The Horn Book » Out of the Box http://www.hbook.com Publications about books for children and young adults Wed, 19 Nov 2014 16:08:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.4 #HBWhoSaidIt? quotes http://www.hbook.com/2014/11/blogs/out-of-the-box/whosaidit-quotes/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/11/blogs/out-of-the-box/whosaidit-quotes/#respond Tue, 18 Nov 2014 15:30:08 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=42764 Every day in November we’re tweeting (from @HornBook) a quote about the creative process, by a children’s author or illustrator. Can you guess who said it? Click the hashtag #HBWhoSaidIt? for the latest tweets. See all “Who Said It?” quotes and their sources below. 11/3: “When I’m not writing well, I can barely remember what […]

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Every day in November we’re tweeting (from @HornBook) a quote about the creative process, by a children’s author or illustrator. Can you guess who said it? Click the hashtag #HBWhoSaidIt? for the latest tweets. See all “Who Said It?” quotes and their sources below.

11/3: “When I’m not writing well, I can barely remember what it feels like to write well. When that happens, I read.” Answer here.

11/4: “I kept a comics journal [as a kid]. I used to draw a comic about my day, pretty much every day.” Answer here.

11/5: “Writing is, like any athletics, a learned skill refined only by consistent and strenuous workouts over time.” Answer here.

11/6: “For genre to work best…you must have basilisk stories and jealous ex-husband stories and cancer stories.” Answer here.

11/7: “I do my research the same way for every book I write. I start with books; I do the reading.” Answer here.

11/10: “PLEASE! Oh, PLEASE! Make us a book that reflects the powerful, determined, articulate, smart men we are.” Answer here.

11/11: “Illustrators are notoriously good at giving speeches.” Answer here.

11/12: “It’s always a bit of a shock to get pulled out from behind my lonely drawing desk and plopped down in front of people, let alone a crowd.” Answer here.

11/13: “I would be a hermit in the Catskills who wrote textbooks.” Answer here.

11/14: “Writing this book, from the darkest place in my heart…made my heart less dark. That pain isn’t there for me to go back to.” Answer here.

11/17: “Now you see what we picture book authors are reduced to: ‘Come back to my place so I can show you Jon Klassen’s etchings.’” Answer here.

11/18: “It just hit me, that image. That’s where it started. And I thought, ‘There they are. Those are my characters.’” Answer here.

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Steampunk queen: An interview with Gail Carriger http://www.hbook.com/2014/11/authors-illustrators/interviews/steampunk-queen-interview-gail-carriger/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/11/authors-illustrators/interviews/steampunk-queen-interview-gail-carriger/#respond Tue, 18 Nov 2014 15:00:22 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=43195 Gail Carriger introduced readers to her alternate Victorian London — chock-full of steampunk technology and supernatural characters — in 2009 with Soulless, the first volume of her five-book adult series The Parasol Protectorate. The Finishing School series, a YA prequel series set in the same world, soon followed, beginning with Curtsies & Conspiracies. Espionage lessons, […]

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gail brookline parasol Steampunk queen: An interview with Gail Carriger

Tea time! Photo: Elissa Gershowitz

Gail Carriger introduced readers to her alternate Victorian London — chock-full of steampunk technology and supernatural characters — in 2009 with Soulless, the first volume of her five-book adult series The Parasol Protectorate. The Finishing School series, a YA prequel series set in the same world, soon followed, beginning with Curtsies & Conspiracies. Espionage lessons, a dirigible boarding school, a girl inventor, vampires and werewolves, witty banter: what more could a steampunk fantasy fan ask for? Gail is currently working on another companion YA series, The Custard Protocol, which will kick off with Prudence in spring 2015.

brooklineinvite Steampunk queen: An interview with Gail Carriger

You’re invited… Photo: Elissa Gershowitz

My beloved local Brookline Public Library (hi Robin!) hosted Gail on November 10th for a lovely evening tea party — cucumber sandwiches and all! — and Q&A event to celebrate the release of Waistcoats & Weaponry, the third book in the Finishing School series. I spoke with her over tea just before the event. In addition to being a prolific and (ahem) fantastic author, Gail is also an archaeologist by training, Elissa’s college roomie (Oberlin represent!), and a lady of impeccable style — she told me she had a different Waistcoats & Weaponry–cover coordinated ensemble for each stop on the book tour.

The Parasol Protectorate books are adult books and The Finishing School series is YA — although there’s been a lot of crossover, with the YA books being read by adults and the adult books being read by teens. Have you found that there are things you can do in adult books that you can’t do in YA, or vice versa?

