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Meeting with St. Martin's - Elizabeth and Jessica are better than you. Page 2 [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Elizabeth and Jessica are better than you.

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Meeting with St. Martin's [Jun. 14th, 2010|03:15 pm]
Elizabeth and Jessica are better than you.


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I have been dying to tell you guys about this since I heard about it, but I wasn't sure if it was okay. Now I've got the clearance. irinaauthor and I were invited, along with other Sweet Valley bloggers, to St. Martin's Press by a lovely marketing person (Hi, Sarah!). They called it the Sweet Valley Summit. I was beyond thrilled.

Sadly, irinaauthor could not attend so I had the difficult duty of representing 1bruce1 at the event. And I hope I represented your interests. I, and the others, tried very hard to convince them they needed "Team Lila" and "Team Margo" t-shirts to give away to fans. I know you guys want them. Fingers crossed on that one!

I got to sit next to Marissa of Sweet Valley Diaries. She asked me to tell you all that she has registered @sweetvalley on Twitter, and will be updating it as more news about the new book breaks, so you should go follow her. And also read the blog because her recaps are good!

I was very excited to get to meet Dan Weiss, who was the packager of the original Sweet Valley books (go look at the copyright on any edition you have and you'll see his name). Francine Pascal could not be there, because she is in France, but Dan had plenty of information and the St. Martin's people said I could blog about what I heard.

1. Dan is editing Sweet Valley Confidential and Francine is writing it. (No ghostwriter this time!) It is set when the twins are 27 years old. Jessica and Elizabeth haven't been speaking (I'm assuming this is because of how things were in Elizabeth but I'm not sure). It focuses on how their lives have turned out after their idealic childhood (I'm assuming it was a letdown). Bruce, Lila, Enid, Steven, Ned and Alice and all our favorites appear. Dan wouldn't say if there is explicit sex (he seemed shocked at the idea) but he did say it's "R rated." The book will come out in hardcover on March 10, 2011. Start your countdown clock.
2. The nice St. Martin's people gave us all a copy of the first chapter of Sweet Valley Confidential. I'm sad to say that is, as the title states, confidential. So I can't share it with you guys. But! The marketing team wants to create a list of Sweet Valley superfans, and they think that they will be giving away the first chapter in exchange for people signing up to a listserv. They're hoping to do this in July, so keep an eye out for that too!
3. They created swag for us. There are "Team Elizabeth" and "Team Jessica" t-shirts (go on twitter, the pics have been put up) as well as compact mirrors with the first book cover on them. I'll have pics later because--big flourish--I managed to snag some extras. 1bruce1 will be having another giveaway contest soon! (Like the tote bag contest, but irinaauthor and I haven't decided what yet. Again, STAY TUNED!) Sadly, and this might dampen your enthusiasm, only "Team Elizabeth" shirts were left over. (I know, surprise, surprise.) So I have no "Team Jessica" shirts to give away. But see above where I tried to convince them to do "Team Lila" and "Team Margo"! That counts for something, right?

Dan Weiss was also a font of information about the production of the original Sweet Valley series. I asked him about our fan favorite, James Mattheuse, and he told us that the NYC people took B&W pictures of one girl and sent them to "Jimmy" and he did pastels of her to make the covers. I've also learned that they've been trying to get in touch with him to do the cover for Sweet Valley Confidential but he's unreachable. This is very sad. If anyone knows James Mattheuse, tell him to contact Dan!

He said, originally, they intended the series for a 14 year old demographic, but it got younger as the series progressed, and then eventually went even younger with SVT and SVK. Francine had written soap operas before coming to books. The series (which was initially supposed to be just six books) was supposed to be kind of like a teen "Dallas" or "Dynasty". Francine used her daughters as inspiration.

Dan also said that in the original draft of Double Love, Jessica got Todd! But they changed it very last minute (he mentioned all nighters before the book went to press). I can't imagine how the series would've turned out differently without the Liz/Todd OTP from the get-go!

He also said, and this surprised the heck out of me, that in addition to several now famous authors having worked as ghostwriters and editors on the books, (Ann Brashares and Cecily von Ziegesar edited), our own favorite ANN M. MARTIN ghostwrote the very first Sweet Valley Twins book, "Best Friends." I know a lot of you are into BSC too, so I thought that was a neat little factoid!

More information and pictures from the meeting to come!

ETA: Photos of the swag, taken by Marissa from Sweet Valley Diaries and Sarah from Smart Bitches Trashy Books. The Compact. The T-Shirts

ETA2: JJ, Dan's assistant (she calls him "Cap'n Sweet Valley" which makes me laugh), sent me this picture of "all the swag" together. There's also a photo of Dan with the Daniels twins. That's not included in our giveway, but still interesting! Here.

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[User Picture]From: hanfastolfe
2010-06-14 09:52 pm (UTC)
Wow! :) Fascinating news for the future of Sweet Valley. I'm surprised at the Jessica-and-Elizabeth-not-speaking thing but TBH I'm basically rooted in the canon I experienced when I was much younger and SVH was the only thing around. The twins ALWAYS ended up making up no matter what fights they got into.

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[User Picture]From: marswillbemars
2010-06-14 09:57 pm (UTC)

This is Marissa from Sweet Valley Diaries...

