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.



****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.

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!



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.


At long last, the day has come.

Becoming a published author has been a dream of mine ever since I was seven, drinking tea in a book club during lunch at my elementary school. I started pursuing my dream at age twelve, and it took seven years to land an agent and a publishing contract.

It’s been a long ride, but it happened. It really happened. I am so, so happy to share this book with you all. 🙂


Clementine has spent her whole life preparing for her sixteenth birthday, when she’ll be tested for Extraction in the hopes of being sent from the planet Kiel’s toxic Surface to the much safer Core, where people live without fear or starvation. When she proves promising enough to be “Extracted,” she must leave without Logan, the boy she loves. Torn apart from her only sense of family, Clem promises to come back and save him from brutal Surface life.  

What she finds initially in the Core is a utopia compared to the Surface—it’s free of hard labor, gun-wielding officials, and the moon’s lethal acid. But life is anything but safe, and Clementine learns that the planet’s leaders are planning to exterminate Surface dwellers, which means Logan, too.

Trapped by the steel walls of the underground and the lies that keep her safe, Clementine must find a way to escape and rescue Logan and the rest of the planet. But the planet leaders don’t want her running—they want her subdued. 

With intense action scenes and a cast of unforgettable characters, Extraction is a page-turning, gripping read, sure to entertain lovers of Hunger Games and Ender’s Game, and leave them breathless for more.

Advance Praise for Extraction:

“With its toxic moon and dangerous secrets, Kiel is a planet you’ll want to visit again and again, especially with tough, plucky Clementine as your guide. A breathtaking debut that kept me glued to the page!” –Jessica Khoury, author of Origin

“A gripping tale of loyalty, heartache, and self-discovery, Diaz’s debut had me invested from page one. I can’t wait to read the next installment.” -Kasie West, author of Pivot Point

“Bold, brutal, and brilliantly paced, EXTRACTION kept me racing through the pages and desperate for more.” —Shannon Messenger, author of Keeper of the Lost Cities

“Viciously beautiful, EXTRACTION sucks you into a brutal world where action and twists come at a relentless pace, hitting the best notes of old-school sci-fi. I flew through it!” —Kat Zhang, author of What’s Left of Me

You can purchase a copy of Extraction from the following places, or request it at your local library!

Barnes & Noble | Amazon | IndieBound | Book Depository | iBooks

21-year-old Stephanie Diaz wrote her debut novel when she should’ve been making short films and listening to class lectures at San Diego State University. When she isn’t lost in books, she can be found singing, marveling at the night sky, or fangirling over TV shows. Her YA sci-fi novel, EXTRACTION, is available now. The sequel, REBELLION, is out February 10, 2015. You can follow Stephanie on twitter: @StephanieEDiaz.

DREAMWOOD Publication Day!

Cover of DREAMWOOD by Heather MackeyHi all, I can’t believe this day is here. What happened to time? Just yesterday I had long, uneventful months ahead of me with publication something just barely glimpsed on the far horizon.

Short blurb: When 12-year-old Lucy’s scientist father goes missing, she embarks on a supernatural ecological adventure through a fantastical version of the Pacific Northwest.

I revised and rewrote DREAMWOOD for seven years, which feels like a number from a fairy tale. (I can imagine the book fairies now, hanging out in their forest abode: “And after seven years, she awoke to find she was a published author.”)

Here are what some other book fairies have said:

“A stunning debut with equal parts orginality and heart.” –Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

“Vivid descriptions … capture the imagination at every turn. Dialogue and perilous situations nudge the story along at a steady clip, with the second half a breathless page turner.” –School Library Journal

“As the story races from one fantastic or frightening adventure to the next, it skillfully combines reality with fantasy. … pure fun.” –VOYA

“Mackey’s descriptions of the creatures and hazards of the dreamwood are gorgeous and lush, a fantastic setting for a fantastic tale.” –Booklist

And thanks to Holly Goldberg Sloan (author of must-read COUNTING BY 7S) for this amazing blurb: “Wildly inventive. Like this novel, Lucy is brave, smart, and destined for greatness.”

I hope you’ll check DREAMWOOD out. And if you do, let me know—can a tree be scary?




