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Today we bring you Blythe Woolston's interview with Wonder Show author Hannah Barnaby!


Wonder Show written by Hannah Barnaby, published by Published by Houghton Mifflin, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers.

Stories come easily to motherless Portia, and a good thing, too. They sustain her when her father leaves her and when her aunt abandons her to the ghastly McGreavey Home for Wayward Girls. When she escapes, they win her a place with Mosco’s Traveling Wonder Show, where she hopes to find her father again somehow, where “freak,” “normal” and “family” mean something altogether different—and where Portia begins to take charge of her own story.

Click here for their conversation!


Today John Corey Whaley interviews Emily Danforth on her Morris Award-nominated debut, The Miseducation of Cameron Post. Corey is last year's winner for Where Things Come Back, and we're delighted to have him back!


The Miseducation of Cameron Post written by emily m. danforth, published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

On the same day that 12-year-old Cameron kisses her best friend, Irene,
her parents are killed in a car accident. Nearly crushed with guilt,
Cameron spends the next several years in self-imposed gay-movie therapy
with her VCR or drinking and smoking pot with her track- and swim-team
friends, gradually coming to terms with her sexuality. It’s not easy
being gay in rural 1990s Montana, and it’s harder still when your aunt
drags you to an evangelical church every weekend—where you meet the girl
of your dreams
.

Check out their conversation here!

It's time! Huzzah! Our annual series of interviews with the ALA's William C. Morris Award nominees is off to a roaring start, with Blythe Woolston's interview with S. D. Crockett, author of After the Snow.


After the Snow written by S. D. Crockett, published by Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group.

In a future where winter lasts nearly all year, Willo returns from hunting
to discover his family has been kidnapped. Skilled at surviving in the
wild, he sets off from their remote farm, determined to locate them. But
when his journey brings him to a corrupt city, full of strange and
unfamiliar perils, Willo is swept up by events he doesn’t fully
understand
.

Read the interview here!

(And enough of the dissembling; the series actually began, on time, last week--and thank goodness it was Blythe's turn! I have been curled up in bed with the nasty flu bug going round. Sometime Thursday morning I lifted my head and whimpered something to my husband about the interviews, but he just gave me some Gatorade and told me to go back to sleep. But I'm back, and the interviews have started, and we'll even have another one tomorrow! Stay tuned for John Corey Whaley's interview with Emily M. Danforth.)

Huzzah! It's our favorite time of year at Mirth & Matter: Morris Award season! I'm delighted to make my long overdue return to this blog with a post announcing (can I "announce" something if it's not technically my announcement? A forwarding announcement?) this year's William C. Morris Award honorees. More information can be found at the American Library Association's Morris Award homepage.

I'm sure I don't need to remind anyone that the William C. Morris Award for a Young Adult Debut honors five outstanding novels by authors publishing for young adult readers for the first time. It is the only major ALA award to get a "shortlist" announced before the Youth Media Awards in January. ...And I won the first one.

Every year since 2009, I've been honored to host interviews with the nominees. In 2010/2011, I shared that honor with the late L.K. Madigan, who won for her novel Flash Burnout, and last year Blythe Woolston (The Freak Observer) joined our band of intrepid interviewers. You can read her interview with 2012 winner John Corey Whaley (Where Things Come Back) here. You can catch up on all the past interviews on my Morris Award tag page.

So. Let's take a look at this year's honored novels!


Wonder Show written by Hannah Barnaby, published by Published by Houghton Mifflin, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Wonder Show written by Hannah Barnaby, published by Published by Houghton Mifflin, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Stories come easily to motherless Portia, and a good thing, too. They sustain her when her father leaves her and when her aunt abandons her to the ghastly McGreavey Home for Wayward Girls. When she escapes, they win her a place with Mosco’s Traveling Wonder Show, where she hopes to find her father again somehow, where “freak,” “normal” and “family” mean something altogether different—and where Portia begins to take charge of her own story.


Love and Other Perishable Items written by Laura Buzo, published by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

Love and Other Perishable Items written by Laura Buzo, published by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

Amelia meets Chris when he trains her for her brand-new job at the local supermarket. Smart and witty, they are perfect for each other. She is smitten, but he, on the rebound from his first, lost love, is preoccupied with the pursuit of booze and sex—and his college degree on the side. More importantly, she is 15, and he is 22. It just can’t happen, can it?

After the Snow written by S. D. Crockett, published by Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group

After the Snow written by S. D. Crockett, published by Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group.

