interview

One for the Murphys Blog Tour Schedule

I am delighted that my BLOG TOUR for ONE FOR THE MURPHYS has begun this week!

I have gotten to know so many fantastic readers and bloggers out there in setting this up. I am SO grateful to all of these wonderful and generous people who

have agreed to be a stop on the tour.  Man, there is nothing better than the kid lit community, is there?

I think not.

~~~~~~~~

Wednesday, May 2:

READING AWAY THE DAYS  http://readingawaythedays.blogspot.com/2012/05/author-interview-lynda-hunt-author-of.html?spref=tw

Monday, May 7:   

I READ BANNED BOOKS BLOG http://www.jenbigheart.com/2012/05/review-one-for-muphys-by-lynda-mullaly.html

Tuesday, May 8: 

STORY SIREN BLOG http://www.thestorysiren.com/2012/05/one-for-the-murphys-by-lynda-mullaly-hunt.html

Wednesday, May 9:  

KRAZY BOOK LADY  http://krazybooklady.blogspot.com/2012/05/one-for-murphys-by-lynda-mullaly-hunt.html

ADVENTURES IN YA AND CHILDREN’S PUBLISHING  http://childrenspublishing.blogspot.com/2012/05/wow-wednesday-lynda-mullaly-hunt-on.html

Thursday, May 10:

CLASS OF 2k12–DUBUT AUTHORS   http://classof2k12.com/?page_id=15

KISSING THE EARTH (Trees as Metaphors)  http://smithwright.blogspot.com/2012/05/lynda-mullaly-hunts-debut-one-for.html

GREAT KIDS BOOKS (Book Review)  http://greatkidbooks.blogspot.com/2012/05/one-for-murphys-by-lynda-mullaly-hunt.html

I AM A READER NOT A WRITER   http://iamareadernotawriter.blogspot.com/2012/05/author-interview-book-giveaway-one-for.html

Friday, May 11:

GREAT KIDS BOOKS (Post re: Encouraging Kids to Read)  http://greatkidbooks.blogspot.com/2012/05/reading-with-our-children-guest-post-by.html

SHELF ELF: READ, WRITE, RAVE    http://shelfelf.wordpress.com/

Monday, May 14:

EMUSDEBUTS (5 day launch party)  http://emusdebuts.wordpress.com/2012/05/14/one-for-the-murphys-launch-week-is-here/   (interviews with Nancy Paulsen and Erin Murphy)

WICKED AWESOME BOOKS (3 Words Post) http://www.wickedawesomebooks.com/2012/05/author-interview-giveaway-lynda-mullaly.html

A GOOD ADDICTION  http://agoodaddiction.blogspot.com/2012/05/author-interview-lynda-mullaly-hunt.html

Tuesday, May 15: 

THERE’S A BOOK  http://www.theresabook.com/2012/05/book-review-and-giveaway-one-for-the-murphys-by-lynda-mullaly-hunt/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=tumblr&utm_campaign=book-review-and-giveaway-one-for-the-murphys-by-lynda-mullaly-hunt

EMUSDEBUTS (5 day launch party)  http://emusdebuts.wordpress.com/2012/05/15/wicked-wonderful-and-flying-high/  (Broadway’s WICKED connection!)

