"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Former Debut: LAURA BOWERS, Class of 2k7

This week we get a bonus former debut because new book releases are awesome and so much fun to celebrate! I haven't seen Laura Bowers in real life in a couple years (I think it was BEA 2010), but I'm hoping our paths will cross again very soon!


Name: Laura Bowers
Debut Group: Class of Class of 2k7
Debut novel: BEAUTY SHOP FOR RENT (Harcourt, May 1, 2007)


Hi, Laura! Congratulations on your new book!


PJH: Okay, so it’s been 5 years since you graduated from your debut class. Personally, I miss the heck out of knowing what my classmates are up to. So give us the low-down. What have you been up to in the last few years? New books? New degrees? New pets? What has been going on, and what do we have to look forward to from you in the future?

LB: Wow, too much to even know where to begin! Well, my most treasured accomplishment is being there for my boys as they went through high school and watching my oldest son graduate in June, which was both exciting and surreal.

(Should I mention spending the following Monday crying on the sofa? Nah, better not. Wouldn’t want that to get out!)

I’ve also survived hurdles thrown to my husband’s contracting company by a tough economy, and felt blessed when we celebrated our nineteenth wedding anniversary. I ran in many 5k races, lost a dog, got a puppy, developed friendships with writers friends who I adore, and been to Disney World, (amazing,) Universal Orlando, (even more amazing,) and Cooperstown Dreams Park, (the most amazing yet!)

As far as my writing career, it’s tempting to just lie and offer a sunny, tra-la-la, everything has been wonderful report, but that’s not my style. Truth is, I went through a horrible second book slump. I’ve made about a thousand mistakes, (more on that later,) and there were even times when I considered quitting this crazy business because life as a non-writer was so damn easier. But in the end, I stuck it out and ended up selling another book called Just Flirt that I absolutely love!

Pretty Brand New Book! JUST FLIRT (FSG, June 19, 2012)


PJH: If you could summarize to a debut novelist the best part of being a member of an author group like the “Class of” groups, what would you say?

LB: There’s something to be said about safety in numbers! And it was wonderful getting to know all the talented, amazing writers in my group.




Check out the awesome book trailer for JUST FLIRT (FSG, June 19, 2012)


PJH: Though I absolutely loved being a debut author, I’m really thrilled with all the experience I’ve gained since. What advice would you give to those who are debuting now? What do you wish you had known when you started out?

LB: Good Lord. There’s so, so much. Okay, let me hit the highlights.

1. Always remember to put craft before publication. Part of my slump came from spending too much time marketing and worrying about getting published again. It wasn’t until I took a step back and concentrated on what is most important—improving my craft and writing, writing, writing, that I finally came up with a book worth selling.

2. Never submit a manuscript before it’s ready. When I heard about my publisher being bought out, I panicked and sent Just Flirt to my editor when it was in no shape to be seen. Also, because we had a very close relationship, I bypassed my agent and submitted to her directly—another major blunder—which brings me to . . .

3. Don’t treat your agent like an editor. For the longest time, I held onto manuscripts because I viewed my agent as editor who would reject me as a client if she didn’t like it. Now, I throw everything at her early in the writing process so she can offer editing advice before I do major rewrites.

4. And finally . . . always remember to protect your career by being your biggest advocate.

BEAUTY SHOP FOR RENT (Harcourt, May 1, 2007)


PJH: In addition to writing the next mega-million bestselling novel, what do you want to accomplish in the next five years? Do you want to write five more books? Get your black belt in Kung Fu? Walk the Great Wall of China? Let’s hear it.

LB: I’m SO EXCITED about the two manuscripts I’m working on right now—one a quirky fantasy and the other a baseball story, which pleases my sons seeing as how they’ve been nagging me to write a baseball book for years! (They’re a little discouraged by the main character being a girl, though.)

I also plan on writing a “how-to” writing novel, and selling picture books so I can give talks to kindergarten classes! (Bonus if I have reason to wear a pink boa.) I will also celebrate my twentieth anniversary next year by running in the Disney Princess Half Marathon, go back to Universal Orlando and Cedar Point for my roller coaster fix, and most importantly, spend plenty of time with family.

