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Friday Q&A

You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers! On Fridays, the OneFours answer questions about their books, writing processes, life, favorite flavors of ice cream, and more. This week’s question:

How do you name your characters?

Usually they just tell me their names from their first sentence. Not sure how that happens. Gordie was named after Red Wing great Gordie Howe. The rest of the characters in TGW came into my head already named.

-Helene Dunbar, THESE GENTLE WOUNDS

 

Sometimes I’ll look up the meanings of names and find one that fits the who of who they are. In the case of Amber, I chose one of the most popular names at my school.

-Jaye Robin Brown, NO PLACE TO FALL

 

If I have an agenda for a name (must be a certain ethnicity, must have a certain meaning, must sound androgynous, must have been popular during a certain time period), then I look at 20000-names.com, baby name sites and such. If it’s for a tertiary or walk-on character, I just come up with something that sounds decent and doesn’t conflict with other character names (e.g., doesn’t start with the same letter as multiple more important characters). If it’s a main character, I try to think of something interesting that either relates to their backstory or to story theme or character arc.

~ Mary Elizabeth Summer, TRUST ME, I’M LYING

 

My main characters all have their names before I know their stories. The characters jump into my mind fully formed, including names. For the supporting cast, though, I have a ton of fun naming characters after people I know in real life. Most of my nieces and nephews have made it onto the pages of my books, as well as friends from high school and critique partners. Sometimes, I choose names because one of my minor characters reminds me of someone I know in real life, and sometimes it’s because they’re so completely opposite that it makes me giggle every time I see that name paired with that character.

~ Veronica Bartles, TWELVE STEPS

 

If I’m writing humor, I pick names that sound funny or work as jokes. For example, I named a hairless cat “Fluffy” and a monkey warrior “Mongee-Poo.” I also like sneaking friends’, family, and even favorite teachers’ names into stories as cameos.

~Louise Galveston, BY THE GRACE OF TODD

 

All of my characters’ names have meaning. Sometimes it just means I saw a street name I liked.

- Emily Lloyd-Jones, ILLUSIVE

 

I have a brand new answer for this question! YAY! I ask my amazing street team–the bloggers and teens who have done early reads of Compulsion and liked it enough to want to be involved. (Which is amazing and wonderful by itself!!!) Seriously, main characters names usually “feel” right to me, and then I will research the name and it will settle in. On occasion though, a name won’t work for a variety of reasons, and then I will usually end up renaming that character multiple times. That just happened with the villain in Persuasion, the sequel to Compulsion. I had accidentally named him after one of my husband’s many cousins. And because the name was absolutely perfect, I couldn’t find a new one. Fast forward the day before my first revision is due to my editor, and I’m still struggling. I’m already scouring my manuscript to find minor characters to name after street team members who have already been especially fabulous, and it hit me that I should ask them. So I posted the question, and two minutes later, I had the PERFECT name! Even better than the original perfect name. I highly recommend this method, needless to say! :)

~ Martina Boone, COMPULSION

 

My characters are partially named to reflect their ethnicity and partially named for their meaning. Gilded and Silvern are both set at a real life international school in Seoul, Korea called Seoul Foreign School. International schools are a very unique in that the students attending those schools are from all over the world, not necessarily from the host country. 50% of the population of Seoul Foreign is American, but the other 50% are from all over the world. Therefore I wanted my cast of characters to reflect that diversity. Jae Hwa Lee, my main character, is Korean-American. Many of the Korean-Americans take on American names, but I didn’t think that fit Jae well. So I gave her a Korean name that meant respect and beauty, symbolizing the journey she must take.

~ Christina Farley, GILDED and SILVERN

 

I have the hardest time naming characters. The character comes to me first, and then I fret and fret and fret until I stumble across a name that fits them. I like unusual names–both for characters and just generally in life–so I usually tend to save names in my head that I see in magazines or come across in the news or on television. Like, “Ooh, I like that name! Maybe it would work for Character X.” And then I try it out and see.

~Skylar Dorset, THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS

 

Often the names just pop into my head with the character, fully formed. Sometimes after, in revisions, I’ll realize that name doesn’t work for one reason or another (in one book I had named a really nasty kid with the same name as my nephew…oops!). So then I have to find a new one. A book of baby names belongs on every writer’s shelf, just to keep things interesting. I also try to throw in as many friends and family names as possible, using them for minor characters or random people. It always makes me smile, even if only a few other readers will ever know!

