Saturday, November 29, 2008

Interview with Kathleen Duey, author of Skin Hunger (and a book giveaway!)

I'm very excited to have author Kathleen Duey join us today for an interview regarding her award winning book "Skin Hunger." Kathleen also offers insight to the anticipated release of "Sacred Scars" due out in the Fall of 2009, and shares her thoughts on writing, reading and advice for aspiring authors as well.

And that's not all! I'm giving away a free copy of Skin Huger! Just leave a comment in the comments section and I'll draw the name of our lucky winner on Tuesday!

I've read over 50 books this year. I lost count. There were some that I read a few chapters at a time. Some I trudged through and eventually finished. Some I didn't even finish, I rushed them back to the library. Then, there are the golden few. The ones that kept me up late with burning eyes because I didn't want to put it down. Skin Hunger was one of those late-night-few.

Skin Hunger is told in two perspectives. At first both characters seem totally unrelated, but little by little Duey brings the reader along and shows us how the two story lines come together. I felt like I was opening a present or getting to be apart of the discovery of the story, rather than just being "told" the story. I'd wager that few authors would be able to pull this type of story line off. Duey does it masterfully.

Let's hear what she has to say to us.

On Writing:

I think one of the most remarkable aspects of Skin Hunger is your ability to blend two seemingly different stories into one book until little by little, the reader discovers how the stories come together.

Q. Did you know from the start that you would use two story lines?

A. The idea for A Resurrection of Magic came to me over fifteen years ago. I thought it would be a single book then. It is the very first novel I ever tried to write—what an optimist. I sank beneath the waves about 300 pages into chaos. It has evolved over time in many ways, but the two-protagonists-interlocking-timelines structure was part of the original idea.

Q. Was it difficult to write both story lines or did it come naturally?
A. Since the story was never framed any other way for me, it felt natural. Structure—as a storytelling tool—has always fascinated me. After this trilogy, or overlapping it, my next two books will have atypical story-delivery-systems, too. One of those is a collaboration I am wildly excited about. The other is a stand alone novel that might be a paraquel to the trilogy—I haven’t decided yet.

Q. What was the biggest challenge you faced when writing the trilogy?
A. The timeline. I just finished the second book, Sacred Scars, so the worst of the timeline wrestling is over. For anyone who hasn’t read it Skin Hunger: There are two stories, 200 years apart. The first story causes the second one. There are two protagonists. One is written in first person, the other in third person and they alternate chapters. In the first story, about 140 years pass by the end of book two. In the second story, about three and a half years will have passed by the end of book two. Book three will be synchronous timelines by the end. I don’t outline, so it could take a turn, but that’s what seems inevitable now.

Q. What was your favorite part about writing Skin Hunger?
A. I loved finally getting the story out. I have been carrying it around in my head for so long! And I have loved readers’ response to it. After years of making a happy living writing my middle grade series, I want to believe that I can write deep, dark, page-turners with at least some literary merit, that teens and adults can’t put down. It is a whole new direction for me. I expected to finish the trilogy and write another few books before anyone noticed that I had changed paths. So the great reviews, the National Book Award finalist’s medal, the Cybil’s short list, etc,—these were all gifts I never expected. I appreciate them more than I can say.

Q. I love how you integrate old cultures in your books and include travel in your research. What were the most crucial items or places that you researched for Skin Hunger?
A. Writing forty-odd historical novels turns out to be good training for building a world from scratch. I’ve read so much about how cultures evolve in response to the people who begin them, punishing weather, immigration, war, sudden wealth (or poverty), the influx of a new religion, a devastating epidemic…When I began thinking about Limori, the pieces fit together fairly logically. I am fascinated with real place names. Limori is a Romany word; its meaning is a key to the story.
Traveling to do international school visits and to speak at writers’ conferences has taken me to interesting places. Some of them have been sources for building Limori. I have borrowed all kinds of things—street sounds, the smells, food, the buildings, especially the oldest ones, more food, the color of the sky, the sound of the wind, everything interests me. I love to travel and it has leaked into my work. At the international schools, I meet kids who speak three or four or more languages and have lived in many countries and I envy their stockpile of settings.

