Cover Reveal: FROM SUNSET TILL SUNRISE by Jonathan Rosen

COVER_REVEAL

When Jonathan Rosen told me he was interested in hosting the cover reveal for his next book, From Sunset Till Sunrise, here at the #MGBookVillage, I was psyched. His debut, Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies, was one of my favorite novels of last year. The book did something that I find exceptional, not to mention a whole lot of fun — it both creeped me out AND cracked me up.

If you haven’t read Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies yet, do yourself a favor and read it before From Sunset Till Sunrise hits shelves. In the interim, check out my brief interview with Jonathan below — and, of course, stick around to see the new book’s cover!

~ Jarrett

. . .

Before we get to the cover, can you tell us a little about the new book?

Absolutely! From Sunset Till Sunrise is a sequel to Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies. This time, Devin and his cousin Tommy suspect the new girl in the neighborhood is a vampire. When they go to a dance at her performing arts school, the Nosfer Academy of Talented Understudies, Devin and Tommy try to make sure this isn’t one party that lasts forever.

While the first book played off of zombie movies and films such as Gremlins and Fright Night, I tried to give this one a feel of From Dusk Till Dawn, but for middle graders.

Your first book managed to do something I find quite incredible: it blended the humorous and the horrifying — often in the space of a single scene, and sometimes even in the space of a single sentence! How do you accomplish that?

Thank you! I find that horror naturally lends itself to comedy. You always want to yell at the people on the screen about the stupid decisions they’re making. Don’t go in the house! Why are you opening that closet instead of running away? No, the man with the hook isn’t a good person to ask for directions!

I do try to make the characters slightly self-aware about horror movie staples and comment on them, to give a wink to the reader.

Are there favorite books of yours that combine the funny and the frightening?

Of course, I’ll start with Goosebumps. There have been other scary/funny books, but that was one of the books that made the genre really successful.

I also like Adam Gidwitz’s Grimm series, and David Lubar’s Weenies series. Both fun/scary books.

Now, on to the cover. . . Did you have the same illustrator as you had for the first book’s cover?

Yes, both illustrations were done by Xavier Bonet, with design by Kate Gardner. I think both covers capture the scariness and humor.

What was your reaction when you first saw the new cover?

I absolutely loved it. Yes, I know I have to say that, since it’s my cover, but I promise I do! What’s funny is, on Night of the Loving Cuddle Bunnies, they asked me for ideas and didn’t use any of them, and I still loved it. This one, they mostly took what I asked for. So, I’m happy!

Okay, now for the big reveal!

From Sunset Till Sunrise_Final cover

Whoa! It’s GREAT! And I love how it riffs off the first book’s cover. On that one, Devin is all alone (well, unless you count the horde of cuddle bunnies leering at him…) and looks rather nervous. Here, he’s got a crew, and he’s looking a LOT more ready for whatever is about to come his way.

Yes! I love how they’re on stage, with the vampires coming!

So, when can readers get their hands on the new book?

From Sunset Till Sunrise comes out August 21 of this year, but is available for pre-order now.

Thanks a lot for having me and sharing the cover!

Screen Shot 2018-02-03 at 7.15.23 AMJonathan Rosen is a transplanted New Yorker, who now lives with his family in sunny, South Florida. He spends his “free” time chauffeuring around his three kids. Some of Jonathan’s fondest childhood memories are of discovering a really good book to dive into, in particular the Choose Your Own Adventure Series and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. He currently writes middle-grade because he finds that he shares the same sense of humor as that audience. Jonathan is proud to be of Mexican-American descent, although neither country has been really willing to accept responsibility. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook, FromtheMixedUpFiles.Com, The Tuesday Writers and his own website, www.HouseofRosen.com.

Writing as a Second Career: Seven Middle-Life Authors Share Their Experiences

One of the interesting things about middle grade fiction is how many authors begin writing for children after working in other careers for many years.  So many, in fact, that those of us who’ve made the leap to writing for children suspect there are many more aspiring authors out there who are second-guessing whether or not to take the leap themselves. Seven authors — Kristin L. Gray, Wendy McLeod MacKnight, Sally J. Pla, Jonathan Rosen, Melissa Roske, Corabel Shofner, and Rob Vlock — have pulled back the curtain to share their own experiences, and perhaps encourage others that it’s never too late to chase their dream.

. . .

Kristin L. Gray — Author of Vilonia Beebe Takes Charge, Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, 2017

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What was your previous career? 

Pediatric RN, Stay-at-Home Mom of five

Why did you change? 

My youngest began school, and I’d let my RN license lapse. I decided to give myself that year to buckle down and get serious about my dream. Up to that point, I’d treated writing like a hobby.

What in your previous career prepared you for kidlit? 

Being around kids! Observing their speech, their body language, their negotiation skills, their zest for life.

Commonalities in previous career/this new career? 

Same age audience.

Differences?

Fewer kids crying!

Is it ever too late?