Heather Mackey is the author of DREAMWOOD, a middle-grade fantasy adventure coming in June 2014 from Penguin-Putnam. She lives in Northern California, and thinks the woods are spooky. That’s why she wrote about a homicidal forest!

Juggling Multiple Points of View

I tried to learn to juggle in high school because I heard it improved concentration skills. While I could keep two objects moving at once, it was that third one that got me. After beaning myself in the head for the umpteenth time, I gave it up. I just couldn’t master the technique.


So how does one master juggling several points of view in a manuscript? These are the methods I used in writing By the Grace of Todd, which has four POV characters: Todd, Lewis, Persephone, and Herman.

First, I established that even though the book opens with a prologue told from the Lewis the Toddlian’s POV, Todd was the main narrator. For my book, it worked best to have a central protagonist and use the other three character’s chapters to give insight into the story happening inside “the story.”

Then I had to establish each character’s distinct voice. This became complicated with the Toddlian’s Lewis and Herman, who both spoke rather formerly. To distinguish them from each other, I had Lewis refer to Todd’s mom as “The Mother,” while Herman, a scientific fellow, called her “The Maternal Person.” Lewis also quotes TV, which is how he learned English, while Herman quotes poetry and facts he gleaned from encyclopedias.

Here is a sampling of each character:

Todd: Life was a lot different on the other side of puberty. The Zoo Crew guys were loud and crude and didn’t care what anybody thought, and being with them was kinda awesome.

Lewis: On QVC, the shipping alone on the hottest pair of this season’s suede pumps with bows on the toes is only $9.97! I am not sure what shipping means, but are we not worth more than ten dollars to you, Great One? Will you not do something to right these wrongs, or must we appeal to Judge Judy?

Persephone (the cowgirl Toddlian): Wooo doggies, I thought. I checked out my cowgirl getup in the long reflecting glass in Spud’s water closet. “Howdy, pardoner. Yer gussied up awful purty tonight.”

Herman: Alas, neither the climb nor the paper could warm me. I would perish betwixt the pages, alone and unsung. Goodbye, Herman. You must be brave.

Another way I included an additional viewpoint was to have Lewis recount what Todd’s baby sister, Daisy mutters (she speaks fluent Toddlian). This makes it seem like the reader hears her inner thoughts.

Daisy: “That imbecilic brother of mine has lost so many pieces, I’ll never be able to build the DAISYNATOR THREE THOUSAND as I’d planned. There aren’t even enough pieces to construct the Binkie Boomerang. Succotash!”

Now for the juggling: Whenever possible, I write one storyline at a time, keeping the characters separate when they narrate a chapter. If I need to write two character POVs in a session, I break it up and go back and reread previous chapters for voice. But it’s definitely easier for me to only write one character at a time. I also have individual playlists for the characters, to help me focus and set the mood.

What about you? What books have you read that do more than one POV successfully? Are you a writer with any words of wisdom?

Louise Galveston is the author of BY THE GRACE OF TODD (Penguin/Razorbill Feb. 27, 2014). She and her husband live in the Midwest with their eleven kids and a parrot. When Louise isn’t writing or folding laundry, she directs her local children’s theater, where she’s playwright in residence.

Edith Cohn: SPIRIT’S KEY

We’ve got a great group of debut authors here at OneFour KidLit. Today we’re introducing Edith Cohn. One author, four questions. Here we go!


What’s your debut book about? Can you share any cool details with us?

My debut novel SPIRIT’S KEY is a mystery about a twelve-year-old psychic girl named Spirit who works with the ghost of her pet dog to uncover the truth of the mysterious deaths of wild dogs on the remote island where she lives.

Cool details about the book —This book is an interesting mix of genres—mystery, light fantasy, adventure, and paranormal. I’d never written anything like it before. I’d only written YA contemporary novels—none of which I was able to sell. One of my friends, who was surprised I would attempt to write something with fantasy elements said, “But you don’t even read fantasy.” Actually this wasn’t true. But I’d written contemporary for so long—that was how people thought of me. The doubts crept in. Had I read enough fantasy to be qualified to write one? Could I get away with never saying exactly where this island was located? Could I make up weird superstitions and beliefs? What were the rules for middle grade? To hush my doubts, I wrote in my notebook in big bold letters: IT’S YOUR ISLAND. YOU CAN DO WHAT YOU WANT! This became my mantra.