In a future where winter lasts nearly all year, Willo returns from hunting to discover his family has been kidnapped. Skilled at surviving in the wild, he sets off from their remote farm, determined to locate them. But when his journey brings him to a corrupt city, full of strange and unfamiliar perils, Willo is swept up by events he doesn’t fully understand.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post written by emily m. danforth, published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post written by emily m. danforth, published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

On the same day that 12-year-old Cameron kisses her best friend, Irene, her parents are killed in a car accident. Nearly crushed with guilt, Cameron spends the next several years in self-imposed gay-movie therapy with her VCR or drinking and smoking pot with her track- and swim-team friends, gradually coming to terms with her sexuality. It’s not easy being gay in rural 1990s Montana, and it’s harder still when your aunt drags you to an evangelical church every weekend—where you meet the girl of your dreams.

Seraphina written by Rachel Hartman, published by Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

Seraphina written by Rachel Hartman, published by Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

When the death of a royal prince threatens the fragile peace between humans and dragons in Goredd, court musician Seraphina is drawn into the murder investigation. But even as she aids Prince Lucian in his mission to uncover the murderer, Seraphina conceals a dangerous secret of her own—her half-human, half-dragon heritage.

What a spectacular lineup! Huge congratulations to all the honored books and authors!

Stay tuned for much more Morris excitement as the Youth Media Awards (January 28) draw nearer!





In Which Our Household is Diminished Greatly

Posted on 2012.08.10 at 13:12
Current Mood: sadsad

It's been a tough, tough summer at the Bunce homestead. Dealing with this impossible heat, a few scary veterinary crises, vacation plans abruptly abandoned... We'd really love to leave this one off the books, if we could.

Back in June (just a couple days after my last post), our eleven-year-old coonhound mix Gracie Pigeon got pneumonia--complications to a canine respiratory infection that swept our town. At least five other dogs in our neighborhood were sick, too--but Gracie spent three days in ICU on oxygen therapy and "big gun" antibiotics. They weren't sure she was going to make it.

But she DID!! We are SO thankful to say she's made a complete recovery! She's home and being her silly, spunky Pigeon self, no idea she was so sick not too long ago.



But. Fate dealt us a mixed hand, and as so often seems to happen, when Death spared Gracie, he claimed another. Two weeks ago, Gracie's twin brother Baloo fell suddenly ill with a terrifying autoimmune disease called Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia, a condition where the body destroys its own red blood cells. Despite two blood transfusions and a team of amazing doctors and techs who fought like hell for six days, we lost him. It was sudden and confusing and I think we're going to be reeling from it for a long time.



We called Baloo our Golden Boy, and, as my mom said, "He got by on his looks." He had the canine equivalent of JFK's or Bill Clinton's inexplicable charisma--wherever he went, women--especially young, blonde women--would flock to him. It was hilarious!  We used to say his motto was "It's all about pleasing the ladies."


I mean, really: Irresistible.

And so, in honor of our ridiculously handsome and very-much-missed Golden Boy, here's a video of They Might Be Giants performing Baloo's theme song, "Extra Savoir Faire."





We'll miss you, pal.




A Conversation with Sharon Shinn

Posted on 2012.06.16 at 01:57
Tags: ,
Recently I had the great good fortune to interview one of my favorite authors for the pop culture website borg.com, and Sharon has graciously given me permission to cross-post that interview here at Mirth & Matter! Enjoy!

Award-winning fantasist Sharon Shinn is the author of two dozen novels and a handful of short stories and novellas.  Number twenty four, The Shape of Desire, is just out, and we’ve got Shinn right here, sharing some of the secrets to her impressive career.

Shinn, a St. Louis native, is probably best known for her Samaria novels, a loosely-related collection set on a world ruled by genetically-engineered angels; and her Twelve Houses books, a vibrant take on classic sword and sorcery fantasy.  Some of her newest books, however, have ventured into urban fantasy, and the new Shifting Circle series, beginning with The Shape of Desire, is set in Shinn’s hometown of St. Louis, Missouri.  The story tracks the ups and downs of a love affair between a human and her reluctant shape-shifter lover, just as a series of unsettling animal attacks in local parks casts their already-rocky relationship into an even darker light.  Like much of Shinn’s work, the book is deeply romantic, but The Shape of Desire branches into more somber territory, meditating upon the risks of obsessive love in many forms.

I’m excited to bring you my conversation with Sharon Shinn!

