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WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE Release Day!

It’s hard for me to believe that today is February 4, 2014–the day I’ve looked forward to specifically since last spring, when I found out the publication date for WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE, and generally since the day I wrote my first “book” in elementary school, MANATEES: PROBLEMS HELPS. (I was all about the serious nonfiction back then.)

People like to ask what you’ll do on your release date, and for a long time I had no answer other than “be giddy.” Then I realized that the answer was in front of me all along, on my book’s back cover:

WWAD StickerWhat Would Alice Do?

Alice would commandeer a bottle of champagne, for starters. And then she’d go “eat up the world.” So I am off to do my version of that! (Spoiler alert: It will involve literal eating.)

Thanks to everyone at OneFour KidLit for helping me celebrate!

Where to buy the book:

When Audrey Met Alice final coverBarnes and Noble

Books a Million

Indie Bound

Indigo

Amazon

Rebecca Behrens lives in New York, where she works as a production editor. Her favorite things are em-dashes, Central Park, running, and doughnuts. Her MG debut, WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE (Sourcebooks, Winter ’14), tells what happens when a lonely first daughter finds Alice Roosevelt’s diary hidden beneath the floorboards of a White House closet.
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GETTIN’ LUCKY: An Interview with Sara Polsky, author of THIS IS HOW I FIND HER

Today we’re interviewing Lucky13 author Sara Polsky, whose debut novel THIS IS HOW I FIND HER hits the shelves this week.

960HThis is How I Find Her (Albert Whitman) is about 16-year-old Sophie, who has always lived her life in the shadow of her mother’s bipolar disorder: monitoring medication, making sure the rent is paid, rushing home after school instead of spending time with friends, and keeping secrets from everyone.

But when a suicide attempt lands Sophie’s mother in the hospital, Sophie no longer has to watch over her. She moves in with her aunt, uncle, and cousin—a family she’s been estranged from for the past five years. Rolling her suitcase across town to her family’s house is easy. What’s harder is figuring out how to rebuild her life.

What was the piece of this story that first inspired you? Was it an image, a character, or an idea? 

A character, or rather the relationship between two characters —
Sophie, the main character, and her cousin, Leila. They were best
friends as children but aren’t speaking by the time the book begins.
That was all I knew about them when I first had the idea for This Is
How I Find Her, and as I worked my way backward to their personalities
and their families, I figured out the rest of the story.

What kind of research did you do to write This Is How I Find Her?

As a writer I’m interested in emotions, and memoirs are one way to get
close to how people feel about a particular situation, so I read a lot
of memoirs by people who had experienced bipolar disorder or
depression, or by people whose parents had had mental illnesses. I
also read some of the more straightforward guides to bipolar disorder
for patients and families, which helped me with some of the technical
details about medications, hospital stays, etc.

This Is How I Find Her deals with some difficult subjects, including
mental illness and suicide. What do you hope young-adult readers will
learn from this book, or how do you hope the book will affect them?

I write mostly to explore my own questions — in this case, about
topics like family and home and how to be there for loved ones who are
dealing with mental illnesses. I hope that readers with similar
questions will find some answers or comfort or sense of connection in
the story.

In This Is How I Find Her, it’s not the protagonist who has the
illness. Why did you chose this perspective?

I knew from the beginning that it would be Sophie’s mother, Amy, who
had bipolar disorder and Sophie who was taking care of her and seeing
her experience from the outside. That was always the story I wanted to
tell — I wanted to explore the way mental illness affects families
and friendships and the complicated emotions that Amy’s suicide
attempt raises for Sophie and her relatives.

Your protagonist, Sophie, is an artist. How did that affect her
characterization? How did it affect the voice and your use of
language?

I knew from the earliest drafts that Sophie’s mother would be an
artist, so I liked the idea of Sophie being an artist, too — it would
be something they shared aside from Amy’s illness. It was also
something that made Sophie easier to write. She’s a character who
spends a lot of time in her own head, and her artist’s perspective on
the world meant that her head was a visually interesting, imaginative
place to be (at least, I hope that’s what readers think!). As I
revised, I went back to the descriptions again and again to make sure
Sophie was using her artist’s eye all the time.

What was your biggest challenge in writing This Is How I Find Her?

