Thursday, February 10, 2011

YAtopia Blog Invasion: Guest Author Shirley Marr & Book Giveaway

Hi my name is Shirley Marr and this should be YAtopia Contributor Sharon’s post, but I am hijacking it today, muahaha! I’ve snuck in wearing a disguise and locked Sharon in the YAtopia basement. See, I won an auction on Authors For Queensland to raise funds for the Flood Appeal, allowing me the privilege of doing a guest post. So who am I? I’m an author of YA fiction. My debut novel is Fury, which came out in May 2010 and is published by black dog books. Make sure you stick around till the end cos I’ll be giving away a signed copy of my novel – and it’s open to international readers. Horrah!

So what can I say about myself, do I have any interesting stories hmmm? Actually why don’t I share my publication story, I hope you find it inspirational.

Flashback to 2009. This is future-me asking me-from-two-years ago these questions: What does querying a novel mean? No idea. What is a slushpile? I don’t know. What is an agent? Don’t know either… hang on, isn’t that something Hollywood stars have? As you can tell, I didn’t know much about the publishing industry. All I knew was that I loved writing and I’d been writing, like, forever.

My plan was this: write something I think is decent. Send it to a publisher I like the sound of and then get published. I considered myself an “okay” writer. This was going to be easy! I was working on a manuscript that through a long-convoluted-story (I’ll save that for another day) turned out to be YA, even though I was completely unaware that YA was this massive, super-popular lucrative market. I mean, I had read all the Harry Potters, but apart from that I kinda didn’t read books that were published beyond like… 1970…

So you’re thinking, okay, Shirley is delusional, this is going to end in disaster. I printed out the first three chapters of my manuscript (yes, I printed them, that’s probably extremely old school) and I sent it off.

Effectively I was sending it off to a slush pile without even knowing what one was. A few weeks passed and I got an email from Editor Melissa Keil from black dog books expressing interest. I was virtually thrown head first into editing, re-editing and even more re-re-editing and in less than I year had given birth to a shiny novel I was actually holding in my hand going “Oh my… I think I’m an author!”

So if you are a writer reading this and you really, really want to get published and maybe you want to give up – don’t – because in my naivety (which I later discovered was a good thing) I learnt…

  1. You don’t have to write in a particular genre or a certain type of story just because it’s popular.
  2. You don’t have to be represented by a flashy agent (or a crappy agent for that matter).
  3. You don’t have to read a billion books or blogs telling you how to write.

Just write. Don’t overthink it. Because if it really is good, someone will see it and it will get published. Think of your talent and what you can offer readers rather than what the industry can offer you if you pander to them. That’s how authors break new ground and new moulds get created.

Okay – we’ve reached the end of my post, so it’s book giveaway time! You can check out the end product of my journey for yourself. Fury is my debut novel and it’s written from the point of view of 16-year-old Eliza Boans who is sitting in a police station making a confession. Her opening line is: “My name is Eliza Boans and I am a murderer”. She’s an anti-hero, she’s mean and snarky, but dig a little deeper and she might just be loveable. It’s dark, it’s funny, it’s dramatic and I hope it makes you cry too.

I’m going to give away a shiny signed copy, posted anywhere in the world, if you can tell me why you want to win a copy and leave it as a comment below. The answer I like the best wins! Enter way! You have until Saturday 20th February to enter.

To find out more about me and my novel Fury, visit:
My Blog: Life on Marrs

Thanks everyone one! Sharon will be released for her regular Thursday postings in two weeks.


  1. Oh my! I hope Sharon isn't in room 101! (Dorky 1984 reference there, sorry.)
    Welcome to YAtopia, Shirley! I'm excited to check out your book.

  2. Is it completely wrong from me to say I would totally commit murder to get my hands on this book? Yea, you're right, it is completely wrong. So, let's forget I said that and don't call the cops on me. But the book does sound like its to kill for. (I know, I know... I'll just shut up now.) :o)

  3. Wow.... what a gorgeous cover!! Thanks for blogging with us today!

  4. Shirely, I don't want a free copy of your book because I want to BUY it!!! Don't cheat me of the whole book experience! Driving to good ol' Barnes, taking out the shiny plastic, going home & hearing the fresh creak of opening the binder for the first time, smelling the pages, running my fingers along ... Okay, this is getting a little weird & strangely personal ... I'll just uh, leave now ...

  5. Haha, Morgan! There's something extremely exhilarating about buying a lovely book, isn't there? Others wouldn't understand. :)

  6. I want to win a copy of your book because I hadn't heard of you before reading this post (I know, sorry), but I'm already completely blown away! I love your first sentence; I love that you succeeded by not overthinking it; and I want to be your fan forever. If you don't choose me as your winner, I'll still probably pick it up and read it, but it'll take me longer to fall in love with you... and think of all the weeks we'll miss out on. :)

  7. Thanks for stopping by Shirley; we're glad to have you!

    Make sure you unlock the basement before you leave... Sharon doesn't do well when she can't visit the beach every day.