But even though the setting of Bald Island is made up, I drew a lot of inspiration from the very real Outer Banks of North Carolina. I did a lot of research that inspired the book, and some of the strangest superstitions in the story are actually based on things I read. For example, the characters in SPIRIT’S KEY drink yaupon tea to cure their anger. And actual early settlers on the Outer Banks believed this tea cured the drinker of anger and falsehoods.

What are you most excited about in the debut process?

I’m really looking forward to having actual kid readers. I want to hear what they think and have the opportunity to talk to them in schools. I used to teach 7th grade, and it will be nice to have the chance to teach kids about writing again. I’m also crossing my fingers for fan mail. 😉

What cool facts might readers not know about you?

Edith_Cohn-9744-2Probably the first thing you should know about me is that I am a crazy dog lady. I even have a bumper sticker on my car that says so! Really this just means, my dog Leia is my little fur baby. I kind of run my life around her happiness.

Also, when I’m not reading or writing, I’m crafting handmade dog collars or jewelry. I used to have an Etsy store called BUTTERPUPS, where I sold dog collars for fancy pups. Now I just do it for fun. These typewriter rings are really popular amongst my friends. If you want one, the cost is two preordered copies of SPIRIT’S KEY. Email me your receipt (edithcohn(at)gmail.com), and I’ll mail you one with your initial. The ring bases are pretty pricey, so please be honest and follow through with the book order. I also only have a handful of the ring bases left, so this is only while supplies last. 1970623_10153944009685654_2031927106_n

What are your desert island books?

In some ways being on a desert island seems like a dream come true for an introvert writer, but it also sounds kind of painful. I just reread THE GIVER by Lois Lowry, and it’s a good reminder that pain is useful, so that one is a must. I think BREADCRUMBS by Anne Ursu is also a great reminder of this. Here’s my favorite line, “This is what it is to live in the world. You have to give yourself over to the cold, at least a little bit.” I’d have to bring my go-to craft books like BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamott, ART AND FEAR by David Bayles and Ted Orland and SAVE THE CAT by Blake Snyder. I’d also really like to have a notebook so I could write.

Edith Cohn was born and raised in North Carolina where she grew up exploring the unique beaches of the Outer Banks. She currently lives in the coyote-wild hills of Los Angeles with her husband and her dog. All of these things provided inspiration for her middle grade novel, SPIRIT’S KEY, a mystery about a girl and her ghost dog, coming September 9th from FSG/Macmillan.



Writing in the Cracks

“How on Earth do you find time to write with all those kids?” is the question I get asked constantly when people discover I have a large family.

My tribe.

My tribe.

The very wise and kind Eileen Spinelli (mother of six) once told me to “write in the cracks.” At that point, I was at Chautauqua for a Highlights Retreat and expecting my ninth child. (I was able to go on that retreat because my husband, who is the fueler of all my dreams, had taken a week of vacation to watch our kids.) At that point the cracks in my life were only big enough to cram in a short story, or snippets of poetry, so that’s what I focused on writing.

During that time I wrote during ballet practices and for a couple of hours in the evening when I would shut myself in my bedroom while my husband cared for the kids. But I really wanted to work on novels, so I decided to carve out more writing time. After the kids went to bed, I would hit the keyboard, writing until the words swam on the screen. I’d snag a nap in the afternoon (on good days) while the little ones napped and repeat the process at night.

Tight deadlines have forced me to find more productive writing times, so I’m currently trying to condition myself to getting up at five in the morning and writing until the kids wake up. I’ve found that my head is much clearer and drafting flows far better than when I’m tired at the end of the day. The problem I’m having is that I want to spend time with my teenagers and husband at night, so I don’t get to bed early enough to function without a nap next day, and the three-year-old has decided to boycott naps.

So, I’m still trying to figure out how to make more productive “cracks,” but if I can do it, anyone can! What about you? When do you do your most productive writing?

