Monday, April 28, 2008

Diary of a Debut Author: Road Trip #2

It's about time I announced the winner of MP Barker's book! The lucky winner is...KAYLA! Kayla, email me for details on how to claim your prize. A big thank you to MP and I hope you all run out and get a copy of her book.

I'm in New Jersey and am T-I-R-E-D after all of the traveling. But I can barely sleep! I'm soooo excited about the photo shoot and spent an hour on the treadmill tonight trying to get tired so I'd fall asleep earlier. I feel like I'm running on 80 cups of coffee and sheer excitement about the shoot. :)

Here's a new video for you guys that I shot today. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Road Trip Location: DC

So...I'm in DC! Well, Tyson's Corner to be exact. I got in at just after 1am (on Sat) after starting out at 10am (on Fri) from home. It was a long drive, but it went by fast. I read the third Sisterhood book by Ann Brashares and the Clique summer collection book 1. (Massie's horse Brownie has gold-glitter mascara. Um, no. Really.) Next up is Jen's THE SQUAD: KILLER SPIRIT.

From here, it's only a 3 hour drive to my final destination. :) I'll try to post pics and maybe a video tomorrow. I'm meeting a friend in the evening, but I'm going to try and explore the little NJ town before the shoot.

I did change my clothes. Again. Before I left on Friday, I decided I hated my clothes and got a new outfit for dinner with Agent A. Now, I love it. :) I'll get a pic for you guys.

Scroll down to tomorrow's post and enter my giveaway with MP Barker!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Author Visit: M.P. Barker & Giveaway


Please welcome M.P. Barker!

Book summary:

It’s 1839. To help his family pay off their debts, nine-year-old Ethan is indentured to Mr. Lyman, the wealthy shopkeeper in their small Massachusetts town. Ethan tries to befriend the Lymans’ other indentured servant, but Daniel, as everyone says, is a difficult boy. Sixteen years old, Irish, and moody, Daniel brushes off Ethan as if he were a pesky gnat. Ethan resolves to ignore the brusque older boy, but is then shocked to see how cruelly Mr. Lyman treats Daniel. Soon, Ethan, too, is suffering Mr. Lyman’s blows, and the two boys realize that they must overcome their differences to survive.

Where did you get the idea for A DIFFICULT BOY?

The idea came from a bill that I found in the archives where I work. This master had chased down a runaway indentured boy and sent a bill to the kid’s mom for the cost of looking for the kid, hiring someone to help look for the boy, court costs, and the value of the boy’s lost days of work. That got me wondering why the boy ran away, what kind of mean old skinflint the master might have been, how the mother was going to pay the bill, etc., etc., etc…and all that wondering led to the story. The boy became Ethan, the master became Mr. Lyman, and eventually the rest of the characters began to take shape.

What’s one of your favorite things about the year 1839?

Well, first of all, I got paid to learn about the 1830s when I worked at Old Sturbridge Village. So one of my favorite things about 1839 is simply that setting the story in that year made the research easier!

Really, though, there were lots of exciting things happening in the 1830s, though people kind of overlook that period because they tend to concentrate on times when there was a war going on, like the Revolutionary or Civil War eras. The 1830s was a real transitional time in America. The Industrial Revolution was in full swing, railroad construction was booming, and all those pioneers were pushing further and further westward. Those changes affected every part of American life--what people did for work, where they lived, where they could go. If you think about how much computers and cars changed people’s lives in the 20th century, that was how much manufacturing and railroads changed things in the 19th. Southern New England was beginning to change from a rural agricultural society to a more urban, industrial one. It’s interesting to see how people coped with all those changes in their lives and compare it to how people cope with those kinds of big changes today. It’s also interesting to compare the attitudes and beliefs people had and see how much (or how little) they’ve changed.

Why did you decide to write for kids and teens?

Well, actually, I didn’t really decide—Ethan and Daniel, my two main characters, decided for me. They just wanted me to tell their story the best way I could, and because their ages make them characters that young readers can identify with, the book ended up being a YA story. But I wasn’t thinking about markets or audiences or any of that stuff you’re supposed to think about before you start writing—I was just thinking of the story. If you’d asked me back then who I was writing for, I would have said, “Ummmm…people who like to read?”

Your Website says you worked as a costumed historical interpreter at Old Sturbridge Village. What was that like? How did it prepare you to write A DIFFICULT BOY?