ECB:  You’ve had an amazingly productive career–averaging about one (and sometimes two!) books a year–while also maintaining a fulltime career as a journalist.  What’s your secret?  (Personally, I suspect a warp in the space-time continuum in your basement, but will understand if you can’t tell us.)

SS:  I think the secret is obsessive compulsive disorder.  When I have a task with a deadline—any task, any deadline—I feel like I have spiders on my skin.  I can’t rest until it’s done (or all the spiders have been brushed off).  So when I’m in the middle of a book, I am constantly trying to find an hour here, two hours there, when I can sit down and write.  It’s not a comfortable way to live, actually, but it does make me productive.

ECB:  What’s your writing process like?  How long does it typically take you to write a novel?  A novella?  How many projects do you have going at once?

SS:  I think about a book for a long time—six months to five years—before I sit down to write it. So I usually have a really good idea of the plot and the characters.  I think it’s Graham Greene who said that he ruminates on a book so long before he starts writing that “it is not so much written as remembered.”  I feel that way sometimes.  I generally start a novel early in January and write till it’s done.  I start on page one and go straight through to the end, without going back to rewrite or fix things that I’ve decided to change in later chapters.  So, you know, my heroine might be named Betsey in Chapter One and Annabel in Chapter 10.  The rough draft usually takes me four to six months.  Then I go back and do a very detailed rewrite, fixing all the inconsistencies and cutting out the really clunky stuff.  Then I go back and do a finer rewrite.  Combined, those usually take eight to twelve weeks.  Then I have my writer’s group read and critique the manuscript, then I do a final pass, making edits based on their comments.  The book is usually ready to be turned in by sometime in September. So…nine months for a book, more or less.  A novella I can do in eight to twelve weeks.  Same process, just fewer pages.  I rarely work on more than one thing at a time.  Every once in a while, if I’ve committed to a short story, I’ll stop working on the novel long enough to write the shorter piece, but I really hate stopping my forward momentum on the book.  Unless I’ve already finished the rough draft!  Then I’m a little more relaxed about taking a break from the novel.

ECB:  What would you say the highlight of your career has been so far?  Any way-out-there dreams or ambitions, or projects you fantasize about tackling? 

SS:  Highlights… Meeting Anne McCaffrey.  Writing a check at a small boutique and having the salesgirl gasp, “Oh my God, are you the author?  I LOVE your books!”  Getting a letter from a fan who had just finished reading Dark Moon Defender.  She was in poor health, but said that when she read the scene where Ellynor heals Justin, she could feel herself getting stronger.  Fantasies… Signing that million-dollar contract.  Hearing that Joss Whedon is a fan.  Learning that Nathan Fillion has been cast as the lead in the movie version of one of my books.

ECB:  The Shape of Desire‘s Dante is by no means your first shape shifter character [they also figure prominently in The Shape-Changer's Wife and the Twelve Houses series].  The appeal for the reader is obvious, but what is it about shape shifters that draws you as an author?  What keeps you coming back to this particular theme? 

SS:  It took me a while to realize this, but a huge percentage of my books feature characters who are in disguise in one way or another…the heroine might be using an assumed name or the hero doesn’t know that he’s really the king’s son.  Shape-shifters are constantly in disguise!  They epitomize the character who is living a lie!  So I think, for me as an author, that’s their subconscious appeal.  On a more obvious level, there’s just so much an author can do with shape-shifters, whether for dramatic or comedic effect.  They’re fun and versatile.

ECB:  You’ve created a host of rich fantasy worlds, from the Biblical-inspired setting of the Samaria novels, to the fascinating segregated metropolis in Heart of Gold, to the classically fantastical Gillengaria of the Twelve Houses series… but your recent books have drawn inspiration from a more familiar setting.  Talk to us about working with your hometown of St. Louis in novels like Gateway and The Shape of Desire… and about the differences in depicting the real world. 

