2017 Debut Book Love – The Thing with Feathers

Fellow Class of 2k17 member McCall Hoyle’s debut novel, THE THING WITH FEATHERS, released earlier this month. This is YA at its best – and teachers and librarians are going to want more than one copy of this book on their shelves.

2017 Debut Book Love | The Thing with Feathers | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comEmilie Day believes in playing it safe: she’s homeschooled, her best friend is her seizure dog, and she’s probably the only girl on the Outer Banks of North Carolina who can’t swim.

Then Emilie’s mom enrolls her in public school, and Emilie goes from studying at home in her pj’s to halls full of strangers. To make matters worse, Emilie is paired with starting point guard Chatham York for a major research project on Emily Dickinson. She should be ecstatic when Chatham shows interest, but she has a problem. She hasn’t told anyone about her epilepsy.

Emilie lives in fear her recently adjusted meds will fail and she’ll seize at school. Eventually, the worst happens, and she must decide whether to withdraw to safety or follow a dead poet’s advice and “dwell in possibility.”

THE THINGS WITH FEATHERS is a touching story and a compelling read. Teens will love it – but so will adults.

The Thing with FeathersThe Thing with Feathers by McCall Hoyle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A beautiful book – full of hope. McCall Hoyle’s YA debut captures the fears and excitement of edging past what’s comfortable and safe – and learning to trust the people around you. The writing is lovely and the characters are perfectly drawn – likeable but flawed, and at all times, believable.

View all my reviews

For readers

  • A relate-able hero.
  • A sweet romance.
  • A school environment/community that teens will recognize.

For teachers

  • Emily Dickinson!
  • Beautiful and heartfelt writing.
  • A close look at facing fears and finding your way to acceptance.

THE THING WITH FEATHERS is available now. You can pick up a copy at your local bookstore or online at:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Powells

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Author Spotlight: R.M. Romero Talks About The Dollmaker of Karkow

Author Spotlight | RM Romero Talks About the Dollmaker of Krakow | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comToday I’m shining the Author Spotlight on R.M. Romero and her debut novel THE DOLLMAKER OF KRAKOW.

Title: The Dollmaker of Kraków

Genre: Historical Fantasy

Age Range: 8-12

Launch Date: September 12th, 2017

 

Please tell us a little bit about your book?

 The Dollmaker of Kraków is a historical fantasy novel that follows Karolina, a living doll who arrives in Krakow, Poland on the eve of World War II. It chronicles her friendship with a veteran of the Great War and a Jewish man and his daughter, and what happens to them during the German occupation of the city from 1939 to 1943.

What inspired you to write this story and/or these characters?

I never would have written The Dollmaker of Kraków if I hadn’t traveled to Poland when I was a teenager. (I’ve been back twice since.) At eighteen, I was struck by the beauty of the city of Kraków and shattered by the horror of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. It took me almost a decade to be able to be able to write about those things, though the form it took was quite unexpected…

Everyone says writing is a process. Could you share a little about your writing and/or research process?

For better or worse, I am what is known as a “pantser.” I don’t outline my books; I let my characters lead me through the story while I’m writing the first draft. Then I go back and revise, cutting out threads that fizzled out and making sure the plot unfolds in a more coherent way. I draw inspiration from music, art, reading nonfiction, and traveling.

We know no writer is created in a vacuum. Could you tell the readers about a teacher or a librarian who had an effect on your writing life?

In middle school, most of my teachers were annoyed by how I was more interested in writing fiction than paying attention in class. But my 8th grade English teacher Carrie actively encouraged me to keep writing. During our graduation ceremony, one of the teachers would say a few words about a student they’d grown close to. When my turn came, Carrie told the audience that one day, they would see a book I’d written on the shelf in Barnes and Noble. It meant the world to me. And happily, her prediction has come true!

What makes your book a good pick for use in a classroom? Is there any particular way you’d like to see teachers use it with young readers/teens?

