Jan. 30, 2008

I got some great news this morning about my novel POP! It's been named one of the ALA's Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults!

In other news, I've been trying to teach Tuesday how to say "rr-I ruv rroo!" He hasn't *quite* mastered it yet, but it's a good project for us to work on during the strike!

Jan. 14, 2008

Good news--"Saving Charlie" is now in its second week on the New York Times bestseller list, at lucky #26! I also just read a really great review of it on bookgasm.

Dec. 29, 2007

"Heroes: Saving Charlie" was just released, which is pretty exciting. I've gotten some great reviews and feedback, and there was even an article about it in the LA Times this morning!

I was also thrilled to find out yesterday that I just got the greenlight on a graphic novel I've been writing, called "FrankenTeen"! (working on Saving Charlie got me hooked on the comic book world!) I'll post more on that soon.

Happy New Year!

Sept. 20, 2007

Exciting news! I'm writing a novel based on the amazingly-awesome TV show Heroes! NBC just released this announcement:

NEW YORK, -- September 18, 2007 -- Del Rey, an imprint of Ballantine Books at the Random House Publishing Group, announced plans to publish a novel based on NBC's Emmy and Golden Globe nominated Heroes. HEROES: SAVING CHARLIE (Del Rey Hardcover; $23.95; on sale December 26, 2007) by Aury Wallington will be an original novel based on the characters Hiro Nakamura (Emmy and Golden Globe Award-nominated Masi Oka) and Charlie (Jayma Mays), created by executive producer/creator Tim Kring. It is developed through a licensing agreement with Universal Studios Consumer Products Group.

"One of the more memorable relationships in Season One was Hiro's first love, the waitress Charlie. We were as smitten as Hiro by that story and seized the chance to tell the full adventure of Hiro's six months in the past. Aury Wallington was hand picked by the writers of the show for her brilliant voice for these characters. The novel is a welcome addition to the Heroes family," said Tim Kring, creator-executive producer, "Heroes."

The novel, written with the full cooperation and consultation of the show's creators, will tell the story of Japanese office worker Hiro, who, through the use of his ability to pierce the space-time continuum and manipulate time, bravely catapults himself into the past to save Charlie, a small-town Texas waitress with an extraordinary memory, from being brutally murdered by super-powered serial killer Sylar (Zachary Quinto). Fans of the television series were given only a brief glimpse into Hiro and Charlie's relationship as it grew into love over six time-changing months, but their history is told here with the depth and insight that only a novel will allow.

Del Rey celebrated the announcement of its Heroes book at the 2007 San Diego International Comic-Con by asking fans to help make 1,000 cranes at their booth by the end of the show. Interest was high and the goal of 1,000 was surpassed.

Season 2 of Heroes launches September 24, 2007 on NBC.

Jan. 8, 2007

The new year certainly got off to a great start for me when I read Colleen Ward's awesome review of POP! on bookslut.com. Here's what she had to say:

"I came to Aury Wallington's Pop with a certain level of expectation as there has been a bit of controversy surrounding this title. Jessa reported several months ago in the The Book Standard that Borders had decided not to carry the book -- and gave no concrete reason why. As it comes from Razorbill, a division of Penguin, Pop clearly has all the weight of a major publishing house behind it, but Borders was not interested. Jessa speculated that it might be the book's sexual content that got it passed by the chain, although she could get nothing more than a generalized response from the children's book buyer. I couldn't help but wonder just what Wallington had her characters doing that might have been too hot for the malls, and now, after finishing this very delightful and most atypical teen romance, I am at an utter and complete loss as to why it has been passed up. There's nothing freaky about Pop, people, and it should certainly be front and center in any YA book section.

"Pop is most certainly about sex, in this case seventeen-year-old Marit's determination to lose her virginity. For whatever reason, every time Marit gets into a serious makeout session (even with a guy she just plans to mess around a little bit with), she freezes up. This knee jerk reaction has prevented her from having a serious relationship, and now that new student Noah has showed up, she would really like to gain the confidence to date the guy. So on the advice of her sister, Marit suggests that she and her best guy-friend Jamie take their friendship to a more physical level. They will still be friends only, but friends who also occasionally get it on (shades of Sex and the City's infamous fuck-buddy episode). Jamie is all for it and so slowly, the two of them (both virgins as it turns out) start to figure out this whole sex thing. They do it, more than once, and they get pretty good at it, but Marit's feelings for Jamie (and longing for Noah) do not change. As it turns out, the whole experiment has meant a great deal more to Jamie than Marit realized, and thus the massive amounts of teen drama commence.

