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26. Hooray for Val’s CROOKED RIVER! A Giveaway

‘Tis the season for critique partner debuts!

Last month we celebrated Kate Bassett’s Words and Their Meanings. Now it’s time to cheer on Valerie Geary and her Crooked River. It’s been especially thrilling to watch these two talents find their agents, sell their books, and then release them into the world just a few weeks apart. Val and Kate have been instrumental in my own writing process. Here’s a little glimpse into CROOKED RIVER and the way the three of us work together.

Before I hand things over to Val, though, I want to share that Crooked River made November’s Indie Next list. It’s that good.

Tell us about your book.

Still grieving the sudden death of their mother, Sam and her younger sister Ollie McAlister move from the comforts of Eugene to rural Oregon to live in a meadow in a teepee under the stars with Bear, their beekeeper father. But soon after their arrival, a young woman is found dead floating in Crooked River, and the police arrest their eccentric father for the murder.

Fifteen-year-old Sam knows that Bear is not a killer, even though the evidence points to his guilt. Unwilling to accept that her father could have hurt anyone, Sam embarks on a desperate hunt to save him and keep her damaged family together. Ollie, too, knows that Bear is innocent. The Shimmering have told her so. One followed her home from her mom’s funeral and refuses to leave. Now, another is following Sam. Both spirits warn Ollie: the real killer is out there, closer and more dangerous than either girl can imagine.

Crooked River is my first novel, a coming of age story and a page-turning mystery that I hope will touch readers’ hearts and keep them up past their bedtime.

What is it like to work with two other writers you’ve never met in person?

I was in a local writer’s group for a short time, and while it was nice meeting in person to talk life and writing, it was also incredibly awkward to have to sit there and listen as my group members picked apart my chapters. There was very little time and no space to consider what they were saying, and for me it ended up being this horrible emotional roller coaster that did more harm than good. 

My socially anxious personality tends to fit better with a virtual writer’s group. Whenever I’m ready, I send Caroline and Kate part or all of my manuscript. They take their time reading it and then they send the manuscript back with their notes attached. There’s less pressure this way, and a lot of distance, a feeling of detachment. Revision is all about setting aside what you think a story should be and really seeing it for what it is so that you can figure out what’s working and what’s not and why. During this stage, it’s important to be as objective as we can with our own work, and the best way I’ve found to do this is by not having my critique partners in the room while I consider their feedback. There’s no one around watching, or judging, or expecting things from me. No one for me to try and justify, defend, or explain my choices. It’s just me alone with my manuscript and their notes, finding a way to a better story.

That said, there are definitely times when I just want to go grab a cup of coffee and talk shop with my friends. Or pop by their house with a plate of cookies when they’re having a hard day. We can’t do this because of the distance, and that’s something I miss.

How often do you read for each other? Do you respond differently as a manuscript progresses? If so, how?

As long as I’m not pushing up against a deadline, I’ll read as often as Kate and Caroline need me to. I’ve read their manuscripts at various stages of development. When I read early drafts, I tend to look more for big picture problems like pacing, story arc, and character development. As the drafts progress, if I’m asked to read again, I still keep big picture things in mind, but I also edit for details, oddly worded sentences, grammar errors, and typos. At every stage, too, I try and point out things I love, beautiful phrases, sections that make me hold my breath or shed a tear, characters that steal my heart. Drawing attention to where a story already shines is just as important as pointing out where it might need a little more elbow grease

Beyond critiquing manuscripts, how else do you support one another?

In this business, there are highs and lows, good days, bad days. When I need to vent, when I want to celebrate, when I feel like a sham, when I read an interesting article, when I need encouragement, when I have stupid questions, when I need someone to tell me I’m not going crazy, or a safe place to be myself, or someone to bounce ideas off of, I go to Caroline and Kate first. No one understands the strange life of a writer better than other writers. 

What is something you’ve learned from your critique partners?

Perserverence, courage, resilience. 

Also, that I overwrite more often than underwrite. Thanks to Caroline and Kate’s keen eyes and wicked red pens, I’m more aware now of the places in my manuscripts where the prose gets wordy or redundant. Of course, I don’t catch everything–I still need them to help me trim the fat.

And finally…

One thing I always remind Caroline and Kate (or anyone else who asks me to critique their writing) is this: At the end of the day, it’s your story. So take the feedback that rings true to you and throw out the rest.

I feel like this is good life advice, too.