Q. Can you share anything with us regarding your current Work In Progress?
A. Sacred Scars is finally finished, off to the copyeditor last week. I care so much about Sadima and Hahp and all the other characters. It’s going to be odd to be finished with this trilogy in 2009.
Up next, a set of four books for 2-4th graders: The Faeries Promise. It’s a paraquel to The Unicorn’s Secret, set in a world that I created in nightly dreams in the third and forth grade. I would go to sleep there and wake up here. Then go to bed here and wake up there. It was like having two lives, for about a year and a half. It was amazing. I have tried to do it now and can’t. Yet.
Concurrently, I will be working on a really interesting collaboration, setting out to do something very different, using more tools to tell the story than I ever have before. I know that’s vague, but we are just getting off the ground with it. I do think it will be really interesting.

Do you have a regular writing routine?
Full time, almost every day. I am a terrible procrastinator about starting work for the day—but I have learned tricks that work most of the time. Once I get started, I write fairly quickly.

On reading:

What is the last book that you read?
Last: Laurie Halse Andersons’s Chained. (loved it!). Now: The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean. I am also reading a partial early manuscript for a friend who has read both of the Resurrection books for me. It’s *really* interesting, really good, and I can’t say a word about it except I know her fans are going to love it.

What is your favorite book(s)?
This is always an impossible question for me. I have a few dozen favorite books. I am rereading The Gormenghast trilogy by Mervyn Peake—it was written in the 40’s and 50’s remains a literary milestone for me. I read it in the fifth grade and it changed me forever. I loved Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.


Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
I have written three answers to this that got so long and workshop-ish that I deleted them all. I would need a few hundred pages to finish what I started. There is so much to say about the art, craft and commerce of writing and so many good books that address all of that.
This is what I wish someone had told me: Patience. Learn the craft. Explore your art. It’s fun and it’s very hard. It will take years, almost certainly. Do not trust yourself or those who love you to evaluate your work—ask others to read it. It will suck at first. Everyone’s does. Keep practicing, like a painter, like an actor, a musician, a magician—it takes time and effort to perform your art well enough to draw a crowd. It just does.

Thank you for taking the time to share with us. Do you have any other parting words to share?
Just thank you, for reading my work. For liking it. What a gift that is!
Here are my online mainstays:

If you check out Kathleen's blog, you'll be able to see some of the process that she used to create Sacred Scars; her travels and the real life objects that become apart of Sadima and Hhap's world. It's fascinating to be able to see the process as it takes place.

Don't forget to leave a comment so I can enter you in the drawing!

Friday, November 28, 2008

I did it! NaNo

I did it! 50,000 words in one month. I worked on one YA slice of life and 1/2 of a YA fantasy novel. Though both are VERY rough draft, I do think they are both promising enough to work on. But first, I need to polish up and send out my current WIP. This past week has been really hard, becuase I've been sick and had lots of headaches, which made it hard to concentrate and many nights I went to bed after the kids went to sleep, instead of writing. But I plugged along and got'er done!

Stay tuned. . . because I have a special treat to end NaNo WriMo. I have a guest interview with the author of Skin Hunger, Kathleen Duey. Along with the interview I'm going to have a book drawing for skin Hunger. Come back sometime tomorrow. I'll post it then.

For now, my fingers need a break.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I dream about blogging (proof of a deranged mind)

Last week on Rena's blog she posted about lucid dreams, the kind of dreams where you know you're dreaming and can control the outcome of the dream or manipulate the images.

Well, Here's what happened in my dreams a couple of nights ago:

I'm having this really scary dream. So, in the middle of my dream I say to my(dream)self. "This is just a dream. I can control what happens. After all, I just read about this on Rena's blog. I can do this."

So, I keep trying to control my dream, but it's not working. I can't figure out what I can do to get away from the bad guys. So I think to my(dream)self: "OK, this is ridiculous, just wake yourself up!"

So I did. I woke myself up. I felt my heavy eyelids open and my proof of wakefulness was the blinking green light on my bedroom smoke detector. So I lay there staring at the blinking light, trying to figure out how I can change my dream and get rid of the bad guys. I think about creating doors so I can get out of the room or if I couldn't find a door I'd just make a bomb appear and throw it at the bad guys and blow 'em up.