"What was really interesting to me about Pop in the context of the other books I've reviewed, is that Marit and Jamie really have the healthiest sexual relationship of all the teens. They are plenty old enough, unlike Deanna Lambert in Story of a Girl, not doing it at a party merely to impress someone, unlike Audrey in Good Girls, and certainly not the slightest bit wasted, unlike Angel in Angel's Choice. Yet Pop seems to be the book that everyone knows the least about. Clearly, it is by the far the sort of sexual situation that teens will become most familiar with in college and aside from the complication of not being completely upfront about their feelings, the sort of relationship that many young people should strive to emulate.

"As Marit and Jamie love each other as friends, the business of sexual exploration is much easier and more comfortable for Marit then it has ever been before. She trusts Jamie, so she doesn't suffer the same worries with him that seemed to affect her in every other intimate situation. This trust actually leads them to be very open about what they like and do not like about sex, and results in both of them enjoying themselves a great deal more than they first anticipate. While the book ends with Marit pursuing Noah (after some typically skanky high school rumors threaten to tear the friends apart), it doesn't change the fact that she still loves Jamie. In fact, I couldn't help but think as I was closing the cover that Marit and Jamie had some real staying power -- that they just might return to each other later when they realize how rare that level of relationship trust is. Unlike every other couple in this column, what Marit and Jamie have (on any level) is real, and it is what makes Pop exactly the sort of book that any teenager should be reading."

Oct 30, 2006

More awesome press for POP!:

The folks at bookburger.com compared the cover of POP! to their logo... guess great minds really do think alike!

Bubblegum meets the boudoir?! Broadcasting & Cable found POP! to be a little more Samantha than Carrie...

What do the Violent Femmes, pork tinga, and Hemingway have in common? Find out in this interview on teens read too!

Oct 25, 2006

More great press for Pop!:

Hereís an interview Planned Parenthood did with me on teen wire. Itís so great to know that they support the book, especially since Judy Blume is on their Board, and sheís one of my heroes.

My pal David Israel interviewed me for mental floss about "TV by the numbers" - all the facts and figures that add up to writing a TV show.

Meanwhile, I just read an amazing new novel by Amy Bryant called Polly - itís not officially released yet... but keep an eye out for it in a couple months...

Oct 20, 2006

If you want a true lesson in humility, walk up to a complete stranger and tell him that you earn your living writing sitcoms. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, his response will be, "How come your show is so unfunny? Donít you guys realize how bad it is when youíre writing it?"

And the other one time? Heíll ask you to give his script to your agent.

If you find yourself in this situation, your best bet is to drink something alcoholic, and quickly. Then resign yourself to the awful truth: no good can come from telling people youíre a comedy writer.

The most sensible thing to do, when someone asks what you do for a living, is lie. And, preferably, lie in a way that dissuades follow-up questions.

I personally like to tell people I do fund-raising for a not-for-profit. And not the type that saves baby panda bears, either. For years I told anyone who asked that I was working to further emissions-control legislature. It was the ideal imaginary profession, because no one wants to listen to statistics about smog. Or be hit up for a donation. It didnít make me terribly popular at parties, but at least I was spared having to confirm for the millionth time that yes, they actually pay me to write that, and no, I donít consider myself a whore.

I would have happily kept up the non-profit pretense for years, but then I signed up for a wine-tasting class in Silverlake, and something happened that threw me off-balance.

As we went around the room introducing ourselves, I had my lie on the tip of my tongue. But instead of the usual grab bag of actors and waiters and AFI students you generally find at these things, person after person told the group about the truly amazing things he or she did for a living. One woman owned a hotel for dogs. Another devised natural-disaster evacuation plans for FEMA. A guy with a big scraggly beard was a helicopter pilot.

And I suddenly found myself with a serious case of job envy. The non-profit world seemed so dull by comparison. I wanted to have a fascinating job too. I mean, no way was I going to tell them the truth, but I needed to think up a better lie. Something intriguing and edgy and cool.

Maybe I should tell them I ran an ashram. Or was a lobbyist for the NRA. Or trained helper-monkeys for people with disabilities. Ooh, nothing dull about that!

