Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Hunt cover!

I'm so happy to be able to show you the cover for The Hunt. St. Martin's Press and James Porto did an amazing job, and I'm beyond ecstatic over the end product. Here it is:

I've heard horror stories of authors detesting their cover, and of being given zero input by their publisher. So not true in my case. In fact, just the opposite. I love this cover!

And, let it be known, St. Martin's Press (especially my editor, Rose Hilliard) has been incredible. Every step of the way, they were gracious to ask for my (and my awesome agent, Catherine Drayton's) input, even down to selecting the models. The cover has undergone quite a few iterations (perhaps I'll blog about it in detail in the future) and the amazing Design team kept outdoing themselves each step of the way. I think the end result is wonderful. The mood of the cover fits perfectly with the book. I think it's a very unique YA cover with definite crossover appeal.

What's especially neat is the full wraparound dust jacket design (below). The color synchrony between the front and back covers is so pleasing to the eye, and captures such a vital essence of the book. And as for the absence of people on the back? - also a key aspect of the book. My editor tells me that the back cover is going to be blinged with the very generous and kind blurbs I've received from Richelle Mead, Alyson Noel, Becca Fitzpatrick, and Andrea Cremer. Can't wait to see that.

So...what do you think?

Friday, September 23, 2011

cover, music, etc.

As is pretty clear (from the author's printed name, etc.), none of these are the cover for my The Hunt. I was just curious and checked out other The Hunt book covers on Amazon.These are some of the results (turns out The Hunt is quite a popular title!).

Anyway, as I alluded to in my previous post, I'm this close to being able to reveal the cover to my The Hunt. So to my five faithful followers (alliteration!) not in the Fukuda clan, I'll reward your loyalty to my site by allowing you to be the first in the world to view it. Honestly, I can't wait to show it since I think the St. Martin's Press team and James Porto (that's my teaser reveal) have done an amazing job. Maybe in the next fortnight?

Moving on.

Things have been going well on the first draft of The Hunt Book II. I'm going to have to do a lot of chiseling and honing because right now, it's pretty War-and-Peace lengthy. But unlike many authors, I enjoy the arduous task of revising/rewriting because that's the stage in the process for me where my novels always seem to come into their own.

Hmm... hopefully, I didn't just jinx myself.

Anyway, this got me thinking about something. More than I expected, music has been a crucial component in writing book two. The reason: I've done the bulk of my writing in cafes and coffee shops, and have needed music to drown out the ancillary noise (which is often not so ancillary). Babbling gossipers, loudmouth biz dudes, babies crying, even mah jong players are often jockeying for my ear drums. So, with much thanks to Spotify, I've been listening to great music as I write, mostly film soundtracks, Gungor and The National.

Music has helped so much, it seems almost unfair, like taking writing steroids or that drug in the movie Limitless. There are some scenes (mostly action or romantic) which have been enhanced and stimulated and heightened by the music to the nth degree. One day, perhaps readers will have the option to play author-selected music alongside certain scenes. Definitely doable on the Kindle or Nook or whatever ereader has overtaken the market by that point.

If you've seen Warrior (one of the best films of the year), you'll know how the last scene in the wrestling cage was so poignantly rendered by the song About Today by The National. The scene would simply be a whole other scene, less powerful, if this unexpected song hadn't played when it did. You can get a taste of how a song can affect the whole tone of a scene - and movie - by checking out this clip (see below). It features the same song (About Today by The National) that is played in the aforesaid final wrestling scene. Anyway, this got me wondering if one day e-books might not come with an option to play author-chosen music for certain scenes. And if they did, would that dilute/violate or enhance/improve the reading experience?

Monday, September 12, 2011

random thoughts

I'm plunged deep into writing Book 2 right now, so my thoughts are a little scattered, but . ..

  • I'm really excited that my short story, lost, will be included in the Tomo Anthology, a forthcoming benefit anthology of short fiction set in or related to Japan for readers ages 12 and up. Proceeds from the sale of Tomo will support teens affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011. It's such an honor to be included in this anthology, and a real blessing to be able to use my talents to help, if even in the smallest of ways.
  • It's been a really terrific two weeks, book cover-wise. Both my US publisher (St. Martin's Press) and my UK publisher (Simon & Schuster) have sent me their respective covers for The Hunt. They're both very different, but incredible and awesome in their own ways. Both covers still need to be tweaked, and last-minute brush-ups are still being undertaken, but I can't wait to be able to show you in the near future. I've read so many horror stories of authors hating their covers, so I was a little worried. I shouldn't have been; I think both are terrific.
  • I saw the film Warrior this past Friday. I was really blown away by the intelligent filmmaking and acting. Although sometimes almost slipping into the maudlin, it stayed true to its vision. The last few minutes of the film, including that tap, were heart-wrenching.
And that's it for now. More later . . .