(Should I also mention how I’ll probably spend a Monday next June crying on the sofa after my second son graduates high school? Nah, better not. :) )


PJH: Anything else you want to add? Five reasons to read your book? A picture of your writing space? How you celebrated when you signed your contract? Your choice!

LB: I’m going with my favorite places to write! It’s here, on my back deck early on spring and summer mornings.

OMG! I want to write here!

PJH: Thank you so much for being here! And good luck with everything in the future!

LB: Thanks, Tricia, and best of luck to you as well! :)


Bio:
Laura Bowers lives in Maryland with her husband, two teen boys, and she enjoys writing, reading, running, and hanging with her family. Some of her past job titles include waitress, salesperson, telemarketer, secretary, real estate agent, and during her broke college days, a roving character at holiday parades. (The time she had to wear a painful candy cane costume makes quite an interesting story!)
At the age of thirty, Laura decided to pursue her dream of becoming a writer. Many rejected books later, she was inspired to write her first novel, BEAUTY SHOP FOR RENT, by a rusted “for rent” sign posted in front of a charming old house. She later used fond memories from family camping trips for her next young adult novel, JUST FLIRT, and now, she can honestly say that writing is a thousand times more rewarding than being a candy cane.



***

Thanks for helping me celebrate former debuts! And if you are a former debut and are interested in being featured, check out this post here!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Former Debut: Kristina McBride, Class of 2k10, and a GIVEAWAY!

Today I'm welcoming to the blog Kristina McBride as my former debut and helping her celebrate the release of her brand new book, ONE MOMENT (Egmont, June 26, 2012)!

And please read to the bottom! I am giving away an ARC of this awesome new book!


Name: Kristina McBride
Debut Group: Class of 2K10
Debut novel: THE TENSION OF OPPOSITES (Egmont, May 25, 2010)



 Hi, Christina! And Congratulations!


PJH: Okay, so it’s been 2 years since you graduated from your debut class. Personally, I miss the heck out of knowing what my classmates are up to. So give us the low-down. What have you been up to in the last few years? New books? New degrees? New pets? What has been going on, and what do we have to look forward to from you in the future?

KMcB: I feel so fortunate that I was part of a group of such talented authors, including my class of 2K10 as well as all the other classes! This reunion is the perfect way for all of us to catch up, so thank you for putting this together! Since my debut year, I’ve been working on several other projects. My second novel, ONE MOMENT, will be released on June 26th of this year, which is super exciting to share. I’m also very excited about another project that I’ve been working on, but it’s too early to share anything about that. Other than writing as much as I can, I’ve been spending tons of time with my family. And, of course, I’ve been reading as much as I can.

THE TENSION OF OPPOSITES (Egmont, May 25, 2010)


PJH: If you could summarize to a debut novelist the best part of being a member of an author group like the “Class of” groups, what would you say?

KMcB: The “Class of” groups are perfect for a debut author because it’s a safe place to ask any question, vent if needed, and share a life-altering experience with others who really understand. Let’s face it, as much as family and friends would like to relate, they just can’t. Authors need other authors, and these groups provide an incredible base of support and friendship that last well beyond the debut year.



PJH: Though I absolutely loved being a debut author, I’m really thrilled with all the experience I’ve gained since. What advice would you give to those who are debuting now? What do you wish you had known when you started out?

KMcB: I’d simply say, “Do what you can to promote your book and don’t worry about the rest.” I’m sure somewhere along the way someone said this to me, but I still scrabbled about, overextending myself as well as my funds to get the word out. I’d also have to say, “Have so much fun! It’s a whirlwind, and it goes faster than you ever could imagine!”


PJH: In addition to writing the next mega-million bestselling novel, what do you want to accomplish in the next five years? Do you want to write five more books? Get your black belt in Kung Fu? Walk the Great Wall of China? Let’s hear it.

