Author Charlie Higson reads from his book The Dead, and answers questions from readers. How did he start writing for children? What are the differences between writing for adults and for younger people?
Higson is the author of The Enemy, The Dead: An Enemy Novel, several Young Bond novels, and more.Read More
Good morning, book people–or good ridiculously late night, as we’re thinking of it here this morning. A certain munchkin woke up a little after one and did not go back to sleep until 5:47 this morning…apologies for today’s lateness!
The big news today is that Jennifer Lawrence, the blonde-haired, blue-eyed beauty from Winter’s Bone will be playing Katniss in the upcoming Hunger Games movie. And fans are not happy. The folks at Galleycat point out that Robert Pattinson wasn’t immediately loved by Twilight fans, but is now much loved. And perhaps they’re right–perhaps readers will come around to Lawrence.
Entertainment Weekly has an interview up with director Gary Ross. Here’s what he had to say about casting Lawrence, and about Lawrence’s physical appearance:
When did you know Jennifer Lawrence was your Katniss?
GARY ROSS: First I saw Winter’s Bone, and I just thought she was phenomenally talented and just kind of riveting and amazing and had so much power. And then we had a meeting and I found her to be just a completely compelling, intelligent person. But then she came in and read for me and it just knocked me out. I don’t want to go into too many details, but we did a scene from the movie and it was so amazingly powerful that it was sort of stunning. You glimpsed every aspect of the role and the potential of the whole movie.
In the books, Katniss is described as being olive-skinned, dark-haired, possibly biracial. Did you discuss with Suzanne the implications of casting a blonde, caucasian girl?
Suzanne and I talked about that as well. There are certain things that are very clear in the book. Rue is African-American. Thresh is African-American. Suzanne had no issues with Jen playing the role. And she thought there was a tremendous amount of flexibility. It wasn’t doctrine to her. Jen will have dark hair in the role, but that’s something movies can easily achieve. [Laughs] I promise all the avid fans of The Hunger Games that we can easily deal with Jennifer’s hair color.
So hair color and skin color are the same thing now? More on this next week.
Another auction to help Japan has popped up on the interwebs, this time with a kidlit and YA focus. Some folks from the NESCBWI have put together a new site, and are still taking donations (Authors for Japan closed their donations last week; that auction is open ’til Sunday.) Head on over and donate for a worthy cause! We’ll be donating a couple of signed first editions.
It’s not exactly news, but agent Mary Kole over at Kidlit has a post (with examples), on keeping first-person style narration out of your third person work. It’s a useful post–and especially valuable if you don’t write much in third (like me!).
And finally, one we can’t afford to ignore–Kris Rusch on the trust me business model in publishing. This is a very long post–and the top half is general blog detail rather than the topic–but do spend the time reading it anyway. It might be easy to hand the business side of writing off to other people, but it’s not smart, and Kris does an excellent job explaining why. (via friend and critique partner extraordinare, Livia Blackburne.)Read More
Good morning, book people! After yesterday’s mini freakout and fiction-related writerly indecision, I’m feeling much calmer (in great part due to the excellent comment-love). For those who asked, yesterday’s interview went well, I think. It was definitely kind of fun, and I spent a lot of time in my writer’s garb, chatting about voice (one of my favorite topics).
And I have some most-excellent news this morning!
Back home, in the great (though often cold) state of Victoria, the library system has launched a YA type Goodreads, Inside A Dog. The name comes from a Groucho Marx quote, “Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.” I’ll have more on Inside A Dog next week, but definitely head on over now–they have guest posts by some great YA authors coming up! (Brian Falkner, Gayle Forman…)
Field Trip Friday over at YA Highway has some excellent links around the writing webs this week, including this LA Times piece on Little Red Riding Hood getting a makeover. I love the cover, but it’s so Cinderella to me that I’m not sure I love it for Riding Hood. What do you think?
It’s been a big week for e-publishing in the blogosphere. Eric at Pimp My Novel has a nice, grounding list of 5 Things You Should Know About the eRevolution. Nathan Bransford has a few insights into pricing and ebooks vs. hardcovers (a nice follow up to Mike Shatzkin’s post on pricing models earlier this week). He also some really useful–again grounding–on Amanda Hocking and the 99c Kindle millionaires. (If you have to choose just one of these posts to read, go with the last on Hocking.)
An internet oldie but a goodie – my critique partner and friend, Livia, has a post on writing realistic male characters, and the jerkyness that is Guyhood. Love, love, love this!
Debbie Ridpath Ohi over at MiG writers has a follow up to her first post on writers and voice this week. The new post draws from Stephen Pressfield, and asks a couple of questions all writers should be thinking about. Both are well worth reading, and very quick!Read More
Last Friday, I attended the Eliot-Pearson Awards for Excellence in Children’s Media at Tufts. The honoree? Bill Cosby.
That’s right, folks, I got to see Dr. Huxtable himself and it was awesome. Of course, there were a few glitches:
- I had two deadlines to meet on Friday, and ended up staying up ’til 3:30am Thursday then skipping my run to finish everything at 7:00am on Friday.
