The End Is (Probably) Near: Cover reveal and sit down with middle school teacher and author Matthew Landis

Here is a truth: I love doomsday stories. I’ve always wanted to write one. Think a teenage version of The Road, maybe with zombies. Definitely motorcycles. A couple years ago I stumbled upon Charlie Higson’s The Enemy series and sobbed for days that he beat me to it. Then I binged a season of The Walking Dead and felt better.

I needed to forge my own direction—end the world my way. For a while, I wasn’t entirely sure what that was. I kept reading scary doomsday books (if you want to live in eternal dread, read One Second After by William Forstchen). And then this really interesting question floated up from the Ether: What if the apocalypse didn’t happen? What an epic letdown that would be, right?

This seemed funny—a reverse engineering of the whole thing. I was hooked. My brain went into overdrive with possibilities. I envisioned a kid convinced the world was ending only to find out (awkwardly) that the doomsday predictions he believed so completely turned out to be bogus. It felt ironic and weird and yet also sort of deep, the type of story that could explore some other stuff that was on my heart. It felt like me.

And so began the origin of my third novel, It’s the End of the World as I Know it. Like it’s predecessor, The Not-So-Boring Letters of Private Nobody, the story is set at the fictional Kennesaw Middle School—a virtual copy of the school I teach at in the Philly suburbs.

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Yet unlike that book, it has zero to do with social studies. Nor are there zombies or motorcycles or long, dangerous roads to the sea. Just an 8th grade kid, Derrick, who’s been turning his backyard shed into a doomsday shelter for the better part of a year. Convinced the Yellowstone super volcano is set to blow on September 21st (nineteen days from the book’s opening), Derrick will not be caught off guard. He will survive The End, due in no small part to his not surviving the other apocalypse in his life: his veteran mom’s death in Iraq.

In my twelve years of teaching middle school, I’ve had many kids with parental death. Too many. I don’t honestly know how they bear it—but they do, and it is quite something. I wanted to tell you about them, let you imagine the trauma of sudden and permanent loss they endure—“doomsday” if there ever was such a thing. I wanted to sketch the supporting players: the surviving parent and other sibling. The guidance counselor and therapist. The friend.

I’ve also had a student, equally amazing, who endured a potentially fatal illness. What was that like, I wondered—to have survived this “end”? How does peeking behind the curtain change the way a kid lives? This inspired Derrick’s foil and friend in the novel, Misty, fresh off a kidney transplant that nearly took her off the map before the game really got going. I pictured her just getting started with life as Derrick was getting ready for The End—her trying to cram it all in while he was packing it in. The intersection of those paths became the arc of this book. There’s also some poop jokes, a python that gets loose, and Pop-Tarts. Lots of Pop-Tarts.

I still love the gritty survival story set in a world-gone-to-hades (should you also, go read American War by Omar El Akkad, it’s fantastic). But that is not this book, because I’ve been learning that real life has plenty of actual apocalypses. It’s The End of the World As I Know It is about two kids surviving their own doomsdays and facing the changes it wrought in them. It is a story of friendship, grief, and the many ways the world can end—and begin again.

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author_1.jpgMatthew Landis teaches 8th grade social studies outside Philadelphia, where he lives with his wife, two kids (soon to be four, pray for us), some chickens, and a boxer that acts like a forgotten eldest child. He is the author of the YA thriller LEAGUE OF AMERICAN TRAITORS (Sky Pony), and the MG contemporary school narrative THE NOT-SO-BORING LETTERS OF PRIVATE NOBODY (Dial/Penguin). He hopes to attain whatever level of literary fame allows a person to summer in Cape Town and go on endless safaris. This is his third novel.

 

Cover Reveal: A TIME TRAVELER’S THEORY OF RELATIVITY by Nicole Valentine

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Hello, Nicole! Welcome to the MG Book Village, and thank you so much for hosting your cover reveal here. We’re very excited! Before we get to all of that, though, would you care to introduce yourself to our readers?