KMcB: Five more books is a really good goal for me, so I’ll say yes to that. I’d also like to come up with an alternative to chocolate that is calorie/sugar free – healthy instead of not – yet just as tasty as the real thing, so I can devour all the M&M’s and Hershey Kisses that I please.

ONE MOMENT (Egmont, June 26, 2012)


PJH: Five reasons to read your book? 

KMcB: You’ll want to read ONE MOMENT so you can:
  1. Find out what really happened the day Joey died.
  2. Learn the secrets he was hiding.
  3. Understand how something as simple as a bracelet can turn the world upside-down.
  4. Figure out why Adam is acting so strange.
  5. Read Maggie out of the mess her life has become. (I firmly believe it is the duty of a reader to read the main character out of whatever conflict he/she is facing.)


PJH: How you celebrated when you signed your contract?

KMcB: Ice cream, of course! With the family.


Yay for good news celebrations!

PJH: Thank you so much for being here!







Bio: Kristina McBride has dreamed of being a published author since she was a child and lived across the street from a library. Kristina has now completed two books for young adults: The Tension of Opposites (2010) and One Moment (2012). Kristina lives in Ohio with her husband and two young children, stealing as many moments as she can to write, write, write.


***

Thanks for helping me celebrate former debuts! And if you are a former debut and are interested in being featured, check out this post here!

***

And now for our giveaway! It's easy to win! Two things to note...

1) This giveaway is open until 12:01 am on July 7, 2012
2) Contest is US only!

To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Best Writing Retreat Ever!

Last weekend, along with 12 other awesome gals, I went on

The Best Writing Retreat Ever!

So what does one need for the perfect retreat?


First off, you need a great group of people. People who are serious about writing. People what are fun to hang out with. People who inspire you to expect more of yourself!

Bottom from Left: Bethany Hegedus, Christine Suffredini, Jenny Moss
Middle from Left: P. J. Hoover (me), Emma Virjan, Kari Anne Holt, Stephanie Pellegrin
Top from Left: Salima Alikhan, Joy Preble, Jo Whittemore, Jessica Lee Anderson, Nikki Loftin, Cory Putman Oakes


Next, you need to most awesome logo in the world to get people excited about the retreat!


Logo designed by the most-talented Emma Virjan!


Then comes the place. The place should have ambiance. The place should inspire. The place should not have Internet.


Turn off the Internet. Better yet, find a place with no Internet!


We suggest a place with stuffed dead things everywhere.

The dead baby deer was nicely placed in a boat to float down the river.

Raccoons in the kitchen...dead, of course

Hoofs make great hooks for hanging towels and bathrobes. The boar is from 1972.


This poor guy is only inches away from being shot and stuffed himself.



Food is an important part of any retreat. Chocolate is a necessity.


All kinds of chocolate! Yummy!


Meal times are a great time to share ideas and stories!



Plan lots of time for writing!


Make sure there are lots of great places to write. We counted about 100 chairs in this place.


Nose to the computer!


And schedule in a slot of exercise each day! It is the perfect break!

Zumba taught by Nikki Loftin


Kung Fu Conditioning taught by me



In the evenings, read aloud!

Yes, it is scary for everyone to read in front of others



And candlelight ceremonies make for a nice end to the day, too!

Make sure to scrape the wax off the table when you are done.


Prepare to be silly, and have fun!

Deer Antlers help!



So are you all ready to go on your own retreat? I already can't wait for next time!

Winners!

Thanks to everyone who entered! And if you are waiting for a book from me, I am mailing a bunch out today! Anyway, the winners are:


LAUGH WITH THE MOON by Shana Burg (Delacorte, June 12, 2012)



The winner is:

SUSIEBOOKWORM!


***

ARCs of SURRENDER and POSSESSION






The winner is

Anita Yancey!


***

Thursday, June 21, 2012

THE WISE MAN'S FEAR by Patrick Rothfuss

...being the sequel to the amazing THE NAME OF THE WIND by Patrick Rothfuss (DAW, 2007) which I review a couple months ago here.

