Anna Shinoda

LNTD’s First Translation: German!

This morning I woke up to some great news: Learning Not to Drown is being translated into German and will be published by Magellan GmbH & Co. KG!  I’ve got a fair amount of German blood in my body, making this an especially proud moment for me.

They aim to publish within the year, but it might take up to eighteen months.  As soon as I get a specific date, I will let you know.

I made the announcement on twitter and immediately my notification feed was filled with questions about when it will be translated into other languages and released in other countries.

And the answer:  I have no idea.  I wish it were as easy as seeing a message from you and *BAM* it would appear perfectly translated in your language in your country.  The process can be complex, but my editor and the foreign sales department over at Atheneum are working on additional foreign contracts, and hopefully the future will hold more translations for Learning Not to Drown.

For now, Amazon ships internationally (as well as some independent book stores)  if you’d like to read my book in English.


Mike Shinoda’s LEARNING NOT TO DROWN Playlist

Ready for something fun?

In a movie, everything is completed for you and handed to you – music, details of the setting, what the characters look like, how their voices sound.  But books let the reader finish the story, fill in the details based on their own experiences and tastes.   So, when my friends over at Atheneum/Simon & Schuster asked me if I’d like to put together a soundtrack for Learning Not to Drown, I politely declined.  I don’t want to tell anyone what kind of music Clare and her friends might be listening to because part of the magic is that the readers can fill their soundtrack.

However, when I told my husband Mike about the idea, he got excited.  “I want to do that.  It’d be fun to put together a playlist of what I think Clare would listen to.”

So….if you are wondering what songs were bouncing around in Mike Shinoda’s head when he read Learning Not To Drown, here is his playlist:

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Read the First 6 Chapters of LEARNING NOT TO DROWN Now!

Hello!  I woke up to the news from my publisher that we are going to share a little taste of LEARNING NOT TO DROWN with you!  An exclusive excerpt is living here:


If you want a chance to win a finished copy of my debut, LEARNING NOT TO DROWN, you can head on over to Goodreads  to enter this giveaway!

Learning Not to Drown – Less Than a Month Away!

After 10 years of working on my debut novel, Learning Not to Drown I finally get to share it with you in less than a month!

The book comes out on April 1st, and we’ve started to schedule some discussions and signing.  So far, the week of my debut I’ll be in Los Angeles and New York.  I’ll also be speaking on a panel at the LA Times Festival of Books.  All dates will be updated as they come in on my events page here and on Facebook.

If you are interested in pre-ordering the book, call your local independent bookstore, or check out some other options on the Learning Not to Drown page on the Simon and Schuster website.  For now, the book will be released in the USA in English only, but international orders can be taken through Amazon and shipped to your country.

Book Club Message

To everyone who has participated in Book Club: Thank you! I thoroughly enjoyed reading along with you and hearing your opinions during our discussions.  I loved being exposed to new authors – thanks to those of you who suggested books and voted – and I hope you liked the selections I picked out as well.

In case you missed it: at our last meeting, I announced that I would no longer be able to host our book club. With Learning Not to Drown being released soon, trying to finish my next book, and spending time with my family, I have run out of spare hours.

Thank you again for making book club great!  

Photos, Doubt, and Bobby Hundreds

I am an author.  I represent myself through words, through stories.  I am not a model.  I am not an actress.  When you turn a camera on me, I’m most likely to make a funny face, or at the very least, smile.  In fact, I can probably count my posed, serious photos on one hand.

And yet, as an author I have written a serious novel on a somber topic, and when my publisher asked for a picture to represent me, and my novel, I needed to take a serious photo.  The hair was flat ironed, the make-up was applied, the dress was put on.  I did it all myself, and second guessed it the whole way.

A candid picture captures a moment, but a portrait is set up to make a moment.  We all try to look our best in a portrait.

And what if our best isn’t good enough?

Isn’t pretty enough?

Isn’t skinny enough?

Isn’t perfect?

I found myself on a trail I liked to hike, feeling like an asshole because I was wearing a dress and heels instead of my familiar Nikes and running shorts and tank top, pressured to take a photo that I know will represent me in a way I’ve never been before: as a published author.  It all seemed so far out of my comfort zone – except behind the lens was my friend Bobby, and next to him was my husband and we were chatting like we would any afternoon.