In a time when hatred and xenophobia are on the rise, I think that it’s valuable to look back at history and see not only how such things can lead to tragedies, but how to actively resist them. The Dollmaker of Kraków is about doing just that.

I wanted to write a book that gave a historically accurate and sensitive depiction of the Holocaust and the German occupation of Poland during the Second World War, and I think that it could be paired with lessons about WWII by teachers and librarians. I even have a series of blog posts containing more historical information paired with photos from my trips to Kraków that I plan to put on my website in September. I also wanted to let young readers experience the beautiful and unique city of Kraków and give them a window into Polish folklore and mythology, which is fascinating!

I’m a little dog obsessed here at www.patriciabaileyauthor.com. Would you tell the readers  about  your favorite dog (real or imaginary)?

This is Tucker, my family’s dachshund. If you’ve seen Up! and remember Dug, that sums up Tucker quite well…

Author Spotlight: RM Romero Talks About the Dollmaker of Krakow | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

 

Author Spotlight: RM Romero Talks About the Dollmaker of Krakow | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com
R. M. Romero the author of fairy tales and children’s fiction. She lives with her family and a menagerie of pets in Colorado. You can visit her online at rmromero.com, Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr.

 

 

Thanks, R.M.!

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How I Got My Agent

I took part in a fun “How I Got My Agent” blog post over at Beth McMullen’s blog last week. Beth is a fellow middle grade debut author whose book, MRS. SMITH’S SPY SCHOOL FOR GIRLS,  released in July.

Here’s a quick summary:

mrs-smiths-spy-school-for-girls-coverA girl discovers her boarding school is actually an elite spy-training program, and she must learn the skills of the trade in order to find her mother in this action-packed middle grade debut.

After a botched escape plan from her boarding school, Abigail is stunned to discover the school is actually a cover for an elite spy ring called The Center, along with being training grounds for future spies. Even more shocking? Abigail’s mother is a top agent for The Center and she has gone MIA, with valuable information that many people would like to have—at any cost. Along with a former nemesis and charming boy from her grade, Abigail goes through a crash course in Spy Training 101, often with hilarious—and sometimes painful—results. But Abigail realizes she might be a better spy-in-training than she thought—and the answers to her mother’s whereabouts are a lot closer than she thinks…

I haven’t read MRS. SMITH’S SPY SCHOOL FOR GIRLS yet, but I can’t wait to curl up with it soon. Boarding school. Spy training. A charming nemesis. It’s bound to be a fun read.

And so is Beth’s “How I got my agent” story. Talk about 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon.

Check out the post over at Beth’s site – and maybe pick up a copy of her novel while you’re there.

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Author Spotlight: Jonathan Rosen Talks About Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies

Author Spotlight | Jonathan Rosen Talks Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comToday I’m shining the Author Spotlight on Jonathan Rosen and his debut novel NIGHT OF THE LIVING CUDDLE BUNNIES.

Title: Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies

Genre: MG Humor/sci-fi/horror

Age Range: Ages 10-13 or Grades 6-8

Launch Date: August 1, 2017

Please tell us a little bit about your book?

It’s about Devin and his cousin Tommy, who think a witch has moved into the neighborhood. Nobody believes them, until strange things start happening. Things like reports of the hot new Christmas toy, the Cuddle Bunny, coming to life all around town. Devin and Tommy have to prove the new neighbor is behind it, while at the same time being forced to fight the cutest little monsters ever.

What inspired you to write this story and/or these characters?

The story had always been in the back of my mind. I wanted to do something with evil stuffed animals and make it quirky and funny. And then the right timing struck. I had just had a couple of really close calls with a previous manuscript, but get stopped at the very end both times. Both places gave me different reasons why they ultimately passed, but the common thread with both of them, was that they loved the humor. So, with that fresh in my mind, I returned to that evil stuffed animal manuscript, and set off to make the funniest book that I could. I think it lived up to that and the characters were sort of organic. They have their own quirks, which fit and grew into the situation more and more as I went along.

