Thursday, March 14, 2013

Do You Know Any Teen Writers?

Writers Jill Williamson, who has many published and forthcoming YA novels has joined author Stephanie Morrill to publish a book for teens on getting published. Teens can also hang out at the Go Teen Writers website to discuss writing, find out about writing opportunities, and learn from published authors.

Here's the blurb for Go Teen Writers:

Whether you’re just starting to write your first story or you’ve finished and are wondering how to edit, this book will help you learn how to perfect your craft and get your project ready for publication. Click to learn more.

Includes tips for:

-Getting published, finding the right agent, book surgery, thicker plots, deeper characters, richer settings, weaving in theme, dealing with people who don’t get your writing

Find this book at your local bookstore, or…
On ebook at: • • Kobo

If you know a teen writer, this makes a great gift. But you don't have to be a teen to appreciate the book. Even adult writers (including published authors) can learn from the many tips Jill and Stephanie have put together. It's not a refresher on the basics, but instead it gives many great hints on how to improve saggy middles, how to brainstorm plot ideas, and how to deal with people who don't understand your desire to write.

Monday, March 4, 2013

tameka on benchWe're thrilled to be the first stop on an exciting blog tour for Tameka Fryer Brown, who is launching her book, MY COLD PLUM LEMON PIE BLUESY MOOD. With a title like that, you just know it’s going to be a great read. In fact, I was so struck by the title that it was the first thing I asked about when I interviewed Tameka:Official MOOD cover (552x640)  

I adore your title, Tameka, and the way you play with words. I'd love it if you could talk about how you come up with your creative ideas and then pull them together in such a lyrical way.

Thanks, Laurie. It is a pretty cool title—but I can’t take sole credit for it. My agent, my editor, the art director, sales and marketing...all of us were involved. It was a major team effort. I suppose my ideas come to me much the same as most writers’ do: an interesting turn of phrase, human behavior, song lyrics, memories, even dreams—these are all things that have influenced stories I’ve crafted. The lyrical part, I suppose that’s just a characteristic of my personal voice as an author.

 Even when I’m not attempting to write in rhyme, my stories tend to emerge in some poetic fashion. For example, MY COLD PLUM LEMON PIE BLUESY MOOD (Viking Children’s) came out as free verse—and when I say “came out,” I mean that literally. One day I was being self-reflective, acknowledging that my behavior that day was due to my being “in a mood.” Immediately it struck me that this would make a great title or first line of a picture book (first lines and titles are what usually come to me initially). Once I sat down to write the story, the words just started flowing.  

Here’s a sneak peek at the book trailer:


Can you tell us a bit more about your other books--published and in process?  

AROUND OUR WAY ON NEIGHBORS’ DAY (Abrams, illustrated by Charlotte Riley-Webb) is my debut title. I describe it as a love story between a young girl and her close-knit, multicultural neighborhood. MY COLD PLUM LEMON PIE BLUESY MOOD (Viking Children’s) is my second book. It’s illustrated by Shane W. Evans, winner of last year’s Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award, and I am extremely excited about it! I fell in love with the sketches when I first saw them, and the finished artwork does not disappoint. The pictures are so colorful and lively—I believe kids are going to adore them as much as I do! I am working on another picture book project, but I’m keeping the details a secret for now.

Can't wait to see that secret project go public. And how lucky you are to have two talented illustrators for your books. I loved the art in Shane W. Evans’s award winning title, Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom, which is quite different from his work on your book. But both of these books have amazing illustrations. And Charlotte Riley-Webb has a wonderful vibrant style in your book as well as in her many other titles, including Sweet Potato Pie and Our Children Can Soar.

Everyone always enjoys hearing authors’ success stories. Can you tell us yours?

I decided to pursue children’s book writing after being a stay-at-home mother for about eight years. I felt it was time for me to get back to some type of cerebral pursuit and, having read tons of wonderful and not so wonderful picture books during that time, I was sure I could write some pretty good ones myself. Of course, I had to learn what “pretty good” was and was not, but I do believe my hard work and persistence are finally paying off.  

And I don't know about you, but I always enjoy seeing pictures of an author as a child. Tameka was kind enough to supply a picture of her as a youngster and as a fifth grader. I'm betting she was a talented writer and storyteller even then.

 For more about Tameka Fryer Brown you can visit her website or visit her Facebook page. And be sure to follow her whirlwind blog tour this month.

tameka kid closeup5th grade