Sure! Thank you for having me on the blog.

My name is Nicole Valentine and I’m a children’s book author, educator and technologist. I have an MFA in Writing from VCFA and I’ve been teaching writing at The Highlights Foundation for seven years. I was the Chief Technology Officer of several internet start-ups, my first being Sally Ride’s Space.com and my last being Figment.com, a website for teens to share their own writing (purchased and re-branded by Penguin/Random). I love all things science, but you can find me writing about that fascinatingly fuzzy area where science and magic meet. I live outside of Philadelphia with my human family and all the animals: our two dogs Merlin and Arthur, and our cats, Pickwick and Tink. One day we would like to add a falcon or hawk to the mix.

Whoa — those are some SOLID pet names. Bravo. Now, moving onto the book: can you tell us a bit about A TIME TRAVELER’S THEORY OF RELATIVITY? The novel is your debut, correct?

It is and I’m so happy it will soon be in the hands of kids. It’s about a very practical, science-loving boy who discovers all the women in his family can time travel. I have been fascinated with time travel since I was a child and this story explores not just the adventurous side of being able to travel in time, but all the emotional and moral conflicts that would arise. I describe it as A Time Traveler’s Wife meets Tuck Everlasting. While there is plenty of page-turning adventure inside, it is also a heartfelt story about family and loss.

The official description:

Twelve-year-old Finn is used to people in his family disappearing. His twin sister, Faith, drowned when they were three years old. A few months ago, his mom abandoned him and his dad with no explanation. He clings to the concrete facts in his physics books and to his best friend, Gabi to cope with his sadness. But when his grandmother tells him the family secret: that all the women in their family are Travelers, he realizes he has to put his trust in something bigger than logic to save his Mom.

It sounds excellent. Have you always enjoyed science fiction?

Yes, but I didn’t always realize it was science fiction. The kind of sci-fi I loved was very close to magical realism and fantasy, and what we now call speculative. I was in love with Madeleine L’Engle’s Wrinkle in Time (I still think Charles Wallace is the most fascinating character in all of children’s literature). I devoured all of Ray Bradbury’s stories and would take his books out of the library and keep them so long that I had to take a job at the library to avoid late fees. I fell hard for the subtle realism of Jack Finney’s Time and Again and read it over and over. I was deeply moved by the short stories of Charles DeLint and soon became an Ursula LeGuin devotee. I think my first introduction to the fact that I was reading sci-fi was when my uncle gave me his old issues of Omni Magazine and my favorite authors were inside. I have to credit both Omni and William Gibson with steering me towards a career in both writing and technology from a young age. Did you know the word cyberspace first appeared in Omni Magazine? I didn’t know any other teenage girls who were reading Omni and it was obvious that I wasn’t the intended demographic as a thirteen-year old girl, but it didn’t stop me. It’s funny how I can look back now and identify all the influences that steered my life.

Why do you think you are drawn to writing science fiction, particularly for young readers?

I can’t think of a better genre for kids in our current world. They have far more stress to cope with than we did and science fiction is a unique coping tool. Recently I’ve been reading about the psychology of awe and have delved much deeper into what captured my own young mind and why. I was twelve when my father suddenly passed away and like most children dealing with grief, I desperately wanted everything to return to normal. Being the grand thinker that I was, I dove headfirst into books about time travel. It seemed like the most logical solution: go back in time and warn my father about his undiagnosed heart problem. I didn’t discover how to time travel in the stacks of the New City Library, but I did discover awe in those pages. They filled me with wonder and gave me hope. Psychologists are just now beginning to study the emotion of awe and its benefits on the human brain and body. Subjects in psychological studies report a feeling of having more time available, increased generosity, and decreased aggression. Awe both generates empathy and combats stress in an empirical way. I know it was awe that saved me as a child. We need more books that bring hope through inspiring wonder.