Never. Anna Sewell didn’t start writing Black Beauty until age 51, and Laura Ingalls Wilder was 64 when the first Little House book published.

What do you envision for the next few decades of your new career? 

Writing more books, improving my craft, making more friends.

What advice do you have for older aspiring authors? 

Read what’s current. Join a writing community, in person or online. Enjoy the journey. It’s a privilege to do what we do.

Wendy McLeod MacKnight — Author, It’s a Mystery, Pig Face, Sky Pony Press, 2017 and The Frame-Up, Greenwillow Books, June 5th, 2018

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What was your previous career(s)? 

I taught part-time at the University of New Brunswick and I was a civil servant for the province, rising to the level of Deputy Minister of Education.

Why did you change? 

I’d dreamed of writing for children my whole life. One day I woke up and decided it was now or never and left.

What in your previous career prepared you for kidlit? 

Tenacity, not taking others’ criticism of my work personally, work ethic.

Commonalities in previous career/this new career?

Deadlines, managing expectations, having to work long hours under very tight deadlines.

Differences?

In my previous career, everything was about implementing political policy directions. This career is solely for me.

Is it ever too late?

So long as you can access your inner child, and unleash your imagination, you are good to go!

What do you envision for the next few decades of your new career? 

Writing, learning, and hopefully inspiring kids just like I was inspired by the books I read.

What advice do you have for older aspiring authors? 

The kidlit world has changed and you need to understand it. Strive for excellence, make connections, and find peers and teachers who can give you useful feedback. And keep trying!

Sally J. Pla — Author, The Someday Birds,Harper Books, 2017 and Stanley Will Probably Be Fine, Harper Books, February 6th, 2018

Screen Shot 2018-02-03 at 7.15.12 AM What was your previous career(s)? 

Business journalist. Front desk clerk. Freelance writer on business/family/education issues. School board president. Bad waitress. Terrible back-up singer in a local band. Mother. Special needs advocate.

Why did you change? 

Life comes in phases. I loved everything I did while I was doing it. (Except for waitressing. Those trays were HEAVY, and they made such a mess when you dropped them in the middle of the restaurant!)

What in your previous career prepared you for kidlit? 

I’ve always been a writer at heart and have always viewed everything in life as writing-fodder (for better or worse). The more life you live, well, the more fodder you have… Also, raising three little boys close in age, and surviving to tell the tale (they are all young adults now) gave me lots of stories. LOTS OF STORIES.

Commonalities in previous career/this new career?

I almost always wrote for a living — for journals, magazines, and businesses. Can’t not write.

Differences?

This is the first time I really love what I get to write. I have always, always wanted to write fiction, but it took me decades to finally give myself the permission to try. (Hey, I have self-esteem issues! I didn’t think I’d be good enough. I mean, what audacity, to assume you can write a novel!)

Is it ever too late? 

Absolutely NOT. HAVE THE AUDACITY! OWN THE AUDACITY!

What do you envision for the next few decades of your new career?

Many books of all sorts. Hopefully, I’ve got time! I mean, Ursula LeGuin was writing until she just passed away at 88. Grandma Moses started painting at 78. Newbery Medalist Karen Cushman started writing at 49. Inspiring, right?

What advice do you have for older aspiring authors?

Don’t make it be about getting published. Make it be about the art. The journey, not the destination. Do it for the work’s sake — for the love of perfecting an amazing, rich, full-of-life story. Eventually, you’ll know when it’s time for the next level.

Jonathan Rosen — Author, Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies, Sky Pony Press, 2017

 Screen Shot 2018-02-03 at 7.15.23 AMWhat was your previous career? 

Which one? I did a few different jobs, but I did daytrading for many years, until the market really started tanking, and I transitioned into the lucrative field of education. From there, it was a more natural switch to writing, which I had always wanted to do, but never devoted the time to it.

Why did you change? 

I had always wanted to write, and being an English teacher meant that I was already immersed in literature. The bug came back, and I really sat down to do it.

What in your previous career prepared you for kidlit?

As a teacher, I was already doing literature. Reading, studying it, analyzing it. I got to discuss some of my favorite books, but kept thinking I want kids to discuss my work one day.

Commonalities in previous career/this new career? 

Well, besides being immersed in books, I do think you have to study your craft. By that, I mean reading a lot. Also, reading and learning about writing. I love to read new middle grade books and think about story structure. What would I have done the same or differently? Would I have made the same choices as this author?

Differences?

It’ll sound funny to say in a world where deadlines are ever-present, but I like the solitude. I don’t have to answer to people about my work. It’s freeing, that I’m in total control of what I do. Though, I guess, agents and editors might beg to differ.

Is it ever too late? 

No. Definitely not. We all have to follow our own paths to whatever gets us here. And just because your first book might not be published until later in life, doesn’t make it any less of a great story than someone who publishes right out of school, or along those lines. It’s your journey, and everyone’s is different.

What do you envision for the next few decades of your new career?

