Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Next Big Thing

thanks so much to Diane Zahler for tagging me to participate in THE NEXT BIG THING blog chain!

if you haven't heard of it, The Next Big Thing is a campaign that started in Australia and spread all over the world. essentially, authors and illustrators answer a series of short, speedy questions to introduce their next project, then they tag another author to answer the same questions the following week. not sure how long it's been going, but it sounded like fun, so here's my Q&A:

1) What is the working title of your next book?
Dead Ends.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
It started with a series of conversations between two characters who I could not get out of my head. I had to write the book twice to figure out their story!

3) What genre does your book fall under?
Contemporary YA.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I can never answer this question! It's hard for me to imagine any actors playing my characters. Good thing I'm not a casting director!

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?A bully and a boy with Down syndrome form an unlikely alliance when they team up to find one of their missing fathers.

6) Who is publishing your book?Bloomsbury.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
One month. I wrote it during NaNoWriMo! (note: I spent almost a year rewriting it.)

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Another question I have a hard time answering. I always try to tell a story I haven't read before, so if there is a similar book out there, I haven't read it yet.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?I knew I wanted to write a story from the perspective of a bully, and when the second character came to me, I had to think long and hard about his voice. He felt very unique to me, but it took some time before I figured out he had Down syndrome. I had recently witnessed a teenage boy with Ds having an argument with his dad in a store, and I think something about that fight stayed with me and worked its way into the character.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
Even though there is a character with Down syndrome, this is not a story about Down syndrome. It's just a story. And one of the characters just happens to have that trait.

the Next Big Thing chain continues with Anne Greenwood Brown! Look for her post next week.

Monday, March 11, 2013

festival of books

school visits, panels, and workshops - oh my!

i just got back from the Tucson Festival of Books and thought i'd share some of the highlights.

my weekend started with a visit to St. John the Evangelist Catholic School, where i met some incredibly bright and inquisitive students.

do ignore my crazy facial expressions! ;)

then it was off to the festival, where i got to present a workshop with awesome author Tom Leveen!
here's me and Tom putting on our "serious author" faces at the signing afterward:

well, Tom looks serious anyway. i kind of look like i'm doing my "mean girls" face.

then Tom and i joined the AMAZING A.S. King for a panel, and i tried not to be fidgety sitting next to an author i admire so much.

...tried and failed, that is!
this is me fidgeting with the case for my glasses:

and fidgeting with my hands under the table:

but A.S. and Tom are way too much fun, and i didn't stay nervous for very long. i had an absolute blast talking to the group. can't wait to go back next year!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

love from london

Good morning!
or, to all you lovely folks over in London, Good afternoon!

BUTTER hopped the pond today to make his UK debut.

and what a welcome!!

i woke up to this review in The Telegraph. (link! click it!) and some amazing well-wishes.
i'm also excited to say BUTTER is a book of the month at the Victoria Station branch of WH Smith!

thanks to author Mo O'Hara for snapping this shot!

more British BUTTER fun to come with a blog tour later this month! (click on the banner below for details.)

but for now, i just want to say to my news friends overseas,
Thanks for making a girl (and her characters) feel welcome!