That’s fascinating, and I relate to that a lot as a science fiction-lover myself. Okay, onto the main reason you’re here: your cover. Were you at all involved in the process?

I was given several sketches to look at early on. I’m afraid I wasn’t much help in the elimination process because I loved them all! I don’t know why, but I was surprised to find secret tells in the art that came from deep within my text. Alice Brereton took a nuanced, careful approach and I couldn’t be more grateful.

What did you think when you first saw the cover?

When I saw the full-color final choice I was blown away. I think I had to sit down. It’s a big moment seeing your book come bursting into reality in full color like that. It’s the perfect cover for this book. It captures all the magic and wonder I wanted and more.

All right — let’s see it!

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Wow! It’s gorgeous. I love all the detail and different textures. I cannot wait to get my hands on it on October 1st! Where can readers learn more about you and your work?

You can find me at nicolevalentinebooks.com where you can also sign up for my quarterly newsletter. You can also find me blogging at steaMG.org – an alliance of middle grade authors working to bring more sci-fi and science-inspired fiction to the shelves. I’m on twitter at @nicoleva and my book is available for pre-order now at Indiebound and Amazon.

Screen Shot 2019-03-17 at 8.13.20 AM.pngNicole writes science fiction and magical realism for middle graders. She follows awe wherever it leads her. In her past life, she was a Chief Technology Officer for various internet start-ups. She began her career at CNN, moved on to work with Sally Ride at Space.com, and then helped found Figment.com, a website for teens to share their own writing. She has a Masters in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and teaches writing at the Highlights Foundation. Home is just outside of Philadelphia where she lives with her human family, two large dogs named Merlin and Arthur, and two small cats named Tink and Pickwick. You can find her and subscribe to her newsletter at www.nicolevalentinebooks.com and on Twitter at @nicoleva.

 

Cover Reveal: LEXI MAGILL AND THE TELEPORTATION TOURNAMENT by Kim Long

Welcome, Kim! And thanks so much for choosing the MG Book Village to host your cover reveal. We’re thrilled to have you! Before we get to the book and the big reveal, would you care to introduce yourself to our readers?

Hello all! My name is Kim Long and I’m so happy to be here! I’ve followed MG Book Village since the very beginning, and I’m so thrilled to share my cover with you. By day, I work as an attorney, and by night I write MG, mainly contemporary with a magical twist and a dash of science. And baseball! My main character is always a fan of baseball!

Lexi Magill and the Teleportation Tournament is your debut. Could you share with our readers a bit about your journey to the printed page?

I think my journey is a good example of the different (and winding!) paths to publication. I wrote my first MG in 2014 after trunking a pretty bad YA that I’d written and queried in 2013. In spring 2014, I entered an on-line querying contest, Query Kombat, where I had some success and, even more important, was introduced to several MG writers that eventually became valuable CPs. I got an agent with that manuscript, and we went on sub in 2015. By the end of 2015, that manuscript had not sold, but I had finished LEXI MAGILL. My agent then put LEXI on sub in 2016, and, although there were some close calls, by the end of 2016 it also had not sold. At that point, I had written another MG, and after amicably parting ways with my agent, queried that new MG, which led to finding my current agent, Natascha Morris at BookEnds. Even though Nat offered on the new manuscript, she was also interested in LEXI and decided it was worth re-subbing. We did some revisions and put it on sub in October 2017. Again, some interest, but no offers. We started round two of submission in April 2018, and I got the offer of publication in June. All total, I’d written four books and LEXI spent 18 months on sub between two agents before I received an offer of publication!

And now for the book. What’s Lexi Magill and the Teleportation Tournament all about?

The book takes place in our world with the exception that teleportation exists, which makes it easy for people to travel from one place to another via teleport stations. Lexi enters a teleportation tournament—essentially an Amazing Race style tournament involving teleporting rather than air travel—to win prize money so she can enroll at a science academy and reunite with her best friend.

