Here's the link to the MP3 file of the interview, which aired Tuesday night. It's up for two weeks. We are in the second half of the hour. (The first half hour is very interesting, too.)
The Greenwillow catalog went live today, so I finally get to share the cover of NIGHTSPELL, Mistwood’s companion novel! Isn't it gorgeous?
And here's the tentative description:
A stand-alone companion novel to the much-acclaimed MISTWOOD. When Darri rides into Ghostland, a country where the living walk with the dead, she has only one goal: to rescue her younger sister Callie, who was sent to Ghostland as a hostage four years ago. But Callie has changed in those four years, and now has secrets of her own. In her quest to save her sister from herself, Darri will be forced to outmaneuver a handsome ghost prince, an ancient sorcerer, and a manipulative tribal warrior (who happens to be her brother). When Darri discovers the source of the spell that has kept the dead in Ghostland chained to this earth, she faces a decision that will force her to reexamine beliefs she has never before questioned - and lead her into the heart of a conspiracy that threatens the very balance of power between the living and the dead.
Nightspell will be published on May 31, 2011.
1) What do you like most about The Carnival of Lost Souls?
When I first read The Carnival of Lost Souls, I was struck by the spooky atmosphere of the forest of the dead. As soon as Jack sees the fog and trees and how the carriage is decorated and the clothes people wear, you know that this is a place where you shouldn’t let your guard down. Anything could come out of those trees! Also, I love “backstage” stories, so the descriptions of Jack’s performances have me riveted. Laura does a great job both describing what the show would look like to the dead audience, and also conveying Jack’s anxiety and the steps he goes through to combat it. That’s more than one favorite thing, but there’s lots to like!
2) There seems to be so much of fantasy on the shelves for middle grade readers. Is the fantasy genre still popular and what does a writer need to do to stand out?
Yes, fantasy is still very popular. I don’t think it’s ever going to out of style — it’s been a bedrock of children’s literature since it was first defined as a genre. The most successful or interesting fantasy authors are finding new ways to get into it, whether it’s a new setting, or a different type of magic, or a character that readers haven’t seen yet. And great writing is the foundation of any successful book, and always the first thing we look for (and the first thing readers respond to).
3) What is your dream manuscript? Anything you would like to see more of?
This is a tough question! It’s really hard to tell before reading, because a great-sounding pitch can be dismal in execution, and an ordinary pitch can shine with the right writer. I can say I’d like a steampunk Veronica Mars or something like that, but what’s really exciting is being surprised. I know people hate these vague answers, but the books we end up signing up cover such a wide range it’s hard to narrow down.
4) Do you have any past or current projects that you are working on that you would like to mention so we can get an idea of some of the books you enjoy?
Well, in addition to Carnival, this fall there’s Sweet Treats & Secret Crushes, Lisa Greenwald’s second book. It’s a really fun tween story about friendship and Valentine’s Day and fortune cookies and snow. And in the spring there’s Amy Ignatow’s second Popularity Papers book, The Long-Distance Dispatch. Lydia moves to England for six months and the girls have to keep in touch via their trusty notebook. There’s also One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street by Joanne Rocklin and debut graphic novel Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge, and much more — I already feel bad about leaving some out, so I’ll just stop now at four.
We're so happy to congratulate our classmate DENISE JADEN on the publication of her debut YA, LOSING FAITH. Denise's writing has appeared in Mississippi Crow Magazine, The Greensilk Journal, where her story LOCKED AWAY won an Editor's Choice Award, and the Tidepool Fiction Ezine. Her novels have received various awards through Romance Writers of America. And now (drum roll please) ....her first novel for teens, LOSING FAITH has just been released from Simon Pulse/Simon and Schuster!
Denise lives just outside of Vancouver with her husband and seven-year old son.
Congratulations Denise, on the publication of LOSING FAITH. We know you're very busy and have tons of upcoming appearances so we're happy you could take a little time to talk about your book.
Interestingly, you were a Polynesian dancer before becoming a writer. Those are two very different forms of artistic expression. Do you find any parallels between them?
I find that engaging in any kind of creative outlet really helps keep me balanced. I get grumpy and irritable if I'm not creating something for days on end. I like that dancing is a bit more physical, and I still do spend a fair amount of time at that, but I also love the new expressions and inner-workings of my brain that I find through writing.
LOSING FAITH concerns the death of a sibling. Do you think your readers who may have experienced a similar situation will find your book helpful?