It was challenging to write a character who is detached and closed off
the way Sophie is at the beginning of the book. There isn’t a lot of
dialogue early in the story, and Sophie tended to shut down any time a
conversation became revealing or personal. Making her an artist helped
with this, since it gave her more reason to observe the world around
her, and I also relied on flashbacks to show a happier, more open time
in Sophie’s life.

And as this community is “All for One and OneFour KidLit,” we’d like to know what two or three books inspired you as a kid:

The book that jumps to mind first when I think about books I loved as
a kid is Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising. (I loved the whole series,
but that book was my favorite.) I ended up majoring in medieval
history and literature in college, so I also look back on TDiR as the
book that started me down a whole path of reading Arthurian legends
and books about the kings and queens of England and eventually
studying things like manuscript handwriting and Latin and Welsh (aka
the coolest college major ever). Other authors I read a lot of:
Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Cynthia Voigt, and Ann Rinaldi.

Thanks for stopping by, Sara, and congrats on your debut! 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Sara is a writer and editor at Curbed NY, and her articles and essays have appeared in The Christian Science MonitorThe ForwardPoets & Writers, and other publications. Her fiction has appeared in Fictitious Force and Behind the Wainscot. She lives in New York City.

Online you can find Sara on her website, Goodreads, Facebook, or Twitter.

This interview was conducted by OneFour member Rebecca Behrens, and is part of an ongoing series of interviews with The Lucky13s —- YA, MG, and children’s book authors debuting in 2013.

Rebecca Behrens lives in New York, where she works as a production editor. Her favorite things are em-dashes, Central Park, running, and doughnuts. Her MG debut, WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE (Sourcebooks; February 4th, 2014), tells what happens when a lonely first daughter finds Alice Roosevelt’s diary hidden beneath the floorboards of a White House closet.
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GETTIN’ LUCKY: An Interview with Laura Golden, author of EVERY DAY AFTER

Today we’re interviewing Lucky13 author Laura Golden, whose middle-grade debut novel EVERY DAY AFTER hits the shelves today. Here’s a little about the book:

Trouble has rained down on Lizzie Hawkins. Her daddy has deserted the family, her mama is silent EveryDayAfter cvr copywith sadness, and the bank is after their house.

Daddy always said Lizzie was born to succeed, but right now she can’t even hold on to her top grades or her best friend, Ben. Bratty newcomer Erin Sawyer has weaseled both away from Lizzie, but Erin won’t be satisfied until Lizzie is out of her hair for good, packed off straight to the nearest orphanage.

Still, Lizzie refuses to lose what’s left of her family. With the bank deadline fast approaching, Erin causing strife at every turn, and Mama and Ben slipping away from her, Lizzie finds comfort writing in her journal and looking at Daddy’s face in the heirloom locket he left her. She’s keeping her head high and holding onto hope that Daddy returns on her twelfth birthday. Still, she can’t help wondering: Why did Daddy have to leave? And can I save us if he doesn’t come home?

Times may be tough in Bittersweet, Alabama, but the unsinkable Lizzie Hawkins will inspire readers with her resilience and determination.

What piece of this story first inspired you? Was it an image, a character, or an idea? 

The inspiration to write this story came from family stories told by my paternal grandparents. I grew up hearing bits and pieces of tales of growing up through hard times, particularly the Great Depression. My grandfather was born in 1925 and had not yet made it through the eighth grade when he left school to work in a local mine. He never returned to school. Of course, children leaving school to help earn money for the family was prevalent in those days. It’s heartbreaking to think about.

My great-grandmother died when my grandmother was only twelve. Her father was quite stern and expected her to take care of her younger siblings as well as the house. My grandmother told of my great-grandfather coming in from working the fields and expecting a hot lunch waiting on the table. No sandwiches for him. I often wondered how that type of pressure would affect kids at that age, and so I wrote EVERY DAY AFTER to explore that.

How–and when–did you decide on the title for your book? 

I have my wonderful editor to thank for the book’s title. When I submitted it to her, it was titled BY THE LIGHT OF THE MOON. Aside from being rather long, it was also the title of a Dean Koontz novel, so she thought we should change it. She suggested EVERY DAY AFTER since the story tells of Lizzie’s struggle to keep her life in order every day after her father leaves. I thought it a brilliant suggestion. Brilliant.

