On My Mind, December 29, 2014, Catching Up Edition

Goodness! I have a lot of things to update. Here’s me downloading my thoughts to get them off my mind and on my blog.

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I have spent the last two weeks in loungewear, lying around and reading books while my family did all the cooking, cleaning, and laundry. If I did go somewhere, my husband drove me and carried any bags I might have. (Thank you, Walt. Let’s stay married forever.)
Doesn’t that sound like heaven?
You’d think, but no. I have reached my limit on post-surgical rest.

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Someone must have cut the “Fall Risk” bracelet off while I slept the day after surgery. I was very concerned that it had disappeared without my knowledge. Also without my (lucid) knowledge? A couple of hospital selfies I discovered on my phone, just now, as I was looking for this photo. Who knows what other mischief I got up to under the influence of heavy narcotic pain meds?

Thankfully, I am feeling better every day. Today I even got to drive myself to the grocery store (but I left the groceries in the car for Walt to bring in when he got home).
Thank you to those of you who have so kindly checked up on me.

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We had a lovely Christmas at home. (Walt did everything while I lounged around opening presents. Seriously, that man.) Here we are in our new Christmas Eve jammies—or at least, Hannah and I. Walt hadn’t changed yet. Probably too busy cooking and cleaning. (I like him.) Hannah’s pjs are under her new Harry Potter snuggie.

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We always open new pjs and new books on Christmas Eve, right before making a super fancy dinner of hotdogs or chicken apple sausages, roasted in the wood stove. (The next day Walt made a prime rib dinner. I’m renewing his contract for another year.)

IMG_6385 I like the way we do things around here.

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We spent days doing this puzzle.
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There ended up being three two pieces missing. A third was found in the dog’s mouth.
Though the journey was enjoyable, that destination was quite unsatisfying. We never got to put in that final piece!
Agony.

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If you received a bookstore gift card as a holiday gift, and need help deciding what to buy, here is a handful of my favorite books from this year. This is off the top of my head, and not at all exhaustive. If you want more recommendations, check out my Goodreads page.

You could also just go ahead and order Hook’s Revenge, if you haven’t already. I mean. If you want.

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Last month I did wonderful events at Rediscovered Books and the Library! in Boise, Idaho and the Miami Book Fair in Miami, Florida. Each one deserves its own blog post, but this is the best I can offer at the moment. I am, however, very grateful to have been invited.

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I went to a party in Miami. Judy Blume was there. No big deal. (OH MY GOSH SUCH A HUGE DEAL!) I didn’t talk to her, but I was almost close enough to smell her hair.
No, you’re creepy! No you!

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I thought I was done thinking about Serial, but then Jay did an interview and now I’m thinking about it all over again.

What’s on your mind today?

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P.S. I was interviewed last month on the Kirkus blog about Jocelyn, fairytales, and whether girls need rescuing.
Betsy Bird named Hook’s Revenge a favorite debut of 2014 on the School Library Journal Blog.
And, Hook’s Revenge was named one of the top 100 books of 2014 by the New York Public Library. (!!!!)

How to Get Signed Copies of Hook’s Revenge for the Holidays

Hello, you! Thanks for stopping in. Did you know that books are quite possibly the very best gift you could give or receive for the holidays?
It’s true! And books, signed by the author, are even better!

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If you were hoping to give (or have for yourself) a signed copy of Hook’s Revenge, here’s how to get one:

1. If you happen to be in the Salem, Oregon area tomorrow, 11/29, come see me at the downtown location of the The Book Bin. I’ll be there, participating in Small Business Saturday, signing my books and recommending other great ones, from 1:00 – 4:00.

2. Call The Book Bin at 503-361-1235 and order a signed copy. They will ship it to your door!

3. If you already have a copy of Hook’s Revenge, I would be happy to mail you a personalized book plate. Please email me with who you would like it signed to and a shipping address (US and Canada only, please). As purchasing and shipping bookplates does come at a cost to me, please ask for one only if you have already purchased the book. Supplies are limited, but I will send as many as I can.

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4. Want to win a signed copy of Hook’s Revenge? I’ll be giving a signed copy to a newsletter subscriber on December 1st. Sign up here.

