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    January 15, 2013: After the Call

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Penny Dreadful– Giveaway and Interview!

Giveaways, Uncategorized

It’s book launch time again, and we’re so glad you’re joining us, to  celebrate the  release of  Penny Dreadful, Laurel Snyder’s third middle grade book (which has lovely interior drawings by the talented Abigail Halpin).  The book has gotten great reviews so far, from all the usual suspects, including a bright shiny star from Booklist, who did a great job of summing up the premise of the book:

Penelope Grey lives a lovely life in the city, with a stone mansion, servants, toys, and plenty of books. Perhaps she is a little short on friends. And her parents are very busy. But lovely. Then one day, her father  comes home and informs his family he has quit his job. This declaration of independence leads Penelope  and her parents to Thrush Junction, Tennessee, where Mrs. Grey has inherited a house, but as they quickly  learn, it comes with a massive second mortgage and lodgers, who, according to the terms of her aunt’s  will, can live in the connected apartments without paying rent…

Sound like something you’d like to read? Sound like a book you’d like to win a FREE COPY OF? At the bottom of this interview you’ll have your chance.

In the meantime… let’s sit  down with Laurel for a little interview…

Hey, Laurel! Great to have you here with us today.  We’re curious, how did you come up with the idea for Penny Dreadful?

That’s a funny question, actually. Because the idea for Penny Dreadful was very different than the book I ended up with. Initially, I imagined Penny as a darker book, more  ironic.  It was to be called “Penny Dreadful’s Favorite Fears, and she was going to be this odd little character, who had a series of– for lack of a better word– neuroses. And the book was going to be the story of how she overcame them. I wanted it to be a little Dahl-esque, maybe a little Snickety.  But also, I had Mrs. Piggle Wiggle in mind when I began.  I wanted each chapter to be an episode, a neurosis.  Then, naturally, the book that came out was entirely different! Much softer, sweeter.  Who was it that said, “You have to get out of the way of the book that wants to be written?” Someone smart said that!

You mention Mrs. Piggle Wiggle.  What kinds of books did you like to read when you were a kid?

Oh, all kinds of books, but most of all I loved books with just enough magic.  I wasn’t into high fantasy. I liked books about regular kids who stumbled onto magic, where the magic was only part of the story.  I also loved books about non-magical adventures that felt magical. I loved Eager and Enright and Dahl and Thurber.  I loved L’Engle and Lewis.  In fact, a lot of those books are in Penny Dreadful, because Penny is a total reader, and that’s part of her story.  The book actually opens with Penny bored and hunting around in her bookshelf, for ideas for things to do.    Penny, in the beginning of the book, doesn’t know how to do.

Interesting.  In light of the fact that Penny’s such a reader, do you think there’s a way Penny Dreadful  could be used in schools? Could she tie-in to literacy stuff, maybe.

Absolutely!  In fact, I’m making a booklist right now, for kids who want to read along with Penny! The book is full of literary references.  It’s littered with titles and mentions of moments I myself loved from children’s books. But also, it’s structured in sections that relate to  a grownup poem (though nobody has caught that yet!)  I’m hoping to do a book club program, where I offer to skype into classrooms and libraries, to talk with kids about the “Penny’s Picks” books they’ve been reading. I think it’s a good thing for kids to talk about books in relation to one another, and not just as isolated experiences.

That sounds great, and speaking of other books, we’d love to know– what are you working on now?

Well, I’m just finishing a new book, a novel called Bigger Than a Breadbox.  It’s hard to explain, but it’s about a girl whose parents are splitting up, and she happens to find a magical wishing box with a funny trick to it.  It’s more serious than anything else I’ve done, and maybe a little bit older.  It’s rooted in my own childhood memories, in a way nothing else I’ve written has been, and it’s been both very  easy, and very hard to write.  Also, it’s full of seagulls, and Baltimore references, and Bruce Springsteen.

So far as I know, it’s the first magical middle grade book about a Bruce Springsteen song!

Ha!

Well, we’ve certainly never heard of one!   Thanks so much for being here, and Happy Book Release!

Readers, if you’d like to a chance to win a hardcover of Laurel’s new book, leave a comment below, and our random generator will choose a lucky winner on Thursday.  You’ll get extra entries for sharing a link on your blog, Facebook, or Twitter (please mention each link in a new comment).

And don’t forget to check out Laurel’s other books, Any Which Wall and Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains, available in bookstores and online. To read reviews or excerpts from her books, visit Laurel’s website!

32 Comments

32 Comments

  1. Tanya  •  Sep 27, 2010 @10:21 pm

    My nieces would love these books Thanks so much for the chance to win

  2. Llehn  •  Sep 27, 2010 @10:33 pm

    I’d love to play please :D

  3. Joy Corcoran  •  Sep 27, 2010 @10:59 pm

    I love how Laurel Snyder explains magic — the just enough magic that separates these kinds of books from fantasy. Thanks for cluing me into it and I look forward to reading it.

