Thursday, July 3, 2014

Infinite Sky in Toronto...

So, I'm back from North America. Who can believe it? Not me.


 

 For fear of missing my plane and the whole tour, I got to the airport for the first of my five flights stupidly early. En route, I checked I was still okay-looking.

Check.

In preparation for my big adventure I had a bag of extremely healthy and nutritious snacks, plus Emma Jane Unsworth's rude and remarkable novel, Animals.



After a feast of weird but delicious airplane food and many sitcoms, I arrived in Canada.



More specifically, Toronto. I fell in love with this place with its colourful buildings and blue skies.


I just missed a huge storm, but there was no sign of it where I was staying, in Queen West.
Rita Silva from Simon and Schuster picked me up, and took me to my hotel WHICH HAD AN INFINITY POOL ON THE ROOF, but after wandering around a bit, I had to give into jetlag (which is a real thing - who knew?) draw my curtains and pretend to be in England.



Cue waking up about five o'clock every day for the rest of my trip, and not even minding. The next day was a school visit to Bowmore Public School where I talked to a couple of hundred students about how I became a writer (always preferred books to people), and where the idea for Infinite Sky came from (made it up).

Afterwards, there was a signing, and then - one of the highlights of the trip - some students showed us a dance they were learning. I wasn't such a pro in those first heady days of the tour, and so I didn't take photos of any of this. Idiot.


Suffice to say it was the best thing I've ever seen, and you have missed out in a way you can't understand. Imagine thirty teens springing around semi-enthusiastically to a mega mix of Motown into The Beatles into The Spice Girls into Nirvana into Miley Cyrus and then just enjoy it really.

After this was lots of signings at various branches of Indigos, which is Canada's biggest independent book store, and then a very delicious lunch with some of the S&S team and some of the people from Indigo at Brassai.

I then made a quick film with Hayley from The O'Deary Library, and then began my time off, during which I planned to eat everything. I did quite well at achieving this goal. Lots of people I asked for tips suggested I go to Kensington Market, which was vivid and busy.


And also had this car garden. (Carden?)


Here is the place that Felicia from S&S recommended, and which served the best fish tacos I have ever tasted.


After my day off in Toronto, it was time to fly to Los Angeles for the next bit of my trip, the Summer Lovin 2.0 tour, with Sarah Ockler, Jody Casella and Suzanne Young, which was even more fun that I had anticipated.

Come back soon to read about how me and the Summer Lovin ladies got our photo taken on the red carpet, met Steven R. McQueen from The Vampire Diaries and tried to give Ellen DeGeneres free cakes.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Summer Lovin' 2.0 Tour, California, Sarah Ockler and Good Reads giveaway!



It's just over two weeks until I go on the Summer Lovin' 2.0 tour of California with fellow Simon and Schuster writers Sarah Ockler, Suzanne Young and Jody Casella. To celebrate Suzanne's friend at Novel Novice has made this poster for us:

Last week, I interviewed Jody Casella about her writing. Next up is Sarah Ockler. Here she is, look!


And here is her bio:

Sarah Ockler is the bestselling author of several books for teens: The Book of Broken Hearts, Bittersweet, Twenty Boy Summer, Fixing Delilah, and the upcoming #scandal. Her books have received numerous accolades, including ALA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults, Girls’ Life Top 100 Must Reads, Indie Next List, Amazon Top Movers and Shakers, and nominations for YALSA Teens’ Top Ten and NPR’s Top 100 Teen Books.

She’s a champion cupcake eater, coffee drinker, tarot enthusiast, night person, and bookworm. When she’s not writing or reading at home in Colorado, Sarah enjoys hugging trees and road-tripping through the country with her husband, Alex. In addition to her website at sarahockler.com, fans can find her on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook. Or check out her blog.


  
Hi Sarah! Tell us about a typical day in the life of you...

Well... there are pajamas involved. Lots of staring at a blinking cursor. Eating chocolate. Wondering where all the chocolate went. Baking cupcakes to make up for lack of chocolate. Back to the blinking cursor. Falling down an internet rabbit hole. Some kind of social media-inspired outrage. Time to eat those cupcakes. And suddenly it's dark outside! Somehow, books get written here, but I'm not sure exactly how. Surely there is magic afoot. ;-)
 

And how many books have you written?

I've written six novels for teens: Twenty Boy Summer, Fixing Delilah, Bittersweet, The Book of Broken Hearts, #scandal, and my latest, still untitled, due out next summer.


I just received #scandal from Simon and Schuster, and can't wait to read it. So, which authors inspire you?

All of them! Seriously, anyone who can sit at a computer or notebook all day and give words and stories to the voices in her head has my utmost respect (crazy authors unite!). But I'm especially inspired by authors who were writing YA before YA was even "a thing" -- like Judy Blume, Laurie Halse Anderson, Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and hundreds of others who continue to put out great works, even as the market continues to change and grow.

Do you plan your novels or make them up as you go along?

It depends on the book, but I've been known to create monster plot spreadsheets before typing a single word of story on the page. I'm trying to get away from that, though, to let the creativity flow a bit more organically. Now, as long as I have an idea of the general theme I'm exploring, and the kinds of characters who can best express that theme through their interactions and challenges, I'll write. We'll see how that works out! Basically, I try to just keep an open mind with each new project, because every book has different emotional and time demands, and what works with one won't work for another.


Do you have a vision of what the world will be like in 200 years? Could you share it?