SS:  I think it’s a lot harder to write in the real world.  There are so many more places to go wrong!  One throwaway line can wholly trip you up.  Maybe a character says, “Oh, I used to go to that park when I was a little girl,” but it turns out the park wasn’t built until five years after the story is set.  And some reader is going to know that.  One good thing about writing in the real world is that my language choices become so much broader.  I set a lot of books in semi-medieval and low-tech worlds, so there are hundreds of words that I don’t want to use because they sound too modern or technological.  I also try to avoid words that seem too foreign (even though, of course, English is cobbled together from many languages!)  But in a present-day real-world setting, nothing is off limits.  In the book that comes out this fall, the main character talks about feeling “the oppressive G-force of disappointment.”  Never could have used that phrase in Archangel or Mystic and Rider!  As for setting the books in St. Louis—for the Shifting Circle series, it was mainly a convenience, because I’m familiar with the city and I could easily figure out where events should be taking place.  But I had a lot of fun using St. Louis as the jumping-off point for Gateway, because it was such a kick to re-imagine some of the local landmarks for an alternate view of the city.

ECB:  You’re very active in the fantasy community, making several convention appearances every year.  Can you tell us why maintaining connections with fans and other writers is so important to you?  And where might fans catch up with you next on the con scene?  

SS:  Science fiction writers belong to such an odd little subset of the human race that it can be a pretty lonely to be one.  I didn’t discover the con scene until after my first book came out, and I had written quite a few manuscripts before then.  All my friends and family members were very supportive, and they dutifully read my stories and told me they liked them, but they couldn’t help me get better.  They didn’t understand when I’d borrowed an existing trope (they thought I invented shape-shifters!!!)  And they didn’t entirely understand why I would WANT to spend my time hunched over a typewriter or a keyboard, trying to transfer these weird ideas from my brain to the page.

I love talking to other published authors because they understand the joys and frustrations of the writing life.  They know what I mean when I say I hate my current book (though I loved it when I first started writing it and I eventually hope to fall in love with it again).  They know why I dread reading copyedits.  They nod in agreement when I say some friend wants me to go to a movie but I’d rather stay home and write because the characters are screaming in my head.  And science fiction/fantasy writers have a whole different level of understanding!  Conventions are where this scattered tribe comes together, so that’s one reason I like conventions.

Sharon Shinn and Elizabeth C. Bunce in St. Louis in 2010.

I also love a chance to meet fans.  Writing is a pretty solitary life, and living inside the pages of a book while you’re writing it is like being exiled to another country.  When I meet people who’ve read and enjoyed one of my books, it’s like meeting other expatriates.  And it makes me think that maybe, just maybe, all those hours sitting alone at the desk actually resulted in something worthwhile after all.

This year I’m planning to be at Chicon in August.  Not sure if I have any other convention appearances planned. Hoping to go to Brighton for World Fantasy Convention in 2013… but that’s a long way off…

Sharon, thanks for talking with us today!


In Which I Wax Reflective About Anniversaries, Symbols, and... Destiny?

Posted on 2012.05.22 at 01:44
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Tags:


So it's been a while. I've been writing. Some days it seems like that's all I've been doing. But that's where I've been: hard at work, a busy little squirrel, making a new book!

I'm not normally one to see signs and portents IRL, so I will merely present a list of occurrences, and let the reader draw her own connections or not. As you will.

1. Exactly one year ago this week, I had the idea for the no-longer-quite-so-new book.

2. It has foxes in it. (Sort of. But that's important.) I had never seen a fox in the wild.

3. I have been kind of down on the whole thing lately. The usual litany: it's taking so long to write, it's too long, maybe it's not as wonderful as I thought, maybe I'll never finish it.

4. Last night, while I was cleaning the kitchen, I was too lazy to change the TV channel, so I got stuck listening to a TV evangelist. His message? Don't be discouraged or impatient, and watch for signs that you are on the right path.

5. Tonight, for the first time ever, I saw my foxes. Two of them, in my neighbors' front yard. They had to scream bloody murder for an hour to get me to come out and look--but I did. And I saw them.

That is all. Back to work. And the book is going to be wonderful. :)



In this month's long festival of interviews, I'm delighted to welcome Marie Lamba. You may know her as an up-and-coming agent, or as the author of Over My Head and What I Meant. Today she's here talking about her new release, the YA ghost story Drawn! Marie's on a blog ghost tour (I *love* that!) this month, spreading the word, and I've asked her to talk a little about the role that Making plays in the story.

  NJ teen artist Michelle DeFreccio moves with her dad to England in search of a fresh start and a normal life. But then someone starts showing up.  And he appears in her artwork, invades her dreams…

Michelle finds herself intensely drawn to him. Is he a stalker, a ghost or a delusion? Is she falling in love, or losing her mind? Only one thing’s for sure: nothing will ever be normal again.

Learn more about Marie and Drawn at her website.

