Category Archives: New Voices

WINTER 2014 NEW VOICES SNEAK PEEK!

Posted by | January 29, 2014 | 7 Comments

We’re thrilled to introduce our New Voices picks for Winter 2014! We absolutely loved these four debut novels, and we think you will, too. Be sure to click on the links below to read the first chapter of each title, and if you’re hungry for more, comment and we’ll send you a galley (while supplies last).

And now, without further ado . . .

Salvage

SALVAGE, by Alexandra Duncan, is a sweeping, epic, literary science fiction story with a feminist twist. Teenaged Ava has lived aboard the male-dominated, conservative deep space merchant ship Parastrata her whole life. When a passionate mistake causes Ava’s people to turn against her, she faces banishment and death. Taking her fate into her own hands, she flees to the Gyre, a floating continent of garbage and scrap in the Pacific Ocean. Her struggle to survive outside the insular world of her childhood is harrowing, full of surprises, and constantly thrilling. You’ll be rooting for Ava all the way! Read the first chapter here!

 

Faking Normal

FAKING NORMAL, by Courtney C. Stevens, is a powerful, moving story about a teen girl struggling to forget a traumatic experience from her recent past. Alexi Littrell hasn’t told anyone what happened to her over the summer by her backyard pool. Instead, she hides in her closet, counts the slats in the air vent, and compulsively scratches the back of her neck, trying to make the outside hurt more than the inside does. When Bodee Lennox—”the Kool-Aid Kid”—moves in with the Littrells after a family tragedy, Alexi discovers an unlikely friend in this quiet, awkward boy who has secrets of his own. As their friendship grows, Alexi gives him the strength to deal with his past, and Bodee helps her summon the courage to find her voice and speak up. Read the first chapter here!

 

Cruel Beauty

CRUEL BEAUTY, by Rosamund Hodge, is a dazzling twist on the story of Beauty and the Beast. Betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom, Nyx has always known her fate was to marry him, kill him, and free her people from his tyranny. But on her seventeenth birthday, when she moves into his castle high on the kingdom’s mountaintop, nothing is as she expected—particularly her charming and beguiling new husband. Nyx knows she must save her homeland at all costs, yet she can’t resist the pull of her sworn enemy—who’s gotten in her way by stealing her heart. Read the first chapter here!

 

School of Charm

SCHOOL OF CHARM, by Lisa Ann Scott, is an enchanting story full of spirit and hope, with a hint of magic. Eleven-year-old Chip has always been her daddy’s girl, so when he dies she pins her hopes on winning a beauty pageant to show her family of southern belles that she still belongs. The problem is, she’d rather be covered in mud than makeup! Can a rough-and-tumble girl ever become a beauty queen? SCHOOL OF CHARM tells the tale of one girl’s struggle with a universal question: How do you stay true to yourself and find a way to belong at the same time? Read the first chapter here!

Stay tuned for “Opening the Book” Q&A’s with the authors and insightful words from the editors of these fantastic New Voices!

 

New Voices, a Word from the Editor: Not a Drop to Drink

Posted by | September 26, 2013 | No Comments

Yesterday we heard from Mindy McGinnis about her fantastic debut novel, Not a Drop to Drink. Today, we hear from her editor, Sarah Shumway. Sarah, take it away!

There’s nothing like falling into the spell of a new voice, a striking view of reality, and into the life of a character you know you’ll never forget.  Falling in love with a book is sometimes a thing that happens gradually over the course of a story, but sometimes the first words on a page signal that the feelings are going to come tumbling out of a book and straight into your heart. The very first words of Not a Drop to Drink have that spark for me: “Lynn was nine the first time she killed to defend the pond…”

The books I’ve always loved most are those that show me something that I’ve never even imagined and make it real, make me feel. And I love wild books – ones where characters, especially strong girls, have to work to squeeze a good life from a harsh world. I started young with those books, as in Laura Ingalls in the Little House books and Karana in Island of the Blue Dolphins. I love books that challenge me, along with the characters, to rise above difficulty, limitations, and to become more than we knew we could be.  And Lynn, the heroine of Not a Drop, is such a strong character. Not a doubt there. She’s strong in a way that is more than physical or emotional. She’s real. She’s a product of her circumstances, stubborn and rough, but she discovers her heart.   And her story pushes every one of my “appeal” buttons: that strong and distinctive heroine, a gripping survival story, beautiful, sometimes poetic writing, a vivid setting in a fully-realized world, and plot twists like WOAH.  Oh, and it has some good kissing.