I want to write, write, and write. I want to have as many books out as I can and leave behind a body of work for kids to enjoy. I have a lot of stories I want to tell.

What advice do you have for older aspiring authors?

Keep at it and NEVER give up. Rejections are tough to deal with, but we’ve all had them. It’s discouraging, but don’t ever let anyone tell you that you’re not good enough, or that you’re not going to make it. Learn your craft, study, and write. It can happen.  

Melissa Roske — Author, Kat Greene Comes Clean, Charlesbridge Books, 2017

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What was your previous career? 

Magazine editor/freelance writer; advice columnist; life coach.

Why did you change?

I didn’t change, exactly. I’ve always written for work; I just lacked the discipline to write anything longer than a magazine article, or answers to readers’ letters in my advice column. But then, when I became a life coach, I realized that my lifelong dream was too important to ignore. So I stopped ignoring it, and wrote a novel.

What in your previous career prepared you for kidlit?

As a magazine editor/writer, I learned to listen to the rhythm of words. As an advice columnist: Not every problem has a solution—but that shouldn’t stop you from trying to find it. As a life coach: Your inner voice always has something important to say. Listen to it.

Commonalities in previous career/this new career? 

Using the written word to express my thoughts, feelings, and ideas; adhering to deadlines; paper cuts.

Differences?

Working in pajamas (I don’t do it, but I could); no waiting in line for the Xerox machine (there is no Xerox machine); talking to myself without getting the side-eye from co-workers (there are no co-workers).

Is it ever too late?

If Grandma Moses started painting at 78, well… why the heck not?

What do you envision for the next few decades of your new career?

Writing more books; worrying less about what people think of my books. You can’t please everyone, but you can be true to yourself—and to your readers.

 What advice do you have for older aspiring authors?

I know it sounds trite, but DON’T GIVE UP! I actually did give up at one point, but the urge to write overpowered the desire to quit. Being stubborn helps, too. 

Corabel Shofner — Author, Almost Paradise, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017

Screen Shot 2018-02-03 at 7.15.45 AM  What was your previous career? 

What is this thing you call a career? I’ve been a traveler, a lawyer, an actress, a wife and mother.

Why did you change careers? 

I got old.

What in your previous career prepared you for kidlit?

Law: research & communication; Actress: imagination & tenacity; Traveling: bravery & energy; Family: faith & love

Commonalities in previous career/this new career? 

You must study to become excellent at anything. Writing is no exception. Keep learning. Network. Have fun.

Differences?

Have to break in, so to speak. And that is weird particularly for an older person. Fortunately, I learned to handle rejection as an actress. It’s no big deal. You only need one agent and one editor to love your work to get published.

Is it ever too late?

Absolutely NOT. My debut novel came out when I was 64 and I think it is a perfect age.

What do you envision for the next few decades of your new career?

Writing many books for children. Promoting librarians and teachers.

What advice do you have for older aspiring authors?

Treat it like a job. Learn the craft, work hard, learn the business and get out there. Oh and get a layer of teflon for rejections.  I can’t tell you how many friends stop because of rejections. An independent editor told me to submit to 100 agents before giving up on a manuscript.  With so many submissions you can’t take it personally.

Rob Vlock — Author, Sven Carter and the Trashmouth Effect, Simon and Schuster/Aladdin, 2017 and Sven Carter and the Android Army, Simon and Schuster/Aladdin, Fall 2018

 Screen Shot 2018-02-03 at 7.15.53 AMWhat was your previous career? 

I started out teaching college writing at a couple of schools in the Boston area, but I was a pretty lousy teacher. So I became an advertising copywriter. SPOILER: It’s not as glamorous and exciting as MAD MEN would make lead you to believe. (Although I do have some stories….)

Why did you change?

I got tired of writing ads for life insurance companies, banks, software companies, health insurers and pharmacy chains. So I started working on my first book — an adult commercial novel about a copywriter who writes ads about flushable scented butt wipes.

What in your previous career prepared you for kidlit?

Being a copywriter was actually great preparation. You learn to be creative on demand, grow a thick skin, and cope with tons of distractions and competing demands and scathing criticism, and way too tight deadlines. It’s an awful lot like being a kidlit author, come to think of it.

Commonalities in previous career/this new career? Differences?

They’re similar in that they’re actually both really fun careers that can be incredibly rewarding — and incredibly bruising. The biggest differences: 1) Ads are typically much shorter than novels. 2) Being an author is a far more solitary endeavor.

Is it ever too late?

Of course not! My father, who just turned 90, has started his memoir. And I have every expectation that he’ll get it published! And I, decades out of college, am only now feeling like I’m hitting my creative stride.

What do you envision for the next few decades of your career?

Other than fretting and stressing over deadlines and sales? I envision continuing to write books that delight the 12-year-old inside me and give kids a reason to put down their iPhone and pick up a book!

What piece of advice do you have for older aspiring authors?

Don’t let anyone tell you you’re too old. Just keep working and keep looking forward. Oh, and be sure to eat plenty of fiber.