For Readers & Writers
from Susan Dennard
M&D Issue #134

February 22, 2018

What's in this heart-to-heart?

Recent Goings On:

I am on day 11 of the Bloodwitch tour. This is my LAST EVENT! I am both happy to go home, but also sad it's over...

Honestly, this has been my most rewarding tour yet. Not that I haven't loved all past tours, but this particular one has been filled with such an outpouring of love and support from all of you.

I was so worried I would regret touring when I am this heavy with grief and still recovering from my D&C. But instead, all of you have lifted me up and filled me with more strength and hope than I have felt in months. Literally, months.

So thank you, thank you, thank you. I can't say it enough.

For the Misfits & Witchlanders:


Bloodwitch is in stores now!

Can you believe that Bloodwitch has been out 10 days now?

And it just released yesterday in the UK! Isn't it just so beautiful? I love the UK title treatments.

If you haven't yet, please consider grabbing a copy.

OR, if you already have one, please consider leaving a review after you've read. Vendor reviews are critical for helping spread the word about a series.

Oh, and don't forget the audio version! It's also now available and narrated by the incredibly talented Cassandra Campbell. Listen to a sample here.

Thanks for all your support during release, friends. I am so grateful to all of you (and to the always epic Witchlanders). It's amazing how far we've come since this newsletter and the Witchlands first began!

For the Daydreamers:

My Publishing Journey


I am delighted to have Sarah Enni on the newsletter today.

I've collaborated with Sarah in the past, as many of you know, and she is SUCH a bright light in the publishing community.

Not only is she the creator and host of First Draft podcast, but her debut young adult novel, Tell Me Everything, will be out from Scholastic in just 5 days!!!

Because of the coming release -- and because I knew a bit about the hard road Sarah has traveled to get here -- I asked her to stop by and share her story.

I hope you find it as moving and inspiring as I did.


I’ll be honest: I’ve been putting off writing this post. When my debut book, Tell Me Everything, comes out (available everywhere 2/26!), it will mark 10 years since I started writing creatively. I didn’t realize how difficult it was going to be to talk about those 10 years for every blog post and interview. How personally I was going to take being approached (rightfully!) as a debut, when I’ve come to feel like a hardened vet—albeit without the books to show for it. How tough it was going to be to look back at a decade of my life, which changed me so much, and close that chapter. I feel compelled to share my experience honestly—because that’s my way generally, and because as the host of the First Draft podcast I ask so much truth and public reflection from my guests. But frankly, I’m still coming to terms with it myself. But there’s good in sharing that feeling, too, so here we go.
I started writing books in the winter of 2009, in the wake of my father’s sudden death from a pulmonary embolism—a blood clot that reached his lungs. In the San Francisco airport in January, waiting for the flight home after his memorial service, I realized the only book I’d packed was a biography of Andrew Jackson. It was the book I’d bought Dad for Christmas. Looking back, I can’t believe I thought I would ever read it. Walking through Hudson Books, I came across TWILIGHT. I’d missed that whole phenomenon, but some mega-popular fluff felt about right. I bought the book and read the entire thing on the six-hour red-eye flight to JFK. I loved it. At JFK I bought New Moon and started that on the hour-long shuttle flight to D.C., where I lived at the time.
I went back to my desk job and timed my lunch breaks to be after everyone else’s, so I could finish the series in peace—and avoid talking to anyone else. I was about to fall into a year-long depression, but I didn’t know that at the time. I only knew that Twilight—and this new category of books, young adult—reminded me that books have always been my passion. I decided to try writing one myself.
Book one took a year. Book two was about the same. Book three got me an agent, and was taken to acquisitions by an enthusiastic editor. Unfortunately, the publisher rejected it. Two months later, my husband abruptly asked for a divorce. When my dad died, I started writing books. When my marriage fell apart, I started the First Draft podcast. Five years later, the weekly podcast is still going strong and has kept me intricately tied to this industry I love so much. Young adult saved my ass, again, but this time it wasn’t just the books—it was the people.
In 2015 I moved from D.C. to Los Angeles (with a brief 6-month stay at my mom’s house in between), wrote another book, ghost-wrote yet another, and finally, in 2016, Amanda Maciel at Scholastic offered me the chance to develop and share Tell Me Everything with the world. Now, one season change and two complete re-writes later, the book is finally about to come out.
The thing people don’t talk about enough is how success can feel like failure. The closer I got to publication, the more I felt like a fraud. All my insecurities bubbled to the surface—that I should have had many more books published by now, that I was so far behind my friends, that this book wasn’t as good as it could be, that once I was actually published everyone would see that I wasn’t brilliant and think I’d been blowing hot air on my podcast all these years. I doubt those thoughts are going to disappear. But with the help of my friends, family, and therapist, I am learning to breathe in, breathe out, and dismiss them. We all feel like imposters, if we have any dose of humility. And we can all feel like imposters together.
It’s hard to tell the story of my path to publication. It’s marked by the two greatest tragedies of my life. But the truth is, while living through the untimely death of a parent and emerging new from a divorce were catalysts that led me to the writing community, which has filled my life with joy, creativity, and understanding. That’s the part of this decade that I’m taking into the next one, and for that I can’t be anything but transcendently grateful.

Thank you SO much for coming by, Sarah, and for sharing your personal journey. I know it means a lot to readers here, and it definitely means a lot to me.

Now all of you wonderful Daydreamers: BE SURE TO SUPPORT SARAH! Preorder Tell Me Everything!

And go see her on tour! You can find all of her events listed here.

Sarah truly does so much for the kidlit community, so let's support her in any way we can.

Upcoming Events:


Tattered Cover Book Store
Denver, CO
February 22, 2019 @ 7PM
Santa Monica, CA
May 4, 2019
New York, NY
June 1-2, 2019

Link Roundup:

Since there are a lot of new subscribers lately, I've been linking to past helpful newsletters. Happy reading!

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Copyright © 2018
Susan Dennard
All rights reserved.

110 West 40th St.
Suite 2201
New York, NY 10018

I'm a misfit, a daydreamer,
a fangirl, an animal-lover,
a feminist killjoy,
and a gluten-free
cookie-eater. 🐙
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