YOU ARE HERE photo. This one is from Sara Hantz. (FYI: I’m having a lot of fun with this feature. I’ll be sharing one of my own travel photos in the near future!)

photo by Sally Rigby

photo by Sara Hantz

Contributor: Author Sara Hantz

“We currently live on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. There are lots of pelicans, which are incredible close up. We actually live on an island which is accessible by a bridge. As you cross the bridge there are lamp posts and the pelicans sit on top of them, usually one or two on every lamp-post, it’s an amazing sight.”



Sara Hantz originally comes from the UK and is one of four children, having three younger brothers. Although she was an avid reader from a very early age, she didn’t get the writing bug until much later in life, though English was always one of her stronger subjects. She’s an avid sun chaser and now lives on the beautiful Sunshine Coast in Australia (via 10 years in New Zealand). Sara lectured for many years before deciding to devote more time to her writing and working in the family hospitality business. She has two grown-up children and when not writing, working, or online with her friends, she spends more time than most people she knows watching TV – in fact if TV watching was an Olympic sport she’d win gold. Sara’s books: In The Blood, The Second Virginity of Suzy Green and Will The Real Abi Saunders Please Stand Up (due out May 2014).

In the Blood - Hantz[1]About IN THE BLOOD:
For seventeen years, Jed Franklin’s life was normal. Then his father was charged with the abuse and murder of four young boys and normal became a nightmare. His mom’s practically a walking zombie, he’s lost most of his friends, and the press camps out on his lawn. The only things that keep him sane are his little sis; his best friend and dream girl, Summer; and the alcohol he stashes in his room. But after Jed wakes up from a total blackout to discover a local kid has gone missing—a kid he was last seen talking to—he’s forced to face his greatest fear: that he could somehow be responsible.

In a life that’s spiraled out of control, Jed must decide if he chooses his own destiny with Summer by his side or if the violent urges that plagued his father are truly in the blood…

YOU ARE HERE with Sarah Guillory


RECLAIMED High Res Cover finalI’m excited to share another YOU ARE HERE travel-photo post with y’all.

This one is from Sarah Guillory, whose debut novel Reclaimed is coming out October 15, 2013.

I had the opportunity for an early read and I offered up this promotional blurb (my first!):

“Packed with atmosphere and surprises, Reclaimed is one of those rare books that kept me guessing throughout and inspired an immediate reread.” – Mindi Scott, author of Freefall and Live Through This.

The paperback and e-book for Reclaimed are available for preorder now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and IndieBound so I hope you’ll consider checking it out. 🙂

Hogwarts Express and Sarah Guillory

Hogwarts Express and Sarah Guillory

Contributor: Author Sarah Guillory

“I fell in love with reading when I was four years old and spent my childhood visiting worlds much different than my own. I’m from a small town in Arkansas, and while it was an idyllic place to grow up, it was a very vanilla view of the world. We didn’t have the Internet and we didn’t get cable, so what I learned about this world I learned from books.

In college I majored in English and spent my time buried in the classics. As part of my education curriculum, I was required to take a young adult literature class. I was indignant. I did not believe in dumbing down education. I was going to teach the classics and they were going to like it!

The first book I was introduced to once I got to class was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. At that time there were only three books in the series, and I was hooked from the first page. I was often late for class because I was sitting in my car, reading. That was when I fell in love with children’s literature.

So you can imagine my elation when my husband came home last summer and informed me that we were going to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I immediately became a child. I squealed, jumped up and down, and then called my sister to rub it in.

I was up before dawn the first day we went to the park. We had early access passes, and I was a bundle of nerves as we rode the boat over. Once we got through the gates, I wanted to run. I would have if my husband hadn’t been with me. He stayed an adult, but I had shed all respectability at the door. I walked as fast as I could and kept telling him to hurry up. I saw Hogwarts in the distance and felt a lump form in my throat. When we rounded the corner and came to the entrance to Hogsmeade, I teared up.

Because here was one of my favorite books, my best adventure, come to life.

I stood in line with all the other kids to have my picture taken with the conductor. I wasn’t even a little embarrassed. While I was taller than the others in line, and had celebrated more birthdays, I was still a kid, one who had cheered Harry on, worried about him, cried over him.

Standing in front of the Hogwarts Express was everything I’d imagined it would be.

