Posts Tagged ‘blog tour’
Friday evenings are always sweet, aren’t they? My son is watching League of Legends next to me on the couch, I’m back from visiting a poet friend and her writer husband, my husband’s cooking dinner, and the evening stretches wild and free before us into a long weekend. We even have the windows open to an unseasonably warm October breeze.
For my final stop on the Promised Blog Tour, I’m talking with Bailey at IB Book Blogging. Her important questions cover the zombie apocalypse and what else might be fun to read, presumably after we’ve vanquished the zombies. Thanks again to all the great bloggers who’ve had me by for the tour!
One of my favorite things about teaching was Independent Reading. No matter what grade I was teaching, or which level, whether it was regular English or Creative Writing or Intro to Journalism and Broadcasting, we would stop for half an hour every Friday to read in silence. The students would bring books of their own choice and we’d just kick back. The only thing you’d hear was pages turning. Sometimes we’d get to the end of our thirty minutes and take a vote to see if we should keep reading for another ten. Sometimes, after that, we’d take another vote.
Please don’t tell me that teenagers don’t like to read. They might not like to read what’s required, but whose fault is that?
I taught one “Standard” level 9th grade English class with 12 boys and 2 girls. Some of the kids had never finished reading a book in their entire lives. We decided to do an experiment and read for half an hour every day for four weeks, just independent reading of books the students chose themselves: Crash, Twilight, Scar Tissue, Bleachers, Flipped, Calvin and Hobbes, Eragon, you name it. At the end of four weeks, most of the kids were reading with a fluency and comprehension they’d never had before. Some liked reading and felt successful at it for the first time ever, at age 14. I can’t remember what I skipped in the curriculum to make it happen, but was it worth it? I’d say so. Wouldn’t it be nice if we let teachers let students have what they really need? They’ll suck in what they want to learn like Slurpees up big straws.
Today on the Promised Blog Tour, Emily at The Ninja Librarian asks me how my teaching influenced my writing, and whether I thought of my novels for “reading across the curriculum” when I was writing them. I’ll tell you now, I learned far more as a teacher than I ever taught.
I had such a nice time at the UConn Coop last night. Thanks to Suzy Staubach and Sharon for putting on such a nice event, and thanks to my friends and family for coming by to help celebrate the release of Promised. I really love living in a small town with my buds and our own, familiar bookstore.
My next stop on the Promised Blog Tour is with Usagi at Birth of a New Witch, where we talk about how women’s rights figure in the Birthmarked trilogy and what readers might expect in Promised. Usagi came up with some great questions.
I’m happy about Promised coming out today and hopeful that readers will enjoy finding out where Gaia’s adventures take her next. This trilogy was not a solo effort, that’s for sure. Special thanks to my editor Nancy Mercado and the team at Roaring Brook for all their brilliant ideas and help over the past four years. Thank you to Kirby Kim, my agent. I’m grateful to my family and friends, too, for ongoing support. My novels would not have happened without you!
Today I’m writing, hanging out with my family, baking a few cupcakes, and heading over to the UConn Coop later for a reading. It’s the perfect way to celebrate.
Online, the Promised Blog Tour takes me today to Starting the Next Chapter. There Marla digs into my deepest secrets and asks which scene from the Birthmarked trilogy was most memorable to write. I’ve tried not to be too evasive.
Several years back, I lived with my family in the walled city of Ferrara, Italy. The Castello Estense with its dungeons and moat dominates the center, and the medieval wall still surrounds the perimeter. For me, however, the real barrier was my stumbling Italian and my lack of friends. I joined a chorus, and as long as we were singing, I was unified with the others. The moment we stopped and the conductor began speaking in Italian, I was cast out once again by my inability to understand. It was a jarring and wonderful experience, and I still listen to our recording of Lotti’s “Crucifixus.”
Today, the Promised Blog Tour takes me to A Reader’s Adventure, where Mariah asks me about how I created such different societies in the Birthmarked trilogy. We have walls of all kinds. The trick is to find our ways around and under them until the stones dissolve. Promised, the final book in the Birthmarked trilogy, comes out tomorrow.
The short gap between Books 1 and 2 of the Birthmarked trilogy lasts about two weeks, but the break between Books 2 and 3 lasts nearly a year. The main reason I let so much time pass is because the action at the end of Book 2/Prized was leading into a lot of grueling, painstaking work, not dramatic problems. Tension and negotiations were likely, and plenty of quiet, happy scenes, but a book needs real conflict and these productive episodes wouldn’t have had enough. So I skipped ahead to when the real trouble picks up again and imagined where my characters would be. I’m glad I did.
Today on the Promised Blog Tour, Kate and Kristen at The Book Monsters ask me if Promised was harder to write than the other books in the trilogy, and why I chose to send Gaia back to the Enclave for the third book.
What happens to all those music lessons? When I was in high school, I took piano, violin, and voice lessons. I sang in my school chorus, the madrigal singers, the school musicals, and recitals. I played my violin in the school orchestra and in the Macalester College Symphony down the street. My family sang around the piano whenever we had the cousins over, from Verdi and Handel, through Berlin and Rogers and Hammerstein, and onto the Beatles and Webber and Rice’s Jesus Christ Superstar. I would fall asleep with my radio on, turned very low so my parents wouldn’t know.
I think they knew.
It never occurred to me to turn music into my job. I didn’t dream of fame or a career as a singer. I just loved the music. I still do. So when Jaime over at Two Chicks on Books asked me if music played a roll in writing the Promised trilogy, the answer was obviously yes. Drop by her site to learn more and see how she compiled a list of Youtube videos to match up with my Grooveshark playlist of songs to write by.
One of the most common ways beginning writers show a character’s physical appearance involves posing the character in front of a mirror. This setup lends itself to a quick list of eye color, hair color, skin color, and face and body shape, which can be efficient, but it also risks being boring or cliché. More fun is invading a character’s body, like when Gaia moves through a tight tunnel, bracing her fingertips against the walls, I can give a sense of how that feels for her. She feels her hair warm against her cheek because she’s often hiding the scar on her face.
When she does finally encounter a mirror, she’s reluctant to look into it, which matches how she considers herself ugly. Of course, what matters about Gaia is what’s inside, where she’s strong and brave.