Wednesday, May 16: 

THE MOD PODGE BOOKSHELF  http://themodpodgebookshelf.blogspot.com/2012/05/character-of-names-with-lynda-mullaly.html

KIDLITERATE  http://www.kidliterate.com/

EMUSDEBUTS (Social worker’s take on The Murphys)  http://emusdebuts.wordpress.com/2012/05/16/she-doesnt-need-it-but-theres-help-for-kids-like-carley/

Thursday, May 17:

CARI’S BOOK  BLOG   http://cariblogs.blogspot.com/2012/05/interview-with-lynda-mullaly-hunt.html

EMUSDEBUTS (Real life kid-heroes & “Famous Murphys” VLOG) http://emusdebuts.wordpress.com/2012/05/17/finding-the-hero-in-you/

OUT TO PLAY (The Universe  Speaks) http://nancytandon.blogspot.com/2012/05/book-bravo-one-for-murphys.html

Friday, May 18:

WICKED AWESOME BOOKS (Review)  http://www.wickedawesomebooks.com/2012/05/book-review-one-for-murphys-by-lynda.html

THE ELLIOTT REVIEW    http://elliottreview.blogspot.com/2012/05/review-one-for-murphys-by-lynda-mullaly.html

EMUSDEBUTS (Library/teacher connections)   http://emusdebuts.wordpress.com/2012/05/18/an-a-for-one-for-the-murphys-and-a-skype-author-visit-give-away/

Monday, May 21:

WICKED GOOD BOOKS   http://wickedgoodbooks.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, May 22:

MY FIVE MONKEYS  http://wickedgoodbooks.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, May 23:

MOONLIGHT GLEAM    http://www.moonlightgleam.com/2012/05/one-for-murphys-by-lynda-mullaly-hunt.html?showComment=1337782900486#c3174526370973635761

Thursday, May 24:

WILLA’S RAMBLINGS   http://willasramblings.wordpress.com/2012/05/24/one-for-the-murphys-blog-tour/

GALLEY SMITH  http://www.galleysmith.com/2012/04/24/lynda-mallaly-hunt-one-for-the-murphys/

Friday, May 25:

MINT TEA & A GOOD BOOK   http://mintteaandagoodbook.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, May 29: 

KID LIT FRENZY  http://www.kidlitfrenzy.com/

GREEN BEAN TEEN QUEEN  http://www.greenbeanteenqueen.com/2012/05/tween-tuesday-one-for-murphys-by-lynda.html

Wednesday, May 30:

PRAGMATIC MOM  http://www.pragmaticmom.com/2012/05/blog-tour-murphys/

YA AUTHOR KIMBERLY SABATINI’S BLOG   http://kimberlysabatini.com/blog/2012/05/class-of-2k12-in-the-spotlight-one-for-the-murphys-by-lynda-mullaly-hunt/

Thursday, May 31 

MILK AND COOKIES ~ COMFORT READING   http://janasbooklist.blogspot.com/2012/04/tween-tuesday-one-for-murphys-by-lynda.html

Sunday, June 3

WORD SPELUNKING   http://wordspelunking.blogspot.com/2012/06/arc-review-one-for-murphys-by-lynda.html

Thursday, June 7

CYNSATIONS   http://cynthialeitichsmith.blogspot.com/2012/06/new-voice-linda-mullaly-hunt-on-one-for.html

Monday, June 18

LITERARY RAMBLES   http://www.literaryrambles.com/

Tuesday, July 17

NERDY BOOKS CLUB BLOG:  http://nerdybookclub.wordpress.com/?s=Lynda+Mullaly+Hunt&submit=Search

Date TBD:

CYNSATIONS   http://cynthialeitichsmith.blogspot.com/2012/06/new-voice-linda-mullaly-hunt-on-one-for.html

WORD SPELUNKING   http://wordspelunking.blogspot.com/2012/06/arc-review-one-for-murphys-by-lynda.html

LUPINE SEEDS  http://lcbrennan.blogspot.com/

Categories: Blog Tour, Book Review, interview, Marketing, Nancy Paulsen Books (Penguin), One for the Murphys | 5 Comments

Interview with WATER BALLOON author, Audrey Vernick


Drop everything you’re doing (well, except for reading this!) and get thee to a bookstore! Today is the official release day of Audrey Vernick’s WATER BALLOON, a young adult novel that made me laugh out loud one moment and brush away tears the next.

Marley Baird is dealing with a lot. The book chronicles a summer of juggling losses—her parents are newly separated, her best friends are peeling away, she must live with her dad for the summer in a new place, and she is saddled with a summer babysitting job that she doesn’t want. However, with all of the losses, there are gains for her, as she navigates change, learns to trust her instincts and be honest with herself. Also, meeting Jack, a cute boy who loves dogs as much as she does doesn’t hurt either.

In a word, this book is authentic. The characters are rich and layered, drawn like real people with many sides. I loved Marley Baird immediately and the more I got into the book, the more I loved her. She is a real kid. An honest kid. A kid who thinks and feels and acts authentically. Does she always make the right decisions? No. But, Marley Baird is so real and I love that.

One of the subplots I loved was Marley’s dad-imposed babysitting job. The twins in Marley’s charge are hilarious and Marley’s take on them is equally so. Not chuckle funny—laugh out loud funny.

Another impressive facet of this book was the friendship triangle. Vernick does a masterful job of setting up a situation where the reader knows that Marley will commit social suicide. As a reader, you want to yell, “No! Don’t do it!” but I love this subplot for so many reasons. Yes, my heart broke for Marley, but I love how she is socially naïve because there are so many kids like that and they aren’t often drawn in books. Television, especially, tends to depict the kids who’d rather grow up overnight. A book like this would be wonderful for those *many* kids out there who’d rather take their time.

In fact, let me just say that I loved this book so much, that I will find the space in my heart to forgive the dartboard with the Red Sox in the middle. And that’s really sayin’ something.