Picture This

Guest post by Marie Lamba, author

“I sit on a wooden pew in the back row, flip open my pad and lose myself in my sketch.

Things make sense when I draw. Everything is angles and texture and relationships.”


(from Drawn, the new paranormal YA by Marie Lamba)

Like Michelle in my new novel Drawn, I’m a very visual person. I notice the slant of an eyebrow, the curl of someone’s hair along their neck, the slightest twist at the corner of a mouth. For me, that’s because I’m not only a writer, but  also someone who has a background in fine art. In college I double-majored in English and in Literary Art, which was a major I created that blended creative writing and fine art.  My plan was to become a writer/illustrator, but since then I’ve been all writer.  The artist side of me has always been within me, though, lurking.

As an artist, I tend to unconsciously sketch the lines of things I see. You might find the pointer finger of my left hand (southpaw, here) tracing the lines of what I see onto my lap or on a tabletop.  And as a writer, this “mental sketching” naturally filters into my writing. I’m always making connections about what things look like.  It filters into my scenery, like in this part of my novel when Michelle is describing a graveyard she’s walking through:

I like St. Paul’s because you enter its yard through a little wooden gateway with a peaked roof. The roof leans to the left and the gate makes a horror-movie squeak when you open it. Best of all, the graveyard is filled with stones in varying stages of decay. Tall ones lean forward or backward like giant levers that have been pushed or pulled. And full-sized carved stone images of knights in armor on top of marble slabs look like they’d laid down for a nap and froze into place for a few hundred years. Closest to the tiny church are the oldest graves. Words washed away by time. Stones cracked and crumbling. My favorite stones are the ones that look like giant gingerbread noblemen resting on the ground. Their arms and legs are separated from their bodies as if they’d been soaked in milk for too long.

And it shapes my character descriptions, too:

He rubs his chin. “Yet there is something, indeed. And you wield some power over me. I feel it.”

I shake my head but I think there is something about him. Christopher has this rugged appeal that makes even William Wallingford ordinary in comparison. I can’t seem to look away. It’s as if I’m studying him for a portrait. I notice he tends to raise his chin. The very corners of his mouth curve up, making him seem slightly arrogant. And his eyes. Their light color gives them endless depth. Yet they seem so full of…of what?

Longing.

I glance away, surprised.

Of course the fun here is that Michelle actually is an artist too. This means I can use her powers of observation to shape what the reader sees, and her drawing skills are integral to the plot.  Through her drawings she starts to channel what is either a ghost or a delusion. And her ability to notice details ultimately helps her to put together the pieces in an ancient mystery.  It also presents a great opportunity for me as the writer to create some beautiful images, especially of the guy Michelle is so drawn to:

I take a deep breath and open the door. The flickering fire in the small stone hearth casts a shadowy light. Christopher is in his bed asleep. I close the door and press my back against it. My eyes fill with grateful tears. I’m not too late.

He is bare-chested, a sheet covering him just below his arms. His one arm is flung over his head and his chin is turned toward the fire. The coin he took from me hangs on a chain around his neck, a silvery orb resting in the hollow of his throat. I quietly set my bag beside the door, peel off my sweater and crouch beside the bed, wincing from my sore knees. But what do sore knees matter? He’s here and he’s real and he’s safe and he’s even more beautiful than I’d remembered. I’m glad he’s asleep so I can look closely at him without embarrassment. The pout of his lips. The curl of his dark lashes. His flexed bicep. I long to touch him but can’t bear to wake him.

I’ll draw him.

I’ll draw him…  With Drawn, it’s as close as I’ve come to being the writer/illustrator I’d once envisioned I’d become.  I did draw the book’s cover myself, which is a pencil sketch painted with India ink. I guess in a way I am a writer/illustrator and always have been. Just painting images with words.

And hoping you, as the reader, are seeing what I see.

***

Marie Lamba (marielamba.com) is author of acclaimed young adult novels including What I Meant… (Random House), Over My Head, and Drawn. When she isn’t writing or doing imaginary sketches, she is working as an Associate Literary Agent at The Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency in NYC.





I'm very excited to have with us today Finalist Rae Carson, author of Girl of Fire and Thorns!



From YALSA:
Elisa bears the Godstone.  She is a chosen one.  What she is chosen to do is unclear, but perhaps her journey to marry the king of a neighboring country in the midst of war will provide some of the answers.  Carson weaves together religion, politics, prophecy,  and more in this fast-paced fantasy that brings Elisa to a destiny  no one could have anticipated.