 

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The post Hooray for Val’s CROOKED RIVER! A Giveaway appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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27. Written A Business Book? 13 Steps To Push It To Bestseller Status

Written A Business Book? Use These Steps To Nudge It Toward Bestseller Status Guest Post by Douglas Kruger Work hand-in-hand with your publisher and you can ensure that your business book sells out. Here are 13 ways new authors can nudge their books toward bestseller status: 1. Take ownership from Day One Start with the right outlook. This is your baby. The more deeply involved you are

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28. Those Were the Days: Norman Lear’s Memoir Pubs Today

“This is, flat out, one of the best Hollywood memoirs ever written… An absolute treasure,” raves Booklist in a starred review of Norman Lear’s memoir, Even This I Get to Experience.

NormaLearCoverThe creator of such iconic and unprecedented hit shows as “All in the Family,” “Maude,” “Good Times,” “The Jeffersons,” and “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman,” Lear reinvented television comedy in the ‘70s. At one point, he had nine shows on the air, and at their peak, his programs were watched by 120 million people a week.

Now, Lear is telling his story, from his Depression-era days growing up with a dad sent to jail for scheming to sell fake bonds, to becoming the highest-paid comedy writer in the country, working for Danny Thomas, Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin, Martha Raye, and George Gobel. A member of a B-17 bomber crew in WWII, Lear made it onto Richard Nixon’s “Enemies List” and was presented with the National Medal of the Arts by President Clinton.

Dave Itzkoff, writing about Even This I Get to Experience in the New York Times, cites Lear’s influence on Roseanne Barr, Rob Reiner, and Trey Parker. Itzkoff quotes Parker, creator and producer of “South Park” with Matt Stone, as saying that Lear’s work “had an immeasurable impact on that show and its satirical, scared-cow-slaughtering sensibility.”

Now, in his book out today from Penguin Press, we all can read of the events and people that had an immeasurable impact on Norman Lear, and shaped his sensibility.

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29. Bryan Lee O’Malley: ‘Every new book idea, I’m just going to tackle a problem and fix it.’

Bryan Lee O'MalleyOver the weekend, Bryan Lee O’Malley appeared at New York Comic Con panel for a conversation with Cory Doctorow about his latest book, Seconds.

Following the great success he achieved with the Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series, he wanted to “do something super arty and weird.” For Seconds, O’Malley set out to write “a very external character…characters who just barge through life.” The star protagonist of this story, Katie, was partially inspired “by an obnoxious rock star.”

Regardless of the project, two parts of O’Malley’s creative process remain constant. First, he has to create the perfect mix tape because he will likely listen to it “thousands of times.” Second, he takes this approach: “every new book idea, I’m just going to tackle a problem and fix it.” What’s the initial step you take when you start a new project?

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30. Lemony Snicket Launches The ‘You Choose the Mystery’ Video Series

Lemony Snicket recently released the third installment of the All the Wrong Questions series. To celebrate, he has created the “You Choose the Mystery” interactive video series. 34 pieces have been uploaded to the LemonySnicketLibrary Youtube channel. We’ve embedded the first video above—what do you think? (via GeekDad)

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31. HarperCollins to Re-Issue Self-Published Kiera Cass Book

SirenCover HalfHarperCollins Children’s Books will re-issue Kiera Cass’ self-published young adult novel, The Siren. The publisher will release the book with a new cover and bonus material in Winter 2016.

According to Cass’ blog post, this allows her “to go back through with my editor and make it the story I always hoped it could be. It will sparkle in ways I couldn’t make it on my own, and that makes me crazy happy!” The book follows This story follows a young girl named Kahlen and her communion with the ocean.

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32. Cory Doctorow & Jen Wang Tell All About ‘In Real Life’

IRLCory Doctorow and Jen Wang have collaborated on a new graphic novel entitled In Real Life.

The book touches on several subjects including gaming, socializing over the internet, and more. This project marks the first time that Doctorow and Wang have come together as collaborators.

We spoke with both the writer and the illustrator to hear their thoughts on creativity, research, and editing. Here are the highlights…

(more…)

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33. Author and Activist Malala Yousafzai Wins Nobel

Youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize

MalalaSmaller

Malala Yousafzai, 17-year-old advocate for girls’ education worldwide and author of the bestseller I Am Malala, has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The youngest recipient of the prize since its inception in 1901, she was quoted in the New York Times as saying at a press conference in Birmingham, England:

“I’m proud that I’m the first Pakistani and first the young woman, or the first young person, who is getting this award.”

