Special Edition: Cover reveal time!
See the cover and read an excerpt from Last Night at the Telegraph Club
Today I’m thrilled that Autostraddle is sharing the cover and an exclusive excerpt from my next novel, Last Night at the Telegraph Club (out Jan. 19, 2021 from Dutton Books for Young Readers). It is gorgeous, and was designed by Kristin Boyle and illustrated by the artist Feifei Ruan.
Are you ready to see it? (Come on back after you click through because I have a few more things to say about the cover and excerpt.)
Everyone says you shouldn't judge a book by its cover (and that's true!), but a good book cover also sets the mood and invites a reader to look closer, to pick that book up and read the jacket copy or the first page.
Over the years my editors have brought me into the cover design process in various ways, and I often see early iterations of the cover that will change over drafts (just like a book). For Last Night at the Telegraph Club, my editor, Andrew Karre, asked me for my vision of what the characters looked like, so I sent on some photos I found during my research for the book. I also shared some photos of 1950s San Francisco, but I had no idea how those photos might be translated into a cover. I was blown away by the final results! I think it gives a wonderful sense of place and time, and it spotlights the love story between the two girls.
The excerpt, which you can also read at Autostraddle, takes place early in the novel, when the main character, seventeen-year-old Lily Hu, discovers a lesbian pulp novel at a drugstore. In the 1950s and 60s, drugstores often carried racks of cheap paperback novels called pulp fiction. These included science fiction, fantasy, detective novels, and lurid erotic thrillers. Many of them were about lesbians—or at least the straight male fantasy of a lesbian. However, a few were actually written by real life lesbian writers, including, most famously, Ann Bannon's Beebo Brinker series.
To write this scene, I read some lesbian pulp novels from the 1950s to see how they felt, and then I wrote excerpts from a fictional pulp novel that I call Strange Season. The novel turns up again later in Telegraph Club, so don't worry, you'll eventually find out what happens!
Last but not least, I've been so honored that several authors have already read Telegraph Club and enjoyed it enough to blurb it! I've already shared Sarah Waters' blurb, and now I'm thrilled to send out huge thank yous to Emily X. R. Pan, Bill Konigsberg, Abdi Nazemian, Sarah Gailey, and Rebecca Kim Wells for their words of support. I can't wait for all of the rest of you to read this book, too.
Lo & Behold is going on summer vacation
I've really enjoyed writing this newsletter for the past (checks) nine months, but I've come to the reluctant conclusion that if I'm going to finish revising my next next book, I need to take a break! As all regular readers know, I'm an over-researcher, which apparently applies even to this newsletter, and while I love going down those rabbit holes, right now I need to prioritize my novel in progress.
That means Lo & Behold will be going on summer vacation, and there won't be any new issues until September. On June 30, I’m going to pause all paid subscriptions, which means if you're a paid subscriber, your billing cycle will be frozen. New readers will not be able to pay, and existing subscribers will not be charged. When I restart the newsletter in September, I'll unpause subscriptions to resume the billing cycles of paid subscribers.
If anything momentous happens that requires a special edition newsletter, I'll send it! But otherwise, I'll be revising. I'll also be taking a break from twitter, but I'll probably still post occasionally on instagram.
I already have some ideas about a theme I want to explore in these newsletters this fall, so I'm really looking forward to coming back. Meanwhile, I hope you all have a safe and healthy summer wherever you are.
Watch me online
I've done a couple of online panels recently and you can still watch them on YouTube:
High School is Murder — A thriller panel for Kidlit Pride
Intersectionality in APA YA — A panel for AAPI Book Month