That sounded like a good plan, so I fell back asleep and went right back into the same dang dream. So, I created a door to get away from the bad guys, but guess what!? I went out the door and ended up in an scarier situation than the one I was dreaming about before! What gives? Is my brain playing a trick on me? What kind of sick brain purposely takes you out of one bad dream only to help you escape into a worse one? URRRRGGGHHHH!

So, I wake myself up again, until I see the flickering of the smoke detector light once more, and I formulate a new plan on how to get out of that dream-predicament. "After all," I tell myself. "Rena's blog says I can do this."

And can you figure out what happens? It works, but then once again, as soon as I get out of that dream I find myself in yet another worse dream!

I think I went through this about 4 or 5 times before morning finally came. I was getting really frustrated. I could only control my dream to a point, but instead of getting better, I only found myself in a worse dream than before.

So, tell me people. Am I a total nutt case?

I don't know what is worse, that my brain purposely makes my dreams worse when I try to control them, or that I'm thinking about blogs in my sleep. :0P

Thursday, November 20, 2008

That busy time is here again. It's making it harder to work on NaNo (and everything else), but I'm doing it. So far I've NaNo'd in the doctors office, in the waiting room at the girls dance class, in the car pool line while I'm waiting, at the coffee shop, library and late at night after the kids have gone to bed and I need tape to hold my burning, red eyes open. Why do I do it? Because next to the kids doing and saying cute things, it's the best part of my day. :0)

I only have a little over 10,000 words til I hit the 50,000 word count goal, but I want to do more than that, because when december gets here, I need to put the new idea's on the back burner so I can send out my current WIP out in early 2009.

On another note. Here's a shout out to my critique buddy and friend Ian Sands. His new book How to Milk a Dinosaur is now available on Amazon. What happens when a middle school boy meets with an accident in his eccentric uncles lab? Read this funny, light-hearted book and find out! Here's a link to the interactive book site.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Book Drawing winner and Wedding Photo Challenge

I did it! I completed the fast draft of my first NaNo project. It only reached 27,002 words. But for this type of book I think that's not too bad. Those Slice of life YA girlie books are usually shorter. And today, I plan on starting my next idea.
In celebration I have drawn the winners for the next two book Giveaways!
(insert the Chicken Dance polka here because drum rolls are becoming too cliche)
Sruble is the winner of KATIE KAZOO
Beth Revis is the winner of the AMERICAN GIRL book
Contact me at with your mailing info and I'll get those out to you.

And now, to the wedding photo challenge. Rena started a challenge on her blog for people to post their wedding pictures. So, here's mine. 15 1/2 years ago. I think that football player is still looking for the shoulder pads that I stole from him. ;0)

My bouquet is a bit unusual. For one of my birthdays my Grandmother had a special Bible sent to me. I decided to include this Bible as a part of my bouquet. The flowers were made to fit and latch upon it. I'm really big into "meaning" and 'sentiment" over tradition.

So, now it's your turn. I'm passing on the challenge. Post your wedding picture if you can!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bad new, good news, bad news, good news: In that order

Bad news: Somewhere I had a brain fart and missed one of the book drawings.

Good news: So, for the next drawing I'll giveaway 2 books instead of just one.

Bad news: I realized that my NaNo project isn't going to be long enough to reach 50,000 words. I only have 2 more chapters left and I'll be lucky if it hits 3o,000.

Good news: Last night I did a quick outline, (more like the start of an outline) of another idea that I've had, and I'm kind of excited about it. So I will have another project to start working on. It's a YA Fantasy and it's called (insert drum roll here) Gossamer Crimson (insert cheering here)

So, I will give away two books. I should be done with my 1st story on Friday so I'll draw names then. The books are "An American Girl: Peril at Kings Creek" and "Katie Kazoo Switcheroo: A Whirlwind Vacation"

Leave a comment below to have your name entered for the drawing. If you share with me what clever terms you use to refer to a laps of memory (ie: Brain fart) then I'll enter your name in twice. The drawing is random, it's not based on how clever your term may or may not be.

