CURRENT GIVEAWAY CONTESTS
Here are my current Giveaway Contests
Blood Rose Rebellion through March 25th
Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop through March 28th
Agent Kate McKean Query Critique and BRACED giveaway through April 1st
Kristy Hunter Query Critique Giveaway through April 8th
THE SOMEDAY BIRDS through April 8th
Upcoming Agent Spotlights and Query Critique Giveaways
Tracy Marchini on 4/17/2017
Loren Oberweger on 5/10/2017
Alyssa Jennette on 5/24/2017
Bibi Lewis on 6/12/2017
Kelly Van Sant on 6/21/2017
JULIA MARY GIBSON INTERVIEW AND COPPER MAGIC GIVEAWAY
I may be a bit late today reading your blogs. I'm taking Anna Li on her last college visit this morning.
Before we get to our interview, I have a few winners to announce.
The winner of MIDNIGHT THIEF is Jamie Ayres!
And the winner of my Just Couldn't Put It Down Giveaway Hop is Paula who picked CITY OF HEAVENLY FIRE!
Congrats! E-mail me your address so I can send you your books. Please e-mail me by the end of Wednesday or I'll have to pick another winner.
Today I’m thrilled to have debut author Julia Mary Gibson here to share about her MG novel COPPER MAGIC that was released on July 1, 2014. I loved the upper Michigan setting since I grew up on Lake Michigan and the touch of magical realism with the copper hand. And the story has a real contemporary feel to it with Violet’s growth through the story.
Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:
The year is 1906, and twelve-year-old Violet Blake unearths an ancient talisman—a copper hand—beside the stream where her mother used to harvest medicine. Violet’s touch warms the copper hand and it begins to reveal glimpses of another time. Violet is certain that the copper hand is magic—and if anyone is in need of its powers, it’s Violet. Her mother and adored baby brother are gone, perhaps never to return. Her heartbroken father can’t seem to sustain the failing farm on the outskirts of Pigeon Harbor, on the shores of Lake Michigan.
Surely the magic of the copper hand can make things right for Violet and restore her fractured family. Violet makes a wish. But her ignorant carelessness unleashes formidable powers—and her attempts to control them jeopardizes not only herself, but the entire town of Pigeon Harbor.
In Copper Magic, land and waters are alive with memories, intentions, and impulses. Magic alters Violet and brings her gifts—but not always the kind she thinks she needs. First-time author Julia Mary Gibson brings Violet and her community to life in this impressive and assured debut.
Hi Julia! Thanks so much for joining us.
1. Tell us about yourself and how you became an author.
My parents are both writers and we didn’t have TV, so I inhaled books as a kid and scribbled little poems and stories. I had a buried dream of being a writer that stayed with me as I grew up, but I was intimidated by the idea of being one. I wrote things and some of it got some attention, but I had other jobs and priorities. Later, I began to form a more concentrated vision for what I wanted to write. For a long time I was reluctant to show my work, but thanks to the encouragement and persistence of friends who just happened to know people who knew people, I began to let people read my stuff and wound up with the perfect agent. My first book didn’t sell, but the second one did. I worked hard for years without even thinking about publication. I’m not recommending that others do the same, but that’s how I eventually got published. Luck had a lot to do with it.
2. So awesome your parents are writers too. Where did you get the idea for your story?
The story grew from the place in Michigan where my mother was conceived and where she conceived me. The place has a certain power, a quiet beauty. I spent summers there and read a lot under and in trees. My favorite books were the ones where magic happened to regular, normal kids. E. Nesbit, Edward Eager, Mary Norton, P.L. Travers – those writers shaped me and encouraged my childish beliefs in elemental magic that exists in nature. From a young age I carried the germ of an idea to write a story about magic (or the possibility of magic or a kidlike belief in magic) that would honor those writers and would take place by the woods and water that sustained me as a child.
3. Awesome that you drew on your life to come up with the idea for your book. I loved that you chose the early 1900’s and small town life on Lake Michigan for the setting of your story. What drew you to this setting and what made you decide to write about this era?
I set the story in 1906 because that was the year that my great-grandparents were among the first summer people in the town that was the model for Pigeon Harbor. That was also the year that a fancy hotel was built on the lakeshore and the rich summer people began to come to a place that had been about logging and fishing until the white pine got used up and the sturgeon declined. My forebears were not the rich kind of summer people – they were ministers and teachers and lived very simply. I based some of the characters in the book on them. It was both challenging and fun to braid the real history of the area and of my family into a fictional narrative.