Well, right off the bat, let me say yes, it was hot in those clothes, and no, people weren’t much nicer back then. (I think those have to be the two most asked questions at OSV.)

Working at OSV was dirty, smelly, back-breaking, and LOTS of fun. It was one of the most physically demanding jobs I ever had, because I had to milk cows, muck out barns, chop kindling, work in some hu-u-u-ge gardens, and even the mundane daily chores of cooking and cleaning involved a lot of heavy lifting. It was also mentally challenging because there was so much to learn, and we had to be really good at thinking on our feet to answer all questions that got thrown at us. I loved that I might be getting down and dirty fixing fences and playing with the baby animals one day, and then the next day I might be spinning yarn and weaving cloth or wearing a ballgown and demonstrating period dancing or going to a recreated Sunday service at the meetinghouse.

Certainly, doing many of the chores that my characters did and eating the kinds of foods they ate, smelling all those barnyard smells, etc., gave me a better feel for their world than just reading about it in a book. And discussing on a daily basis the attitudes and beliefs that people held in 1830sNew England really helped that information sink in so that it was easier to draw on as I wrote the story. I also had a lot of friendly experts in the form of former co-workers that I could call on if I couldn't remember something or needed some fact-checking done.

What’s one word that best describes A DIFFICULT BOY?

I hope it’s “authentic”—at least that’s what I was striving for.

If you could give advice to aspiring young writers, what would you say?

Don’t give up your dreams. When I was about twelve, I wanted to be a novelist. But I quickly put that idea aside because I thought it was “unrealistic.” (Little did I know I was going to spend nearly ten years playing make-believe at OSV.) I did lots of nonfiction writing for school and work projects, but it wasn’t until many years later that I started writing fiction again. I'll probably always wonder what would have happened if I'd kept writing fiction instead of putting it aside for so long.

From the time I started writing A DIFFICULT BOY to having a published book in my hands took about ten years and 75 rejections. There were plenty of times where I was discouraged, depressed, and desperately in needs of massive doses of chocolate and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in the single-serving container (that would be the pint…although if they had it in quarts…well, let’s just say I’d be a LOT bigger!). But somehow I got there, so persistence and perseverance definitely pay off.

It’s also important to have lots and lots of supportive friends who can keep you going when you’re getting those 75 rejections…and who’ll supply you with those giant blocks of chocolate from Trader Joe’s (thanks, Maggie!). I definitely would have given up if it hadn’t been for many kicks in the butt from my friends—and I have the bruises to prove it…

You’re a member of the Class of 2k8. What exciting things are going on with the Class?

Where to begin? What’s most exciting for me is getting my classmates’ new books in my hot little hands. There are three other April 2k8 books--Zu Vincent’s THE LUCKY PLACE, Debbie Reed Fischer’s BRALESS IN WONDERLAND, and Marissa Doyle’s BEWITCHING SEASON--and Jennifer Bradbury’s SHIFT is coming out in May. There’ll be brand new video trailers on the 2k8 website (www.classof2k8.com) for this month’s books, and every newly launched author is featured for a week on the class blog (http://classof2k8.blogspot.com/), so you can get more juicy details about the writers and their books.

Like free books? The Class has a name-game scavenger hunt at http://classof2k8.com/index.php?id=80 where you can answer ten questions for a chance to win three of this quarter’s books. If you’re in a book club and want some ideas for discussion topics, you can download readers’ guides for all the 2k8 books on http://classof2k8.com/index.php?id=85. The 2k8 site also has links to all the 2k8 authors’ individual web pages. Readers who are only just finding out about 2k8 can catch up fast by reading about our January to March books at the class’s web page or past blog posts.

It’s also exciting to see 2k8 books getting kudos and stars from reviewers and bloggers. One book is already in its second printing, some have been Booksense picks, and several of our members have contracts for their second books. I feel like I’m in such exalted company—I hope I can measure up!

What’s next for you? Any new projects?

I’m working on a sequel to A DIFFICULT BOY that follows Daniel, the older boy, through new adventures that include a peddler (who’s also a musician and dancing master), a conjurer, a circus with six dancing ponies, Irish railroad workers, and a child custody battle. Also in the works (though on hold until I finish this book) is a story about a sea captain’s wife and daughter and how they cope after he’s lost at sea.

