Check out my podcast interview with the fantastic, Justin the Teen Librarian. We talk about the sequel to SCREWBALL: CHANGE UP, my fave books, and tips for teen writers. But, the best part about the Podcast is my Jersey Girl accent isn't too noticable (or maybe it is and I'm just numb to it). :) Don't forget to leave a comment to win the Yay for January Giveaway! I'll post the winner and a new February giveaway on Sunday. :) Happy Thursday!
1. My daughter - Especially when she hugs me, tell me she loves me, giggles, acts goofy, smiles, dances, lights up, I could seriously go on and on... :)
2. Nighttime - I love snuggling up with Kaci, reading her a bedtime story, then hanging with my hubby. :)
3. Family - Nothing is better then spending time with my nieces and extended family, especially at the beach. :)
4. Summer - The boardwalk, the beach, the bay.. I miss you, Summer! Snow, please leave. :)
5. Sports - The sounds, the smells.. Since I was a little girl, I've loved sports. And even as I get a little bit older, a little bit rustier, and a little bit slower (okay a lot) I still love sports. :)
6. Last, but not least, writing - Who knew all the crazy stories swirling around in my noggin would have a purpose and turn into a career. :)
Okay.. I tag everyone who is reading this..
Pretty Tough Tuesday: Attention fastpitch fanatics: Find out how to fight softball winter withdraw here.
I'll be chatting at the Institute of Children's Literature's Writer's Retreat today through Friday answering questions about sporty books for girls and writing. Check it out and say hello here. Have a fabulous day! :)
Jessica is the author of the highly anticipated Canterwood Crest middle grade series. Here first book, TAKE THE REINS, dropped last week, the second book in the series, CHASING BLUE, is due to hit stores in March, the third, BEHIND THE BIT, and fourth, TRIPLE FAULT, will be released later this year. She's also recently signed a contract for four more books to continue the series. Jessica is one busy writer. :)
1. I love the inspiring background story about how you began writing - the spinal fusion and after reading a bunch of teen magazines, writing yourself. Then, penning a series about your passion. :) Tell us a little bit about the series.
First, thanks so much for letting me hijack your blog, Keri! I'm so glad to be here! :)
Canterwood Crest is a middle-grade series from Simon & Schuster's Aladdin MIX. The first book, TAKE THE REINS, was released last week and it's the first of eight books.
In TAKE THE REINS, twelve-year old small-town girl Sasha Silver leaves home to attend Canterwood Crest Academy - an elite Connecticut boarding school. Sasha comes to Canterwood with one goal - to make the school's advanced equestrian team. Sasha and her horse, Charm, are up against tough competition and the pressure is on from the second Sasha steps on campus.
My biggest wish for the series is to share my love of horses with readers. If kids can't ride or haven't ridden before, I hope they're able to enjoy the thrill of horses with Sasha and her friends.
2. Do you pull from your own equestrian experiences? Are the characters based on teammates?
I do think back to my own riding experiences. I loved trial riding, so I take Sasha and her friends on a trail ride as often as possible. :) My stable in Tennessee wasn't super-competitive in English riding - the type Sasha and her friends do. Instead, more people rode Western, so I didn't have many friends who rode English. My best riding friend, Amy, was a fantastic Western rider. I taught her about English riding and she showed me how to ride Western. I try to infuse a similar feeling of teamwork into the Canterwood books.
3. What is your daily writing schedule like? Do you write everyday?
I do write every day. Since I'm writing a series, the process is a bit different. With a series, there are days when I juggle different parts of the publishing process for multiple books. So, on one day I might be writing a new draft, but the next day I could be still writing that draft and doing copy edits for another book.
I turn on my laptop in the morning and check e-mail, read blogs, and, erm, play with Facebook until I'm fully caffeinated. I work until lunch and I'm back at it until the evening. At night, while indulging in bad TV, I use that time to read printed drafts, work on PR, or read.
4. Besides writing, what is your dream profession?
If I absolutely couldn't write another book, I'd love to write for TV. Okay, okay, that's another writing job, but it would be different than writing books. :) Does that count?
5. Who is your fave celebrity? And/or if you could have dinner with any three people (dead or alive) who would they be?
My current fave celeb is Chace Crawford. My decision was based purely on aesthetic and shallow reasons. :)
Oooh, three people. Hmm.. so many to choose from!
Okay, in no particular order:
Anne Hathaway (Princess Diaries, Prada and Rachel Getting Married. I heart thee, Anne!)
