Sarah J. Carlson

Contemporary Young Adult Author

Tag Archives: getting published

ALL THE WALLS OF BELFAST Pre-order Bonus Materials

0

Turner Publishing Company is running a pre-order giveaway featuring a bonus prequel Fiona and Danny chapter. I wrote them exclusively for this and, I must say, it was so fun delving back into Fiona and Danny after like a year.

Exclusive prequel chapters for Fiona and Danny

Submit your receipt here.

I cannot believe it, but All the Walls of Belfast will hit shelves in like TWO WEEKS! By the way, here’s some of the stuff being said about ATWOB:

A Barnes & Noble Teen Most Anticipated Indie YA Book of 2019

“Set against the backdrop of the religious tensions in Northern Ireland [Carlson’s] debut features characters with stark religious differences and histories that must be overcome… an endearing story full of pain, love, and strength” -Booklist

“… A young adult romance with real meaning behind it, and it is a welcome addition to the genre.” ~ Foreword Reviews

“I loved it! The story kept building and building as I was falling deeper and deeper for these characters, Danny and Fiona, the Romeo and Juliet of Belfast…a stellar debut!” ~ Jessie Ann Foley, award-winning author of The Carnival at Bray

“Compassionate, honest, and hopeful, All The Walls of Belfast celebrates the power of first love to build bridges and scale walls.” ~ Marie Marquardt Author of DREAM THINGS TRUE

“A  powerful story about how the stones our parents throw in the past make ripples in our futures.” ~ Christina June, award-winning author of IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE

All the Walls of Belfast is the gripping story of courage and redemption in turbulent post-conflict Northern Ireland. Brilliantly written, this vivid fiction meets reality novel reveals how two teens navigate life with the fallout of their parents’ actions.” ~ Angie Stanton, award winning author of WAKING IN TIME

To learn more about the setting and context of All the Walls of Belfast, check me out on Instagram. I’m doing a month-long tour of the world of ATWOB. I’m also doing a Library Request Raffle. Everyone who enters gets at least a signed custom book plate and some Belfast post cards. You can enter both!

Ahhh!!! I’m holding a published copy of my debut novel!

6

It’s a real, actual book. Still don’t totally believe it 😊😊😊 For the rest of the United States and Canada, All the Walls of Belfast is out March 12th, 2019. 🧡💚🧡💚

OMG my novel is now on Goodreads!

0

Turner Publishing has now officially put my debut YA novel ALL THE WALLS OF BELFAST up on Goodreads. Here’s a quick blurb: Pitched as THE CARNIVAL AT BRAY meets West Side Story, ALL THE WALLS OF BELFAST follows two teens trying to understand their past and preserve their future in post-conflict Belfast–a Wisconsinite who learns she has a father and brothers in Belfast and a boy trying to escape an abusive home to pave his own way.

Check out the official Goodreads book page here! If you’re intrigued, please add it to your “Want to Read” list. Wow, now it’s all really starting to feel real.

And I’m excited to announce that VERY SOON will be the cover reveal. I’m totally in love with it and can’t wait for it to be out in the world.

To stay up-to-date on all things ALL THE WALLS, and for stuff about the craft of writing and my random pictures, follow my blog, sign up for my newsletter, or follow me on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

Signing the publishing contract

1

 

img_1789

My mom has said on more than one occasion that when I put my mind to something, I make it happen. At the end of 7th grade, we moved from a suburb of Milwaukee to the rural town of Sparta, Wisconsin, population 9,000. I swore I’d move back to Milwaukee. I started my professional career as a school psychologist for the Milwaukee Public Schools. After I saw the movie Braveheart in like 6th grade, I swore I’d go to Scotland. I went twice; once, I even hiked to the ruins of the town my ancestors immigrated to Canada from on the Isle of Mull.

Sheeps in Shiaba

Grazing sheep on the Isle of Mull, off the west coast of Scotland near the ruins of a town that people were forced from to make room for grazing sheep.

Before my husband and I moved to Singapore during the summer of 2013, I resolved to take a group of middle school students who had worked with me for a year in a community service club to Pine Ridge Reservation to volunteer. With the help of those students and many others, I managed to get the whole trip paid for at no expense to the students and navigate the bureaucracy of my school district to make it happen.

p1080210

Our autographed school t-shirt that went on the wall of Re-Member. Mitakuye Oyasin means “all [people/things] are related” in Lakota.