I think all people grieve differently and Brie's journey likely won't be the same as anyone else's. But I do hope a reader could follow Brie's journey and see that it's okay to take your own route. It's okay to disengage for a while if you need to, or to focus on something else, or to just cry your eyes out if that's what you need to get through it.
What books did you love when you were a teenager and what drew you to writing in the Young Adult genre?
I didn't love books as a teenager, in fact, I did everythign I could to avoid them! Of course that has changed, and now some of my favorite authors are Sarra Manning and Laurie Halse Anderson.
When I first began, I attempted writing a novel for the mainstream adult genre. My protagonist was a thirty-year old man. But when I sent it to critique partners, many of them came back to me telling me it felt like a teen novel to them. I should have just taken the hint then, but it took me a little longer to pen my first YA novel and realize how right that felt.
Any plans to take your protagonist Brie's journey further?
This November, during NaNoWriMo (www.nanowrimo.org) I plan to write a companion novel to LOSING FAITH. It is still untitled, but this book will be telling more of Tessa's story. I hope to have Brie and Alis make a few appearances throughout though.
Okay now. You've clearly kept in fantastic shape. How on earth do you home-school your child, as you do, and find time to work out regularly, and write and promote your book too!? What's your secret? Tell us everything!
Multi-tasking LOL. Actually, I would say that most of the time, I don't do any of it justice, but I'm just not willing to let go in any one area. I homeschool first thing in the morning (if I don't, I forget!) then, head to the gym. Our gym has a wonderful play area that my son loves. It gives us a break from each other, which is sometimes needed after homeschool. At the gym, I read and critique writing from my critique partners between sets. Then, back at home we have what is called "creative time". It used to be nap time, then it was quiet time, but I figure since I'm using that time for writing—creating something—my son should too. Sometimes he builds something out of Lego, or draws, or paints, but it's an hour just for quiet working.
Other than that very loose schedule, I have no secrets. But if you have any, PLEASE pass them along.
Well congratulations on everything Denise. And best of luck to you and LOSING FAITH.
Update: We have winners! They have all been notified by email, and they are:
Mid-Grade Fantasy Pack: Wild About Books Club at Wisconsin Hills Middle School; entered by Kay Oeding
Mid-Grade Contemporary Pack: Saginaw Chippewa Academy brown bag book club; entered by Sarah Prielipp
YA Fantasy/Paranormal Pack: The monthly YA book club at Millhopper Branch Public Library in Gainesville, Florida; entered by Bryan Kratish
YA Contemporary 1 Pack: The afterschool book club at La Cumbre Junior High in Santa Barbara, CA; entered by Sal Williams
YA Contemporary 2 Pack: The Cheltenham High School Book Club; entered by Alison Shapiro
Congratulations to the winners, and thanks so much to everyone who entered and spread the word about our giveaway! We wish you all could have won.
Inspired by this post by author Teri Brown, the Classof2K10 is ending off the year with a massive book club giveaway.
Five book clubs around the country can win a prize pack of three to six sets of books written by the authors from the Class of 2K10. Each pack includes TEN copies of each book, and in some packs one of the books will be signed by the author.
The contest is open to all book clubs associated with a nonprofit institution, a school, or a library. To enter, just comment on this entry, specifying which of the prize packs you are interested in and which nonprofit you are affiliated with. The giveaway will end on November 11, 2010.
If there are any additional questions, please contact Leah Cypess at LCypess@gmail.com.
The prize packs are:
MID-GRADE FANTASY PACK:
The Carnival of Lost Souls by Laura Quimby
Under the Green Hill by Laura L. Sullivan
The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams by Rhonda Hayter
MID-GRADE CONTEMPORARY PACK:
Fairview Felines: A Newspaper Mystery by Michele Corriel
Island Sting by Bonnie J. Doerr
Leaving Gee's Bend by Irene Latham
The Reinvention of Edison Thomas by Jacqueline Houtman
Shooting Kabul by N.H. Senzai
YA FANTASY/PARANORMAL PACK
13 To Life by Shannon Delany
Freaksville by Kitty Keswick
Mistwood by Leah Cypess
Past Midnight by Mara Purnhagen
Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready
Under My Skin by Judith Graves
YA CONTEMPORARY PACK 1
Change of Heart by Shari Maurer
Faithful by Janet Fox
Losing Faith by Denise Jaden
The Tension of Opposites by Kristina McBride
YA CONTEMPORARY PACK 2
Of All the Stupid Things by Alexandra Diaz
Party by Tom Leveen
Three Rivers Rising by Jame Richards
The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard
Split by Swati Avasthi
- You must be a book club affiliated with a nonprofit, school, or library, and located in the continental United States.