OMG, I totally had to resurrect my livejournal account to start commenting on this feed. I am afraid to see what's in there. I haven't used it since I was maybe 19, so I didn't even know my password!

I really enjoyed Chapter 1. It only hinted at the story to come, but what it did reveal was NOT what I expected at all (in terms of where the characters were in their lives). Can't wait to read more, and I wish I didn't have to!
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[User Picture]From: esc_key
2010-06-14 10:02 pm (UTC)

Re: This is Marissa from Sweet Valley Diaries...

Yay! LIVEJOURNAL 4EVA. I started my first account back in the day, and I have no idea what the password is anymore. OOPS.

Didn't have to wait or didn't have to read more? Haha. (I think I know what you mean but I'm afraid others won't!)
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[User Picture]From: ultimate_cin
2010-06-14 10:53 pm (UTC)
I am so excited for this it's not even funny. I've got the release date marked on my calendar!

Love the swag - the compact is awesome & so are the t-shirts.

Also, thanks for sharing the info on the original series - how weird would it have been for Jessica to end up with Todd? I remember reading before that Francine had used her daughters for inspiration for the series. I wonder who the girl was that they used as the model for the twins on the covers? That would be interesting to find out.

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[User Picture]From: falls2climb
2010-06-14 11:00 pm (UTC)
How exciting! THIS is what I wish they would do with the Baby-Sitters Club, too... I don't need a prequel, I know what happened before the series, I want to know how the characters turned out as adults!
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[User Picture]From: carrie1982
2010-06-14 11:10 pm (UTC)
That would be amazing. Sweet Valley and BSC were huge parts of my childhood.
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From: iliketea
2010-06-14 11:30 pm (UTC)
He also said, and this surprised the heck out of me, that in addition to several now famous authors having worked as ghostwriters and editors on the books, (Ann Brashares and Cecily von Ziegesar edited), our own favorite ANN M. MARTIN ghostwrote the very first Sweet Valley Twins book, "Best Friends." I know a lot of you are into BSC too, so I thought that was a neat little factoid!

Two universes have just collided. Dude!
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[User Picture]From: aleronihead
2010-06-17 10:18 pm (UTC)
I know! That's what's blowing my mind the most!
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[User Picture]From: tommckayisgay
2010-06-15 01:36 am (UTC)

I am so jealous!!! And also excited to hear all the publicity they're giving this book. Hopefully it'll be the start of another totally trashy (yet totally awesome) series that spans 140+ books. I am drooling over the swag and totally want a shirt! Come to think of it, a Team Bruce shirt would be pretty fab too...
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[User Picture]From: zorb
2010-06-15 01:38 am (UTC)
Dude, that is so awesome! You represented well. The Ann M. Martin thing is great trivia!
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[User Picture]From: hellobrisvegas
2010-06-15 03:12 am (UTC)
Could you imagine if Jessica HAD gotten Todd at the end of Double Love? We could have saved so much heartache and whining.

This whole thing sounds amazing, and I am way too jealous for words. I want a Team Bruce Patman T-shirt so so badly, I may just be able to will one into existence.
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[User Picture]From: joanne_c
2010-06-15 03:13 am (UTC)
Who is the least bit shocked at the soap connection? So not me :)

This is so fabulous and I can't wait to see the book! I know I'll have to, of course, but I still can't :)

I could almost see in a recent re-read of Double Love where they could have made it Jess/Todd without being too awful (on the Jess/Todd front at least) but I always did like Liz/Todd.

Edited at 2010-06-15 03:13 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: kakeochi_umai
2010-06-15 04:38 am (UTC)
SVC is happening? It's actually happening?! I'd given up hope!
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[User Picture]From: irinaauthor
2010-06-15 12:36 pm (UTC)
It is! And in less than a year!
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[User Picture]From: versipellis
2010-06-15 04:10 pm (UTC)
Duuuuude... this was fascinating. Possibly I found it more fascinating than I should considering I'm an adult, but the stuff about the original Double Love ending, and Ann M Martin, were really interesting!
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[User Picture]From: ellixian
2010-06-15 04:31 pm (UTC)
This is kind of AMAZING. NGL I am so excited for Sweet Valley Confidential now (however cheesy/bad the books got, they were still SO FUNDAMENTAL to my childhood and experience as a young reader), and those factoids are amazing. Ann M Martin, wow!!

Thanks for sharing!
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[User Picture]From: kaisercydney
2010-06-15 05:43 pm (UTC)
There are no words that could adequately describe how excited I am about this!!!
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[User Picture]From: kaisercydney
2010-06-15 05:46 pm (UTC)
And Jessica and Todd--WOW. That would have changed EVERYTHING...if they'd stayed a couple, of course. That reminds me of the part of the Evil Twin when Jessica realizes that if not for her actions, neither James nor Sam would have died, and gets freaked out...totally different lives. If she's been with Todd, would we ever have met Sam at all?
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[User Picture]From: dwanollah1
2010-06-15 08:01 pm (UTC)

As the author of the Sweet Valley Slam Book Blather, I demand to know why wasn't I invited? Is it because I'm not thin and pretty? Did... did y'all blackball me?!

(In all seriousness, how freakin' awesome that you got to be part of this! *doinging*)

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