What is this ... brightness?!
The sun has finally decided to visit my corner of Tennessee, which has me in a state of euphoria. Typically, I crave dark places. I love rain and dreary days and cloud cover. Weather that makes most people sad makes me want to skip, skip, skip to m'lou. But even I, in all my vampiric tendencies, was getting desperate for some light. Welcome, Spring!
Here are a few sweet updates for the merry month of March:
- Natalie Aguiree, from Literary Rambles, interviewed me last week. I wrote about what inspired A Snicker of Magic and how I got my agent, Suzie Townsend. Natalie is also giving away a copy of Snicker, and you have until March 15th to win it. You can read that interview here. Literary Rambles is a site that was super helpful to me back when I was researching agents. I can't believe they have so much updated information on there. Kudos to Casey and Natalie!
- Virginia Boecker, who is swiftly becoming one of my favorite people, interviewed me for the Freshman 15 site. This site is mostly for authors with a debut novel in 2015, but they invited me over anyway. They're sweet like that. You can read that interview here. Virginia's YA novel, The Witch Hunter, comes out from Little, Brown next year. Because I know she's such an incredible writer, and because of my nerdy infatuation with British history, I am counting down the days.
- I won't be on social media much for the next few weeks while I dive into *drumroll* Something New. But I've updated the events page and contact information on here. In April, I'll be in San Antonio (at TXLA!), Cincinnati (for school visits!) and Hendersonville, NC. The North Carolina event with The Fountainhead Bookstore is going to be so much fun, and several middle grade authors will be there. I hope you'll say hello if you're there too!
- Folks have been asking me for book recommendations lately. I might have mentioned some of these already, but here goes:
For older teens (and adults): I'm wild about John Corey Whaley's Noggin. (That's actually the title of his book. I don't mean it, like, I'm obsessed with his face. His face is adorable and he's charming, but I'm not taking about his noggin, but his Noggin. Savvy?) (...is this getting awkward?) Noggin is out in April and it's one of the most unique stories I've read in ages. Funny and intelligent and highly likely to make you cry in a good way. Also, for older readers: I've just experienced the vortex that is Megan Shepherd's The Mad Man's Daughter. I'm through book two now and ... have to wait a year for the third. Rats! It's a gorgeously written scary-Gothic love story. On that same note, I've been meandering through Shelly Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle. This is a book my editor recommended, so I knew it would be lovely and smart. It's darkly enchanting; the kind of writing you want to sink into slowly. It's unsettling in a good way, savvy? And Castle has one of my new favorite character names: Merrikat. For older readers, I'd also recommend Karen Russel's Vampires in the Lemon Grove, a collection of short stories full of bright writing and magical realism. If you love to write, and like to be devastated by the sheer beauty of a sentence, this book will thrill you.
For middle grade readers (and readers, like me, who are middle grade at heart): I've been raving about When Audrey Met Alice, by Rebecca Beherens, Nightingale's Nest, by Nikki Loftin, and Zane and the Hurricane by Rodman Philbrick. I think they're all destined to become classics, and more than deserving of all the high praise they've received. I've also been recommending Eliot Schrefer's Endangered and Kristin Kitchner's The Wig and the Window. Those aren't new releases, but I think they're classics too. I read them both last year and I've been shaking them in people's faces ever since. Cynthia Lord's new book, Half a Chance, is on my nightstand. It's my reward for myself for actually finishing *drumroll* Something New. For even younger readers, I'm a big fan of Timmy Failure (and his distinctive red scarf!) and I've heard the most marvelous praise for Erin Soderberg's The Quirks (this book is on my TBR but I already feel confident saying it's fabulous). Jon Muth's Hi, Koo! is out on my coffee table right now. Sometimes I read it before I start writing, because I love the way it helps me see the world. If you're looking for a book that wakes up your senses, and crushes down your inner-cynic long enough to turn loose your inner-poet, Jon Muth's books are the way to go.
And finally, for absolutely any person who loves stories: I'm beyond excited for is Dan Santat's The Adventures of Beekle. Go here and watch the trailer and then talk to me about it after you've wiped away your hot mess of tears. I've pre-ordered it for myself, and I already know several people I'll be gifting a copy to this year.
What are you reading?
- I'm signing off today with a pic taken just after a recent Skype visit. After I met with a swanky group of readers, Biscuit jumped in my lap and tried to lick the screen. I wish I could figure out a way for Biscuit to say hi during Skype visits. She gets a little too excited and pounces on the computer, so we can't do it yet. But we're working on it.
Have a happy week!