Nice interview over on Debbi Michiko Florence's website about We Were Liars. And you can enter to win an advance copy!
Hello from a hotel room. I have been traveling a lot! I love room service! When I get home in a few days I have to start my next YA book. I am frightened.
Meanwhile, here is a little news!
Most of my events for We Were Liars (May 13) will be after it publishes, but Seattlites -- a sneak preview plus FUN and EMBARASSING hijinks with other writers.
Feb 27, 2014, me, Robin Wasserman, Adele Griffin and Sarah Mlynowski will read from our new books and from early and embarassing first attempts at fiction. It's at the downtown Seattle Public Library, 6:30 pm. More details here!
The four of us are also doing two panels on Saturday the 29th at the AWP Conference, also in Seattle, so if you're headed to that, come see us.
I just got back from spending 11 days teaching at Hamline University's MFA in Writing for Children, low-residency program. To put it simply, there are intensive residencies in July and January, and the rest of the time students write like crazy and send in work to their advisors for critique and guidance. The faculty is very thrilling to be around, for me.
This time, I taught writing workshop with Laura Ruby (Bad Apple, Good Girls, etc) and our guests included: Anita Silvey (who lectured on the history of picture books and middle grade novels),
Jane Yolen (who gave our commencement speech),
Kate DiCamillo (who talked about her process on The Tiger Rising with Jane Resh Thomas),
Geoff Herbach (who talked about his theories of primal emotions and how they drive stories) and
Vaunda Micheaux Nelson (who talked about her development process on No Crystal Stair).
Pretty awesome. Plus our usual faculty who are listed here on the MFAC website. We spent a lot of time talking about picture books this season, and a lot of time talking about writing cultural difference -- sharing LGBTQ book lists, POC fantasy novel booklists, and more.
Anyway, the Hamline MFAC now has a Tumblr, which is unofficial but supercalifragilistic. It is run by faculty member and NBA long-lister Anne Ursu, and if you have interest in children's and YA books generally, it's a good one to follow (it's not centered on Hamline stuff, but on stuff we talk about at Hamline, if that makes sense.) Here it is.
TUMBLR and more TUMBLR
So not only do I recommend THAT Tumblr, but I want you to know I got ACTUAL TUMBLR lessons from Rachel Fershleiser, who works there and does all their cool book stuff -- and she explained it all to me! Though I haven't figured out totally how to work it, I am getting much better and you should come and follow me because I will be there and on Twitter much more than on this blog.
Also, of course, the We Were Liars Tumblr is dead sexy (made by the folks at Random House) and it has pins and maps and all that juicy stuff connected to the book.
Just launched: the We Were Liars Tumblr. #wewereliars
So pretty, right?
I can gush because Ihad nothing to do with it. The folks at Penguin Random House made it. The only thing I supplied was the book, and they just went to town.
They made loads of pinnable and rebloggable images with quotes from the book -- which are also fun teasers as to the plot.Which is under wraps. The book comes out in May.
What else is on the Tumblr?
A map of the island -- Beechwood Island -- where most of the story takes place. (Scroll down)
A family tree of the beautiful Sinclair family. (Scroll down further.)
The chance to read the opening chapters. Or read reviews (including fun quotes from Maureen Johnson, John Green, Sarah Dessen, Scott Westerfeld, Shannon Hale, etc, plus loads of your favorite book reviewers and librarians).
Anyhow, I hope you all will spread the word and follow the Tumblr and repost the pretty pins if you like them.
Apparetly at least four members of the staff at Avid Bookshop in GA read an early copy of We Were Liars (May 2014) - and you can read their responses here.
And: The National Book Awards are on November 20. Follow on Twitter. I think the hashtag will be #nbaward but I'm not sure. I will post photos and give you the inside scoop when I can.
This is one of the nicest things an author could ever see and read. Ruby Oliver book manicures. At the Bookish Manicurist.
We did it! We picked five National Book Award finalists for 2013, and they announced today, Oct 16.
It was HARD to decide because we members of the committee adored all top ten books. But I am proud to share with you our choices, and a winner will be decided at a big fancy ceremony in late November.
The concrete info below is cribbed from the NBA's wonderful site -- but you should click over to it because they have published a FREE EBOOK of excerpts from all 20 finalists in the four categories. So for free, you can read bits of all the contenders before the big event November 20.
Kathi Appelt, The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp
(Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster)
Cynthia Kadohata, The Thing About Luck (Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster)
Tom McNeal, Far Far Away (Alfred A. Knopf/Random House)
Meg Rosoff, Picture Me Gone (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, a division of Penguin Group USA)
Gene Luen Yang, Boxers & Saints (First Second/Macmillan)
- Kate DiCamillo, Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures (Candlewick Press)
- Lisa Graff, A Tangle of Knots (Philomel, A division of Penguin Group USA)
- Alaya Dawn Johnson, The Summer Prince (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic)
- David Levithan, Two Boys Kissing (Knopf Books for Young Readers/Random House)
- Anne Ursu, The Real Boy (Walden Pond Press/an Imprint HarperCollinsPublishers)
August is passing with reading, reading and reading -- but most of it is because I am judging the National Book Awards, young people's literature category. SO I CAN'T TELL YOU ABOUT IT.
