My Invented Life

Helping Haiti Heal

We’ve all been devastated by the stories and images coming out of Haiti, wondering how to help. My son’s class held a bake sale that raised $627 dollars for Doctors Without Borders. Which was great!

And now the Awesome 2009 Debutantes (including moi) have joined a larger effort called Helping Haiti Heal, a live fundraising webcast.

Debs Helping Haiti Heal

Writers from J.K. Rowling all the way down to lowly have donated books and other fun things for an auction. Have a look at all the goodies. And bid, bid, bid 🙂 Bids will be accepted through January 30th.

Shop for the greater good!

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Prowling the halls

Last month a mob of Deb authors (including me) stormed Petaluma High School. I loved this picture snapped by J.A. Yang, author of EXCLUSIVELY CHLOE.

Me, Cheryl Renee-Herbsman, Sarah Quigley, and Malinda Lo

We look like we’re up to no good, don’t you think? Except we’re smiling. The teens at Petaluma rock, btw. One teen writer uses Greek roots to name her characters.

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I love libraries

I have a confession. Sometimes I cruise library websites to see if my book is checked out. and then I try to imagine the person who is reading it. For me, a trip to the library is like going to a candy store. Or even better–Harrods in London. I always come home feeling richer and full of anticipation.

And now I know someone who checked out my book from her library in Indianapolis–the incomparable 2009 Debutante Saundra Mitchell. And she sent me a pic!

If you haven’t read Saundra’s book yet, you’re in for a treat. SHADOWED SUMMER is a delicious ghost story with romance, friendship, and family secrets rolled into one. If your local library doesn’t have it, be sure to request it.

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My very first video on youtube!

I’m one of those technology-challenged authors struggling to learn how to use html, myspace, and tweetdeck. Updating my website is something of a nightmare. I hope to learn how to make my own book trailer and post it on youtube some day.

That day is still a long way off.

But while I was in California, the charming Angela Mann from Kepler’s Books made a short youtube video of me talking about my book. Check it out!

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I will be in the Bay Area next week!

Want to catch up with me and some other new YA authors? As part of a nationwide Holidaze tour, I will be in the Bay Area next week. Here’s the schedule of events:

Dec. 5, 3-4 p.m.
588 Francisco Blvd. West
San Rafael, CA
Including: Lauren Bjorkman, Cheryl Renee Herbsman, Malinda Lo, Sarah Quigley

Dec. 8, 7 p.m.
Menlo Park Public Library
800 Alma St.
Menlo Park, CA
Including: Lauren Bjorkman, Cheryl Renee Herbsman, C. Lee McKenzie, Sarah Quigley, J.A. Yang

Dec. 9, 12 p.m.
Petaluma High School*
201 Fair St.
Petaluma, CA
Including: Lauren Bjorkman, Cheryl Renee Herbsman, Malinda Lo, Sarah Quigley, J.A. Yang
* Open to the public, but visitors should check in at the school office when arriving

Dec. 12, 2-4 p.m.
Barnes & Noble, Tanforan Mall, SanBruno

Including: Lauren Bjorkman, Cheryl Renee Herbsman, Malinda Lo, C. Lee McKenzie, Sarah Quigley, J.A. Yang

I hope to see some of you there!

For info on the authors and details of the nationwide event. Read on:

Events around my Palo Alto High School reunion inspired me to write MY INVENTED LIFE.

C. Lee McKenzie’s debut novel, SLIDING ON THE EDGE, was inspired by a news report of self-abuse in troubled teens.

Cheryl Renee Herbsman, a San Rafael mom of two, set her novel, BREATHING, about young love, in the South where she grew up.

Malinda Lo, author of ASH, a lesbian retelling of Cinderella, lives in Marin with her partner.

Other stops on the 2009 Debutantes’ HOLIDAZE tour


Dec. 6, 1-3 p.m.
Books of Wonder
18 West 18th St.
New York, NY
Including: Megan Crewe, Sarah Cross, Deva Fagan, Neesha Meminger, Kate Messner, Shani Petroff, Jon Skovron, Michelle Zink


Dec. 5, 1-3 p.m.
161 N. Weber Road
Bolingbrook, IL
Including: Cynthea Liu, Saundra Mitchell, Aprilynne Pike, Kristina Springer, Darcy Vance, Lara Zielin

Dec. 5, 7-9 p.m.
The Book Cellar, Inc.
4736-38 North Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL
Including: Cynthea Liu, Saundra Mitchell, Aprilynne Pike, Kristina Springer, Darcy Vance, Lara Zielin


Jan. 9, 2 p.m.
Eaton Centre
220 Yonge St.
Toronto, Ontario
Including:  R.J. Anderson, Megan Crewe, Sarah Ockler, Rhonda Stapleton, Lara Zielin

