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Release day for COMPULSION by Martina Boone

compulsion release day

My name is Jan, and I’m Martina Boone’s assistant. I’m hijacking her release day post, because COMPULSION is the book of MY heart, not just Martina’s.

In December 2012, she sent me a manuscript called FIRE CARRIER. And I fell in love with the setting, the characters, and the story. I knew from the first read-through of the first draft that this was THE book, the one that would get her an agent and a deal. Now, Martina is a VERY humble person, so she didn’t realize just how fantastic this book was. So we worked on it, back and forth, through about 15 revisions. I told her I thought it was ready, and she (humbly) agreed that it might be. So she started querying, and it didn’t take long at all. Amanda Panitch at Lippincott Massie McQuilken pulled it from the slush pile and gave it to Kent Wolf. There were a few more revisions, then Annette Pollert at Simon Pulse loved it too. Somewhere along the way, it became COMPULSION. And that’s all she wrote.

From the very beginning, since that early draft called FIRE CARRIER, I have loved and championed this book. I’ve always been a reader, and I have read a LOT of books. But this unedited draft was one of the best books I’d ever read, and through revisions and editing, it’s only gotten better.

And now that I’ve rambled on, I’ll get to the real post. An interview with Martina.

Talk to me about the setting for COMPULSION. Why the South?

The South is both picturesque and heartbreaking. It’s also full of history, Spanish moss, crumbling houses, and people who are tied to each other by blood, duty, and secrets. That’s gold for anyone who’s working on a novel.

Watson Island is loosely based on Edisto Island, and I borrowed from actual Charleston area plantation history to create the three plantations that shaped who the three families became. There was tons of material to work with-I mean, pirate treasure, ancient spirit witches, blood feuds, lonely, demented characters, curses, forbidden romance . . . How could I resist?

Why is THIS story the one you had to tell?

Pirates, ghosts, witches, voodoo, treasure, forbidden love, mystery, murder? Who wouldn’t want to tell this story? LOL. Seriously, it’s the loneliness of the characters, their quest to find each other, and ultimately their ability to save each other or destroy each other. The characters became as real for me as my own family, and I wanted to share them to make them live for other people, too.

Why Eight? Is that anything like Four?

Nope. Not at all. Family and tradition are big in the South, and that’s even more true on Watson Island where the family histories go back three hundred years and the gift is passed down to the oldest child. Eight is short for Charles Beaufort, VIII. His father is Seven. And obviously, that tradition goes back a few years. :)

Speaking of Eight, what makes him the perfect hero for this story?

Eight makes Barrie stronger and helps her see herself through his eyes, helping her to realize that she is more than she ever thought she could be.

What was the most surprising part of writing COMPULSION?

How it turned out. People who read my blog, AdventuresInYAPublishing.com may know that I used to think of myself as a plotter. I wrote outlines. Long outlines. Thirty or forty thousand word outlines. And if someone asked me to write a synopsis of a book, I had to first write the outline – at which point, I eventually realized that I wasn’t writing an outline at all; I was writing a first draft. I don’t know where I first heard the word, but someone somewhere mentioned doing something they called a discovery draft. Coming across that term was one of the biggest AHA! moments of my life. So yeah. It turns out I’m not a plotter, but I’m also not completely a pantser. I’m a plantser. With COMPULSION, I knew where I was going – I had that draft to use as a roadmap, but things kept changing. I was constantly surprised.

The relationships in COMPULSION are very complex. Do you feel like that’s realistic?

I think that junior high and high school aren’t very realistic. They can be horrible, terrible places where people do things to each other than I can’t even imagine putting into a book. Schools are all about finding who you are, and that’s what books are about. I feel like sometimes writers need to make things a little bigger in a book to give readers the chance to let themselves feel like what’s happening is removed from them, even while it is speaking directly to them. I mean, are there going to be Hunger Games in the near future? Man, I hope not. But that doesn’t make Katniss’ feelings resonate with me any less.

What was the hardest part about writing COMPULSION?