According to USA Today, Malala was in chemistry class when she heard the news, and said she was honored to share the award with Kailash Satyarthi of India, who fights the exploitation of children, adding:

“We should all consider each other as human beings, and we should respect each other. It is my message to children all around the world that they should stand up for their rights.”

Her book I Am Malala, which was banned in private schools in Pakistan, was released in 2013 by Little, Brown.

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34. How now, says bestselling author Dov Seidman to Chobani

It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game. We school our kids in this from the first soccer kick on.

HowCoverBestselling author and management guru Dov Seidman built a brand around his hit 2011 book How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything, on the business of creating more ethical corporate cultures, and uses the phrase “How Matters” in some of his company’s materials, notes the New York Times. The book’s premise is that it is no longer what you do that matters most and sets you apart from others, but how you do what you do.

In his foreword to How, President Bill Clinton said, in part:

“My friend Dov Seidman has dedicated his life’s work to studying how people conduct their business and their lives. As we settle into the twenty-first century with all of its unique challenges . . . it’s clear that people worldwide will rise or fall together. This new focus will require all of us to think about the how, and to find new ways to take action to solve the global issues that none of us can tackle alone.”

Chobani, America’s top yogurt maker, launched a brand campaign created by ad agency Droga5, with the bold tag “How Matters” and tweeted:

DovSeidmanHowTweet

Then, reports Jonathan Mahler in the New York Times, Seidman sued Chobani and Droga5, and requested a court order to stop the campaign as an infringement on his trademark for the word how.

ForbesPhil Johnson wonders why “all parties are blinded to a valuable opportunity”:

“For full disclosure, I’ve met Dov Seidman and immensely admire his book How, for its business philosophy. I’ve also heard Hamdi Ulukaya, founder of Chobani, speak and was inspired by his passion, not to mention his yogurt. Not least of all, as the founder of an advertising agency, I’m in awe of Droga5, which has achieved megastar fame for its brilliant work for brands like UNICEF and Coke. So, why are these wildly successful people fighting?”

Why, indeed? Perhaps Dov Seidman, Chobani, and Droga5—creative minds all—can agree that how truly does matter in everything, from book publishing to consulting to yogurt, and the decision on how it ends will not be decided in court.

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35. CHELSEY PHILPOT: ON WRITING A RETELLING THAT BECAME AN HOMAGE

EveninParadise HC CEVEN IN PARADISE, by Chelsey Philpot, is available next week! Read an excerpt here.

When asked to explain the plot of Even in Paradise, my first young adult novel, I start by saying, “Well it’s a realistic, contemporary story inspired by Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited.”

Blank stares.

I foolishly try to shed light on my plot by describing the plot of Brideshead. “It’s a novel set in post-World War I England. The protagonist’s an artist named Charles Ryder, and his friendship with a fellow Oxford University student leads to Charles’s life becoming inextricably intertwined with the majestic and tragic Marchmain family.”

The quizzical expressions deepen, prompting me to wax poetic about Waugh’s classic.

Fifteen or so minutes later, my audience is usually still confused—if not a little bored and thinking about lunch.

At this point, I sigh and give the one-sentence pitch I should have delivered at the beginning—an explanation that is just as true as my convoluted original. “Even in Paradise is about a teen girl who falls in love with a Kennedy-esque family with a tragic secret.”

“Ah!”

I could just as easily say, “It’s a novel about different kinds of love.” Or “It’s about friendship and family.” Or “My story looks at class, sexuality, and the destructive nature of secrets.”

Though, Even in Paradise began as a modern retelling of Brideshead, it is now very different from Waugh’s novel. As I wrote deeper and deeper into my story, I found that I couldn’t keep within the confines of another’s—even if that story was written by a maestro. By moving Brideshead from the front of my imagination to the back, I made room for other sources of unexpected—but welcomed—inspiration, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and my own memories.

Even in Paradise turned out to be as much a deliberate homage to books and writers I adore as it is a collage of untraceable ideas. It took time and many drafts to realize that I could not have written my first novel any other way.

