CURRENT GIVEAWAY CONTESTS
Here are my current Giveaway Contests
THE PRINCESS AND THE PAGE through April 22nd
Natalie Lakosil Query Critique and THE STAR THIEF through April 22nd
Happy Easter Giveaway Hop through April 30th
Tracy Marchini Query Critique through April 29th
THE WINGSNATCHERS through May 4th
Lauren Spieller Query Critique through May 13th
Upcoming Agent Spotlights and Query Critique Giveaways
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
P.J. HOOVER GUEST POST AND TUT: THE STORY OF MY IMMORTAL LIFE GIVEAWAY
A huge congrats to long time follower Jessica Lawson has sold two new books to Simon & Schuster. Here's the PW announcement:
Kristin Ostby at Simon & Schuster has acquired the next two middle-grade novels by Jessica Lawson, author of The Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher and the forthcoming Nooks & Crannies. The first novel, Waiting for Augusta, follows an 11-year-old runaway as he travels from Alabama to Georgia in an attempt to make peace with his dead father. It is slated for summer 2016; Tina Wexler at ICM negotiated the deal for world English rights.
And I have a winner to announce. The winner of FERAL is Brittersweet!
Congrats! E-mail me your address so I can send you your book. Please e-mail me by the end of Wednesday or I'll have to pick another winner.
Today I’m thrilled to have P.J. Hoover here to share about her new MG mythological novel TUT: THE STORY OF MY IMMORTAL LIFE that releases tomorrow. P.J. was one of the first bloggers I started following and I’ve loved watching her branch out from a middle grade author to a YA author. And with her agent’s support, she self-published her first YA mythological novel SOLSTICE later sold to Starscape/Macmillan along with her new book.
Details on the giveaway will be at the end of the post. So here’s P.J. to share about how to figure out how much of your research to include in your story.
TUT follows the adventures of an immortal King Tut who is stuck at the age of thirteen and has to repeat eighth grade over and over again (talk about perpetual puberty!). The first couple chapters are set in the past, in ancient Egypt, as we find out how and why Tut is immortal, but after that we switch to present day Washington, D.C. where the remainder of the book takes place.
With the settings of ancient Egypt and modern-day Washington, D.C. (two really awesome settings that I love), and the subject matter of Egyptian mythology, I did a ton of research for the book. I visited all sorts of cool places around D.C. (which is where I grew up) like the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, the Washington Monument, Meridian Hill Park, the Library of Congress, and Chinatown. I drove to Philadelphia to see the King Tut treasures (because, yeah, I saw them back in 1976, but mostly I just remember the shiny gold). I studied mummies at the Field Museum in Chicago. I read murder conspiracy theories about the boy king. I drew out family trees of the Egyptian gods. I bought the King Tut jigsaw puzzle!
Research is great. As we fall in love with our projects, the research helps inspire us. It makes us feel like we are moving forward. We are accomplishing. Everything we learn has value. But then it comes time for the finished book, and as an author it’s always hard to determine what of this research should actually stay in the book, and what needs to be cut. All that research we did . . . much of it turns into those “darlings” that we know we need to kill.
I tend to write my first drafts putting in every bit of research I can. In the book, Tut visits the King Tut treasures? Great! Let’s talk about each and every artifact that he sees (because this was his stuff back in the day; he’s bound to have a reaction to it). Let’s mention how the sarcophagus is no longer with the main tour here in the US and why. Let’s recount other cities where the tour has been. Yeah, but no. I’m writing a novel, not a non-fiction book on the King Tut treasures. Sticking all this information into the actual book isn’t going to keep any kid’s interest. The trick is to find the right balance. To intrigue people enough while they are reading my novel such that they want to learn more about King Tut or ancient Egypt. They want to do research of their own. And then, when they do their research, they’ll be able to appreciate the small details I have dribbled into my story.
It’s a hard balance. I admit it. And killing every single research darling is a tough job. This is where
1) Does this information contribute to the story, or is it just cool? If it does contribute, then how?
2) Does this information evoke sentimental emotions inside me, maybe because I’ve visited the place myself? If so, it may need to go.
3) Does this information take up more than one sentence? If so, can it be trimmed to one? Can that one sentence be blended in to action itself instead of being dedicated solely to info-dump?
I’ve found, as I revise, highlighting these research sections can be useful. It’s hard to change them on the very first draft, and often times better to keep them, but if they’re highlighted, by the third draft (or maybe the tenth), they’ll be much easier to trim and remove as needed.
I’m totally not trying to say that research isn’t needed. It adds depth and beauty to our stories, and can breathe immortal life into them. The secret is to be the sprinkler, not the dumper. Do your research, and then blend it into your stories until it is seamless.
After a fifteen year bout as an electrical engineer, P. J. Hoover started writing books for kids and teens. When not writing, P. J. spends time with her husband and two kids and enjoys practicing kung fu, solving Rubik's cubes, and watching Star Trek. Her middle grade novel, Tut: The Story of My Immortal Life (Starscape/Macmillan, September 2014), tells the story of a young immortal King Tut, who's been stuck in middle school for over 3,000 years and must defeat an ancient enemy with the help of a dorky kid from school, a mysterious Egyptian princess, and a one-eyed cat. Her first novel for teens, Solstice (Tor Teen/Macmillan, June 2013), takes place in a global warming future and explores the parallel world of mythology beside our own. For more information about P. J. (Tricia) Hoover, please visit her website www.pjhoover.com.
About TUT: THE STORY OF MY IMMORTAL LIFE:
You’d think it would be great being an Egyptian demigod, but if King Tut has to sit through eighth grade one more time, he’ll mummify himself.
Granted the gift of immortality by the gods—or is it a curse?—Tut has been stuck in middle school for ages. Even worse, evil General Horemheb, the man who killed Tut’s father and whom Tut imprisoned in a tomb for three thousand years, is out and after him. The general is in league with the Cult of Set, a bunch of guys who worship one of the scariest gods of the Egyptian pantheon—Set, the god of Chaos.
The General and the Cult of Set have plans for Tut… and if Tut doesn’t find a way to keep out of their clutches, he’ll never make it to the afterworld alive.
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 only.
Marvelous Middle Grade Monday was started by Shannon Messenger. You can find all the participating blogs at Shannon’s blog.
Here’s what’s coming up:
On Wednesday I have a guest post by long time follower and debut author Joshua Bellin with a giveaway of SURVIVAL COLONY NINE, a YA sci-fi story.
On Thursday I'm doing a Stuck in a Good Book Giveaway Hop. I'll have lots of great book choices to choose from and will continue offering a $10 Amazon Gift Card if you don't like my choices. Look for this to post Thursday afternoon.
Next Monday I have an interview with debut author Kendall Kulper and a giveaway of her YA historical fantasy SALT AND STORM. I really liked the 19th century setting and Avery is a great heroine.
The Monday after that I’ll be interviewing debut author Elissa Sussman with a giveaway of STRAY, her YA fairytale retelling. I really enjoyed her unique spin of fairy godmothers.
And don’t forget Casey’s Thursday Agent Spotlights.
Hope to see you on Wednesday!
Posted by Natalie Aguirre on Monday, September 15, 2014