There are several scenes that made me cry—and I still teared up even when I was reviewing copyedits, despite having been through something like a hundred and forty-seven drafts (okay, maybe not quite that many…). But yeah, there are a lot of emotional scenes that wrung me out and left me feeling like a strand of overcooked spaghetti. Hands down the hardest scene for me to write was the beginning, though, which is ironic because I founded and still mentor the First Five Pages Workshop, where I (along with some AMAZING authors) help aspiring writers nail the early part of their manuscript.

My problem with the beginning is that Barrie is literally broken at that point, but the reader doesn’t know that. Even Barrie doesn’t know it fully. It was so hard trying to find a way to show the reader a girl who would be interesting to read about, a girl who would become strong, while at the same time hinting at her brokenness—at the way that she perceives herself before she’s found that she is worth loving. Barrie is like a lot of girls who don’t recognize the strength and beauty within themselves.

What makes COMPULSION different from the other Southern Gothics coming out?

At its essence, the Southern Gothic fiction I really love is about haunted families and the kind of tradition that passes down from one generation to another whether the next generation wants it or not. It’s about haunting settings, quirky characters, and dangerous situations, but it’s also about epic love. COMPULSION is about all of that in equal measure, but it’s also a coming of age story, a story about finding your place, your family, yourself. There are definitely weird, memorable characters. Someone I really respect once described it as MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL meets ROMEO AND JULIET meets THE SIXTH SENSE. I hope that’s kind of different.

Talk to me about insta-love. There’s a moment when the love between Eight and Barrie feels that way, even though it isn’t. Did you worry about that when you were writing?

If you stop reading at the point where Eight and Barrie meet because you think it’s going to be insta-love, you’re going to miss discovering that that’s very far from the case. They fall for each other fast because they go through a lot. But they also have extenuating circumstances. And trust me, their love story is far from over yet.

As far as insta-love in general goes? My husband told me he loved me in the middle of a poker party a month after we met. We married less than a year after we met, and we’re still married. Love can happen very fast and still be real and lasting. I’m not personally a fan of the kind of insta-love where a character is in danger but the second she sees a hot guy, all she can do is think about how hot he is. Or the kind where one or two super-hot guys fall in love with a heroine who’s not only ordinary looking but doesn’t really do anything that makes her stand out. Barrie takes action early on, even though she’s scared and not used to handling things on her own. She’s naïve, so sometimes her decisions aren’t the smartest, but you know what? I was making naïve decisions when I was a lot older than Barrie. That’s what I love the most about her. She does the best she can at the time. It isn’t always perfect.

What are you doing today to celebrate release day?

Running around like a crazy person, because I’m in the middle of the Compelling Reads Tour and have an event tonight at the library in Bethesda, MD. I did spend some time with friends both in person and online last night at midnight though. Oh and I went to the bookstore this morning to sign (and pet) their copies of COMPULSION.

About the Book

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Three plantations. Two gifts. One ancient curse.

All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lives with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead–a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.

Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who somehow seems to know what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family’s twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Goodreads

Martina Boone writes contemporary fantasy set in the kinds of magical places she would love to visit. She is the founder of YA Series Insiders and Adventures in YA Publishing, a two-time Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers blog. She’d be quite happy on a desert island, as long as she had her family, her dog, her cat, plenty of books, and a way to keep writing. Oh, and vats of Nutella.
COMPULSION, the first novel in her Heirs of Watson Island YA Southern Gothic trilogy, released on October 28, 2014.

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Next Book News!

We’ve debuted, we’re debuting and we’re selling more stuff! Check back on the 28th of each month to find out all the awesome Next Book News!

 

Starred Review for Rachel Searle’s THE STOLEN MOON! 

THE STOLEN MOON received a starred review from Kirkus!   Woot!!

 

New book deal for Trisha Leaver!

Jacquelyn Mitchard at Merit Press has bought a YA novel by Trisha Leaver (l.) and Lindsay Currie, called Sweet Madness. It’s a reimagining of the Lizzie Borden murders, told through the perspective of Bridget Sullivan, Lizzie’s maid and confidant, who finds herself in a perilous situation. Kathleen Rushall and Kevan Lyon Marsal Lyon Literary Agency brokered the deal for world English rights.

 

New book deal for Veronica Bartles!