- Mir was–and is–still sick, which meant maximum clingyness. And a clingy toddler is not conducive to getting places on time.
- In my sleep-deprived stupor, I misread the address, and ended up in town, rather than in Medford.
- Fat Albert
- Kids Say the Darndest Things
- The Cosby Show*
- Little Bill
But all’s well that ends well, and I did get to the awards, though I missed out on the front row seat they’d set aside for me (one of the perks of being community press). And I’m so glad I went despite the hiccoughs. Below is video of Bill Cosby receiving his award, and his acceptance speech. Apologies for the shakiness and occasional silhouettes; I had to hold my phone above a lot of heads to make the shot.
If you’re wondering exactly what Bill’s been involved in with regard to kids’ media, here’s a sampling:
What does The Cosby Show have to do with children’s media? Aside from being a more general family show, the Huxtable family does what every good YA and kidlit novel does–it shows kids and teens living their lives. True, not everyone has Huxtable-like parents, but not everyone’s dating a vampire or being spirited off to a world full of might and magic either. Authentic teen lives transcend setting, in both teen lit and television. Just check out the scene from the pilot episode of The Cosby Show below to see what I mean.
Both videos were shot with my iPhone, hence the narrow rectangular shape.
Bill Cosby Receives the Eliot-Pearson Award for Excellence in Children’s Media at Tufts, Part 1
Bill Cosby Receives the Eliot-Pearson Award for Excellence in Children’s Media at Tufts, Part 2
Dr. Huxtable & Theo on the Cost of Living as a ‘Regular Person’
I’ll be back late today with winners from my 800 followers contest!Read More
Cover Notes is a new series I’ll be running every Monday. Rather than focusing on covers of books I’ve read, I’ll be writing about books I’ve never read and recording my first impressions of their covers. Each book will also have an Embarrasment Factor of between zero & five, with zero meaning “a totally awesome cover I want to write fan mail about” and five meaning “I’m ashamed to be seen with this in public.”
Shelved in the young reader section of the bookstore, Windblowne was spine in when I found it–but even nestled among the busy, particolored spines, it stood out.
Things I love about the cover: It’s very slightly surreal. The giant moon, alongside the smaller one, give a sense of dreamy otherworldliness that immediately drew me in. The kite is just the tiniest splash of color, but it draws my eye up, and sets methinking about flying without being over-the-top or trying too hard. The cover’s a little glossy, too, which makes the moons really pop, and I love the way the font is a little windblown. Finally, the spine is eye-catching enough that I picked up the book as soon I saw it, but it’s still a little mysterious.
Things I’m not so hot on: Not too much, but I don’t like the way the author’s name looks on the bottom of the cover–it feels a little rushed and unimportant. I like the idea of the trees, too, but the other kites (if they are kites) are a bit busy for me. A clearer sense of if the fliers above the trees are kites or leaves would definitely help. Update: the artist, Erwin, has a much larger pic of Windblowne’s cover. The size really does make a difference–it’s easier to see both kite & leaves in the image, and the detail on the boy’s trousers.
What I think it’s about: A balloon boy story without the crazy–or, rather, a world where people (people because of the other kites) can ride the wind. This not quite Harry Potter looking fellow looks as if he’s off an adventure; the way he’s looking up makes me think he’s not just excited, but eager to get away from something.
Cover art by: Erwin Madrid. (Seriously, folks, run & check out Erwin’s website–it’s incredible!)
Embarrassment factor: 0!
The Jacket Blurb
A high-flying fantasy adventure that will blow readers away!
Every kite Oliver touches flies straight into the ground, making him the laughingstock of Windblowne. With the kite-flying festival only days away, Oliver tracks down his reclusive great-uncle Gilbert, a former champion. With Gilbert’s help, Oliver can picture himself on the crest, launching into the winds to become one of the legendary fliers of Windblowne.
Then his great-uncle vanishes during a battle with mysterious attack kites—kites that seem to fly themselves! All that remains is his prize possession, a simple crimson kite. At least, the kite seems simple. When Oliver tries to fly it, the kite lifts him high above the trees. When he comes down, the town and all its people have disappeared. Suddenly the festival is the last thing on Oliver’s mind as he is catapulted into a mystery that will change everything he understands about himself and his world.
Inspired by the work of Diana Wynne Jones, debut author Stephen Messer delivers a fantasy book for boys and girls in which the distance between realities is equal to the breadth of a kite string.
I’m so, so wrong! But I’m not disappointed at all–while I liked where my immediate impressions took me, the real story sounds so much richer, and I’ll definitely be reading it. Looking at the cover again, there are clues to the real story–the misspelled “windblown” should have been a heads-up that it’s a proper noun, and the other kites are a pretty good hint that flying is kinda-sorta commonplace (assuming you thought they were kites to begin with–we’re still not sure).
What did you think when you first saw the cover of Windblowne? Have you read it yet?
eta: cover artist details for Erwin Madrid, note on image size.Read More