Reading itself is the Hogwarts Express. We board the train in a familiar place and end up thousands of miles from home. And like Harry, who never wants to leave Hogwarts and return to the normalcy of the Dursley’s, I am loathe to finish a book and find myself back in reality.

But the great thing about reading is that I don’t have to wait for September 1st to return to Hogwarts. I don’t need fairy dust to find my way to Neverland. I don’t have to go through the wardrobe or looking glass to find adventure. I only have to pick up a book.”


Guillory5Sarah Guillory has always loved words and had a passion for literature. When she’s not reading or writing, Sarah runs marathons, which she credits with keeping her at least partially sane.

Sarah teaches high school English and lives in Louisiana with her husband and their bloodhound, Gus. Reclaimed is her debut novel.

Phobia: Recordings of My Own Voice

239/365: 08/27/2013. Invention of Telephone

Photo by peddhapati

I don’t know what it is, but few things make me cringe more than hearing a recording of my voice. Over twenty years have passed since this happened, I still have a clear, uncomfortable memory from when I was around age 14.

(Side note: This was the very early-90s when few people had cell phones or voicemail. Instead, entire households shared one phone number and had devices called “answering machines” where callers could leave recorded messages that were played back later on a speaker than anyone in the room could hear. *shudder*)

So I was visiting my friend Mignonne for whom I’d left a message earlier that day. Someone forgot to erase it or hadn’t yet listened to it perhaps. Much to my mortification, Mignonne’s dad started playing the messages on the machine and said, “There’s one from Mindi on here.”

Hearing my own voice on the recording, I suddenly jumped up from the couch screeching, “Turn it off! Turn it off!”

I think Mignonne’s whole family probably looked at me like I’d lost it juuuuuust a little bit.

My feelings about hearing my voice haven’t changed. Even though I did a few vlogs (most of them during the summer of 2010 before my first novel came out), I’ve never gotten used to it. I did watch a few of the videos, but not all. Some of them, I know that I will never be able to subject myself to.

Anyway! That was my lead-in to let you know about the fun podcast that I recent was involved in with Sarah and Laura at the Clear Eyes, Full Shelves blog! I haven’t listened to it yet (you know, because of my phobia), but I totally invite you to do so. 🙂

The topic we explored is “Personal Agency” and how it applies to characters in fiction (including my own) taking control of their own lives. We also veered off into sub-discussions about zombies, Vince Howard (a wonderful character on the TV series Friday Night Lights), and Courtney Summers (an author whom I ADORE).

We were very, very chatty, so the entire conversation is split into two parts. Sarah has put together posts at her blog for each part. Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here. I’ve gotten feedback that some listeners have learned a few things from what I had to say about my approach to writing, which is exciting to me. If you listen to the podcast, I hope you’ll like it!

YOU ARE HERE with Debbie Rigaud


I’m so excited! Michelle and I have a brand-new feature here at our blog called “YOU ARE HERE.” Michelle came up with this great name, and I love it. Hooray!!!!!!!

Since the novel that we’re writing together (FAR FROM US) includes a road trip, we’re going to feature photos on this blog from our own travels as well as photos submitted to us from some of the authors we know. Each photo will also have a few paragraphs of explanation. We thought this would be a really fun way to see new places and “hear” about where others have been. 🙂

Here’s our first photo to show off!

School Girls in Haiti – photo by Debbie Rigaud

Location: HAITI
Contributor: Author Debbie Rigaud

“I took this photo in a small town in Haiti last year. It was my first ever trip to Haiti and I was so excited to be there. I was with a group of Haitian-American and Haitian-Canadian people who, like me, had been raised with the language, food and culture of Haiti, but had never visited the country. My parents emigrated to the US from Haiti the decade before I was born, but they instilled in me an understanding of the culture and knowledge of Creole and French, so I was able to wing it (somewhat) while I was there.

During our tour through Haiti’s gorgeous mountainsides and into various villages, large towns and cities, I was struck by the colorful ribbons I’d see adorning the hairstyles of countless school girls along the roads. It was like they all had candy-colored butterflies atop their heads. And the ribbons were not just worn by the younger girls, but also by tweens and even girls in their early teens! It was almost as if childhood lasted a lot longer in Haiti than it did in the neighborhood where I grew up in New Jersey. The girls in this photo are singing along to the praise music at an outdoor church. Though the church was completely destroyed in the earthquake and remained but a stone shell (minus the roof!), there was tarp overhead and plastic chairs assembled, along with a portable sound system. The place was packed and everyone was joyously worshipping and giving thanks. I couldn’t walk by without snapping this photo.” 