Kristin Daly Rens at Balzer & Bray has bought Veronica Bartles’ debut picture book, THE PRINCESS AND THE FROGS. It’s a fractured fairy tale retelling of The Princess and the Frog, where Princess Cassandra desperately wants a frog for a pet – but she loves them so much, she can’t help kissing them, and soon her castle is overrun by princes! Jessica Sinsheimer at The Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency brokered the deal for world rights.

 

Lori M. Lee’s sequel has a title and release date! 

The sequel to GATES OF THREAD AND STONE has a title: THE INFINITE. And it releases March 10, 2015.

 

Title changes and review copies for Jen Malone!

RSVP is getting a title change to You’re Invited and is available for pre-order!  Review copies are also available on Edelweiss!

Jen’s Summer 2015 YA with HarperCollins will also be getting a title change from Me, Him and the Paparazzi to Map to the Stars. For more information check out Jen’s website!

 

Oooh-Ahhh NEXT BOOK COVERS!!!!

 

Dahlia Adler

UNDER THE LIGHTS

 

UNDER THE LIGHTS releases on June 30, 2015!

Add it on Goodreads!   AND it’s available for Pre-Order!

 

 

Elle Cosimano

NEARLY FOUND

 

NEARLY FOUND releases on June 2, 2015!

Add it on Goodreads!  AND it’s available for Pre-Order!

 

Tara Dairman

THE STARS OF SUMMER

 

For more information, various pre-order links, and/or to sign up for Tara’s newsletter, head to her fantastic website!

THE STARS OF SUMMER releases on May 5, 2015!  Add it on Goodreads!

 

Nicole Maggi

THE FORGETTING

 

THE FORGETTING releases February 3, 2015!

Add it on Goodreads!  AND it’s available for Pre-Order!

 

Robin Constantine

THE SECRETS OF ATTRACTION 

 

This cover for the companion novel to THE PROMISE OF AMAZING was revealed exclusively on Hypable.com – click here for a synopsis and fun interview! 

THE SECRETS OF ATTRACTION releases on April 28, 2015.

Add it on Goodreads!  AND it’s available for Pre-Order!

 

That’s a wrap!  What an awesome news month!

 

Check back in November for more great One Four news! 

Robin Constantine is a born and raised Jersey girl who moved down South so she could wear flip-flops year round. She spends her days dreaming up stories where love conquers all, well, eventually but not without a lot of peril, angst and the occasional kissing scene. Her YA debut, THE PROMISE OF AMAZING, is out now! Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins Publishers.
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Friday Q&A: Spooky Edition

From bumps in the night to sending that ugly first draft to your agent/editor: OneFours, what scares you?

“Dolls, heights, creepy clowns, and driving over bridges, but above all else: Giraffes.”
—Heidi Schulz, HOOK’S REVENGE 

“Everyone will expect me to say bunnies (BUNNYYYYYY AHHHHHHHH!!!), but SPIDERS, final answer.”
—Lauren Magaziner, THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN WITCHES

“Cockroaches! Or any big, black, shiny bug for that matter.”
—Christina Farley, GILDED and SILVERN

“Snakes and Dolls. A Doll with pet snakes would be the worst!”
—Jaye Robin Brown, NO PLACE TO FALL

“I’m beyond terrified of snakes. I have no problem with lizards, and I love frogs. But snakes? *shudder* – I once nearly ran my car off the road because I saw a snake sunning itself in the middle of my lane. And then, for two weeks afterward, I was afraid to get into my car, because I had this mental image of the snake somehow catching hold of my vehicle as I drove past and slithering up through the vents to lie in wait and get me as soon as I let my guard down. (My kids won’t even utter “the S-word” in my presence!)”
—Veronica Bartles, TWELVE STEPS

“Dolls with moving eyes. Sadists. My children in the road while a huge truck barrels toward them and I stand frozen and soundless and out of reach.”
—Mary Crockett, DREAM BOY

“I’m right in there with critter phobias (snakes, spiders, huge cockroaches, etc.) but I think what scares me the most is floating off into literary oblivion without having made a difference in people’s lives with the words that I have labored over for so long and with such sincere intentions.”
—Linda Vigen Phillips, CRAZY