JB note: I am SO glad there's going to be a sequel! I adored this book and am so thrilled to have hosted M.P. A DIFFICULT BOY is a must-read. Go get a copy!

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Difficult-Boy-M-P-Barker/dp/0823420868/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1208710360&sr=1-1

Autographed copies can be ordered from the following booksellers:

Chandler & Reed Books - http://www.abebooks.com/home/CHNDLRBK/ Broadside Bookshop of Northampton, MA http://www.broadsidebooks.com

My website – www.mpbarker.net

My blog - http://mpbarker.livejournal.com/

Bio: I’m kind of a time traveler—well, actually an archivist and historian, which amounts to the same thing. I got a firsthand taste (sometimes literally!) of nineteenth-century New England rural life when I was a costumed historical interpreter at Old Sturbridge Village. There I milked cows, mucked out barns, and found inspiration for A Difficult Boy. Now I’m an archivist, which officially means I sort and catalog old documents—really, though, it means I get paid to read other people's diaries and letters and snoop through their photo albums.

**Want to win an autographed copy? You know the drill--leave a comment here or on LiveJournal or in both places to enter. You have until Monday (an extension!) at 10am to enter. I'll draw a winner by random draw and will announce it on Monday. Good luck!**

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tomorrow and beyond

Tomorrow, I've got author of A DIFFICULT BOY, (an amazing book, btw. The story really, truly sticks with you.) Michele Barker! Michele will be here to answer a few questions and give away a signed copy of her book.

Next week (and possibly on Sat or Sunday), look for new Diary of a Debut Author segments from NYC! I'll try to post videos as I can and will get photos posted when I'm able. I've got 2 charged cameras (I "borrowed" my brother's...) and am ready to get some sharable footage! :)

My family and friends are soo ready for me to go on this trip! I swear, my poor friends are like, "If you ask us one more time if you think your agent and editor will think you're a dork...)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Miley Cyrus to pen memoir

OMG, it's Hannah Montana!

Yahoo! has a headline from yesterday that Miley Cyrus is writing a memoir. Okay, okay, she's only 15 but she probably has quite a lot to tell. Maybe. I'm guessing.

Disney-Hyperion is publishing the book and it will release in spring 2009.

I'm neutral on the topic, I guess. It'll be interesting to see if she's an even bigger star in 2009 or if she has faded like many of the young stars. (Um, Hillary Duff, where are you?)

I haven't read many memoirs. After the James Frey debacle, I did start to look at them in a different way. But I also don't want to skip a genre just because one guy screwed up.

Would you ever write a memoir? I'd love to years from now. I've published lots of personal experience essays and I'm glad I've logged the big moments from my life in print. I'll always have that and it's almost like a public diary of sorts. Over the summer and fall, when I'm in between books, I'll be working on querying more magazines with personal experience pieces and hope I can keep sharing bits and pieces of the different things I've been through with others. :)

So, would you read the Miley memoir? Or would the wondering if it's mostly ghost-written bother you? Read the article here.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Photo Shoot Update

Packing, list-making and general craziness has consumed me. No writing is being accomplished and I’ve been like a mad woman with trip plans! Eeek! Be glad you’re not at my house right now. :)

I’m trying to figure out all of the pesky little timing issues so I can see D in CT. Five years is waaaay too long not to see your soul sistah! Very excited. (*waves*)

It’ll take 13 hours to get to DC and then several more hours to get to NYC. Luckily, I have a backpack F-U-L-L of books. Seriously. I should take a pic. It’s stuffed with YA and adult books. Especially long ones that I’ve been dying to read such as THE HISTORIAN. I know, I know, I’m behind on reading it but I just haven’t had the time to delve into that big of a book.

Okay, outfit update for those who emailed me and asked. :)

For meeting Agent A and/or Editor K:

* black/pink suit jacket

* dressy black pants

* black boots

OR, since I’m a girl and I might change my mind…

* pink sweater

* black skirt (but I freeze easily, so this might be out)

* black boots

For cover shoot:

* dark jeans (no holey knees!)

* black sweater (light weight)

* pink jacket (dressy/casual)

That works for being outside and with horses because for some reason, I’m a horsehair magnet. Maybe because I have to pet every animal in sight. So, no black pants were happening for this shoot.

