When I talk to groups, a question that inevitably pops up is: “What advice would you give aspiring writers?” After imparting my wisdom about the power of snack foods to boost creativity (it’s all about balancing salty with sweet), I generally say something along the lines of, “Go live your life so you have something to write about.”
So there you have it: it is now May, and this is the first time I have mentioned my latest book, The Last Place on Earth, on this blog, even though it hit stores in late February. Which is so weird because I blog so often!
(I have been living my life, people! Just ask my cat!!)
So, while I am late to the promotions party, I hope will check out The Last Place on Earth, which Publishers Weekly calls, “a winning story” and about which Booklist says, “its original premise and crisp, unpredictable characters are a compelling reason to pick it up.” (Was that smooth? I thought so. It is right up there with “My friends say I have a beautiful singing voice” — which none of them say, but whatever.)
From now through May 26, 2016, you can enter to win one of five copies via this GoodReads giveaway! Or you can just, you know, buy the book. (Links are posted to the left, because I’m helpful that way.) Just don’t download it illegally because that is bad karma and my cat will come after you.
When I talk at schools or libraries, budding young writers often ask, “Did you always want to be a writer?” I don’t say no outright because it’s clear that there is only one thing the person wants to hear: “YES! I always wanted to be a writer JUST LIKE YOU DO! And if you work hard, someday your name will be on a book jacket, too!”
I understand the longing to be a writer — I didn’t just wake up one morning to discover I had written a bunch of novels — although I never considered trying to make a career out of it until long after I’d finished college. But does drive matter most, or is it all about innate talent?
I recently discovered a cache of my old journals. I’ve already destroyed most of them, so don’t get excited, but I will share a few excerpts from a diary begun when I was twelve years old and in the seventh grade. Did my sophisticated prose and astute observations foretell a future writing career? You be the judge.
DIARY ENTRIES BY CAROL SNOW, AGED 12
Wed, Jan 4, 1978: Today my book bag broke. My books were falling out of it. I left my lunch at home. Chris F. gave me ½ sandwich. I was thirsty. Davitta J. told me she thought my hair was cute, but she liked it better the other way.
Thurs, Jan 5: Today was Mom’s birthday. When I got home from school I gave her the picture of the TV room. She liked it. We got a cake at the bakery. Sue made onion soup. Dad got home late with no present. Mom was mad.
Fri, Jan 6: Went in early this morning to English to work on verbs. In English, I was one of the people furthest, so I got a mint. Dad sent Mom flowers. Asked Tom about broken tape recorder, and he said it just needed new batteries.
Sun, Jan 8: Went to church. Saw Jonathan G. We ignored each other. When we got home I did my homework and my speech for Speech and Drama on cartoons. My ear is infected and I can’t get my earring on. I am worried about it. I called Betsy about it.
Mon, Jan 9: Only got 4 ½ hours of sleep last night. Was very tired this morning. Don’t have to give speech in S&D till tomorrow. After school I went down to Somer’s Jewelers with Mom. He said it was only a scab. He took it off and put my earrings back in. My ears had started to close up and it hurt. The roads were icy so C.C.D. was cancelled.
Tues Jan 10: Did speech. No one paid attention to mine or anyone else’s.
Consider this. At age twelve I:
1. Went into school early to work on verbs.
2. Had already formed an association between cranking out the most words and getting snacks.
3. Couldn’t figure out whether a mechanical device was broken or just needed a battery.
4. Was a bit of a hypochondriac.
5. Kept a diary.
A future writer in the making? I think it’s obvious.
So guess what? I wrote another book! And that book has a really cool cover! And that cover has been out on the Internet for a few weeks now, but I am only now getting around to mentioning it! (Among the many skills I’ve never mastered — downhill skiing, parallel parking, closing out iPhone apps — the book cover reveal is one thing I should have figured out by now.)
So here it is: the cover to THE LAST PLACE ON EARTH, a young adult novel to be published by Henry Holt in February 2016. Since I wasn’t even close to being the first to share this image, I should at least add something new to the conversation. (I use the word “conversation” loosely. Blogging always seems like chatting to myself in an empty room, but at least that is not as bad as tweeting, which makes me feel like I’ve stepped outside, yelled something random, then run back into my house and locked the door behind me before I could confirm that no one on the street was paying attention.)
And so, here, for the first time on the Internet, is the book jacket copy:
Henry Hawking is sixteen years old, brilliant, funny, and sly. And now he’s missing. But no one seems worried except his best friend, Daisy Cruz, who knows that Henry’s security-obsessed parents would never leave town without taking proper precautions. And Henry would never go away without saying goodbye.
Daisy considers all of the obvious explanations for Henry’s disappearance (federal witness protection program, alien abduction) before hacking Henry’s home alarm system and sneaking into his house, where she finds a note that pleads, “SAVE ME.”
When another classmate disappears, Daisy panics, but soon she receives a text message that leads her from her crowded California suburb to a dusty road deep in the mountains and beyond. What she finds there makes her wonder if she ever knew Henry at all . . . and makes her fear that the world as she knows it will never be the same.
Hungry for more? (Smile and nod, people. Smile and nod.) Here’s the first chapter. I hope you like it.
Do you remember when you were a kid and you had a birthday party coming up? And you’d say to your friends, “AREN’T YOU EXCITED ABOUT MY BIRTHDAY PARTY?!!!!” And they’d say, “Wait. What? You’re having a birthday?”
Waiting for a book to come out is kind of like that. Except instead of bugging my friends, I’ve been hanging out on the beach. And I actually just had a birthday, though at my age they’re not as fun as they used to be. And also, I’ve been googling myself, which is normally a really bad idea, though it led me to discover that Just Like Me, Only Better, a book I wrote a few years ago, just came out in Indonesian, which I didn’t even know was a language. (I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t have admitted that.)
Anyway, Bubble World will be in stores on July 30! Until then, it is not in stores (though it is, quite conveniently, available for pre-order from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and lots of independent bookstores). And a couple of pre-publication reviews have come out, and they’re better than streamers and cupcakes. Even chocolate cupcakes.
“Freesia lives on a seemingly magical island where every whim is answered in this nifty sci-fi comedy . . . 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.”
“Snow (Snap, 2009) nestles a powerful message about bravery, self-confidence, and integrity in the midst of fluffy, irreverent talk of fashion and teen idols and a virtual world at the crossroads of The Matrix and Barbie’s Dreamhouse.”
So it’s official. Bubble World is not just a fun read, it’s The Matrix meets Barbie’s Dreamhouse!
Did I mention it’s available for pre-order?