- To enter, leave a comment to this entry. Specify which of the prize packs you are interested in – you may choose from only one, to all five, as we will be holding 5 separate drawings. (However, no club will win more than one prize pack.)
- Leave an email address where you can be reached should you win.
- If the email address is a not an institution address, please specify which nonprofit, school, or library you are affiliated with.
- If you are not sure whether you qualify, just leave the relevant information in the comment.
Four members of the Class of 2K10, Swati Avasthi, Michele Corriel, Janet Fox, and Jacqueline Houtman, will be presenting a panel "From the Authors' Perspective" on October 23 at Kidlit Con in Minneapolis (http://kidlitcon2010.blogspot.com/)
Mara Purnhagen's second novel, PAST MIDNIGHT, is in stores now! Check out http://marapurn.livejournal.com/ for recent news and reviews (including a new review of TAGGED from the Bookologist). Also, look for special guest posts and giveaways around Halloween, and a BIG announcement coming soon!
The "Before the Split" blog tour has begun! Visit www.swatiavasthi.blogspot.com to join the tour, where you can not only read cut scenes, see a photo essay, and win a create your own cover contest, you can also help support the Family Violence Prevention Fund by commenting (Swati will donate $1/comment) or by bidding on an cool, auction items, (like a critique from top agents, authors, and editors or signed copies of books). Lots of awesome stuff to chose from and help a worthy cause. Meanwhile, Split continues to get great reviews! The children's literature book review service calls Split "a compelling read from the first line to the last page...The characters, especially Christian and Jace, are intensely real and defined...an excellent book" and Teens Read Too gave it 5 stars and called a "fabulous first novel." And, if you want to catch Swati in person, she will be at presenting at kidlitcon on "The Author's Perspective" in Minneapolis with her fellow classmates Michele Corriel, Janet Fox, and Jacqueline Houtman on October 23rd.
Denise Jaden's LOSING FAITH has received some wonderful reviews, including one at Y.A. Love and In Bed With Books. Denise was recently featured in an interview on RT Book Reviews, and will be signing books on October 30th at Uppercase Books in Snohomish, WA, along with four other debut authors. More upcoming signings and events can be found on her website at www.denisejaden.com .
Kristina McBride's debut novel, The Tension of Opposites, has been nominated for YALSA's 2011 Best Fiction for Young Adults list. McBride has also received a blurb from Jay Asher, author of the New York Times bestseller Thirteen Reasons Why. Asher says of The Tension of Opposites, "Tense! The constant push and pull of friendship, pain, love, and jealousy is beautifully drawn. A definite must read."
On Tuesday, September 14th, Judith Graves presented Backstage With A YA Author in conjunction with the Writers Guild of Alberta and the Cold Lake Public Library for Alberta Arts Days, a celebration of culture. She gave a glimpse of what it is like to be a published writer of young adult fiction – and what steps to follow to get there.
Janet Fox (Faithful) will be speaking at Montana’s SCBWI conference in Bozeman on September 25, and at Oklahoma’s Encyclomedia conference, together with 2k10ers Bonnie Doerr and Denise Jaden and 2k9ers Fran Cannon Slayton and Joy Preble, on Thursday, October 7. On October 22 and 23 she’ll join 2k10ers Swati Avasthi, Michele Corriel and Jacqueline Houtman to speak at Kidlitcon in Minneapolis. And on October 29 and 30 she’ll join Michele Corriel once again to appear at the Montana Festival of the Book in Missoula. After that she’ll take a nap.
Jacqueline Houtman was profiled on Cynsations and AuthorsNow! Wisconsin's First Lady, Jessica Doyle has selected THE REINVENTION OF EDISON THOMAS as the featured Middle School book for December in Wisconsin's statewide book club, Read On,Wisconsin!
Irene Latham presented Alabama Governor Bob Riley with a copy of LEAVING GEE'S BEND, received a lovely review from Looking for the Write Words and during the month of October will be presenting at Southern-Breeze SCBWI conference (Birmingham,AL), Auburn Writing Conference (Auburn, AL) and Mississippi Library Association (Vicksburg, MS), Auburn Public Library (Auburn, AL) and signing books at Brooke's Bookstop (McCalla, AL). See www.irenelatham.com for details
I’m very excited that the book is officially available, even though Amazon was shipping it two weeks early. October 1st was the real launch day, so I’m glad it’s official.