Louise Galveston is the author of BY THE GRACE OF TODD (Penguin/Razorbill Feb. 27, 2014). She and her husband live in the Midwest with their eleven kids and a parrot. When Louise isn’t writing or folding laundry, she directs her local children’s theater, where she’s playwright in residence.

GETTIN’ LUCKY: An Interview with Brandy Colbert, Author of POINTE

Today we’re talking to Brandy Colbert, author of POINTE. You guys. You guys. This book blew me away. It’s powerful in a way that left me an emotional mess for days after I read it (but in a good way). You need to check this one out. Trust.

Theo is better now.

She’s eating again, dating guys who are almost appropriate, and well on her way to becoming an elite ballet dancer. But when her oldest friend, Donovan, returns home after spending four long years with his kidnapper, Theo starts reliving memories about his abduction—and his abductor.

Donovan isn’t talking about what happened, and even though Theo knows she didn’t do anything wrong, telling the truth would put everything she’s been living for at risk. But keeping quiet might be worse.

Thanks for joining us today, Brandy! I guess the million dollar question is where did the inspiration for POINTE come from?
I’ve always been interested in kidnapping stories. When I was young, I saw a TV movie called I Know My First Name Is Steven, which was based on a true story from the ’70s/’80s. I thought about it often, and followed the case and others like it for years. I’d always wanted to write a story about a kidnapping, but there are already so many well-done books from the victim’s point of view, so I wanted to explore what happens to the friend of the abducted child, especially if that abducted friend returns someday. The ballet came later, then my brilliant editor helped me weave it all together into a coherent story.

Speaking of ballet, POINTE’s main character, Theo, is an elite dancer, and the level of detail with which you describe Theo’s world is impressive. Do you come from a dance background yourself or was this a product of a good deal of research?
Thank you! I’m so glad to hear that, because it’s sometimes difficult to translate something you love to the page. Growing up, I took eight years of tap lessons, and several years of jazz, and I was on my high school’s dance team. I’m more of a spectator when it comes to ballet, and have taken the majority of my ballet classes from college on, so that did require a good amount of research. When writing about a performing art, you’re trying to balance that line between being too technical and conveying the beauty of the art. (But it was also a great excuse to watch my favorite dance movies and clips, so it’s honestly the best research I can think of.)
What I love most about this book is its almost blunt sense of realism—it’s gritty, it’s raw, and it’s so believable. It does deal  with several pretty tough subjects. Was it a hard book to write, emotionally? What was the most difficult part about writing it? Conversely, the easiest part?
You know, for this book, I think I was able to remove myself from from the material while writing. There were definitely some tough parts that made me step away from the computer at times—particularly the flashback scenes, with Donovan and at the abandoned park—but for the most part, I was able to move forward without getting too emotionally invested at the time. I think part of that is also related to Theo’s character. She pushes aside everything that’s happened to her so she can focus on her dance, and so it didn’t actually feel like these really dark, intense situations were going down, even as I was writing them. As for the easiest, the scenes set at school and the parties came pretty easily, which probably says a lot about why I enjoy writing young adult books.

What was your path to publication like?
Long. I started writing for publication in 2006, and queried my first book the next year. I got an agent with that book, but it wasn’t the right fit, so we cut ties. I wrote two more books that didn’t go anywhere, but I could tell from the agent feedback that I was getting better, so I was pretty hopeful when I started querying POINTE. I signed with my agent in 2011, we sold to my editor about three weeks after going on submission, and we worked on the book for quite a while to get it right. Publishing can seem to take forever, but looking back, I wouldn’t change any part of my journey.
That’s quite a journey, and I’m so glad it all worked out in the end and that the world gets to read POINTE. (Have I mentioned how much I love your book?) Ok, one last question: What 2 or 3 books inspired you as a kid? 
Ooh, great question! I read just about anything I could get my hands on as a kid, but two that stick out to me are: A LITTLE PRINCESS by Frances Hodgson Burnett, and SIXTH GRADE CAN REALLY KILL YOU by Barthe DeClements. I loved the classics for their language and the way you felt truly transported to another world. DeClements’ books were so realistic to me, and introduced me to developed characters and fantastic stories told through spare prose.
Thanks so much for having me!