And then…I’ll be meeting Agent A for dinner. *insert major squee here* I’ve always wondered what my agency looked like since I’ve never found a picture online. I’ve seen a pic of S&S, but never one of said agency. I’m soo curious!

Since it’ll be my first time in NYC (I’ve seen the outer edge of the city, but never been downtown) I’m working on my attitude. I’m trying to be tough, but polite and have the confident New Yorker attitude. Right now, I’m kind of nervous, so I think I’m channeling my old Nashville vibe. Quiet and insanely polite. How very Southern of me.

I know we’re spending a night a few miles from DC and then going north after that.

Any tips to get me ready for NYC?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Twilight Guy: A Guy Reads Twilight by Stephenie Meyer




Have you guys heard about TwilightGuy.com? The Website was started by fellow writer and friend Kaleb Nation. Kaleb's new Website chronicles his first read of Twilight and breaks down the book from a guy's perspective. Neat, huh? :)

I'm hooked.

Also, thanks so much to everyone who gave me clothing advice for the photo shoot! I'm STILL looking at clothes and am trying to actually sleep even though I'm insanely excited.

**(Happy birthday, Jason!)**

Friday, April 18, 2008

Big surprise reveal!! :)

It's a double post day!

Okay, everyone!! Finally! I’m ready to reveal the super-secret surprise! :) I was waiting until more details firmed up and while I’m not going to give a date just yet, I WILL tell you why I’ve been bouncing up and down for the past couple of weeks. It has been torture not to share, but I wanted to be one hundred percent sure I could make it before I spilled the news.

So, here we go…

Sometime very soon, I am headed to New England for the photo shoot for the four covers for Canterwood Crest! I’m BEYOND (there will be lots of capitalized words, sorry) excited and the best part is that I’ll be sharing the trip with you via Diary of a Debut Author videos! Yep, I’ll be taking photos and video of some behind the scenes stuff and will share what I can without giving away spoilers. I should be able to make a video when I get into town and will keep you guys updated via blogging when I can get online. It’s going to be an insane day and I can’t wait! (There may also be video from the car when, after 17 hours of driving, I just need to ramble. Okay?)

I’m already obsessing about this. What will the models look like? Will the horse be calm? Will it be warm outside? Windy? See…questions, questions.

As a typical girly girl, I’ve been trying to figure out THE outfit for the photo shoot. I’ll be meeting Agent A and Editor K (major excitement!) for the first time and I want to find an outfit that conveys: professional, fun, fresh, young and serious all in one. Yeah, try to find clothes that scream all five of those things. It’s not easy. I’ve been in and out of my closet practically every day since I got the news about this and am still not settled on the right clothes. I’ll try to get a pic of the outfit I’ve decided on. If I ever decide. :)

There you have it! I’ll keep updating about this when I can and I hope you guys are as excited as I am. And no, even though several people were convinced Paris Hilton was coming along on this trip and we were new BFFs that’s just not the case. But your guesses were close. ;)

Happy Friday!

Little bro's first review at Boys Blogging Books

Got a favor for you guys...my brother, Jason, just posted his first review over at Boys Blogging Books. If you have a sec to check it out a leave him a comment, I know he'd love it! It's his first blog post (ever!) so I want him to get a little comment love. :)

Find it here!

Thank you!!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Operation Teen Book Drop!


Today is Operation Teen Book Drop sponsored by readergirlz and YALSA! :) These amazing groups started this campaign to raise awareness for Support Teen Literature Day.

Recent news reports have said that teens are reading less now than when they did years ago. So, campaigns such as this are critical to getting books into hands of teens and getting back on the track of reading for fun--not just for school projects.

The lovely ladies leading this movement are Justina Chen Headley, Dia Calhoun, Lorie Ann Grover and Mitali Perkins. Let's offer a virtual round of applause to them! *woo!*

If you haven't already donated a book, head over to the readergirlz site for instructions and learn how. If you miss today, donate a book anyway when you can. With funding cut to libraries, we've all got to do something to make more books available for teens.

Rock on, people!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Twilight movie now shooting in Oregon

I read an article on Yahoo! yesterday that the Twilight movie had started shooting in Oregon. Since I’m obviously VERY behind on Twilight movie news, I was excited to hear for the first time that Edward is being played by the guy (Robert Pattinson) who played Cedric Diggory in HP. Cool casting choice! :)


I really can't wait to see this movie. It'll be interesting to see how well it does and if the sequels are made.