Unfortunately for Lexi, her teammates rather explore than focus on the tournament. As the race rages on through castles, museums, a labyrinth, and other locations throughout Europe and the U.S., Lexi has a difficult time keeping up with the competition and controlling her teammates. If she can’t figure out a way to work with her team, she can kiss that prize money good-bye.

In addition to puzzles that the reader can solve alongside Lexi, I really enjoy the friendship dynamic between Lexi, her teammates, and her best friend, and how that dynamic changes throughout the tournament!

Wow — sounds like a BLAST. Now, let’s get to the cover. Who did the art?

Charles Lehman of Shannon Associates did the cover. I can’t find him on Twitter, but you can check out his illustrations and other work here!

Before we let our readers check out the art, can you tell us what you thoughts when you first saw it?

It was funny because when we were brainstorming covers, I told my editor I was a fan of more abstract covers that didn’t necessarily contain depictions of the characters. She told me later on that the publisher decided to do the complete opposite and put Lexi and her teammates on the cover! I admit, I was nervous. Very nervous! But then I opened the graphic and immediately exhaled! I absolutely love how the characters turned out, and the entire cover screams fun and adventure. I love it!

All right — let’s not make them wait any longer. Here it is:

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Brilliant! So when can readers get their hands on the book?

LEXI MAGILL AND THE TELEPORTATION TOURNAMENT releases on October 1, 2019! It is available for pre-order now at your local bookstore, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble!

And where can they find more information about you?

My website is KimLongAuthor.com and I’m on twitter @KimLongMG.

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Kim Long loves to write stories with a sense of adventure, a dash of magic, and a hint of science. She wrote her first book at age 10, where she combined the best parts of her favorite Choose Your Own Adventures into a single story. (Cave of Time at Chimney Rock in the Bermuda Triangle.) When not writing, she loves playing board games, watching Star Wars movies, and riding her bike along Illinois’s many trails.

Cover Reveal: CARDSLINGER, M.G. Velasco

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The MG Book Village has been fortunate enough to host a number of wonderful cover reveals in the year or so since we’ve launched. Today’s reveal, however, is extra special.

M.G. Velasco approached us about hosting his reveal a while back, but being the awesome, thoughtful person he is, insisted we hold off until he’d had a chance to share the cover art with his #KidsNeedMentors class, taught by 6th grade ELA teacher Ginger Schwartz — he wanted them to be the first ones to lay their eyes on it. (To learn more about the #KidsNeedMentors, click here and here.) Then M.G. had an even more awesome, thoughtful idea — to put the kids of his #KidsNeedMentors class in charge of his whole cover reveal interview! They’re his audience, his future readers — it makes more sense for them to be in charge of the questions than for me to be!

Below is a little more info about M.G.’s upcoming debut, Cardslinger, and below that the interview by Ms. Schwartz’s students, and below that the big reveal!

A dangerous quest, a lost treasure, and the card game that started it all.

It’s 1881, and a newfangled card game called Mythic is sweeping the nation. Twelve-year-old Jason “Shuffle” Jones doesn’t like it. He and his father created the game for themselves, before his father went missing. Mythic should have disappeared with him. But when Shuffle discovers a clue in a pack of Mythic cards, he sets out on a quest to find his dad. Along the way he clashes with a devious card swindler, an epic twister, and the ruthless bounty hunter Six-Plum Skylla and her gang. As he gets closer to the truth, will he turn tail or push all-in to become a real hero?”

~ Jarrett

. . .

Why did you decide to become a writer? What made you want to write books?

Ah, this answer can be a whole blog post in its own… But the short of it is: I write because my story ideas must go somewhere, and without that creative outlet, my head would go nuclear. But it’s more than a release, it’s pure joy. I get to play with words and craft them into a story, likely with explosions. The characters are mine, running wild in my world and getting into all sorts of mischief. The story is an extension of me, and every time one swirls in my head and leaks onto the page, it’s amazing.

Is it hard to be a writer?

