Posts Categorized: Guest Post

Monday, November 03, 2014

Behind the Scenes with Ryan Graudin on Writing The Walled City!

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The Walled City took me by complete surprise when I read and loved it a few months back, and now I’m happy to have Ryan Graudin on the blog for a look at how this book came to be! If you hadn’t heard of The Walled City yet, you can find my review here and see what it’s all about!:

Behind the Scenes with Ryan Graudin on Writing The Walled City!The Walled City by Ryan Graudin, The Walled City, YA
Published by Little Brown BfYR on November 4th 2014
Genres: Thriller, YA
Buy on Amazon

730. That's how many days I've been trapped.
18. That's how many days I have left to find a way out.

DAI, trying to escape a haunting past, traffics drugs for the most ruthless kingpin in the Walled City. But in order to find the key to his freedom, he needs help from someone with the power to be invisible....

JIN hides under the radar, afraid the wild street gangs will discover her biggest secret: Jin passes as a boy to stay safe. Still, every chance she gets, she searches for her lost sister....

MEI YEE has been trapped in a brothel for the past two years, dreaming of getting out while watching the girls who try fail one by one. She's about to give up, when one day she sees an unexpected face at her window.....

In this innovative and adrenaline-fueled novel, they all come together in a desperate attempt to escape a lawless labyrinth before the clock runs out.

Behind the Scenes with Ryan Graudin

Inspiration. For some, the term calls to mind midnight rushes of words: pages and pages granted by some benevolent muse. I’ve never really liked the inspiration=lightning strike metaphor. Instead I like to think of it as a seed. An idea that I plant and water and cultivate, which slowly grows into something I could have hardly predicted.

Every one of my projects starts out with a handful of these seeds. Songs, pictures, lines of poetry, experiences from my travels… The inspirational seeds of THE WALLED CITY were scattered and varied. One seed was a trip I took to Phnom Penh, Cambodia in college. Another was hearing the song “Kodo-Inside the Sun Remix” by the Yoshida Brothers pop up on Pandora. A third was a piece of art called “Canal” by Luis Melo, which I found on Tumblr. The largest, and perhaps most important seed was meeting a woman named Jackie Pullinger, who worked for over twenty years in the real Kowloon Walled City, and took the time to tell me about it.

It was this last event that really spurred me to start writing what would eventually become THE WALLED CITY. Family, friends and fans are always asking me how I take raw inspiration and make into something that looks like a book. To tell you the truth, I have no clue. The author’s job is to draw something more from these ingredients, to mash together all of these things and create something new. But how?

There’s no tried-and-true instruction manual on how a book comes together. I often describe my writing process as “organic,” which is basically just a fancy term for trial and error. I write scenes and delete them. THE WALLED CITY was born out of a number of infuriatingly false starts. I wrote dozens of pages from Jin Ling’s point of view, before realizing it was simply backstory. I was almost fifty pages into the manuscript when I realized part of the story needed to be told from her sister’s point of view. At two-thirds of the way through the rough draft I realized that Dai’s POV had to be added as well, so I halted, went back and added it. This addition severely restructured the story, but also completed it.

When I see the finished project now, I appreciate how all of these false starts and back tracks contributed to shaping the novel. But when I was in the throes of drafting THE WALLED CITY, the process felt agonizing. It took well over two years to work through all of these creative tangles, and grow those tiny seeds of life-inspiration into a 424-page book.

And the most infuriating thing? This process looks completely different for each book. I never know if the initial start of my WIP is a false one. If I’ll stay with one character throughout the length of the book, or if I’ll wind up exploring other points of view. Just as the inspiration and the end results for each of my novels is different, so is the growth.

It’s for this reason that I can never really answer how my books end up as books. It’s also why I encourage young writers to try new things, don’t give up, and edit, edit, edit. You don’t have to sit around waiting for inspiration to zap you like lightning,
because if you’re persistent and stubborn enough, in the end the book that’s meant to be written is the one that will grow.


About the Author

Ryan Graudin Ryan Graudin grew up in Charleston and graduated from the College of Charleston with a degree in Creative Writing in 2009. She is the author of All That Glows and The Walled City. She resides near Charleston with her husband and wolf-dog. You can find her online at
Her work is represented by Josh Adams of Adams Literary.

This post is part of the Walled City blog tour.
Click on the banner for the full tour schedule!




Thanks to Ryan Graudin and Rockstar Book Tours, you can enter to win some awesome goodies! Up for grabs:

·Grand prize pack: It includes: A finished copy of THE WALLED CITY, rice candy, a miniature lucky cat, a traditional Chinese paper cutout of a dragon, and a pamphlet from the real Walled City Park! US ONLY

·9 winners will receive: A finished copy of THE WALLED CITY. US ONLY.

Use the Rafflecopter below to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

In the Afterlight Dream Cast & Giveaway!

In the Afterlight Dream Cast & Giveaway!

