Monday, June 30, 2014

Printers Row Young Adult Roundup, June 27, 2014

From the Chicago Tribune's Printers Row Journal:

Pointe by Brandy Colbert - If, while reading a novel, you long to reach into the pages, grab the main character, and tell her, "No, you've got it all wrong," then the author is clearly doing something right.

Guy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff - Lesh and Svetlana, the dual narrators of Steve Brezenoff's scruffy, appealing "Guy in Real Life" gain perspective by adopting completely new personas, courtesy of online and off-line role-playing games.

Subway Love by Nora Raleigh Baskin - Nora Raleigh Baskin's quietly resonant "Subway Love" — also told from alternating points of view — fashions a portal to another dimension out of a graffiti-splattered train car.

Read the entire article here.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Blog Hop: Writing Process

My friend and fellow Hamline University MFAC alum Tamera Will Wissinger invited me to participate in this “blog hop.” Basically, I answer a few questions about writing on my blog and invite two other authors to do the same. (I guess that makes it like a chain letter, minus the threat of getting creamed by a bus or having your dead high-school guidance counselor haunt your bathroom mirror if you break the chain.)

Tamera received her invite from esteemed Hamline professor Claire Rudolf Murphy, whose post is here. Here’s Tamera’s post about how she creates her fabulous picture books and poetry for young readers. Stay tuned until next week for wisdom from my two invitees, poet and YA author extraordinaire Ron Koertge and up-and-coming young middle-grade novelist—if you must know, she’s eleven—Audrey L. Hinsdale. In the meantime, on with the show!

What am I working on now?

To be completely honest, I’m working on enjoying summer. Relaxation makes me tense. When I’m lounging by the pool, I’m usually fretting about all of the other things I’m supposed to be doing, such as, oh, writing. But at the moment my deadlines are comfortably far off, so I’m attempting to be one of those people who can sleep late, hang out with my kids, read a Judith Krantz novel on the porch for half the afternoon, watch adorable goat videos on Youtube, and not feel steam-rolled by guilt at the end of the day. And, you know what, it’s going okay! (Should I be tense about that?)

How is my work different from others in my genre?

This is going to seem obvious, but it’s different because it’s written by me. I’m a big believer in voice, as in each writer should have a unique one. I like to describe my process of creating a poem as waiting for it to emerge from the mist. While I’m waiting, I throw words onto the page, knowing they aren’t necessarily the right ones, knowing the first voice I hear isn’t always my own. Maybe I’m consciously or unconsciously mimicking another poet’s style. Maybe I’m trying to force the poem to go somewhere it doesn’t want to go. I keep working and, slowly, if I’m patient and persistent, the poem shows me what it wants to say. It becomes mine. I know this explanation sounds woo-woo, like I’ve been smoking magic herb, but I swear, it’s what happens.

Why do I write what I write?

I began writing the poems in my young adult poetry collection Poisoned Apples during a very dark year in which my older daughter struggled with an eating disorder. I was scared. I was angry. I was profoundly sad, not just for my daughter, but for every girl—there are so many of us out there—who believes she can never be pretty enough or smart enough or successful enough, so she might as well disappear. Writing poetry from the perspectives of fairy tale characters gave me a way to fight back. Speaking through the guise of Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, the miller’s daughter from “Rumpelstiltskin,” and others, I expressed my outrage and despair. The collection also includes poems set in the “real” world of health class and shopping malls and camping trips with friends. And, believe it or not, some of the poems are funny! Because, really, when you consider how ridiculous so many of the standards our society sets for us—and we then set for ourselves—are, what else can you do but laugh?   

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Deborah Marcero to Illustrate Backyard Witch

From Publishers Weekly:

Martha Mihalick at Greenwillow has bought, in a three-book deal, North American rights to Deborah Marcero's illustrations for Christine Heppermann and Ron Koertge's young middle-grade series Backyard Witch, about three best friends and a mysterious visitor who appears for curious adventures just when they need her most. The first title, Backyard Witch, is scheduled for summer 2015; Danielle Smith at Red Fox Literary represented the illustrator.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Printers Row Young Adult Roundup, May 16, 2014

In what has become a regular gig for Printers Row Journal, Christine reviews three new young adult titles:

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart - "We Were Liars" by E. Lockhart is the young adult novel everyone is talking about while at the same time insisting that no one should be talking about it.

A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman - A quieter yet also powerful depiction of a teen girl struggling to recover from an accident propels Padma Venkatraman's "A Time to Dance," a novel-in-verse.

The Last Forever by Deb Caletti - Another veteran of loss, Tessa, the heroine of Deb Caletti's tender, funny "The Last Forever" starts her story with some advice. "What should never be forgotten is this: Even when times are dark, the darkest, even when you are sure that life as you know it is over, there are still things that last."

Read the entire article here.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Read with inflection...

 Today Galleycat commemorates the last day of National Poetry Month by interviewing Christine Heppermann. Here's a sample:

Q: Any tips for reading poetry out loud?
A: No poetry voice! Read with inflection and emotion but not affectation. Listen to Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac; he’ll show you how it’s done.
Q: What advice can you share for aspiring poets?
A: There will come a point–probably multiple points–when you think you aren't any good and should give up. Don’t listen to yourself.

Read the whole interview here.