“Heights. Enclosed spaces. And frogs. (They hop!)”
—Skila Brown, CAMINAR

“Clowns. And the movie Pinocchio.”
—Robin Constantine, THE PROMISE OF AMAZING

“Rats. For some odd reason, every nightmare I can remember, since childhood on, has involved rats. *shudders*”
—Dana Alison Levy, THE MISADVENTURES OF THE FAMILY FLETCHER

“Having to make a phone call.”
—Jessica Love, PUSH GIRL

Heidi Schulz is a writer, reader, and giraffe suspicioner. Her debut novel for middle grade readers, HOOK’S REVENGE, is available now. A sequel, HOOK’S REVENGE: THE PIRATE CODE, will follow in September 2015. Her picture book debut, GIRAFFES RUIN EVERYTHING, by Bloomsbury Kids, in Spring 2016. She lives in Salem, Oregon with her husband, their teen daughter, a terrible little dog, and five irascible chickens.
Connect with her on HeidiSchulzBooks.comTwitter, or Facebook.
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The Author’s Voice: interview with OneFour author LISA MAXWELL

Voodoo, murder, and haunting dreams collide in Lisa Maxwell‘s spell-binding mystery, SWEET UNREST.

Lisa speaks with us about the importance of setting and research in her YA paranormal debut (Flux, 2014).

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Lisa Maxwell is the author of SWEET UNREST (Flux, Fall 2014). When she’s not writing books, she teaches English at a local college. She lives near DC with her very patient husband and two not-so patient boys. You can find her on Twitter @lisamaxwellya most days.

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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 is out now (Abrams/Amulet and Faber & Faber).
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BEWARE THE WILD…in the wild!

“It’s no secret, ours is the meanest swamp in Louisiana. . .”

13639182There’s something about the swamp in Sticks, Louisiana. Something different, something haunting . . . something alive. Everyone knows this, and everyone avoids going near it. And even the Mardi Gras–bead-decorated fence that surrounds it keeps people away.

Until one morning when Sterling Saucier’s older brother, Phineas, runs into the swamp . . .

And doesn’t return.

Instead, a girl named Lenora May climbs out in his place, and all of a sudden, no one in Sticks remembers Phin at all. They treat Lenora May as if she’s been Sterling’s sister forever.

Sterling needs to figure out what the swamp’s done with her beloved brother and how Lenora May is connected to his disappearance—but first she’s got to find someone who believes her.

Heath Durham might be that someone. A loner shrouded behind rumors of drug addiction, Heath has had his own strange experience with the swamp. He and Sterling will have to piece together enough bits of memory and ancient swamp lore to get to the truth. But as the wild swamp encroaches on their town, Sterling and Heath may find a lot more than they expected . . . and Phin may be lost to them forever.

****Early Praise for BEWARE THE WILD****

“Parker’s assured debut is a creepy southern fairy tale set in a town infused with an undercurrent of supernatural menace.” — Booklist

“Parker has a nice touch with the Southern flavor of Sterling’s Louisiana town, steeped in superstition and silence…This engaging debut should enjoy a wide audience.” — Kirkus

A creepy, atmospheric book that will draw readers in…Beware the Wild breathes new life into the teen supernatural genre.” — School Library Journal

“Unique, haunting, and filled with characters who steal your heart, you’ll be just as intrigued by the rural, small-town world that Parker builds as you will by the magic she weaves in the dark of the wild.” — International bestselling author Josephine Angelini

“A lovely modern fairy tale as tangled and dark as the swamp it lurks in. Parker’s debut is American myth at its very best.” — Kiersten White, NYT bestselling author

****BEWARE THE WILD Launch Party****

If you’re in Kansas, you’re invited! Heck, even if you’re not in Kansas, you’re invited.
When: Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 @ 6:30pm
Where: Mysteryscape Books in Old Overland Park, KS
More details can be found here: http://www.mysteryscape.com/event/beware-wild-launch-party.

****BEWARE THE WILD on the road!****

So, you’re not in Kansas. Don’t fret! I’ll be traveling to nine other locations in seven other states with four other authors over the next two weeks. Details are below and on my handy dandy appearances page.