~Dana Alison Levy, THE MISADVENTURES OF THE FAMILY FLETCHER

 

Because the themes of A Girl Called Fearless include girl’s rights and revolution, several of my characters’ names hint at American or women’s history. The last name of the main character, Avie Reveare comes from Paul Revere, because she will help alert the country to the threat the Paternalist party poses. Sparrow Currie, a science geek is named after the scientist Marie Curie, while Margaret Stanton is named after two women: Margaret Sanger an early supporter of contraceptives and Elizabeth Cady Stanton who fought for women having the right to vote. Hottie Yates Sandell, however, was named after one of my favorite poets, William Butler Yeats.

-Catherine Linka, A GIRL CALLED FEARLESS

 

Mrs. Frabbleknacker (possibly the best name I have ever come up with) popped into my head one day. I giggled myself silly, wrote it down, and that was the end of that.

~Lauren Magaziner, THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN WITCHES

 

The name Wren just popped into my head as I was writing – I liked it because it was short and strong. Grayson came from an old friend I struck up a conversation with at a high school reunion. She’d just had a baby named Grayson, and I thought it was a really cool name, so I filed it away for a future project. As I was writing PoA, and needed to name my male protagonist, the name Grayson kept showing up everywhere (he was originally named Connor but it didn’t fit his character) – the final straw was at a paint your own pottery place when I noticed the signature on one of the wall tiles was Grayson, so I figured the universe was trying to tell me something. The universe is good like that.

~Robin Constantine, THE PROMISE OF AMAZING

 

I’m a teacher, and I steal names from my students and co-workers all the time. I switch around first names and last names, so no one’s name is completely stolen, but I definitely use my class lists for name ideas. So, former students, if you’re wondering if that character is named after you, the answer is…probably.

~ Jessica Love, PUSH GIRL

 

When I need a name, I’ll sometimes pull out my copy of 1001 Baby Names and go shopping. I love poring through the lists and trying out different names to see what sounds right. For last names, I keep a phone book nearby. Since DREAM BOY is set in a small town in southwestern Virginia, I tried to make sure the names fit my experience of living here, too. The most unusual names in the book are probably Talon and Paolo. Talon just popped into my head, and ultimately the name ended up defining the character a good bit. Paolo was the name of someone I went to high school with. The real Paolo is not necessarily similar to the character Paolo, but I liked his name and stole it.

~Mary Crockett, DREAM BOY

 

For THE GIRL FROM THE WELL, my female MC is based on a ghost from a Japanese legend, so I appropriated the name. For everyone else I use a personal name generator, where I keep hitting the refresh button until a name I like pops out. It’s a very scientific process.

~ Rin Chupeco, THE GIRL FROM THE WELL

 

Skila Brown has an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She grew up in Kentucky and Tennessee, lived for a bit in Guatemala, and now resides with her family in Indiana. Her debut novel, CAMINAR, is available now from Candlewick Press.
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Release Day for HOOK’S REVENGE

Avast ye, scalawags and blaggarts, Hook’s Revenge sets sail today!

After years of dreaming about Jocelyn Hook and her quest to avenge her father on the Neverland’s crocodile, her story is finally out there for anyone (maybe you?) to read. I couldn’t be happier.

I feel incredibly grateful to those who helped make this idea of mine into a real book and to the early readers, bloggers, booksellers, and librarians who have already lent so much support. I can’t thank you enough.

HookCover

Twelve-year-old Jocelyn dreams of becoming every bit as daring as her infamous father, Captain James Hook. Her grandfather, on the other hand, intends to see her starched and pressed into a fine society lady. When she’s sent to Miss Eliza Crumb-Biddlecomb’s Finishing School for Young Ladies, Jocelyn’s hopes of following in her father’s fearsome footsteps are lost in a heap of dance lessons, white gloves, and way too much pink.

So when Jocelyn receives a letter from her father challenging her to avenge his untimely demise at the jaws of the Neverland crocodile, she doesn’t hesitate-here at last is the adventure she has been waiting for. But Jocelyn finds that being a pirate is a bit more difficult than she’d bargained for. As if attempting to defeat the Neverland’s most fearsome beast isn’t enough to deal with, she’s tasked with captaining a crew of woefully untrained pirates, outwitting cannibals wild for English cuisine, and rescuing her best friend from a certain pack of lost children, not to mention that pesky Peter Pan who keeps barging in uninvited.

