Things should be great for Janie--she has graduated from high school and is spending her summer with Cabel, the guy she's totally in love with. But deep down she's panicking about how she's going to survive her future when getting sucked into other people's dreams is really starting to take its toll. Things get even more complicated when she meets her father for the very first time--and he's in a coma. As Janie uncovers his secret past, she begins to realize that the choice thought she had has more dire consequences than she ever imagined.
Read an excerpt for Gone.
A Note to Readers from Author Lisa McMann
Writing Gone, knowing it was the end, was so difficult that I procrastinated quite ferociously. I knew that once I started, I'd have to go underground like I always do when I write a book--I just attack it full on and write until I'm crooked and crazy every day for a month or six weeks or so, surfacing to order takeout or absent mindedly say hello to my children and husband. But this time it was different. Not only would it have to be a perfect ending to a trilogy, but I'd have to attack it without transferring my own sad feelings onto the pages. I needed to be in the right place in my head before I could start.
Finally, one day in August 2008, I could procrastinate no longer. I sat down for five weeks, wrote my heart out, and surfaced again with a finished draft. All I knew is that I loved the ending. I cried through half of it, but it felt good to me. And I was so glad to be finished with the hard part--there was no way on earth that I could ever do that again. I was overjoyed to go to the editing stages, and I polished it up, nice and shiny.
My agent read it. "I think you'll need to make some changes," he said, "but let's see what Jen has to say."
"But the ending!" I cried. "The ending! Isn't it great?" I didn't want to hear about the other stuff.
"Sure, the ending's great. Let's wait for Jen." I was certain Jen would love it. I was certainly wrong. It wasn't good enough.
It took me four days to finally get up the courage to read through the editorial letter, and then I cried for four more. And then I had to face the truth: Jen was totally right, and I was totally wrong. My last hurrah wasn't strong enough. I had been holding back, not wanting it all to end. And though she didn't say it outright, I knew what had to happen. Not just some tweaking. Not just a thorough edit. Gone needed a full rewrite. A do-over.
And so, with only three weeks of solid work time before I was to leave on the Fade tour, after all the tears were cried out and I had my determination back, I found a theme song for Janie--Dido's "Here With Me." I turned that song on full blast--it has this awesome pounding beat--and I closed my eyes, playing it over and over for an hour or more, picturing Janie. How she'd feel after the thing with Durbin, how she'd really feel once the dust settled on the green notebook. And then I turned off the music and started from scratch, but this time from a very raw place. No more holding back. And I wrote that futhermucker again, with all the grit and determination it needed to be a survivor. I never wanted to say good-bye, but I've done it twice now. And the second time felt incredibly good and right. I hope you think so too.
A year later, I'm so excited for Gone to hit the bookstores, but I haven't been sitting idle. I'm on to new adventures and fresh beginnings with new characters. Cryer's Cross is my next young adult novel. It's a stand-alone paranormal thriller with a side of creepy and of course, a bit of romance. No dreams this time around, but there's definitely something unexplainable going on. Seventeen-year-old Kendall lives with her parents on a potato farm in a tiny community in Montana, where nothing bad ever happens until Jacián Obregon comes to town and a ninth-grade girl goes missing.
Additionally, I have a few other books in the works with Simon & Schuster. Again in the young adult department, slated for spring 2012, Dead to You is an emotional thriller about a missing boy who finds his way home after being gone nine years. And for my first foray into the world of middle grade, I am so excited to share with you The Unwanteds, a dystopian fantasy about kids who are exiled from their homeland when they display signs of creativity to a hidden world where they are trained to use their abilities and hone their magical skills. Look for this one in fall 2011.