Only if you don’t love it. Writing can be difficult and frustrating. It’s mostly done in solitude with nothing but the words in your head and the screen blinking at your face. Sometimes you can’t find the right words and the page remains blank. There are days when nothing seems to get done and you feel like you’ll never reach the end. There will be people who won’t love your characters and stories, and you’ll feel like such a loser. But with all that gloom, there’s always the good. The words will flow and it’ll feel great. People will “get” what you right, and that writer-reader connection is worth more than gold. In order to take the good with the bad, the easy with the difficult, you have to love writing, and then all the time and effort and difficulty will be worth it.

How did you get the idea for Cardslinger?

I wanted to write an adventure story about a kid who loves to play games. I was into a card game called Magic: The Gathering at the time, and that kind of game seemed perfect for the story. It became a Western because of its wild and free setting, but instead of gunfights at high noon, there are card game duels. Also, Homer’s The Odyssey played a big part in my idea, and classical mythology fit naturally with the time period. It was their Harry Potter of their day, maybe.

How long is the book?

Well, according to the ARC (Advance Reader Copy) pdf it is 58 chapters and 348 pages. It’s an epic read, but trust me, it’s worth it. 😉

Is there a sequel to Cardslinger?

In my head there is.

What would you write about in your free time?

Anything fun, typically something with explosions.

How long did it take for you to write Cardslinger?

For the first draft. Maybe three months. For the polished manuscript. Three years.

In Cardslinger, who is your favorite character and why?

Really? I have to chose a favorite? If I must, it has to be Shuffle. He’s a gamer. He uses his smarts instead of his fists to get out of a bad situation. He thinks about strategy and gaming. He loves his family and friends. He’s kinda funny, too.

What is your favorite book?

The one I’m currently reading. 😉 Of all time? I would say a Roald Dahl book, maybe James and the Giant Peach. Or his collection of hilariously, dark fairy tales and short stories: Revolting Rhymes.

Do you write in silence, or do you have background noise?

First drafts are usually done in silence. Revisions are done with music.

Do you write everyday?

Yes. Sometimes it’s only a hundred words. Sometimes two-thousand. If I’m not writing, I’m editing.

Who is your favorite author?

Roald Dahl.

How do you plan your book?

I’ll come up with a character or a story. Then the plot, which I’ll draft in a three-act line graph of sorts. I’ll outline it, then come up with an early synopsis of the main story points. One of the biggest parts of planning a book is the character creation. All the characters need to be well-rounded and developed before they see the page. Their traits and flaws, likes/dislikes, family and friends, strengths and weaknesses need to be realized. Once I have a good cast of characters and a decent plot, I hash out a first draft, which will eventually be cut up, hammered, added-to, and molded into something, hopefully, you’ll read and enjoy.

Thank you, Ms. Schwartz and students, for the fun interview! It’s a joy to reflect on being an author.

And now, for the cover:

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I would be remiss not to mention the wonderful illustrator who crafted the amazing cover art, Mónica Armiño. I love how ominous it is. The storm. The bandits coming out of the landscape. The Zeus cloud! She hit the details perfectly, with the color of the card backs, Atalanta’s braids and yellow scarf. And Katana, the black cat, is the best! If you love this cover, you can find other fantastic art by Ms. Armiño at
www.monicaarmino.com.

And big thank you to Laura Westlund and Kim Morales and the design team at Carolrhoda/Lerner books. It couldn’t have come together so beautifully without y’all. Giddyup!

Cover Reveal: THE LIGHT IN THE LAKE, by Sarah R. Baughman

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I am thrilled to welcome Sarah Baughman to the MG Book Village for the cover reveal of her debut novel, THE LIGHT IN THE LAKE.  Many thanks to Sarah for letting us host the reveal and for taking the time to answer a few questions about her novel.

~ Corrina

Corrina: Hi Sarah – welcome to the MGBookVillage! Before we share your cover, can you tell us a bit about The Light in the Lake?