The crocodile’s clock is always ticking in Heidi Schulz’s debut novel, a story told by an irascible narrator who is both dazzlingly witty and sharp as a sword. Will Jocelyn find the courage to beat the incessant monster before time runs out?

Advance Praise: 

★ “Schulz’s debut novel is a rollicking page-turner that’s more than just an action-packed adventure.” —School Library Journal (starred review)

“Jocelyn is spunky, flawed and endearing.” —Kirkus

“This entertaining take on the Peter Pan story neatly blends action-adventure and comical and heartfelt moments.” —Booklist

Available online at Powell’s | IndieBound | B&N | Amazon and at bookstores near you!

I’ll be touring select cities in the west. Find more information here. If you can’t make it in person, drop in on my blog tour! I’ll be sharing excerpts and interviews, crafts, and a recipe inspired by the book.

HOOKSREVENGE_TOUR_V2

Friday, 9/12 Reading with ABC
Monday, 9/15 Paperback Princess
Tuesday, 9/16 Irish Banana
Wednesday, 9/17 Mundie Moms
Thursday, 9/18 Jenuine Cupcakes
Friday, 9/19 Queen Ella Bee Reads
Monday, 9/22 Allodoxophobia
Tuesday, 9/23 Kissed by Ink
Wednesday, 9/24 Who RU Blog
Thursday, 9/25 Supernatural Snark

I’ll see you in Neverland!

Yo ho!

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Heidi Schulz is a writer, reader, and giraffe suspicioner. HOOK’S REVENGE, published by Disney•Hyperion, is her debut novel for middle grade readers. A sequel, HOOK’S REVENGE: THE PIRATE CODE will follow in September 2015. Bloomsbury Kids will publish her picture book debut, GIRAFFES RUIN EVERYTHING, in spring of 2016. Heidi lives in Oregon with her husband, their teen daughter, a terrible little dog, and five irascible chickens. Connect with her on her websiteTwitter, and Facebook.

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Mid-September News!

Perhaps you’ve noticed I didn’t say “Happy 14th Day.” That’s because I’m late.*

Booklist says of Maria E. Andreu’s THE SECRET SIDE OF EMPTY, “With immigration reform a hot button issue across the country, this book couldn’t be timelier. Written with the compassion and raw emotions of one who has lived in the shadows herself, Andreu’s debut offering is a winner.”

Martina Boone’s COMPULSION was included in the School Library Journal’s list of What’s Hot in YA. Check out the trailer:

Tara Dairman’s ALL FOUR STARS has been licensed by Bookspan’s Children’s Book of the Month Club, which calls it “an irresistible adventure.”

The cover for Helene Dunbar’s 2015 release, WHAT REMAINS, was revealed at www.yabookscentral.com// Come check it out!

Tracy Holczer’s THE SECRET HUM OF A DAISY is a 2014 SCIBA Book Award Finalist! (Southern California Independent Booksellers Association) …and is an American Bookseller Association ABC Best Book of 2014. It was also an ALAN pick for September. ALAN says “Holczer’s beautiful words and insights resonated with each page. The Secret Hum of a Daisy not only takes you on Grace’s journey, but on your own journey through childhood, friendships, and the meaning of home.”

School Library Journal included Jessica Love & Chelsie Hill’s PUSH GIRL on their What’s Hot in YA list, and said, “The writing duo’s personal experiences informed the realistic dialogue and fully developed main character. Kara’s accepting her fate and the ups and downs of her relationships with family and friends will keep the attention of teens. This tearjerker is sure to be popular with readers.”

Catherine Linka’s A GIRL CALLED FEARLESS and A GIRL UNDONE, optioned to Universal Cable Productions for development as a television series, with Pete Donaldson of Donaldson Media & Consulting, Amy Baer of Gidden Media, and R.D. Robb and Brad Luff of Station Three executive-producing, by Pete Donaldson, on behalf of Sarah Davies at the Greenhouse Literary Agency.

Lauren Magaziner’s THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN WITCHES received a great review from The Bulletin Center for Children’s Books: “the kids’ slowly forming friendship has real grace and authenticity… In addition, Eva Ibbotson fans will appreciate the quirky humor.” THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN WITCHES also received a wonderful review from Booklist: “this debut novel is madcap and fantastical. It’s the perfect thing for kids not quite ready for Diane Duane or Madeleine L’Engle.” And BIG NEWS: Lauren’s book has been selected for the Autumn 2014 Kids’ Indie Next List!

