S.F.D. MISSION: Open Letter to Stephanie Garber

Stephanie Garber

A Far Too Wordy & Unedited Open Letter To Stephanie Garber

Dear Stephanie,

So I have to say before I started researching for this letter I felt a little like I was cheating on Ava Jae. You see I’ve already done this whole open letter thing once. And I think it went rather well. I was a little nervous the first time around that we wouldn’t have much to talk about, but well let’s be honest, I’m rarely the kind of girl who’s at a loss for words and once you get me started, I’m kinda hard to shut up. Still, there was a pretty cool connection there, and what are the odds of that happening twice? Turns out, pretty good.

So here we are again, a brand new debut author to gush, drool, stumble, trip, and fangirl over and my main worry right now is that you might not like me. No, that’s not really it. I’m a pretty confident, likable person. I don’t need to be adored by everyone, but there are people who I admire, people who I respect in this world because they do things that I personally know from experience to be extremely difficult things to do. Things that I am attempting to accomplish as well, things like writing incredible YA novels, and even though we may be at slightly different stages on our journeys right now, I have so much respect for those that have been through the process, and I will alway feel a special kinship with those who have sat where I am sitting now. I am currently a couple months away from sending out queries on my first YA sci-fi novel. It’s a scary place to be, but I think every step along the publishing journey is a scary place to be. And I respect those that have gone before me. Stephanie, you are at the place on your journey where you are getting close to putting it all out there for everyone (in your case literally the entire world) to actually (finally) read and see and that’s incredibly exciting but that’s also, I know, a very scary place to be, especially with this first book, hoping so much that everyone is going to love it as much as you do, that they are going to get it, but not really knowing what’s behind that door either. It’s an incredibly brave thing for any author to do; putting such a big piece of yourself out there for the world to see and judge and in some ways make their own. So do I admire the hell out of you just for that? Yes. I do. But I also understand a little bit, and I kind of wish I could be there to hold your hand and bring you cupcakes and help you celebrate because this next year is going to be amazing!

But I have a sneaking suspicion you are going to be just fine! You see before writing an author a letter like this I kinda have to feel like I know her a little bit, so first comes the requisite stalking. Yes, Stephanie Garber I am freely admitting I do my research and in order to connect with you in an open letter on the internet, I kinda had to internet stalk you first. And can I just say, you are kind of a hard one to properly internet stalk? Now, I don’t want to go so far to say that there’s no record of you online, because sure there is, but I mean nothing at all the least bit tabloid worthy. I can get you the phone number of a Stephanie Garber that sells Tupperware in Rocklin, CA, no problem. But you? Steph, you have absolutely nothing scandalous to work with! All I can find are articles about this huge bidding war for your absolutely enchanting sounding book, Hearts Made of Black which is being published pretty much in every country in the world sometime in 2016, and adorable pictures like this:

stephanie garber signing my contract

…showing you signing your contract with Twentieth Century Fox for the movie deal for the book, which I had to do some digging to understand how this works, but as I understand it they basically bought “dibs” on before even reading it because the buzz was so amazing and they wanted to be first in line! And it’s now in development, being produced by the “Divergent” producer whose name I’m not even going to attempt to mangle by spelling entirely wrong.

I mean I read your new blog, I read your old blog, I read your PubCrawl articles. Lots of lovely, lovely things, like well this interview snippet off of your old blog where your are being interviewed by your co-bloggers talking about what was I believe the book that landed you your first agent.

STEPHANIE: For as long as I can remember I’ve loved all things magical and amazing. I grew up reading The Chronicles of Narnia and watching Star Wars, and I was obsessed with Buffy in college. I couldn’t get enough of all of it… I guess that’s why I started writing.

HEIDI: What is your book “Lost Stars Broken Galaxy” about?

STEPHANIE: Spaceships, pirates, and exotic planets!

KATI: What inspired you to write it?