Anyway, I've been reading like crazy the past couple of days. When I was so engrossed in edits, I got zero reading done so I'm making up for it now. I'm on a historical kick. Very new to me. I've become addicted to Philippa Gregory and after reading The Other Boleyn Girl I moved on to The Boleyn Inheritance.

I also restocked my YA book pile and am itching to read Melissa de la Cruz's The Ashleys series and Hacking Harvard sounds good, too.

What do you guys think about the Twlight movie? Excited? Not?

Read the article here: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080415/ap_en_mo/film_twilight

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Books you've written meme

Good guesses from yesterday! It was fun to read them and I promise to reveal very soon! :)

There's a meme floating around and I read it on Melissa Marr and Sarah Prineas's blogs. You're supposed to list every book you've ever written and when. I'll give it a shot.

Freshman 15 (November 2006) This was a YA novel that I wrote in 30 days during NaNoWriMo. It became High Jumps at Collins Academy which later turned into Take the Reins. With this novel, I snagged Agent A in January 2007, it went on submission in May 2007 and sold in May 2007. This was the first book I'd ever written and boy, it showed! :)

Untitled YA (started May 2007 and abandoned it until December 2007) I started this YA while waiting to hear back from editors when Take the Reins was on submission. It's a fun, sexy YA set in Wyoming. During Christmas break while I was in between edits for Canterwood Crest, I finished this book.

Chasing Blue (December 2007-January 2008). This is the second MG book in the Canterwood Crest series. I was worried about how I'd know how much back story to put into the second book, but I think I got it. :)

Untitled YA (started February 2008). This YA is completely different than my other books. Not a horse in sight. Anywhere. I'm working on this when I'm not working on Canterwood and it's fun to switch back and forth from YA to MG.

So, those are the books I've finished or am currently working on. If you want to do this meme, consider yourself tagged!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Leave your guess! :)

All right! We've got guesses flying on the road trip purpose both on Blogspot and LiveJournal. Scroll down for yesterday's post (clue #2) and feel free to leave your guess. I won't comment on them this time and will reveal (!) the real answer by Wednesday at the latest.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Road Trip Clue #2

I meant to post a new video tomorrow, but ran out of time! I thought I'd go ahead and post this tonight instead of waiting for tomorrow. :) It’s my semi-pathetic attempt at a riddle.

Diary of a Debut Author: Road Trip Clue #2

To get to this place,

I’ll hop in my car,

I’ll drive 17 hours,

But, really, is that far?

There will be cameras,

And people,

And models to meet,

But as the author,

I get the coolest seat!

The guest list includes,

Agent A and Editor K,

We’ll meet for the first time,

On this freakin’ exciting day,

Oh, and there will be a horse,

A beautiful gray,

C’mon over to my blog,

And start guessing away!

If you guess right,

I’ll give you the full scoop,

Otherwise you’ll have to wait,

Until I can bring you into the loop!

*bows* ;)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Diary of a Debut Author Video: Horsing Around








Here's a new video from Sundance Oaks Miniature Horse Farm! A very special thank you to Mary Lackey, Chance and the minis! :) Above are some outtakes from our day!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

ScriptFrenzy: Screenwriting Books I Love



In honor of April’s ScriptFrenzy, I wanted to share two of my favorite screenwriting books.

I love anything by Syd Field, but this one is my favorite. SCREENPLAY: THE FOUNDATIONS OF SCREENWRITING has something for everyone whether you’re a beginner or expert screenwriter. There are lots of examples and Syd’s format of teaching is easy to follow.

The second book, ELEMENTS OF STYLE FOR SCREENWRITERS, teach writers the nuts and bolts of formatting a screenplay. Since style is so, so important this book is a must-have. Agents are rumored to toss ill-formatted screenplays in the trash, so get that format down! :)

Last summer, at FSU, I had one elective left. I signed up for screenwriting (exciting!) and was thrilled to be enrolled in the class. Imagine three hours twice a week of screenwriting. Ah. Then, scheduling changed and the course ended up at the same time of one of my required lit seminars. Boo. I’m still dying to try a screenwriting class and will probably do so online, but I just don’t have time right now. I’ve been looking at UCLA Extension and Gotham. For now, however, I’m learning the format when I’m taking a break from book writing and articles. It’s a completely new field and quite fun.