You created the setting of EVERY DAY AFTER–Bittersweet, Alabama, during the Great Depression–so well that I really felt like I could kick off my shoes and go fishing for One-Eye the catfish. Is Bittersweet based on a real place?

Thank you, Rebecca! When I was in revisions with my editor, I asked if she thought the setting needed to be more deeply drawn. I honestly thought setting was my weak spot, but most reviews have complimented just that. Proof, I suppose, that we authors aren’t always the best at spotting our own weaknesses and strengths.

Bittersweet is based on the real-life town of Leeds, AL. It is the town my parents and their parents lived in for most of their lives, and I’ve always felt a deep connection to it. It is located just off Old 78 (Lizzie refers to it as the Bankhead Highway which it was indeed known as during the 1930s), and buses did take rest stops at the local Power’s Café (referred to in EVERY DAY AFTER as Powell’s Café). Elvis Presley once stopped there and requested that the café owner’s daughter sit with him while he ate. She did, and their picture appeared in The Leeds News. I have a copy of that clipping. Beyond cool!

Most of the people inhabiting the town are purely fictional. As I took real-life inspiration from Leeds and began to create Bittersweet, the townsfolk in the book began to appear on their own. Mr. Reed, the Hinkles, the Sheriff, etc., each popped into the story of their own accord. With each revision, their stories and personalities grew and developed. I hope all goes this way with the next book. *crosses fingers*

You mention a real book of proverbs and a particular poem in the story. Did you come across those while writing EVERY DAY AFTER, or did they inspire you before you began?

The book of proverbs came in during earlier revisions. I wanted each chapter to have a title relevant to the happenings and theme of that chapter. I’ve always had a penchant for wise sayings and proverbs, so I started digging around for appropriate ones to use. But…they still didn’t feel integrated enough into the story. Since Mama is practically catatonic in the book, and the only times the readers get to see her personality are through Lizzie’s journal entries, I thought letting her be the bearer of wise words before she fell into deep depression might add some depth to her. And, once I made that change, the chapter titles almost read as Lizzie hearing Mama’s wise words as a sort of forewarning. But, as you can guess, Lizzie still chooses to plow ahead in spite of them. Don’t we all on most days?

Each of the chapter titles is a proverb from the book that Lizzie’s mom treasures. Which proverb/title is your favorite, and why?(Mine is “Luck follows the hopeful, ill luck the fearful.”)

I love “Life is like the moon; now full, now dark.”  Gorgeous, and true.

“Trouble rains down” upon Lizzie Hawkins in this book, which was common for kids during the Great Depression. Was it hard for you to put your character in some tough situations?

Not at all. I figured if real-life kids like my grandparents could make it through terrible circumstances and come out stronger people on the other side, then Lizzie could too. She didn’t disappoint.

Despite her hardships, Lizzie remains “unsinkable”–which is such a powerful message. What do you hope modern MG readers will take away from reading EVERY DAY AFTER?

Two things specifically. First, that it’s extremely important for them to discover their own unique path in life. Lizzie tries so hard to imitate Daddy, her idol. She can’t see her own strengths for failing to see his weaknesses. Does that make any sense? What I’m trying to say is that people often aren’t as perfect as we make them out to be, so we should stop trying to be like so-and-so and start searching out who we are and what we are meant to accomplish as individuals. We are often stronger and capable of far more than we believe.

Second, don’t try to do everything all alone. It’s okay to ask for help. It doesn’t make you weak; it makes you smart. Lizzie’s life would’ve taken a turn for the better much sooner had she taken the time to notice all the people around her who would’ve done anything in their power to help her.

And as this community is “All for One and OneFour KidLit,” we’d like to know what two or three books inspired you as a kid:   

Sure!

  1. CHARLOTTE’S WEB
  2. THE ORDINARY PRINCESS
  3. THE SECRET GARDEN

Thank you for interviewing me for the OneFour KidLit blog, Rebecca. It was such fun, and I cannot wait till I get to read WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE and all the other fantabulous debut books of 2014! Exciting times indeed!

Thanks for stopping by, Laura, and congrats on your debut! 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Laura photo

LAURA GOLDEN loved listening to older generations spin tales about “the good ol’ days.” She was inspired to write this story based in part on her family history. Laura lives outside Birmingham, Alabama. She never dreamed she’d one day become an author, but there is no doubt that she has always been a reader. According to her mother, she taught herself to read at an early age by poring over the words on cereal boxes at breakfast.