Now . . . back to my regularly scheduled house cleaning (gag!)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Adventures of Super Turkey: Lois Path and Cluck Kent

This is a repost from last year. I can't help it. This is one of my fondest childhood memories that began my love of writing. And, I must add, the above picture is my attempt at art. My adulthood attempt, not my childhood attempt. I know it may be hard to tell.

I was in 5th grade and in white chalk (this was the day of black boards) the teacher wrote:

Write a story starting with this sentence "One day I was face to face with a musket . . . "

wish I had the foresight to keep that piece, but I didn't. I do, however, remember a little bit of how it goes.

One day I was face to face with a musket . . .

I went on to tell the story of a young and strong turkey named Cluck Kent. World famous Bawkporter Lois Path found herself looking down the barrel of a musket. Cluck Kent sensed trouble was afoot and our hero dashed into the nearest hollow log to emerge none-other than Super Hero extrodinaire SUPER TURKEY!!!!!!!! Super Turkey was able to get the musket away from the hunter and saved the day. THE END

I had so much fun writing the story, and the teacher and my parents gushed over my paper and Voila! The seeds of "writing-joy" were planted.

Thanks Super Turkey and Mrs. Whatsyourname for my my 5th grade Thanksgiving writing assignment.

What memories are special for you this time of year?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sup-ah fly! And the winner of the Skinny Bones Book drawing

Congratulations to Adrienne! She is the Winner of the book drawing for Skinny Bones by Barbara Park. Adrienne, contact me at so we can work out the details.

My (jealous) wonderful critique group has brought to my attention that I have (a dreadfully boring life) a SUPER POWER. I guess it's due to (having nothing better to do at home than clean. 3 kids 2 dogs 1 cat, there's always something to clean! Yuck! But I love my kids so I'm not complaining) being whole heartedly devoted to my craft that I have been able to type with great agility and speed. It wasn't until NaNo WriMo that I realized (I had such a boring life and a need to take breaks from the bottomless pit of messes in the house) this Super-ability.

Well, no one with such powers should go without a name or a super costume! But what to call myself? What to wear? a leotard is out of the question. I'm far too mature to wear such a demeaning outfit. (i don't have the body for it.)

So what do you think? What is the perfect super hero name and what shall I wear?

Friday, November 7, 2008

A giant brainsucking amoeba is perched upon my head: Indiana Christy and the Plot of Doom with another book away

Last night is when I first noticed the signs. A pea sized seed of NaNo WriMo doubt lodged into my skull. When I woke up this morning and looked in the mirror, there was this giant brain-sucking amoeba perched upon my head. It looks a lot like I just got out of the shower and wrapped a towel around my head with a few whisps of hair peeking out. Nope! It's not a towel. It's a giant amoeba and it draining me dry of NaNo power.

I KNOW it's OK if . . . .
-some scenes are boring. They can be fixed later.
-there are some holes. They can be fixed later.
-the dialogue is a little cheesy and needs some work. It can be fixed later.

I started out knowing all of this, but this !@#$ (pardon my symbols) amoeba is stealing this knowledge and replacing it with:

-this stinks!
-you'll never be able to fix this story right. why bother finishing
-even if you fix it, the character is so lame that NO teenager will relate to her and they'll hate the book.

How do I get rid of a brain-sucking amoeba? It's stuck. I mean it's really really stuck. LIke the way my hand is attached to my wrist kind-of-stuck.

I've made such good progress, I can't let this amoeba win.

Help me fight this amoeba (via the the comment section) and I'll put you're name in the drawing for the 16,600 word mark. I'll draw a name this Sunday. I should be there by then, because a brain-sucking amoeba, not even a giant one, can stop Indiana Christy. I think.

H E L P !

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

How to catch and train a baby elephant AND announcing the winner of the 2nd book giveaway!

The Lucky Winner of the Book Giveaway is

Kim Kasch!

contact me at and we'll talk about getting that book to you.
I'll announce the next book giveaway on Friday.

How to catch and train a baby elephant.

And next, I want to share some wisdom that I gleaned from a 7 year old that I see almost every Tuesday night. I love to see what goes on inside the mind of a child. Here's my conversation. I'll call this 7 year old E.

