Sunday, March 22, 2015

Books Available for Purchase

Hi, Everyone!

The book titles (or rather, covers) are now available in the BOOKS tab on the top of the page.  Check out these awesome titles available to purchase on the day of the festival thanks to Moravian Book Shop.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Jennifer Murgia is interviewed by The Mixed Up Files...!

Check out Jennifer's amazing interview promoting YA Fest Jr at THE MIXED UP FILES...OF MIDDLE GRADE AUTHORS.

Click the image to be redirected to the interview.

Brian Biggs Advert

You get to meet the illustrator of FRANK EINSTEIN, Brian Biggs, at YA Fest Jr.  AND you can pick up these awesome books!

6 Questions: An Author Spotlight Interview with Donna Galanti

Donna Galanti, author of JOSHUA AND THE LIGHTNING ROAD, answers our questions!

Favorite MG authors you admire?
So many! And a mix across the board from contemporary to fantasy. Some of these authors write for both MG and YA and include; John Flanagan, R.J. Palacio, Neil Shusterman, Joan Bauer, Stefan Bachmann, Sarah Prineas, Jennifer Nielsen, Michael Northrup, and Jenny Nimmo.

Favorite MG books from the past year (2014/2015)?
The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen, The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas, and Wonder by R.J. Palacio.

How/why did you start writing?
I fell in love with writing because of reading, really. The tooth fairy brought me every Roald Dahl book that was out. And the first book I remember falling in love with was The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I would curl up in a nook at school to hide away and read it. Aslan, the lion in the book, was my hero and I even got a special lion ring to wear to feel close to him. Soon after I wrote my first screenplay, a murder mystery, at seven years old and acted it out with the neighborhood kids. I was hooked! I attended school in England then in a magical castle like Hogwarts where my imagination ran wild in an itchy uniform (bowler hat and tie included). I suppose that inspired me to write my first fantasy story when I was ten about Dodo birds, wizards, and a flying ship. I still have that story.

One piece of advice for young writers?
You are just as qualified to be a writer as I am as a grown up, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! You are actually even better qualified because your creativity and imagination is all shiny and new. As a grown up I have to work harder at it! When it comes to writing, the best piece of advice I can give you that helped me is: Do not self-edit while writing your first draft. Give yourself permission to write freely and without judgment then go back and see what gems you find in your writing to polish. Don’t be embarrassed by your first draft. No one has to see it but you. J

What are you currently working on?  (Give us your elevator pitch!)

I’m working on both books two and three right now in my Joshua and the Lightning Road series. 

In book 2, Joshua and the Arrow Realm, Joshua is called to free his friend, who’s been enslaved as a power pawn in a queen’s quest to rule all. But when Joshua becomes bait in her hunting game, loses his powerful lightning orb, and his friends turn on him, he wonders if he can survive on wits and instincts alone and not only save his friend—but himself.

In book 3, Joshua and the Fire Realm, when Joshua is recruited by his mortal Child Collector enemies to join their revolution in the Fire Realm, he discovers a person’s strength is defined not by the scope of his power, but how he chooses to use it. His wisdom is put to the ultimate test, however, when he must weigh his personal quest to claim his lost family with his obligation to save a whole world.

Are your characters/stories inspired by real people/events?
I write fantasy so I wish the stories were inspired by fantastical events! They are only real in my mind. The characters are very real though! In my book, Joshua and the Lightning Road, Joshua calls his grandfather, Bo Chez, which stands for the Big Cheese–and what my godfather is called by his kids. Bo Chez is like my godfather, big and strong with a booming voice. I also envision Joshua’s mentor Leandro, a mysterious cloaked man, as my hero in Lord of the Rings, Aragorn. He was a character that was very real to me. Long before the movie came out, I even dressed up like Aragorn for Halloween of what I thought he would look like. Long hooded cape, boots, and long hair. No one knew who I was but me. And then there is Joshua, who is based on my own son, Joshua.

Friday, March 13, 2015

More Raffles!