Everyone says writing is a process. Could you share a little about your writing and/or research process?

I’m such a bad person to ask about this. Writing, I get in whenever I can. If I have a spare half-hour here and there, I’ll jump into write. Mostly, I write at night when the house is quiet and everyone is in bed. What helps me, is having a weekly critique group. I feel the pressure to have a chapter ready for Tuesdays, so I make sure to have something to read then. It doesn’t always happen, but most of the time, I’m ready for Tuesday.

As far as research goes, I do a TON. I look up almost everything I want to use. Even if I think I know it all, I look it up to make sure, before I put it in a story.

We know no writer is created in a vacuum. Could you tell the readers about a teacher or a librarian who had an effect on your writing life?

I like this question. I do always remember one teacher who inspired writing. Ms. Spurny back in high school. I’d had writing in my English classes before, but she had fun creative writing exercises, which I loved. I’d never had things like that before. I even took some of the exercises she did when I started teaching. Her class was one of the first ones I had, where it wasn’t just learning the proper format of writing. She let us be as creative as we wanted and take a story wherever we wanted to go.

What makes your book  a good pick for use in a classroom? Is there any particular way you’d  like to see teachers use it with young readers/teens?

 My book is funny. Honest! I do think kids will get a big kick out of things in there and there are plenty of jokes for their parents as well. Besides looking up certain references the book makes, I think it will just be entertaining for kids. My kids loved when I did the voices and dialect for the characters, so this is something to reward students for working. I’m sticking to that.

I’m a little dog obsessed here at www.patriciabaileyauthor.com. Would you tell the readers about  your favorite dog (real or imaginary)?

My favorite dog is a Chesapeake Bay Retriever (mostly) mutt named Parker. He’s less than a year old and is about the biggest lapdog there is. He’s so loving and loves to cuddle. Oh, I didn’t mention…he’s mine! Love that dog and he’s made an impact on everyone in the house.

 

Author Spotlight | Jonathan Rosen Talks Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

 

Author Spotlight | Jonathan Rosen Talks Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comJonathan Rosen is a transplanted New Yorker, who now lives with his family in sunny, South Florida. He spends his “free” time being a volunteer coach and chauffeur for his three kids. Some of Jonathan’s fondest childhood memories are of discovering a really good book to dive into. He mostly writes middle-grade, because he finds that he shares the same sense of humor as that audience. Jonathan proudly represents diversity by way of being half-Mexican and half-American, though to be fair, neither country is really willing to accept responsibility.

You can find him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/houseofrosen?lang=en

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JRosen18

FromtheMixedUpFiles.Com, The Tuesday Writers and has own website, WWW.HouseofRosen.com

Thanks, Jonathan!

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Author Spotlight: Melissa Roske Talks About Kat Greene Comes Clean

Author Spotlight | Melissa Roske Talks About Kat Green Comes Clean | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comToday I’m shining the Author Spotlight on Melissa Roske and her debut novel KAT GREENE COMES CLEAN.

Title: KAT GREENE COMES CLEAN

Genre: Contemporary MG

Age Range: 8-12

Launch Date: August 22, 2017, from Charlesbridge


Please tell us a little bit about your book?

Eleven-year-old Kat Greene has a lot on her pre-rinsed plate, thanks to her divorced mom’s obsession with cleaning. When Mom isn’t scrubbing every inch of their Greenwich Village apartment, she’s boiling the silverware or checking Kat’s sheets for bedbugs. Add friendship troubles to the mix, a crummy role in the school play, and Mom’s decision to try out for Clean Sweep, a TV game show about cleaning, and what’ve you got? More trouble than Kat can handle—at least without a little help from her friends.

What inspired you to write this story and/or these characters?

