Tuesday, June 17, 2014

My YA Wanderlost sells to HarperTeen in Two-Book Deal

EEeeeeks! How did I remember to blab about this all over Twitter and Facebook and somehow forget to put the news on here. Ugh. Author fail.

SO yippee! Here it is straight from Publisher's Weekly:

Now, let me tell you a few things this blurb does not have space to mention. First, here's the longer description:

Seventeen-year-old Aubree has always idolized her adventurous older sister, even while utterly content to track Elizabeth’s antics from the cozy comforts of home, in the tender care of doting parents. So when Elizabeth gets herself in "a touch of trouble” and, for the first time ever, actually needs Aubree's help, Bree is flattered but insistent. 

There’s no way she can do what Elizabeth is asking. Impersonate her recent-college-grad sis all summer, just so Elizabeth can score the recommendation she needs to land her dream position? Nope, nope, not gonna happen. 

ESPECIALLY when Elizabeth’s summer job is leading a bus tour. 
A bus tour across Europe. 
A senior citizens' bus tour across Europe.

And that's all before she finds out that the tour owner’s super-cute son (who is decidedly NOT a senior citizen) will be a last-minute addition. 

Bree would have to be crazy. Or... would she?

Second, here is why this story is so special to me:

This book was inspired by my grandmother, who took a bus tour around Europe when I was but a wee child (okay, I was probably nine, but still.) I vividly remember poring over the postcards she sent of the guards in front of Buckingham Palace and a field of tulips in Holland and thinking "One day I will see those." 

As my grandmother got older, she grew increasingly timid about travel and more comfortable in her familiar surroundings, but she gifted her wanderlust to me. I took up the charge and traveled solo around the world for a year in my 20s. It was the single best decision I ever made and, even though I had to clean seriously gross hostel toilets in trade for an uncomfortable bunk bed and a scratchy wool blanket because it was the only way I could stick to my budget, it was so, so worth it. And each time I popped in to an American Express office in a new city, there was a letter from my grandmother waiting for me.  

A year or so ago, I randomly thought of that senior citizen bus trip and what it must have been like for the poor guide. I giggled over how there just had to be a book in there. And then I tweaked it and tweaked it until I figured out how there could be a Young Adult book in there. I loved writing this one! I felt the spirit of my grandmother on my shoulder as I did and, in fact, she and my great-grandmother are two central characters. I used their names and likenesses, but made them lifelong besties (in real life, I'm not sure they ever met as one is from my mother's and one from my father's side of the family) and I chortled every time I gave them a choice line or put them in an uncompromising position (Sorry, guys! You know I love you and, well, you're not alive to get embarrassed. Hopefully your spirits embrace those with some sense of fun.) 

The main character Aubree was another who burrowed into my heart, even though she's not based on a  real person. At least when I traveled solo, it was by choice and with a sense of excitement (unlike poor Bree whose hand is forced), but that doesn't mean it was without its moments. I definitely drew on those instances of feeling vulnerable and uncertain and very, very far from home when I wrote about her early adventures. As she begins to embrace the world and gain confidence, I cheered her on hard because I know just what that sensation feels like. 

So basically, even though Wanderlost is light and funny at heart, it comes from such a genuine place in me that makes me extra excited to share it with the world! 

If ya want, you can add Wanderlost to Goodreads here!


  1. I already love this book, but when I read it again I will think of how much it all means to you. :) Congrats!!

  2. Congratulations! I love the sound of your book, and I look forward to reading it! I wish it would come out sooner than 2016! I just got an agent myself, and now you're making me think that by the time she sells MY book, it might not come out until 2018! I wish you the best of luck with your books!

    1. Thanks, Susan, and congrats on signing with an agent!! Good luck and I hope yours sells quickly and they can slide it into an early opening on their list!

  3. I can't wait to read this! A huge, well-deserved congratulations!

  4. So exciting, Jen! I love the story behind the story. And I love Wanderlost, but you know that already. :D

  5. Congrats Jen!

    Wanderlost sounds like a great story. I've added it to my Goodreads want to read list!

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