Thank you, +Capstone Publishers for this pile of amazing donations, including ARCS from our very own Margaret Gurevich!

Courtesy of Capstone Publishers

Friday, March 6, 2015

6 Question: An Author Spotlight with Matt Myklusch

Writer and illustrator Matt Myklusch answers our questions! 

Favorite MG authors? Illustrators you admire?

I don’t read very much middle-grade, as I don’t want to be influenced by what else is out there in my category. I have, of course, read the new classics, Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. JK Rowling and Rick Riordan are both amazing. (Really going out on a limb, aren’t I?)

On the subject of illustrators, I have to give a shout out to Owen Richardson who painted the covers for my Jack Blank books and the Artemis Fowl series too. Also, Matt Armstrong, who did the cover for Seaborne: The Lost Prince. I couldn’t be happier with the way that one turned out. Growing up, I was incredibly influenced by comic book pencillers. There are too many to list, but I’ll say Jim Lee, Marc Silvestri, Arthur Adams, Todd McFarlane, Erik Larsen, and Joe Quesada to name a few. I’m still a huge comic book fan, so that list grows every year.

Favorite MG books from the past year (2014/2015)?

I actually didn’t read any! I read a ton of books, but nothing in my category. I will say that Brandon Mull had a new series kick off last year, and I think his Beyonders and Fablehaven books are excellent. I’d recommend anything he does sight unseen.

How/why did you start writing?

When I was growing up, I spent a lot of time reading comic books like the X-Men, watching TV shows like GI Joe and the Transformers, and movies like Indiana Jones and Star Wars. I always walked away from those things wanting to create my own version of them. I would spend hours drawing my own superheroes and super-villains. My own Transformer and GI Joe characters. My own space adventurers and dauntless archeologists. For some reason, it was never enough to just watch. I always wanted to get in the game.

I think creativity is a compulsion. No matter what form it takes (writing, drawing, singing, acting, etc…), it starts out as an idea that you feel a need to express. A voice in your head that won’t shut up. That’s what gets me started on every new story. I don’t know why I feel a need to do it. I just know I love it and can’t stop. Maybe that’s the reason.

One piece of advice for young writers?

You only fail if you quit. Don’t think about the odds and don’t give up. If after years of writing, you are still trying to get published but haven’t quit, then you haven’t failed. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been at it. A screenwriter named Josh Olson wrote, “You can’t discourage a writer. If I can talk you out of being a writer, then you’re not a writer.” I totally agree. Life is going to present you with no shortage of excuses for giving up. The important thing to remember is that’s all they are— excuses. They’re not reasons. Have faith in yourself and your story.  You can do anything if you want it bad enough.

Also, write for YOU. No one is forcing you to sit down and write, so write the story you want to read. The one you will have the most fun writing. There’s no guarantee anything will ever happen with it, so you better at least have fun writing it. I happen to believe that makes the book come out better in the end.

What are you currently working on?  (Give us your elevator pitch!)

I’m working on a book that is a cross between Johnny Quest and Indiana Jones, with a little bit of James Bond mixed in. I’ve got a first draft complete, but it needs a few tweaks. I’m still trying to find my groove with this story, but it will be a lot of fun once I do.

Are your characters/stories inspired by real people/events?

I think we’re all the sum total of our experiences, so it’s impossible to separate yourself completely from your art. Often, it’s only when I look back on a finished project that I realize, “Oh, I’ve been writing about myself.” Maybe not on a story-detail level (as I have never been a pirate or super-hero), but on a thematic level definitely. I see elements of that in Seaborne and Jack Blank, and I didn’t even realize I was doing it while I was writing the books. That’s one the amazing things about writing— a book can still have surprises in store for its author!

Don't forget!  Matt is going to be hosting a half hour art lesson at YA Fest Jr!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Prizes up for grabs!

Here are more generous donations you could win in our terrific raffles on April 25!

Thank you, SIMONKIDS

Thank you, Lisa McMann for your UNWANTEDS donation!

Thank you, SIMONKIDS!

Thank you, SIMONKIDS!