My fifteenth novel for kids is out in the world!
In writing Things Too Huge to Fix by Saying Sorry, my narrator Dani was easy to create. Her voice rang in my mind as soon as I imagined her (she is still making comments, by the way, even as I pen …
Head on over to Nerdy Book Club to read the whole article!
The time has come! Footer Davis Probably Is Crazy launches into the world March 3, 2015!
“A sensitive, suspenseful mystery that deftly navigates the uncertainty of mental illness.” –Kirkus Reviews
“The unusual and entertaining residents of Footer’s small Mississippi town bring moments of humor to a well-plotted mystery that effectively explores some serious themes.” –Publisher’s Weekly
“This suspenseful story, set in a small Mississippi town, explores themes of domestic violence and mental illness in a way that highlights the support of caring parents, neighbors, and other adults . . . a sympathetic exploration of some difficult issues.” –Booklist
Head over to Emu’s Debuts for the Launch Week Celebration,
with wonderful posts by multiple authors, discussions, contests, and giveaways!
John Hendrix created a wonderful cover for my first-ever middle-grade novel, FOOTER DAVIS PROBABLY IS CRAZY! Many thanks to him, and to my wonderful editor Sylvie Frank, for helping me bring this humorous, creepy, challenging mystery into the world. I’m so excited to have a middle-grade on the way.
Coming Spring 2015 by Paula Wiseman Books.
I don’t just write books for young adults–I read them, too! I remain, as always, an unrepentant science fiction and fantasy geek, and I crave both classical and fresh takes on the material I love most–you know, kings, princes, queens, dragons, aliens, dragons AND aliens are always a plus…
Genre: Fantasy, heavy on mystery and intrigue
Summary: Resourceful and cunning orphan Sage has no choice but to go with mysterious nobleman Conner when the man comes looking for boys of a certain age and appearance . . . boys who just happen to share a lot in common with the king’s long-missing son. Conner has collected himself a group of competitors, and he pits the boys against each other to see which one can impersonate the lost prince. The winner gets a kingdom. The losers get a blade to the throat. Sage has no doubt that Conner intends to make his chosen prince a puppet, and he knows Conner’s motives are far darker than Conner would have him believe. Yet if Sage doesn’t compete, he’ll die–either at Conner’s hand, or the hands of his rivals. Reality blends with lies until a shocking set of twists and turns lead Sage to the ultimate truth, which may be more dangerous than the bloody game Conner has him playing.
My Reading/Listening Experience: The audio version of The False Prince turned out to be excellent. The reading is smooth, flawless, and well-paced, highlighting fresh, lyrical prose and a plot that just won’t quit. Sage is complex and layered, a perfect blend of defiance and dedication. His rivals and Conner are believable and very real, but never predictable. Every time I thought I had things figured out, a new twist would turn my brain upside down, and sometimes I wanted to play the narrative on fast speed just to find out what would happen next.
Really Cool Stuff: Plot twists! Other books claim to have them, but compared to False Prince, they’re kidding. Really! Murdered royals stashed underneath a palace. How gross is that? Trying to figure out who the good guys are–and really being taken for a ride.
Would I Let A Younger Kid Read This: Yes. I think the plot would keep them going even if some of the nuances of good vs. evil and where those blend into gray might get missed. Some of the violence might be briefly disturbing, but nothing is gratuitous, and all would be good fodder for discussion about right, wrong, and everything in between.
Would I Give This Book To My Daughter Who Reads Everything But Is Way Pickier Than Me And Gripes If I Give Her Something Boring: No question. She’s getting it from the Christmas box, if she doesn’t find it and swipe it sooner, like she did the latest installment of the Mercy Thompson series. She’ll bug me the whole time she’s reading it to tell her what’s going to happen. I will refuse to tell her, because I am the meanest mother on Earth.
But I Don’t Like This Genre: The mystery and intrigue trump the fantasy element. You’d have to be brain-dead not to like this.