This interview was conducted by OneFour member Rebecca Behrens, and is part of an ongoing series of interviews with The Lucky13s —- YA, MG, and children’s books authors debuting in 2013.

Rebecca Behrens lives in New York, where she works as a production editor. Her favorite things are em-dashes, Central Park, running, and doughnuts. Her MG debut, WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE (Sourcebooks, Winter ’14), tells what happens when a lonely first daughter finds Alice Roosevelt’s diary hidden beneath the floorboards of a White House closet.
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GETTIN’ LUCKY: An Interview with Claire Caterer, author of THE KEY & THE FLAME

Today we’re interviewing Lucky13 author Claire Caterer, whose debut MG novel THE KEY & THE FLAME  hits the shelves this week!Caterer_cover-final

THE KEY & THE FLAME is about eleven-year-old Holly Shepard,  who wants nothing more than to seek adventure outside of her humdrum American life. She gets her chance at last when her family travels to England and Holly receives an unusual gift: an iron key that unlocks a passage to the dangerous kingdom of Anglielle, where magic is outlawed and those who practice magic are hunted. When her friend Everett and brother Ben are captured by Anglielle’s ruthless king, Holly must rescue them. But that means finding—and using—the magic within herself and learning which magical allies she can trust. The Key & the Flame is the first in a brand-new fantasy adventure series for ages 8 and up.

What piece of this story first inspired you? Was it an image, a character, or an idea?
The first thing that came to me was the image of a tree that had stood for so long that it served as a portal to the past—or to a parallel universe. The tree was rooted in multiple areas of spacetime.

What kind of research did you do to write The Key and the Flame? And favorite facts or information uncovered in the research process?
I did a lot of research on the Middle Ages in Britain. My fantasy-world setting isn’t strictly fixed in that time and place, but it was parallel, so I needed it to feel authentic.  I researched everyday life, what life in a castle was like, how it was guarded, and how it might be breached. I also read up on weapons and armor and how to joust.

Your book blends a very relatable Middle American setting with contemporary Oxford, England, and a magical medieval kingdom, Anglielle. Which setting was easiest to write? Your favorite to create?
Certainly the easiest was Middle America. I know the area very well. But it’s not much fun to write for the same reason. I liked the idea of taking my main character from the world she’s very familiar with to a somewhat foreign world in Oxfordshire and then on to an even more ancient, foreign place in Anglielle. I love Anglielle with all its magic, but to me Oxfordshire is almost as magical. I love envisioning the English countryside and Hawkesbury’s enchanted woodlands.

How did you create the authentic medieval-sounding dialogue in your book?
It sounds authentic, but actually, it isn’t. True medieval English would be very difficult for us to understand. But Elizabethan English is much closer to our own speech, and we’ve all heard bits of it from the King James translation of the Bible and in Shakespeare’s plays. I aimed for something in that area, and then toned down some of the thees and thous and forsooths to make it relatable to kids.

How did you decide on a title for your book?
The title was really tough for me. I’m not much good at titles, and I wanted this one to incorporate the element of fire, because it plays a big role in the story. My agent actually came up with The Key & the Flame, and the publisher was very happy with it too, so that stuck.

Your main character is described as: “Holly Shepard, age eleven, her life as dull as the peeling white paint on the back of her split-level house, wished for something extraordinary.” What a wonderful description, one to which so many kids (and adults!) can relate. What’s something extraordinary you have wished for?
In this aspect of Holly, I was directly channeling my younger self. I longed for something extraordinary to happen. Parents love raising their kids in the suburbs because they’re safe and there’s space to play, all of which is wonderful. But nothing much ever happens there. My biggest thrill was when the ice-cream truck stopped on our block.

