GRAY WOLF ISLAND
About the Book:
Right before Sadie died, she begged her sister, Ruby, to do the one thing she could never do herself: Find the treasure on Gray Wolf Island.
With just a mysterious treasure map as a guide, Ruby reluctantly allows some friends to join her on the hunt, each of whom is touched by magic: a boy allegedly born to a virgin, a girl who never sleeps, a boy who can foresee his own death, and a boy with deep ties to the island. Each of them is also keeping a secret—something they’ll have to reveal in order to reach the treasure.
As the secrets come to light, Ruby will have to decide: Can she make peace with her friends’ troubled pasts and continue to trust them? Can she forgive herself for doing the unspeakable? Deep in the wilderness of Gray Wolf Island, Ruby’s choices will determine if they make it out with the treasure—or merely with their lives.
From debut author Tracey Neithercott comes a darkly compelling tale of profound friendship, adventure, and finding the strength to tell the truth.
My first book was written by hand and illustrated with some really fancy colored pencils. It was highly acclaimed by my mother. Now, I write YA stories of friendship, love, murder, and magic. (None of which I illustrate—you’re welcome.) I live in Massachusetts with my husband, who suggests improving my novels by adding Star Wars characters.
I’m the author of Gray Wolf Island, a YA novel about the truth, a treasure, and five teens searching for both. Coming fall 2017 from Knopf/Random House.
One morning last year, I attempted to get out of bed and failed miserably. My back, it seemed, had other ideas. It became clear that, according to the new bylaws it had written overnight, I could either live life laying down or stand with a sideaways bend.
In an effort to work without back pain, I invested in one of those fancy ergonomic recliners you see kids playing with at places like The Health Back Store. (Side note: my husband still plays with it like a kid. In his defense, the zero gravity position is almost upside down, which is fun no matter how old you are.)
Since then, I’ve been writing from that chair—minus the back pain, which is a much-appreciated side effect. That’s a long story to say this: I don’t have a desktop.
I do have side tables that hold all of the items I use while writing:
I like the idea of using a pen and paper—it feels like writing at its purest. But my brain happens to work faster than my hands, so penning a novel by hand is a bit like wading through molasses. Instead, I do all of my work on the computer: brainstorming, plotting, writing, revising, etc. I use the program Scrivener for all of that, so everything related to each book is within that single file.
My house is pretty much overrun by books, which is not a bad thing considering I once lived in an apartment overrun by mice. (If it ever becomes possible to wipe select memories, you know where I’m starting.)
I always have some nearby—those I recently finished (like the AMAZING When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon and The Last Thing You Said by Sara Biren) and those high on my TBR list (like The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy, which I’ve heard is brilliant).
- Sheet Masks
This is such a weird one, guys. I’m fully aware of that. Here’s the thing: When I have the time to indulge it, I do this highly specific writing ritual to get in the headspace to draft. That starts with a sheet mask. (If you’re unfamiliar, it’s a cotton mask soaked in a skin care solution that you place over your face. For a half hour or so, your skin soaks up the solution—and you look absolutely ridiculous and/or terrifying. But when it’s removed, you look all glowy, so it’s a fine tradeoff.)
I’ve started so many writing sessions like this that simply putting on a sheet mask gets me in the writing mood. I don’t claim to understand it—I just reap the benefits. The ones here came in a sheet mask subscription box I got for Christmas, but you can get a Tony Moly variety pack from Amazon for pretty cheap—and they work great.
- Hand Lotion
The next step in my weird writing routine is to put on hand lotion. I slather this on even when I don’t have time to do the sheet mask thing. (By now it should be clear that I’m a former beauty editor and current skin-care junkie.)
I started doing this because I’m easily distracted by dry hands and ragged cuticles. Also Twitter and Instagram and the small divots in my brick wall. Basically, if there’s something else to pay attention to instead of my blank screen, I’ll find it. (That first draft, for me, is a little like pulling an entire world from my brain through my ear. Which is to say: slow and overly painful. I much prefer revising.)
Another way the lotion helps me write is my smell. Just like a certain scent can make a memory come alive, this smell (Illume’s Coconut Milk Mango Hand Crème, which is heavenly) brings me right back to my story world. Some authors use candles in the same way. Science, guys.
When I need to puzzle something out, I’m pen and paper all the way. I’ll open a journal and work through problems (though the solution always gets transferred to the file on my computer). For Gray Wolf Island, I went through lots of pages sketching the island and the big stops on the treasure hunt. Fun fact: The map that’s in the book is very close to those original sketches. The top journal here (how absolutely gorgeous is that illustration?) came from Anthropologie and was a gift from someone who knows me well.
Because why not. I love brightening my space with some flowers. I don’t know what kind these are (any gardeners out there want to fill me in?), but my favorites are … ranunculuses? Ranunculi? However you pluralize it, they’re lovely.
Back to the writing ritual! This is the most important step: I plug my earbuds into my phone, where I have an app called Brainwaves Sharp Mind. And if you think an app that supposedly uses sound to alter your brain waves seems like a scam, you’re not alone. I thought the same thing—until it worked. Maybe it’s the placebo effect, but I get more writing done when I turn on the Creative Thinking brainwave.
While writing Gray Wolf Island, I used that brainwave with the Ocean Waves 2 ambience. After a few minutes, the drone of the brainwaves sound faded to the background and I was listening to waves hit the shore—perfect for writing about an island.
- Lip Balm
Are you sick of the beauty products yet? The last one I use while writing is my lip balm. I love Fresh’s Sugar Advanced Therapy (not pictured here) and use it nonstop during the day. But I’ve been using Fresh’s Sugar Nourishing Lip Balm Advanced Therapy recently, only when my lips are extra dry, and I really like it. It’s sticky, so I layer lip balm on top.
- Tea or Coffee
I always have a glass of water and something hot by my side as I write. On weeknights, when I’m a night-owl writer, that’s usually green tea. I brew a giant pot and refill as I go. On weekends, I write in the afternoon and evening, so I’m usually downing lattes the whole time. It is … probably not the healthiest step in my writing process.
2 winners will receive a finished copy of GRAY WOLF ISLAND, US Only.
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