E: I don't know if I want to have a baby when I grow up.
Me: That's fine. Not every body does. You can go to college, travel the world and get a good job before you decide. You should be a writer. You're very creative.
E: No. I don't write so good and I don't have any ideas. I think I'll go to the rainforest and get myself a baby elephant.
Me: Really. That sounds fun. How are you going to catch it?
E: It's easy. Put out some peanuts and catch it in a deer trap.
Me: Gee. You've got it all figured out. What are you going to do with your baby elephant after you catch him.
E: I'm going to train him.
Me: Train him to do what?
E: To juggle me.
Me: Oh. And what else.
E. To pound people.

I still think she should be a writer. :0)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A case of political warm fuzzies (((((((((hugs))))))))

Free to live, free to speak, free to be!

I just got done voting. I purposely don't talk politics on my blog, because its purpose is to be fun and goofy. Needless to say, political discussion doesn't fit into my blog plan.

However, today I'm feeling all warm fuzzy inside and this is as political as I'll get here:

Thanks to the men and women who fought and sacrificed so that I can live in a free country.

Thanks to the women who fought so that, as a woman, I can vote and that a female can be a candidate for vice president or president. (Something that in my Grandparents time wasn't even a possibility.)

Thanks for the people who have fought for racial equality so that any American, no matter the color of their skin, may run for president. (Another thing that, in my Grandparents time, was not a possibility.)

Thanks to the men and women who fight to keep our country free and safe.

I'm thankful that I can worship in my church of choice, even if my beliefs aren't popular.

Thank you.
I'm glad I have a vote and my voice can be heard.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Indiana Christy and the Plot of Doom: Book Giveaway #2

Update!: I'm at 9,466 words. Only 1,544 words to go for the book drawing! Get your names in. The drawing will be Wed. November 5th!

Leave a comment below to win a copy of "The Secrets of Droon" Search for the Dragon Ship by Tony Abbot

I have my hat. I have my latte. I have a book to give away (hey! that kind of rhymes.) Bonus!

I've made it! I've collected my first 5,500 words in the Land of NaNo WriMo. The Great Inspiration Giver, Jacqui won the first Token of gratitude for her Gracious gift of cheering me on as she preformed the "running man" and the "sprinkler."

Now it's time for my 2nd book giveaway to any Great Giver of Inpsiration or Motivation (that's you) who leaves a comment below. I have collected many words, but it has not been w/o peril. I need wisdom and words of encouragement more than ever before.

Day 1:
On day one, my expedition was delayed by the curse of the werewolves of Youkantdothiz. I was cursed with a hairy head cold that muddled my brain and clogged my sinus cavities. Not even the Barista at the Cave of Starbucks could produce a brew that could make me feel better.

Alas! I am Indiana Christy and I pressed on.

My map made the hunt for the first 3,500 words a simple conquest. Perched in my tree, I found a herd of words roaming below. I aimed my bow, shot and pierced the words with a stealthy blow.

What I did not expect was the laundry monster. As I searched for more words, I went from room to room in the castle of Myhowz. At every turn there was a mountain of Laundry Monsters staring me down. They chased me and threatened to swallow me whole! What to do? My first impulse was to run and flee! But No! This monster multiplies too fast. I had to do something. Blob by monstrous blob I fought. Drowning each hideous beast in a vat of a churning current. Drowning . . . drying. . . folding. . . hanging. Finally, I conquered the slew of laundry monsters in my wake. Unfortunatley I know there are more hiding and multiplying as I type. It took a good part of the rest of the day to tackle these beasts. By nightfall it was too late and I ached far too much to hunt for any more words.

Little did I know, the worst was yet to happen. My glowing box, the one with the apple on the cover, the one where I keep my captured words, fell to the cave floor and busted. My loyal Tribe-mate had mercy on me and took my glowing box to the local glowing box store to see if it could be repaired.

I went to bed that night exhausted, wondering how I could hunt the remaining words without my fabulous glowing box.

Day 2:

My Tribe-mate came through for me. Though the glowing box could not be restored, so a new glowing box was purchased and my words were able to be saved and transferred to the new glowing box.

The hunt for the next 2,000 words proved to be more difficult. I have 3 small Elvish monkeys in my care and they chattered all day. The chattering scared away the words, making them more difficult to collect. It took all day, but I did it.