Rigaud.HeadshotDebbie Rigaud began her writing career covering news and entertainment for popular magazines. Her YA fiction debut, HALLWAY DIARIES/Kimani Tru was followed by the fish-out-of-water romantic comedy PERFECT SHOT/Simon Pulse. Since then, Debbie’s non-fiction essays have been published in anthologies IT’S ALL LOVE/Broadway Books and DEAR BULLY/HarperTeen. Her short story “Voila!” is featured in OPEN MIC/Candlewick Press, and TURFQUAKE, her first YA e-book will be released late 2013.

Listen in as ten YA authors use their own brand of humor to share their stories about growing up between cultures. Edited by acclaimed author and speaker Mitali Perkins, this collection of fiction and nonfiction embraces a mix of styles as diverse as their authors, from laugh-out-loud funny to wry, ironic, or poignant, in prose, poetry and comic form. www.facebook.com/openmicanthology

About “Voila” 
Thanks to overprotective parenting, Simone’s elderly great aunt Ma Tante has more of a social life than she does. But one afternoon, Ma Tante’s social scene awkwardly intersects with Simone’s in the unlikeliest of places.

All about Diana Rodriguez Wallach and REFLECTING EMMY



Diana Rodriguez Wallach is the author of Mirror, Mirror (Buzz Books 2013). She is also the author of three award-winning YA novels: Amor and Summer Secrets, Amigas and School Scandals, and Adios to All The Drama (Kensington Books). 

In 2011, she published a highly regarded essay in Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories (HarperCollins), and in 2013, she will be featured in the anthology Latina Authors and Their Muses (Twilight Times Books). In 2010 Diana was named one of the Top Ten New Latino Authors to Watch by LatinoStories.com, and she placed second in the International Latino Book Awards. She hold a B.S. in Journalism from Boston University, and currently lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter.


Website: www.dianarodriguezwallach.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/dianarwallach

Facebook: www.facebook.com/diana.rodriguezwallach

Tumblr: http://dianarwallach.tumblr.com

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/dianarwallach/boards/

Diana answered some questions for us, so here we go! 🙂

At age eight, what did you want to be when you grew up? And at age eighteen? And while you’re at it, what about at age twenty-eight?

Diana Rodriguez Wallach: When I was little, I wanted to be an interior designer, which I think led to my love of HGTV. When I was in college, I was a broadcast journalism major, and I worked as a magazine reporter in NYC. And now, I just want to be the next Stephenie Meyer with a megahit young adult series and five blockbuster movies. No biggie, right?

Which Breakfast-Club-style label would have best fit your teenage self? 

DRW: I was a mix between the princess and the brain. I was in the National Honors Society, so my grades were good; but I was also raised Catholic, so I was very innocent with a good-girl image. I wasn’t nerdy, but I wasn’t overly popular either. I always say I was the girl who sat next to you in English. People knew me, but I mostly flew under the radar.

Without giving away too much from your newest book, which character or scene from it are you the most pleased to have created, and why?

DRW: Reflecting Emmy is the first short story in my Mirror, Mirror trilogy. It’s different from your typical book release, because it’s essentially a short-story collection consisting of Reflecting Emmy, Nara Gazing, and Shattering GiGi. The scene I’m most proud of is in Shattering GiGi, the third story, which releases in November 2013. It’s one of the final scenes in the trilogy, when Nara, the narcissistic teen at the center of the series, has to confront one of the classmates she’s hurt. I didn’t want the scene to be cheesy, and I didn’t want it to be just one long conversation; so I had to work hard to make the confrontation “active.” Ultimately, I came up with a paranormal way to give the reader an inside look as to what exactly went down between these two girls; and it’s now my favorite scene, because you really feel for both of the characters.

Which are your favorite movies to watch again and again?
DRW: John Hughes films. He is to filmmaking what Judy Blume is to YA novels, the godfather of the teen genre. I just love how he captures the mind and emotions of high school students, and I think his films are still relevant today. I own a boxset.