Here's a question for you? What book can you listen to for 45 hours on audio and then be wishing it would just keep going on forever?

Yes! You got it! (Okay, I guess the title of the blog post gave it away.)

THE WISE MAN'S FEAR by Patrick Rothfuss (Daw, March 1, 2011)




Read this book (or start with THE NAME OF THE WIND if you haven't yet read that) because...

1) You wonder what the wise man does in fact fear.

2) You want the highest quality fantasy in the world today. Yes, it is that good. Seriously, this is epic fantasy at its very best. After reading both books written thus far, the only thing that keeps me from beating my head on the desk and giving up writing entirely is the fact that Pat Rothfuss worked a crazy long time on these books. Go, Pat!

3) You love losing yourself in a masterfully created world. And if you choose the audio option, you'll have 45 hours in which to do the losing.

4) You loved Kvothe in THE NAME OF THE WIND and now you're looking for him to grow way more as a character. Yes, he even has some serious romance. I was kind of a bit shocked because this had just not happened yet. Go, Kvothe! Woot!

5) You want to be able to talk about it with all your fantasy-loving friends. Because trust me, this is the series people will be talking about for years to come. Do you really want to be left behind? I didn't think so.

Completely and highly and utterly recommended. 
Best suited for adults and older teens. See (4) above.


From Amazon:

In The Wise Man's Fear, Kvothe searches for answers, attempting to uncover the truth about the mysterious Amyr, the Chandrian, and the death of his parents. Along the way, Kvothe is put on trial by the legendary Adem mercenaries, forced to reclaim the honor of his family, and travels into the Fae realm. There he meets Felurian, the faerie woman no man can resist, and who no man has ever survived...until Kvothe. Now, Kvothe takes his first steps on the path of the hero and learns how difficult life can be when a man becomes a legend in his own time.


Oh, and on a final note, if you don't read Patrick Rothfuss' blog, then start today.

Source of book: Purchased from Audible.com







Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Former Debut: Janet Fox, Class of 2k10

Today I'm excited to feature one of my author friends who I just love running into at conferences. See, she used to live in Texas, and I'd see her around so much more. But now, she's moved, and real life meetings get more rare. It's a super special month for her, too, as it's the one year anniversary of her second novel, FORGIVEN! Anyway, here is the wonderful Janet Fox!



Name: Janet Fox
Debut Group: Class of 2k10
Debut novel: FAITHFUL

 Hi, Janet!


PJH: Okay, so it’s been 2 years since you graduated from your debut class. Personally, I miss the heck out of knowing what my classmates are up to. So give us the low-down. What have you been up to in the last few years? New books? New degrees? New pets? What has been going on, and what do we have to look forward to from you in the future?

JF: Thanks, Tricia. I miss my class, too, although most of us do still keep in touch.

It has been an eventful couple of years, for certain. About a month after the launch of FAITHFUL, I graduated from Vermont College of Fine Arts with my MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. A month after that, my family moved to Montana as my husband retired and our son began college there. Four months later, my publisher offered me a new contract to write another YA historical (with an option for a fourth novel). And finally in June 2011, my second novel, FORGIVEN, came out – it’s a companion novel to FAITHFUL.

So now I’m working on book three for Penguin (SIRENS, set in 1925 New York; I’m calling it a “noire romance” and it’s due out in late spring 2013.) And I have other stuff in the pipeline: a YA science fiction novel (I know you’ll like that!), a middle grade fantasy, book four for Penguin (which will include characters from the first three historical YAs), and a couple of smaller projects.

FORGIVEN by Janet Fox (Speak, June 2, 2011)

PJH: If you could summarize to a debut novelist the best part of being a member of an author group like the “Class of” groups, what would you say?

JF: No question – the companionship. Writing is inherently a lonely business, and the Classes of 2k are superb for bringing together a group of misfit introverts who want to, of all things, write! Not to mention the fabulous support we gave one another that I’m convinced helped boost our books out of the pack.