From a very young age, I loved making up elaborate worlds and stories in my imagination. I’d be running around in my back yard by myself, talking to entire casts of characters that existed only in my mind. I’d often rope my four younger siblings in, too. I first realized my love of writing those stories down in 4th grade when I was selected to go to a special writing convention for all the elementary schools in the area. All our short stories were printed and bound into a book. After that were many notebooks filled with stories inspired by Stephen King and Michael Creighton. Some of them are still in a box in my parent’s attic somewhere. After that was an elaborate sci-fi story I spent many hours researching Europa and methods of faster-than-light travel and star systems with habitable planets. I finally finished a draft at some point in college. It was 240,000 words. *cringe*

After I let someone look at it, then couldn’t pay them to read the whole thing, I knew I needed to learn more. So I took critique classes at UW-Madison, went to conferences, and got involved in more critique groups and read books. Wrote several more (and better) books that I queried without luck. About five years ago, after a trip to Belfast, Northern Ireland, I was inspired. I started researching and learning. Then, while sitting at an Irish pub in Madison, Wisconsin, I took the first primordial steps toward writing a book that is now called All the Walls of Belfast.

p1020065

Taken by me at a bonfire in Tiger’s Bay, Belfast on Bonfire Night (July 12th, 2011).

Then I moved to Singapore for my husband’s job, found more writer friends, and really, really got serious about writing. I got involved in the fabulous Singapore Writers Group within a week of getting off the plane and focused on developing my craft, critiquing others, and taking and applying constructive feedback, even when it was hard to hear. Researching, so much researching. And re-writing—and re-writing again—while riding busses and sitting in various coffee shops in Holland Village and Robertson Quay and Buona Vista.

photo 1 (4)

Writing on the MRT in Singapore.

i heart writing

One of the many flat whites consumed at one of many coffee shops in Singapore.

10256652_10100472610562175_862716297238446126_o

I found out about fabulous twitter-based writing contests such as Pitch Wars, Nightmare on Query Street, and #Pitchmas. other twitter pitching contests. Finally I landed an agent, Claire Anderson-Wheeler at Regal Hoffman & Associates, after she liked a tweet.

Then I moved back from Singapore and went back to work full-time as a school psychologist and had my daughter.

For the next three years, while balancing all that, I re-wrote parts of All the Walls at least twice, then basically fully re-wrote it again based on Claire’s developmental feedback and feedback from a plethora of critique partners. In the end, I’d say the whole thing ended up being re-written. Thankfully, Claire never stopped believing in Danny and Fiona and my abilities as a writer, but she challenged me over and over again to find the heart of my story and focus on that.

IMG_7442

Sampling of the many, MANY post-it notes that helped get me through.

It’s hard to quantify amount the support I’ve gotten over the years from Claire, and from fellow writers in Madison and Singapore and Belfast (also my far-flung crit buddies in Belgium, Turkey, and Cali), who have been essential in pushing All the Walls of Belfast to be more accurate, more authentic, more focused.

The past five years of working on this manuscript has felt like running a mentally (and sometimes physically) exhausting marathon with an ever-moving finish line. I’ve lost count of how many files I’ve naively saved with “final draft” tacked on the end.

But, like my mom has always said, when I put my mind to something, I never give up.

So, I still can’t believe I’m writing this, but….

Finally, in February 2018, the manuscript went on submission. I signed my contact with Turner Publishing (distributed by Ingram) on March 27th, 2018 while on a road trip to Colorado. After speaking with the acquisitions editor, I knew they were the perfect fit. They loved Fiona and Danny as much as I do and got All the Wall’s potential to expand the worldview of American readers and teach them something new.

I still can’t believe that soon I’ll be holding a copy of my book baby.

Persistence, perseverance, patience, and a lot (a LOT) of hard work really can make dreams come true.

Attitude is everything 2

Picture taken on a three day hike on the Routeburn Track on the South Island of New Zealand. I *may* have come a few inches from falling off a cliff.

.

After 7+ Years of Querying

2

Writing like six different novels (at least), then landing an agent and revising for three years, I can officially announce…

PW announcement

Still doesn’t totally feel real.

All the Walls of Belfast, March 2019!

More details to come 🙂