Please welcome author Melissa Walker!
What’s the message you hope readers gain from reading either VIOLET BY DESIGN or VIOLET ON THE RUNWAY?
I don’t know if there’s a message, necessarily, but I do know that I want the books to be about more than stacked heels and It bags (although those are always fun to throw in the mix). The fashion world has serious sides—the weight issue, the competition among girls, the sometimes over-the-top party scene—and I hope that watching Violet struggle with navigating those things will resonate with readers.
What’s your writing process like?
When I’m really working on a book with a deadline, I eat breakfast, then write. I don’t allow myself to have lunch until I have 1000 words on the page. They don’t have to be good words, but they have to be there. I do that five days a week; afternoons are spent working on magazine stories. Of course, I let myself enjoy the perks of being freelance sometimes! But in general, I am pretty consistent with the 1000-word rule.
Do you have a favorite part of the writing process?
I like the part when I’m done. Seriously. The other parts are hard.
Does your background in teen magazines help you write novels?
Definitely! I honestly think it was the ELLEgirl audience who inspired me—they were such smart, funny girls and I got to the point where I wanted to write more for them.
What’s your must have fashion item?
It’s not very exciting, but I have seven little black dresses. Is that overkill? I even went swimming in one after a friend’s wedding—and then I wore it to a book party! So I guess that one’s my favorite. It’s a Luella Bartley dress from the very first Target designer series, and it’s resilient.
What’s next for you?
I’m finishing up VIOLET IN PRIVATE, the third book in the series, and I’ll hopefully start working on a new idea soon… um, when I think of one. I’m open to suggestions!
Here's Melissa in her little black dress!
Thanks for stopping by! Melissa is generously giving away ONE signed copy of Violet by Design. If you want to enter, leave a comment here or on LiveJournal within the next 24 hours. So, you've got until 10:15am on Thursday (3-6). Good luck!
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Blog: Jessica Burkhart (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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I am booked to visit Edison Charter Academy the end of May, and in preparation for the event there is some delicious fundraising happening in the streets of San Francisco. Just take a look!
Ok, we already met at a bookstore over Christmas; we shook hands, high-fived, and played with my Mexican balero toy.
But now I am coming to his school, and he and his siblings are working on earnest to bring me meet their friends. I can’t wait!
In the mean time here is their I-Love-School page (teacher #62-67224)
I am swept off my feet with these kids and their community!
Blog: Books4Ever (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Welcome to stop #2 on Kaza Kingsley’s Blog tour. Check out some questions Kaza answered for us, her faithful readers, and then take a peek at Kaza from a few years ago. If you have not yet read them, you also need to check out her Erec Rex books, The Dragon’s Eye and The Monsters of Otherness.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
The hardest and most overwhelming part of writing for me is what happens after I finish the rough draft of a book. When I’m writing a rough draft, I free myself to go anywhere the story takes me. (Although I do follow some guideposts!) I don’t worry about the details, if I’ve used the same word too many times, or if a whole section isn’t quite right. I’m just living the story, watching it unfold. And I love that.
It’s what happens next that is so hard! I’ve been using a whole
different part of my brain for so long, it’s strange making the switch. When I finish the rough draft I do a thorough edit on my work, and it nearly drives me crazy.
That’s where I step back and look at the story as a whole. It’s not as easy as it might seem. For me, at least, I have to picture all of the scenes flowing together smoothly, watch for boring spots (those get yanked!) make sure the mystery is hinted at just right, and try and imagine the story threads like an interconnecting puzzle, with just the right chunks in the right spots. I move bits from one part of the book to another, cut scenes, add others.
It’s a huge pain in the neck! And it makes my head spin, until I get used to it after a week or two. It’s grueling, but definitely worth it. I’m kind of like a sculptor, chiseling the ”right” story out of the rough draft. Once I have it where I want it, I still make a few more changes (being a perfectionist.) But at least then I can relax.
Doing the fine edit, wordplay, is low pressure and relaxing for me.
Plus, I really feel done then!
What is the best part?
Being finished!! Aahhh, so satisfying. I suppose a close tie is
writing the rough draft through some of the more exciting scenes. I really like that!
Do you ever get lost into your writing?
Yes. When I sink more and more into my story, which happens as I get further into the rough draft, I do begin to feel as if it’s real. It’s almost like I’m living in two worlds at once! A cool feeling, really. Things that happen to me in real life don’t seem as significant then, which is good, I guess. It’s kind of like taking a vacation in your own mind!
That’s really only when I’m writing the rough draft, though. The editing part is so compulsive it gives me those kind of filing/ sorting /looking for things dreams at night.
If you had the chance, would you live in Alypium?
When I’m writing I kind of feel like I do live in Alypium!! But as far as really living there? Umm…No. I think I prefer magic to remain inside my head. Not that I’m not adventurous, but Erec’s adventures are a little wild for me! I like to know that I’ll be here tomorrow, safe and snug!