Happy holidays!

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On My Mind: November 17, 2014

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I just returned from a bookish road trip with Robin Herrera, Miriam Forster, and our intern/my daughter, Hannah. We drove to Boise and did writerly things with YA author Sarah Tregay.
It was snowy and cold outside but the people were so incredibly warm. I’ll blog more about it next week. In the meantime, if you are in the area, go visit Rediscovered Books and tell them I said hi!

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I took Hannah to the dentist today and the hygienist said, “I’m so excited for next week, aren’t you?”
I said, “What’s next week?” and she gave me such a look of incredulity before reminding me that next week is Thanksgiving.
I’ve been busy, okay?

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I’ve finished 50% of of my Christmas shopping. Three gifts have already been wrapped. My cards are ordered.

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I know that kind of get-it-doneness is annoying, but there is a reason for it.

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I want to get holiday prep finished early because in mid-December I am having surgery. Longtime blog readers may recognize this little fellow:

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That is a poorly illustrated drawing of an ovarian cyst. He and his friends have plagued me off and on for years. It’s been irritating, but manageable. However, last year, a bigger, meaner set of jerks moved in. (Hello, fibroids. I hate you.) My doctor has advised we just go ahead and remove all the affected parts, and since I’m not using them, I agreed. I’ll be having a hysterectomy.
Please feel free to tell me surgery horror stories.

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Three is taking up a lot of space.

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I’ll be buying new pajamas and plan to be in, on, or near my bed for most of December. Perhaps I’ll catch up on my reading list? (Hahaha! If only.)

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This has nothing to do with three. And it delights me.

Adventures of Heidi: Snakey and Sal, A Friendship Tale

Holiday season television is about to hit an all time low. We are talking about lower than inside the belly of a snake low. In case you haven’t heard about it, here is the trailer for Discovery’s Eaten Alive:

Granted, I know nothing about the show other than what I saw in the trailer, but it seems like a cheap stunt—and one that I will likely watch.

Speaking of being eaten alive, who wants a Poorly Illustrated Adventures of Heidi story? All right, kids, gather round!

***

Once upon a time there was a Heidi. At the time of this telling Heidi was seven or eight and looked something like this:

haircut heidi

This particular story took place during Heidi’s unfortunate haircut-like-a-boy-with-a-bad-haircut phase.

Heidi and her older brother liked to play under bridges and on highway overpasses and at nearby industrial ponds. These things were not forbidden because it was the nineteen eighties and no one knew what kids did all day.

If Bob Ross had painted the industrial pond near Heidi’s house, it might have looked like this:

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See the happy trees?

Bob Ross would have been romanticizing something far muddier, but Heidi wasn’t one to be overly critical about art.

Heidi and her brother often brought new pets home from their explorations at the pond. Tadpoles and frogs, neat looking bugs, even once a tailless cat who promptly had kittens behind Heidi’s dad’s shed, but this story isn’t about any of those.

This story is about two pond critters Heidi and her brother brought home one day:

snakey

Snakey, the garner snake

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and Sal the salamander.

Heidi and her brother loved their new pets and wanted them to love each other. They made a comfortable home for them from a large orange tupperware bowl, some grass, and a small tin of water. Then they left the two pals alone to get acquainted.

Dun dun DUN.

Heidi and her brother returned from eating dinner to check on the new best pals. Only… where was Sal?

They searched diligently for the little guy, but let’s be honest, there weren’t a lot of places to hide in that big orange bowl. There was really only one place he could be…

snakey's full

 

“Does Snakey look a lot fatter to you?” Heidi’s brother asked.

“He really does,” Heidi replied.

“SAL!” they cried in unison, but not really because crying in unison usually only happens in books.

Here’s what really happened: Heidi’s brother lifted Snakey from the bowl.

Heidi’s brother gave him a gentle upward, squeeze, like Snakey was a tube of toothpaste.

Snakey opened his mouth and…

up he comes

HELLO, SAL!

Heidi was surprised.

Heidi’s brother was surprised.

Snakey was surprised.