I read in the June Writer’s Digest that Hollywood bigwigs view novels as a “dry run” for writing episodic TV and if that’s true, cool!

Anyone else have screenwriting aspirations?

Hopefully, I’ll have new author photos to share with you guys tomorrow or over the weekend.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Author Photo Friday

On Friday, I'm going to get my author photo done with a beautiful palomino gelding! I'm so, so excited! I'll be taking pictures (obvi!) and video for a new Diary of a Debut Author segment on author photos. Keep your fingers crossed that it doesn't rain. It's supposed to be 85 degrees with a 30% rain chance, so we'll see.

Anyone else got any exciting Friday plans?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Emmy Winner Sarah Brown on Facebook...now we can befriend the mob!

Well, kind of. The General Hospital mob anyway.


Actors, producers and TV show creators are getting more creative, people. So must we writers!

I’ve always been vocal about the fact that I’m a (big) fan of General Hospital. Well, you can find a couple of ex-GHers on MySpace. It’s common now to see actors on MySpace. But wait.

On Facebook, three-Emmy winner Sarah Joy Brown has a page for her newest character—Claudia Zacchara. Great. Idea. Sarah. Seriously. :)

So what does this mean? It means as writers and authors, we’re competing with a lot of other mediums to get our message across. Actors, who want to be in the public eye as many writers want their books to be, have taken serious steps to breaking down old boundaries that stood between us (the regular people) and them (the Hollywood stars.)

Innovative writers and actors are using the Internet to give us a glimpse into publishing and the movie business by reaching us through their characters. That sells, in a subtle way, their product and gives us (the interested fans) something back. There’s a sense of “someone’s making an effort to reach out to readers and viewers” with this type of medium. I love it!

Sarah Brown and Meg McCafferty (MySpace) both have pages for their respective characters. (Jessica Darling sure has a lot of friends!)

On Sarah’s Facebook page, she shares behind the scenes photos of GH (how generous and cool!) and answers questions about her character. So, she has increased her visibility as an actress, “bonded” in a way to her fans and created an interest in her art form—acting. It worked for me, Sarah, and I’m definitely taking notes on creating a character profile that draws friends and fans.

It’s the same with author created characters on MySpace. As authors, we’re not blatantly yelling “HEY, BUY OUR BOOK, PLEASE!” Instead, we’re connecting to our audience and growing our audience base through our characters. It’s an extension of ourselves.

I think these pages created by actors and authors also serve to show people we are NOT our characters. :) I’ve read articles about people believing how an actor plays onscreen shows the kind of person he/she is in real life. Um, no. Same for us. I’m spunky and outspoken, like Sasha, my main character in Take the Reins, but we’re not the same person.

In short, I wanted to give a shout out to Sarah Brown and other actors and authors who are working hard to connect us with them. They’re definitely chipping away at the barriers.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Diary of a Debut Author: Road Trip Clue #1

Okay, the winner in Debbie Reed Fischer's giveaway (as chosen by a random number generator) is... M-A-N-D-Y M-O-R-G-A-N! Congrats, girl!! You've got 48 hours to email me your address and size and color for your flip flops. Everyone else, if I don't hear from Mandy by then I'll redraw for a winner. Thank you to Debbie for this fabulous giveaway! :) Go pre-order BRALESS and if you didn't win.

And here's the first clue for my upcoming road trip. Hope you like it! Second clue is coming next Monday.


Friday, April 4, 2008

Author Visit: Debbie Reed Fischer

Please welcome the author of Braless in Wonderland...

and the upcoming Swimming with Sharks...

Debbie Reed Fischer!

Did you have an “ah-ha” moment that made you decide to write a book about the model biz? What was that moment?

I had many a-ha moments working as a booker. It’s a wacky, surreal business. At different times in my career, I repped all kinds of talent: Models, actors, comedians, athletes, kids, animals. How could I not be inspired to write? With models, I guess what struck me the most was the discovery that a lot of my preconceived notions about them were dead wrong, especially the most common belief, that models are stupid. They’re not stupid. Many are just really young, from small, rural towns, very wide-eyed at the glitz and glamour of it all. When people ask me if models are dumb, I answer, “How smart would you be if you were a teen making $1500 a day, in a city for the first time, away from your family and on your own?” It’s true that many young models do miss out on a college education, but there is no shortage of intelligence. I repped models who had been accepted to Harvard, who were law students, who had their own businesses at the age of eighteen. Models are a varied bunch; they just happen to have the right height and bone structure, as well as that illusive “X” factor, the mystery gene that makes them photograph well. The college issue is not an easy choice for some of them, though, and it’s something that definitely inspired a lot of BRALESS IN WONDERLAND.