10 awesome books that imaginatively interpret, celebrate, and/or satirize classic stories:

  1. Going Bovine by Libba Bray (Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes)
  2. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray (Lord of the Flies by William Golding)
  3. March by Geraldine Brooks (Little Women by Louisa May Alcott)
  4. The Hours by Michael Cunningham (Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf)
  5. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling)
  6. Ash by Malinda Lo (Cinderella by the Brothers Grimm)
  7. Far Far Away by Tom McNeal (Grimm’s Fairy Tales)
  8. “His Dark Material” trilogy by Philip Pullman (Paradise Lost by John Milton)
  9. Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu (The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen)
  10. The Real Boy by Anne Ursu (The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi)

–ChelseyChelsey Philpot

Chelsey Philpot grew up on a farm in New Hampshire and now works as a book reviews editor at School Library Journal. She’s written for the New York Times, Boston Globe, Slate, and numerous other publications. Like her main character, Charlie, Chelsey attended boarding school in New England, and then earned a degree in English from Vassar College and a master’s in Journalism from Boston University. Visit her online at www.chelseyphilpot.com and on Twitter @ChelseyPhilpot.

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36. J.K. Rowling’s Anagram Has Been Solved

J.K. Rowling (2)On October 6th, J.K. Rowling created a riddle that ignited a storm of activity on Twitter: “Cry, foe! Run amok! Fa awry! My wand won’t tolerate this nonsense.” Harry Potter fans became obsessed with figuring out the answer. Rowling kept the conversation going by tweeting hints.

More than 24 hours later, Emily Strong (a.k.a. @EmyBemy2) solved Rowling’s anagram; the author named her “The One True Hermione of Twitter.” According to Time, Strong is “a PhD student at the University of Sheffield who regularly updates her own blog and describes herself as a lover of ‘all things Harry Potter’ in her Twitter bio.”

Below, we’ve chronicled the exchange in a Storify post embedded below. What do you think? (more…)

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37. Carl Hiaasen on Bringing Skink to Teens

SkinkCover#1 New York Times bestselling author Carl Hiaasen talked recently to Newsday about bringing Skink — the beloved vigilante ex-gov of Florida whose unique brand of swamp-justice has made him a star of six Hiaasen adult novels — to YA readers “before he got too old and cranky.”

Long listed for the 2014 National Book Award, Hiaasen’s first book for teens, Skink No Surrender, features the ragged, one-eyed renegade helping 14-year-old Richard rescue his teenage cousin Malley, who has run off into trouble with an older guy she met on the Internet.

Why Skink for kids? Hiaasen told Newsday:

“Skink knows his way around the wilderness. That’s the kind of person you want with you if you’re trying to do a rescue. He’s his own scruffy version of SEAL Team Six. Kids like characters who can sometimes defy authority if it’s for a good cause. Skink is not a model citizen. But he does have character traits. He does have honor. He does have a strong moral compass. These are all good things for kids to find in a character. I’ve had people show up at book signings dressed as him. They’ll have a shower cap and an eye patch.”

When asked how he managed to capture and maintain the voice of a 14 year old writing in first person as Richard, Hiaasen answers, “I’m lucky because I’ve got a built-in test market in the family. One of the things that you learn as a reporter, or you better learn, is you learn to listen. Driving kids around in a car, you listen to how kids talk, the cadence, what they’re talking about.”

In Skink No Surrender, Newsday’s Beth Whitehouse notes, Hiaasen emphasizes the importance of the environment and protecting species. Skink hands Richard a copy of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.

Silent Spring is an important book. It’s as important a book now as it was in the ’60s. I’m not proselytizing about it. If five kids go read that book, those five kids are going to be changed by it. But I don’t do it in a preachy way. I do it in a casual way.”

Carl Hiaasen has read his audience right. Skink No Surrender is set to debut on the New York Times bestseller list this weekend.

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38. Can You Crack J.K. Rowling’s Riddle?

J.K. Rowling (2)Yesterday, J.K. Rowling wrote a post on Twitter about the projects that have kept her busy as of late which include the screenplay for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. One fan responded to her and confessed that she likes to analyze Rowling’s tweets.

Rowling has since posted a riddle for her fans to dissect: “Cry, foe! Run amok! Fa awry! My wand won’t tolerate this nonsense.” Do you think you can crack Rowling’s riddle?

Below, we’ve chronicled the exchange in a Storify post embedded below. What do you think?

(more…)

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39. High Profile Writers Set to Join Authors United

amazonlogoSeveral high profile writers have agreed to join in Authors United’s fight against Amazon. The new members include Philip Roth, Orhan Pamuk, Salman Rushdie, V. S. Naipaul, Milan Kundera, and Ursula Le Guin.

The organization aims to convince the online retail conglomerate to end its dispute with Hachette Book Group USA. Last month, Authors United publicly posted a letter addressed to Amazon’s board members asking them to take a stand on this issue.

