Tag Archives: narnia

Interview and Giveaway at A Thousand Wrongs

25 Feb

Lizzie_Final

I’m over at A Thousand Wrongs today for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday (like Francisco that’s fun to say!) talking about Lizzy and writing and my favorite villain.

Who is it, you ask? I’ll give you a hint:

Likes: Winter. Being in charge

Dislikes: Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve

Also you can win a free copy of Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb through the giveaway and we all love free things.

As always, my Starburst of Thanks to Laurisa who rocks.

Starburst

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Visiting Novel Reverie

21 Sep

The very awesome Denee invited me over to her place at Novel Reveries to talk about Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb. Prior to, she reviewed my book.

She asked me to write a synopsis in sonnet form.

For those of you who don’t know sonnets contain the following:

1. 10 syllables per line

2. A rhyme scheme that goes a/b a/b c/d c/d e/f e/f g/g – that basically means the last word of each line rhymes according to that structure. So that means that the last word of the first line rhymes with the third and the second rhymes with the fourth. Then the fifth rhymes with the seventh and so on and so forth.

3. Internal rhyme is expected. That means that somewhere in the line a word will rhyme with another word somewhere else in the next line.

4. Iambic Pentameter – this means that you have a tick-TOCK rhythm in each line. There should be five (hence “pentameter”) tick-TOCKS per line. Think of a heartbeat. da-DUM, da-DUM. It creates a rhythm in the line that drives you forward.

Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets that we know of. There could have been more stuffed under his mattress, who knows? He did this 154 times, beautifully, artistically, ’cause he was a freaking genius.

I did it once and it’s a hot mess. Guess how many of the 4 rules I broke? Go on, take a guess. It’s more than one, less than 4, I’ll tell ya.

I’ll give you a couple lines and you have to read the rest of the interview to see the whole thing. Go on, you know you wanna laugh.

When Lizzy unearthed the hard truth about

her own strange and dangerous beginning

T’was true she was a Shakespeare kin no doubt
Upon the Fates wheel, her future spinning.

Yup. It only gets worse from there. Go read it here. And then you can read her review. If you like it, you can buy the book here and decide for yourself. Sound good? I think so, too.

As always, much thanks to Denee for letting me blather on at her blog. Here are my Starbursts of Thanks.

And you know, I never joke about Starbursts. So thanks again Denee. Sorry about my terrible sonnet.

Visiting Crafting Magic

30 Aug

The very lovely Ms. Jen and I spent some time talking about my upcoming novel Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb at her blog Crafting Magic. It’s due out in September but if you want a sneak peek about the plot or my influences or why I write in a closet –  all those goodies are right here.

I really want to thank Jen for having me over to blather on like that. As you all know when people do nice things for you it’s customary to say Thank You. So here’s my favorite candy in the whole wide world just for Jen.

P.S. Look how many orange there are! You know I mean it.

Here’s to books!

24 May

I was hanging out with my oldest friend in the world (literally, from the cradle) and we were having one of those conversations where we talk about the years between us and our childhood growing up together, and how growing up together has effected our adult artistic life. So on the subject of books I mentioned Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson and the effect that it had on us and how reading it changed me when he admitted a startling fact. It went something like this:

Me: “Our entire childhood was changed by that book. I mean, if we hadn’t read that book we never would have created our own imaginary land.

Him: “Well, yeah but I never read it.”

Me: (stopping on the street): “What do you mean you never read it?”

Him: “You read it, Ally. You told me what happened. I never read those books. That was you.”

It wasn’t much later that another old friend of mine, commented on my clearly annoying habit of recounting books to my friends.

So it got me thinking about the books that stuck and how there are authors who change your life. So here’s a few:

I’m not sure exactly the first time I read Bridge to Terabithia because I read it so many times afterwards that it became ingrained in the very fibers and DNA of my imagination. As I said, shortly after finishing it my old friend and I crafted together our very own world, Fanteris, complete with entry points, creatures, witches (though I’m quite sure we got those from Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsit and Mrs. Which, but more on that later), and journals to document it all. We were Kings and Queens of our land.  None of that would have happened without Jess and Leslie.

The story behind the story, in case you didn’t know is that Ms. Paterson’s son lost his best friend in a freak accident and to deal with his grief as well as her own she created this book.

This is the specific edition that I wore to pieces. It was part of a box set, which I still own.

Oh, Mr. Lewis. Where do I begin? I was probably seven when I read this book the first time. Every closet door I have opened since then, I’ve held my breath for just a moment because hey, what if? If Lev Grossman can build an entire series out of the meager hope that Narnia is real, well, then I can hope so too.

I watched the British cartoon they made hundreds of times and cried every time Aslan was dragged to the Stone Table.  I had the whole set and I read them over and over and over again till I had to tape some pages back in. Even though I wasn’t a huge fan of the Last Battle, my unhappiness was really about Narnia being over. The story was true because I believed it was true.

And then, of course the inevitable happened. I got older and the light went off and I said, “Wait what? Aslan is Jesus and for a while the whole thing came apart. And I was angry and felt betrayed and vowed to never wish for Narnia again. But of course, then I got even older and I got over it. The truth is I will always separate that story, that land, that magic from whatever allegory it was. Because when I was a child, I believed in Aslan, the lion, the warrior, not Aslan the stand-in for Jesus. And finally, and maybe most importantly C.S. Lewis was the first one who made me want to be a writer. I wanted to craft a land, people it, and live in it.

(I’m not gonna touch The Problem of Susan. I’ll save that for another post.)

And that brings us to Meg. Meg Murray was my favorite character ever created. She wasn’t fearless. She wasn’t spunky. She was neither Anastasia nor Pippi Longstockings. She was awkward and shy and lacked confidence (though she’s smart as hell)  in her family full of geniuses. She was ME (minus the family full of geniuses – no offense guys, I love you!).

Plus there was Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsit and Mrs. Which who to this day I still find fascinating and clearly stole, renamed the Wandering Witches and peopled my imaginary world with.  Plus the book opens with “It was a dark and stormy night.” Perfection. Even now I try to throw the word tesseract into at least once conversation a day (no, it doesn’t work well, but thanks for asking).

Plus time travel, centaurs, the man with the red eyes, the black thing, telepathy, alternate universes. Need I go on?? It’s sci-fi and fantasy with a healthy dose of realism and chock full of people who I understood.

There are ton of other books I could add, like Watership Down, whose heft intimidated me in my old one-room library back in my small town. I had watched the movie so many times but the book itself seemed massive when I was eight. I could include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Jungle Book, Just so Stories, Pippi Longstocking, Are You there God, It’s Me Margaret, Everything by Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary.

But this post is already too long.

So here’s to books. Here’s the changing lives one page at time. Here’s to parents who encourage reading, who take their pushy daughter to the library every weekend, (yeah, I’m looking at you, Mom). Here’s to librarians who keep it up (against massive budget cuts, mind you). And here’s to authors who thought up these stories, crafted them, believed in them against doubt  and shared them.

Here’s to books! Long live books!

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