4. You did a fantastic job weaving the copper hand into the story and the symbolism of it granting wishes tied into Violet’s own deepest desires. Share a bit about the idea for the copper hand and any tips on using a symbol like this weaved into your story.
I knew early on that copper would play some kind of role in the story, because copper is such a key
As the story developed, I became aware that the copper hand was revealing itself to me just as a human or animal character would do. It had personality, desires, memories. It wasn’t really a symbol to me, but a being. I tried to make Violet as deprived as possible so that she would need magic badly and need to believe that the hand’s power was meant to help make her life better.
5. I didn’t realize Michigan had such a connection to copper. Share a bit about Violet and her Native American roots. Did you have any challenges in developing her as a character or did she just come to you?
I won’t say that writing Violet wasn’t challenging, but she did present herself fairly clearly most of the time. It was a matter of keeping up with her. I didn’t hook into her loneliness right away, even though that’s the part of Violet I can most identify with. I wasn’t exactly lonely as a child because I always had friends, but I was alone a lot and I felt different from other kids like Violet does. I resisted writing Native characters, but much of the story has to do with the history of the land and the way that the power of nature has been decimated, so omitting Native people from the story seemed ultimately disrespectful and wrong.
6. So glad you decided to keep the Native American theme of the story. What’s something you learned craft-wise from working with your editor? What advice do you have for a debut author as he/she starts working with their editor?
I learned a ton from my editor, Susan Chang, who handled the changes to the storyline and character shading with great delicacy. She helped me to be bolder, she showed me ways inside a child’s heart, she articulated themes that I didn’t even see. She showed me how often my scenes were about talking and not about deciding or doing. I thought that was called character development, but it’s really called bringing the plot to a dead halt. I could talk for days about her wisdom and skill.
Editors have boatloads of experience and savvy about storytelling, style, writing for the marketplace, and all other aspects of creating a book. The tougher they are with the work, the better. Try to enjoy the process, even if it’s scary and difficult at times. Go deep. Open yourself up. Let the work expand you.
7. That’s great that you learned so much from working with your editor. Your agent is Ginger Clark. Share how she became your agent and your road to publication.
I was very shy for a long time about my writing. I didn’t like to talk about it. It can be obnoxious and insufferable when people endlessly yap about their work, but I would have been better served if I’d been a bit more upfront – even with myself – about where I wanted to end up. It took me many years to realize that I actually wanted to be published. Despite all that, a lot of people offered me assistance, advice, and resources. I had to learn to accept their generosity.
8. That’s so cool that you contacted Ginger again even though she passed on your first project. Your book was set in the summer and is releasing in the summer. And I read that you’ve got a schedule of book signings in upper Michigan, which sounds fantastic given your story. Did you intend for your book to release in the summer months or did it just work out that way? And share how and why you decided to focus your personal appearance in Michigan at the release of your book.
I had always hoped that the book would release in the summer. My fantasy was that the people who love the midwestern lake country, as I do, would enjoy a summertime read about a story set in the north woods. There are a number of small towns near my summer home that I could easily make a day trip to visit, so I contacted a bunch of independent bookstores in the northern part of the state and everyone has been completely receptive and friendly, as people from that part of the world just are.
9. That’s a great way to spread the word about your book. What are you working on now?
I have a few projects in various stages of development. The one closest to my heart at the moment is a story set in the Vietnam war era about a family of radicals in the midwest, very loosely based on my own family.
Thanks for sharing all your advice, Julia. You can find Julia at juliamarygibson.com and @juliamarygibson.
Julia has generously offered a signed ARC of COPPER MAGIC for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through August 23rd. I’ll announce the winner on August 25th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, please leave it in the comments.
If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 or older to enter. This is for US and Canada residents.
Marvelous Middle Grade Monday was started by Shannon Messenger. Find all the bloggers participating this week on her blog.
Here’s what’s coming up:
On Friday I’ll be participating in the Beach Reads in August Giveaway Hop. I’ll have lots of great book choices and will also be offering a $10 Amazon Gift Card.
Next Monday I’m interviewing debut author Lori Lee and giving away her YA fantasy Gates of Thread and Stone. I waited for ages for this and it was worth the wait.
Next Wednesday I'm hosting a pick any YA book giveaway to help Martina Boone celebrate the release of of her YA debut COMPULSION in October.
Then I’m taking a blog break for two weeks until Monday, August 25th when I have a guest post by Holly Schindler and a giveaway of FERAL, her new YA psychological thriller.
And don’t forget Casey’s Thursday Agent Spotlights.
Hope to see you on Friday!
Posted by Natalie Aguirre on Monday, July 28, 2014