Friday, June 6, 2008

Author Visit: Daphne Grab and a giveaway

Please welcome amazing author Daphne Grab!

About the book

Matisse Osgood is a New York City girl through and through. She buys her clothes at Andy’s Cheapies, watches indie films at The Angelika, and wouldn’t be caught dead on a hay ride. But when her father gets sick and Matisse’s parents decide to leave Manhattan for a small town in upstate New York, her perfect world crumbles. As Matisse trudges through life in Prague, she dreams of waking up in her apartment on West 78th St. with a father who’s well enough to walk with her in Central Park and a mother who doesn’t pretend that everything is okay. When rumors surround Matisse at school, and her father’s symptoms worsen, Matisse realizes that the friends she’s making in Prague are the kind you can count on. They help Matisse find the strength to reach out to her father, who may not be as far from her as she thought. And one particular farm boy shows Matisse that country living is a lot more magical than she had ever imagined.

When did you come up with the idea for ALIVE AND WELL IN PRAGUE, NEW YORK?

I was at the New School getting my MFA in writing for children and I’d just finished a mediocre manuscript and was trying to come up with some new ideas. One of my teachers was talking about writing from a life experience and I suddenly thought that I’d like to write about the experience of having a parent with a degenerative illness that is ultimately fatal. Fun idea, right? But really, I wanted to have a character who deals with that, which is such a huge and life changing thing, but to be coping with it along with the rest of her life: friends, guys, evil cheerleaders, etc.

Your main character, Matisse, has to move from the city to the country. Your Website says you grew up in the country. Did you channel any of that into Matisse?

A lot of it! I love a lot of aspects of the country, like the smell of fresh cut grass in summer and the friendly feel of a small town, but I was also tortured by spiders and chased by a goose the way Matisse was.

Beverly Cleary is one of my all-time favorite authors, too! What about her writing speaks to you?

I bet that means we like a lot of the same books- neat! What I love most about her stories is that they deal with the real life struggles of kids, like how crummy you feel if you mess up the words to ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ and your whole family laughs at you. And she does it in a way that is hysterically funny but totally respectful of how kids feel.

What was your writing process for ALIVE AND WELL? Were you an outliner or did it just flow?

I am outline girl- I live for my outlines. I like to sit down and know exactly what I am writing that day, and also to think “I just have to write this next scene” and not “I’m sitting down to write a book.” But that said, I feel really strongly that there isn’t one “right” way to write a book and that the most important thing for a writer is to find her or his own process.

What’s one scene in ALIVE AND WELL that you’d kick and scream if someone told you to delete it?

Funny you ask because I had one of those deleted! It was a short scene at the beginning of the book that I loved so much I read it for my senior thesis reading when I graduated from the New School. My editor was right about cutting it but I loved it so much that I put it up on my website where anyone who browses the “books” section can read it.

You’re a member of the Class of 2k8. How has the support from 2k8ers helped you?

I love being a member of 2k8! There’s a lot that is great about it but I think the most important thing is being able to share ups and downs with a group of people who totally get it and who will always be cheering for me.

Do you have any big summer writing plans?

I am working on my next teen book and am actually hoping to finish it before Labor Day- I’m about fifty pages in so wish me luck with that!

What’s next for you? Any super-exciting new projects?

I have a MG novel coming out next. It’s about a boy who is a huge football fan and one of the kids who gets teased at school. The book starts with him learning that the baby his mother gave up for adoption 21 years ago is the best college football player in the country and the story is the ups and downs that follow that discovery. I’m a huge football fan so this was a fun one to write.

Jess, thanks for having me on your awesome blog!!

Thanks so much, Daphne! You were a fantastic guest!

About Daphne Grab

Daphne Grab grew up in a small town in upstate New York. She has worked a number of jobs including teaching high school history, building houses for Habitat for Humanity and teaching ESL in China. She also earned an MFA in Creative Writing at the New School. In 1998 she moved to New York City where she discovered that she has always been a city girl at heart. She lives there now with her husband and children

Alive and Well in Prague, New York
hit shelves on June 3.

Okay, people! If you want to win a signed copy of Daphne's book, leave a comment here or on LiveJournal. Or, if you want, leave a comment in both places and you'll be entered to win! You have until 11:59pm on Sunday night to enter. I'll draw a winner on Monday morning, so check back. Remember, if I draw your name, you have until Wednesday to e-mail me with your name and address to send your prize.

Visit Daphne online here: and find Alive and Well in Prague, New York on Amazon.


Anonymous said...

Oh, do enter me in this contest! This book looks really good!!!

Kim Baccellia

paperxxflowers said...

great interview :]

I've heard good things about this novel.

Hillary said...

This book looks really good!


award said...

I have been so excited about this book! It looks and sounds sooo good! Hope I win! :)

Bunny B said...

Cool! Sounds like a good read :) Thank you for the contest.

Emily said...

Please count me in on the contest! I want to read this book so badly. Do you know which Upstate NY town the author is from? I grew up there and was curious =)

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Award: If you see this, PLEASE read the blog with your won a prize and we have to pick a new winner soon if we don't get your info!!

But anywayyy...Love the interview. I've seen the book around on blogs and whatnot but didn't know much about it. It sounds really cool and I'd love to read it! :)


Jessica Burkhart (Jess Ashley) said...

Emily, I don't know the town. But if Daphne pops over here she might answer that! :)

Marjolein Reads said...

I love the cover of this book already! It looks very original!
i think the inside of it is that too !

Breanna said...

Awesome interview!

I'd love to win a copy of this book, it sounds really good. So please enter me!


tetewa said...

Thanks for the introduction to another new author for me, include me for this one!

Lenore Appelhans said...

I am excited about this one :)

Elainareads said...

I really want to read this book. I saw it in the store today and I cant wait to read it.


Khy said...

Great interview. I want to read this book; it looks pretty awesome.

Anonymous said...

Great interview! and thanks for the contest!
I really want to read this book, enter me please!

Grace L

Aimee said...

The book looks great! Thanks for the contest!

windycindy said...

I love to read books that deal with family relationships like this one.
Moving to a totally different kind of town, dealing with an illness and new friend! I would love to see how the family mechanics work out. Please enter me in your drawing. I really appreciate it! Thanks, Cindi

dd said...

Wow, this contest sounds awesome! That was a really good interview too! I can't wait to read it, it's in my TBR pile! Thanks for the contest! =D

~Lucy D =)

Chelsie said...

I'd like to win! I'm looking forward to reading this...

RR2 said...

I really want to read this book! I hope I'm not too late!

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