Okay. Enough from me! I’m thrilled to have Audrey Vernick here today to answer some questions about her debut novel, WATER BALLOON.

1) What were the initial seeds of WATER BALLOON?

I decided it was time to write a novel. I had no idea where to begin. No story. No character. Zip.

A family in our neighborhood was going through the early stages of divorce, and I thought a lot about the emotional cost of a family breaking apart. I didn’t know them well, but you could see the strain on the girl, the younger of two children. That was my starting point—a girl struggling with the dismantling of what had always been her daily world.

I wrote the first draft so long ago that I can’t remember where the rest came from. Oh, except for the two friends—Leah and Jane. The trauma of middle-grade friendship is something I remember very well.

2) How much of you is in Marley Baird?

A ton. That’s been the big difference for me between my picture books and this novel. It’s always felt like my picture books are…my books. And my novel is me.

3) The word that pops into my head about your book is “authentic.” For example, I feel like I’ve met real children in the twins and the friendship triangle with Leah and Jane is heartbreakingly real. Can you tell us about something in the book that was completely fictional and tell us why and how you created it?

First, this isn’t something I’ve thought about, but if I were asked what Water-Balloon-describing adjective would be the most satisfying and happy-making, I think I’d have said “authentic,” so thank you so very much for that. As a reader I am deeply put off by inauthentic moments in books and my greatest concern was avoiding such moments.

Second, to answer the opposite of your question, the only thing that’s really true in this book is Rig, who is based on my beloved dog, Rookie (with the one difference being that Rig never takes off when unleashed while Rookie’s greatest desire seems to be to get very far away from me as quickly as he is able).

Third, a real answer: I made up that Monopoly game. I wanted something that was unique and important to those three friends. Their version of the game, along with the water balloon blitz tradition, is meant to convey the weight and worth of their years of intense friendship.

4) Can you tell us about your own young life as a Yankee fan?

I wasn’t a young Yankee fan! I grew up in Queens, home of the Mets. I tried to love that team of misfits, but I just couldn’t.

I imagine the Yankees started to rub off on me when I was attending high school in the Bronx. But there was something about living in Boston in the late eighties that brought out the Bronx in me.

My great Yankee fan years have been adult years. I’ve been fortunate to be at some stadium-shaking games in the old stadium, and over at the new house with my son when Derek Jeter got his 3000th hit. That was an awesome, electric day. (Check this out, Red Sox fans: Hunt’s devoting time and space in her blog to great Yankee moments!)

5) Which relationship in the book did you find the most satisfying to write?

I thought a lot about how to answer this one. I think Marley grows a lot in almost all her relationships, even those that ultimately end. But I think the one I enjoyed writing the most was the one that was unchanging—Marley’s relationship with her dog, Rig.

Rig is just in the background a lot, but he’s always there, the way we can count on our pets to be when life’s too hard to talk about with other humans. He’s steady, that Rig. I’m glad Marley had him.

6) How did the book change during the revision process with your editor?

First with my agent, and then with my editor. The big change with the agent-revision was to strive to make it a less quiet book. All the water balloon material was added in this revision—which means the most painful scene, the one in which Marley pretty much commits social suicide, is new. While things were very difficult and complicated with her friends in earlier drafts, the addition of the balloon blitz tradition helped me raise the stakes in a way that was absent from earlier drafts.

I think what my revision with my editor achieved was to make Marley more likeable. She grows more in this version. It was so interesting to me—with a few light strokes, a self-pitying scene flipped into one that was more likely to evoke compassion in readers. My editor also suggested the addition of a couple of scenes that now feel like they have always been there, including the last scene.

Audrey, thanks so much for coming by today. And, a huge congratulations on this wonderful debut. Can’t wait to read the next one!

Categories: author, Book Review, books, inspiring, interview | Tags: | 2 Comments

Mentor Monday ~ Cynthia Levinson

A big Mentor Monday welcome to Cynthia Levinson! She is a fabulous non-fiction writer, having authored piles of fascinating articles and a book coming out from Peachtree in 2012 entitled, WE HAVE A JOB: THE 1963 BIRMINGHAM CHILDREN’S MARCH.

I first heard an excerpt from this book about 18 months ago and was drawn in immediately. When I was young, non-fiction books merely spewed facts, but Cynthia’s writing is filled with character development, intrigue, action, and fascinating details. Actually, so is Cynthia! 😉

Here’s a taste:

PROLOGUE: “I WANT TO GO TO JAIL”

Eight-year-old Audrey woke up Thursday morning with freedom on her mind. But, before she could be free, she knew she had to go to jail.