I first got the idea from a fortune cookie. It said, “A winsome smile is your sure protection.” I wasn’t sure what it meant quite honestly, but I liked the sentiment. So I started freewriting, and Kat Greene – a smart, kind, funny 11-year-old – popped out!

In terms of the mom’s character, that is more complicated. As you know from reading the book (thanks, Trish! J), Kat’s mom suffers from a cleaning compulsion—a symptom of her OCD. She’s also afraid of germs and contamination. It wasn’t until I was done writing the book that I realized that the mom is actually based on my dad. It honestly hadn’t occurred to me, at least on a conscious level. My dad, however, is the opposite of Kat’s mom. He is extremely messy and keeps everything. I actually found a datebook in his apartment from 1973! He also hasn’t been diagnosed with OCD, although his behavior certainly points to it. He’s a checker, for instance, which means he can’t sleep until he’s checked the front-door locks at least three times. I too have some OCD symptoms, including the need to have my window shades fixed at a certain level, but I wouldn’t say they adversely affect my life. They’re just annoying—to my family, and to myself.

Everyone says writing is a process. Could you share a little about your writing and/or research process?

I try to write every day, even if it’s for 15 minutes. That’s not to say I actually do it, but the operative word is try! I also like to do a little prewriting before I sit down to work. I have a special journal for this purpose, and I use it to test out ideas, explore plot points, and to ask myself plenty of “What if” questions. For instance, there’s a scene in my book where Halle is blabbing on and on about her crush, Michael McGraw.  I wasn’t sure how Kat should react, so I asked myself: “What if Kat told Halle to put a lid on it?” From there, the scene developed fluidly. Also, I don’t work from an outline, but I do write a synopsis before I tackle a project. I like to have a roadmap, even if I don’t follow it. It keeps me focused, and on track.

In terms of research, I had to do quite a lot, because I wanted to make sure that the mom’s OCD was portrayed fairly and accurately. Therefore, I read many books on the subject—including Traci Foust’s excellent Nowhere Near Normal: A Memoir of OCD—and I interviewed psychologists and psychiatrists. I wanted to be respectful of those who suffer from this disorder, as well as family members who suffer as a result.

We know no writer is created in a vacuum. Could you tell the readers about a teacher or a librarian who had an effect on your writing life?

I can’t choose one teacher because there were so many (!), but I can say that my love of writing was definitely nurtured and encouraged by my teachers at the City and Country School, the century-old progressive school, in New York’s Greenwich Village, on which Kat’s school is loosely based.  City and Country taught me to think outside the box, and to work independently. We didn’t have homework, or tests, or grades—yet we managed to “learn by doing,” the guiding principle of the school, coined by C&C’s visionary founder, educator Caroline Pratt.

What makes your book a good pick for use in a classroom? Is there any particular way you’d like to see teachers use it with young readers/teens?

I think KAT works well in a classroom, because most of the action takes place in the classroom—namely, the Village Humanity School, Kat’s ultra-progressive elementary school. That’s not to say that Kat’s classroom experience will mirror that of a more traditional classroom, but there are certain themes that are universal: coping with conflict; working out differences; respecting others; kindness.            

I’m a little dog obsessed here at www.patriciabaileyauthor.com. Would you tell the readers about your favorite dog (real or imaginary)?

I am a huge fan of my friend Irene’s bulldog, Bo Hwang. He has a sweet disposition, a cute wrinkly face, and a fierce sense of style. He has his own Facebook page too.

Author Spotlight | Melissa Roske Talks About Kat Green Comes Clean | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

Author Spotlight | Melissa Roske Talks About Kat Green Comes Clean | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comBefore spending her days with imaginary people, Melissa Roske interviewed real ones, as a journalist in Europe. In London, she landed a job as an advice columnist for Just Seventeen magazine, where she answered hundreds of letters from readers each week. Upon returning to her native New York, Melissa contributed to several books and magazines, selected jokes for Reader’s Digest, and got certified as a life coach. She lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan with her husband, daughter, and the occasional dust bunny.You can find Melissa on the web at:

WebsiteFacebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Instagram

Thanks, Melissa!

