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The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, in conjunction with First Book, is launching their first international “Inside Story” event at select independent bookstores. Eighteen children’s book authors and illustrators will be at the Odyssey bookshop in Hadley, MA on Sunday, November 3rd to share the “Inside Story” about their latest publications. I’ll be talking about “The Glass Puzzle”!
Inside Story is an opportunity for young readers, teachers, librarians, and children’s book lovers to become acquainted with new releases. From picture books, middle grade and early readers to young adult this event has something for everyone! Free prizes, a drawing to win a phone call from a famous author and First Book will donate a book to a child in need for every book purchased! Perfect for children, educators and librarians.
INFORMATION ON THE “INSIDE STORY” EVENT:
Location: The Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College St., South Hadley, Massachusetts
Picture Book Authors ~ 1:00 pm
Diane deGroat, Corinne Demas, Deborah Freedman, Jannie Ho, Sandra Horning, Jane Kohuth, Jason Lefebvre, Richard Michelson, Hazel Mitchell, J.C. Phillipps
Middle Grade and Young Adult Authors ~ 3:00 pm
Stacy DeKeyser, Christine Brodien-Jones, Erin Dionne, Natasha Lowe, Jennifer Ann Mann, Rebecca Rupp, Chris Tebbetts, Kathryn Burak
About First Book
First Book provides access to new books for children in need. To date, First Book has distributed more than 100 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families throughout the UnitedStates and Canada. First Book is transforming the lives of children in need and elevating the quality of education by making new, high-quality books available on an ongoing basis. Learn more at www.firstbook.org.
Founded in 1971, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is one of the largest existing writers’ and illustrators’ organizations, with over 22,000 members worldwide. It is the only organization specifically for those working in the fields of children’s literature, magazines, film, television, and multimedia. The organization was founded by Stephen Mooser (President) and Lin Oliver (Executive Director), both of whom are well-published children’s book authors and leaders in the world of children’s literature. Learn more at www.scbwi.org.
Time’s running out to win a signed ARC of “The Glass Puzzle” – tomorrow, September 9th, is the last day of the Goodreads Giveaway!
Yikes, the Goodreads Giveaway of “The Scorpions of Zahir” – two signed ARCs – ends tomorrow, September 9th!
My favorite middle-grade and YA heroes and heroines: today on the Mod Podge Bookshelf !
Check out “Five Family Favorites” at The Children’s Book Review, plus “The Glass Puzzle” Book Trailer!
“Tunnels, Pirates, Submerged Towns, and More: Researching The Glass Puzzle” – Blog Tour day #4 at The Book Monsters!
And check out this cool review of “The Glass Puzzle” by The Book Monsters.
Three-book giveaway, too!
Today I’m visiting the website Once Upon a Story, which features “Behind the Scenes ~ Characters from The Glass Puzzle” and a big giveaway!
Check out day #2 of my blog tour ~ an interview and three-book giveaway on Sharpread!
A few months ago I was emptying out an old file cabinet at the back of my closet when a folder caught my eye. “Early Stories” was printed across the top in neat letters. Curious, I opened it and papers tumbled out, looking timeworn and ancient, like ink-scrawled maps of my childhood. I recognized my childish looping left-hander’s script: they were stories I’d written between the ages of eight and twelve, with titles like “The Mystery of the Blood-Stained Emerald Sword,” “A Slip Back Into Time,” The Mummy’s Curse,” “Vampires and Death.” Even then it was obvious where I was heading. I wrote stories with my special fountain pen (considered cool in those days), and sometimes pencils, on the lined pages of big spiral notebooks. From the age of seven I wanted to be a writer. When I wasn’t writing, I was at the library, breathing in the musty odors of moldy books, losing myself inside tales of time travel, monsters and otherworldly enchantments. And then there were the scary sci-fi and Dracula films I watched on Friday nights with my next-door neighbor Jody at the local movie theater.
The books that stayed with me were The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking, Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, Knight’s Castle and all of Edward Eager’s time travel books, Margot Benary-Isbert’s The Wicked Enchantment, The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, and stories by Ray Bradbury and Edgar Allen Poe. Some of their tales terrified me, while others transported me to strange and fantastic worlds. I often imagined that if I turned a certain corner, climbed a twisting staircase, or discovered an ancient ring, anything might happen.
As an adult I wrote newspaper articles and stories for adults. It wasn’t until I had boys of my own that I began writing for children. Reading stories to Ian and Derek took me back to the world of children’s books and I decided to write the kinds of books I’d loved as a child. A story written for a children’s literature course in grad school became my first published novel, The Dreamkeepers. The hero was my ten-year-old son and I set the book in Wales, where my husband grew up. (His parents, thinly disguised, are in there, too.) Having always been a huge fan of monster (my favorite toys were dinosaurs and a cyclops), I found creatures sneaking into my books: Usk beetles (from The Dreamkeepers), plague wolves and the genetically-engineered skraeks in The Owl Keeper, and giant scorpions in The Scorpions of Zahir. I quickly discovered that, like myself at that age, many middle grade readers are monster-lovers too.
Writing for middle graders, I’ve come around full circle. Middle graders are caught somewhere between childhood and the traumatic teens. They have a child’s sense of wonder and often a teenager’s fierce sense of independence. Life is scary and heartbreaking aAdd a Comment
My creative space is an alcove of our living room, near windows with views of the sea. I work at a large Shaker desk littered with carved wooden owls (my muses), surrounded by photos, framed prints and drawings, a glass bottle of Sahara sand, small gargoyles and shelves of children’s books. There’s a cupboard door covered with notes to myself and a map of the desert. Gazing out over the salt marshes and boats, I can see sky and waves and shifting colors. It’s easy to imagine distant places and other worlds.
