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A memoir by Kim Gordon, founding member of Sonic Youth, is out this week from HarperCollins’ Dey Street Books.
In Girl in a Band: A Memoir, the indie rock icon talks talks about music, being an artist, marriage and motherhood. She also discusses the difficulties of doing a show in South America with her ex-husband/bandmate Thurston Moore. Here is an excerpt:
They say that when a marriage ends that little things you never noticed before practically make your brain split open. All week that had been true for me whenever Thurston was around. Maybe he felt the same, or maybe his head was somewhere else. I didn’t really want to know to be honest.
Elizabeth Gilbert will serve as the narrator for the audiobook edition of Big Magic.
Gilbert shared the news by uploading an audio clip onto her Facebook page. Throughout the past few months, Gilbert has been posting quotes from the book on her social media accounts.
As we previously reported, Gilbert’s internet conversations with her fans inspired her to write about creativity. Riverhead Books will publish this nonfiction title on September 22nd.
Lisa Genova has written a new novel entitled Inside the O’Briens. The story follows a police officer who is afflicted with Huntington’s disease named Joe O’Brien.
Here’s more from the press release: “Huntington’s is a lethal neurodegenerative disease with no treatment and no cure. Each of Joe’s four children has a 50 percent chance of inheriting their father’s disease, and a simple blood test can reveal their genetic fate. While watching what may be her future in her father’s escalating symptoms, twenty-one-year-old daughter Katie struggles with the questions this test imposes on her young adult life.”
Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, has set a publication date for April 7th. Genova established her writing career with the 2009 bestseller Still Alice which dealt with the illness of Alzheimer’s disease. Julianne Moore, the star of the Still Alice film adaptation, recently won the Academy Award in the Best Actress category for portraying the character Professor Alice Howland.
Author Bertrice Small has died. She was 77 years old.
Throughout her career, Small (pictured, via) wrote more than 50 books. She become well-known for her historical romance, fantasy romance, and erotica novels.
USA Today reports that “her O’Malley Saga and Skye’s Legacy series are especially beloved. Her most recent release, Lucianna, part of her Silk Merchant’s Daughters series, came out in October 2013.”
BookPage.com has unveiled the cover for The Day The Crayons Came Home written by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers.
We’ve embedded the full image above—what do you think? Philomel Books, an imprint at Penguin Young Readers Group, has set the publication date on August 18th.
Daywalt sat for an interview to discuss this sequel project. He explained that he was inspired to write stories about crayons because his own set “told me that if I didn’t bring their plight to the public eye, something terrible might happen to me.” He also revealed that he empathizes the most with the “Neon Red” crayon and the “Glow-in-the-Dark” crayon.
Neil Gaiman may be best known as an award-winning writer, but did you also know he sings?
The video embedded above features Gaiman’s original song, “I Google You.” Gaiman and his rocker wife Amanda Palmer performed it together during a recent one-night show in Florida.
Last Summer, Gaiman delivered two readings and his cover of the song “Psycho” on the Carnegie Hall stage. Click here to hear Gaiman’s rendition of that musical number. (via The Mary Sue)
New Line Cinema has picked up the film rights for Gayle Forman’s newest title, I Was Here. Penguin Young Readers Group published the young adult novel earlier this year.
In 2014, the studio released an adaptation based on Forman’s popular book, If I Stay; Forman served an executive producer for that movie. She plans take on that position again for the new film project.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the story follows “Cody, an 18-year-old whose best friend Meg takes her own life. Looking for answers, Cody begins a brave and dangerous journey that takes her from her dead-end Washington town to Meg’s college dorm, to the clubs of Seattle, to the deserts of Nevada, and to the darkest parts of her own psyche.”
Ex-Marine Eddie Ray Routh has been found guilty of killing former Navy SEAL/bestselling author Chris Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield. Routh has been sentenced to life in prison.