When asked about her participation in the group, Le Guin submitted this statement to The New York Times: “We’re talking about censorship: deliberately making a book hard or impossible to get, ‘disappearing’ an author. Governments use censorship for moral and political ends, justifiable or not. Amazon is using censorship to gain total market control so they can dictate to publishers what they can publish, to authors what they can write, to readers what they can buy. This is more than unjustifiable, it is intolerable.”

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40. Elizabeth Gilbert Talks Inspiration in a ‘Super Soul Sunday’ Short Film

Writer Elizabeth Gilbert starred in an Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday short film discussing the inspiration for her most recent novel, The Signature of All Things.

Some of the items that helped Gilbert to shape the story include a 1783 edition of Captain Cook’s Voyages from her family library, a 16th century theory concocted by a German mystic, and her own life philosophy on passion. We’ve embedded the entire short film in the video above—what do you think?

For the past few weeks, Gilbert has been appearing at a few of the stops on “Oprah’s The Life You Want” tour. Recently, she sat with Oprah Winfrey for a Super Soul Sunday interview. Follow this link to watch clips from the interview.

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41. Deadline for Bechtel, Hayes, & Baker & Taylor is Nov. 1

ALSC is reminding members to apply for professional awards this fall. Applications are open and several deadlines are approaching. Below is list of ALSC professional awards which are available for submission or nomination.  Please consider applying or nominating a colleague:

Louise Seaman Bechtel Fellowship
Deadline: Extended to Saturday, November 1, 2014

This fellowship provides a $4,000 stipend to allow a qualified children’s librarian to spend a month or more reading at the University of Florida’s Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature.

Maureen Hayes Author/Illustrator Award
Deadline: Saturday, November 1, 2014

This $4,000 award was established with funding from Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, in honor of Maureen Hayes, to bring together children and nationally recognized authors/illustrators.

ALSC/Baker & Taylor Summer Reading Grant
Deadline: Saturday, November 1, 2014

This $3,000 grant provides financial assistance to a public library for developing an outstanding summer reading program for children.

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42. OR Books to Publish Anthology On Income Inequality in NYC

OR Book Going RougeOR Books will publish an anthology focusing on income inequality within New York City called Tales of Two Cities: The Best & Worst of Times in New York. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Housing Works.

How to Read a Novelist author John Freeman served as the editor for this book and wrote one of the pieces. Some of the other contributors include Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Díaz, The Circle author Dave Eggers, and White Teeth author Zadie Smith.

Artist Molly Crabapple created five illustrations for this project. Follow this link to see photos of the book’s interior artwork. Freeman, Crabapple, and a few writers will appear at a launch party event in New York City on October 13th.

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43. Bloomsbury UK to Publish Neil Gaiman Short Story as a Book

The Sleeper & The SpindleBloomsbury UK will publish Neil Gaiman’s short story, The Sleeper and the Spindle, as a book.

Gaiman drew inspiration for this piece from the “Sleeping Beauty” fairy tale. It was originally published in a 2013 anthology entitled Rags & Bones: New Twists on Timeless Tales.

Artist Chris Riddell created illustrations for this project. The publication date has been scheduled for October 23, 2014. Earlier this year, HarperCollins released its own version of The Sleeper and the Spindle in the U.S.A. to celebrate California Bookstore Day. What do you think?

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44. Stephen King Predicts That Physical Books Are Here to Stay

Stephen KingAuthor Stephen King predicts that the physical book will “be here for a long, long time.”

In an interview with The Huffington Post, the famed horror novelist talks about why he doesn’t think books will meet the same end as “compact discs or even phonograph records.” One reason he gave is that books have been around for more than 300 years and there is a “deeply implanted desire” within society for them. Follow this link to watch the entire interview.

King has been working on a number of projects as of late. He wrote the script for a film adaptation of his short story, A Good Marriage, and soon he will go on a book tour in promotion of his new novel, Revival. What do you think? (Photo Credit: Shane Leonard)

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45. Philip Weinstein to Pen Jonathan Franzen Biography

franzenAuthor Philip Weinstein plans to pen a biography profiling writer Jonathan Franzen. Reportedly, Franzen himself has given his “blessing” for this project.

Bloomsbury will publish Jonathan Franzen: The Comedy of Rage in Fall 2015. Weinstein has conducted a two-hour interview with Franzen; he will also source information from Franzen’s autobiographical essays. The book will also include an analysis of the new novel that Franzen has been working on.