To any debut authors reading this – don’t hesitate. Join or form a group. You’ll grow a second family, and you won’t regret it.


PJH: Though I absolutely loved being a debut author, I’m really thrilled with all the experience I’ve gained since. What advice would you give to those who are debuting now? What do you wish you had known when you started out?

JF: Other than the above, I’d say, get out there. Be involved in the kidlit community. Get to know other authors in this marvelous collective. The main reason I love writing for children and young adults is that I LOVE the other authors I meet. For whatever reason, kidlit authors are the kindest, most generous, most welcoming people on the planet. So join in!

And we’re not in competition – there will, always and forever, be room for another book.



FAITHFUL by Janet Fox (Speak, May 13, 2010)


PJH: In addition to writing the next mega-million bestselling novel, what do you want to accomplish in the next five years? Do you want to write five more books? Get your black belt in Kung Fu? Walk the Great Wall of China? Let’s hear it.

JF: Great question.

Other than writing all the novels that I’m carrying around in my head – and there are a bunch of them, maybe six in all – I’d love to have some of the balls hanging in the air above me and our family finally come down. I’d like to see my son get his feet firmly planted and become a happy and settled young man (and I thought high school was bad!) I’d like to build our new house in Bozeman, which we can’t do until we sell our house in Texas, so I’d like that latter business to happen right now. Please.

My husband is planning some travel in the next couple of years – a trip to New Zealand, and a trip to Bhutan. The latter trip would be a meditative “walk” of about a month. I’m thinking this trip could be life-changing. I’m excited about it. Even if the entire thing will be done in the most primitive way, no five-star hotels, just the basics. I’m ready for something really spiritual and fundamental.

I’d also like to teach again, maybe at the college level this time, a course in creative writing.

And I’d like another dog.

I love wish lists!


PJH: Anything else you want to add? Five reasons to read your book? A picture of your writing space? How you celebrated when you signed your contract? Your choice!

JF: I just want to add that I recently wrote something that came out of the pen faster than anything I’ve ever done, and feels right. Feels like me. Feels like it came from a deep place. I’m hopeful that it will find its wings and soar.


PJH: Thank you so much for being here! And good luck with everything in the future!

JF: Tricia, it’s a true pleasure. You are an inspiration.
 

Bio: Janet Fox is the author of books for children and young adults. Faithful (Speak/Penguin, 2010), set in Yellowstone National Park in 1904, was a YALSA Best Fiction for YA nominee and an Amelia Bloomer List pick, 2011. Forgiven (2011, Speak), set in 1906 San Francisco during the great earthquake, is a Junior Library Guild selection, 2011. Janet has numerous MG and YA projects underway including another YA novel, set in 1925, due out 2013. She is a former high school English teacher and received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults in 2010 (Vermont College of Fine Arts). Janet lives in Bozeman, Montana.



***

Thanks for helping me celebrate former debuts! And if you are a former debut and are interested in being featured, check out this post here!



Monday, June 18, 2012

Three Very Fast Things...

1) I'm scarce this week around the Internet as I dive into line edits for SOLSTICE. Yes, SOLSTICE has been edited since its prior publication and now line edited, and I definitely plan to do a post about what kinds of things I've changed. But until then, I must finish changing them.

2) The writing retreat was AWESOME! I'm going to post all about it, but first, see (1) above.



3) And for those who loved the Enchanted Inkpot First Lines post from a couple weeks ago, today, there's a fun post featuring last lines from our novels. I have the current last lines of TUT featured (which, yes, I'm sure will change). But still, last lines are fun. Head over if you get a chance and check.


And I hope your week is awesome!


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Winners!

Thank you to those who entered to win! The winners for my 1 YEAR from SOLSTICE GIVEAWAY are


An ARC of FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS by Diana Peterfreund (Balzer & Bray, June 12, 2012)



JENNIFER!

*****


An ARC of THE PECULIARS by Maureen Doyle McQuerry (Amulet, May 1, 2012)




Gretchen O'Boogie!