One of the most interesting discussions I’ve had with Mindy and with my colleagues here at HarperCollins is about how to categorize this book – is it dystopian? Post-apocalyptic? But I’m kind of proud to say that it really defies genre. While Not a Drop has plenty to offer fans of hugely popular dystopian fiction, what I appreciate is that it’s more than that. It’s different and special because it’s not about challenging a world gone wrong, but it’s about challenging people to be stronger in their own lives and hearts.  And when the trends have come and gone, I think Mindy’s book – Lynn’s story – will persist in grabbing readers’ hearts and imagination, the same way that the frontier or desert island books many of us loved as children and teenagers are still perennial favorites.

I’m so proud to have helped bring Mindy McGinnis and Not a Drop to Drink to an audience. Almost two years after I first read a draft, this book still makes my heart pound, my spine tingle, and my fingers itch to turn pages, and I hope all readers will feel the same when they get their hands on it.

Sarah Shumway is an editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books.

New Voices: Opening the Book with… Mindy McGinnis!

Posted by | September 25, 2013 | 1 Comment

Imagine a world where water is the hottest commodity. Author Mindy McGinnis has done it in a thrilling, terrifying way in her debut novel, Not a Drop to Drink.

Regret was for people with nothing to defend, people who had no water.

Lynn knows every threat to her pond: drought, a snowless winter, coyotes, and, most importantly, people looking for a drink. She makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty, or doesn’t leave at all.

Confident in her own abilities, Lynn has no use for the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. Having a life means dedicating it to survival, and the constant work of gathering wood and water. Having a pond requires the fortitude to protect it, something Mother taught her well during their quiet hours on the rooftop, rifles in hand.

But wisps of smoke on the horizon mean one thing: strangers. The mysterious footprints by the pond, nighttime threats, and gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and they won’t stop until they get it….

Of course, after reading this fantastic dystopian novel, we jumped at the chance of having Mindy come by and open the book with us!

Which was your favorite book from childhood, and what are you reading right now?

Choosing is so hard! I’ll say A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. Right now I’m reading Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Tucholke.

What is your secret talent?

Um… I can flip a stack of quarters off my elbow and catch them in my palm. Also I have very fat thumb pads.

Fill in the blank: _______ always make me laugh.

British men.

My current obsessions are…

SHERLOCK, local history and the roots of criminal profiling.

Any gem of advice for aspiring writers?

Do your homework. Half the battle is learning the industry.

Finish this sentence: I hope a person who reads my book…

Didn’t steal it from the library.

How did you come to write this book?

I watched a documentary called Blue Gold, which is about a projected shortage of potable water on our planet due to overpopulation. It was a horrible thought – we all need water to survive, and it’s something we can’t make. I went to bed very grateful for the small pond in my backyard, and that night I dreamt I was teaching a young girl how to operate a rifle so that she could help me protect the pond. I woke up and thought, “Hey… I wrote a book in my head just now.”

I asked myself what this child would grow into, and my main character, Lynn, was the answer. I don’t plot at all, I simply write. With Drink I was very fortunate in that the book really wrote itself. It wanted to be told. Lynn’s transformation from isolationist to human being had to be slow and believable, but not at the expense of pacing. I knew I needed supporting characters that could make this an interesting read without lots of explosions and fight scenes. Stebbs walked in and saved me there!

Thanks, Mindy! You can find Not a Drop to Drink in stores now!

NEW VOICES: OPENING THE BOOK WITH . . . CAROLINE CARLSON!

Posted by | September 9, 2013 | No Comments

One of our absolute favorite new reads this season has to be Caroline Carlson’s THE VERY NEARLY HONORABLE LEAGUE OF PIRATES: MAGIC MARKS THE SPOT. It has girl power, adventure, and of course, a missing treasure.

The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates

There are three qualities a treasure map must possess: It must be suitably ancient, have an atmospheric title, and include a dotted line leading to an X.

When Hilary Westfield escapes from finishing school to pursue her dream of being a pirate, she finds herself in possession of such a map. But the map is missing an X, and everyone is almost certain that the magical treasure she’s hunting doesn’t even exist. Hilary soon becomes caught up in a madcap quest involving a rogue governess who insists on propriety, a talking gargoyle, a crew of misfit scallywags, and the most treacherous villain on the high seas.

If that doesn’t hook you, I don’t know what will.