In an interview with The New York Times, Weinstein explains the concept of the book: “It doesn’t pretend to be a full-scale biography. It’s too early for that. He’s in full career mode. Someone later, a generation from now, will do that biography. It’s a report on who he is.” (via Gawker)

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46. Gregory Maguire’s Next Book Has An ‘Alice in Wonderland’ Connection

Gregory MaguireWhen we last spoke with author Gregory Maguire, he told us he planned to sit in a “big long white noise period” to coax out his muse. He recently revealed that he has been working on an adult book with “an Alice in Wonderland connection.”

In an interview with School Library Journal, Maguire (pictured, via) mostly talks about fairy tales and his recently released young adult title, Egg and Spoon. At the very end, he offers a teasing snippet about his new project.

In the past, Maguire has written novels inspired by ”Cinderella,” “Snow White,” The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and A Christmas Carol. How do you predict he will remix Lewis Carroll’s beloved fantasy story?

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47. Lena Dunham’s Wild Ride – Reinventing the Book Tour

lena-300x300She’s got ‘Portlandia’ star Carrie Brownstein and novelist Zadie Smith, ‘Prep” and ‘American Wife’ author Curtis Sittenfeld, poetry, live music, and food trucks, plus a set of artists whose videos she screened in bed. The ‘happenings’ sold nearly 8,000 tickets in less than a week. Starting today in New York City, Lena Dunham begins her 11-city ‘traveling circus of sorts that seems more like a roving Burning Man festival’ than a book tour, notes the New York Times. Lena told the Times:

‘I found the idea of a traditional author tour, where you go and stand behind the lectern and talk about yourself, I found it a little bit embarrassing, a little blatantly self-promotional and a little boring. I wanted it to have an arts festival feel, which is why we now have all these remarkable, special weirdos who I found on the Internet.’

(more…)

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48.

On the heels of her successful young adult novels, Coe Booth recently released Just Like a Brother, a middle grade novel about two foster brothers, Jerrod and Kevon.

Jarrett doesn’t trust Kevon.

But he’s got to share a room with him anyway.

kindalikebrothersIt was one thing when Jarrett’s mom took care of foster babies who needed help. But this time it’s different. This time the baby who needs help has an older brother — a kid Jarrett’s age named Kevon.

Everyone thinks Jarrett and Kevon should be friends — but that’s not gonna happen. Not when Kevon’s acting like he’s better than Jarrett — and not when Jarrett finds out Kevon’s keeping some major secrets.

Jarrett doesn’t think it’s fair that he has to share his room, his friends, and his life with some stranger. He’s gotta do something about it — but what?

KINDA LIKE BROTHERS is the story of two boys who really don’t get along — but have to find a way to figure it out.

I was recently able to connect with Coe to find out a little more about her and her new book!

 

What book(s) are you currently in the middle of reading?

I’m always reading a bunch of books at the same time. Right now, I’m reading Pointe by Brandy Colbert, Outside In by Sarah Ellis, I’ll Be Right There by Kyung-Sook Shin, and Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher.

How do you hope your writing engages young people?

More than anything, I hope kids see themselves in the pages of my books. I don’t want them to think of bronxwood hi-resbooks as only being about other people. It’s about them, too. When I was growing up, I rarely saw books about people like myself, especially contemporary books, which is what I wanted to read. So I hope my books can be mirrors for kids.

You just got back from a cruise! I think the last time we chatted on Twitter, you were in Paris. Do you have a favorite destination?

Coe.1A B+WI love traveling, and I do it every chance I can. I’ve been on a bunch of cruises because it’s my family’s tradition to go on one every other year — sort of like a mini family reunion. As for Paris, I try to spend a few months there every year because… well, because it’s Paris! And because it’s a city that just inspires me. However, my favorite place in the world (so far!) is the Amalfi Coast in Italy. It’s the most gorgeous place I’ve ever seen. It’s so beautiful it doesn’t look real! There are so many places I’d like to visit; I have a bucket list that’s out of control!

Your fiction would be labeled ‘realistic fiction’. Has it ever gotten too real, too painful for you while writing?

I don’t really think anything can be too real. I’m always pushing myself to go to those places that are painful Tyrell cover hi resfor me to write because I know there are kids experiencing the things I’m writing about in their real lives. There’s never a reason to hold back. Even though it’s hard to write some of those scenes, I think it’s important to try.

You’re building quite a body of work! Do you think you have an overarching theme or message in the books you’ve published to date?

I don’t think I have a theme, and I hope I don’t have a message! I do think most of my books center around kids who are trying to do the right thing despite the difficult surroundings they’re living in. Their neighborhoods are often tough, and their home lives are complicated, too. They’re basically good kids — not perfect! — just trying to hold it together and make it through.