Sarah: I’m thrilled that you’re hosting my cover reveal! Thanks so much. The Light in the Lake follows the journey of Addie, a 12-year-old girl who lost her twin brother when he drowned in a lake near their rural Vermont home. Addie has recently been accepted for a summer position studying water pollution, but she finds her scientific view of the world challenged by a notebook her brother left behind, filled with clues about a magical creature living in Maple Lake. The book is close to my heart, as the setting is strongly inspired by where I used to live in Vermont; I actually got the idea for the story while walking in the woods behind our old house.

Corrina: I’ve always been fascinated by the tension between a scientific view of the world and a magical view of the world.  Do you see them as compatible?

Sarah: This is a great question, and I actually do see them as compatible even though they might seem contradictory! One of my best friends in college was a chemistry major, and I have a distinct memory of walking back from cross-country practice with her on a foggy afternoon. I made some poetic comment about the fog looking otherworldly, and she said, “that’s funny; I was thinking about condensation.” I believe and find value in both perspectives. That said, I’ve always sensed magic in nature, and still do; so although I’m deeply committed to the science of conservation and believe we’re all in debt to scientists who continue to discover new information about how best to protect our environment, I also feel that noticing those touches of magic creates a kind of emotional connection to nature that’s very important.

Corrina: Let’s take a look at the cover!

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Corrina: That is gorgeous! Who is the artist that designed your cover?  And what did you think when you saw the final version?

Sarah: I’m so grateful to the people who created this cover: illustrator Ji-Hyuk Kim and designer Karina Granda. The final version absolutely took my breath away! I was amazed by how beautifully all the elements we’d discussed came together. The colors and light really capture the beauty of the setting, along with Addie’s sense of wonder.

Corrina: Sarah – thank you for letting us take a peek at the cover of The Light in the Lake! When can readers get it, and where is a good place to preorder?

Sarah: The book is scheduled for release on September 3, 2019! In the meantime, you can pre-order it on Amazon, IndieBound, or Barnes & Noble. You can also add it on Goodreads and stay posted for more retailers on the Little, Brown site. Thanks again for hosting this reveal, and for doing such a wonderful job of supporting and promoting middle grade books!

Corrina: Thank you!

srbaughman_authorphotocolorSarah R. Baughman grew up in Michigan, then taught middle and high school English on four continents. After living in rural northeastern Vermont for six years, she recently moved back to Michigan with her husband and two children. She now works as an educational consultant and author, and spends as much time as possible in the woods and water.

You can find Sarah on Twitter at @sarahrbaughman  , Instagram at @sarahrbaughman, or on her website www.sarahrbaughman.com

 

Cover Reveal: THE CRYPTID KEEPER, by Lija Fisher

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Hi Everyone!

Thank you for attending my cover reveal for THE CRYPTID KEEPER, the second book in my humorous adventure duology about a boy’s search for legendary creatures like the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot! 

It’s only been a few months since my debut novel, THE CRYPTID CATCHER, came out and it has been such a fun ride! When I first started writing about cryptids I had no idea what a rich, fascinating world it would turn out to be. I didn’t know that by talking about Bigfoot, kids would tell me about other animals that roam the forests. Or how exploring the possibility of aliens would lead to discussions about the bottom of the ocean and what creatures could be lurking there. Cryptozoology, a pseudo-science, has truly acted as a gateway science in my visits with kids, and I’m so excited to continue with the adventure!

So, without further delay, here’s the cover of THE CRYPTID KEEPER, where Clivo Wren and the Myth Blasters continue their quest to discover the immortal cryptid before the evil resistance finds it.

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~ Lija

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Lija Fisher was raised in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Her debut novel, THE CRYPTID CATCHER, received a starred review from Booklist and was a Junior Library Guild selection. Lija was the Aspen Words Writer in Residence in 2017. For more information about the Junior Cryptozoologist Club where kids can continue learning about legendary creatures, please visit LijaFisher.com.

