Book Nerd Guest Post
Born in Manhattan and raised in Hong Kong, Andrew Fukuda is half-Chinese, half-Japanese. After earning a bachelor's degree in history from Cornell University, Fukuda worked in Manhattan's Chinatown with the immigrant teen community. That experience led to the writing of Crossing, his debut novel that was selected by ALA Booklist as an Editor's Choice, Top Ten First Novel, and Top Ten Crime Novel in 2010. His second novel, The Hunt, the first in a new series, was bought at auction by St. Martin's Press and was published in May 2012. Before becoming a full time writer, Fukuda was a criminal prosecutor for seven years. He currently resides on Long Island, New York, with his family.
Putting a spotlight on my editor, Rose Hilliard
After recently watching Argo and Zero Dark Thirty, I’ve found myself thinking a lot about Jessica Chastain and Ben Affleck. Okay, actually not so much about them as Tony Mendez and “Maya”, the real-life characters they play. Mendez and Maya are incredibly talented, smart, and driven CIA operatives who laid their lives out on the line for the sake of many others. But due to national security reasons, their identities have been kept secret. (Mendez’s identity was only recently made public). Jessica Chastain’s character, Maya, effectively took down Osama Bin Laden but she now walks the streets unknown and disregarded.
I can see Maya walking into the movie theater to watch Zero Dark Thirty. Maybe the ticket cashier doesn’t even look her in the eye. Maybe the employee at the concession stand is rude to her. Maybe the person sitting behind her keeps texting during the movie. But I can see her at the end wanting to stand up and point to the screen and shout, “That’s me, that’s the mofo you’re all in love with!”
The reason why I’m talking about these secret heroes is because I’m reminded of another hero who does incredible work behind the scenes: Rose Hilliard, my editor. She’s a big name in the industry, editing, among others, Alyson Noel and Amanda Hocking. But to me, she is my Tony Mendez and Maya.
Too often, editors don’t get enough praise and attention. Authors will mention them in the Acknowledgements section (along with a thousand other names, including Tito the dog and Fifi the goldfish), but it sometimes comes across as perfunctory. Well, maybe that’s because they don’t have a stellar editor like mine. So allow me to put the spotlight on Rose Hilliard for a minute.
Rose was instrumental in helping me with The Prey. I was having quite a bit of trouble initially, and though I had a vision of what I wanted, it was blurry and indistinct. Rose dissected the manuscript and, in a letter I will never forget, clarified (not “changed”) my vision for the book, and showed me how better to get there. It was an amazing letter because something clicked into place even as I read it. Frankly, it was genius. From her big-plot suggestions down to the smaller minutiae, her thoughts were always spot on. Her fingerprints are all over this book, and I mean that in the very best way!
She’s also been such an incredible presence in all of the other aspects of publishing. From cover design to marketing issues to store placement to the many hundreds of other issues that can and have come up, she’s been both personal and professional. Really, I’ve never felt at all any of the antagonism and me-vs-them mentality that some authors build up against their editor/publisher. She’s been cheering me on the side, guiding me along, and I for one could not have asked for a more wonderful editor!
Her name is nowhere to be found on the cover of The Prey. That’s my name on the front, back and spine. But she’s worked so hard to make me proud of a book that bears my name. And I want to publically thank her.
I can see Rose walking into a bookstore this week. I can see her picking The Prey off the shelf, flipping through the pages, a smile on her face. And I can see her shouting, as well she should, “That’s me, the mofo who edited this book!”
When they discover a refuge of exiled humans living high in the mountains, Gene and his friends think they’re finally safe. Led by a group of intensely secretive elders, the civilisation begins to raise more questions than answers. A strict code of behaviour is the rule, harsh punishments are meted out, young men are nowhere to be found—and Gene begins to wonder if the world they’ve entered is just as evil as the one they left behind. As life at the refuge grows more perilous, he and Sissy only grow closer. In an increasingly violent world, all they have is each other... if they can only stay alive.
This series had gripped me since the beginning and with The Prey, I can only feel the grip getting tighter. Author Andrew continues his craft of presenting such an unknown and violent environment, that his descriptive texts allow readers to place themselves in the path of danger that Gene is trekking. It is just frightening trying to envision a ravenous world where humans (known as hepers) are the minority and hunted for their blood. I truly enjoy Andrew’s originality and his ability to not just step outside of the box, but completely create a new one and then proceed to step outside of that one. It gets intensely violent when a killing happens. They not only drain a heper’s blood, they annihilate the entire human flesh into shreds. The admirable main character Gene will captivate readers on how he is a natural leader and shows care for the safety of others. The twist that Andrew delivers in this installment is done with brilliance. It will spike up your interest and leaves you wanting to know what is next in line for the characters.