It morphed from a photo shoot into a hang out, and I paused often from the smiling and laughing and swatting at the thousands of gnats on the trail that had taken to surrounding the three of us.  I paused to think about my book, to think about Clare and Luke as Bobby snapped pictures.

As expected, Bobby’s work was beautiful and we had several shots to choose from.  He did what he does best – tell a story.  A little about me, a little about my book.  The mood is right, a mix of hope and sorrow, captured in lighting, focus, and composition.

His work is perfect, but I’ve been raised to pick apart my flaws.  Always seeing the beauty in others, struggling to see in myself that perfection is in the imperfection.

The photos sat on my desktop for months, shared only with my publicist for the Atheneum catalog, while a pancake I decorated with whipped cream, chocolate chips and marshmallows continued to be my visual representation on twitter.

And they sat, and I waited.  For the right moment, I guess, the moment when I was ready.  Being ready might mean that the book is coming out soon and I don’t have an option.  Being ready might mean that I’m tired of having a pancake represent my face.  Being ready might mean that I need to stop worrying about being judged, because the scrutiny my picture gets will not matter to me as much as the scrutiny my book will get.   It’s a good warm up.  So here they are.

Anna Shinoda photo by Bobby Kim 1

Anna Shinoda Photo by Bobby Kim 3

Anna Shinoda photo by Bobby Kim 2

Next Book Club: The Lord of Opium

We started book club this year with one of my all time favorites: Nancy Farmer’s The House of the Scorpion, so I am especially excited to dig into our next book club selection: The Lord of Opium. We finally get to find out what happens next for Matt as he takes the place of El Patrón as the leader of Opium. After our book club discussion about The House of the Scorpion, I can’t wait to hear what you all think about the sequel. Hope you’ll join me on Monday, January 13 at 1pm PST in my ustream channel.

Next Book Club Selection: Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley

I’ve been enjoying letting you all vote for the book club selection.  It’s given us a good variety of selections, diverse feelings of loved it or hated it, and a lot of interesting conversations – all good things that make a nicely rounded book club.

I recently read a book that I thought would be a great book for discussion.  So this month I’m choosing our next Book Club selection (it’s good to be the queen): Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley


I’m going to be honest with you all.  It took me about 50 pages to really get into it.  But once I was in, I was IN.  And the pay off of the surprising but inevitable way that both the story lines come together is worth the early set up.  So if you’re bored with the first 50 pages, I encourage you to read on and give the rest of the book a chance.   Let’s meet up in my Ustream chat room Tuesday, November 12th at 1:00pm PST.

I recently saw John Corey Whaley speak at a conference and picked up his book there, partly because I liked his session, partly because the book has awards, and partly because it’s published by my publisher.  I’m constantly impressed with the books I’ve read published by Atheneum – it makes me super proud to be part of the family over there.  Kind of can’t believe that next year not only will I be a published author, but that Learning Not to Drown gets to be on the Atheneum list with so many incredible books.

Book Club September 30th

I think I remembered to post this on Twitter, but not here.  Whoops.

Hope you all can join us on Monday, September 30th at 1:30pmPST.   We’ll be discussing

Tomorrow, When the War Began 
by John Marsden

For reading this month’s Book Club selection, I’m going to be giving Oyster a try.  I’m intrigued by this app.  It’s subscription based reading… kind of like Spotify for books?  I prefer reading actual books, but I’m interested to see if I will read more each month and give books a chance that I wouldn’t normally read.  After all,  it’s all I can read for $9.95 a month, might as well sample as much as I can.  Maybe it will be rad.  Or maybe, like a cheap buffet in Vegas, I’ll end up over-stuffing myself and return to a simpler form of consuming.

College, Sunset Strip, and Meeting Mike

Sunset Strip will always feel like college.  Living in Long Beach, it was only about a thirty minute drive away, and my friends and I often went there to see bands up close in tightly packed, sweaty venues that held no more than two or three hundred people.  I was in a sorority in college.  The one I joined was known for “letting anyone in” meaning, we didn’t judge girls by their race, weight or sexual orientation.  We weren’t your stereotypical sorority, so while others that fit that bill may have been busy doing whatever they do, my sisters and I were piling in our cars and going to the Whiskey or Roxy or Billboard Live or Troubadour or Coconut Teaser to see bands we loved and to support our friends in their musical endeavors.  It was at a party at Brad and Phoenix’s apartment after a Xero show that my friend from Long Beach State, Mark Wakefield, introduced me to the rapper in his band.

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