And thanks so much to Brandy for joining us! You find out more about Brandy and POINTE on her website or on Twitter or Goodreads.

Brandy Colbert was born and raised in the Missouri Ozarks, has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism, and has worked as an editor for several national magazines. She lives and writes in Los Angeles. Her first novel, POINTE, will be published by Penguin on April 10, 2014.

Meredith McCardle headshot smallMeredith McCardle is a recovered lawyer who lives in South Florida with her husband and two young daughters. Like her main character, she has a fondness for strong coffee, comfortable pants, and jumping to the wrong conclusions. Unlike her main character, she cannot travel through time. Sadly. Her debut, THE EIGHTH GUARDIAN, will be published by Skyscape/Amazon Children’s in Spring 2014. You can find her on Twitter.

Mary Crockett: DREAM BOY


I’ve always been a dreamer. Daydreams. Night dreams. Dreams of grandeur and dreams of escape. If I were an onion and you pulled back the papery outside, you’d find layer after layer of eye-watering dreams. And in the center, where there’s that little curlicue of onion heart? There’d be a puff of smoke from the dreams that burned away.


Annabelle Manning feels like she’s doing time at her high school in Chilton, Virginia. She has her friends at her lunchtime table of nobodies. What she doesn’t have are possibilities. Or a date for Homecoming. Things get more interesting at night, when she spends time with the boy of her dreams. But the blue-eyed boy with the fairytale smile is just that—a dream. Until the Friday afternoon he walks into her chemistry class.

One of friends suspects he’s an alien. Another is pretty sure it’s all one big case of déjà vu. While Annabelle doesn’t know what to think, she’s willing to believe that the charming Martin Zirkle may just be her dream come true. But as Annabelle discovers the truth behind dreams—where they come from and what they mean—she is forced to face a dark reality she had not expected. More than just Martin has arrived in Chilton. As Annabelle learns, if dreams can come true, so can nightmares.


Eerie, twisty, fast and funny, Dream Boy will forever change the way you see your dreams–and your nightmares. An exciting, imaginative look at what might happen when people from the corners of your mind suddenly show up in your real life.”– Lois Metzger, author of A Trick of the Light


One author, four questions. Today we’re talking to Mary Crockett, coauthor with Madelyn Rosenberg of DREAM BOY, coming July 1 from Sourcebooks Fire.

What’s your debut book about? Can you share any details with us?

DREAM BOY is about a girl whose dreams are so powerful that she literally brings her dream boy to life.

In short hand: Girl dreams boy. Girl meets boy. Girl, boy, and friends save universe.

It’s kind of like the movie Inception, but in reverse… and in high school.

Probably what I loved most about writing this book, though, is how it plays with different genres. The book is contemporary, but a fantasy. There’s romance, but there’s some scary stuff, too. There are seriously comic moments… and some seriously serious ones.

All in all, I got to express a lot of different parts of myself while writing DREAM BOY with Madelyn—and that was so much fun for me as a writer.

What was it like writing a book with a coauthor?

The best! I love Madelyn. She’s both astoundingly creative and exceedingly patient—which is a wonderful combination in a coauthor.

We’d pass the book back and forth by email—each combing through whatever came before and then writing the next chunk. We both felt empowered to change whatever we thought needed changing, and for the most part, we agreed.

There were, of course, some points of difference—as you can see in this video Madelyn made about us working toward a compromise:

You can find out more about our coauthoring process here.

What are you most excited about for your DREAM BOY debut?

I’ve found the YA community so inspiring. Other authors, readers, bloggers, reviewers—they’ve all been incredibly welcoming. I’m just really excited to be able to share DREAM BOY with them!

Madelyn and I had soooo much fun writing this book; I can only hope someone might have as much fun reading it.

That said, it was also pretty cool to hold the Advanced Reader Copies of DREAM BOY in my hands for the first time.


What might people who read DREAM BOY be surprised to find out about you?