I think many of us have the perception that writers sit in a spot all day with cold cups of coffee and write, write, write. It seems though, that being a successful writer involves a lot of mixing and mingling both with follow writers as well as with the general public. Can you talk a little about that? How many of these opportunities are created by writers and how many by their publishers? I think I’m asking ‘just how much work is involved in becoming a successful writer?’

Being a writer in New York City is probably a lot different than being a writer in other places. There are so many writers here! So, yes, there are lots of opportunities here to meet up with other writers and spend the Kendra cover hi resday writing in a coffee shop. We do this a lot. We also see each other at book parties and readings, where we get to hang out with readers. And the YA authors in NYC meet up socially every month or so. It’s all very informal, organized by the writers themselves, not the publishers. Writing can be a very lonely career, so it’s nice meeting writer friends for lunch and writing whenever we get the chance. Having said that, there are definitely times when I need to pull away from the “book scene” for a few months. There’s always so much going on here in NYC, it’s easy to get caught up in everything and not spend enough time actually writing!

What led you to Jarrett’s story?

Years ago, before I was writing full-time, I worked as a child protective caseworker in the Bronx. I investigated child abuse and tried to help keep families together after they had gone through traumatic situations. When I had to remove kids from their homes temporarily, I would place them in foster homes where, quite often, the foster parent already had biological children. I was always curious what it was like for those kids. How did they handle these foster kids coming and going? Was it hard for them to avoid attaching to these kids, knowing they were only going to be there for a certain length of time and then they’d be leaving forever?

These are the kinds of questions that sparked the idea for Kinda Like Brothers. My story is told from the point of view of the foster mother’s biological son, Jarrett, a kid who is very used to the fact that babies come and go from his life all the time. But when Kevon, a boy who is around his own age shows up, everything is turned upside down. It’s not so easy for Jarrett to remain detached, especially after he starts learning the difficult circumstances of Kevon’s life.

Kinda Like Brothers is middle grade. How was it different to write for that age group?

Before I began writing it, I thought I would need a different approach or I would have to change the way I write to make this middle grade. But really, I didn’t change very much at all. Obviously, an eleven-year-old boy has different interests and concerns than a sixteen year old, but I didn’t feel the need to change my writing style. And I really didn’t want to water down the story just because the readers would be younger. I wanted my characters (and the story) to be complex, just like the lives of a lot of kids growing up in the inner city.

What does diversity mean to you?

Diversity means accurately reflecting the world — the entire world.

Thanks so much for the interview! I wish you much success and happy travels!


Filed under: Authors, Interview Tagged: Coe Booth; author interview; African American

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49.

On the heels of her successful young adult novels, Coe Booth recently released Just Like a Brother, a middle grade novel about two foster brothers, Jerrod and Kevon.

Jarrett doesn’t trust Kevon.

But he’s got to share a room with him anyway.

kindalikebrothersIt was one thing when Jarrett’s mom took care of foster babies who needed help. But this time it’s different. This time the baby who needs help has an older brother — a kid Jarrett’s age named Kevon.

Everyone thinks Jarrett and Kevon should be friends — but that’s not gonna happen. Not when Kevon’s acting like he’s better than Jarrett — and not when Jarrett finds out Kevon’s keeping some major secrets.

Jarrett doesn’t think it’s fair that he has to share his room, his friends, and his life with some stranger. He’s gotta do something about it — but what?

KINDA LIKE BROTHERS is the story of two boys who really don’t get along — but have to find a way to figure it out.

I was recently able to connect with Coe to find out a little more about her and her new book!

 

What book(s) are you currently in the middle of reading?

I’m always reading a bunch of books at the same time. Right now, I’m reading Pointe by Brandy Colbert, Outside In by Sarah Ellis, I’ll Be Right There by Kyung-Sook Shin, and Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher.

How do you hope your writing engages young people?

More than anything, I hope kids see themselves in the pages of my books. I don’t want them to think of bronxwood hi-resbooks as only being about other people. It’s about them, too. When I was growing up, I rarely saw books about people like myself, especially contemporary books, which is what I wanted to read. So I hope my books can be mirrors for kids.

You just got back from a cruise! I think the last time we chatted on Twitter, you were in Paris. Do you have a favorite destination?