Kirkus Reviews says of Mary Elizabeth Summer’s TRUST ME, I’M LYING, “A memorable debut; here’s hoping for a lot more from Summer.”

School Library Journal says about Elissa Sussman’s STRAY “This fun tale will appeal to reluctant female readers. Sussman explores some unique themes, including a LGBTQ relationship and even a yummy recipe in this fantasy with supernatural and romantic elements.”

Kirkus calls Rachel M. Wilson’s DON’T TOUCH “An insightful look at anxiety disorders and letting go of fear.” DON’T TOUCH also showed up on School Library Journal’s “What’s Hot in YA” roundup as “a good look at Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and other anxiety disorders.” And VOYA says, “The well-written, first-person narrative vividly portrays Caddie’s struggle with obsessive compulsive disorder. Teens will care about Caddie and salute her friends’ supportiveness.” Check out the trailer:

* My good news: we moved! I’m reporting from Lower Saxony, Germany, where we arrived a week ago.

Amber Lough lives with her husband and two kids in Germany. She spent much of her childhood in Japan and Bahrain. Later, she returned to the Middle East as an Air Force intelligence officer to spend eight months in Baghdad, where the ancient sands still echo the voices lost to wind and time. Her Middle Eastern fantasy, THE FIRE WISH, debuted this July 2014 from Random House Books for Young Readers.
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The Author’s Voice: interview with OneFour author Linda Vigen Phillips

How far have we come in our comprehension and support of mental health? What is it like for a teen when her mother’s bipolar disorder is considered a “nervous breakdown”?

Linda speaks with us about her compelling YA novel in verse,  CRAZY (Oct 20th, 2014, Eerdmans).

 

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Linda Vigen Phillips lives in Charlotte but never got over being a native Oregonian. She still goes gaga over mountains with Ponderosa pines and oceans that roar. She is a mother of twins, grandmother of two, wife of a retired minister, retired teacher of learning disabled students, and writer of YA, Middle Grade and poetry. Her debut YA novel written in verse, CRAZY, will be released by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers in Fall 2014.

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Kate Boorman is an independent artist and writer from the Canadian prairies. She was born in Nepal (where she was carried up the Himalayas in a basket) and she grew up in a small Albertan town (where she rode her bike to Girl Guides). She is fond of creepy things. Speaking of! Her YA fantasy WINTERKILL debuts September 9th, 2014 (Abrams/Amulet and Faber & Faber).
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WINTERKILL Release Day!

It’s here! I am so thrilled that WINTERKILL is now out in the world!

I’ve been incredibly lucky to share this journey with the lovely authors at One Four Kidlit, and I am so grateful to everyone–my Abrams/Amulet team, my agent and agency, readers, bloggers, librarians, colleagues, friends and family– who have made this day special by being so enthusiastic about my creepy little book. I wouldn’t be here without you.

I would like to stay and gush, but I have a date with an all-chocolate lunch (plus that glass of bubbly isn’t going to drink itself). 

Here are the details:

 

9781419712357

Synopsis

In the woods outside Emmeline’s settlement, a powerful enemy lurks, one that wiped out much of the population generations ago. Inside the walls, Emmeline is watched for Waywardness—the rule-breaking behavior that sent her grandmother to her death. Emmeline knows she shouldn’t go into the woods or seek answers to the questions no one will ask. When one of the settlement leaders asks for her hand, she could wipe the slate clean, ridding herself and her family of the Stain of her grandma’s crimes. But there’s something out in the woods….and it’s calling to her.

 

Advance Praise for WINTERKILL

“An engrossing romance, set against a chillingly vivid repressive society. Winterkill will haunt you.” – Julie Berry, author of Carnegie shortlisted All the Truth That’s in Me.

“I ripped through Winterkill’s pages, desperate to know the secrets behind this captivating world. Equal parts creepy, thrilling, and touching, it’s a must-read, and Emmeline is a character I won’t soon forget.” – James Dasher, NYT bestselling author of The Maze Runner series.