1. I’m a not-so-closet poet.

2. I’ve always harbored a secret desire to be the fortune teller for a traveling carnival.

3. I’m a big believer in keeping dream journals, but I stopped dreaming for about a year after I had my first baby. This may be because I also stopped sleeping for about a year.

4. My first job was as a toilet-seat hand model. (More about that here and here.)


MaryCrockett LookawayMary Crockett‘s debut novel DREAM BOY is about the aftermath of dreams, the nightmare of high school, and the mystical power of an awesome pair of shoes. Mary has worked as everything from a history museum director to a toilet seat hand model. In her other life, she’s an award-winning poet/professional eavesdropper. You can find her yakking it up at Twitter, Facebook, or pretty much any coffee shop in southwestern Virginia.

Add DREAM BOY to your Goodreads shelf.

Order DREAM BOY at Indie Bound, Amazon or Barnes and Noble.


The Rough Road to Publishing WHISPER

Whisper cover final

On the very first day of my existence, hands pushed me into the cold water and held me down, waiting for me to drown, but even then I was quiet and knew how to hold my breath. ~Whisper Gane

Q: Hey You’re Getting Published! How did that happen? 

It has been a long, hard road to publication and if you have experienced something similar, I understand your frustrations.

Twelve years ago, I began writing my first young adult book. I’ll admit it, I still love that book, even though it has never been published. The main character was based on one of my students who was flippant, sarcastic, and an emotional wreck. I could relate to her so well and she made a fantastic protagonist. I wrote the book and sent out chapters to agents. Within two weeks, I had an agent.

Happy story, right? Ah, but my story is just beginning. The agent was fantastic. He loved the manuscript. He sent it out to editor, after editor, after editor. He compiled a list of editors who turned down the manuscript. This list, after three years, was over thirty publishers long. Then came the email. “Sorry, I am unable to sell your manuscript. You need to look for a new agent.”

And did I look for a new agent? No. I had a child. Then I had another child. By 2006, I was working full time, had two children, and could barely see straight let alone write and find an agent. In a frantic, desperate move, I sent my original manuscript to PNWA’s YA novel contest and….won. Yay, right? This would be my step into publication.  I naively thought that agents and editors would see that I was a fabulous writer (winning awards and all) and would come in droves to request my book.

I had no bites and, honestly, didn’t know how to market the book.

By that time I’d written another novel, sent it to PNWA, and won again in 2007.  Agents and editors would be interested for sure! I had won the contest two years in a row.

I’m afraid that novel, too, did not find an agent.

And on I went in my crusade. This time, I applied to the MFA program at Portland State University and was accepted. This would be the answer: I would hone my skills and rival John Green with my amazing metaphors. Instead, it took me almost four years to finish a program that most students complete in 18 months. I spent an entire year on my thesis alone. And thus WHISPER was born. For three and a half years, I polished, tweaked and rewrote. When I graduated in 2011 from the program, I reworked the novel one more time and sent it out in 2012. And finally, my wait was over. An editor from Orca Publishing dug my manuscript out of the slush pile, called me up, and said she wanted to work on it. (She is amazing and I’m so thankful that she gave me a chance.)

I didn’t sleep for three days.

 It has been a long, hard road. But persistence does pay off. Keep working. Keep writing. Get those 10,000 hours in and send that manuscript out yet again.  One of my MFA professors once told me that’s it’s not necessarily the most amazing writers who get published; it’s the persistent ones, and even though I believe many amazing writers do get published, sheer hard work will pay off.

What’s your debut book about?

 Blurb: Whisper was a reject, living in a world so polluted and damaged that many humans and animals alike were born with defects.  She’d grown up in an outcast camp far from any village, and those who lived in the camp were like her:  disfigured.

But on her sixteenth birthday, Whisper’s father came to take her back to the village where she was to fill her mother’s vacated spot and perform duties for the family.  Her job was to cook, clean, wash the clothes, and maintain the family property.  At night she was chained to the doghouse.

This is a story about Whisper, trying to find a place in a world that doesn’t accept her.  It is a story of rejection, pollution and social status.  Whisper discovers that through perseverance, friends and determination, anyone can find a way to fit.Christina Bonn