  4. Jess  •  Sep 28, 2010 @7:19 am

    Sounds like a delightful book!

  5. Lois D. Brown  •  Sep 28, 2010 @8:17 am

    Very cute cover. I love Mrs. Piggle Wiggle too.

  6. Cathe Olson  •  Sep 28, 2010 @9:21 am

    I LOVE that title. Would love to win the book and can’t wait to read it. (The Best Loved Doll was one of my favorite books . . . I still have my copy from when I was a kid.)

  7. laurel  •  Sep 28, 2010 @9:30 am

    Thanks, guys. I’m having a fun launch day. About to head out into the world, and find some brunch! (when usually this time of day is laundry and edits)

  8. jpetroroy  •  Sep 28, 2010 @9:36 am

    I loved Any Which Wall. Can’t wait for this one–happy launch day!

  9. Inspired Kathy  •  Sep 28, 2010 @11:11 am

    My daughter would love this book! Please enter me.

  10. Inspired Kathy  •  Sep 28, 2010 @11:13 am
  11. Inspired Kathy  •  Sep 28, 2010 @11:16 am

    +1 Linked to you in my next got great giveaways which will post on 9/30

    http://iamareadernotawriter.blogspot.com/search/label/Got%20Great%20Giveaways

  12. S A Putnam  •  Sep 28, 2010 @1:02 pm

    I love the title! It sounds like a fantastic book. Please add my name.

  13. Karen Scott  •  Sep 28, 2010 @1:04 pm

    Love the idea of the book list so kids can read along with Penny!

  14. L  •  Sep 28, 2010 @2:34 pm

    was already sold on the book before reading this post, but that interview was great, and will keep a look out for that Penny Dreadful reading list.

  15. Michael G-G  •  Sep 28, 2010 @6:02 pm

    Sounds like a goodie. Thanks for the post.

  16. Caroline  •  Sep 28, 2010 @7:42 pm

    I am looking forward to reading this book!

  17. Penny  •  Sep 28, 2010 @9:34 pm

    I am TOTALLY into all things “penny,” so imagine my thrill when I received the latest installment from the MixedUpFiles on this new book, Penny Dreadful. I will love sharing this book with my 4th and 5th grade multi-age classroom. And, maybe, just maybe, I’ll be listed as a new author to watch in some future blog snippet by the MixedUpFiles… you just never know!

  18. Penny  •  Sep 28, 2010 @9:42 pm

    Shared with Facebook friends, too… http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=1156350968

  19. Heidi Estrin  •  Sep 28, 2010 @9:50 pm

    I completely ADORED Any Which Wall and I’m sure I’ll fall in love with Penny too! Please add me to your drawing, and I’ll go post it to FB now too. Thanks!

  20. Heidi Estrin  •  Sep 28, 2010 @9:54 pm

    Here’s the link to my post on FB: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/heidiestrin

  21. ::Sylvia::  •  Sep 29, 2010 @6:50 am

    Ooh, I’d love to win a copy of this book! Sounds great and the cover is fantastic!

  22. ::Sylvia::  •  Sep 29, 2010 @6:54 am
  23. ::Sylvia::  •  Sep 29, 2010 @6:56 am
  24. Amie Kaufman  •  Sep 29, 2010 @7:12 am

    Not sure if I can win here in Australia, but what a fantastic interview. I’m in love with that description — just enough magic. Those are exactly the books I loved as a kid, and still read today — and the sort of books I write.

    When I was in my late teens I worked as a nanny for a pair of children who didn’t know how to “do”, which astonished me. We spent the summer climbing on the playground pretending to be runaways, making forts out of blankets and chairs and exploring the neighbourhood and mapmaking. We “did” until we were worn out.

  25. Amie Kaufman  •  Sep 29, 2010 @7:13 am
  26. Mariska  •  Sep 29, 2010 @7:41 am

    i would really like to read the complete story :) count me in please

  27. laurel  •  Sep 29, 2010 @9:17 am

    You guys are all so great!

    It’s scary to me, when I see kids who have to be instructed in how to play. And I think this gets worse as they get older.

  28. KatherineR  •  Sep 29, 2010 @1:22 pm

    Love to read that.

  29. Cheri Herrboldt  •  Sep 30, 2010 @11:10 am

    Sounds like a wonderful book – especially for my 10 year old daughter!

  30. amy locke  •  Sep 30, 2010 @6:05 pm

    Would love to have this book. Sounds sooooo good. Thanks

  31. Aishah  •  Oct 2, 2010 @10:38 pm

    I’d really, really, REALLY love to have this book! I’m a review blogger!

  32. Heather  •  Oct 6, 2010 @8:19 am

    I would love to be entered!

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