Blog Tour: Legend by Marie Lu & Giveaway
What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths – until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.
Marie Lu Bio:
Before becoming a full-time writer, Marie Lu was the art director at a video game company. She also owns the children’s brand Fuzz Academy. She was first inspired to write Legend while watching Les Miserables one afternoon, and wondered how the relationship between a famous criminal vs. a prodigious detective might translate into a more modern story.
She graduated from the University of Southern California in 2006 and lives in Los Angeles, California.
Okay, I know I’ve always loved reading blog posts from other writers detailing the moments leading up to their first books being sold. Nothing motivated me so much as those posts! The vicarious thrill! Someday, I dreamed of writing my own. Now that my debut, Legend, is coming out at last (after a 12-year struggle…to be detailed in another blog post), I finally get to tell this story.
This is how it happened. After two rewrites where Agent Kristin and I hammered Legend into a presentable form, we sent it out on submission on July 9, 2010 (two days before I turned 26). Now, I’ve been on submission before. Twice. Having that experience, I was ready for the LONG haul, the 6 month wait for rejections and “I loved it, but” letters from kind-but-professional editors. (Again, all this backstory to be detailed in another blog post!)
One week passed. I spent my birthday in a nervous wreck.
Then I heard from Kristin that there were two editors who had read and loved Legend. One of these editors was someone I’d heard a great deal about, and when Kristin said her name, I almost fainted in front of my laptop (good thing I didn’t, or else I’d probably have QWERTY embedded permanently on my forehead). The other editor was the editor for one of my favorite YA books. Can we say faint x 2?
However, as aforementioned, I’ve been on submission before. I’ve been down the road of “Editors are liking it” and then “Editors decided ultimately to say no”. So I toughened up as much as I could, and got ready for the inevitable rejections from both of these incredible editors.
Another week passed. Then Kristin told me she was going to be setting up an auction. 6 publishers were interested. At first I laughed at the email. Oh Kristin. Sometimes you are such a joker. Then I read it again, got tingly feelings in my fingers and toes, and ran around my apartment until I collapsed in exhaustion. Still, STILL, I felt like everything could fall through. That was what I’d gotten used to, anyway. Auction day would come and no one would show up. They’ve all decided that they’d rather not buy Legend. Back to the drawing board.
But that didn’t happen. Instead, I got to talk to each of these editors on the phone. This may have been the most exciting part of the process (okay, the 2nd most exciting part). To hear industry professionals rave about your manuscript is as amazing as a cheesecake made of double rainbows. I was smiling so hard that my boyfriend thought I’d gone off the deep end.
So auction day came. I alternated every few minutes between absolute JOY and sheer abject TERROR. They all want the book! I haven’t heard from Kristin in 6 minutes–something must’ve gone terribly wrong and everyone dropped out! They all want the book! I haven’t heard from Kristin in 14 minutes–something must’ve gone terribly wrong and everyone dropped out! And repeat.
Several times throughout this day, Kristin would call me with updates that made me lose all feeling in my brain. (This is an extremely surreal feeling. I’ve never had a numb brain before…. well, not that numb.) Then, as the auction’s final round started, I spent 3 hours doing nothing but rocking back and forth manically on my couch while my boyfriend tried in vain to soothe me. I stared at my phone without pause, willing it to ring. My trigger finger hovered over the “refresh” button in my email inbox. (Even though it refreshes automatically by itself.)
Silence. 3 hours of it.
Terror set in. All the editors dropped out. They must have. Kristin just doesn’t want to tell me yet–she must not want to break my heart. NOTHING ELSE CAN EXPLAIN THIS SILENCE!!!!!!!
Finally, late in the afternoon, I got a call from Kristin. The Call. This is how it went down….sort of:
Kristin: You have a very hard choice to make. Are you ready for this?
Marie: Am I going to faint?
Kristin: Yes, I think you might faint.
Marie: [sits down on couch to keep from falling too hard, then listens in quiet stupor]
Kristin: *lists out the final offers*
Marie: *NUMB. This is the only word appropriate for the feeling in my entire body. NUM NUM NUMMY NUMMY NUMB.*
Kristin: Still there? Are you listening to me?
Marie: I didn’t understand a word of what you said. Everything sounds like it’s made out of red velvet cupcakes.
Kristin: (thinking) Oh Marie. Thank god you’re not doing this by yourself or we might all be in the papers tomorrow–and not in a good way.
Marie: *still numb*
Kristin: Do you need the night to think it over?
Marie: *babbles incoherently in a squeaky voice*
Kristin: Ok, yeah, I think you need the night. Let me know what you decide in the morning!
[Phone call ends]
Several moments of silence. Several moments of unbridled joyful shrieking with boyfriend.
And then …. I burst into tears. I just cracked. I don’t think I’ve ever really felt true joy in my life up until then. Sure, I’ve felt happiness plenty of times. There are so many things I’m happy about. But joy is different from happiness. Joy makes you cry. Joy is about achieving something you have worked so hard and so long to get. It unleashes emotions of relief, pain, rage, passion, ecstasy, fear, excitement, and fulfillment in one giant ball of glory that completely overwhelms the boundaries of your mind. It is rare. (Unless you’re high on shrooms or something, I guess.) It is the most amazing feeling in the world.
And when I burst into tears after The Call with Kristin, I felt joy like I’ve never felt before. I have been trying to get published since I was fourteen. I have been rejected hundreds of times. I’ve written 4 unpublished manuscripts, 2 of which made it all the way to the agent+submission level only to slowly fade away into oblivion at the end of the submission cycle. I’d started to think it might never happen.
But now it’s happening, really happening. A dream come true, after 12 years of struggling.
That didn’t take long at all, did it? Not even two decades!
- 1 finished copy of LEGEND
- 1 LEGEND button
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