RoadsideYA_flyer

 

****Other things!****

bookplatesI’ll also be visiting the Chicago area for an event at Anderson’s in Naperville on November 14th with Lindsay Currie, Trisha Leaver, and Rachel Wilson, so make that eight states.

Not in any of these states? You can order BEWARE THE WILD in all the fabulously traditional ways listed below OR you can order via Fountain Bookstore and your copy will arrive with one of two smashing bookplates!

Other ordering options include but aren’t limited to: IndieBound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository (free shipping worldwide!).

This day has been a long time coming and I’m thrilled, thrilled, a thousand times thrilled to be able to share this project with you. Happy reading!

Natalie C Parker is a writer, professional project coordinator, and future zombie slayer. When not saving the world, she can be found on Twitter (@nataliecparker). Though once determined to never live in a land-locked state, she resides in Kansas with her partner in a house of monsters. Her southern gothic YA debut, BEWARE THE WILD, is due from HarperCollins Children’s Books in 2014.
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Happy 14th Day: October!

Happy October! For those of you who celebrate Halloween, or the changing of seasons, or Pumpkin Spice in everything, it’s a good month.

 

Now, our news:

Jaye Robin Brown‘s book, No Place to Fall, was recently reviewed by some big-hitters.

School Library Journal had this to say about Jaye Robin Brown’s No Place to Fall:
“Debut author Brown is off to a wonderful start with authentic characters who speak in true voices. Amber could be the best friend you had in high school—she’s funny and moody and truthful and absolutely the real deal, and readers will clamor for another well-paced story featuring her and her friends.”

And from Publisher’s Weekly:
“Debut author Brown makes a small town in North Carolina —where everyone knows everyone, and the outside world comes in via the Appalachian Trail hikers – fee real, but the heart of the story is Amber, as tries to find herself, love, and her voice.”

And Kirkus Reviews:
“Southern charm oozes off the page….the read is an enjoyable ride.”

(I have to check out this book for several reasons, not the least of which is because the main character and I have the same name.)

NextOtherbound by Corinne Duyvis, Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley, and The Chance you Won’t Return by Annie Cardi were included in this list of “11 Great Debut Novels” by Kirkus Reviews!

And finally, Dahlia Adler’s debut, Behind the Scenes, got a makeover cover, and it’s awesome:

btslightersunset

This month’s news is short but sweet! Enjoy the rest of October. Watch out for large pumpkins.

 

 

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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Mad For Middle Grade: Villainous Tricks and Treats

Welcome to MAD FOR MIDDLE GRADE!  We’re here the first Monday of every month, discussing middle grade writing, chatting about from our favorite middle grade books, introducing our own middle grade titles, sharing middle grade writing advice, and generally obsess over everything middle grade! And if there’s any middle grade topic you’re interested in, we’d love to hear it in the comments!

What’s not to love about the Halloween time? There are pumpkin spiced lattes, candy, costumes, hayrides, and most importantly… SCARY, EVIL BEINGS! There’s a real art to creating a convincing villain, so we’re here today to shed some advice on how to approach the task.

Question: How do you create good antagonists or roadblocks for characters? Share your villainous tricks and treats! 

Rebecca Petruck
STEERING TOWARD NORMAL
Abrams/Amulet

2014-09-29 16.37.53

The scariest villains are the ones we carry inside us. Being the person we want to be in the face of serious challenges can feel impossible, and in some moments is impossible. But those bad moments only define us if we let them. It seems like it should be easy to let go of the memories of things we’re not proud of and move forward as a better person. But feelings like envy, jealousy, anger, fear, doubt, and insecurity are clingy little dingleberries. Defeating our inner villain who wants everything his way right now without having to fight for it or compromise can be our greatest battle. Yet winning has the kind of long-term effects that can create a life we’re proud of—even if sometimes we just have to through some cow poop to get it out of our systems.

