Sunday, May 17, 2009

Dragon of Trelian Update

I had a wonderful time at the First Annual Hudson Children's Book Festival yesterday. It was lovely to see so many author and illustrator friends and to make some nice new ones. Thanks to everyone who came out for the event and bought books and chatted with authors and illustrators and listened to stories and attended panels and participated in activities!

When you run into author friends you haven't seen since the last conference or festival, two questions often come up:

(1) How's the new book doing?
(2) What are you working on now?

It's been just over a month since The Dragon of Trelian came out, and I'm really happy about its reception so far. I still need to add a lot of this information to the book page on my website, but here's a roundup of some of the responses to the book...

First, I am so excited to say that The Dragon of Trelian has been selected for The Summer 2009 Children's Indie Next List!

It has also received nice reviews from some of the print journals. Here are excerpts:

“Appealing characterization” and “charmingly honest portrayals of family life, the dizzying heartbreak of first romance, the insecurities of loneliness and the rewards of scholarship....[T]he narrative moves at a brisk clip to a satisfying conclusion, with a broad hint of sequels. A promising start.” —Kirkus

“Calen and Meg’s easygoing, entirely believable friendship is the core of this adventurous first novel. Meg is gutsy and impulsive, while Calen is thoughtful and steadfast; and they make an appealing duo....[A] solid addition to the fantasy genre.” —Booklist

“[T]his strong debut novel should find a welcoming audience among Gail Carson Levine and Shannon Hale fans.” —Horn Book

Readers have been saying absolutely lovely things about it on Goodreads and LibraryThing. I can't tell you how good that makes me feel, to know that people are reading and liking my novel!

Several bloggers have also posted reviews, including:

Janet Fox at Through the Wardrobe
Marcus at The Rad Librarian
Greg Leitich Smith at GregLSBlog
Sheila Ruth at Wands and Worlds

Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to write a review and put it up to share with other readers. I'm not usually comfortable responding directly to reviewers; the etiquette rules are fuzzy on this, I think. As far as I know, it is rarely if ever considered appropriate for authors to respond to print reviews, but some authors do seem to feel okay about responding to online reviews. I still feel odd about that, though, so I wanted to say a general and public thank-you here, to all of you. The first few months after publication can be a very weird and scary time for an author—the book is out there, in the world, on its own...people are reading it(!), or maybe they're not(!!).... Hearing back from readers is so important, and of course it's especially wonderful to hear positive things! :) So thank you again, and I hope to hear back from more of you, either via email or blog comments or through the reviews you post in public forums.

(Incidentally, I'd be very interested to hear other opinions on the responding-to-reviews issue. Are the rules changing? Were they never rules in the first place?)

I'm also participating in a blog tour June 1–3 with; stay tuned for more links and information about that!

As for that other question, the what-are-you-working-on-now one...the answer is a sequel to The Dragon of Trelian as well as another, completely unrelated YA novel. And more picture books. Always more picture books! :)


  1. Hmm, I had not heard the rules about responding to reviews. I think it's always nice to have an author thank bloggers who review their books. The only way I've seen authors hurt themselves is when they respond defensively to a less than glowing review. If they thank even the reviewers who rip them, I find myself buying their books, usually. If they respond defensively it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    But I have no idea if I'm right about this. I've looked at it from the blogger's side. I love to have published authors stop by my blog.

  2. Sally, I have no idea if I'm right, either. Maybe I'm the only author who feels weird about this! Part of it is concern about impacting a reviewer's objectivity (or even just creating the perception of that happening). It just seems like interaction between the reviewer and the reviewee would complicate the whole system, somehow. Also I guess I would worry about offending someone if I only responded to some reviews (for example, if I just didn't happen to see one, and that reviewer later noticed I responded to another review but not hers...) Maybe I'm just thinking too much about this and it's not as potentially sensitive an issue as I think it is?

  3. I LOVE your book so far, I'm reading it right now! Well, not at the very moment of course but you know what I mean. Keep up the good work!

  4. WOW, that was a good book. I have read lots of mythical-medival type books, and i love dragons, and i'd say The Dragon of Trelian is right up there in my top reads. What is the sequel going to be called, and when do you think it's coming out?

  5. Thanks, anonymous commenters! :) Anonymous #2: the sequel doesn't have a title yet. It's scheduled to come out in Fall 2011. The first draft is finished, but there is still lots of revising to do... stay tuned!

  6. I love your book! I love mythical books, and yours is a definite [did i spell that wrong?] favorite. I can't wait for that to come out.

  7. Hi!
    I finished reading 'The Dragon Of Trelian' 3 minutes ago and it was brilliant! I've spent ages looking for a book that involves dragons, castles, magic, betrayal and secrets (and sometimes a bit of war and fighting)but haven't been able to find anything. I have read the rangers apprentice series 6 times and I was looking for another book to read and I found your book. I finished it in two nights and loved every bit of it. You said the sequel will come out in fall and I live in Australia where we don't have fall. Our seasons are also different, so what month will it be released around?

    I cannot wait until the sequel is released.
    thankyou for writing such a wonderful book.

  8. Was wondering if there was any plans on turning The Dragon of Trelian into a movie?

  9. Hi Anonymous poster of 11/30! :) No movie plans in the works so far, but you never know... I would certainly love to see that happen!

  10. OH MY GOD! Is it seriously you?!?! I love your books! Your such an amazing author! I love writing stories as well, and I just have a question, do you have to pay to publish your books? I have 5 that I would like to try. Do you know any way of contacting publishers?

    Dakoda Savage, Age 10

  11. Hi Dakoda,
    Thanks for posting - I'm so glad to hear you like my books!

    To answer your question, you shouldn't have to pay to publish your books through a traditional publisher. A good way to get started is to visit the Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators website ( and author/editor Harold Underdown's website at You might also want to check out the annual publication called Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market. Those will give you a lot of great information about writing and publishing your stories. Good luck! :)