Routh’s attorneys had tried to convince the jury that he was not guilty due to insanity. The New York Times has the scoop:
The judge announced the decision in a courtroom just three miles from a movie theater that had been playing \"American Sniper\" since Mr. Routh’s trial began on Feb. 11. The movie and the trial made for a strange intersection of pop culture and criminal law. The verdict came two days after the movie lost the Academy Award for Best Picture to \"Birdman,\" and Mr. Kyle’s widow, Taya Kyle, attended the Oscars ceremony in Los Angeles on Sunday, then the closing arguments here on Tuesday.
Janet Fox writes award-winning fiction and non-fiction for children of all ages. Her 2010 young adult debut novel, FAITHFUL, was an Amelia Bloomer List pick, and was followed in 2011 by a companion novel, FORGIVEN, a Junior Library Guild selection and WILLA Literary Award Finalist. Her newest YA novel, SIRENS launched in November 2012; the Kirkus reviewer said in part, “SIRENS is a celebration of girl power, sisterhood, and hope for the future.” Janet is a 2010 graduate of the MFA/Writing for Children and Young Adults program at Vermont College of Fine Arts and a former high school English teacher. Janet and her family live in Bozeman, Montana, where they enjoy the mountain vistas.
What typically comes first for you: a character? An era? A story idea? How do you proceed from there?
Most of my stories begin with a scene, but it’s more like a dream sequence. I often have no idea what’s going on in the scene and who the characters are, but if it resonates at a deep level, has some meaning for me that I can’t – yet – put into words, then that becomes my mission: put this emotion into words. For example, the opening scene of SIRENS was also the first thing that came to me as I began thinking about the book, and that image of a wharf over the Hudson River at night was important but I had no idea why Jo was throwing medals into the water or why she was there, or even who she really was. Water, of course, became a motif, and Jo’s gesture was a metaphor for her to let go of the past.
As soon as I decide to go forward from my key scene, I focus on the character. I spend a lot of time thinking about my protagonist and my antagonist, although I do so very organically, because a great deal of what I learn comes through the drafting, since I’m a pantser. I write a lot of stuff that changes or goes away but that helps me discover who my character is and what she needs. My protagonist – her attitudes, behavior, dreams, desires – always drives my stories, not the other way around. When I write historical fiction it doesn’t change the fact that readers want stories that help them reach into their buried dreams, and they do that by identifying with the character.
What kinds of sources do you use?
I use a number of sources, everything from primary on. I read novels written in the period because they tend to mimic the voice of their era, and contain details that I can use. I look for period costumes in pattern books and magazines of the times – which often reveal nice details like “hunting costumes” or the layers of undergarments. I do visit museums for visuals. And I try to find anything that will add nuance to the era I write about. In SIRENS, which is set in the 1920s, I wanted more than the usual flapper/gangster/Prohibition stuff, and while listening to the radio one night, I heard a discussion about the Spiritualism movement of the 1920s, and thought “that’s it.”
But my favorite resource, depending upon the era, is period newspapers. They are available on line, and I love perusing the society column and the ads, in particular. From those I can harvest a feeling for what people were dreaming about – what they wanted, aspired to acquire, and how much that might cost. And how the “society” behaved, which the lower classes might desire to emulate, or rebel against. Again, it comes down to individual desires and dreams.
At what point do you feel comfortable beginning to draft? How does your research continue once you begin writing?
I draft almost right away, because I start with that dream and character. I research as I go. That’s because I’m usually too impatient to start the story-telling to do research first! So I’ll write until I reach a point where I need to answer a question, like “what was the flu pandemic like?” or “what was happening in Chinatown then?” And then I’ll research, which is easy in this internet era. Other details – the sensory stuff that comes from place – I’ll either tap from memory and experience, or go to that place and soak it up. Or watch videos or comb through photographs, since I’m a very visual person.
I never spend much time researching in advance, because the story comes to me way before I know where and when to place it.
What’s your favorite thing about writing historical fiction?
I do love history. It was my favorite subject in high school. I like the echoes and resonant desires, I like especially the somewhat mythic historic elements – things like Robin Hood, or the Roman conquest, or the western expansion in America. I like taking history and turning over the rocks to discover the personal and small within historical times. I love the idea of having a character hear a famous speech or witness an historical event, and then interpret it at the scale of an individual lifetime.