The Key and The Flame is the first book in a five-part series. What is your process for planning and writing a series? Do you know how the story will end? What are some of the challenges of series writing?
I do know how the story will end. That part came to me early on. It’s especially challenging to have five books in mind, as opposed to two or three, because you have to keep the momentum going and hold the reader’s interest through five different plotlines. I spend a lot of time working on what secrets to reveal when, which plots to contain in a particular book and which are more of a series story arc, and keeping the rules of the fictional world consistent from book to book. My agent, Chris Richman, had me write a series bible. It’s about 80 pages of character descriptions, maps, rules for magic, genealogies, histories, and glossaries. I add to it constantly as I write, and then I use it to check myself. I could get completely buried in just writing the series bible because it’s so much fun. If I had time to kill, I’d make a whole comprehensive index of The Key & the Flame. I’m kind of an information nerd.

And as this community is “All for One and OneFour KidLit,” we’d like to know what two or three books inspired you as a kid:
There were so many! But among them were these:
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

Thanks for stopping by, Claire, and congrats on your debut! 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

image_CatererheadshotClaire M. Caterer was born in Detroit, Michigan, and raised in the suburbs of Kansas City. A writer from the age of five, Claire has published fiction in Woman’s World magazine as well as in Ellery Queen and Alfred Hitchcock mystery magazines. She holds a degree in French from the University of Kansas and spent several years working in New York publishing. Today she is back in the Kansas City metro area, where she writes full time and shares her home with her husband, daughter, two dogs, and a host of imaginary friends. The Key & the Flame is her first novel.

Online you can find out more about Claire and The Key & The Flame here:
Claire’s website
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads

This interview was conducted by OneFour member Rebecca Behrens, and is part of an ongoing series of interviews with The Lucky13s —- YA, MG, and children’s books authors debuting in 2013.

Rebecca Behrens lives in New York, where she works as a production editor. Her favorite things are em-dashes, Central Park, running, and doughnuts. Her MG debut, WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE (Sourcebooks, Winter ’14), tells what happens when a lonely first daughter finds Alice Roosevelt’s diary hidden beneath the floorboards of a White House closet.
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GETTIN’ LUCKY: An Interview with Lindsay Ribar, author of THE ART OF WISHING

Today we’re interviewing Lucky13 author Lindsay Ribar, whose debut novel THE ART OF WISHING hits the shelves this week.Art-of-Wishing-cover-199x300

The Art of Wishing is about Margo McKenna, who has a plan for just about everything–from landing the lead in the school play to getting into a good college. So when she finds herself in possession of a genie’s ring and the chance to make three wishes, she doesn’t know what to do. Why should she put her life into someone else’s hands?

But Oliver is more than just a genie–he’s also a sophomore in Margo’s high school, and he’s on the run from a murderer. As he and Margo grow closer, she discovers that it will take more than three wishes to save him.

A whole lot more.

What was the piece of this story that first inspired you? Was it an image, a character, or an idea? 

The starting point for The Art of Wishing was an idea that very quickly led to a character.  I’d wanted, for a long time, to write a paranormal boy/girl romance where the girl was the alpha of the relationship – and when the genie idea occurred to me, I knew I’d found the right vehicle for that kind of story.  Genies are interesting because, unlike many supernatural beings, they often play a submissive role to their human masters, whether by choice or by necessity.  Usually, though, submitting to a master pisses them off.  They want more power than they have, so they screw around with their masters, usually by deliberately misinterpreting wishes.  But that kind of genie has become so common and expected (seriously: look up “Literal Genie” and “Jackass Genie” on TVTropes.org), that I found myself wanting to explore something a little different.

That was how Oliver began: the genie who actually enjoys what he does.  The guy who gets his kicks by being bound to a master, and by giving other people what they want.  Sort of the classic beta male.  He was the idea/character that kickstarted The Art of Wishing.  But if Oliver was the core of the premise, Margo was the core of the plot – because it takes a unique sort of girl to fall for that particular sort of guy.

Your book is set in the very relatable world of high school–but with genies! What was it like adding a magical element to an otherwise realistic setting?

Surprisingly easy!  I read a lot of paranormal YA, and I love shows like Buffy and The Vampire Diaries, all of which use similar conceits.  But besides being constantly immersed in paranormal high school stories, I was one of those people who never quite felt comfortable in school when I was a teenager.  I had things that made me happy, sure – like performing in the plays, singing in the choir, and learning French – but overall, it was a weird experience.  I constantly felt, as I’m sure most of my peers did, like I was the odd one out.  Like I was experiencing the world in a different way than everyone else around me.  From there, it’s not actually a huge leap to get to “Magic is real, and I’m the only one who knows about it.”