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Author Spotlight: Kristi Wientge Talks About Karma Khullar’s Mustache

Author Spotlight | Kristi Wientge Talks About Karma Kullar's Mustache | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comToday I’m shining the Author Spotlight on Kristi Wientge and her debut novel KARMA KHULLAR’S MUSTACHE.

Title: KARMA KHULLAR’S MUSTACHE

Genre: Contemporary

Age Range: MG

Launch Date: August 15, 2017


Please tell us a little bit about your book?

Karma is entering middle school and is super nervous. Not just because it seems like her best friend has found a newer, blonder best friend, or the fact that her home life is shaken up by the death of her dadima, or that her daddy is the new stay-at-home parent, leading her mom to spend most of her time at work. But because she’s realized she has seventeen hairs that have formed a mustache on her upper lip. With everyone preoccupied, Karma has no one to turn to, and must figure out what to make of her terrifyingly hairy surprise.

What inspired you to write this story and/or these characters?

Being a hairy girl, I’ve always wanted to read about a hairy girl, but no one ever wrote a book about this topic. It was only after I attended a master class at a writing conference in Singapore that I was inspired to come up with an interesting character name and once I had the name Karma Khullar, the rest of the story fell into place!

Everyone says writing is a process. Could you share a little about your writing and/or research process?

For a story to really take off for me, I have to start with the voice. I just tried to put some voice into a manuscript that I love, but lacked voice and it didn’t work. I pretty much struggled for a year trying to squish voice into it. For me, I can have the plot, the emotional arcs, even know the ending, but if I don’t have a strong voice, I’m not going to be able to do the story justice.

We know no writer is created in a vacuum. Could you tell the readers about a teacher or a librarian who had an effect on your writing life?

This question is so easy for me. My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Clark, was fresh out of college and brimming with ideas. She encouraged creative writing and let me and a friend put on plays for the class. She submitted my work to a publication for children’s writing. My short story Salt and Pepper was accepted and I just knew I was on my way to a Newberry!

What makes your book  a good pick for use in a classroom? Is there any particular way you’d like to see teachers use it with young readers/teens?

I’m not sure if the topic of facial hair is classroom worthy. As much as I wanted to read a book about another girl with facial hair as I was growing up, I would have been mortified if we’d read a book about it in class. I’m sure everyone in the classroom would be staring at me! What I would like to see teachers do is share this book with the girls they think it would help. Karma is dealing with more than just facial hair, she’s got family problems and friend problems and even if a girl isn’t hairy, I think it’d make the reader more empathetic towards girls they notice with hairiness issues.           

I’m a little dog obsessed here at www.patriciabaileyauthor.com. Would you tell the readers about your favorite dog (real or imaginary)?

I had a very dog-eared copy of BENJI by my bed for years and years growing up. I can still picture it in my head!

Author Spotlight | Kristi Wientge Talks About Karma Kullar's Mustache | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

 

Author Spotlight | Kristi Wientge Talks About Karma Kullar's Mustache | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comKristi Wientge is originally from Ohio, where she grew up writing stories about animals, including (her favorite) a jet-setting mouse. After studying to become a teacher for children with special needs, she spent several years exploring the world from China to England, teaching her students everything from English to how to flip their eyelids. She’s spent the last twelve years raising her family in her husband’s home country of Singapore, where she spends her days taking her four kids to school, Punjabi lessons, and music class. You can find her at kristiwientge.com and on twitter at @kwientge

Thanks, Kristi!

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Surreal Moment No. 10

Surreal Moment in a Debut Author's Life | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comSurreal Moment – June 24 and 25, 2017
Chicago, IL. (ALA) American Library Association Annual Conference

So, June was a month of firsts! I got to go to Chicago. I got to attend the American Library Association’s Annual Conference. I got to meet my editor, Kristin, plus a lot of great folks from Albert Whitman. And, best of all, I got to meet and hang out with a bunch a debut authors!