So…South Beach. :) Beautiful people, lots of talent. Do you have a wacky or memorable moment to share during your time as a model booker?

Too many to count, but the one that comes to mind is the time I had a booking for a gorgeous French model/dancer named Florence. It was for a film and the scene was a hip South Beach dance party. She was told to wear something sexy and fun. I let my assistant take care of the booking because I was really busy that day casting drag queens for the film The Bird Cage. So my assistant sent Florence, only she sent the wrong Florence. You see, we represented two Florences: the French beauty, plus another lady who was approximately 90 years old and had been a Zeigfield girl way back when. The ancient Florence, who was very excited to have a booking after so many years, especially one that wasn’t for Metamucil or a cruise line, showed up to the set in a limo wearing a ballgown and feather boa. Luckily, the client had a sense of humor. He was cool about it and actually let her stay and do the job. The other Florence never found out she lost a booking.

What was your writing process for BRALESS IN WONDERLAND?

I was always taking notes on everyone and everything when I was a booker. Years later, I still had those notes and used them when I was writing the book. It makes every scene really authentic. Also, one of my closest friends is still in the business and I often ran bits of the book by her since some things have changed in the last few years. Her name is Allee. I named my main character after her.

Tell us about “the call”—the moment you learned BRALESS IN WONDERLAND was going to be published.

I was home when my agent called to tell me he had an offer for me from Dutton. I shook, I cried, and I yelled stupidly, “HOW DID YOU DO THAT?!” Then when my kids came home that day, we released balloons into the sky and talked about how dreams can come true. We decided to celebrate June 14 as our own family holiday every year because that’s the date I got the call. Except we don’t release balloons any more because it’s bad for the ozone layer. We just eat cake and discuss our goals and dreams. The kids also discuss how weird I am to invent a holiday based on a phone call.

What’s the coolest thing about being an author?

Meeting other authors like you. :) Being part of the writing community is wonderful.

Your author photo is gorgeous! How do we (meaning the style challenged) get model-blown hair in our author photos?

LOL - find a good hairstylist! A good photographer helps too. That photo was taken by Niki Taylor’s mom, Barbara Taylor. She is a photographer in addition to being a Supermodel mom. And to tell you the truth, my hair is usually in a pony tail.

What’s one tip you could share with aspiring writers that you’ve learned recently.

Read what blows your skirt up, write as much as you can, take workshops, attend conferences, meet as many other writers as you can, and most importantly, never, ever give up. The biggest reason why writers don’t get published is because they give up. Keep going. For writing tips, I have a lot on my website: www.debbiereedfischer.com. Feel free to add your own writing tips there. I love being inspired by other writers.

JB: I’ve got to agree with Debbie about reading what you love. Study your favorite novels and take notes on how the stories progress, the characters evolve and how the author managed to hook YOU.

What’s next? Any new projects on the horizon?

My second YA comes out in September. It’s called SWIMMING WITH THE SHARKS. The main character is Peyton, who has finally earned a coveted spot on the varsity cheerleading squad. For her, it’s the end of standing on the social sidelines and the beginning of being in the Alpha Clique. The problems start when Lexie, the charismatic and powerful squad captain, orders Peyton and her team mates to drive another girl off the squad by bullying her. As the cruel hazing spirals out of control, Peyton is torn by her conscience, yet seduced by the chance to have everything she wants.

Now, because Debbie is so fabulous, she's giving away a killer prize package! ONE lucky commenter will win a signed copy of BRALESS IN WONDERLAND and a pair of adorable Havianas in your choice of size and color. Just leave a comment on BlogSpot, LiveJournal or in both places to win. You have until Sunday (April 6) at 10pm EST to enter. The lucky winner will be announced on Monday and she/he will have 48 hours to follow instructions posted on Monday and contact me about claiming the prize.

Good luck!

