What do you mean “what”? Haven’t you heard? My new YA Science Fiction Fantasy book, The Fourth Piece is out now! Ha-ha, just kidding. I’m not that full of myself. I’m a newly published author. I was discovered by a small press called 48fourteen. The publisher loved the concept and the manuscript and offered me a deal.
What is it about? This is where I get to plug in my summary, because I love it ( 😀 )—and because it was so darn hard to write, almost harder than the book:
Admitting what you are will end everything you know. Embracing who you are will start a war…
Life is great when you’re good-looking and popular…so long as no one knows you’re a vulatto. Being half-alien gets you labeled “loser” quicker than being a full vader. So it’s a good thing Devon, Lyle, and Lawrence can easily pass for human—until the night of the party.
Nothing kills a good time faster than three brothers sharing a psychic vision of a fourth brother who’s off-world and going to die unless they do something. But when your brother’s emergency happens off-planet, calling 9-1-1 really isn’t an option. In their attempt to save a brother they barely remember, Devon, Lyle and Lawrence expose themselves to mortal danger and inherit a destiny that killed the last four guys cursed with it. In 2022, there are humans and aliens, heroes and monsters, choices and prophecies—and four brothers with the power to choose what’s left when the gods decide they’re through playing games.
Why are the main characters boys?
I love this question, because the answer is simple. The characters are boys because they always have been. These characters have camped out in my head and been the subject of many a crazy plot, play, short story, you name it, since I was in the 6th grade. Their looks and personalities have changed, their back-stories have changed; their powers have changed, but never their gender. Even when there were six siblings instead of four, they were all boys. I have girl characters too, but it’s not their turn yet.
I’m a weird writer in that I have characters before I have plots. I’ve got a cast of thousands in my head, but no actual stories for them all. I know what I’d like for them to do, but coming up with a plausible and interesting plot for them to star in is the hard part. The Ladreth brothers are my favorite characters, and it means so much to me to see them in print now.
How did I get through the query process and wind up getting published?
This is not something anyone should repeat, but I’ll share this with you. Here we go: I was stupid.
Months ago, I was sending out queries to agents and publishers, about ten a week, I think. For every rejection I got, I sent out five more. I work full-time, so sometimes the only times I could sit and work on the cover letters, query letters, and ship things off was in the evening time. I noticed I got stupid after midnight, so I told myself that I’d never send anything off after that time because I’d make dumb mistakes.
Well, I lied, and sent off a query to this publisher, 48fourteen, after midnight, and of course, made a dumb mistake that I didn’t see until after I hit “send”. I attached my sample chapters in the wrong format. Ugh! That’s cause for a publisher or agent to throw your submission right out. I hunted up the publisher’s e-mail address (because I’d submitted through a query form on the website), and sent an e-mail full of apologies and an offering to send the chapters in the correct format if forgiven. The publisher, Juanita Samborski, was indeed forgiving, and because she had to find my submission to add the correct files, she read my query, took interest and read the chapters. That very afternoon, she requested the manuscript. A week later, she extended an invitation to join the 48fourteen family.
People laugh when I tell the story, and yeah, it’s funny, but please don’t do what I did, lol. Somebody really might throw your submission away if it’s incorrect. I got lucky.
E. Ardell spent her childhood in Houston, Texas, obsessed with anything science fiction, fantastic, paranormal or just plain weird. She loves to write stories that feature young people with extraordinary talents thrown into strange and dangerous situations. She took her obsession to the next level, earning a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Southern Maine where she specialized in young adult genre fiction. She’s a big kid at heart and loves her job as a teen librarian at Monterey Public Library in Monterey, California, where she voluntarily shuts herself in rooms with hungry hordes of teenagers and runs crazy after-school programs for them. When she’s not working, she’s reading, writing, running writers critique groups, trying to keep up with a blog, and even writing fan fiction as her guilty pleasure.