I stayed with a couple of other Class of 2k17 authors at the Marriott downtown where we had a great view of the city – and killer access to The Riverwalk and The Magnificent Mile.

ALA Chicago View | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comALA Chicago Fog View | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

ALA | Chicago riverwalk | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comALA | Downtown Chicago | www,patriciabaileyauthor.com

My ALA experience started with a book signing at the Albert Whitman booth. The line went on and on until we ran out of books and had to pull one off the shelf for a kid who was bummed to see them all gone. Can’t beat that! Everyone was so sweet!  And I even got to see (and pose with) my rock star local library director. Later that day I got to hang out with the Albert Whitman crew at the American Writer’s Museum for a cocktail party and celebration of the 75th anniversary of The Boxcar Children.

ALA | Klamath Gals | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comALA | Albert Whitman Booth Signing | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

On Sunday, I shared the PopTop stage with fellow Class of 2k17 debuts, Leah Henderson and Jodi Kendall, where we talked about setting as a character in middle grade fiction.

ALA | Class2k17 Poptop Stage | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

 

 

 

 

Every moment at  ALA was a blast. I met so many great people, saw some beautiful sites, and came home with a pile of great books. A truly perfect weekend just hanging out being an author.

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Author Spotlight: Meg Eden Talks About Post-High School Reality Quest

Meg Eden Talks Post-High School Reality Quest | Author Spotligh Interview | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comToday I’m shining the Author Spotlight on Meg Eden and her debut novel POST-HIGH SCHOOL REALITY QUEST.

Title: Post-High School Reality Quest

Genre: Magical Realism, YA

Age Range: 14+

Launch Date: June 13, 2017

 

Please tell us a little bit about your book?

POST-HIGH SCHOOL REALITY QUEST is about high school graduate Buffy, who is trying to cope with transitioning to college, making life decisions, and the changes in her friend group. During these changes, Buffy starts hearing a text parser narrating her life (e.g., “You are in a room. There is a piano. Exits are: out.”), and feels stuck in this video game that the voice is creating. Is she actually in the game? Is it all in her head? How does she escape? Read the book and find out!

What inspired you to write this story and/or these characters?

One day a friend said to me: “Hey, you should write a novel in the form of a text adventure game.” I honestly didn’t think much of the idea but tried it out one day for fun. Once I started, I got hooked! The original draft of POST-HIGH SCHOOL REALITY QUEST was really just a hot mess with no plot, focusing on the main “group” of friends: Buffy, Merrill, Tristan, Chase and Sephora. It was pretty much just me playing with people I knew and experiences from high school but nothing really happened. When I started playing with the text adventure idea, I tried it on this old draft, and everything came together really fast—I think I finished that draft in about a month. I also got strep like, three times in a row, so I was more or less bed-ridden and writing was the only thing I felt like doing. Since I already knew the characters from the older draft, plugging them into the text adventure framework was easy—and gave their narrative structure. The text adventure format helped induce a plot, as it created a conflict between Buffy and the Text Parser. It ended up making perfect sense: examining a group of friends in video game culture through the lens of a literal game.

Everyone says writing is a process. Could you share a little about your writing and/or research process?

I write in pieces and I write with a lot of drafts. I write the first ten drafts of a book just getting to know my characters. Then I start trying to figure out what they’re actually doing. If I know my characters in a fully rounded way like real people, it makes it easier to see what they’d do in the situations given by the plot. I can’t plan novels—if I know what’s going to happen in the end, I get bored. My writing, like my reading, is an act of discovery.

