We love when this kind of thing happens. Especially love seeing this debut author included in Target’s “Emerging Authors” display. We couldn’t agree more!
Out and About
Laura Sobiech’s FLY A LITTLE HIGHER launched this week with a flurry of media attention and a starred review in PUBLISHERS WEEKLY which said, “Sobiech’s talent as a writer and love for her son are obvious. Her details ring true, not treacly, and the power of this book lies in its understatement of the faith and emotion, both of them strong, that course through the story. Keep tissues near.”
Laura’s week started with a huge book signing and concert in the Mall of America which coordinated with the release of the deluxe FIX ME UP CD/DVD featuring all of the songs and music videos shot by her son and his band mates before his death. The week ended with a heart-warming interview with CNN’s Bill Weir. Bill later tweeted “I nominate Laura Sobiech for Mother of the Year.” We second that nomination!
April 7, 2014, I had the pleasure of attending ABC Children’s Institute 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. This event is hosted by the American Booksellers Association and is sponsored by Baker and Taylor as well as book publishers. The purpose is to gather independent booksellers from across the country for two days of networking and diverse educational seminars on children’s literacy as well tips for reaching out to children through bookstore events.
My publisher, HarperCollins Children’s Books, featured several upcoming titles including my middle-grade novel, The Guardian Herd #1: Starfire, at a luncheon on April 7th. Later that evening, Harper authors Nate Ball (Alien in My Pocket), Michael Hall (Orange Aardvark), Kelly Light (Louise Loves Art), and myself signed ARC’s of our novels for booksellers at the event’s closing reception.
It was a beautiful evening in San Antonio! The food was delicious and the company was entertaining. I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with independent bookstore owners who exist on the front lines of children’s publishing–hand selling books and helping children discover new titles. I was happy to share with them the inspiration behind STARFIRE and my writing process. Many had read my book and I was thrilled to receive their feedback. They were also fascinated by the ongoing Panster/Outliner debate and we had a good laugh about it. I am a panster, and my signing buddy, Nate Ball, is an outliner. Clearly, there is no right or wrong way to write!
I want to thank my publisher, HarperCollins, for the opportunity to attend this event, as well as Kathy, Jenny, Eric, and my fellow authors for making it such a successful and enjoyable evening. A special shout-out goes to my publicist, Olivia DeLeon, who worked a miracle to get me to San Antonio when my plane was diverted to Austin–Thank You!” — Jennifer Lynn Alvarez
Learn more about Jennifer and her exciting new middle-grade series, THE GUARDIAN HERD #1: STARFIRE, coming this September from Harper Childrens on her website. You can also follow her on Twitter and Fan her on Facebook.
I just returned from Paris (vacation!). One of the joys of my trip, while wandering around neighborhoods, was to visit bookstores. While I can’t comment on the overall health of publishing in France, some observations:
*There seem to be bookstores everywhere. Small bookstores, large bookstores, neighborhood bookstores, chain bookstores, specialized bookstores. It appears at least based on my informal survey that reading the physical book is alive and well in this culturally sophisticated capital. The French have a flair for fashion and display, and this is evident in the way the attractive bookstore windows.
*The French love translation, especially from English. So many well known American and English authors are in evidence. What fun to see the beautiful editions of Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, the works of Julian Barnes, Ian McEwan and so many others.
*What a serious people! At the Flammarion bookshop opposite the charming church of St. Germain de Pres, the philosophy section was packed with fascinating, I mean incredibly serious titles. Similarly, psychology got a lot of play. How skimpy the comparable sections at Barnes & Noble appear. This is a culture of ideas where philosophical debate is a cafe sport.
*Fiction about relationships abounds. Menage a trois. Sexual experimentation. Perversions. In this land that spawned the Marquis de Sade, Colette, and Francoise Sagan, where scandal abounds at the highest levels of government, the appetite for works of literature that explore the nature and boundaries of love and lust are evident everywhere.
*A healthy love of detective fiction. The mysteries and thriller sections reflect a truly international interest, with titles from so many cultures, including Asian and Scandinavian writers, and of course, many well known American and British authors.
*The trade paperback and livre de poche is alive and well. The French (like many of their other European compatriots) have long published books in trade paperback editions, many of them without cover art, but somehow incredibly elegant and alluring in their simplicity. By contrast, the livre de poche (what we call mass market paperbacks) usually sports colorful, commercial art, but unlike most of our rack-size paperbacks, the type is actually readable.
For whatever reason, there has always been much more interest in France in American authors, than the reverse. Americans, who generally are not well schooled in languages, and certainly not in French, are not interested in French authors or the subjects that arouse passion in the French. I’m sure we are missing out.
You might want to consider, the next time you are abroad, spending time in bookstores, not just visiting the sites. It is somehow both curious and invigorating, regardless of whether you understand the language.
Last night, I had the pleasure of attending the Mystery Writers of America’s annual Edgar Allen Poe Awards at the invitation of Quirk Books, publisher of one of the one of the nominees in the “best paperback original” original category. Turns out the amiable author Ben Winters dresses up really nice in a tux, and so does his publishing team (at left)!
Ben’s THE LAST POLICEMAN, which has been characterized by one blogger as “apolocalypse noir” features a young detective who has the misfortune of trying to solve his first case in a world gone badly wrong. With an asteroid set to collide with the earth in six months, everything in Hank Palace’s world is breaking down. And yet Palace doggedly persists in trying to do the right thing.
It’s a great premise for the first in a trilogy of novels that blend the best of mystery with elements of science fiction and just plain old great storytelling that characterizes the best of these genres. The increasingly chaotic and dark world Winters’ has created is compelling and his protagonist Hank Palace becomes the moral center.
When THE LAST POLICEMAN was announced as the winner, I have to confess I shrieked. But the photo below was taken minutes before, in a calmer moment.
Thanks to Ben’s brilliant editor, Jason Rekulak, his energetic and visionary publishing team at Quirk. It was a night to remember.
And Quirk will the sequel to THE LAST POLICEMAN, COUNTDOWN CITY this summer, so there’s much to look forward to.