The guy sitting next to me (organic farmer!) finished introducing himself, and it was my turn. But before I could launch into my lie, I stopped.

Why not tell the truth for once? These were cool, smart, accomplished people -- people I might want to befriend outside of class. So why not just be honest and admit to who I really was? I was proud of my job. It was time to stop hiding. Besides, the majority of the class seemed like they were probably too busy building suspension bridges and isolating the human genome to even watch TV.

So I took a deep breath... and came clean.

"Iím Aury, and Iím a comedy writer," I said.

They all stared at me blankly for a minute, then the chopper pilot let out a little snort.

"Sitcoms suck," he said. "Donít you guys realize how bad they are when youíre writing them?"

Dammit. I knew I should have gone with the trained-monkey thing.

I shrugged, and took a gulp of the glass of shiraz the class instructor was passing out for us to taste.

She gave me a sympathetic smile and refilled my glass. "Donít mind him," she whispered. "He only wishes his job was as cool as yours."

I smiled back, but she wasnít finished.

"By the way, Iíve been working on an awesome pilot script about a wine shop owner who solves supernatural crimes. Any chance you could give it to your agent?"

Oct. 15, 2006

Check out the awesome press I've been getting for Pop!:

Variety's stylephile reviewed Pop! and compared me to Judy Blume. I was so honored!

OMG! My BFF is crushing on my hottie! See what I'm talking about on media bistro's toolbox

Romantic Times reviewed Pop! and gave it four stars! Maybe I should send them flowers and a box of chocolates...

WOW! Women on Writingis supposed to interview me, but to tide you over in the meantime, here's a press release for Pop! and Booksie.

TheNextBigWriter.com has a cool new sister site called Booksie. Check out my profile!

Writer's Digest did a great interview with me about Pop! Read it in the November 2006 issue (page 28!)

And while you're at it, check these out too:

Marit loves to keep up with her peeps on myspace--be sure to add her to your friends list!

Marit's not the only one looking for friends - check out Aury's myspace page.

This is the site for everything Pop! including info about the main characters and Marit's diary!

Check out my pal Alix Strauss's website. She wrote a genius book called "Joy of Funerals", and I'm writing an essay for her upcoming anthology, "Have I Got a Guy for You".

David Israel is one of my favorite people in Los Angeles, and one of the funniest writers I know.

Everyone should have a chance to get to know Kristen Kemp. But if you can't befriend her in person, at least you can meet her through her wonderful books.

New Yorkers with high aspirations should check out Elizabeth Merrick's site. Not only is she a great writer, but she teaches a brilliant and inspiring writing workshop.

Oct. 9, 2006

A lot of people have asked me where I came up with the name "Marit" for the main character in POP!, and it made me realize thereís a story behind every characterís name in the book.

"Marit" - I wanted a name that was different but not completely weird. As I was trying to come up with one, I met a girl named Marit at a seminar I was giving for MediaBistro in New York. I knew as soon as I heard it that that was the perfect name for my character. Only by the time I was a couple chapters in, the real-life Marit had become one of my best friends. For months after, I would email the real Marit about all the dirty things "she" was up to... (thanks for being such a good sport, Marit!!!)

"Jamie Lyons" - when I was at summer camp in 6th grade, I told everybody that I had a boyfriend back home named Jamie Lyons. He was such a good imaginary boyfriend back then that he seemed like the perfect boy to be pining away for Marit.

"Noah" - I had rented a DVD of "The Ring" and was more terrified of the girl crawling out of the TV than I could ever remember being of anything else before. At the time I was living in a tiny studio apartment in New York - it was so small there wasnít room for any furniture except my bed, and a long narrow table at the foot of it where my TV, computer, and phone were. So when I went to bed that night, I realized that when the girl crawled out of the TV to kill me, sheíd get me instantly - the TV was mere inches away from where I was lying. The only way I could calm myself down enough to go to sleep was by imagining that it wasnít the evil girl whoíd come out of the TV, but Noah Wylie, all cute and harmless and sexy in his ER lab coat. Nothing scary about that... So when I sat down the next day to write the chapter where Marit meets Noah in German class, "Noah" seemed like an obvious choice for a cute guy who helps Marit get over her fear of doing it.