I do a lot of research for my novels—even ones from largely my own experience. I try to make dates line up (a lot of my writing is in the form of journal entries), and use google maps to “revisit” places I’ve been to write about them more accurately. I try to not let research consume me though, because I totally could let it do that to me. I usually try to research on “down” days where I’m physically and mentally tired. I watch a lot of youtube videos and take notes. I observe, and prepare for when I’m ready to write next.

We know no writer is created in a vacuum. Could you tell the readers about a teacher or a librarian who had an effect on your writing life?

I’ve had a lot of amazing teachers along the way, but I think my writing started with my 8th grade history teacher. She’s the first person I remember commenting that my writing was good, and I felt like she took me seriously as an individual and writer, not just as a “student”. I remember when I went to high school I’d go back and visit her and have all sorts of discussions with her. I was inspired by her to work on my very first novel, a project inspired by some of the Saxon history from her class. I think she’s the first person I really shared my stories with.

What makes your book a good pick for use in a classroom? Is there any particular way you’d like to see teachers use it with young readers/teens?

I think POST-HIGH SCHOOL REALITY QUEST would be a great book in particularly the college classroom, but also upper level high school classes. The book deals with quite a range of topics: suicide, eating disorders, coping with change, mental health, faith, alcohol and relationships. I’d love to see this book used to open up conversations about these topics and how they relate to students and readers. These conversations could also lead to freewriting exercises where students can process the book and put themselves into it: which topics resonate with them most, and how do they connect to that topic with their own personal experience?              

I’m a little dog obsessed here at www.patriciabaileyauthor.com. Would you tell the readers about  your favorite dog (real or imaginary)?

I grew up with a dog named Wolfie, who was around before I was born and passed away when I was in 5th grade. Being an only child, Wolfie was like this rebellious older sister figure to me. She would run away to swim in the neighbor’s pool or the creek. She hunted gophers and chickens and brought them to our house like prizes. She wouldn’t let anyone tell her where she should be, and didn’t pretend that she liked people that she didn’t. I learned a lot from Wolfie.

Meg Eden | Author Spotlight; Meg Eden Talks Post High School Reality Quest | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

 

Meg Eden | Author Spotligh Interview | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comheadshotMeg Eden teaches creative writing at the University of Maryland. She has four poetry chapbooks, and her novel “Post-High School Reality Quest” is published with California Coldblood, an imprint of Rare Bird Books. Find her online at www.megedenbooks.com or on Twitter at @ConfusedNarwhal.

You can grab a copy of POST-HIGH SCHOOL REALITY QUEST at your local bookstore or online.

Thanks, Meg!

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2017 Debut Book Love – One Shadow on the Wall

Fellow Class of 2k17 Books member Leah Henderson’s gorgeous MG debut, ONE SHADOW ON THE WALL, released last week. This is a middle grade book you want on your shelves.

2017 Debut Book Love | One Shadow on the Wall by Leah Henderson | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comAn orphaned boy in contemporary Senegal must decide between doing what is right and what is easy as he struggles to keep a promise he made to his dying father in this captivating debut novel laced with magical realism.

Eleven-year-old Mor was used to hearing his father’s voice, even if no one else could since his father’s death. It was comforting. It was also a reminder that Mor had made a promise to his father before he passed: keep your sisters safe. Keep the family together. But almost as soon as they are orphaned, that promise seems impossible to keep. With an aunt from the big city ready to separate him and his sisters as soon as she arrives, and a gang of boys from a nearby village wanting everything he has—including his spirit—Mor is tested in ways he never imagined.

With only the hot summer months to prove himself, Mor must face a choice. Does he listen to his father and keep his heart true, but risk breaking his promise through failure? Or is it easier to just join the Danka Boys, whom in all their maliciousness are at least loyal to their own?


One Shadow on the Wall is about love and loss, family and friendship, and creating your own future—even if it’s hard to do.

ONE SHADOW ON THE WALL is simply gorgeous in every way. I cannot wait to share it with everyone I know.