ABOUT THE 2009 DEBUTANTES: The 2009 Debutantes was founded in 2008 by Jackson Pearce, author of AS YOU WISH, as an online community for debut young adult authors to share their experiences. The 2009 Debs’ books include #1 New York Times bestseller WINGS by Aprilynne Pike; critically acclaimed novels THE DEMON’S LEXICON by Sarah Rees Brennan, PROPHECY OF THE SISTERS by Michelle Zink, EYES LIKE STARS by Lisa Mantchev, THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH by Carrie Ryan, FLASH BURNOUT by L.K. Madigan and TWENTY BOY SUMMER by Sarah Ockler; Scholastic Book Fair selection MODELS DON’T EAT CHOCOLATE COOKIES by Erin Dionne, Junior Library Guild Selection CANDOR by Pam Bachorz and SHADOWED SUMMER by Saundra Mitchell; and a host of other amazing novels that debuted in 2009.

To find out more about the 2009 Debutantes,

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SLJ review–something to celebrate

Every once in a while, a debut author has to take a moment out of her busy revision schedule to say, “Squeeeeee!” I did just that when I read the review of MY INVENTED LIFE in SLJ yesterday.

Here’s the review in full. I bolded the parts I liked best 😀

Gr 9 Up—Self-proclaimed drama geek Roz Peterson has an active fantasy life, which she often confuses with reality. She thinks that her sister Eva, who is no longer confiding in her, is a lesbian and in love with her friend Carmen. Roz dreams of Eva’s boyfriend, Bryan, reciprocating her longtime crush. In an effort to encourage her sister, Roz decides to come out at school and invent a new sexual identity for herself as a lesbian, the only problem being that she is basically heterosexual. The hapless Roz is an exceptionally unreliable narrator who makes clumsy attempts to figure out what is going on with all the other people in her life. All this real-life gender-bending takes place during the drama club’s production of As You Like It. This novel is particularly good at evoking teenage confusion about sexual preference and identity, and Bjorkman’s depiction of the drama-club crowd is absolutely spot-on, especially the characters’ trading of Shakespearean insults online and the practical jokes they play on one another. Narrator Roz is funny, well intentioned, and likable despite her cluelessness, and she is surrounded by a realistic cast of adult and teen characters representing a wide variety of viewpoints and sexual preferences. This is an enjoyable read that will be especially appealing to theater aficionados.—Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJ

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Remembering Matthew Shepard

Online reviewers have called My Invented Life a lot of things.


Charming–Lauren’s Crammed Shelf

Witty and Satisfying–Library Lounge Lizard

These words are all very gratifying. I’m always happy when someone gets my sense of humor 😀 I’ve also gotten comments about how I address the issue of sexual orientation in my novel. One blogger in particular, Anna of Book Nerds, mentioned she was glad I’d included Matthew Shepard in my story.

Matthew Shepard was a college student in Laramie Wyoming. One night at a bar, two teen-aged boys offered him a ride. Instead of taking him home, though, they tied him to a fence in a remote location, beat him, and left him there. All because he was gay. The next day a jogger found Matthew and got him to a hospital. He died later from the injuries.

I had heard Matthew Shepard ‘s story before writing My Invented Life. But as I wrote, I learned more about him and read the Laramie Project, a play based on the events surrounding his death and the trial afterwards. The play moved me deeply. So I included Matthew in my novel as part of Roz’s personal awakening.

After languishing for twelve years, last month the Matthew Shepard Act was passed by Congress and signed into law. For the first time in history, LGBT people are protected from violence under hate crime law. Read more about it here.

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Learn my secrets at + contest

The talented Crystal Patriarche is a columnist for A few months ago, she contacted me for an interview. Her questions are a cool mix of fun and insightful with a few toughies sprinkled on top.

Check out my interview here.

At the end of the interview, click on the  ENTER button to win a pair of Sister Necklaces!

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My book in the wild

Sydney Salter (author, friend, 2k9er, and 2009 Debutante) sent me this photo of My Invented Life in the wild. Well, not exactly in the wild. But in a bookstore in Utah! I just had to share.


Sydney has a new middle grade novel out called Jungle Crossing. Her main character travels to the Yucatan on a family vacation. While there, she undergoes a major transformation and discovers the meaning of true friendship. I love this book and highly recommend it.

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I got a lovely review in Publisher’s Weekly!


Publisher’s Weekly said this about My Invented Life:

Roz’s voice is witty and genuine as she moves through the ups and downs of coming out (and eventually coming clean). Evocative of Boy Meets Boy and Dramarama, this makes for fun, thought-provoking reading.


P.S. New ASK MY SISER letter coming on Friday.

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