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Monthly Archives: December 2012

The Incomparable(ish) VENGEANCE BOUND

Thinking about how my book, VENGEANCE BOUND, is different from anything that’s out there wasn’t easy.  After all, most people want to know how my book compares to other books they’ve read, kind of like “If you like Sprite then you’ll love 7-Up” type of recommendations.    So pointing out what sets my book apart from the herd can be a little difficult.

Luckily, I made a list:

  1. Vigilante Justice: This might not seem like a big deal, after all, just about every hero in the DC pantheon is some kind of vigilante (Batman, Green Arrow, Huntress).  But the vigilante/revenge killing trope hasn’t really worked its way into YA yet.  Which might be a good thing, and maybe I shouldn’t have even brought this up…
  2. Possession by Greek Entities:  There’s possession out there in YA, and there are Greek gods and goddesses aplenty, but how many of them reside in a teenage girl’s mind?  Not nearly enough, I say.
  3. An Evil Doctor:  There just aren’t enough evil doctors running around in YA. Although I guess if you figure the evil scientists in YA probably have an advanced degree then there are probably plenty.  But I was running out of things for my list, so I had to include it.
  4.  Sledding:  Not enough sledding scenes in YA.  There’s one in Vengeance Bound, though, and that makes it different.
  5. My Name on the Front: Ha! First book, so that makes it the only one.

Okay, so maybe my book isn’t all that different from everything else that’s out there.  I still think it’s pretty awesome, and I hope you’ll check it out when it releases on April 2.

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Why NOT A DROP TO DRINK Is Not THE HUNGER GAMES… or Anything Else.

As a YA librarian I unpack boxes of new titles regularly. It’s been a distinct advantage to me as an author because I know what’s been done, how it’s been done, and how I can do it differently.

My very first reaction when I picked up THE HUNGER GAMES was like a battle between my reader and author selves. My reader-self was so excited she wanted to take the day off work and cuddle up in a corner. My writer-self was miffed because she didn’t think of that first. What a glorious idea! What fantastic not-so-preachy diatribe against violence in the media! What a hell of a page turner!

And… I didn’t write it. And now I never could because it would be a knock-off, a not-so-original idea that someone else had first and I tried to emulate.

So I shelved my disappointment in myself and kept hacking away at the urban fantasy that was already outdated, while I waited for the flash of inspiration that would become NOT A DROP TO DRINK.

In an earlier post I talked about how my novel is like a mashup between THE HUNGER GAMES and LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE, but today I want to talk about how it’s different from both of those titles.

While I loved THE HUNGER GAMES, I was much more involved in the survival aspects of the book than the Sci-Fi elements. Sure, the tracker jackers were awesome, and the mockingjay is symbolic, but I liked watching Katniss survive with her bow and wits more than anything. My character is like that. Lynn survives in a world where water cannot be had at any price, and protecting her own means paying with a lack of conscience. Unlike Katniss, she’s killing to survive, but not to protect anyone other than herself. Katniss wants to win to protect her family and provide for them; Lynn kills to protect herself. Katniss was born with a conscience; Lynn has to learn the difference between right and wrong in order to grow as a character.

And how is NOT A DROP TO DRINK different from LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE? Well, let’s just say Laura might have been a saucy little girl but I don’t remember her ever shooting Pa’s gun, or even wanting to. Surviving against nature and environmental threats is a common theme, but the Wilder family had a warm fire and a family to rely on. Imagine Laura paranoid in her log house, Pa’s gun loaded and cocked at the ready, not waiting for the person at the door to announce themselves before taking aim.

Yeah… that’s how it’s different.

How IN THE AFTER is different…in a good way

In the After

Sure, there are a lot of creature books out there, from aliens to zombies to vampires (ummm…I’m talking about the non-sparkly kind) …but IN THE AFTER takes these norms and flips them. These creatures (referred to as They) are ravenous, flesh-eating monsters, but they have poor eyesight, making them more active during the day when it’s light out. They also hunt by sound. This means that my MC, Amy, lives in a world of silent darkness. She only goes out at night, making the usual world of frightening shadows her comfort zone. The day becomes a time of terror, when They own the world.

Another difference in IN THE AFTER is its focus on the relationship between Amy and a child she finds in the After. Called Baby, this child becomes Amy’s reason to survive, not only the After, but all that she must face as the story unfolds. While a lot of YA spotlights romantic relationships, I wanted to focus on Amy and Baby’s sisterly bond and the connection two people would form trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world.

IN THE AFTER will be available June 25th from HarperTeen
Pre-order at B&N or Amazon
Add on Goodreads

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GONE FISHING: A Novel in Verse – An Unconventional Crossroad of Children’s Literature

This past October I wrote a post comparing titles to GONE FISHING. It turned out to be a more challenging assignment than I had expected – I couldn’t find a book that was a direct match. I finally settled on four books that I could compare to different aspects of my book. The reason I couldn’t find one exact comparison: it turns out that a humorous fishing adventure sibling rivalry middle grade novel in verse for children ages six and up that includes poetry info isn’t all that common. I’d have to say it’s downright unusual.

I didn’t write GONE FISHING with the goal of being different. It began as a single poem called “Night Crawlers,” based on my good childhood memories. That one poem was soon joined by other poems about a father and son fishing. Poems that included a little sister surfaced. A story started to develop. The poetry began to take shape both literally and figuratively. A wise friend suggested naming those poems. My editor liked the named poem aspect and encouraged me to expand the story and poetry further and add poetry definitions. The final shape of GONE FISHING began to emerge and included these elements of poetry, story, and poetry writing tips.

As serendipity would have it, GONE FISHING lives at the whimsical, unconventional crossroad of Middle Grade Fiction, Middle Grade Novels in Verse, and The Study of Poetry for Any Age. I honestly don’t know of another book that resides at this specific intersection. Do you? If you feel like hanging out at this unique literary spot, come March 5, wander over to GONE FISHING for a read. The kids are on a fine adventure with Dad, the fish and the poetry are lively, and you don’t have to study a thing about poetry if you don’t want to. (Although, you may just want to!)

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GONE FISHING: A Novel In Verse, by Tamera Will Wissinger, illustrated by Matthew Cordell, arrives March 5 from Houghton Mifflin Books for Children and is now available for preorder. A graduate of Hamline University’s MFA Writing for Children program, Tamera and her husband share their time between Chicago and Florida. Online you can find Tamera on her Website, Goodreads, Twitter, or Facebook.

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