Archive for May, 2013
Whenever I talk about my writing, someone inevitably asks where I get my great ideas. (Okay. Fine. They just ask where I get my ideas. I like to believe the “great” is implied.) My answer is a two-parter: one, I am perhaps less engaged with reality than, say, your average accountant. (I have a sister who’s an accountant. She has way more life skills than I do.) And two: I know a good detail when I steal one.
I set my next young adult book, Bubble World, on a magical island called Agalinas. I stole the name from my son, who as a very young child, invented an imaginary place to house all his imaginary friends. And I stole the basic geography (and more) from Santa Catalina Island, which is only an hour by ferry from Long Beach, California, but feels like it exists in an entirely different dimension.
The rest of the book I made up entirely by myself. I swear.
Anyway, here are some of the things I love about Catalina:
Thanks to the Catalina Island Conservancy, 90% of the island can never be developed.
Golf carts (and feet) are the preferred mode of transportation. Car ownership is strictly limited. But that doesn’t matter because the only real town, Avalon, is so small that you can walk anywhere.
Wild bison, the descendents of animals brought in to film a 1920’s western, roam around the interior of the island. Also, there are lots of feral cats, which I realize is not a selling point for everyone, but I just really love cats.
Colorful tiles made on the island decorate much of the architecture.
The island is a treasure trove of Southern California history. And yes, I did giggle I typed those words. But it’s true. Google it.
There’s always something going on in the center of town. Like: sand castle contests. And art festivals. And rubber ducky races.
It feels too perfect to be real.
Bubble World is still a couple of months away from making its way out into the big, bad world, but Kirkus Reviews (which has a reputation for being kind of, um, mean) has some nice things to say. I mean — “nifty” and “spunky”? It doesn’t get much better than that.
From Kirkus Reviews:
Freesia lives on a seemingly magical island where every whim is answered in this nifty sci-fi comedy.
On her island world, Freesia needs only to place an order in her portable bubble device to get her perpetually smiling mother to serve her breakfast, to choose from the hundreds of outfits she owns, or to communicate with friends and watch her enemies. She orders her teachers around, never bothering to study any subject. Foreign-language classes focus on food instead of the language, which is never taught. Everyone on the island, including Freesia, looks beautiful and goes to parties every night. Yet glitches occur as the program generating this virtual world begins to crash, sending Freesia back to reality, where her parents and sister appear to see her only as annoying. Thrown into her local high school, Freesia does no work and can’t connect with her former best friend. Finally, she tries to return to the virtual world, but this time, she knows it’s only a computer program. With constantly clever comic writing, Snow disguises her serious examination of the dangers involved in immersion in fantasy and living by whim. Freesia uses an aggressively vapid, too-hip vocabulary, in which something really good is “de-vicious” and a kiss is a “face link,” to heighten the fun.
Freesia’s plenty spunky, and so is this hilarious book.