Kate Brian (I'd do a fan-girl squee and scare her.)
It's Jason Acuna, AKA Wee Man, and he was hanging at the Borgata last Thursday. While playing the slots, I spotted him, except as usual, I froze. So, I didn't get an autograph or even a wave. I just stood and stared while Wee Man kind of looked around, averting all eye contact.
Have you been to the Borgata? Although, I only live about twenty minutes away from Atlantic City, this was my first trip to the gorgeous new casino. And I loved it. Well, I'm not really hard to please. I kind of love all casinos. The lights, the dings, the stores.
Speaking of casinos. Recently, my dad retired and I started thinking about getting old (Dad if you're reading this, you're not old). Do you have a retirement dream? You know, like I'm going to spend my retirement doing (blank).
Here's mine. I will be a very happy lady if by the time I retire, I'm parked in front of a flashing slot machine, sipping drinks, and holding a designer bag. And then, I'd like to spend the rest of my days golfing, reading, writing, watching sports and attending author functions. And I'd like to have all my functions.
The fabulous and super nice, PJ Hoover, author of THE EMERALD TABLET, took time out from her busy writing life to answer some questions about first drafts, Science Fiction, and her fans.
Check out her website here and her amazing blog here. And to get your hands her fantastic debut, THE EMERALD TABLET, click here.
1. THE EMERALD TABLET is the first of a three book series - THE FORGOTTEN WORLD. How did you come up with amazing creative setting - a world hidden underneath the Pacific Ocean? Also, can you tell us about the series?
I've always had that love of the unknown. Anything that can't be explained fascinated me. It was like there was a mystery and nobody had uncovered it yet. So I always loved Atlantis and I knew it would factor in my story. And while googling Atlantis, I found the sister continent of Lemuria deep under the Pacific Ocean. And I knew immediately this is where my story would take place! The Forgotten World Books, starting with THE EMERALD TABLET, tell the story of five kids who learn not only are they from this hidden continent under the Pacific Ocean, but they aren't even human - they're a species called telegens, and they have special powers like telekinesis and telepathy. So they're all set to spend their summer playing around playing tricks with their awesome power when they actually find out they need to save the world. And summer was supposed to be all fun and games.
2. Did you always want to be a writer? Or did the writing bug bite you later in life? Did you know immediately you wanted to write Science Fiction?
I never wanted to be a writer! I wanted to be an engineer. Which I was (for about fifteen years). And probably still will be no matter what. After all, a key part of engineering is trying to fix every little thing that breaks around the house. Once you're an engineer, you're always an engineer. :)
But while deeply entrenched in the engineering world, I had two kids and started wondering what else there was to life. Thankfully (very thankfully) my second (a daughter) slept through the night way early on, so in the evenings after the kids were in bed, I started writing. And if there's one thing I am it's consistent. I write every single night, and when I have to miss, there better be a pretty darn good reason why!
As for genre, there was never any question in my mind I wanted to write science-fiction or fantasy. It's all I read since I first learned to make the distinction, and it's what draws my interest above all else.
3. Are any of THE EMERALD TABLET characters like you? If not, what is your favorite character.
THE EMERALD TABLET has five main characters, and they all have a part of me. that said I'm mostly like a blend of Heidi and Gary. Heidi is fin, spunky, and doesn't mind breaking the rules. Gary is a nerd, plays chess, and never breaks the rules. Which kind of explains the battles which go on inside my head from time to time.
4. Do you revise as you write? Or do you write the first draft, then go back and revise?
I never revise as I write. I don't even go back and change a character's name if they've changed or remove characters I decide I don't want. I put a note on the side margin and push on through the first draft. Because finishing the first draft is a great feeling!
5. What has been the best fan reaction to your book so far?
I love getting the reactions from kids! Kids are perfect and precious and so sincere. I had the son of someone I know call me on the phone and tell me THE EMERALD TABLET was the best book he'd ever read. I also got chosen over Katherine Paterson's BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA for a classroom read-aloud. Knowing a kid likes my book is the best gift in the world.
Keri Mikulski is the author of HEAD GAMES (Razorbill/Penguin, January 6th, 2011), Pretty Tough Books 4-6 (Penguin/Razorbill, 2011-2012), SCREWBALL (The National Writing for Children Center’s 2008 Summer Young Adult Pick), and its sequel, CHANGE UP (a 2009 Cybil Nominee). Visit her website at http://www.kerimikulski.com.