200 years? I don't even have a vision of what I'm making for dinner! But I've read recently that we're running out of coffee and chocolate, so whatever it is, it can't be good. Speaking of coffee and chocolate... I think I've just solved the what's-for-dinner conundrum. Bonus!


Ha! I am in editing mode, which means noodles and coffee for dinner for me. Which book do you wish you had written?

The Raven Boys series by Maggie Stiefvater. 


And finally, what are you working on at the moment?

I just turned in my latest contemp YA, so I'm expecting revision notes on that soon. I'm also working on a supertopsecret project with my husband, details to be revealed in the future. But hopefully not 200 years in the future, when we're all out of the good stuff.


Thanks Sarah! The supertopsecret project sounds intriguing. Hopefully I'll get to find out more about that when we meet in California...

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Summer Lovin' 2.0, California, June 2014 and Good Reads giveaway

It's not long until I go on the Summer Lovin' 2.0 tour of California with fellow Simon and Schuster writers Sarah Ockler, Suzanne Young and Jody Casella. To celebrate I have set up a Good Reads giveaway of Infinite Sky. Just click the side bar to the right of this post.

And seeing as I'm going to be spending almost a week with Ockler, Young and Casella, I thought it might be good to get to know them a bit better. So, Jody Casella is first. Here she is, look!:


And here is her official bio: 

Jody Casella is a former high school English teacher with a degree in Creative Writing from Rhodes College and a Masters in English from the University of Memphis. Her first novel Thin Space, a paranormal YA mystery published by Beyond Words/Simon & Schuster, received a starred review from Kirkus. She lives with her husband and two teenagers in Columbus, Ohio.

Hiya Jody! Can you tell us about a typical day in the life of you?
 
Mostly my day is a long, painful battle with procrastination and self doubt, intermixed with frequent dog walkings. Every day I wake up planning to start my writing early, and every day after doing every possible other thing, I finally break down and begin my work. Usually around 2:00. 
 
What have you written so far?

Thin Space, a YA paranormal mystery about a teen boy grappling with his identical twin brother's death. (It's the sixth novel I've written and the first to be published.)

Congratulations on completing so many novels, and not giving up. Which authors inspire you?

Meg Rosoff, Courtney Summers, Laurie Halse Anderson, John Green, Maggie Stiefvater. On the adult side: Barbara Kingsolver and Richard Russo.

And do you plan your novels or make them up as you go along?

I make them up as I go, writing to figure out what the heck I am writing. This method of working, I've learned, requires multiple rewrites and outlining after the fact. I'm not sure I would recommend it.

I wouldn't recommend it either, but it's what I do too. Which book do you wish you had written? 

Funny that you ask. I just wrote a post about this for a group blog I contribute to called YA Outside the Lines.

And finally, what are you working on at the moment?

A rewrite of a rewrite of a rewrite. I THINK I have almost cracked the code on this one and don't want to jinx it by talking about it too much. I call it Greek Mythology Meets Environmental Disaster.

It sounds intriguing, and I hope that Jody is right about having cracked the code on it. First drafts are the worst... For those of you who might be able to make it, here are the tour dates again. Please come and see us:


 
SUMMER LOVIN’ 2.0 TOUR STOPS

Sunday, June 22 at 3:00PM

Mission Viejo Library
100 Civic Center
Mission Viejo, CA 92691

Monday, June 23 at 7:00PM

Mysterious Galaxy
7051 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard
Suite 302
San Diego, CA 92111

Tuesday, June 24 at 7:00PM

Barnes & Noble
210 Americana Way
Glendale, CA 91210

Wednesday, June 25 at 6:30PM

Vroman’s Bookstore
695 E. Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91101

Thursday, June 26 at 6:00PM

Book Passage
51 Tamal Vista Boulevard
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Friday, June 27 at 7:00PM

Kepler’s Books
1010 El Camino Real
Menlo Park, CA 94025

Monday, May 19, 2014

Infinite Sky goes to the U.S.!

Infinite Sky comes out in the U.S. tomorrow! It's so exciting. Even more exciting is that I'm going on a book tour next month. It will be the first time I have crossed the Atlantic, and I am very happy to going as a published author.



Not all of the details are confirmed yet, but the Californian stretch is, so I shall tell you about that. I will be touring with three other Simon and Schuster authors: Sarah Ockler, Suzanne Young and Jody Casella.

I can't wait to meet my fellow tourers, and hope we will bond to the extent of getting matching tattoos during our time together. (Expectations under control, as usual.)

Come back to find more about them, as I will be interviewing each of them in the weeks leading up to the tour. Also, I will be running a competition, giving away a free copy of the U.S. version of Infinite Sky. Here are the dates and times of the tour dates so far:

SUMMER LOVIN’ 2.0 TOUR STOPS
Sunday, June 22 at 3:00PM
Mission Viejo Library
100 Civic Center
Mission Viejo, CA 92691
 
Monday, June 23 at 7:00PM
Mysterious Galaxy
7051 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard
Suite 302
San Diego, CA 92111
 
Tuesday, June 24 at 7:00PM
Barnes & Noble
210 Americana Way
Glendale, CA 91210
 
Wednesday, June 25 at 6:30PM
Vroman’s Bookstore
695 E. Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91101
 
Thursday, June 26 at 6:00PM
Book Passage
51 Tamal Vista Boulevard
Corte Madera, CA 94925
 
Friday, June 27 at 7:00PM
Kepler’s Books
1010 El Camino Real
Menlo Park, CA 94025
 
Do you live near any of these bookshops? Can you come and see us read, and tell stories? To make it even better, there will be pizza. But do you have any ideas about how to make our events even more marvellous?