"Caroline" - honestly, I donít remember how I chose the name Caroline, but I regretted it the whole time I was writing the book, because itís a pain to type. Itís too long - eight letters spread out all over the keyboard. From now on Iím sticking to names like "Jo" or "Ann."

"POP!" - Iíd been calling the book POP! from the start, because I thought it was such a fun title with so many different meanings, but I wasnít sure if the editors would let me keep it for the finished book. Just in case, I came up with an alternate title: "Love Ya... Mean It!" which I think is funny because itís the most insincere-sounding thing you can say to someone. And it would kill Jamie if Marit said it to him, even though sheíd think she was just being funny too. Happily the editors liked POP! and it stayed. (although I still might have to name a book LYMI some day...)

Oct. 1, 2006

When I was in seventh grade, I was madly in love with my lab partner in science class, a boy named Jeff Miller. He had no idea how I felt, and there was no way I was going to tell him. Instead, I made up a story about the two of us falling in love and wrote it all down in spiral notebook that had a photograph of Christian Slater on the cover. 200 pages of weíre in a plane crash and Jeff rescues me from the rubble, then collapses from smoke inhalation and I have to nurse him back to health. (Pretty sophisticated stuff for a 12 year old!) I was careful to change both our names so if anyone ever got hold of it, they would have no idea who "Trent" and "Bronwyn" really were. I worked on that story all the time, even when I was supposed to be paying attention in class, because writing it was way more exciting than memorizing state capitals or labeling South American countries on a map or studying whatever boring subject we were learning that day. (To be perfectly honest, I still have no idea which one is Paraguay and which is Uruguay -- but I remember every detail of the chapter where Jeff and I were caught in the blizzard and had to use each others body heat to keep from freezing to death...) I finished the last chapter the day before school let out for the summer. And by the time eighth grade started, I had stopped crushing on Jeff, tossed the notebook into the back of my bedroom closet, and forgot all about it.

Over a decade passed before I thought about trying to write fiction again. I was working as a script coordinator on a TV show where there was practically nothing for me to do, so I sat at my desk and played Snood on my computer for eight hours a day. I was going through a bad breakup at the time, and one morning I ran into my ex-boyfriend Craig at Starbucks, holding hands with someone new. Knowing he had already moved on made me so angry that when I got to work, I sat down and made up a story about Craig coming to a painful, grisly, humiliating end. Writing it made me feel better, and the friends I showed it to thought it was really funny and wanted to read more. So the next day I wrote another chapter about him, then another and another. I was sixty pages into it when I started dating someone new and lost interest in making Craig look bad. But I was completely hooked again on writing fiction. I started working on a story about a girl who thinks being a virgin is getting in the way of her falling in love. I called it "POP!" and sold it to Razorbill Books a few months later.

Sept. 12, 2006

Wildlife-o-rama!

My friend Greg and I decided to take our dogs for a hike up Bronson Canyon to the Hollywood sign yesterday. It had been swelteringly hot all day, and Iím terrified of my dog Tuesday getting bit by a rattlesnake, so we didnít leave until 7pm, when it started to get dark and cool off. Which meant that, instead of worrying about rattlesnakes, I got to worry about Tuesday getting eaten by a coyote instead.

I also worried about dehydration, twisting an ankle on the uneven path, getting lost, falling off a cliff, being pinned by a boulder and having to hack my own arm off to get free, being attacked by ax-wielding hermits, and having an exotic species of spider lay its eggs inside me. All of which seemed likely, since I was completely unprepared to be tramping around the woods in the dark, in a pair of flip-flops, without even a flashlight or first aid kit or bottle of Gatorade to help me.

Greg told me I was being ridiculous, but thatís easy for him to say. Heís a Pilates instructor, who likes to go camping and sprints up mountains and does approximately five million crunches a day. But Iím the sort of girl who takes baths instead of showers because that way you get to sit down. The closest I ever get to nature is when my niece phones me up to tell me about a story she read in her Ranger Rick magazine. I was pretty sure this hike would end in bloodshed.

Finally Greg said if I was going to worry about anything, I should worry about mountain lions, which were frequently spotted in the exact place we were walking. He was just joking, but after he administered CPR and got my heart started again, he told me that if I was really scared, I should just think about this article that was in Los Angeles Magazine a few months ago, which said that if youíre ever attacked by a mountain lion, you can fight them off, because they have low endurance and will tire quickly.