And, now, the most important question of all: Beatles or Elvis? Please support your answer. 😉

DRW: I can’t believe I’m going to admit this publicly, but I’m not a huge fan of either. I don’t think I have any Beatles or Elvis on my iPod (just some covers), that’s not to say that I don’t appreciate them. They are the godfathers of rock & roll to which all other rockers owe their roots. But if I had to choose one, I’d say the Beatles, primarily because I love the song “Let it be.” Though I also love Ingrid Michaelson’s version of “Can’t help falling in love with you.” See, I like covers.


About the first story in the trilogy:

Eighteen-year-old Emmy is in the family business-trapping vapid narcissistic souls into her silver compact mirror for all eternity. It’s what the Rhamnusia family has been doing for thousands of years, all under the direction of Great Grandmother. Only Emmy’s latest assignment, Nara, is about to prove more challenging than she ever expected.

Gorgeous and self-absorbed, Nara is unflinchingly cruel to her classmates. Even her boyfriend, Luke, can no longer tolerate her actions–much to Emmy’s relief since she finds Luke a little more than intriguing. But when Emmy tricks Nara into gazing into her mystical mirror, what she finds there is not what she’s expecting.

All About Amanda Ashby and DEMONOSITY


Amanda Ashby has a new book out this week–DEMONOSITY–which sounds so fun and cute!


Check out the summary:

The Black Rose–a powerful ancient force–has been let loose and has taken up residence in Celeste Gibson, popular girl at Cassidy Carter-Lewis’ high school. Thomas Delacroix is the spirit of a fourteenth-century knight who is devoted to protecting the Black Rose, but he needs a contemporary living being to take on the challenge. That’s where Cassidy comes in.

She’s a quirky high school junior who just wants to dress in her vintage clothes, hang out with her best friend, and take care of her father, who is recovering from surgery. She’s the last person who would ever volunteer for such a task, but no one actually asked her. Now, like it or not, she finds herself training before dawn and battling demons at parties, the mall, and even at school. But hey, no one ever said high school was going to be easy.

I’m loving that Buffy vibe in the description!

Amanda Ashby took some time to answer a few questions for me below. To learn even more about her and her books you can, check out her website, or follow her on Twitter or Facebook


At age eight, what did you want to be when you grew up? And at age eighteen? And while you’re at it, what about at age twenty-eight?

Amanda Ashby: At eight my sole ambition was to marry Will Robinson from Lost in Space and I remember quite clearly trying to break his leg so that I could then race in and care for him. At eighteen I had decided it might be quite good to be a journalist but three weeks after starting my college degree in the subject I realized that telling the truth all the time was not for me. At twenty-eight I had finally put the pieces of puzzle together and realized that anyone could think of breaking a leg as a plot device to get two characters together (and who seemed to hate telling the truth) was probably destined to be a writer.

Which Breakfast-Club-style label would have best fit your teenage self?  

AA: Fringe girl! I was always a bit left of centre at school, though I’m not sure I even knew it. However, when I look back at the secondhand shopping I used to do and all the strange outfits I used to wear, I realize I wasn’t quite like other girls (which is of course why I loved John Hughes movies so much and why I still haven’t forgiven my husband for throwing out my Pretty in Pink album during one of our moves).

Without giving away too much from your newest book, which character or scene from it are you the most pleased to have created, and why?

AA: Toward the end of the book Cassidy has had a fight with Thomas—who is medieval demon knight. Unfortunately he can’t travel forward in time so he is just an apparition and the only way for him to see what’s happening in her time is through the eyes of an owl. Anyway, after this big fight she goes out for a run and the owl/Thomas is flying beside her, trying to get her to stop. She is so mad at him and so upset that even when I think about it, I can feel her fury rising up through my chest. It was a really wonderful scene to write. Plus, you know, it had an owl, which is always cool!

Which are your favorite movies to watch again and again?

AA: Thank you for making that a plural. For a moment there I thought I could only list one! Anyway some of my favorites are: Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Princess Bride, Clueless, Jurassic Park, Star Wars, Love Actually, Pitch Perfect, Sense and Sensibility (Emma and Kate version), Galaxy Quest, Serenity, The Avengers, Shaun of the Dead.

And, now, the most important question of all: Beatles or Elvis? Please support your answer. 😉

AA: Easy! It’s the Beatles because my husband is a Scouser (which means he was born and bred in Liverpool) and I lived there for six years – some of that time just down the road from Ringo’s house. And also because Blackbird is one of my favorite songs in the world.