Before I moved away from Philadelphia, I spent every other weekend holed up with my YA writing group (hi Randy, Lauren, Katherine, and Julie, I miss all of you terribly), fussing over a book that was challenging the hell out of me.
Much like the drive to curate my adoption-themed anthology Welcome Home, I wanted to write a novel for adopted kids. Teens who were wrestling with finding a sense of identity, the way I did when I was younger. I wanted there to be magic, friendship, a diverse cast of characters. I wanted to talk about how we treat the world around us, and how it reflects on how we treat one another.
I wanted a lot.
I affectionately referred to this book as “The Nena Book” whenever I talked about it, as my wife pushed me to try and write this. To talk about transracial adoptees (like me), and to write a story that was incredibly close and personal to me.
It was absolutely the book of my heart. And now, it’ll be published by Flux in the Spring of 2018. Read more
The book features short stories across genres from over two dozen authors, and I’m so proud of it. And this is your chance to read it almost half a year before it comes out! Whoa!
Also, be sure to add it on Goodreads? You can expect some giveaways there soon, as well as other really cool news regarding the book (a top secret microsite project, pre-order campaigns, posters!) soon.
Interested in requesting a physical ARC? Flux has a limited print amount that they are sending out to reviewers. If you’d like one, you can email me at ericsmithrocks at gmail dot com, and I’ll forward your request.
BRANDED, the sequel to INKED, comes out with Bloomsbury’s digital imprint, Bloomsbury Spark, on May 23rd. It’s also up on NetGalley (is this really happening?), and you can request it here.
If you haven’t read the first book, and you’re interested in reading it… let me know! I would be more than happy to gift a copy of Inked your way. This is an eBook exclusive series though, so only ask if you don’t mind me sending you a Kindle of Nook code.
Growing up, I could never find stories about adopted kids.
I always sought out other adoptees, to hear their stories, and as a teenager, wrestled with identity a lot. When people asked where I was from, I made things up. When kids poked fun at me for being adopted (that does happen), I got in fights. As an escape, I read. I read voraciously. And I wish that a some point, in all those pages, that I had been able to see stories about people like me.
“Aw, come on champ. Even Superman is adopted.”
Okay, adopted kids hear that all the time. But adoptees can’t fly away from their problems. There’s no fortress of solitude to retreat to, and even if there was, being alone, feeling alone, is one of the biggest problems in the first place.
Which is why I’m really thrilled to be announcing my Young Adult anthology, Welcome Home.
Welcome Home collects genre-spanning short stories centered around the theme of adoption, with tales about foster care, searching for birth parents, group homes, adopted siblings, struggling adoptive parents, and more by a number of amazing authors.
There are even a few debut voices in the mix, including Hello Giggles staff contributor Sammy Nickalls.
The book will be out with Jolly Fish Press in the Fall of 2017. We’ll be donating the book’s royalties to organizations that work with adoptees and foster kids, and I can’t wait to share those plans when we’ve got them ironed out, as well as other fun announcements with the book, from covers to contributors.
And speaking of.
You might have noticed those question marks in the image up above. Are YOU someone with a close tie to adoption, and possibly interested in writing a story? Let’s talk. I’m still looking for stories, particularly from diverse voices. No, you don’t have to be published before, we have some exciting debut voices we’ll announce very soon. You can find my contact info here.
Update (6/15): The collection is finalized, but we will be taking stories for the online portion of the anthology, a website where we will collect adoption stories. If you’d like more info on that, drop me a line.
When it comes to my writing and literary agent life, my wife pushes me. She does it all the time. Pushes me to try things that are difficult, to work outside my comfort zone. To tackle serious ideas. Growing up, I shied away from all that, but since meeting Kristina, I’ve really started to try harder. Welcome Home is one of the first projects to come out of that. Thank you, Nena.
Thanks to all the authors who jumped in to play along with this, and took a chance writing short stories for a project that might have never happened. It’s a hard thing, putting together an anthology (there will be a blog post on this down the line). It’s a passion project, and you never know if it’ll get picked up.
And the YA community as a whole. I literally emailed over one hundred of you. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction, making introductions.
And my superstar agent, Dawn Frederick, thank you for reading my long rambling emails about this thing, and letting me prattle to you on the phone about it. I’m not sure how you deal with me. You’re a saint. And McKelle George at Jollyfish, for taking this labor of love on.