Right. A 400 pound lion pounces out of the trees on me, pinning me to the ground and sinking its fangs into the back of my neck. But if I reach behind me and swat at it for a while, itíll give up and stagger off wheezing, trying to catch its breath. No problem.

The one thing Gregís story succeeded in doing was getting me to pick up my pace - I practically sprinted the rest of the way down the trail, until we had finally looped around the mountain and were back in civilization, where weíd parked the car.

We didnít end up running into a mountain lion on our hike, but we actually did see a couple of coyotes. We also saw a deer, a bat, three bunnies, and an owl. But nothing attacked us, and it was pretty cool to see actual, live, non-animated versions of those animals. We made it home safe, and for the first time in my life, I could sort of understand why people claim to enjoy the outdoors.

Greg wants to go on an other hike tonight, and believe it or not, Iím kind of looking forward to it. Having survived one hike unscathed, Iím feeling way more confident in my wilderness skills. Iím still a little iffy about my ability to wrestle a mountain lion into submission, but if one of those bunnies wants to try something?

Bring it on.

August 18, 2006

Hi everybody,

Thanks for checking out my website!

Iíve got YA novels on the brain today - I have an idea for a new book I want to write, called "Deflated," so I stayed up late last night rereading Meg Cabotís "The Princess Diaries" for inspiration. Iím a terrible procrastinator, and could easily spend the entire day lying on the couch, eating guacamole and watching reruns of The Amazing Race on TV. But when I read great books like "The Princess Diaries," it motivates me to turn off the television, sit down at my computer, and start writing.

So with that in mind, here is a list of my top five favorite YA novels of all time. Even if you donít need inspiration, these are all worth staying up late for:

1. "The Road Home" by Ellen Emerson White
I had been crushing on this guy Wayne for months and months, and he finally asked me out. The day we were supposed to go on our first date, I started reading this book, and was so blown away by it that I lost track of time and was still reading when Wayne came to pick me up - I hadnít even taken a shower or gotten dressed yet! I was tempted to cancel on him, because I couldnít bear to put the book down. Instead, he hung out and watched Pro Golf (ugh!) on TV while I hurried up and got ready. In the end, things didnít work out with Wayne. But I still love this book, which is about an Army nurse in Vietnam, every bit as much now as I did then.

2. "The Grounding of Group Six" by Julian F. Thompson
This is the perfect book for anyone who has ever secretly managed to convince themselves that their parents and teachers were out to get them, and spent fourth period figuring out how theyíd escape and exact revenge, instead of paying attention to the lecture on FDRís New Deal, which is what they were supposed to be doing. Itís also a good book for people who like camping.

3. "Gypsy From Nowhere" by Sharon Wagner
Iíve always loved books about horses, as long as the horse doesnít die and no one is mean to it and everything works out happily in the end. So let me reassure you right now - in "Gypsy From Nowhere," which is about a girl who is afraid of horses until she tames a wild colt named Gypsy, then has to ride Gypsy through a blizzard to save a mare and foal and almost freezes to death - everything turns out okay. All the horses - oh yeah, and the girl, too - are fine in the end. So you can go ahead and read it without worrying. Youíre welcome.

4. "Forever" by Judy Blume
My best friend snuck me her older sisterís copy of "Forever" when I was eleven years old, and I read it sitting in my bedroom closet so my parents wouldnít see me. I was shocked and fascinated and enlightened by it - it answered about ninety percent of the questions I had about sex and love and boys in general, and was the main inspiration for my writing "Pop!" Although in a million years I would never name any part of a boy "Ralph."

5. "The Basil and Josephine Stories" by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Okay, I admit, usually I hate when people say how much they absolutely adore classic works of literature. Not that I donít appreciate literary masterpieces, but I generally think people who claim that their favorite book is "The Brothers Karamazov" are annoying. Like, you tell them youíre going on vacation and need a good book to read, and they recommend "Moby Dick." Iím sorry, but if Iím on a plane for seven hours, in coach class, sitting in the middle seat, the last thing I need is to have to read "Moby Dick" while Iím at it. However, "The Basil and Josephine Stories", which are about Fitzgeraldís childhood in Minnesota and years at prep school, are different. Theyíre amazing and heart-breaking and fun to read, and would make that seven hour flight go by in no time. I promise.

xo
Aury