For those of you who don't follow these things, the history of the NBA is pretty interesting, and the Wikipedia version is here (not authoritative, but probably basically the gist of it). The NBA online exhibition of the YPL award winners and finalists is below (I've linked to it before.)
Anyway, what happens is that publishers submit the books -- and they can be fiction, nonfiction, poetry, graphic novels, picture books, middle-grade, young adult -- anything! We are a committee of five -- three writers (one is me), one librarian and one bookseller. All in the field of children's literature. We read read read read read read, and discuss at length. Then we come up with a longlist of ten books that will be announced Sept 12.
About a month later, the finalists from that list are announced. The five authors have a month to stew and worry -- and then we have a big PARTY at Cipriani. It is black tie! All the finalists do a big reading the night before the party, which is open to the public and which is pretty incredible.
Anyway. Party. Black tie. I am planning to wear a J. Crew party dress that is very pretty but maybe not as flattering as it might be. Unless I find something even better. And they have fancy writers and supporters of literature and people give speeches and they give the award. Also, lots of people liveTweet it, which is quite fun. And I get to give the award! Because I am the Chair of the YPL committee.
Which means maybe I SHOULD get a new dress.
But seriously. It is not about the dress. It is about the books.
A few things I've read this summmer that I can tell you about:
GOBLIN SECRETS by William Alexander. This was our Mother-Daughter Book Club pick, and it won the NBA last year. Alexander talked at the Hamline MFA program when I taught there in July, and he was fascinating -- discussing everything from Shakesperean theater to the Muppets, both influences on the novel.
Amulet of the Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud. I am in the middle of this on audio. So MUCH FUN. Why did it take me so long?
Bronxville by Coe Booth. This is a sequel to Tyrell, which I also loved, but I think it stands alone. It is in some ways a romance, in other ways a harsh and heartbreaking story of life in Bronx housing projects and a boy who is trying to find his way in a really tough situation.
My new book for elementary-aged readers came out this past week. Invisible Inkling: The Whoopie Pie War is the third book in the Invisible Inkling series. The return of the killer unicorn head, 15 ways to make pumpkin ice cream, pygmy hedgehogs, romance, a league of supervillains, moderate violence. What more could you want? Oh! Pictures by Harry Bliss. It's got those, too.
I am recently returned from teaching at Hamline's MFAC -- an MFA program in writing for children. It's a low-residency program, which means there are intensives in July and January, and the rest of the time the students work directly with an advisor on their creative and critical work. There are only a couple programs like it in country, specializing in writing for kids, so if you're interested I recommend you check it out.
This was my second residency, and one of my favorite things about teaching there is that I get to attend my colleagues' lectures on the craft of writing. Oh, hearing Franny Billingsly explain how to develop a character, or Anne Ursu talk about "staging" a novel, or Gary Schmidt talk about point of view -- all in a day's work.
I did a lecture this time called Self Editing: Better Living Through Technology, which was about using Final Draft, Scrivener and the Track Changes function of Word.
The other big thing that's going on with me right now is I am judging the National Book Awards, young people's literature category. There are five judges total, and the long list of top ten books is announced on September 12, 2013. So I am reading reading reading. Here is a link to Up All Night Reading, the National Book Foundation's online exhibition of the YPL category winners and finalists, organized by year. It is very fun reading and has loads of essays about the books and tidbits about their authors.
Hope you are doing some amazing summer reading, too!
If you click through to the video on YouTube, you'll see similar videos by loads of other authors, including Lauren Myracle, Lauren Oliver, Elizabeth Eulberg, Jon Sciezska, Julia DeVillers, and way more. You can also watch this "first crush medley," which is pretty darn amusing.
Hi! Happy holidays!
The awesome novelist Kieran Scott: let's talk about her because she is up to some amazing fundraising for the Community Foodbank of NJ which will help out families hit hard by Hurricane Sandy this season.
I first heard of Kieran when I signed up The Boyfriend List with our mutual publisher. They showed me her book Jingle Boy, which they published and which is obviously perfect if you are a Christmas-celebrating person in need of a fun holiday read or gift for a pal.
Something else I like about Kieran is that, like me, she has another name and writes different books under that name! She is also Kate Brian, author of the best-selling Private series, and has another fun YA holiday read under that name called Ex-Mas.
(Why can't I make those book jackets the same size??? I can't do it! Blergh.)
Anyway, really what I want to tell you about is the amazingness of the YA for NJ auction which Kieran organized. All the money goes to bring food to people in NJ who need it, especially those affected by Hurricane Sandy. And there are more than 200 YA authors contributing. There are loads and loads of signed books -- plus some amazingness like having authors come to your school, Skype visits, and the like. Perfect holiday gifts and all for a great cause. I am going to link some of the most thrilling bits below. It's an ebay auction, so you just bid on stuff like a regular ebay auction.
I WILL WRITE YOU A SILLY RHYME IN YOUR HONOR, plus a stack of four signed Ruby Oliver books.
You could OWN MEGAN MCCAFFERTY'S NOTES on an ARC of Sloppy Firsts.
Random House editor Wendy Loggia will CRITIQUE a MANUSCRIPT.
Matthew Quick's not-yet-out book, FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCK - an autographed ARC.
An ORIGINAL STORY BY DAVID LEVITHAN. Plus a signed book.
But there's so much more! Click here for the complete list of items being auctioned.
Below are a couple more links about the auction.