Lena (Helena and Malena)'s latest update for Sparked

Apr 26, 2017

Dear Sparked reader,

Thank you so much for your amazing support during our preorder campaign last fall. You might be wondering where the heck your copy of the book is, and why we’ve taken so long to update you. 

Good news! We have a publication date: October 3, 2017. Your book will be mailed (or become available as an e-book) on that date. And the reason we’ve taken so long to update you is that we’ve been working hard on making Sparked completely ready for your eyes. 

We thought you might be interested to hear a bit about that process and the lessons we learned, especially if you’re a writer yourself or interested in writing. 

Lesson #1: Don’t shut down when you get feedback, even if you THINK you’re done.  

When someone gives you feedback, it’s human nature to focus on the negative, and it’s a writer’s nature to blow the negative wildly out of proportion. After Sparked achieved its preorder target, a developmental editor gave us a—gulp—twenty-page letter that sent us into a tailspin. The word “overkill” jumped out and something about how we should remove every reference to zombies. We’d already revised Sparked countless times. In despair, Helena couldn’t even bring herself to read the whole thing, while Malena lost herself in cat videos on Youtube. 

 But when we forced ourselves to read the letter line by line, we were shocked at how positive it actually was. It was like realizing that the mean girl at school, muttering insults under her breath, was actually complimenting your fashion sense (and giving you some useful pointers too). If we’d received that feedback with an open mind in the first place, we would have gotten the revision done a lot sooner.

Lesson #2: Thinking your book is done is usually a clear sign that you need to do another draft.  

You should never tempt fate using the word “final” when naming a draft of your book (as in “SparkedFinal.doc”). Just as we were treating ourselves to a celebratory lunch, we received notes from editor number two, our line editor. More changes were needed, including more “sexual tension.” Believe us, it is not easy to find a way for the hero and heroine to make eyes at each other while also trying to prevent the end of the world. But we set to work again.  

In the end, both editors were totally right and we’ re grateful to them for their brilliant insights and even more grateful the book is finally finished (or at least going to press. If you see more that we should have changed, maybe keep it to yourself at this point). We’re also excited that the book is coming out in October because it’s a spooky book that takes place in the week before Halloween, and…

Well, after all that work, we don’t want to spoil the story, do we?

We will update again when there’s more concrete news to share (readings! parties!) but for now, we are deeply grateful for your support and your patience and we can’t wait to send our book to you.


The ‘lenas