But perhaps most surprised of all was Sal, who had survived his brief trip into the belly of a snake.

All parties involved felt it was best if Snakey and Sal did not become friends after all.

Heidi and her brother allowed them to vacate the orange bowl and relocate to separate areas of the backyard where they were both likely eaten by birds lived happily ever after.

The End

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On My Mind: November 3, 2014

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Halloween candy, specifically how much I have or have not eaten this year. My average is way down, but I haven’t had breakfast yet.

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Last week my family and I went to see the 1922 German silent film, Nosferatu, at The Elsinore Theater, an amazing historic theater and local gem.
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Though the gothic theater was a perfect setting for this film and the live organ playing was fabulous, I couldn’t stop thinking of this:

Ehhh.

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When I was a kid, my family would occasionally go to see dollar movies at The Elsinore. I was fascinated by the building, mostly because the gothic construction led me to believe it had once been a church. However, the giant mural of witches made me think it had been a church to Satan.

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Shakespeare, not Satan, Heidi.

I was only mildly bothered by this, since it was no longer being used for dark purposes (other than showing some terrible movies).

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I just sent out my November newsletter, which is always fun for me to write. If you haven’t subscribed, there’s a link right over there in my blog’s right sidebar. ——>

I’ll be giving away a signed copy of Hook’s Revenge to a subscriber at the end of the month.

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Now I’m thinking about pie. I might need to go make some breakfast…

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Someone found this blog after googling “greatest thing on internet.” I’m flattered, but must decline that honor, as it clearly belongs to this:

What’s on your mind?

In Which I Travel the West, Talking Books and Pirates (But Not Book Pirates)

The weekend after Hook’s Revenge hit shelves, I packed my bags and set off on tour. I started in Tacoma, Washington for a signing at the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association tradeshow. I loved meeting, chatting with, and signing books for some of the wonderful booksellers in the area.

PNBA 2014, photo by Laura Stanfill

PNBA 14, Photo by Laura Stanfill

From Tacoma, I took a train to Seattle where I spent the next 40 hours alone in my hotel room, completing revisions on Hook’s Revenge: The Pirate Code. It was just me, room service, and my laptop—with the occasional dance break to keep the blood flowing to my brain. I finished just in time to do my first school visit, meeting with sixty-five 5th graders at Olympic View Elementary.

You guys, these kids. They asked such smart questions and were so into books and reading. America, your future is in good hands.

They send me a bundle of letters and I absolutely treasure them.

letter from seattle student

That evening I had an event at the first of several amazing independent bookstores I would visit on my tour. Mockingbird Books is just as charming as its staff—a real treasure.

I had a lovely time appearing with Kevin Emerson, author of middle grade novel The Fellowship for Alien Detection, as well as numerous titles for young adults.

Kevin Emerson

Kevin Emerson shows off his wallet, in constant use since he was in fifth grade!

Martha Brockenbrough—grammar goddess, picture book and young adult author (I can’t wait to read her forthcoming The Game of Love and Death), and all around wonderful person—moderated and did such an awesome job I now want her to moderate my entire life.  She prepared magic tricks and trivia and even forced audience members to walk the plank! It was such a great evening!

Seattle, Heidi Schulz and Kevin Emerson, photo by Kari Bradley

with Kevin Emerson at Mockingbird Books, photo by Kari Bradley

The next day, Martha kindly drove me to KOMO Plaza where I had my first ever tv news interview, live on KOMO News 4 Seattle. I complained to my husband that I looked so stiff and nervous but he assured me I simply looked like I have excellent posture. You can decide for yourself, if you like:

After saying goodbye to Seattle I boarded a plane and set my sights on Salt Lake City. The morning after I arrived I spoke with 400(!) wonderful 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders at Antelope Elementary School. It was such an amazing feeling to read a section of my book to such a large crowd of kids—kids that sat quietly, fully engaged in what I was saying!

That evening, I had an event at the incredibly charming The King’s English Bookshop, appearing with two fantastic middle grade authors: Matthew J. Kirby, author of excellent novels such as Icefall and The Quantum League, and Jennifer Neilsen, author of the NYT bestselling Ascendence Trilogy (The False Prince, etc.).