Read more about this book at http://www.jennielsen.com/books/ascendance-trilogy/the-false-prince. There will be a movie–and, and, the sequel, Runaway King, is already out!
Peter Salomon talks about writing angsty poetry, whether or not he needs therapy, and good places to haunt with a serial killer in a novel.
Tell us about yourself as a writer. What age group calls to you? Fiction or nonfiction? Magazines, novels, poetry–give us the scoop!
Most of my teenage and college years was spent writing angstian poetry (I know, but it should REALLY be a word!), some of which has sort of stood the test of time. I’ve spent the last year posting a poem a week on my blog, every Monday, and still have about a thousand poems to go (I spent a LOT of that time writing poetry). I tried writing a Fantasy novel after college and it was a great learning experience but you wouldn’t really want to slog through it…though, to be fair, there are some good parts. Ok, maybe decent parts?
After that I wrote a couple of adult fiction novels that really prepared me for where I am in my writing career. It wasn’t until I had kids of my own, however, that I started writing for that age group. I have found that I really enjoy writing for teens. Which, to me, is pretty much the exact same thing as writing for adults. Teens are always smarter than we give them credit for and more than willing to take a journey with an author. I’m tremendously appreciative and overwhelmed by my ‘target audience.’
As for non-fiction, I’ve written a few freelance journalistic type of things but it’s a LOT harder for me than fiction…I like being able to just make things up. Having to stick to actual facts is nowhere near as much fun.
Describe what inspires you, and how your ideas become stories or novels.
The characters, definitely the characters. I end up with free-ranging conversations going on in my head between different characters. I think there’s a term for that other than schizophrenia but I’m not positive about that! So, starting with the assumption that I’m not in need of serious therapy, I usually follow wherever the conversations between the characters take me.
For children and young adults interested in pursuing writing as a career–any quick advice or guidance?
The best advice I ever received was just to keep writing, to never stop writing. There’s nothing worth reading on an empty page.
One caveat I’d add to that is that you must learn to love revising. Editing/Revising is so integral to polishing a book and the writer has to understand that anyone offering constructive criticism is doing so in order to improve your writing. To make it better. To make it sell. To make it sell more. Revising is, for lack of a better term, good.
Chinese take-out or fancy Italian restaurant?
Italian, though I love Chinese take-out too.
Jacob or Edward?
Chihuahua or Doberman?
Middle Earth or Hogwarts?
Hogwarts…I’m unwilling to give up indoor plumbing and air conditioning
Rose or dandelion?
Your fiction release, Henry Franks, looks like a scary spooky mystery/suspense. Is it? Tell us about it.
While HENRY is considered YA Horror, I think it’s more creepy/haunting than horrific. It’s tense and claustrophobic and fast-paced. Henry is 16, with no memory of the accident that killed his mother and left him covered with scars. And no memory of any of the 16 years before the accident either. All he knows about himself, his name, who he is, is what his father has told him since he woke up from the coma after the accident.
And then he starts doubting his father’s stories. As he searches for answers, trying to figure out who he really is, more mysteries start piling up, along with bodies from a serial killer stalking the small island off the Georgia coast he lives on. With the help of his best friend, Justine, who is the only person he knows who can see past the scars, Henry quickly discovers that sometimes the only thing worse than forgetting is remembering.
Is this book set in the Golden Isles? Want to tell readers about this particular spot on the U.S. coastline, and some of its history?
The Golden Isles of Georgia are St. Simons Island, Sea Island, and Jekyll Island about 30 miles north of Florida. They are surrounded by marshes and have a surprisingly distinguished literary history (see The Marshes Of Glynn by Sidney Lanier for example). They are also hot and secluded and the perfect place to haunt with a serial killer in a fiction novel.
And finally, the all-important question: What’s next for you? Working on new stories? We certainly hope so. Tell us about them!
I have just finished a proposal for a new YA action/adventure set in New York City (I wrote the first draft as well as a YA Dystopian first draft while HENRY was out on submission) and have also been working on two different picture books. I have really high hopes for the NYC story and hope to have more information on that in the near future!