 

COVER REVEAL: DIARY OF AN ICE PRINCESS, by Christina Soontornvat

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I’m thrilled to welcome Christina Soontornvat to the MG Book Village today to reveal the cover of the first book in her newest series, DIARY OF AN ICE PRINCESS! Christina is also the author of THE CHANGELINGS series, which has been widely celebrated and which Booklist praised for its emphasis on “the importance of family, whether it’s the one you’re born into, the one you find yourself in, or the one you create for yourself.” If you haven’t checked out The Changelings and its sequel, In a Dark Land, hurry up already! But first read the interview below and get excited about what Christina’s got coming next!

~ Jarrett

. . .

First of all, Christina, thanks so much for choosing the MG Book Village to host your cover reveal! We’re thrilled to have you here! But before we reveal the cover, could you tell us a bit about DIARY OF AN ICE PRINCESS?

Princess Lina is a Windtamer, which means she has the magical ability to control the wind and weather – at least she’s supposed to. Somehow Lina’s magic always ends up a snowy, icy mess. Her grandfather (The North Wind) wants her to practice with him, but Lina just wants to be normal. That means going to school on the ground.

Lina convinces her parents to let her go to Hilltop Science Academy on the condition that she keeps her magic a secret. That means no frozen water fountains. No snowball fights at recess. No icicles in the classroom. No problem! Lina just has to stay cool – ack! Not cool. Warm. That’s it. Warm. She just has to keep everything warm and under control…

Did you participate in the cover design process at all?

Yes, I did! The main character of the series, Lina, is mixed race Asian American and it was really important to all of us involved in the book to get her just right. My editor asked me to put together some character samples and notes, not just for Lina but for her entire family. That was really fun! It felt like I was involved in casting a movie. But the overall design, with the clouds and the palace in the background, all came from the design team. I had no idea what Lina was going to look like, or what style she would be rendered in until my editor sent the first image.

Okay, let’s take a look at the cover…

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I love it! It’s getting me excited for winter and snow (but not the shoveling of the snow…). What was YOUR reaction to seeing the cover for the first time?

A gasp of delight at seeing Lina! I thought the artist, Barbara Szepesi Szucs, did an absolutely perfect job with capturing her personality. And it meant so much to me to see a character of Asian descent on the cover of a book – a magical princess book, no less! When I was growing up, I never found books with characters that looked like me on the covers unless it was a folktale. I do love folktales, and I do think books that address serious topics around Asian identity and history are important. But I also want the world to have books with Asian leads that are just pure, unabashed fun. That made this cover all the more meaningful for me.

So you loved the whole cover right away, without any reservations?

Ok, I do have to confess that one of my first reactions was…wow, that’s a lot of pink! I’m not a pink person! And here we’ve got pink font, pink spine, pink clouds. But then of course I realized that the pink thing was just my personal hang-up. The color and the aesthetic are perfect for this story. Lina and her best friend, Claudia, both have a love for science and math that plays into book’s plot. I am a big supporter of making STEM accessible for all children, including pink-adoring, tutu-wearing, princess-loving girls and boys. So I am a total pink convert now!

Plus, there’s a dog!

That would be Gusty! He was a late addition who has become one of my favorite characters. And wait until you see Book 2. He’s wearing a snow hat. The adorable factor is out of control.

I can’t wait to see it! And I can’t wait to read Snow Place Like Home! When can readers get their hands on the book?

June 25, 2019!

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Christina Soontornvat grew up behind the counter of her parents’ Thai restaurant reading stories. These days she loves to make up her own, especially if they involve magic. Christina also loves science and worked in a science museum for years before pursuing her dream of being an author. She still enjoys cooking up science experiments at home with her two daughters. She is the author of THE CHANGELINGS series, as well as several forthcoming picture books and novels for young readers. You can learn more about Christina and her books on her website at www.soontornvat.com.