Here is a little about the book:
The Carnival of Lost Souls, A Handcuff Kid Novel is the story about Jack, a charismatic delinquent, a foster kid who never seems to feel at home anywhere. His one constant in life is his love of magic and his hero Harry Houdini. Jack is placed with an eccentric professor and finally feels at home, until the professor sells him to an evil magician, the Amazing Mussini, into the land of the dead. Jack must travel with Mussini through the Forest of the Dead where he performs some of Houdini’s famed tricks in Mussini’s traveling magic show. If Jack stays in the Forest long enough, he’ll die himself. To find his way home, he’ll have the help of kids stolen just like Jack—and his wits, nothing more.
I was inspired to write the story after I read an autobiography about Harry Houdini and was inspired by how hard he worked to create magic tricks. Magic is often portrayed as easy and effortless, literally magic, and I loved the idea that magic was man made and tough.
Magic is hard work! Thanks everyone for the kindness and support.
Check out my new web site is up at: www.lauraquimby.com
To honor National Domestic Violence Awareness month this October, author Swati Avasthi has combined a blog tour for her debut novel, Split, with a charity auction.
Over 40 authors, agents and editors (including many of the Class of 2K10!) have donated manuscript critiques, personalized books, and more to an online auction that anyone –reader, writer, booklover -- can bid on and buy. All proceeds go to the Family Violence Prevention Fund. Here's a link to the auction items. Good luck!
In addition to the auction, Avasthi is donating $1/comment on her 26-stop, month-long blog tour, coordinated by Kari Olson at Teen Book Scene. If we reach the goal and cap of $250, Swati will double the donation to the Family Violence Prevention Fund. Here's a link to a list of tour stops: http://theteenbookscene.weebly.com/split-details.html
The CDC estimates that one in four women will experience intimate partner abuse during her life and UC Davis estimates that a child who grew up witnessing abuse is four times as likely to perpetrate abuse, 25 times more likely to commit rape and 6 times more likely to commit suicide. Family Violence Prevention Fund has some great initiatives, including Coaching Boys Into Men and Start Strong, that are about breaking the intergenerational cycle and preventing abuse.
So, follow the tour, get stuff you want, and make a difference.
Big Kudos to Swati for using this forum to bring attention to this important cause.
With so many conference choices and events with sage writerly advice there comes a time in an author’s life when she just needs to get away and practice writing and critiquing and having fun with other writers.
So, here is my advice for a DIY writer’s getaway from what I learned from a retreat that my critique group took this year! My group consists of four writers of YA and MG novels.
1) Start small: a weekend or 2 weekday nights is long enough. You will be spending all day and night with the group and you want to get to know people and feel comfortable. Go with people you like and are compatible with.
2) Get away: leave town, look for someplace that everyone can drive to but still provides the necessary time away from family and work obligations. We decided to rent a house in a small scenic town in West Virginia. We used the web site: www.VRBO.com to find a rental house that we all liked and could afford. We were able to check the house out ahead of time and pick the place that suited all of us. Plus, it was near a small town where we could find very important things like coffee houses, affordable yet nice restaurants, and a town to walk around and stretch our legs. We each brought some food and drinks to defray costs.
3) Plan writing activities. Each member was responsible for coming up with one writing activity. We also brought writing books from home that helped us individually that we wanted to share with the group.
4) Plan critique time and hand out work in advance with questions. We each distributed a couple of chapters of WIPs that we needed advice on about a week prior to the meeting, giving us all time to read and familiarize ourselves with each other’s work and give feedback. Face time is so important in a critique group and is hard to come by since most of our critiquing is done on-line. So the time to sit and talk about our projects was so valuable. We could ask and answer questions directly and work through problems and get immediate responses and advice.
5) Have fun! Plan some fun activities that you all like to do. Luckily, my critique group has similar tastes in TV shows and one member brought some Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Supernatural DVDs so we could all pile on the bed and get our paranormal fix. But I also suggest bringing games, crafts, cards, or your hiking shoes to do some fun non-writing activities together.
6) Plan not to plan! Not every minute needs be scheduled. Have some alone time! Spend some free time reading or going for a walk or just relaxing with your own thoughts.
7) Do it again!
My critique group and I learned a lot. The DIY Retreat was fun and constructive and a great getaway spent with like-minded writers with a simple goal to focus on writing, critiquing, and talking about the books we love. Some things we will probably change and some things we will do the same, but all in all it was a fun and new writing experience. Try it with your critique buddies.