“Til death do us part,” or, when it’s a good time to cheat, by guest blogger Kate Evangelista

Good evening, campers –

Yes, it’s another dead-of-night post, but that seems appropriate for our next guest blogger, YA novelist Kate Evangelista. If her name seems familiar, well, it should: Kate is a longtime Author! Author! community member, a diligent commenter, and, as those of you who tuned in earlier this month may recall, a proud first-time author: her debut, Taste, was released in e-reader format by Crescent Moon Press earlier this month. Now, it’s also available in hard copy at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or, for those of you that prefer patronizing indie booksellers, Powell’s.

Today, by special request (okay, outright blandishment), Kate is here not only to contribute her wit and wisdom to our ongoing series on series writing; she’s also going to share her direct-from-the-front-lines insights on breaking into print in the hyper-competitive YA fantasy market. Can’t you feel the atmosphere crackling with excitement?

You should, because Kate is one of Author! Author!’s homegrown success stories. To apply the overused phrase properly for once, she was once standing (or, more probably, sitting) precisely where most of you fine people are right now — reading through these posts, writing her heart out, hoping someday to break into the biz.

Do I hear an it can be done?

Because Kate is one of our own, I’d like to take a rather unusual approach to giving you a sense of her authorial chops, one that’s more reflective of the progression from composition to published book. First, let’s take a gander at an excerpt from Taste in manuscript form, as we might have seen it if we were lucky enough to participate in the same critique group as today’s guest. As always, if you are having trouble making out the individual words, try holding down the COMMAND key and pressing + to enlarge the image.

Quite the intriguing YA voice, isn’t it? The tone is evocative, yet the prose is nicely spare. Here’s what some reader reviewers — including another longtime member of the Author! Author! community — had to say about Kate’s voice and story:

“Intriguing, mysterious, and a taste is not all you will get! Must read!” — K.M. Whittaker

“My new favorite novel.” — Wendy Russo

“Awesome-sauce! A delicious book to taste and devour.” — Book4Juliet

What is this story of which they speak so highly? Glad you asked. Here’s the publisher’s blurb for her book.

At Barinkoff Academy, there’s only one rule: no students on campus after curfew. Phoenix McKay soon finds out why when she is left behind at sunset. A group calling themselves night students threaten to taste her flesh until she is saved by a mysterious, alluring boy. With his pale skin, dark eyes, and mesmerizing voice, Demitri is both irresistible and impenetrable. He warns her to stay away from his dangerous world of flesh eaters. Unfortunately, the gorgeous and playful Luka has other plans.

When Phoenix is caught between her physical and her emotional attraction, she becomes the keeper of a deadly secret that will rock the foundations of an ancient civilization living beneath Barinkoff Academy. Phoenix doesn’t realize until it is too late that the closer she gets to both Demitri and Luka, the more she is plunging them all into a centuries-old feud.

Or, as the book trailer puts it (and rather well, too):