We had to get to know the person behind such a piratical tale. So, today, Caroline stopped by to answer some of our hard-hitting questions!

Which was your favorite book from childhood, and what are you reading right now?

I have so many favorite books that it’s hard to choose just one, but one of my all-time favorites is HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE by Diana Wynne Jones. Right now, I’m reading THE STOCKHOLM OCTAVO by Karen Engelmann.

What is your secret talent?

Like Hilary, the heroine of MAGIC MARKS THE SPOT, I can tread water for a really long time.

Fill in the blank: _______ always makes me laugh.

The movie CLUE. I’ve memorized all the jokes by now, but they never get any less funny.

My current obsessions are…

Cooking and baking—after spending all day writing at my computer, I love doing something concrete and hands-on in the kitchen. While I cook, I like to listen to two of my other obsessions: news podcasts and music by Girlyman and Antje Duvekot.

Any gem of advice for aspiring writers?

Try to learn a lot about all the things that interest you—not just writing. Read newspapers and nonfiction books. Do some exploring, check out your local museums and libraries, or take a class in a subject that fascinates you. If you stay curious about the world around you, you’re sure to stumble across lots of good ideas for stories.

Finish this sentence: I hope a person who reads my book…

…laughs out loud at least once!

How did you come to write this book?

MAGIC MARKS THE SPOT actually started its life as a submission for a workshop at Vermont College of Fine Arts, where I was working toward a degree in writing for children. I had to write 20 pages of an entirely new story, the deadline was tight, and I was running short on story ideas. I’d always loved pirates, though, and I’d dreamed of writing a book about a grand pirate treasure hunt. I was also rereading some of my favorite books by Jaclyn Moriarty at the time, and I wanted to experiment with Moriarty’s technique of telling a story through letters, postcards, newspaper clippings and other documents. When I tossed both of these ideas together, I ended up with 20 pages about a girl who receives a letter informing her that since only boys are allowed to be pirates, her application to the pirate league has been rejected.

I wasn’t expecting much to come of my experiment, but I ended up loving the results, and when my workshop-mates told me that they wanted to know what happened next to my pirate heroine and her gargoyle sidekick, I knew I’d hit on a story idea with potential. Those pages that I wrote for my workshop 3 years ago are still more or less the first 20 pages of MAGIC MARKS THE SPOT. And the story took on a life of its own from there—I wrote the first draft in 4 months flat, which was a whole lot faster than I’d ever written anything before! Plenty has changed since that first draft; in revisions with my editor, I strengthened the magic system of my fictional world, I turned a minor character into a major one, and I rewrote nearly the entire ending from scratch. But MAGIC MARKS THE SPOT is still the kind of book I loved to read when I was growing up: an adventure full of twists, humor, and magic. I had a wonderful time writing it, and I hope readers will enjoy it, too.

—–

Thanks, Caroline! You can find THE VERY NEARLY HONORABLE LEAGUE OF PIRATES: MAGIC MARKS THE SPOT in stores tomorrow!

TAP THE MAGIC TREE VIDEO AND TEACHING GUIDE

Posted by | August 22, 2013 | 12 Comments

Looking for a fun, interactive picture book to use for story time (or any time)? Christie Matheson’s debut picture book, TAP THE MAGIC TREE, fits the bill perfectly. TAP THE MAGIC TREE combines the magic of the changing seasons with the magic of turning a page as the reader taps, pats, claps, and wiggles to make leaves grow, blossoms bloom, apples appear, and leaves swirl away with the autumn breeze.

Tap the Magic Tree
Here’s a little demo of how much fun can be had with one page turn!

You can have a sneak peek up-close at the first several pages here, and you can download a Common Core-aligned Teaching Guide here. Tap away and make magic happen!

NEW VOICES, OPENING THE BOOK WITH… MICHAEL HASSAN

Posted by | March 19, 2013 | No Comments

If you checked in with us yesterday, you read the behind the scenes editorial perspective of Michael Hassan’s debut teen novel, CRASH AND BURN.  Today Michael responds to our notoriously strenuous, sweat-inducing Opening the Book questions…

crash and burn HC c

Which was your favorite book from childhood, and what are you reading right now?

I was always into books and a real sucker for the Dr. Suess stuff, can probably still recite Green Eggs and Ham by heart, but the first book that made me want to be a writer was Les Miserables, which I would probably have  named as my favorite book, except for the Princess Bride by William Goldman, who is primarily known as a screenwriter, but has written some incredible novels.