About Debbie:

Author Debbie Reed Fischer is no stranger to the modeling business, having worked for many years as a model booker in Miami, where the daily dramas of the weird and the beautiful inspired her to write Braless in Wonderland. Other job adventures from her past include hosting a cable TV show for teens, picking melons on a kibbutz, teaching middle and high school English, and singing in a USO troupe. She grew up in a sleepy Florida town much like Cape Comet (where Allee Rosen grew up) and has also lived in England, Greece, and Israel. In high school, Debbie spent a lot of time in math class writing stories, songs, and long notes to her friends, which explains why she can never figure out the check in restaurants. A graduate of the University of Miami's screenwriting program, Debbie currently lives in Boynton B each, Florida, with her husband and two kids, where she feeds them a steady diet of take-out. Her second teen novel, Swimming with the Sharks, will be released in September.

Summary of Book:

BRALESS IN WONDERLAND: A funny, honest peek at the crazy and glamorous world of professional modeling from an industry insider.

Allee Rosen is a lot of things: high school senior, overachiever, feminist, brainiac. The one thing she’s not is super model material. She leaves that to pretty people like her little sister (a.k.a. “The Fluff”). That’s why it’s a complete shock when Allee, not her sister, is the one spotted by modeling scouts at the mall and signed by a major modeling agency in Miami.

It’s classic GEEK-to-CHIC – but it’s not like it’s going to change her right? She’s just doing it for the money that will pay her way through college. Very soon, however, Allee is swept up in the whirlwind of go-sees, designer labels and photo shoots. Will her elusive “It Girl” status lead Allee to drop her dreams and forget who she really is?


BRALESS BOOK TRAILER:

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Get Ready for Clue #1 :)

Have you guys heard about Boys Blogging Books? If not, go check them out. They’re a cool group of young guys who review books. Yay for guys who read!

My brother Jason, who’s sixteen, just joined BBB. He’s going to be reviewing a book a month. Thanks for having him, guys! He’s excited to join and is already thinking of his review. I’ll let you guys know when he posts his first review so you can give him some comment-love. :)

I’m enjoying the 80 degree temps this week and am getting stuff done before I go on Super-Secret Project Trip. My to-do list is loooong. I’m bouncing out of my chair to share my first clue with you guys and that’ll be posted on Monday.

You’ll get the next clue a week later. After that, all clues (to be explained in Monday’s video!) will come from the road whenever I have wireless access.

And then. The BIG one. A video (or group of videos) will be posted when I get home that will hopefully be fun, exciting and informative. I feel like I’ve been drinking 10 coffees a day since I heard about this project. Date of this video is TBA. Yes, yes, I know I’m being a tease. I’ve been told. :)

One of the things I’m working on this week is a new author photo. I’m going to schedule a visit to a local horse farm and will have my photo taken with a gorgeous, sweet palomino gelding. I like my other pictures, but it just makes sense to have a photo of me with a horse. :)

I was also looking at the calendar and the very first hint of PR work for Take the Reins starts in May. My promo plan is H-U-G-E and going to be oh-so-time-consuming. Eeek! But worth it. I want to go all out so I don’t look back and say, “Damn, I wish I’d…”

The first wave of pre-publication promo includes querying all of the magazines on my list that have a lead-time of 8 months. That means I’ve got to get out about 75 queries between May and June. Yeah. Thankfully, I’ve been writing them here and there when I have a free moment and I’ve got about half left to write. I’m not writing on spec anymore, but have to make an exception for a couple of magazines. I’m going after bigger mags this time and finally feel more confident about targeting magazines I wouldn’t query last year. Even now, with the book deal, my confidence meter is a little low when it comes to pitching to glossy teen mags. But I’m going to give it a shot!

I’ve fired up my Power Tracker and am prepping to send those babies. The really crazy part comes with keeping track of follow ups and deadlines. Thankfully, there’s software to track that. I used to track in a notebook, but finally plunked down the dollars for software and now I couldn’t live without it.

J.A. Konrath swears freelancing is the Number One way to get attention for your book and I have to agree. This is my…what…seventh year as a freelancer and it MADE my platform when I started looking for an agent. I swear by freelancing.

That is all.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Day in the Life of a Debut Author: A Video



It's a new video! Hope you check it out and stay tuned for the super-secret video coming next week...

 
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