Welcome, Rae!

--First, give us the vital stats on GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS. What was the inspiration for the novel? How long did it take to write? Was this truly your first book, or are there secret manuscripts lurking in desk drawers or dark closets?

The inspiration came from a bad relationship. My boyfriend at the time was obsessed with my appearance. I decided to write a book about a young woman who was underestimated at every turn because of the way she looked. (I’m just glad something good came out of that relationship.)

The Girl of Fire and Thorns is truly my first book, though I have several unfinished manuscripts in the trunk. I kept outgrowing my projects. This was the first book I wrote that didn’t make me cringe to reread the beginning. I’ve since finished two more books (one contracted, one waiting for the right time to be shopped around), and mostly I’ve learned…well, that I still have a lot to learn about writing.

--Every year, the Morris committee has done a fine job recognizing titles that have gained widespread popular acclaim as well as critical attention (2009's Graceling, 2010's Beautiful Creatures, 2011's Hold Me Closer, Necromancer). Did you expect Girl of Fire & Thorns to be so popular? As a first-time novelist, how are you handling the attention?

I’ve been surprised and delighted at the book’s reception. I had no idea whether or not readers would embrace an overweight protagonist, or if they would appreciate a girl’s love story with herself instead of with a “hot boy.” But now I get fanmail from readers praising the exact elements I found risky. It’s very satisfying.

As far as how I’m handling the attention… Writing is my favorite thing I’ve ever done professionally, and I’m desperate to make a longterm career out of this gig. So I admit to vacillating between ecstasy (Yay, the book is doing well!) and despair (But is it doing well enough?). It’s exhausting. If I could go back and change one thing about the months following the book’s debut, I would write more and worry less.

-- Can you describe your path to publication and your writing process? Has anything changed for you since your first sale? What's coming next?

I got serious about writing in 2004. In 2006, I wrote The Girl of Fire and Thorns, and moments after typing “The End,” several friends in an internet chat room dared me to query some agents. So I did, and I signed with a fabulous agent two weeks later.

Don’t do this at home, kids. I should have taken time to think about what kind of book it was and what I wanted to do with it. I’m afraid my agent and I mis-marketed the book and didn’t do it justice. A few years, another book, and several short stories later, I redrafted it and found a new agent who agreed with my new and more focused vision for the book. Holly Root had an offer within 24 hours of submission to Greenwillow Books.

A lot has changed since then. I’m writing full time now, which is awesome. I just finished the sequel, The Crown of Embers, and I’ve started work on the third book in the trilogy, The Bitter Kingdom. I’m also working on a middle grade novel—my first book that is not fantasy or sci-fi!


--Everyone loves to hear great stories about The Call! Would you share yours? How did you hear about your Morris Award nomination? Were you familiar with the award? How familiar were you with the other nominees' work?

I was very familiar with the Morris Award, having read and loved Graceling, A Curse Dark as Gold, Guardian of the Dead, Ash, and Madapple. So when I got calls from my editor and agent, I got happy tears. My husband and I celebrated with an egregiously expensive bottle of champagne—our first bottle ever that cost more than single-digit-dollars!

Of the current nominees, I’ve read Between Shades of Gray, which is an amazing book. And I snuck a long-ish peak at Under the Mesquite at my local bookstore and was totally drawn in. My goal is to read all the nominees during 2012.


--Tell us a little about the experience of being a first-time novelist.  Has it been what you expected? Any wisdom or insights or surprises to share about the joys or challenges of life during and after the first book?

It’s been amazing and terrifying and sometimes surprisingly mundane. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.


--And finally: How much do you love librarians?

So very much. As a graduation gift, my middle school librarian gave me a book written by someone with my name, saying, “See? This could be you someday.” I will never forget that. And since The Girl of Fire and Thorns has debuted, librarians have been relentless in their support of it. Factor in my adolescence as a “library kid,” and the influence of librarians in my life and career cannot be overestimated.





Today, Blythe Woolston hosts Guadalupe Garcia McCall on her blog!

From YALSA:
Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

This novel in verse tells the story of Lupita, the oldest of eight children.  When Lupita’s mother is diagnosed with cancer, it is up to Lupita to step into a role she never considered taking in her drama class:  surrogate parent.  McCall’s chapters are exquisite poems with language that sings and stings.  Finding hope amidst despair, finding the chance to laugh, and finding the incredible power of family make this a memorable reading experience.

Enjoy!






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