King's English Salt Lake with Matt Kirby and Jennifer Nielsen, photo by Hannah Schulz

with Matthew J. Kirby and Jennifer Nielsen, photo by Hannah Schulz

Between Matt and Jen’s fans and my very large Utah family, there was not even standing room left for our event. Many people stood in the next room over, listening through the doorway!

Salt Lake, Heidi Schulz and Ashley Johansen, photo by Daniel Johansen

Photo by Daniel Johansen

Salt Lake, Heidi Schulz, Lindsey Lyman, and Kristi Hill, photo by Anthony Lyman

Photo by Anthony Lyman

From there, I flew to Denver for an event at Tattered Cover with Lindsay Eland, author of Scones and Sensibility and a Summer of Sundays. We had such a great time playing Truth and Dare with the audience. Anyone asking a question was able to draw a Dare Card from our deck and force Lindsay and I to do ridiculous and hilarious things. (If you would like to know how many books I can balance on my head, the answer is eight.)

Heidi Schulz and Lindsay Eland, Denver, Photo by Erica Oliver

Daring deeds with Lindsay Eland. Photo by Erica Oliver

And Tattered Cover so kindly gave me this keepsake bookmark!

tattered cover bookmark

My last event was back in Portland, again playing Truth and Dare, at A Children’s Place Bookstore. Shelby Bach, author of the Ever Afters series was my partner in absurdity there, with our shenanigans moderated by whimsicologist Kari Luna, author of the YA novel The Theory of Everything.

with Shelby Bach and Kari Luna, photo by Kelly Garret

with Shelby Bach and Kari Luna, photo by Kelly Garret

I had such an amazing time meeting readers, writers, and booksellers throughout the west. If you attended any of these events and have photos I’d love to see them! Tag me on instagram or twitter or send me an email.

So that was my tour. I loved it! Bye!

But wait, there’s more!

Though this wasn’t technically a part of my tour, I did get to do a live radio interview a couple weeks ago. If you are interested, you can listen to a recording of it here:

If you would like to see me in person and you will be in either Boise or Miami next month, you are in luck!

On Friday, November 14, come see me and kidlit authors Robin HerreraSarah Tregay, and Miriam Forster at Rediscovered Books. Details

The next afternoon we will be appearing at the Boise Public Library. Details

I will be appearing at the Miami Book Fair the very next weekend, 11/22-23, though I do not yet know exactly which day or what time. I’ll be sure to update you as soon as I know.

Can’t wait to see you, friends!

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The Terrible Wonder of Launching a Book (with lots of pictures)

Signing a book for author Fonda Lee and her daughter Photo by Kelly Garrett

Signing a book for author Fonda Lee and her daughter
Photo by Kelly Garrett

I am woefully late in posting this update. I’ve had an Add New Post window open on my laptop for well over a week, but every time I actually went to add said post, I allowed myself to get distracted. I’m finding it hard to explain how great and terrible launching a book is.

The night before Hook’s Revenge was released into the wild,  just after turning out the light, my husband asked, “Are you excited? Tomorrow is the big day!” and I promptly burst into tears. There weren’t words to express how not-excited I was. I was, in a word, overwhelmed.

Surprisingly, I wasn’t all that afraid of how Hook’s Revenge would be received; I was simply exhausted. I was in the midst of a grueling round of edits for Hook’s Revenge: The Pirate Code. I had been experiencing some health problems and was working to sort them out. And I had been ticking item after item off a never ending Back to School list (my book was set to release on the same day my daughter would start a new year at her homeschool co-op).

I explained to a friend that every part of me was stretched thin, that I felt like I was making a peanut butter sandwich with my life, but the peanut butter was almost out and furiously scraping the sides of the jar still wasn’t giving me enough to spread to the edges of the bread.

So I cried. I cried because I felt like the day I had waited my whole life for would be ruined. I cried because I didn’t know if I had enough metaphorical peanut butter in me to make it through the congrats and the parties. I cried because it just felt so big and I didn’t know how else to express it. I cried myself to sleep.