Has your research ever affected the overall thrust of your book? How so?
Always, but in unexpected fashion. In researching FAITHFUL, I learned that in the early 1900s there were still highway robberies taking place in Yellowstone Park, and tourists were relieved of their possessions, but thought this was highly romantic and exciting, so I worked that experience into the novel – and it became crucial to both FAITHFUL and FORGIVEN. In researching FORGIVEN I learned of the importing of young – very young – Chinese girls who were sold into terrible slavery in San Francisco, and this became my protagonist’s larger goal, to free some of these girls. So while I have my core emotion and my character’s desire up front, I often find historical details that will bolster the story in unexpected ways.
Why is historical fiction important?
That old adage about being condemned to repeat the things we don’t learn the first time is true, and there are lots of historical moments I wouldn’t care to repeat. Historical fiction makes history more accessible, especially to young people. It personalizes history, and sheds a different spotlight on details, and can bring into focus comparisons between today’s events and historical events. Plus, well-written historical fiction is just plain fun to read.
The post Straight From the Source: Janet Fox on Writing Historical Fiction appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.
One of the perks of new technology is the access that readers now have to some of their favorite authors. Neil Gaiman has become very well-known for his high level of activity across a number of social media platforms. Recently, Gaiman has taken to answering questions and share tips about the writing craft on his Tumblr page.
One fan expressed his concern that the pieces he has written sound very similar to the work of other writers. Gaiman answered: “When we start out, we sound like other people. As we write we sound more and more like ourselves, and we become ourselves. We learn that it’s not the ideas that matter as much as the way we express the idea.”
Do you agree with Gaiman’s opinion? Two other questions that have recently popped up concern finishing a writing project and inserting your own personality traits into a fictional character. Click here and here to read Gaiman’s responses.
Author K. T. Bradford wanted to refine her writing, so she started by limited what she read.
After reading a ton of stories that she didn’t connect with out outright hated, Bradford decided to create a new reading regime. For an entire year, she cut white male writers out of her diet. The author blogged about her experience for Jane. Check it out:
Limiting myself in this way also made me aware of how often certain magazines published whole issues in which no women or POC authors made an appearance. And pretty soon I didn’t even bother looking at those magazines when I went on my monthly search. When I ran out of known-to-me magazines, I went on the hunt and discovered several that published new-to-me writers and also a surprising number of magazines dedicated to under-heard voices.
Would you cut a select demographic of writers off of your reading list?
The most prominent black sportscaster at ESPN, lover of hip-hop and Broadway Stuart Scott completed work on his memoir, Every Day I Fight, shortly before he passed away last month. Coming from Blue Rider Press on March 10, it is a fearless, intimate, and inspiring story.
Spicing up his sports commentary with his signature phrase \"Booyah,\" and \"Cool as the other side of the pillow,\" \"Just call him butter ’cause he’s on a roll,\" and \"Wow! That was as hard-core as the Wu-Tang Clan on steroids,\" Scott became a pop culture figure and was \"easily one of the most influential personalities in ESPN history,\" according to James Andrew Miller, an author of Those Guys Have All the Fun. Slate called Scott \"a transitional figure for sports journalism, opening the door for a younger, blacker lexicon in sports media.\"
\"(Scott) really wanted to write a book, and as time went on and cancer really became the focus of his life, the most important thing for him was to write a book for his children,\" literary agent David Black told Richard Sandomir of the New York Times, referring to Scott’s daughters, Taelor and Sydni. \"So it became a story about his fight to live. That was the story he had to tell. He wanted his girls to be able to know their dad, and this was one way he could do it.\"
Larry Platt was Scott’s collaborator on the book. After a day together, Platt told the New York Times, \"I knew it was a project, but not just a cancer memoir, but a media memoir about a guy who’s fought back on every level — personally, professionally and healthwise.
\"He was very much aware that the clock was ticking. We were talking about whether he wouldn’t be here when the book came out, and I said, That’s just you having the last word on cancer: ‘Yeah, you thought you’d silence me, but you didn’t.’ \"
Every Day I Fight, with a foreword by Robin Roberts, has a planned first run of 100,000 copies.