STEPHANIE: The Nicki Minaj song Starships. Just Kidding. Actually, I’m not really kidding. About a year ago when that song was on the radio all the time, I just kept thinking about spaceships. Then I started thinking about Robin Hood, and suddenly I was like, what if Robin Hood had a daughter, and instead of living in Sherwood Forest they lived in outer space? I kind of just went from there.

HEIDI: It’s nice to know something good can come from Nicki Minaj.

I kinda busted up laughing here, because it was just such a great example of how randomly we sometimes get ideas as writers, and also because I love that you wrote Robin Hood in space! Not only do I totally want to read this book, but one of my books I have plotted is basically a female Peter Pan in space, so the fact that someone else went somewhere even tangentially close to that just made me smile! Also, Buffy and Star Wars are totally my jams, so bonus points from me! And then they hit you with possibly the most evil question in the universe:

KATI: Here goes: You get to go on an adventure with one captain on his ship. Who would you choose? Han Solo and the Millennium Falcon? Captain Kirk and the Enterprise? Or Malcolm Reynolds and the Serenity? (side note: we are not listing The Doctor and the Tardis because of the cheat feature of time travel)

Which to your credit you handled incredibly diplomatically by choosing Han while giving a nod to hot New Kirk because I would have likely just said something along the lines of, “Umm, screw you, I’m getting in the TARDIS and taking them all, try and stop me!”

we can have cake

And ok, if we’re going to talk about hot guys, (which we are because I’m bringing it up). Let’s just glide on into your lovely post about Grimm vs OUAT, which was pretty right on the money I thought. But no matter which side of that argument anybody wants to come down on, I’m pretty sure we can all agree on:


Which brings me to more lovely things and the next love we have in common…



Can we talk about Disneyland? Just. Please. Because. Sigh. I mean I’ll take kids, especially ones I’m related to because it’s cool to see their little faces light up. But I don’t need to take kids. I really don’t think their little faces light up nearly as much as my adult face lights up every time I go. And let’s face it, adults, come on, without the kids we can sometimes have way more fun! We can go on Space Mountain 17 times. We can just go where we want to go, even though we still kinda want to see it all again too. We can take flirty pictures with Aladdin while Jasmine gets jealous and we can sit down for a Monte Cristo Sandwich at the Blue Bayou and then have wine later at Wine Country Trattoria. We can stay until the park closes at midnight, and then slooowly walk out and buy ice-cream and a Mickey Mouse watch. And it is, quite simply, magic. Okay, I’m going to stop talking now, or I’m going to need a fix, but here’s my question, why has no one planned an author/writing convention in Anaheim yet? Because I hereby volunteer to help make this happen.

And that brings us from Disneyland to Wine Country to Wine! Ok, maybe a tenuous connection. Doesn’t everyone love wine? NO. Sadly they don’t. Only the cool people. And I do love wine. I’ve been called a wine snob, but I’m not really that. Wine lover? Yes. I’m usually going to reach for wine. Unless it’s that one day when I’m completely out of wine, but I need it to look like I have wine for a photo shoot so I fill my wine glass with coconut rum and a few drops of coffee to make it look like a buttery chardonnay for the shot, but that would be a totally freak “out of wine, let’s get creative with what you have” story that does not happen every day, so in general, I’m just gonna stick with you on the wine preference thing.

Also, being a wine lover, and more importantly a writer I was so moved by your story about your grape vine and your writing journey. I think every writer and aspiring writer needs to read this.

Also, everyone doing NaNo right now needs to read your Five Ways to Fail at NaNoWriMo! Great tips for NaNoers! Although I was a little bummed that you weren’t playing along this year, so we could buddy up, (come play Steph, come play!) but I can imagine you might be a little busy right now!

Thankfully, you were not too busy to have at some point pinned a magical looking pumpkin french toast recipe on Pinterest. Ok girl. And kitchens, but we really don’t want to start comparing Pinterests (yes that’s plural I may have three accounts) because…I might have had a slight Pinterest addiction for a while, it’s under control now, but… the evidence is all still there. (Oh what the hell, here. How does one pin 18.2K things? And I have a separate account for all my writing related things. But that one looks tame, because most of my boards are hidden. Sigh)

Ok, I know you didn’t know this was going to be an epic rambling letter when you started reading. I’m so sorry neither did I. I’m an editor, I should know better. I’m just way too tired to go back and edit. It’s a horrible excuse, but it’s the heartfelt truth.