A quiet place, a comfortable chair and a computer, plus long stretches of time (and access to a refrigerator!): that’s the ideal creative space for me. Up until a few years ago, however, I’ve written on rickety tables, in cramped corners, sitting in uncomfortable chairs, trying to fit the writing around a full-time job. Only now do I have the luxury of my own space and time.
When I’m in Argentina or Maine, I take my my MacBook Pro. (Here it is, on the left, in my apartment in Buenos Aires.) Sometimes when traveling I’ll write by hand using a writing tablet or moleskin notebook. With my liquid gel ink pen, I go into organizational mode: outlining, world-building, making timelines and/or sketching maps and characters for my next book.
Favorite time to write: early morning
Favorite snack: popcorn and iced tea
Favorite chair: Aeron ergonomic chair from Herman Miller
Favorite desk: my Shaker desk from Maple Corner Woodworks in Vermont
Next week my husband Peter and I are flying to Madrid to hike 500 miles across northern Spain, following an ancient pilgrim’s path known as the Camino de Santiago. Carrying a small backpack each, we’ll set out from the medieval town of Roncevalles, in the Pyrenees, and head for the fabled Galician city of Santiago de Compostela.
We’ll be away six weeks, and for most of that time we’ll pretty much be off the grid. Forget getting any writing done. Or reading! The only book we’re taking is John Brierley’s guide to the Camino, a “practical & mystical manual for the modern day pilgrim.” It weighs almost nothing. In fact, we’re packing only the bare essentials.
Last week the remarkable Jody Feldman tagged me to participate in a great get-the-word-out game called The Next Big Thing – Thanks, Jody! The Next Big Thing is an awareness blog campaign that began in Australia and became international. It features authors and illustrators of books for kids and young adults and their recently published books and/or those that are slated to be released this year.
1) What is the working title of your next book?
THE GLASS PUZZLE. It’s always been that title, even when it was a germ of an idea.
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
I really don’t remember. I guess the idea of two kids falling through a puzzle into another world just came to me and I fell in love with the image of a puzzle made of glass.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
Similar to my other books, THE OWL KEEPER and THE SCORPIONS OF ZAHIR, THE GLASS PUZZLE is middle grade adventure-fantasy
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Zoe: a young Saoirse Ronan (with a competely different haircut)
Ian: Asa Butterfield
Dr. Marriott: Anthony Hopkins in disheveled professor mode (he’s Welsh, after all!)
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
When two cousins discover a glass puzzle, ancient forces are unleashed that threaten their Welsh seaside town in sinister ways.
6) Who is publishing your book?
THE GLASS PUZZLE comes out July 9, 2013 from Random House/Delacorte Books for Young Readers. As always they’ve done a fantastic job with a stunning cover and amazing illustrations… a detailed map of the town, too!
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I know it sounds strange, but I started writing this book 25 years ago, when my kids were young: my first attempt at a novel! The first draft probably took a year or more because I had trouble with creating a world on the underside of the puzzle; I just couldn’t get it right. Over the years I worked on the book, then shelved it, then took it out again, and it finally came together when I fused it with another half-written novel I’d set in Wales.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Middle grade fantasies that deal with crossing over into other worlds, such as THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE by C.S. Lewis, Madeline L’Engle’s A WRINKLE IN TIME, Edward Eager’s KNIGHT’S CASTLE, INKHEART by Cornelia Funke, THE EMERALD ATLAS by John Stephens, P.J. Hoover’s THE FORGOTTEN WORLD trilogy, WILDWOOD by Colin Meloy, GREGOR THE OVERLANDER series by Suzanne Collins.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
As a child I watched “Invasion of the Bodysnatchers” with my dad, the original black-and-white sci-fi horror movie where outerspace invaders replace human beings with duplicates that appear identical on the surface but are devoid of any emotion—and nobody knows! Well, almost nobody: the main character, a doctor, figures out what’s going on and tries to stop them. I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of people being secretly taken over while everything on the surface appears to be perfectly normal. This was a theme I used in this novel.
THE GLASS PUZZLE suddenly took on a life of its own when I switched the setting from upstate New York to the medieval walled seaside town of Tenby, Wales, notorious for its pirates, smugglers, caves and ghosts, and the maze of tunnels that run beneath its cobbled streets. I’ve been twice to Tenby and it truly is a haunting, mysterious windswept place.
10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Hmm, let’s see. Well, a drowned island lost in time, tunnels beneath the town and a cavern of lost enchantments, an ancient book, a secret society, a parallel universe. And, oh yeah, watch out for the terrifying creatures that are waiting to slink out through the puzzle!
Eleven-year-old Zoé Badger, imaginative, carefree and adventurous, lives a transient life, moving with her mother from one town to the next—except for summers, when she stays with her granddad in Tenby, Wales. But when she and her cousin Ian discover a glass puzzle that’s been hidden away for decades, ancient forces are unleashed that threaten to change their safe-haven summer town in sinister ways.
Follow my blog tour for “The Glass Puzzle”!
MONDAY JULY 8th: Read Now Sleep Later
TUESDAY JULY 9th: Sharpread
WEDNESDAY JULY 10th: Once Upon a Story
THURSDAY JULY 11th: The Book Monsters
MONDAY JULY 15th: The Children’s Book Review
TUESDAY JULY 16th: The Book Smugglers
WEDNESDAY JULY 17th: Cracking the Cover
THURSDAY JULY 18th: Mother Daughter Book Club
FRIDAY JULY 19th: Hobbitsies