A Weird Author-y Place To Be

Back in 2009, I thought I was about to hit the big time.

I’d written a book, you see. A novel, actually. A YOUNG ADULT novel. Because dang it, if Stephenie Meyer could do it, I could do it, too. And with the optimistic encouragement of my then-agent, who truly felt that my book would sell quickly and easily, I set off for a family vacation in the mountains feeling kind of like this:

Yes, quite. QUITE, my good fellow.

Yes, quite. QUITE, my good fellow.

OBVIOUSLY, my book was going to sell while we were in the mountains, and OBVIOUSLY, it would sell to the highest bidder at auction, and OBVIOUSLY, I was a hugely superior author and would soon be rolling in piles of royalty cash, etc. etc.

The first day passed with nary a word from my agent.

Then the second, and then the third.

On our way back to Birmingham, I remember smiling and participating in conversation while feeling quietly stunned and not a little offended.

(I also remember making my mom pull over so I could throw up on the side of the mountain because HOLLA CAR SICKNESS, THANKS MOUNTAINS FOR BEING RIDICULOUSLY SWIRLY.)

How was it possible that my book had been on submission for THREE WHOLE DAYS without getting snapped up for a six-figure advance? Something had clearly gone very, very wrong.

It would take me months to come to terms with the fact that I was not quite as superior as I had thought.

Over the course of the next year and a half, as my agent and I went on round after round of submission, revising after every flood of rejections, and hoping that this time, somebody would bite, I began to realize something.

Are you ready for this?


Like, it is so much harder than I ever thought it could be. There is SO much to learn. There is SUCH thick skin to develop. And there is SO much pride to push aside in the name of learning more, being better, picking yourself up yet again.

I didn’t know any of that back in 2009.

But now, as I sit here and look at the mere five months between today and the release date of my second YA novel, I know.

I know what it takes. And I know I’ve yet to arrive there. Am I better than I was six years ago? Oh, heavens yes. But in this case, I think “better” means something different than we assume.

“Better” means I know how I write, how I plan, how I revise. I know myself. I know to give myself room in the schedule, but I also know it’s vital to make myself a schedule.

“Better” means I know that when I reach the point of thinking, “There, that’s as good as it can get,” it can actually get at least 25,000% better with the help of beta readers, my agent, and professional editors.

“Better” means I know that if I want to be an author, I can be one, come jobs or babies or moving or whatever. The only thing that can ever stop me, is me.

It’s a weird place, this little spot I’m in, where I’m looking back at my first book and looking ahead at my second. What totally different experiences they have been. How much I’ve learned. How much I have yet to learn.

There are probably a lot more challenges in my author path, but now, for the first time since I ever sat down and wrote the most abysmal first draft ever in the history of first drafts back in 2008, I feel like I am ready for them.

I have been working on a semi-secret project for a few months now; maybe I’ll be able to talk more about it soon. And in October, once my pregnancy nausea is gone for good and I’ve regained some of my energy, I will begin to write YA again.

I can’t wait.

That Time June Turned Into September And I Hardly Noticed


I write to you today from the comfort of my living room sofa, where, thanks to my new part-time work schedule, I have been quite happily camped out for the past two hours with this week’s issue of In Touch magazine. The sofa has been a delightful experience; the magazine, a most regretful one.


In spite of subjecting myself to Kim and Kanye’s shamefully childish antics, it thrills me to report that morale, in general, is high.

…What’s that?

I hear whispers among the people… whispers that perhaps I should be using my newfound time for writing instead of lounging about with trashy magazines.

(Wait, those aren’t whispers. That’s just the guilty voice in my head.)

But I should tell you, Grasshoppers, in case you haven’t heard already: There is a third Riley child percolating in my belly, and at this point–a mere ten weeks in–well, I must admit that I struggle to stay awake after work, and lo, I nap. And I eat popcorn chicken. And I try to stop gagging because of random gag triggers, like diapers or t-shirt collars or talking.

(Yes, talking. TALKING makes me gag sometimes.)

All is well on the book front; you may have heard that PULL’s release date has moved from December 8 to February 2. This has been confirmed and is, in fact, 100% cold hard truth.


I am working on several very exciting things for you.

The first: An ongoing Instagram project (that took a brief hiatus during the weeks I was unable to look at a computer screen for fear of vomiting) that features quotes and locations from PULL. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can follow me on Instagram @annerileybooks, or you can search the tag #PullByAnneRiley.

The second: An official PULL playlist that will be available on Spotify. This is, perhaps, the most fun I’ve ever had making a playlist, and as someone who used to make mix CDs like it was her job, that’s saying quite a bit.

I’m making a valiant attempt to get back into the world of regular(ish) blogging, though this will surely be a less consistent process than I would like, as is the case with most things in my life.

Stay cool, Grasshoppers.

Stay cool.

Pull Words & Places: Episode 2

(This series is for my dear fans and readers who don’t have Instagram. To see Episode 1, click here.)

Alrighty! Who’s ready for FOUR MORE snippets from PULL? We did 1-4 last time, so here are 5-8.

5) Camden Row. 


Rosie Clayton is half American, half English. Her father’s parents live on Camden Row in London, which is such an unremarkable street, I had to take a Google Map screenshot to get this image. Inside one of these houses sits a girl who’s deeply worried about her brother, deeply grieved about the state of her family, and deeply confused about which version of reality is the correct one…

6) This quote from Rosie, our main character.


Pretty much.

7) All Saints Church. 

Photo by Flickr user Ewan Munro. Licensed under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode

The shadows of All Saints Church can hide a lot of things. On the night Rosie watches a crime unfold–and then unfold again, but with an alternate ending–the church’s shadows conceal a mysterious stranger who will not only risk his life to save someone else’s, but will also change Rosie’s life forever.

8) This quote from Edward Clayton, Rosie’s grandfather.


At its core, PULL is a story of actively, bravely, and selflessly fighting evil. Are the characters in the story afraid? Of course. Anyone who’s smart fears danger. But to me, courage is fighting in spite of fear. And if she wants to save her brother, that’s what Rosie will have to do.

*          *          *

Stay tuned for Episode 3 of our Words & Places series! If you’re on Instagram and you’re not yet following me, I’d love to have you along for the ride; I’m @AnneRileyBooks. Also, if you haven’t yet pre-ordered PULL, why, you can do so HERE!

I hope you enjoyed Episode 2 of PULL’s Words & Places. See you next time!