  8. OMG!!! This cover is fantastic. I want to be her. It's great to know that she's really snarky, because I love it when the female is. I also want to kill for this book. The premise sounds great. I've added this to my wishlist. I hadn't seen it before now. But I must get my hands on this somehow!!!

    “My name is Eliza Boans and I am a murderer”.


    Best first line ever.

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  9. Love the story on your road to publication!

    The first sentence and synopsis have giot me completely intriqued, plus the cover is absolutely beauitful.
    I also find anti-heroes to be some of the most fascinating main characters.

    hauntingorchid (at) aol (dot) com

  10. It sounds so much more different from some certain brainless novels nowadays..And plus the novel is pretty intriguing too o:


  11. I'm gonna be honest.

    I've been lurking around Shirley's blog for long and I have had a book-crush on Fury (if summaries could kill) and it's to-die-for cover for way too long. The tragedy being? The book's not available out here, and my beating-antihero-loving-heart can't bear to be dejected again.

  12. Wow what an amazing line to start with! I am desperate for dramatic and emotional books! I love books that I get so into that I cry and they are hard to find! This book seems to promise that intensity so I'm just stoked about it!

    thegirlonfire27 at gmail dot com

  13. Well, at first I wanted to ready it 'cos I misread the title as "Furry", and wondered what on earth you had been getting up to - but the more I read the more professional and intriguing it sounded. If you'd consider giving the protagonist a light perm, "Furry" might still work you realise =)
    Cheers, Scott

  14. Bahahaha!!!! Scott!!! ^^^^^^^^^ Sooooo funny!!!!!!! :D

  15. Pahahaa - LOL, Morgan, I'm laughing with you! Scott, that was too funny!

  16. Even though I'm much older than all of you, I still love (and always have loved) YA books! I would love to read yours!!

    (I found you circuitously--starting with Tamara Hart Heiner, YA author of Perilous....)

    That is a GREAT first liner!! And so is the name Eliza Boans.

    I'm now heading over to your blog.
    Ann Best, Author

  17. Hey YAtopia crew & readers, it's me! THANK YOU to everyone who's posted a comment - I'm liking the answers! And for anyone else reading this, I'll be picking the winner soon, so get your entry in!

  18. Okay, fine! I cave! I don't care about the book experience!!! I just want your book!!! Gah!!!!!


  19. Oh my! Your book has be hooked, just by that amazing cover alone!

    You should send me the signed copy because... I want to read it... Devour it... Pass it along to all my many many reading and writing buddies and brag that I, yes...I, have a signed copy of this amazing book written by: YOU.

    Then I will steal it back from my friends, tell them they must buy their own copies, and read it again: over and over and over again.


  20. (I just have to add this: I am also in the US, and do not know when I will get the chance to get this work to read for myself. I just went and read your teaser and I want it, alot alot alot. So... does that convince you any more... a smidge?)

  21. Giving up so soon Morgan? I think I speak for everyone when I say I was hoping to hear more about your secret life with books ... tho reading in the dark can damage your eyes ;-)

  22. You're right, you're right, Scott ... Phew! Thanks for grounding me ... I needed that! Maybe the ladies will let me do a guest blog on 'The Dark Secrets of a Book Addict: How Far is Too Far?' ----hhmmmm ... Probably not appropriate for a YA blog ...

    Bahaha! :D

  23. Hi Shirley :)

    I'd love to receive a copy of your book because I am in love with your writing style and how you went about hijacking Sharon's post. It's weird, yeah, but one thing that tells me if I'm going to love a book is the writer's personality (and whether or not they're wearing super awesome (ninja kitty-like) masks). Who doesn't want a *signed copy* of that writer's book? I know I want it!

    On to the story: I am in love with the whole concept. It's not mainstream writing, as in paranormal romance, but that's what stood out to me. I've always been interested in the anti-hero. As soon as I saw the cover- and that breathtaking, bone-chilling, first line that everyone's talking about, I was captivated. I know that reading FURY is going be a psychological thriller with deep character development in the process.

    I looked up the pitch immediately, so I know that Eliza seems to have everything, leading to the question of why she's sitting in a police station for murder? I love snarky characters with the potential to be lovable, and I want. to. know. why she's a murderer. You've built up the suspense without making us read more than the first line of your novel. Now I'm telling you how much I'm in love with your story, and I'm getting even more excited about the novel! Have I told you how amazing you are?

    I would love, love, love to win a copy of your debut novel. If I win, I will definitely be showing it off my signed copy of FURY to all my friends and telling them just what an amazing ninja writer you are :D


    I hope I didn't have to post my email to win.

  24. I know this is, you know, years after your initial post, but I'm adding this to my TBR list!