One Shadow on the WallOne Shadow on the Wall by Leah Henderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of the best books I’ve read this year. Leah Henderson’s debut novel is simply captivating. A beautifully written tale of a young boy in Senegal who is determined to keep his family together – despite the very real dangers that come his way. Young Mor is faced with one tough decision after another, but with the help of his neighbors, his friends, and his family, Mor finds the will to not only survive, but to thrive. A gorgeous debut that is a must for every school and library collection.

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For readers

  • A relateable hero.
  • Wonderful sibling and community relationships.
  • An action-packed story.

For teachers

  • A beautifully drawn setting.
  • Vivid details of everyday life that are compelling.
  • Discussion about doing what’s right even in the face of danger.

ONE SHADOW ON THE WALL is available now. You can pick up a copy at your local bookstore or online at:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Powells

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Author Spotlight: Alexandra Ott Talks About Rules for Thieves

Author Spotlight | Alexandra Ott Talks About Rules for Thieves | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

Today I’m shining the Author Spotlight on fellow Class of 2k17 member Alexandra Ott and her debut novel RULES FOR THIEVES.

Title: Rules for Thieves

Genre: Fantasy

Age Range: MG

Launch Date: June 6, 2017!

 

Please tell us a little bit about your book?

Rules for Thieves is about a 12-year-old orphan who tries to join a legendary band of thieves in order to get the cure for the curse that’s killing her.

What inspired you to write this story and/or these characters?

I’ve loved heist novels and books about thieves ever since I was younger, and I always knew I wanted to write one of my own. Parts of the book are even inspired by thief stories I invented when I was a kid. But it wasn’t until Alli Rosco’s voice popped into my head one day, full of sarcasm and stubbornness, that all of the pieces fell into place. I knew right away that she was the perfect character to tell this story.

Everyone says writing is a process. Could you share a little about your writing and/or research process?

So far, the process has been a little different for each book. But what generally happens is that I get pieces of an idea—a character or a premise or a spark of something that interests me—and I spend some time developing it. I research things that may be important, jot down a few notes about the characters, and put together a very loose outline of major plot points. But I leave lots of room to explore during the first draft, letting the characters and the story take me in unexpected directions. Once the first draft is down, I do more research. Then I revise again and again and again until the manuscript finally becomes a book.


We know no writer is created in a vacuum. Could you tell the readers about a teacher or a librarian who had an effect on your writing life?

In the acknowledgments of Rules for Thieves, I thank three teachers. One taught me in middle school, one taught me in high school, and one was my creative writing professor in college. Each of them gave me valuable advice about writing craft and, more importantly, encouraged me to pursue my dream of becoming an author. Their support was so important to me as a young writer, and I’m very grateful for it.           

What makes your book  a good pick for use in a classroom? Is there any particular way you’d like to see teachers use it with young readers/teens?

I want Rules for Thieves to be a book that’s fun and engaging for young readers in the same way that my favorite books were for me at that age. I hope it’s accessible enough to young readers that teachers (and librarians) can pass it on to their reluctant readers or those who haven’t yet been introduced to fantasy books. I hope it’s a book that instills a love of reading in young students.         

I’m a little dog obsessed here at www.patriciabaileyauthor.com. Would you tell the readers about  your favorite dog (real or imaginary)?

My favorite dog is, of course, my own:  an eight-year-old Lhasa Apso named Penny. She’s described as my tiny canine overlord in my author bio because she completely rules my house. She’s a very small dog with a very big personality. 🙂

 

Author Spotlight; Alexandra Ott Talks About Rules for Thieves penny-20161

 

Alexandra Ott Talks About Rules for Thieves
Alexandra Ott holds a B.A. in English from the University of Tulsa. She currently lives in Oklahoma with her tiny canine overlord. Rules for Thieves is her debut novel. Visit her online at alexandraott.com and on Twitter @Alexandra_Ott.

 

 

Thanks so much, Alexandra!

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