*****

An ARC of THE BOOK OF BLOOD AND SHADOW by Robin Wasserman (Knopf, April 10, 2012)


Marshan Grigsby!

*****

An ARC (and ALA promo bag) of I HUNT KILLERS by Barry Lyga (Little, Brown, April 3, 2012)


Bonnie!

*****

And don't forget I'm also giving away:


ARCs of SURRENDER and POSSESSION to one lucky winner!
CLICK HERE TO ENTER!







An ARC of LAUGH WITH THE MOON by Shana Burg (Delacorte, June 12, 2012)
CLICK HERE TO ENTER!


Friday, June 15, 2012

IT IS TIME...

...for THE


Hope you all have as productive of a weekend as I'm going to!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Giveaway! LAUGH WITH THE MOON and Shana Burg!

There is always something special about when someone in our Austin Kidlit community comes out with a new book. We have a wonderful group here and so many books to speak of. But each book is a blessing and something that should be shared with the world. And today I'm happy to share with you a brand new book that is completely worth checking out!

LAUGH WITH THE MOON by Shana Burg (Delacorte, June 12, 2012)



This is such an amazing and unique book trailer. I couldn't watch it without getting a tear in my eye.




From Amazon:

Thirteen-year-old Clare Silver is stuck. Stuck in denial about her mother’s recent death. Stuck in the African jungle for sixty-four days without phone reception. Stuck with her father, a doctor who seems able to heal everyone but Clare.
Clare feels like a fish out of water at Mzanga Full Primary School, where she must learn a new language. Soon, though, she becomes immersed in her new surroundings and impressed with her fellow students, who are crowded into a tiny space, working on the floor among roosters and centipedes.
When Clare’s new friends take her on an outing to see the country, the trip goes horribly wrong, and Clare must face another heartbreak head-on. Only an orphan named Memory, who knows about love and loss, can teach Clare how to laugh with the moon.
Told from an American girl’s perspective, this story about how death teaches us to live and how love endures through our memories will capture the hearts of readers everywhere.


****

Now I'm happy to offer up for giveaway an ARC of this fabulous new release!

It's easy to win! Two things to note...

1) This giveaway is open until 12:01 am on June 23, 2012
2) Contest is US only!

To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


***

And while you are at it, check out my other current giveaways!

I am offering up an ARC of SURRENDER and POSSESSION to one lucky winner!
CLICK HERE TO ENTER!






An ARC of FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS by Diana Peterfreund (Balzer & Bray, June 12, 2012)
An ARC of THE PECULIARS by Maureen Doyle McQuerry (Amulet, May 1, 2012)
An ARC of THE BOOK OF BLOOD AND SHADOW by Robin Wasserman (Knopf, April 10, 2012)
An ARC (and ALA promo bag) of I HUNT KILLERS by Barry Lyga (Little, Brown, April 3, 2012)

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!



Good luck!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

And just a quick note...

For your Wednesday reading enjoyment, there's an interview with me over on The Enchanted Inkpot today talking about SOLSTICE! (CLICK HERE TO READ)

Hope you all are having a great week!

FORMER DEBUT: Ellen Booraem, Class of 2k8

This week's former debut is another author from my class, The Class of 2k8! I loved our class. There was such a great group dynamic. We shared all our ups and downs (mostly ups). And we stayed in touch. So without any more delay, I bring you, Ellen!


Name: Ellen Booraem
Debut Group: Class of 2k8
Debut novel: THE UNNAMEABLES


Hi, Ellen!

PJH: Okay, so it’s been three and a half years since you graduated from your debut class. Personally, I miss the heck out of knowing what my classmates are up to. So give us the low-down. What have you been up to in the last few years? New books? New degrees? New pets? What has been going on, and what do we have to look forward to from you in the future?

EB: I continue to be phenomenally lucky—who knew you could start a whole new career in your 50s?

My second book, SMALL PERSONS WITH WINGS, came out in January 2011. It’s another middle-grade fantasy, this time about a thirteen-year-old girl who discovers that her family has a thousand-year-old pact with a tribe of Parvi Pennati, or SMALL PERSONS WITH WINGS. (They look like fairies, but hate to be called that.) There’s a lost magic ring and an evil real estate agent/plumbing inspector.