The next morning, I awoke a published author. You know what? Other than the puffy eyes, I didn’t look or feel all that different from the day before. But throughout that day and the days to come, you, dear reader, brought about a change in me. You congratulated me on Facebook and Twitter, via text and email. You sent me pictures of my book in bookstores and in the hands of eager young readers. You filled up all my empty spaces and gave me the energy, the excitement, and the joy I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to find.

Today I’m sharing pictures of my launch parties. Tomorrow I’ll drop back in with pictures from my book tour.

Take a look at my face. That smile is genuine. You put it there. I can’t thank you enough.

International Talk Like a Pirate Day Hook’s Revenge Launch Party at Powell’s Books

Launch at Powell's

Full house! More than 100 people attended my party, many in pirate costume!
Photo by Walt Schulz

"My

My lovely niece Ashley
Photo by Kelly Garrett

Me and my adorable great-nieces. Photo by Kelly Garrett

Me and my adorable great-nieces
Photo by Kelly Garrett

Author Kiersi Burkhart and her young pirate friend. Photo by Kelly Garrett

Author Kiersi Burkhart and young pirate friend
Photo by Kelly Garrett

Author Susan Hill Long and her daughter
Photo by Kelly Garrett

My husband, Walt, as Mr. Smee Photo by Kelly Garrett

My husband, Walt as Mr. Smee
Photo by Kelly Garrett

My daughter, Hannah, in full pirate dress. Photo by Kelly Garrett

My daughter, Hannah, in full pirate dress 
Photo by Kelly Garrett

Ticktock. Photo by Kelly Garrett

Ticktock
Photo by Kelly Garrett

Pirate Party and Hook’s Revenge Celebration at the Salem Public Library

Salem, OR Launch Party, Heidi Schulz and Landon Springer, Photo by Brittany Springer

Peter Pan and me Photo by Brittany Springer

Launch Party Grog, photo by Heidi Schulz

Walt, Hannah, and I spent a couple Sunday afternoons affixing labels to our “grog.”

Cupcakes and pixie dust, photo by Heidi Schulz

Cupcakes, chocolate gold coins, and Pixie Sticks (pilfered pixie dust). Sorry parents!

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Thank you to my sister, Julie, for so beautifully setting up the food!

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Even my mom dressed up!

Thank you to Powell’s, the Salem Public Library, everyone who attended, and each one of you. You brought the peanut butter!

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Hook’s Revenge Blog Tour Final Stop: Interview at Supernatural Snark

Last stop! Everybody off!

This little blog tour has reached its final destination, but what a special one it is! Drop in on Supernatural Snark for a special interview about Hook’s Revenge with me, John Hendrix—the amazing talent behind the book’s cover and interior illustrations, and Rotem Moscovich—my intrepid editor.

And if you haven’t entered the giveaways from earlier in the week, be sure to click through below and do so. Good luck!

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Friday, 9/12 Reading with ABC, Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway
Monday, 9/15 Paperback Princess, Interview
Tuesday, 9/16 The Irish Banana Review, Glossary of Pirate Words
Wednesday, 9/17 Mundie Moms, Guest Post, DIY Pirate Costumes
Thursday, 9/18 Jenuine Cupcakes, Nubbins’s Hardtack Recipe (Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies with Lime Curd)
Friday, 9/19 Queen Ella Bee Reads, Exclusive Excerpt
Monday, 9/22 Allodoxophobia, My Hook’s Revenge Playlist
Tuesday, 9/23 Kissed by Ink, Exclusive Excerpt
Wednesday, 9/24 Who RU Blog, Build a Fairy Garden Instructions and Giveaway
Friday, 9/26 Supernatural Snark, Interview with me, the illustrator for Hook’s Revenge, and my editor

Thank you for spending this time celebrating with me the release of my first book. If you aren’t quite ready to see my blog tour come to end, never fear, I am beginning my in-person tour next week. If you will be in any of the following cities, come by and say hello (but be forewarned: I might hug you)!

Click the links for details:

10/1 Seattle, Washington
10/3 Salt Lake City, Utah
10/5 Denver, Colorado
10/7 Portland, Oregon
11/14 Boise, Idaho

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In the Middle with Simon P. Clark

Today, we are in the middle with Simon P. Clark, author of Eren, a book I cannot wait to read! (In fact, I just purchased the ebook and hope to read it next week while I travel between tour stops.)