A new short story called “Sherlock Holmes: Discovering the Border Burghs and, by deduction, the Brig Bazaar” has been uncovered. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote the 1,300-word piece more than 80 years ago.
It appears in a collection entitled The Book o’ the Brig; the money generated from sales of this booklet benefited a small Scottish town called Selkirk. At the time of its publication, the local residents were collecting money so that they could re-construct a fallen bridge.
The Telegraph reports that historian Walter Elliot forgot that he owned a copy of this anthology; it had been sitting in his attic for over five decades. “It is believed the story – about Holmes deducing Watson is going on a trip to Selkirk – is the first unseen Holmes story by Doyle since the last was published over 80 years ago…The booklet will be on show at the Cross Keys Selkirk Pop-up Community Museum from Saturday, along with Mr Elliot’s painting of the replaced bridge.” Click here to read the full story. (via BuzzFeed)
Florida Senator Marco Rubio was met with criticism while he was out giving a reading from his new book on Friday night.
The Republican Senator was promoting his book American Dreams at the downtown campus of Miami Dade College, when a number of attendees began to yell at Rubio about his anti-immigration stance.
The Washington Post has the scoop:
At least eight young people interrupted Rubio just as he began speaking about how the United States is a country of freedom and opportunity.
“What about my parents?” shouted one of the protesters, prompting others to join in.
Looking to bring a young reader to a nuanced and thoughtful tale of family, identity, and history? Michael Morpurgo, author of the international bestseller War Horse, has written \"an intricately layered story within a story,\" A Medal for Leroy, published first in Britain and now available in paperback in the U.S.
Michael, growing up biracial in 1940s London, remembers nothing of his father, Roy, an RAF pilot. And no one in the family will talk about him. Then, he receives a parcel after his Auntie Snowdrop has died, and discovers a hidden note that reveals the real story of his father, and intrigues him with his grandfather’s activities during World War I. Determined to find the truth among long-hidden family secrets, Michael learns that his grandfather, Leroy, made three excursions into a battle zone to rescue wounded men. His fellow soldiers insisted he deserved special commendation for his heroic efforts but his actions went unacknowledged because of racial barriers. Michael sets out to change that.
Writing in Newsday, Mary Quattlebaum notes that through his efforts, Michael \"begins to understand the forces that shaped him and his family.\"
Morpurgo’s inspiration for A Medal for Leroy was Lt. Walter Tull, the first black combat officer in the British army whose exceptional bravery during the war was never recognized. In his book, his protagonist Michael rights the family record. And Morpurgo includes a postscript about his discovery of Walter Tull’s tale, information on Tull’s life, and stories of other black soldiers whose bravery has been honored, finally.
Have you ever received a heartwarming letter from one of your favorite authors? J.K. Rowling bestowed such a gift to one Harry Potter fan last summer.
The bibliophile, a Scottish resident named Johnnie Blue, shared Rowling’s letter with BuzzFeed. Blue confessed that reading it brought tears to his eyes.
Here’s an excerpt: “What you say about Harry helping you at what was clearly a dreadful time in your life means more to me than I can easily express. I freely confess that I loathe bullying and the way it is still so often ‘handled’ in schools. Your experience is shocking and disturbing and that you have turned out to be a compassionate, moral, highly motivated person is high testimony to your courage. Gryffindor for you, my lad…” (via Refinery29)
Author Oliver Sacks has just discovered that he has a terminal form of liver cancer.
The 81 year-old author revealed the news in an heart felt piece in The New York Times. With so little time left, Sacks is inspired to make the most of the limited time he has left. “I have to live in the richest, deepest, most productive way I can,” he wrote, explaining his inspiration from philosopher David Hume, who wrote a short autobiography in a day after receiving similar news.
Here is more from Sacks’ piece:
I have been increasingly conscious, for the last 10 years or so, of deaths among my contemporaries. My generation is on the way out, and each death I have felt as an abruption, a tearing away of part of myself. There will be no one like us when we are gone, but then there is no one like anyone else, ever. When people die, they cannot be replaced. They leave holes that cannot be filled, for it is the fate — the genetic and neural fate — of every human being to be a unique individual, to find his own path, to live his own life, to die his own death.