My point (I think) is this, everything I found on you online, including your being a Pitch Wars vet, as well as a Pitch Wars Mentor was just way cool, way sweet, and well perfect. I sort of suspect a cover up. Like high-level. Government. Ultra Top-Secret Clearance sort of stuff. But since I can’t prove that you are actually a secret agent or anything like that, and I know you aren’t the (also suspicious) Tupperware saleswoman because you look nothing alike, I’m just going to buy into this whole super cool, very talented, funny, sweet, extremely deserving debut author who has a super buzzworthy book coming out relatively soon that I can’t wait to get my hands on, and who I am honestly, and truthfully so very excited to see taking this next huge step on her journey towards amazing things.

Wishing You So Many More Magical Moments!



About the Author


Stephanie Garber wanted to be an explorer until she realized most of the world had already been discovered. So she started creating her own worlds, which is why she now writes young adult fantasy.

Her debut novel, HEARTS MADE OF BLACK, will be published by Flatiron Books/Macmillan (US) and Hodder & Stoughton (UK) in fall 2016. HEARTS MADE OF BLACK has sold in over twenty territories and the movie rights were pre-empted by Twentieth Century Fox.

When she’s not writing, Stephanie teaches creative writing at a private college in Northern California. She’s also a blogger on Pub(lishing) Crawl. Her favorite place in the world is Disneyland because it’s the one place one earth where she feels as if the fantastical stories she loves to write about could actually come to life.

Find Her All The Places: 

Twitter   Goodreads    Facebook    Tumblr    Pinterest   Instagram  

About the Book


Title: Hearts Made of Black
Author: Stephanie Garber
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Publisher: Flat Iron
Release Date: Fall 2016

The first in a series about two sisters bound by love and a father they fear, who escape their tiny, secluded island for the wondrous performance of Caraval, where the audience plays along in a deadly game of determining what’s real and what’s fantasy, and where only one sister might be brave enough to take the chance to forever escape their dark pasts.

Pitched as Night Circus meets Sleep No More. Comes out Fall 2016.

Find It All The Places:


Thanks for stopping by today guys, I hope you enjoyed hearing about the amazing Stephanie Garber and her book Hearts Made of Black which I cannot wait to know more about and read to see just what all this amazing early early buzz is about, one thing I’m pretty confident about, there is something pretty special going on with this book so add it to your TBR’s now!

UPDATE 2:20pm: Stephanie just announced TODAY that Hearts has a NEW TITLE. It is now being released as:


Which I sort of love!

The other S.F.D. Agents are also out on missions today! Check out their letters to debut authors with books more awesome books coming out that you won’t want to miss!

Agent Bex…Ending Transmission.

2 Replies to “S.F.D. MISSION: Open Letter to Stephanie Garber”

  1. Oh my goodness!! To write a proper response, I fear it would take me at least a month, but making you wait that long would just be rude–and after such a lovely, thoughtful, and truly entertaining letter, I would hate to do that. Before I thank you for such a lovely letter, congrats on getting ready to query–there needs to be more sci-fi books in the world!! I will be crossing every finger for you. <3

    And, Bex, thank you so much for absolutely making my morning! I actually think you may have made my whole entire week! You may have also just inspired me to buy some tickets to Disneyland; if you ever plan that writing/author convention in Anaheim, I will be the first one to sign up–though I may spend more time hanging out with Mickey Mouse that actually writing. 🙂

    This letter was truly filled with magic, and I feel as if there is no way I can express, how much reading this meant to me. Sadly, I can neither confirm or deny your theories about me being a secret agent. 😉

    1. Lol. Thank you Stephanie! It was an honor and I’m excited about querying! And there so needs to be more sci-fi in the world I don’t care who is writing them! Glad you were entertained by my silly rambling. Seriously so much excitement for you!

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