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Friday, April 26, 2013

Author Chris Howard On Being 6 Months Post Publication with ROOTLESS (and a Giveaway!)

A big welcome to the wonderful Chris Howard, author of the YA novel ROOTLESS. Chris probably doesn't remember this, but I sat next to him during a meal at my very first writing conference in 2010. I was too nervous to even tell anyone at the table about the manuscript I'd written. I still remember Chris turning to me and saying, "You're gonna have to work on that, you know." It was good advice :)

Last Fall, I saw him at a Maggie Stiefvater/Brenna Yovanoff book signing and was thrilled to hear that his own book was about to come into the world. Today he's been kind enough to answer a few questions about life post-publication.

If you haven't read the book yet, I'm giving away a copy to one lucky person who leaves a comment on today's post (winner to be announced next Friday). From his Starred Review by Publisher's Weekly:
In an impressive debut, first in a planned series, Howard introduces a devastated future devoid of trees, where omnivorous locusts plague the landscape, a ruined climate makes survival difficult, and genetically engineered corn is the only viable crop. Banyan, a teenage artist searching for his missing father, builds trees out of scrap for those aching for a touch of the past. When Banyan stumbles across a map to the rumored last trees on Earth, he and an unlikely group of allies are sucked into a perilous adventure, braving cannibals, poachers, pirates, slavers, and the omnipresent and insidious GenTech corporation.
Chris editing in his "creation station." Photo via his website
Congratulation on your success! I loved Rootless and can’t wait for the next book.
Thanks! I’m so glad you enjoyed it.
How has your life changed (and/or stayed the same) as a mega-awesome YA author?
The biggest thing that’s different is that some of my creative work is now out there for people to connect with. That’s a crazy feeling and it took some getting used to. People reach out with all sorts of thoughts and questions and that’s really rewarding but I find I have to isolate myself from it as I work on new things.
You’ve been on the go, promoting Rootless both individually and as part of a panel. Are you still excited to do promotional events and is it easier to keep your energy up when you’re part of a group?
Yeah – I love doing anything that involves interacting with people. I’ve had fun with all the events I’ve done, and I definitely love group events or panels because you get to interact with other authors and bounce things around. I also always try to involve the people in attendance as much as possible, so that it’s a conversation between us.
What have been your favorite promotional events to lead/attend for Rootless?
The book launch at the Tattered Cover was a real highlight because it was such a celebration and so many people I love were there It’s such a special bookstore and we had interactive art installations… a live DJ… people in costume… and GenTech-free popcorn, too J  I’ve also really enjoyed all the school and library visits I’ve done. Getting to talk about the creative process with writers, especially teens, has been so rewarding.
Can you regale us with a brief description of your favorite fan encounter?
Well, it’s been amazing how young some of the readers have been who’ve reached out. I think of the book as a bit dark or mature for most ten or eleven year olds but I’ve gotten emails and letters from kids that age saying ROOTLESS changed their life. There’s no greater feedback than that. And meeting those kids in person has been brilliant.
Who are a few authors you've met and connected with since your book's release?
That’s been a really fun part of the journey. Jenny Goebel is a local author who has her debut coming out this Fall and we share an editor at Scholastic so it was awesome to connect with her. And I’ve really enjoyed meeting other local authors such as Donna Cooner, Emily Hainsworth and Brenna Yovanoff. I met Maggie Stiefvater when she was in town, which was great. And when I was in SoCal last month I got to meet a whole load of wonderful authors—Lish McBride, Jennifer Bosworth, Gretchen McNeil, Shannon Messenger, Debra Driza, Cat Patrick, Kasie West, Sherri Smith, Sean Beaudoin, Robin Benway, Martha Brockenbrough, Cecil Castellucci, Rachel Cohn, Kevin Emerson, Robin Mellom, Gabrielle Zevin, Elise Allen and Carrie Arcos. These people were all SO FUN… I had a blast. Shannon Messenger introduced me to most of them and I can’t tell you how cool she is. I also want to mention my two brilliant online author mates, who I hope to meet in person someday soon… MG Buehrlen and CJ Redwine. I love those two to pieces J 
My stepdaughter is heading to Colorado State University in the Fall, where you went to college. Do you think you’ll ever plant permanent roots here in Colorado? This is a selfish question, since I’d like to attend book signings of your future novels.
My wife and I love it here in Colorado and have so many good friends… so yeah, we are rooted down. I even get to live next door to one of my best mates at the moment. And I’m sure your stepdaughter will love CSU. Go RAMS!
(Final question asked in super-serious Barbara Walters/Oprah interview voice) If you could be a tree, what kind of tree would you be and why?
I’m going to go with Ponderosa Pine. I love the elevation they grow at and the way their bark smells would be a real bonus.
*Jess note: Yes, Ponderosa Pines smell fabulous!*
Thanks so much to Chris~ check out the links below for more information about this super-talented author! 

Author of ROOTLESS (Scholastic Press, OUT NOW)

Friday, April 5, 2013

Into the Hobbit Hole...

I am burrowing into my hobbit hole for a few weeks of revision. And by "hobbit hole," I mean my couch and/or local coffee shop. Because, big shocker, I don't actually live in a hobbit hole.


if you would like a real hobbit hole to turn into a backyard writing office, purchasing one is not out of the realm of possibility! Check out this sweet design that you can buy:

 Not a bad place to get the creative juices flowing, eh? You can see this design and more at Wooden-Wonders.com 

*Dear Husband: If you are reading this blog (I know, I know, not likely), when we move to a place with a larger backyard, please buy me one of these for my birthday. I want a hobbit hole writing office. Seriously. I'm not kidding at all.*

When I return, I get to interview the amazing Chris Howard, author of Rootless

He will be six months post-publication and has had plenty of literary adventures to chat about. I'll be giving away a copy of his book as well, so be sure to tune back in on April 26 for a chance to win a fabulous read!