You’ve created a genie mythology all your own in this book. What kinds of research did you do to write about them? How did you decide which “classic” genie qualities to keep, and which to change or create on your own?

One of my favorite things about writing this book was that I got to rewatch Disney’s Aladdin (don’t ask me how many times) and call it “research.”  My research was all over the map, actually: Aladdin, old episodes of I Dream of Jeannie, bits of the Quran, stories from The Thousand and One Nights, hours of poking around on TVTropes… you name it.  And the most important thing I found out was this: Genie mythology is the least consistent thing in the entire world.

In some ways that was frustrating, but in other ways it was liberating, because that basically meant that I got to do whatever I wanted.  There were certain classic elements that I wanted to keep – namely, the idea of a genie being bound to an inanimate object (in Oliver’s case, a silver ring), and the three-wishes thing ** – because they provided a structure within which I could feel comfortable working.  And a structure that readers will find familiar, too.

But aside from those two things, anything was fair game.  I pulled some things from other systems of magic; I made other things up completely.  Nothing like writing a paranormal romance to make you feel like a tiny god.

** This isn’t as classic as you’d think, actually.  Although the three-wishes trope itself goes back to Ye Olden Dayes of Yore, “three wishes” and “genies” didn’t intersect until less than a hundred years ago, as far as I can tell.

This book is about music as much as it’s about magic. What music did you listen to while writing it? Like Margo, did you do musical theater in high school?

Oh, not just high school.  I was actually a musical theater performance major in college.  (“Thank goodness that phase is over,” says everyone who’s ever known me.)  So I definitely pulled from that cache of experiences in order to write the rehearsal scenes.

Weirdly, though, my novel soundtrack (yes, I have one; don’t judge me) doesn’t include any musical theater at all.  When I write, I tend to find that I can listen to specific artists, albums, and songs as a means of getting into my characters’ heads.  If I want to access Oliver’s thought processes and mannerisms and such, I listen to Carbon Leaf or Great Big Sea or Matt Nathanson.  For Margo, it’s Neko Case or Brandi Carlile.  For Xavier, it’s Suzanne Vega or the Indigo Girls.

The upside of those associations is that I know I can always come back to those artists if I need inspiration.  The downside is that I’ll probably always associate some of my favorite songs and artists with Margo’s insecurity, Oliver’s evasiveness, and Xavier’s, um, homicidal tendencies.

Yours is one of my very favorite titles: THE ART OF WISHING. How did you come up with it? Did you always have it in mind, or did the title evolve as you wrote the book?

Well, hey, I’m glad you like it!  I definitely didn’t always know this book would be called The Art of Wishing.  When my agent sold the book, its title was The Fourth Wish, which is plenty evocative, but doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue.  Before that, working titles included Wish and That Genie Thing and, occasionally, Arrrrgh.  The current title is the result of much brainstorming that happened in a long email chain between my editor and me.

Let’s pretend that you found Oliver’s ring instead of Margo. What would your three wishes be?

Well, I know my first would be a health-and-fitness sort of thing: to always be in the best possible shape, physically and mentally, for my age and body type.  And if I had enough power, I’d make that apply not just to me, but to as many of my friends and family as possible.

The second one: probably some kind of financial stability.

And the third? Hmmm. I’ll have to get back to you on that….

Since this is a trilogy, what can we look forward to in future books (and when can we read them)? 

Well, without giving too much away, I’ll say that The Art of Wishing ends with Margo’s life changing in a pretty drastic way.  She spends a lot of the second book dealing with the fallout from that change – and trust me, there is plenty of fallout.  Margo also delves deeper into Oliver’s past, finds out more about the nature of his relationship with Xavier, and comes across some information that might have the power to change both their futures… all while still in rehearsals for Sweeney Todd.

There is also some serious gender-bendiness, a lot of secret-identity shenanigans, and (shockingly) kissing.  Like, way more kissing than in the first book.  And possibly a little bit more than kissing, too….

Hooray! And as this community is “All for One and OneFour KidLit,” we’d like to know what two or three books inspired you as a kid:

First of all, that is the best motto ever.