However, I am adept at setting snares (despite the chatter). I was able to collect the next 2,000 words in that manner.

Day 3 is about to begin. Wish me luck in the comments section and you will have your name entered in the drawing for the Secrets of Droon book giveaway. If you provide a clever answer for how to conquer the laundry monsters that multiply and attack on a constant basis, I will add your name a 2nd time, giving you double the chance to win.

See you in another 5,500 words!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

And the first winner is . . . . . .

The Winner of my first 5,500 word drawing is . . . . .

Jacqui Robins!!!!!!

Yay! Jacqui.

Please contact me at for details.

But that's not all folks! come back a little later. My next post will announce the book drawing for my next 5,500 word book giveaway.

Thanks to ALL the Great Givers of Inspiration who participated! :0)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I'm flying! Get your name in for the book drawing. It won't be long!

I'm already a little over 3,000 words on my 1st day of NaNo!

Comment here or in the post below to get your name in for the drawing! At the pace I'm going, I'll be drawing on Monday!

Indiana Christy and the Plot of Doom: The Quest for the Givers of Insipration (psst! It's really a book giveaway!)

Indiana Christy and the Plot of Doom: The Great Book Giveaway!

My plane nears the ominous land of NaNo WriMo. I know my task. To hunt, collect and conquer 50,000 words. Mix them together and soak the skeleton of Thestoryinmymind in the brew. It's that simple. It's that hard.

I turn to my mentor, Big Bertha Binkleschnitz (BB for short), and say, "This is a daunting task. Almost too much for one person. What if I lack the strenght to carry on?" I sigh.

"There are two things you can do." BB informs me. "First, each morning you must go to the cave of wonders. The cave know as Starbucks. There you will ask for my the Mixer of Potions: Barista. Barista will provide you with an invigorating drink. But use it well, my friend. It will cost you dearly."

I nod with a hint of relief and ask, "and what is the second thing?"

"Look into this glowing box." BB says as she leads me to peculiar contraption with a picture of an apple on the outside.

"ohhhhh! pretty!" I say

"On the other side of this box are the all-knowing, all powerful Givers of Inspiration. As a matter of fact, they are reading about your adventure on their side of the box right this very moment."

"No way!" I exclaim.

"Way," Big Bertha continues. "Type a plea into this box and ask the Givers of Inspiration to grant you power and encouragement. Perhaps, you may even want to offer a token of gratitude as well."

I nod my head in agreement and begin to type:

Dear All-knowing Givers of Inspiration who dwell on the other side of this glowing Box. Greetings.

I ask of you to grant me words of encouragement, advice, inspiration or whatever you deem necessary to impart strength for my journey.

I offer to you, in return, an offering of books. For every 5,500 words that I gather, I shall give away one of you a book of your choosing. Please indicate your book of choice in the comment section along with your gift of encouragement. You may enter comments as many times as you like. I don't care if you comment 100 times. I unashamedly admit that the more encouragement that I receive, the more pumped up I become. For every comment you leave, that gives you all the more chances to be drawn for the book offering of gratitude.

Here are your choices:

Airy Fairy Magic Mistakes by Margaret Ryan
Skinny Bones by Barbara Park
Great-Grandpa's in the Litter Box (The Zack Files) by Dan Greenburg
Moose Crossing by Stephanie Greene
The Secrets of Droon City in the Clouds by Tony Abbott
The Secrets of Droon Search for the Dragon Ship by Tony Abbot
Katie Kazoo Switcheroo A Whirlwind VAcation by Nancy Krulik
American Gril A Felicity Mystery Peril at Kings Creek by Elizabeth McDavid Jones
Holbrook: A Lizard's Tale by Bonny Becker

See you in 5,500 words. updates to come! You can also check my Nano word counter listed on the sidebar to the right.

. . . . and . . . keep your eyes open for a Bonus book giveaway and interview w/ author Kathleen Duey of Skin Hunger. I don't have a day planed yet. There's a good chance I'll be able to run it this month. Stay tuned . . . . . .

Now, go ahead and leave a comment and when I reach 5,500 words, I'll drawn a name!

Indiana Christy