Coe.1A B+WI love traveling, and I do it every chance I can. I’ve been on a bunch of cruises because it’s my family’s tradition to go on one every other year — sort of like a mini family reunion. As for Paris, I try to spend a few months there every year because… well, because it’s Paris! And because it’s a city that just inspires me. However, my favorite place in the world (so far!) is the Amalfi Coast in Italy. It’s the most gorgeous place I’ve ever seen. It’s so beautiful it doesn’t look real! There are so many places I’d like to visit; I have a bucket list that’s out of control!

Your fiction would be labeled ‘realistic fiction’. Has it ever gotten too real, too painful for you while writing?

I don’t really think anything can be too real. I’m always pushing myself to go to those places that are painful Tyrell cover hi resfor me to write because I know there are kids experiencing the things I’m writing about in their real lives. There’s never a reason to hold back. Even though it’s hard to write some of those scenes, I think it’s important to try.

You’re building quite a body of work! Do you think you have an overarching theme or message in the books you’ve published to date?

I don’t think I have a theme, and I hope I don’t have a message! I do think most of my books center around kids who are trying to do the right thing despite the difficult surroundings they’re living in. Their neighborhoods are often tough, and their home lives are complicated, too. They’re basically good kids — not perfect! — just trying to hold it together and make it through.

I think many of us have the perception that writers sit in a spot all day with cold cups of coffee and write, write, write. It seems though, that being a successful writer involves a lot of mixing and mingling both with follow writers as well as with the general public. Can you talk a little about that? How many of these opportunities are created by writers and how many by their publishers? I think I’m asking ‘just how much work is involved in becoming a successful writer?’

Being a writer in New York City is probably a lot different than being a writer in other places. There are so many writers here! So, yes, there are lots of opportunities here to meet up with other writers and spend the Kendra cover hi resday writing in a coffee shop. We do this a lot. We also see each other at book parties and readings, where we get to hang out with readers. And the YA authors in NYC meet up socially every month or so. It’s all very informal, organized by the writers themselves, not the publishers. Writing can be a very lonely career, so it’s nice meeting writer friends for lunch and writing whenever we get the chance. Having said that, there are definitely times when I need to pull away from the “book scene” for a few months. There’s always so much going on here in NYC, it’s easy to get caught up in everything and not spend enough time actually writing!

What led you to Jarrett’s story?

Years ago, before I was writing full-time, I worked as a child protective caseworker in the Bronx. I investigated child abuse and tried to help keep families together after they had gone through traumatic situations. When I had to remove kids from their homes temporarily, I would place them in foster homes where, quite often, the foster parent already had biological children. I was always curious what it was like for those kids. How did they handle these foster kids coming and going? Was it hard for them to avoid attaching to these kids, knowing they were only going to be there for a certain length of time and then they’d be leaving forever?

These are the kinds of questions that sparked the idea for Kinda Like Brothers. My story is told from the point of view of the foster mother’s biological son, Jarrett, a kid who is very used to the fact that babies come and go from his life all the time. But when Kevon, a boy who is around his own age shows up, everything is turned upside down. It’s not so easy for Jarrett to remain detached, especially after he starts learning the difficult circumstances of Kevon’s life.

Kinda Like Brothers is middle grade. How was it different to write for that age group?

Before I began writing it, I thought I would need a different approach or I would have to change the way I write to make this middle grade. But really, I didn’t change very much at all. Obviously, an eleven-year-old boy has different interests and concerns than a sixteen year old, but I didn’t feel the need to change my writing style. And I really didn’t want to water down the story just because the readers would be younger. I wanted my characters (and the story) to be complex, just like the lives of a lot of kids growing up in the inner city.

What does diversity mean to you?

Diversity means accurately reflecting the world — the entire world.

Thanks so much for the interview! I wish you much success and happy travels!


Filed under: Authors, Interview Tagged: Coe Booth; author interview; African American

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50. Visit With Syrian Refugees Influenced Neil Gaiman’s Take On ‘Hansel & Gretel’

4231596_origAuthor Neil Gaiman took away many ideas from an emotional visit to Jordan where he met Syrian refugees.

In an interview with CNN‘s Christiane Amanpour, Gaiman reveals that this experience affected how he wrote his re-telling of “Hansel and Gretel.” Gaiman sets this classic story of lost children in a world torn by war and famine; he feels this is highly reminiscent of the suffering endured by Syrian refugee children as well as the Grimm Brothers’ version of the tale.

Toon Books will release the finished graphic novel, which features illustrations by artist Lorenzo Mattotti, on October 28th. Click here to watch the entire interview. Follow this link to read Gaiman’s blog post recounting his trip.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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