I am currently re-reading several William Goldman novels, including Marathon Man and the Color of Light.  You can learn a lot as a writer from reading his books. .

More importantly, I am back to reading hardcovers and paperbacks after spending too long  with e-books.  While I’m a techno nut, the truth is there is nothing better than holding a real book, being able to thumb back and forth through the pages and knowing exactly where you are at any given point.

 What is your secret talent?

I play keyboards.  I am, in fact, really bad musician and have been fired from some pretty talentless bands when I was younger.  Thankfully I record nothing so no one has to know.  Until now.

Fill in the blank: _______ always makes me laugh.

Mean Girls.  I could watch this movie constantly and still laugh at every line.

Also, fart noises and Gilbert Gottfried, not necessarily in that order.

My current obsessions are…

Headphones, I have like 20 pairs.  I need loud music when I’m working.

Also, Uncharted 3D, in fact almost every videogame, movie and documentary in 3D.

Any gem of advice for aspiring writers?

Know where you are going before you start.  Make an outline and stick to it and then keep on going without looking back until you hit THE END. And then, take whatever you’ve done and put it on the highest shelf in your room for 6 weeks without looking at it.

And then make a new outline and start over with the brightest red pen you can find.

And don’t, under any circumstances, get stuck playing Uncharted 3D or watching anything else in 3D.  In fact, disconnect your television and your internet and throw away your iPads, playstations and smartphones.

Finish this sentence: I hope a person who reads my book…

Forgets that they are reading;

misses a train stop because they need to finish a chapter;

recognizes the characters so much that they find it difficult to believe that its fiction;

Buys another book the second they finish this one;

Or is inspired to write one themselves.

Tell us more about how CRASH AND BURN was born.

I was challenged by my son, who has ADD to write something that he would be willing to read.  Spending time with him and his friends, playing videogames and watching movies, I wanted to come up with a form of entertainment that they would consider to be as fast paced and captivating, something that would make them think differently, more deeply  about themselves and their world.   Using him and his friends as models, I went back in time and thoroughly researched the everyday occurrences in the world they lived in, the language they used,  the legal and illegal drugs they were experimenting with and the social interactions between them and the adults in their world.   When I realized how difficult the struggle was for most kids, I knew that I had something that I wanted to write about.

 

Thanks Michael!  CRASH AND BURN (which has received 2 starred reviews– from Booklist and BCCB!) is on sale in stores now.

NEW VOICES, A WORD FROM THE EDITOR: CRASH AND BURN

Posted by | March 18, 2013 | 1 Comment

Next in our Winter 2013 New Voices series is teen debut novel CRASH AND BURN, by Michael Hassan, a book that quite literally stopped us all in our tracks the first time we heard Michael’s editor, Jordan Brown, formally present it.  Today I’ll let Jordan’s powerful words speak for themselves…

crash and burn HC c

Of all the qualities of a manuscript that get me interested in working with an author, one of the most exciting is when I feel like I’m reading the work of  someone who looks for untold stories in places where we don’t expect to find them.  Of course, the most prominent plot elements of Michael Hassan’s debut novel Crash and Burn—the story of a profoundly troubled senior who takes his school hostage at gunpoint, and the profoundly untroubled student who stops him—are, sadly, not unusual or unobvious ones.  But what is unique and unexpected about Mike’s story is the perspective from which he chooses to tell it.

Steven “Crash” Crashinsky is unlike any of the teen male characters one finds in contemporary teen literature.  He is not the brooding, complicated, brilliant outcast; he’s not the bad boy with a heart of gold; he’s not the irredeemable jerk; he’s not the heartthrob who can distill his interior struggles in a moment but is still paralyzed by indecision.  He is all of these things, and none of them.  He is the kind of male character who is remarkable only for being so typical: a teen whose self-image has been defined by his learning disabilities, whose behavior has been shaped by society’s indulgent “boys will be boys” attitude, who has realized that life’s a lot easier when you just don’t care.  He’s the kind of teen we all know, and yet the kind we don’t often find populating teen books—perhaps because he’s the kind we don’t often find reading teen books.

But he is not unreachable, as Mike’s knockout of a first novel shows us.  This is a book—one of the first I’ve seen—that speaks directly to these young men, telling a story they need to hear.  The element of the book that was paramount to both Mike and me in the editing process was keeping Crash’s voice and experiences as authentic as possible.  And thus we have a story that doesn’t pull any punches, that reads more like a chronicle than a novel, that speaks to these readers in a language they can understand.

