Katia Raina

The Magic Mirror

My last NJSCBWI post and a giveaway

Look, I’ll admit it, sometimes it gets hard. Too hard. Sometimes it seems like your dreams are never going to come true, and that it almost doesn’t matter. Then you meet “the Sirenz” and you reconsider giving in to gray hopeless thoughts.

At least that’s what happened to me last month at the New Jersey SCBWI conference.

The Sirenz are: Natalie Zaman and Charlotte Bennardo, two co-authors of well, “Sirenz,” a story about two teenage fashionistas who end up having to serve Hades, the world of the underworld. The  book, released by Flux just last month is a total riot, as I expected it to be.

But then, so are the authors.

Natalie and Charlotte are two Jersey moms of same-age kids and neighbors, who read Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” and said, “We can do that.” Quickly, they brainstormed about what else they could write about, besides vampires, and came up with Greek mythology. The two couldn’t agree on a point of view character, so they created two. They started writing the story at the end of 2007, taking them on a crazy journey that brought them to publication.

“It hasn’t been an easy road,” Charlotte told the conference participants. “We were in your shoes.”

The two talked about one rewrite after another, close calls, one hour-long telephone call with an excited agent that went nowhere. It’s been revising, revising, revising, until finally, an editor said “yes.”

“I wish Stephenie’s success on anybody,” Charlotte told writers. “But our story is more typical, I think.”

If you are a published author, have you ever been discouraged? Has your road been hard sometimes? Share some war stories to inspire, and possibly win a signed copy of “The Sirenz!”

As an additional gift, and a thank you for hanging around these humble pages, I am throwing in another prize: another just-released fabulous read published by Flux. This one is called “The Bestest. Ramadan. Ever.” and it’s by my virtual friend and this blog’s faithful follower Medeial Sharif. I loved your book, Medeia — you really capture an authentic teen voice and experience through the eyes of Almira, a girl torn in between her Muslim and her American identities.

Writers, if you are still in the middle of the road, what keeps you going? Tell me, and be entered into the contest!


July 17, 2011 - Posted by | Writing Mirror | , , , , ,


  1. Thank you for your kind words, Katia. 😀

    I finished Sirenz this week. The authors took something as dark as Hades and Tartarus and made them funny. I can’t wait for book 2.

    Comment by Medeia Sharif | July 17, 2011 | Reply

  2. Thanks so much for your kind words about Sirenz and us 🙂 It was awesome meeting you! Can’t wait to read Bestest. Ramadan. Ever. ❤

    Comment by Natalie Zaman | July 17, 2011 | Reply

    • Hi Natalie — so sorry I missed the launch party! I really wanted to go, but this summer is craaazy, not to mention the fact that I am trying to fill it with writing, just as much as I can. I bet it was amazing fun — almost as fun as the book itself. Maybe I’ll go to one of your signings and get another copy to give away 😉 You guys provided a real fun and different read, and you made the book easy to love. Besides, I love your guys’ story AND as I told you before, your ENERGY!!

      Comment by Katia Raina | July 17, 2011 | Reply

  3. I’ve just found my way over here via Medeia, who found me 🙂

    I’m not published yet, still plodding on 🙂 I would just like to say how nice it is to hear people who said ‘wecould do that’ actually do it! Well done.

    Comment by Sarah Pearson | July 17, 2011 | Reply

    • Hi Sarah and thanks for stopping by. Yes, don’t you love those kinds of stories? People saying, “you know what, I’m gonna do this thing,” and then actually DOING it!! I am a junkie for such stories…:)

      Comment by Katia Raina | July 17, 2011 | Reply

  4. No, thank YOU Medeia, for providing such a fresh perspective in YA! And talk about funny — you have plenty of those moments as well. As for Hades in Sirenz, not only is he funny, he’s sexy! 🙂

    Comment by Katia Raina | July 17, 2011 | Reply

  5. Loved Sirenz and enjoyed meeting the authors at their launch party.

    I’ ve been writing for nine years and I’m still plodding away. It’s a passion. How could I give up?

    Bestest Ramadan Ever looks really interesting.

    Comment by colleen kosinski | July 17, 2011 | Reply

    • Hi Colleen,
      Ooh, lucky you, you got to go to the launch party. So did you meet Hades? 🙂
      How COULD you give it up. I guess you couldn’t. Also, you’d be surprised at how long it took some of those other successful authors. It isn’t something people talk about a lot. Thanks for stopping by — and keep plodding away and loving it!

      Comment by Katia Raina | July 17, 2011 | Reply

  6. It’s stories like this that keep me going. I’m not published. Don’t even have an agent yet, but reading author’s blogs and seeing how “I can do this” turned into “I did it” is what motivates me. Both of these books are must reads for me. 🙂

    Comment by akossket | August 3, 2011 | Reply

    • Hi! Sorry — went away on vacation, just getting this now. Thanks for stopping by my blog, and yes, I, too, live for those stories as you can tell. 🙂 Good luck with your writing!

      Comment by Katia Raina | August 7, 2011 | Reply

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