“I want to go to jail,” Audrey told her mother.

“OK,” her mother answered.

She asked her parents to buy her a game she’d been eyeing. She figured that Operation, in which you take the bones out of a plastic figure and put them back together, would entertain her in case she got bored during her week on a cellblock.

Her mother thought it would be polite for her to tell Miss Wills, her third-grade teacher at Center Street Elementary, that she’d be absent. Miss Wills cried.
“I think she was proud of me,” Audrey said.

She also hugged all four grandparents goodbye.

One of her grandmothers assured her, “You’ll be fine.”

Then, Audrey’s mother drove her to church so she could be arrested.
Wait a minute! What kind of eight-year-old volunteers to go to jail? And, what kind of mother says, “OK” and makes sure she gets there? And, why would she get arrested at church?

Is this real?

Yes. Audrey Faye Hendricks and her mother, Lola, are real. So is this story.

Audrey was one of the youngest of about 4,000 black children who marched, protested, sang, and prayed their way to jail during the first week of May 1963, in Birmingham, Alabama. Their goal was to end segregation in the most racially separated and violent city in America. Many young people suffered attacks by snarling German shepherds and days of being crammed into sweltering sweatboxes. Some wondered if they would survive. And, if they did, could they accept these punishments with dignity, as they had been taught? Or, would they retaliate against the white policemen who were abusing them?

Audrey and three other young people—Washington Booker III, James Stewart, and Arnetta Streeter—will be your guides through these harrowing events. Along the way, you’ll hear from others as well.

I knew that Cynthia’s agent, Erin Murphy, was shopping this ms around and I was so hoping that it would sell! When I got word that it did, I danced in my office to a blaring SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED, I’M YOURS (my official book contract celebratory song! Go ahead and click it. You know you want to. Do it.)

I know that WE HAVE A JOB will be the first of many books that lucky children everywhere will read from Cynthia!

Here is Cynthia’s Mentor Story:

I didn’t know that Mary Jane was mentoring me until it was too late. Had I known, I would have inhaled every comment and suggestion she made in our critique group. Even her silences, head cocked, were tactfully telling. But, it’s only in retrospect that I realized how honored I should have felt to get guidance from Mary Jane Hopkins before she abruptly died.

It was Mary Jane, who, looking at my tediously over-long and expository manuscripts, suggested I switch from writing fiction to nonfiction. Finding that niche on my own took me another five years, at least 30 rejections of inept fiction, and an exasperated dismissal by a famous writer of my amateurish novel at an expensive weeklong retreat.

While I stubbornly insisted I was going to write picture books, she urged me to write for the magazine market. She was right about that, too, though I didn’t realize it until years later when a famous editor scribbled all over the first chapter of that very same novel at another expensive weeklong retreat.

Along the way, Mary Jane patiently helped me pare words, hone the story, find a rhythm. It’s only because of her that I finally sold two stories—to magazines, of course. The effusiveness of her congratulations masked her own role in these successes. Still, my own blinkered, I-can-do-it-myself attitude meant that one story had to be heavily edited, and the other was never printed.

Just before she suffered the stroke, she had been working on a beautifully crafted novel about a boy whose parents were divorcing and another who was entering the adoption system. Every chapter tightened the emotional grip of the one before. We were nearly as devastated to lose the progress of her story as we were to lose Mary Jane. When her husband asked our critique group to finish the novel, we sorrowfully explained that the distinctive voice, the clean writing, and the characters we looked forward to visiting with every week were hers alone. Mary Jane’s daughter, who inherited her mother’s writing genes, found a page of notes and questions her mother had kept. Question #10, I believe, was “How does it end?”

My writing—almost all nonfiction and, thanks to success in the magazine market, finally branching out to a trade book—would find its flow and reach its end so much more effectively if I could still hear Mary Jane. Fortunately, she taught me, posthumously, to listen, which I do, avidly, to my later mentors, whose advice I embrace.

Thank you, Cynthia! Very touching and a good message for us all!

Here is another song–a beautiful tribute.

Categories: author, EMLA, Erin Murphy, interview, Mentor Monday, writing

First Author Interview! YEAH!

Hey!

Check out my first author interview (and the crowds cheered! Well, I did anyway…) done by the wildly talented, Jame Richards:

http://jamerichards.blogspot.com/2010/05/interview-with-nancy-paulsen-author.html

Categories: confession, interview, journey, Nancy Paulsen Books (Penguin), One for the Murphys, SCBWI, writing | 3 Comments

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