Crash and Burn is not a book for everyone.  The truths it draws out and elucidates don’t provide many answers for the desperate struggles today’s teens experience.  But I’m a big believer in the idea that the process always starts with asking the right questions.  And Mike asks these big questions while writing a story that is hilarious and frightening and touching in turn; one about friendship and tragedy, first love and first hate; one that shows us that the untold stories can sometimes be the most important.

Thanks Jordan! And don’t forget to visit us again tomorrow for an interview with the author, Michael Hassan.

NEW VOICES, OPENING THE BOOK WITH… KASIE WEST

Posted by | March 13, 2013 | No Comments

Yesterday we took you behind the editorial curtain of debut teen novel PIVOT POINT.  Today I bring you the inside scoop on the adorable, hilarious Kasie West herself…

kasie west

 

What is your secret talent?

Secret talent? If I tell, it won’t be a secret anymore. But since I’ve never passed up on an opportunity to brag (that might not be a true statement), I will tell you that I am super good at proving I’m not a robot. I rock word verification on blogs and websites. Seriously, I have like a 99% success rate at figuring out those impossible to read words. Is this a talent?? I think yes.

Fill in the blank:                         always makes me laugh. 

My husband (He is so funny. The main reason I married him, by the way).

My current obsessions are…

twitter, garden salsa Sun Chips, naps (I’m only obsessed with naps right now because I haven’t been able to take them and I need a nap so bad).

Any gem of advice for aspiring writers?

Read read read and keep writing. Make sure you are constantly feeding your mind with new books and plots by reading whenever you can. And when you are done writing a book and it’s ready to query, start immediately on your next one. Don’t spend a lot of time editing a book over and over (note: I’m not telling you not to edit. Definitely edit.). But keep moving forward.

Finish this sentence: I hope a person who reads my book…

Laughs, loves, and appreciates the friendships in their lives.

Tell us more about how Pivot Point was born.

Like with other books I’d written before Pivot Point (books that were not published) I find inspiration in life: things I see, movies I watch, experiences I have. My husband and I often discuss plots or ideas that would make a good book. Pivot Point was inspired by the movie Sliding Doors. I love that movie. I love the idea of one pivotal choice that can change everything; The idea of exploring alternate realities and seeing how small decisions can change outcomes. We may not have mental abilities like the people in this book, but I truly feel like choice is power. We have the power to choose to work hard and follow our dreams or to give up. We are in charge of our fate, our destiny, and that is power.

 

Thanks Kasie!  PIVOT POINT is on sale in bookstores now– and once you read it, you’ll be happy to know this happy news: there will be a book 2, out next year!

NEW VOICES, A WORD FROM THE EDITOR: PIVOT POINT

Posted by | March 12, 2013 | No Comments

Next up in our Winter 2013 New Voices series is  the teen debut novel PIVOT POINT, by Kasie West.

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, a special type of clairvoyant, whenever Addie is faced with a choice she is able to look into the future and see both outcomes. So when her parents ambush her with the news that they are getting a divorce and she has to pick who she wants to live with, the answer should be easy.

However, as Addie searches her two possible futures, one where she leaves with her father to live off of the paranormal compound and the other where she stays with her mother and the gifted in the life she’s always known, she realizes how hard the choice really is. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through…and who she can’t live without.

This one was love at first sight (or should we say love at first read) for us: it’s bright, fun, well-plotted, and clearly the beginning of a very promising career for Kasie!  Let’s hear why Kasie’s editor, Sarah Landis, loved it immediately too…

 

PivotPoint hc c

 

When the agent pitched Kasie’s novel to me, it immediately reminded me of one of my favorite rainy-day movies, “Sliding Doors”, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up.  I’ve been let down more times than I can count by a great idea that doesn’t come through in execution.  But in this case, not only did it live up to my expectations, it exceeded them!  Addie is such a winning protagonist.  She has attitude, spunk, intelligence, and a sense of humor (girl heroines rarely have a sense of humor!). The whole idea that one decision can potentially alter the course of your life has always intrigued me.  I think we’ve all made a decision and then wondered… What If?  In PIVOT POINT, when Addie is faced with a decision, she has the ability to look down both of those roads and decide which one has the better outcome.  But…as we find out, knowing both paths doesn’t necessarily make choosing any easier.  In fact, sometimes it makes it even harder.