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People are keeping secrets from Oli. His mum has brought him to stay with his aunt and uncle in the countryside, but nobody will tell him why his dad isn’t with them. Where is he? Has something happened? Oli has a hundred questions, but then he finds a secret of his own: he discovers the creature that lives in the attic…

Eren.

Eren is not human.
Eren is hungry for stories.
Eren has been waiting for him.

Sharing his stories with Eren, Oli starts to make sense of what’s happening downstairs with his family. But what if it’s a trap? Soon, Oli must make a choice: learn the truth – or abandon himself to Eren’s world, forever.

Eren is now available for purchase in the UK: Amazon | Waterstones Foyles | Hive (Find your nearest independent bookshop)

The ebook is available now in the US: Kindle | Nook

Or preorder the US version of the hardcover, available June 9, 2015 (retitled Tell the Story to its End for American markets): Amazon

Q&A with Simon

What draws you into writing for a middle grade audience?

I think, in common with a lot of children’s authors, I have very vivid memories of the books and stories I read as a kid. Children read very differently than adults – there’s something wild, something all-in about the way they can get wrapped up in a good tale. When I imagined myself as a writer, isn’t wasn’t necessarily as only a children’s author, but it was always going to encompass that, Maybe I’ll write for adult audiences in the future – if I can dumb things down a bit.

If you had a time machine and could visit middle-grade you, what would you tell him?

Firstly, keep rocking the Thomas the Tank Engine knitted cardigan look – you are totally pulling it off. Actually, I don’t know. I had a good time as a kid – I wouldn’t want a boring adult coming and telling me what to do. Mistakes are important, and they’re a part of any good adventure.

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Choose your own adventure: Is there an interview question you’d love to answer, but haven’t been asked?

Y’know, no one ever asks about the books that didn’t make it – the things I’ve written that will never see the light of day. It’s probably important for people to hear that Eren didn’t just burst from nowhere – it’s the end of a ten year long process. The first book I wrote was a weird Harry Potter-esque portal fantasy about ‘The Moors of Magic’, where all fictional animals are secretly living, and a girl – Adele – who finds out her parents aren’t dead (gasp!) but actually went there. It was … not good. I think my younger sister actually still has a copy. The day will come when she uses it to blackmail me.

And now I think I shall have to find your sister and become her new BFF. Thanks for dropping in today, Simon, and congratulations on your debut!

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Simon P. Clark is a British writer currently working in New Jersey. He likes bread, travel, and books that give you the creeps.
Connect with Simon on simonpclark.com, erentales.com, Twitter, Tumblr, or Facebook.

Hook’s Revenge Blog Tour Stop 9: Build a Fairy Garden with WhoRuBlog (plus giveaway!)

Happy Wednesday, friends! As this is the penultimate stop on my blog tour, I felt it was a good time to take a break for thought and reflection. Where better for big thoughts than in a wee little garden?

Join me at WhoRuBlog today for instructions on how to build an adorable little fairy garden and perhaps attract a fairy of your own, just like Jocelyn’s, Meriwether Pennyroyal.

While you are there, enter to win a copy of Hook’s Revenge!

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Friday, 9/12 Reading with ABC, Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway
Monday, 9/15 Paperback Princess, Interview
Tuesday, 9/16 The Irish Banana Review, Glossary of Pirate Words
Wednesday, 9/17 Mundie Moms, Guest Post, DIY Pirate Costumes
Thursday, 9/18 Jenuine Cupcakes, Nubbins’s Hardtack Recipe (Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies with Lime Curd)
Friday, 9/19 Queen Ella Bee Reads, Exclusive Excerpt
Monday, 9/22 Allodoxophobia, My Hook’s Revenge Playlist
Tuesday, 9/23 Kissed by Ink, Exclusive Excerpt
Wednesday, 9/24 Who RU Blog, Build a Fairy Garden Instructions and Giveaway

Upcoming:

Friday, 9/26 Supernatural Snark

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