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What’s Good for Fay Weldon is Good for YA

As Motoko Rich reports in today’s NYT, a marketing deal between Cover Girl and Running Press has led to a bit of product placement in Cathy’s Book: If Found Call (650) 266-8233, a YA novel written by Jordan Weisman and Sean Stewart. So now, instead of wearing “gunmetal grey eyeliner,” a character will be wearing “eyecolor in ‘Midnight Metal.’”

Of course, the partnership has attracted the usual naysayers, complaining about how, as one bookseller put it, “once you’re under contract to include certain kinds of things, then that narrows the editorial possibilities greatly and has a huge influence over the nature of the writing and the nature of the story.” But the co-authors say they haven’t relinquished any creative control because of the arrangement, and even mention some corporate suggestions that they shot down.

When I saw Sean Stewart’s name attached, though, I was surprised, since I know him as a science fiction writer, not a YA guy. Turns out that Cathy’s Book is more than just a book—it’s a gateway to the sort of interactive experiences he has created to promote Steven Spielberg’s A.I. and the Halo 2 video game. For starters, that phone number in the title? It’s a working voicemail message…

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