Member Spotlight: Catching Up with Alys Arden

Posted by September 8th, 2015

Alys Arden 8.8.2015It’s always wonderful to have Book Country member Alys Arden visit the blog. Today she’s here to update us on all the exciting things that are in the pipeline for her and her bestselling self-published young adult novel THE CASQUETTE GIRLS (originally workshopped right here on Book Country!).

Lucy Silag: We know you’re re-releasing THE CASQUETTE GIRLS with Skyscape (an imprint of Amazon Publishing) but we need more details! Fill us in on how it got picked up, what’s new, and when we can buy the new version.

Alys Arden: THE CASQUETTE GIRLS, along with its unreleased sequel, were both acquired by Skyscape early this year. They are re-releasing a new edit of TCG with a new cover (see below), which was just revealed last week! When I re-drafted the manuscript for Skyscape, my objective was to polish it up without changing SO much as to confuse people who don’t want to read the new version and wanted to skip to book two, but I wanted to add some exciting new things for fans who do want to dive into the new edit. As for what’s different . . . there are a few brand new scenes; my beta readers said Nicco is more sinister in the version. Oh, and there is a new layer to the curse! I really had fun focusing on the magic and the witches in this draft. There are a few more hints about things that will happen in book two, a few more clues. *wink* One of the scenes that I ended up totally re-writing, and had so much fun with, was Adeline’s fight scene in 1728. I’ll just say . . . it’s a bit bloodier, now. The pre-order went up this week, and the book will be released on November 17th.

I’ll have ARCs at New York Comic Con in October to sign for fans at the convention!

LS: You’ve been workshopping the sequel, THE ROMEO CATCHERS, on Book Country. Will that book also be published by Skyscape? What can you tell us about how the series is developing?

AA: Yes, book #2 was also picked up by Skyscape, and it will be released next year. At the time this blog post goes up, I’ll be in the forest in Niagara in full-writing mode. In the second book we’re going to delve into the magic more, and we’re going to get to know some of the supporting characters a lot more. New myths! New monsters! Loyalties will be tested. Other than that, my lips are zipped!

LS: This weekend you’ll be on the Book Country panel (“Unconventional Paths to Publishing”) at the Slice Literary Writers’ Conference in Brooklyn. How has your path to publishing been unconventional? And what do you like about that?

AA: I originally wrote THE CASQUETTE GIRLS in real-time online, and then workshopped the next draft online with no intentions of publishing when I was going through the process. By the time I finished editing the manuscript, the original draft had gained over a million reads online and people were asking where they could buy the book. I dug my heels in and independently published THE CASQUETTE GIRLS. After the book launch things went crazy for the next year—in a good way. The great thing about indie publishing is that you are forced to really learn the business. You have to do everything that you can’t afford to hire out, whether that’s art direction, typesetting, ebook formatting. Distribution. Pricing. Promotion. Publicity. The list is endless. The learning curve was steep for me, someone with no prior publishing experience. But I loved every minute of it and I met great people along the way in places like Book Country who gave me advice and in a sense mentored me. Now that I am working with a traditional publisher, I feel more confident in making decisions than I would have without the prior indie experience. And I can greatly appreciate the help and expertise of my team, having done it all on my own the first time around.

LS: The new cover for THE CASQUETTE GIRLS is simply gorgeous. Tell us what it was like to work with the design team at your publisher on it, and how that process differed from your original cover.

AA: When my editor told me they were considering Galen Dara to do the cover illustration, I was in a hotel lobby in Chicago. I practically started skipping around the room—everyone thought I was nuts. I had to wait until I calmed down before I could send an appropriate adult-like response.

The biggest difference in process between the two covers was team size. I made the original cover with a close friend who had read the book, had been to New Orleans before, and really knew my design aesthetic. Working with a publisher, there are a lot more hands in the pot, so it’s a very iterative process, which can be scary at first, but it’s amazing watching something grow from this little inkling of a concept. Kind of like watching your manuscript grow as you draft and re-draft and re-draft. Skyscape included me in every part of the process of the cover design and it really was like watching a flower blossom.

LS: Where can your fans catch you in person this fall?

AA: Fall is the season! Here are a few events that I am really looking forward to! More will be added, all of the current information is here on my website.

— Slice Literary Writers’ Conference, NYC
— NY Comic Con, NYC
— Louisiana Festival of Books, Baton Rouge, LA
— UnDead Con, New Orleans, LA
— The New Orleans Witches Ball, New Orleans, LA
— Launch Party! Boutique du Vampyre, New Orleans, LA
— Book Signing, Gallery 782, Biloxi, MS

About Alys Arden

Alys Arden’s debut novel THE CASQUETTE GIRLS garnered over one million reads online, a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly, and became a number one bestseller on Amazon. It was recently acquired by Skyscape in a two book deal.  Alys is represented by ICM. You can connect with her on Book Country, at her website, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr.


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