Posts Tagged ‘book’

A Whirlwind Tour

It has been a super busy few weeks, but I wanted to share some of the awesome that has been going on as I’ve toured for The 8th Continent: Welcome to the Jungle.
Our trip began in Austin, my old hometown. We had a great lineup of events, all of which I found to be eye-opening and moving.
Monday April 6th we had a fantastic school visit at West Ridge Middle School. West Ridge was where I attended 6th, 7th, and 8th grade way back when Altavista was my search engine of choice and The Rosie O’Donnell show was must-see TV. I spoke to about 100 students about the book and the garbage patch, then met in small groups with other students. One of my former teachers, Carol Reese, teaches a program that is very similar in structure to the graduate program I went to at NYU. The coolest thing I saw there was a student project that looked like Rick and Evie might have made it.
That is a very comfy chair made out of crushed water bottles and lined with recycled plastic cushions. So awesome!
Tuesday was the event at BookPeople, a very cool indie bookstore in Austin, TX. After the reading, I spoke to a budding young writer and West Ridge student who had missed the Monday event. I gave her two pieces of advice that I would encourage all aspiring writers to follow. First, write swiftly. It doesn’t matter if your writing is good, as long as you’re writing. Writing is like playing the piano — you have to make a lot of noise before you get good. Second, finish something! It’s hard to evaluate a story that doesn’t have a beginning, middle, and end. So get started and get finished!
Me reading at BookPeople
Me reading at BookPeople
Wednesday I did two workshops at Barton Creek Elementary. They were very nice and gave me so much time with the students. We got to do writing exercises and have great discussions about the garbage patch. The students were eager to get their books autographed (I signed A LOT of copies) and the faculty seemed very pleased.
Everyone wanted to get their books signed!
Everyone wanted to get their books signed!
On Wednesday night I flew to Philadelphia for more book events. On Thursday the good folks at Children’s Book World took me to Shipley Lower School and Scenic Hills Elementary, where I was warmly welcomed.
The library made this sweet board for me!
The library made this sweet board for me!
School visits are amazing, and it’s always a treat to hear the students’ great ideas about how we can clean up the garbage patch.
After that whirlwind, I returned home, pooped but happy. I needed the rest, because Earth Day was coming up, and I had big things planned.
On Earth Day I did a book event at Horace Mann, a school in New York where I teach Minecraft and Video Game Design after school classes. It was a blast! We brainstormed ways to clean up the garbage patch, and how to reduce its spread. I’m confident one of these bright young people is going to figure out how to clean up the oceans once and for all.
It’s been quite an adventure, and there are many more school visits in my future. There’s nothing like meeting with students face to face.

The Last Six Months

On a crisp Tuesday not unlike today, exactly six months ago, I embarked on two simultaneous journeys. First, I started working as an honest-to-goodness teacher — a fulfilling and marvelous experience that I’m still trying to process — and second, my debut novel The 8th Continent was published.

It’s hard to overstate what a monumental deal this was for me. I had been telling stories for pleasure as long as I could talk. I finished the first draft of my first novel when I was just sixteen years old. After years of hard work and rejection, reflection and persistence, I started selling things. People started hiring me to write more. But there were still struggles. More opportunities meant more rejections, too.

In 2005, I began actively seeking the publication of a novel I wrote, which means that I’ve been chasing this dream longer than most of the readers of The 8th Continent have been alive. If even one of those readers enjoys the book, is moved by the book or surprised by it, or dare I say learned something from it, then it has all been worth it.

But I’m happy to report that there has been more than one. Late last month I had the great pleasure of meeting the sixth graders and Miami Country Day School, where I was treated as an honored guest. If there is any doubt that young people still love to read and are thrilled by good stories, well, then there’s this place in Florida you need to see.

The whirlwind has been spinning quickly. Launch parties, author events, new jobs for both me and my bestfriendspousecompanion; Some time last year I went to the bank and deposited money I earned writing stories about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, filling me with pride and a craving for a bowl of Cap’n Crunch.

And now The 8th Continent Book 2 is out! I haven’t even had time to blog about Book 1! Welcome to the Jungle has been doing great. I boldly say it is better than Book 1. The second novel picks up four seconds after the first one ends, which is just enough time for you to close the back cover of one and open the front cover of the other.

This is a nice moment for me. I just completed a new batch of quests for Block Story (eight million downloads and counting) and I’m eagerly awaiting notes on The 8th Continent Book 3. It’s better than Book 2. (Are you detecting a pattern?)

I’m starting work on a new book this week. It’s gonna knock your socks off. I still dance and wave my hands in the air when I think about how I joined the roster at the aptly named New Leaf agency. Life is going well.

And there are lots more stories to tell.