Hi, Steph! Thanks so much for asking me to stop by. This blog-tour idea is pretty cool, and it’s nice of you to invite me in.
Now, about my quirks. Boy, you’re starting off tough! I mean, maybe people don’t know about them because I want to keep them secret? Okay, okay I agreed to do this, so here we go—some quirks:
- I can’t let a jigsaw puzzle go unfinished. My kids find great joy in this because they get away with all sorts of stuff when a puzzle’s open. It’s terrible.
- I’m obsessed with the moon. A moonrise is mesmerizing. Don’t even try to talk to me when I’m watching the moon.
- I like to ride shopping carts through parking lots. You know, run, hop on, ride? There is something truly joyful about riding a shopping cart. People think I’m crazy about this now? Just wait ‘til I’m 90. “Outta my way sonny! I’m comin’ through!”
She is growing up a month at a time from book to book, so she’s trying to learn from her mistakes and apply those lessons to new situations. It’s tough to pull the punch when you’re dealing with Heather Acosta, but she’s learning to take her down in other ways.
What’s been a challenge for me over the course of the series is keeping the stories up-to-date regarding kids’ use of technology. When I started the series, kids didn’t have iPods or cell phones. Fortunately, Sammy can’t afford those things to begin with, but they need to exist on the periphery, and slipping in these changes needs to feel natural to the reader. Plea to techno companies: Stop inventing new stuff!
Flipped is the book I wish I’d had when I was growing up. I think it would have helped so much in my view, not only of my crushes, but of my friends. It took me forever to learn to see “past the surface,” and Flipped is my way of presenting the importance of that concept without preaching it. All the “telling” in the world is not going to dissuade a teen from their crush…but somehow Flipped manages to break through.
4. If you could bring one of your characters to life, who would it be?
Sammy. And I would be willing to relive the dark days of junior high just so I could hang out with her. And man, that’s saying something.
The Exercise the Right to Read program is my effort to help schools raise funds while instilling good fitness and literacy habits in students, and also serving the community. Everything’s free and downloadable at www.exercisetherighttoread.org. Schools that have participated have had really good success. I just returned from visiting Central Middle School in Edmond, Oklahoma—this year’s ETRTR challenge winner. Part of my visit involved walking the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon 5-K with students, parents, and staff. I got on a school bus with a bunch of them at five in the morning and it was such an uplifting, moving experience for me to see how much participating in this program had impacted them.
The unexpected seems to happen to me in writing. I’ll get a little seed of an idea, tell myself, No way—you don’t have time for that! But that little seed takes root and before you know it I’m watering the darn thing, thinking about it all the time. At that point, it’s too late to turn back. Last year was the first year in ten years that there was no Sammy Keyes book published. And that was because this little idea I had consumed me. There was a tremendous amount of research involved in developing the idea but I was obsessed with the story and everything else got put on hold. The book is titled The Running Dream and will be out in January 2011, but because of it there was a delay in writing Sammy Keyes and the Wedding Crasher (which, ironically, comes out before The Running Dream, in October 2010). I started getting people writing me asking, Are you writing any more Sammys? Please, please, please? And then there were the ones who wondered if I was dead. Can’t have that! So no matter what little idea floats into my head, I am now focusing on Sammy. From here to the end of the series, it’s Sammy Keyes all the way. After that? We’ll see what takes root.
7. Outside of writing, what are some of your favorite things to do?
I love playing chess with my sons. We have a Burger King crown that we’ve turned into the Chess Champion crown, and it rotates among the three of us. Who has the crown? I want to play! (My husband won’t play me, ‘cause he can’t beat me, but the boys are starting to do so routinely, which give me great pleasure.)
My favorite thing in the world is playing raucous rock ‘n’ roll guitar…something I do with my husband (who is an awesome drummer), and now also our sons who (incredibly enough) don’t think it’s awkward to play in a band with their parents.
Sammy Keyes books are never easy to sum up, and Sammy Keyes and the Wedding Crasher is no exception. This is the first Sammy where the mystery occurs at school. Someone’s threatening Mr. Vince, and because of his sour attitude toward his students, the field of suspects is wide open. Also, Sammy’s ditzy mother is back in town causing trouble, Officer Borsch is getting married (or at least trying—after all, Sammy’s in the wedding party, so you know things are not going to go smoothly), and Heather’s up to evil. And then there’s Casey. Poor Sammy and Casey. Sigh.
So that’s it? Okay! Well, thanks again for inviting me to stop by. I hope your readers will follow me to my next tour stop which will be at Through a Glass, Darkly (www.throughaglass.net) tomorrow. I understand a middle schooler who is a big Sammy Keyes fan will be in charge of questions. Should be interesting!
Thank you so much for stopping by, Wendelin! Be sure to visit the other stops on Wendelin's tour if you're interested, in order to learn more about her, Sammy Keyes, and her other books!
May 31st: Where the Books Are – http://wherethebestbooksare.
June 1st: Steph Su Reads - http://stephsureads.blogspot.
June 2nd: Through A Glass, Darkly – www.throughaglass.net
June 3rd: Mrs. Magoo Reads – www.mrsmagooreads.com
June 4th: The Children’s Book Review – www.thechildrensbookreview.com
June 5th: Write for a Reader – www.writeforareader.blogspot.com
June 6th: Mundie Moms - http://mundiemoms.blogspot.
June 7th: Library Lounge Lizard - http://www.
June 8th: Wendelin’s Jog Blog - http://etrtr.blogspot.com/