Margaret Atwood, Jackie Collins, Lemony Snicket and Chuck Wendig are among many authors participating in this year’s Twitter Fiction Festival.
The event is sponsored by AAP, Penguin Random House and Twitter and will take place virtually on May 11-15, 2015.
During the event, authors will share their text, photos, and video on Twitter. Each author will be assigned a daily time slot to live-stream their work on the social network.
The Festival will also host a competition for aspiring writers. There is an open call for submissions beginning March 2.
Elon Musk, the head of Tesla and SpaceX, has signed a book deal with Penguin.
According to a report in Business Insider, the book fetched $3.5 million in a bidding war.
Business Insider has more about the book:
We’re told it’s a book about Earth and Mars. It will be half about the issues facing us on Earth — sustainability issues in particular.
The second half will be about the idea of a multiplanetary existence — about what’s possible, about the adventure of experience.
Artist Pharrell Williams is getting into kids books.
The singer of the hit song “Happy” has signed a deal with Putnam Books for Young Readers to write a series of four children’s books, one of which will be inspired by the song.
AP has the scoop:
Putnam announced Tuesday that the book, “Happy,” will be published Sept. 22 and will feature photographs of children from around the world “celebrating what it means to be happy.” It plans a first printing of 250,000 copies.
Philip Levine has died. He was 87 years old.
According to NPR.org, Levine served as the United States poet laureate from 2011 to 2012. He also devoted more than three decades of his life to teaching at California State University (Fresno). Throughout his career, he earned a Pulitzer Prize and two National Book Awards. Follow this link to hear him recite his poem, “What Work Is.”
Here’s more from The New York Times: “In spare, realistic free verse, Mr. Levine explored the subjects that had long animated his work: his gritty Detroit childhood; the soul-numbing factory jobs he held as a youth; Spain, where he lived for some time as an adult; and the Spanish anarchists of the 1930s, a personal passion since he was a boy. Mr. Levine in 1995, after learning that ‘The Simple Truth’ had won the Pulitzer. These were themes with which few American poets were concerning themselves when his first collection, On the Edge, appeared in 1961. ‘A large, ironic Whitman of the industrial heartland’ is how the poet Edward Hirsch, writing in The New York Times Book Review, described Mr. Levine in 1984.” (Photo Credit: Geoffrey Berliner)
Aija Mayrock has landed a deal with Scholastic to publish a revised edition of The Survival Guide to Bullying: written by a kid for a kid.
Mayrock (pictured, via) had originally self-published the title as an eBook back in September 2014. The newly revised book will come out in digital and paperback formats in July 2015. A hardcover library edition will be released in September 2015.
Here’s more from the press release: “Written by a teenager who was bullied throughout middle school and high school, The Survival Guide to Bullying offers a fresh and relatable perspective on bullying. Along the way, author Aija Mayrock offers guidance as well as different strategies that helped her survive even the toughest of days. The Survival Guide to Bullying covers everything from cyber bullying to how to deal with fear and how to attain the self-confidence to achieve the life the reader dreams of having—from inspiring \"roems\" (rap poems), survival tips, personal stories, and quick quizzes. The updated Scholastic edition also features new, never-before-seen content, including an epilogue and an exclusive Q&A with the author.”
Author Nick Hornby has signed on to adapt Love, Nina: A Nanny Writes Home. The BBC plans to transform Nina Stibbe’s 2014 nonfiction title into a five-part drama series.
In the past, Hornby actually gave a blurb for the book. Throughout his career, he has served as the screenwriter for several adaptation projects: An Education, Wild, and Brooklyn.
Here’s more from Variety: “The book tells the true story of Stibbe, who moved when she was 19 years old from the English provinces to London to work as a nanny for Mary-Kay Wilmers, the editor of the London Review of Books. It is told through letters sent by Stibbe to her sister over a five-year period.”
age range: 8-12
setting: Florida, 1974
visit Augusta Scattergood’s website
The cast of lively characters, including spunky and tough Anabel who befriends Theo, come to life under author Scattergood’s talented hand. A heartwarming story of friendship, family, and finding one’s place in the world despite hardship and heartache. – School Library Journal
Please tell us about your book.