Second of all, I’ve been narrowing this down steadily over the years, and I think the three books/series that stick out the most for me are:

The Baby-Sitters Club by Ann M. Martin

Redwall by Brian Jacques

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Thanks for stopping by, Lindsay, and congrats on your debut! 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Lindsay Ribar grew up in New Jersey, where the only logical thing to do after high school was to move to New York. She majored in drama and English literature at NYU, and now works in book publishing, where she reads other people’s novels by day and writes her own by night. She owns approximately twelve bazillion CD’s, attends far too many concerts, and mainlines nerdy television shows like it’s going out of style. She is fond of wine, Ireland, musicals, long walks around Manhattan, and the color blue.

Online you can find Lindsay on her WebsiteGoodreads, or Twitter.

This interview was conducted by OneFour member Rebecca Behrens, and is part of an ongoing series of interviews with The Lucky13s —- YA, MG, and children’s books authors debuting in 2013.

Rebecca Behrens lives in New York, where she works as a production editor. Her favorite things are em-dashes, Central Park, running, and doughnuts. Her MG debut, WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE (Sourcebooks, Winter ’14), tells what happens when a lonely first daughter finds Alice Roosevelt’s diary hidden beneath the floorboards of a White House closet.
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Rebecca Behrens: WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE

We have a lot of fantastic authors at OneFour KidLit and are excited to introduce them all to you. One author, four questions.  Today we’re talking to Rebecca Behrens, author of WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE.  Here we go!

Hey, you’re getting published! How’d that happen?

I’ve always been a book lover, so I started working in publishing after I graduated from college and then went back to school to get a master’s degree in comp lit. But from age ten to twentysomething, I never wrote my own fiction. I really thought that I only wanted to be a reader and an editor, despite the fact that I had all these stories of my own to tell. After I finally finished grad school, I realized that something was missing from my life: writing. I decided to try working on a novel, and a little less than a year later, I signed with my fantastic agent, Suzie Townsend. About two years after that, we sold my upper-MG debut to Sourcebooks. Hooray!

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

WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE is an upper-MG novel that blends contemporary and historical fiction. Here’s the pitch: Life at 1600 Pennsylvania gets a lot more interesting when lonely Audrey Rhodes discovers Alice Roosevelt’s diary hidden beneath some floorboards. Alice’s outrageous exploits–smoking on the White House roof, shocking State visitors with her pet snake, smuggling contraband in her elbow-length gloves, and racking up speeding tickets in her runabout–inspire Audrey to find her own ways to “eat up the world.”

Alice Roosevelt was an incredible (and pretty wild) person, and it was so much fun to explore her life for this book. One of my favorite Alice quotes is: “If you can’t say something good about someone, come sit right here by me.” She actually embroidered that on a pillow, which Jackie Kennedy kept in the White House. (See it here!)

One of the coolest things I did while researching contemporary White House life for the book was attend the White House Fall Garden Tour. It was awesome to wander around the South Lawn and imagine my main character, Audrey, getting into trouble there.

What are you most excited about in the debut process?

Everything! I can’t wait to see my cover, to hold an ARC in my hands, and to see my book on a shelf in the store. I am oddly excited about doing copy edits in the future (probably because by day I’m a production editor at a Penguin imprint, so this is my chance to switch roles). Most of all, I’m so excited that people (other than my mom and my writer friends) are going to meet my characters. The first time someone added my book to their Goodreads shelf, I thought I was going to burst from happiness and gratitude.

What are your desert-island books?

This is a really tough question. I’m going to break it down by categories:

Picture book: THE MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS BOOK (I read it so many times as a kid that the cover fell off); Middle grade: THE WESTING GAME or WALK TWO MOONS; Young Adult: THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE or THE FAULT IN OUR STARS; Classic: JANE EYRE and FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS; Adult fiction: STATE OF WONDER or THEN WE CAME TO THE END or STILTSVILLE; Celebrity author: BOSSYPANTS; Writing book: ON WRITING and BIRD BY BIRD.

And if I had all of these, I would probably be okay with never being rescued.

Rebecca Behrens lives in New York, where she works as a production editor. Her favorite things are em-dashes, Central Park, running, and doughnuts. Her MG debut, WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE (Sourcebooks, Winter ’14), tells what happens when a lonely first daughter finds Alice Roosevelt’s diary hidden beneath the floorboards of a White House closet.