Posted by on 10/28/2014 • 8 Comments

It only took the 1st book for me to become a big fan of Alexandra Bracken, and  today I’m happy to have her drop by the blog to show us her Dream Cast for 5 of the characters in this series. First, here’s the details on the most recent release in series which is out TODAY!

In the Afterlight Dream Cast, by Alexandra Bracken

Oh man oh man oh man. The number one question I get from readers is who I’d want to see cast in a film version of The Darkest Minds. I have to be up front and tell you that I don’t know that there’s any actor out there who perfectly fits the way I imagine the characters’ appearance… but there are a few…

Time Traveling for Dummies, by Karen Akins + Giveaway!

Time Traveling for Dummies, by Karen Akins + Giveaway!

Posted by on 10/27/2014 • 7 Comments

I’ve got the wonderful Karen Akins on the blog today for a really fun guest post as part of her blog tour. And you can also enter to win before you go! 😉 First, let’s see what this book is all about:

Guest Post by Karen Akins

Time Traveling for Dummies

Thank you so much for having me on your blog today to celebrate the release of LOOP!

As I was writing LOOP, I had to come up with my own set of time travel worldbuilding rules. Through the process, I had some revelations about time travel in general. Some are common sense. Others are a little trickier. All are chock full o’ fun!

Time Traveling for Dummies: 1. Gas up the DeLorean before you…

Follow Me Through Darkness Playlist + Giveaway!

Follow Me Through Darkness Playlist + Giveaway!

Posted by on 10/21/2014 • 5 Comments

The Follow Me Through Darkness tour is stopping by the blog today with the book’s playlist along with a giveaway! I haven’t read this one yet, but it sounds like a really interesting dystopian book that sounds right up my alley! Here’s some info on the book if it’s new to you:

Follow Me Through Darkness Playlist by Danielle Ellison

I spent four years between first draft and the release of Follow Me Through Darkness. Music was instrumental in setting the mood, in keeping me in the zone, and in creating the tension that I wanted to build in the novel. This is a longer playlist, because it’s four years of music! I found that I kept adding to the songs I already had, and none of…

The One About Voodoo: Guest Post by Lisa Maxwell

The One About Voodoo: Guest Post by Lisa Maxwell

Posted by on 10/08/2014 • 9 Comments

I’m excited to be a part of the Sweet Unrest tour which is a perfect Halloween season read! Today I’ve got Lisa Maxwell on the blog talking about Voodoo! And before you leave, don’t forget to enter to win! 😉 In case it’s new to you, have a look at what Sweet Unrest is about:

Guest Post by Lisa Maxwell

 The One About VooDoo

In SWEET UNREST, native-Chicagoan Lucy Aimes is thrust into the world of New Orleans mysticism and is swept into a century-old vendetta that puts everything and everyone she loves into danger.

When I was writing the book, I had to learn what I could about Voodoo—as a belief, as a religion, as an art form. The Voodoo that appears in the…

Halloween Thrills & Chills: Deleted Scene from Mary: The Summoning

Halloween Thrills & Chills: Deleted Scene from Mary: The Summoning

Posted by on 10/06/2014 • 19 Comments

Who else is excited that Halloween is just around the corner? Well today I’ve got a sweet treat for you as part of the Halloween Trills & Chills event hosted by The Midnight Garden! I’ve got Hillary Montana here with a deleted scene from her book, Mary: The Summoning. I read this one a few weeks ago and let me tell you it’s one awesome creep-fest! In case you missed it, you can find my review here! Also, don’t miss out on any more Halloween fun and giveaways by visiting the other stops on this tour. You can find the schedule on this post below, or on the kickoff post here! And before getting to the deleted scene, have a look at what Mary: The Summoning is…

Guest Post & Giveaway: A Trick Of The Light

Posted by on 09/18/2014 • 1 Comment

I am so excited to be able to share with you today a guest post and opportunity to win a novel that I read and loved last year. To celebrate the paperback release of A Trick of The Light, Lois Metzger is here to talk about the unique POV of the novel and let me tell you, this is one perspective you have probably never read from before. First here is a little about the novel:

Click Here To Read Jenni’s Review of A Trick Of The Light

Guest Post from Lois Metzger

How I Came to Write a Book Narrated by a Voice in Someone’s Head

Years ago I wrote an opening scene for my novel, “A Trick…

Tour: The Art of Getting Stared at by Laura Langston

Tour: The Art of Getting Stared at by Laura Langston

Posted by on 09/03/2014 • 10 Comments

I am so excited to be able to take part in the blog tour for The Art of Getting Stared At by Laura Langston. This book had such an important message that I think needs to be shared with girls of ALL ages. The unifying theme of this tour is for each participant to share what we would tell our younger self about body image/confidence if we had the opportunity to go back in time and do so. I would love to be able to go back to myself in high school and get it into my teen self’s head that the opinion of the people around me isn’t going to matter in a few years and that I should just make sure I am happy with myself and not…