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Dana Alison Levy
THE MISADVENTURES OF THE FAMILY FLETCHERDAL_Costume_OneFour
Delacorte/Random House

Personally, I find it far more difficult to write good villains than good heroes. After all, a good villain should be bad, sure, but also interesting, complicated, and have a story of his or her own. In THE MISADVENTURES OF THE FAMILY FLETCHER I didn’t really have a villain, (though some might have thought of Mr. Nelson that way at first). But I have worked on other stories with a more traditional bad guy (or bad gal!) and I think the only “trick” to writing a good one is to make her (or him) as full a character as possible. Does she love her dog? Does she laugh at puns? Does he only pursue his evil goal because of a desire to help someone else? If an author works to understand the villain readers are “treated” to a far better story!

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Lauren Magaziner
Lauren Witch HatTHE ONLY THING WORSE THAN WITCHES
Dial/Penguin

Writing a villain for middle grade can be especially difficult. Without enough villainous “oomph,” an antagonist would be boring and give no stakes to your story–but at the same time, a villain can easily become too scary or menacing. I think the key is to balance a little bit of humor with the more threatening parts. For example, in one moment in The Only Thing Worse Than Witches the dreadful Mrs. Frabbleknacker makes children stand on their heads until their words come out backwards. It’s a funny kind of threat–something that is actually rather horrible when you really think about it, but so entrenched in humor that it feels almost safe. Almost. (Muahahaha.)

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Robin Herrera
2014-10-01 04_19_43HOPE IS A FERRIS WHEEL
Amulet Books

I hope that people are surprised to learn that Mr. Savage, one of the “villains” of HOPE IS A FERRIS WHEEL, is based on myself. Creating a good villain starts with understanding your villain. The villain is the hero of their own story! In Mr. Savage’s world, he is the heroic teacher hired to shape and mold the minds of young 4th and 5th graders. Star Mackie is the villain of his world, and she’s about to start a rebellion in his own classroom! The only way to stop it is to assert himself in front of his students, belittling Star in the process. When you think about it that way, Star is kind of a huge jerk. (Just kidding! Mr. Savage still wins the jerk award.)

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Louise Galvestonmongeepoo
BY THE GRACE OF TODD
Razorbill/Penguin

Bad guys aren’t born, they become. Understanding what warped a villain’s personality is key, even if it takes a while to be revealed. In By the Grace of Todd, Max is evil incarnate to Todd and his tiny Toddlians. But in the sequel, In Todd We Trust, we see that Max is terrified of his big brother, and get a glimpse of the treatment he’s faced that causes him to torment others. I also believe bad guys can be redeemed, as in Ernie, Todd’s elementary school nemesis who does an about face in middle school and becomes Todd and Duddy’s buddy. (I’m dressed as Mongee Poo, a hero from Todd’s favorite anime series Dragon Sensei. Hoo hoo hi-yah!)

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Matt London
10362515_927717525241_7320697419049827655_n THE 8TH CONTINENT
Razorbill/Penguin

I’ve always believed that what makes readers LOATHE a villain is when the baddie gets away with something terrible. So I try to make sure my villains get away with everything! The villain of THE 8TH CONTINENT is Vesuvia Piffle, the ten year old super secret CEO of the Condo Real Estate Corporation. She is rotten! But she is also convinced she’s doing the right thing. And that makes her all the scarier.

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Ryan Gehart
THERE WILL BE BEARSbearrcoat
Candlewick Press

It would appear that Sandy, the vicious grizzly bear prowling the Bridger-Teton National Park who killed two hunters from Ohio would be the villain in BEARS, but she’s anything but. Tyson wants nothing more than to see her. It’s everything that’s getting in the way of the trip that’s antagonizing him. It’s the realities of adulthood, of his beloved grandfather who was supposed to take him to the Tetons get put into a nursing home instead. And as Tyson puts it: being an adult sucks.

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Two more posts left in our Mad For Middle Grade series! Are there any middle grade topics you want to hear about? Let us know!

See you on Monday November 3rd! And remember: the best way to stop an evil villain in his or her tracks is a pie in the face (……or maybe just a fantastic protagonist).

Lauren Magaziner is a 4th grader at heart, watches way too much TV, and loves to steal people’s toes to make Toecorn, which tastes like chewy, meaty popcorn. Only one of those is true. (Okay… you caught me. They’re all true.) Her MG debut THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN WITCHES—about a boy who becomes a witchling’s apprentice in a town full of dangerous, Toecorn-loving witches—is available now from Dial/Penguin.