 PIVOT POINT had me on the edge of my seat trying to figure out how it was going to end.  As editors, we see the same recycled plots over and over, and I feel like I’m rarely genuinely surprised.  And I totally was!  When I first read it, the ending was so good but so, so frustrating.  Without giving anything away for anyone who hasn’t read it, I begged and pleaded with Kasie to change the ending (that is how strongly I felt about these characters fates).  The way she revised the ending is so completely perfect now.  That brings me to what a dream it is to work with an author who you know is going to be around for a long time.

 

Thanks Sarah!  And don’t forget to check back tomorrow to hear from Kasie herself.

 

NEW VOICES: OPENING THE BOOK WITH… JEFF BARON

Posted by | March 8, 2013 | No Comments

Today I have the privilege of introducing you to Jeff Baron, author of I REPRESENT SEAN ROSEN, the charming and hilarious middle grade novel about an ambitious kid with an admirably clever but potentially disastrous plan to make it in Hollywood.  Jeff has had screenplays optioned by Disney and other major producers, his television writing has appeared on all four major networks, and his work for the theater has been published and performed all over the world, but Sean Rosen’s story is his very first novel. Want to know more about Jeff?  So did we! Read on…

jeff baron

Which was your favorite book from childhood, and what are you reading right now?

I loved the Hardy Boys books. I read them all and then I read my cousins’ Nancy Drew books.  I liked starting a book already knowing the characters and then getting to know them better and better. With every book I love, I don’t want it to end.  With a series, it doesn’t end for a long time.

I know I’m late to the party, but I’m finally reading the Harry Potter books.  My friend Melinda, who’s 12, told me I should read them in order, and then when I finish each book, I should watch the movie, so that’s what I’m doing.  The only problem is Melinda always asks me what part I’m up to, then she wants to tell me what happens two books from now.  She should wear a sign around her neck that says SPOILER ALERT.

What is your secret talent?

I love to write music, even though I don’t know how to play any musical instruments.  I’ve always written words to songs, even songs that got published and recorded, but I always worked with composers.  My secret desire was always to write the music myself.  Sean Rosen has the same desire, but he’s braver than I am.  He also never studied music, but he puts the songs he writes on his website (www.SeanRosen.com) for the whole world to hear.

Fill in the blank: _______ always makes me laugh.

Dogs always make me laugh.  They’re always their goofy selves, and never try to act any cooler or smarter than they are.  I wish humans were more like that.

My current obsessions are…

Figuring out how things work, especially computer programs, electricity and plumbing.  I rely on those things all the time, and I love being able to fix things myself.

Any gem of advice for aspiring writers?

Read everything you write out loud, whether it’s a short story, a history paper or an e-mail.  It’s the closest you can get to being inside your reader’s head when they read what you’ve written.  I always do it, and I always catch something that didn’t quite make sense, and I always make changes that make it sound better.

Finish this sentence: I hope a person who reads my book…

I hope a person who reads my book will see from Sean Rosen’s experience that it’s good to dream big and go after what you want.  There are always bumps along the way, sometimes big painful bumps, but getting past them makes you stronger and more likely to succeed.

Tell us more about how I REPRESENT SEAN ROSEN was born.

I was sitting on the beach, and I had an idea.  What if a kid with a big entertainment idea and no connections whatsoever, tried to sell his idea to Hollywood.  How would he break through?  Having done that myself (though not as a kid), I know what a closed world Hollywood can be.  I thought this story might make an interesting movie.

The next day I was back at the beach, and now I thought, “Could this be a book?”  I had never written a novel, and it was a little bit scary to even think about.  But as a writer (I was already a screenwriter and a playwright), you learn that the things that scare you usually make the best stories.  So I spent a little time thinking about who this kid was, and then I just started writing.

Sean Rosen begins the book by saying, “I have an incredible idea.” At that point, I didn’t know what Sean’s idea was, but just writing those words on paper (I write by hand) got me started, and Sean just took over.  I heard his voice in my head, and fortunately, he never stopped talking.  I just wrote it down.

I loved spending time with Sean and his family and friends, and when I finished and showed it to my cousins who are Sean’s age, they felt that way, too.  Then I read chapters of the book to seventh grade classes, and when they liked it, that gave me the courage to try to get it published.

 

Thanks Jeff!  And if you missed yesterday’s post, be sure to check out Jeff’s editor’s take on the delightful, wholly original I REPRESENT SEAN ROSEN.

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