Small Persons made “best of 2011” lists for Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, The Washington Post, and the Bankstreet Center for Children’s Literature—all of which was a thrill and a half. It came out in paperback over the winter, and THE UNNAMEABLES is out in paperback, too.

Now I’m in the editing phase of a third book this one about twelve-year-old Conor O’Neill, who has a visit from a banshee—an ancestral spirit who keens when someone in her family is about to die. This banshee is actually a young girl who died around 500 C.E. Conor sets out to prevent the death she’s come for.

Otherwise, my most exciting recent event was a trip to Ghana in January. A friend and I lived in a village for a week doing volunteer work, then traveled all over the country for a couple of weeks. A family took us under their wings, and ushered us to places we’d never have seen on our own. I’m dying to go back, and am trying to persuade my partner, Rob, to go with me. (Fat chance—his biggest thrill is staying in his studio and painting all day.)


SMALL PERSONS WITH WINGS (Puffin, February 16, 2012)


PJH: If you could summarize to a debut novelist the best part of being a member of an author group like the “Class of” groups, what would you say?

EB: I would have been lost without the Class of 2k8, not least because I live in rural Maine, far from most clusters of author-types. First-time publication has lots of ups and downs and bumps in the road—going through all that as part of a group, sharing experience and advice, was priceless.

For those of use who weren’t getting a lot of marketing support from our publishers, 2k8’s group efforts in that realm also were invaluable.

I’m still in touch with some 2k8ers (you, for example, PJ!). When 2k8 ended some of us scurried to replace it. You and I and some others now belong to The Enchanted Inkpot group blog for middle-grade and young-adult fantasy lovers. I don’t think I’ll ever want to be without some sort of online authors’ group. It’s a way of keeping your name and news out there, certainly, but I’m really addicted to the moral support.


 
 THE UNNAMEABLES (Harcourt, October 1, 2008)


PJH: Though I absolutely loved being a debut author, I’m really thrilled with all the experience I’ve gained since. What advice would you give to those who are debuting now? What do you wish you had known when you started out?

EB: I didn’t have a clue how to revise a manuscript—or even what “revision” really meant—and I’m only just getting the hang of that. There’s a ton of resources out there to help you get your brain turned in the right direction after you’ve finished the rough draft—Darcy Pattison and the Verla Kay blueboards are just two. I’d definitely try to take advantage of them if I were starting over. When I think of what I put my poor editor through on the first go-round …



PJH: In addition to writing the next mega-million bestselling novel, what do you want to accomplish in the next five years? Do you want to write five more books? Get your black belt in Kung Fu? Walk the Great Wall of China? Let’s hear it.

EB: A book every other year seems to be my speed—if I can rev that up just a little, I’ll be happy. Mostly I just want to keep getting better at this—my long-term goal is to make a kid yell, “No! No! Don’t do it!” at the printed page.

Otherwise, I want to travel more, spend at least a month teaching in a Ghanaian village, and finish our darn house, which we built with our own hands nineteen years. The upstairs still has plywood floors and untrimmed windows, and we still don’t have a screened-in porch. In Maine mosquito season, that’s essential!



PJH: Anything else you want to add? Five reasons to read your book? A picture of your writing space? How you celebrated when you signed your contract? Your choice!

EB: Remember those “this is your brain on drugs” ads? This is my office during revision. Note the plywood floor and un-trimmed windows.



PJH: I love this office!


PJH: Thank you so much for being here! And good luck with everything in the future!

EB: Thank you, PJ! This was fun, and I love the idea of catching up with all our old classmates!


Bio: Ellen Booraem has been writing for a living for nearly forty years. After twenty years writing and editing rural weeklies, she quit her job at the age of 52 to write her first middle-grade fantasy, THE UNNAMEABLES. She lives in coastal Maine with her partner, painter Robert Shillady.



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