THE WAY TO STAY IN DESTINY, my second middle-grade novel, was recently published by Scholastic Press. It’s the story of a boy named Theo who’s forced to move to a little town called Destiny, Florida, with an uncle he doesn’t really know. Theo’s a resourceful, talented boy. His uncle’s an unhappy Vietnam veteran who doesn’t know how to raise a kid. But there’s a bright ray of sunshine in their new life together— Miss Sister Grandersole, dancer, advisor, and owner of the Rest Easy Rooming House and Dance Studio, where they fortunately have landed.
What inspired you to write this story?
We had recently moved to Florida and I was feeling a little like Theo! Where am I? Why are all these lizards in my garden? Also, as a child, I had some remarkable dance and piano teachers. Not always remarkable in their ability to teach—though some were extremely talented!—but certainly interesting characters. Once I convinced my critique group and my early readers that “Sister” was not a retired nun wearing red tap shoes, Miss Sister Grandersole was the most fun character to write. I guess you could say I was inspired by memories and moving.
Could you share with readers how you conducted your research or share a few interesting tidbits you learned while researching?
My new book doesn’t focus on one truly important historical event like Freedom Summer, the backbone for my first novel, GLORY BE. The aftermath of the Vietnam conflict plays into the story, and there were details from that time that I wanted to get right. I used veterans’ sites to read of others’ experiences coming back from Vietnam. And I consulted my friends who had served.
I also verified all the baseball facts, but that part was easy. I loved reading about Hank Aaron’s journey. Because of his career milestones, THE WAY TO STAY IN DESTINY is set in 1974. Sometimes that seemed so recent, I had trouble remembering that made it historical fiction!
The hardest part of writing for me is that first draft. I struggle. A lot. But I love the revision process. Generally, I try to break it down and not tackle too many things at once. I’ll revise first for plot and character arcs. Then I’ll get to the fun part, making the language and the dialog read in a way I hope enriches the story.
I could go on and on, but I don’t want to make new writers think it’s not fun to write a book. Even on the days that nothing seems to work, writing really is more than hard, gut-wrenching work. It’s often a joy.
What are some special challenges associated with writing historical fiction?
Make the story sing and make the plot move quickly! Of course, these are challenges all writing presents, no matter the genre.
When creating historical fiction, it’s tempting to dump all the important facts into readers’ laps. But the smallest details like skate keys and 45s (those are musical recordings, for those of you too young to remember!) and anti-war buttons on knapsacks really bring the time period alive.
What topics does your book touch upon that would make it a perfect fit for the classroom?
Quite truthfully, the story behind THE WAY TO STAY IN DESTINY is timeless. A boy finds himself an outsider in a totally new place, meets someone who’s been there forever, makes a friend. Theo’s a kid who’s resilient, in the worst of situations. The post-Vietnam time period, the uncle who can’t quite get past his wartime experiences, families that were split apart by strong feelings during the Vietnam conflict should offer teachers an opportunity to discuss so many things. Perhaps even a few things not too often found in middle-grade novels.
But at heart, THE WAY TO STAY IN DESTINY is really about discovering family, not only the family you are born into, but the family of your heart. Those are the people who come into your life when you most need them.
The post Classroom Connections: THE WAY TO STAY IN DESTINY by Augusta Scattergood appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.
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Kody Keplinger has written a companion book to her 2010 novel, The Duff. Scholastic will release Lying Out Loud in April 2015.
The author set the story for this new book in Hamilton High School. That means it will feature appearances from the characters of all three of Keplinger’s past young adult titles: The Duff, Shut Out, and A Midsummer’s Nightmare.
According to Keplinger’s blog post, Lying Out Loud stars “a girl named Sonny, who happens to be best friends with Amy Rush (Yep, Wesley’s little sister from The Duff, which means Bianca and Wesley will show up!) But when Sonny unintentionally catfishes a boy from her class, who thinks he’s been chatting with Amy online, things get complicated.”