“Boorman sustains an atmosphere of oppression, and her characters are well drawn” – School Library Journal

“Emmeline’s lyrical, deliberate first-person narrative builds deepening suspense as debut author Boorman cultivates an eerie atmosphere . . . . the promise of forthcoming volumes should keep antsy readers at bay.” – Booklist

“…speaks directly and powerfully to a young adult experience.” – Publishers Weekly

 

Where to Buy

 Abrams | Indiebound | Indigo | Barnes & Noble | Amazon

Kate Boorman is an independent artist and writer from the Canadian prairies. She was born in Nepal (where she was carried up the Himalayas in a basket) and she grew up in a small Albertan town (where she rode her bike to Girl Guides). She is fond of creepy things. Speaking of! Her YA fantasy WINTERKILL debuts September 9th, 2014 (Abrams/Amulet and Faber & Faber).
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The Author’s Voice: interview with OneFour author Jen Malone

NYC! Fancy hotels! Cupcake parties! And a junior hotel concierge with one precious, missing, hotel guest.

Jen Malone speaks with us about her MG debut, AT YOUR SERVICE.

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Jen Malone has visited 50 countries, met her husband on the highway (literally) and went into labor with her identical twins while on Stevie Nick’s tour bus. These days she prefers to keep the drama inside the pages of her books. Her debut middle grade, AT YOUR SERVICE, releases in August from Simon & Schuster/Aladdin. Please visit Jen on Twitter @jenmalonewrites.

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Kate Boorman is an independent artist and writer from the Canadian prairies. She was born in Nepal (where she was carried up the Himalayas in a basket) and she grew up in a small Albertan town (where she rode her bike to Girl Guides). She is fond of creepy things. Speaking of! Her YA fantasy WINTERKILL debuts September 9th, 2014 (Abrams/Amulet and Faber & Faber).
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DON’T TOUCH Release Day

The day has come!

Don’t Touch is out in the wild, and I couldn’t be more grateful to the bloggers, reviewers, authors, librarians, and booksellers who have already supported this book. I’m also so grateful for my fellow OneFours–the wisdom they’ve shared has made everything from ordering bookmarks (thanks, Kristin Rae!) to scheduling events so much pleasanter.  And thanks to my fantastic family and friends who have shared so much excitement for this book’s release!

DONT TOUCH HC

Synopsis:

Step on a crack, break your mother’s back,
Touch another person’s skin, and Dad’s gone for good . . .

Caddie has a history of magical thinking—of playing games in her head to cope with her surroundings—but it’s never been this bad before.
When her parents split up, Don’t touch becomes Caddie’s mantra. Maybe if she keeps from touching another person’s skin, Dad will come home. She knows it doesn’t make sense, but her games have never been logical. Soon, despite Alabama’s humidity, she’s covering every inch of her skin and wearing evening gloves to school.

And that’s where things get tricky. Even though Caddie’s the new girl, it’s hard to pass off her compulsions as artistic quirks. Friends notice things. Her drama class is all about interacting with her scene partners, especially Peter, who’s auditioning for the role of Hamlet. Caddie desperately wants to play Ophelia, but if she does, she’ll have to touch Peter . . . and kiss him. Part of Caddie would love nothing more than to kiss Peter—but the other part isn’t sure she’s brave enough to let herself fall.

From rising star Rachel M. Wilson comes a powerful, moving debut novel of the friendship and love that are there for us, if only we’ll let them in.

Advance praise for Don’t Touch:

“Don’t Touch is fiercely compelling, darkly funny, and hums like a high tension wire with energy.” —Tim Wynne-Jones, author of Blink & Caution

“A tender love story about the beauty and the risk of showing someone who you really are.” —Nina LaCour, acclaimed author of Hold Still and The Disenchantments

“Offers a good look at Obesseive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and other anxiety disorders.” —School Library Journal

An insightful look at anxiety disorders and letting go of fear. —Kirkus Reviews

Launch events: 

If you happen to be in Birmingham, AL, or Chicago, IL, I encourage you to come out for a reading and signing to celebrate the launch!

Little Professor Don't Touch
Book Cellar Don't Touch 2

And be sure to visit the Fantastic Flying Book Club Tour, running all week!

You can purchase a copy of Don’t Touch from the following places, or request it at your local library! You can also request a signed copy when ordering from The Book Cellar in Chicago!

AmazonBarnes & Noble | HarperCollins | iBooks | IndieBound | Powell’s

 

Rachel M. Wilson‘s DON’T TOUCH stems from a personal vendetta against anxiety and a love of all things theater. After studying acting at Northwestern, Rachel earned her MFA in Writing for Children & YA at VCFA. Originally from Birmingham, AL, she now lives in Chicago, IL, where she writes, acts, teaches, and spoils a dog named Remy Frankenstein. DON’T TOUCH releases September 2, 2014 from HarperTeen.