What authors would you most like to have dinner with?
Given anything, being a fantasy writer, I’d have to pick someone from the past. Wouldn’t it be cool to have a meal with ? When I was a kid I used to imagine how fun it would be to have someone from the distant past, like , appear in my kitchen
so I could show them all the new, cool stuff we have!
“Thanks for hosting me on my blog tour, Kate! It’s fun visiting so many sites. I hope you like the baby pictures of me along the way - each site is getting their own. You’ll see me grow up along the tour!”Add a Comment
Blog: ValGal Art (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Thank you, thank you, thank you to HarperCollins and Cover to Cover Children's Books for sponsoring Angie Sage's day with our 4th and 5th graders.
Angie Sage is the author of the Septimus Heap series, a fantasy series about the seventh son of the seventh son in a family of wizards. In the first book, MAGYK, we meet the Heap family, Marcia (Mar CEE uh) Overstrand (the Extra Ordinary Wizard), and Aunt Zelda (a white witch). Knowing that the series is named for Septimus Heap, readers will not believe that he actually dies in the first chapter, but their questions about him will not be fully answered until the last pages of the book. I listened to this book while driving to and from school, and I often found myself either wishing for a longer commute, or sitting in the parking lot/driveway unable to stop listening! The British accent of the reader definitely added to the experience.
I read FLYTE with my eyeballs (instead of my ears), and it was just as delightful as MAGYK. If you were paying attention in MAGYK, you know exactly who the dark stranger is at the beginning of FLYTE, but again, it takes the whole book for the mystery to unwind. In the meantime, there is new evil with which to contend, and some old evil comes back in bits and pieces. The green rock that Jenna gives to Boy Four-One-Two in MAGYK surprises everyone and causes quite a stir.
I ran out of spring break before I had a chance to read PHYSIK, but it is top on my list for summer vacation! From what Angie said about it in her presentation, I am expecting some time travel, and a new avocation? vocation? for Septimus.
One of the perks of the dust jacket of the hardcover of PHYSIK is that the reverse side is a map of the world of the series. All three books include maps, something Angie said is very important in imagining, writing about, and reading about an imaginary world. It is one of the ways that world comes to life in the mind of the author and the reader.
Here are some of the things our students and teachers love about Angie Sage's books:
- the vivid descriptions make it easy to visualize characters and settings
- the way she plants clues for the reader
- the maps
- the bits at the back of MAGYK that tell what happened to some of the characters after the story ends
- the bits at the back of FLYTE that tell what happened to some of the characters BEFORE the story begins
- the characters -- some very good, some very evil, and some in between
- all the sevens that are hidden in the first book, and the fact that each book in the SEVEN book series will have 49 (7x7) chapters
- the short chapters and cliffhangers that make it nearly impossible to stop reading
In this picture, Angie (who I think is equal parts spunky Marcia Overstrand and gentle Aunt Zelda) is sharing the matchboxes she creates for each of her books. She fills the matchbox with small cards upon which are written the name of one character in the book. When she gets stuck in her writing, she takes out the cards and uses them to visually see the connections between the characters and to get ideas to help the story move along.
Her presentation gave the children a fascinating insight into the ways a writer's world and life make their ways into her books. She showed us a satellite picture of her home in Cornwall, England. The whole bottom section of England was shrouded in fog, which was visible from space. How perfect that fog features strongly in her stories! In another, she showed us some big helicopters flying over her town (there is a naval base nearby). While she didn't make the connection at the time she was writing, she now sees that these helicopters are like the dragons in her stories -- and now as then, everyone looks up when one flies by! She showed us the old woods near her house, and the narrow winding channels of the creek near her house. In her books, the woods became deeper, denser, and bigger, and the creek channels became the Merrim Marshes.
The day before Angie visited, our fourth graders performed the dress rehearsal of their spring program for the whole school. The theme was, "The British Invasion," and the songs and movements they learned were all from the British Isles. The first song they sang was "God Save the Queen." I couldn't believe my ears! The perfect welcome for Angie Sage! Here you see our (fabulous) music teacher leading the fourth graders in the first two verses. Angie was touched and impressed. Most Brits, she said, only know the first verse, so to hear 10 year-olds in the U.S. singing TWO verses...well, the same would be true if we traveled abroad and heard a group sing all the verses of "My Country 'Tis of Thee."
Here's a small indicator of the impact of Angie's visit on our students: I had announced that I would end the book sale the day before her visit (so that the autographing schedule could be locked in). Despite this, at least one child brought money for a book on the day of the visit, and I knew the books would still be in my room for at least a couple of days after the visit, so I let the teachers know that the sale would continue the next day(s), but without, of course, the opportunity for autographs.
Half again as many books were sold the day after Angie's visit than were sold in the weeks before.
Clearly, Angie and her books inspire readers! Lucky for us that we got to experience the "magyk" of Angie Sage! Display Comments Add a Comment