For me, YA has to be — and this is what I like about it — it has to be very clean and sharp. As a writer, it requires me to do a lot more editing because it needs to be very sparse. You don’t sacrifice details, but you sacrifice a certain amount of waffling. In adult books you’re allowed to put in extra little bits and distract the readers with pretty description for a while. In young adult, you just can’t do that. You have to be very structured and paced. Pacing is always really important to me, but I think in YA it’s even more important. That’s one of the biggest differences. And I allow myself to be a little more racy when I’m writing the adult stuff.

carriger waistcoats and weaponry Steampunk queen: An interview with Gail CarrigerYour Finishing School protagonist Sophoronia Temminnick has quite the name. Do you have other favorite Victorian-era names that you’ve come across in your research (or that you’ve come up with yourself)?

I tend to use them if I come across them. I love the name “Euphrenia”; I don’t know if I’ve leaked it into the books yet, but it’s one of my favorite ultra-Victorian names. I really like first names that are traditionally Victorian but are not used anymore. That’s one of the reasons I chose “Sophronia.” It’s still a pretty name, and sort of like “Sophia,” but just old-fashioned enough for you to know immediately, the minute that you read her name, that she’s not of our time. “Dimity” was another actual name from the time period. Alexia [from the Parasol Protectorate books] only got named “Alexia” because she was one of those characters that announced herself as being named that. Sometimes characters just enter your head and they’re like, “This is my name!” “Soap” is one of those as well. “Pillover” is another one — it’s not a real name; I just made that one up completely. But “Sophronia” and “Dimity” I picked.

Is there a mythological creature that you’ve been wanting to introduce into this world that you haven’t gotten to yet?

I’m pretty strict with myself with world-building. I’m sticking to motifs of vampires, shape-shifters, and ghosts, probably because almost every ancient culture has some version of them, like the kitsune in Japan. But I excavated in Peru for a while and there is a legend in the Peruvian highlands of a creature called a pishtaco (which is fantastically ridiculous-sounding, first of all). It’s essentially a fat-sucking vampire rather than a blood-sucking vampire — which is comedy gold. I’m dying to get [Custard Protocol protagonist] Prudence to the New World at some point so that she can meet one of these creatures and I can write all about them.

gail standing brookline Steampunk queen: An interview with Gail Carriger

Ensemble #1 at the Brookline Public Library. Photo: Elissa Gershowitz

Are we going to see more mechanimals like Bumbersnoot in the Finishing School books? (Or do you say “mech-animals”?)

I say “mechanimals,” like “mechanicals” but with an “animal” at the end. You will see more of them, but you’re not going to see a named little friend like Bumbersnoot. There’s quite a few in the last book but that’s all I’m going to say.

If you were going to have a mechanimal pet yourself, what kind of animal would you pick?

Probably something like a hedgehog. I would like a round, roly-poly, friendly sort of critter. I have a very demanding cat who’s svelte and overdramatic, so I think I’d like a calm, rodentia-style, chubby little creature. Something in the porcupine, hedgehog arena. The cat would probably be very upset with it.

What would your dream teatime guest list and menu look like?

Oh, goodness. Do I get to pick fantastic characters? Or historical people?

Sure. Living, dead, fictional — anyone you want.

There’s part of me that has to be true to my archaeological roots and pick Nefertiti, Hatshepsut, Boadicea… I’m attracted to super-powerful female historical figures, the queens and mistresses, so I’d probably concoct a party that was all these fantastic women from history. The problem, of course, would be interpretation, but it’s my fantasy so everyone would speak English. I’m an adventurous eater, and I’d like to cater to the guests, so I’d have foods from all of the different places and times they came from. One of my favorite things is cooking ancient food, sourcing the ingredients and re-creating it myself. I think if you can taste the flavor of the past, you can get a better impression of it. I’d try to do that so everybody got to try everybody else’s dishes.

What’s your specialty, your pet era as an archaeologist?

I’m not an area specialist; I’m a materials specialist. My focus was on ceramics. To this day I have a propensity to pick up a piece of pottery and flip it over to look at the back side — which can be terribly embarrassing if I’ve forgotten that there’s food on the front side — to look for the maker’s mark.

gail cambridge Steampunk queen: An interview with Gail Carriger

Ensemble #2 at Cambridge’s Pandemonium Books and Games store. Photo: Elissa Gershowitz

Are there other historical eras that you’d like to write about?

The series I’m writing now [The Custard Protocol] is set in the 1890s, which is basically the dawn of female emancipation. Mostly because of trousers — women gained a great deal of autonomy due to education and to the bicycle. The two combined started the New Woman movement, these educated young ladies with self-motivation and autonomy. I’m excited to move closer to the turn of the twentieth century and to have a bit more realism behind my super-strong female characters, because they’re not quite realistic to their time. There’s certainly other time periods I’d love to write in. I’d love to set an ancient story in some of the places I’ve visited.

What would be the most useful gadget for a Finishing School student to have on her person in the case of an espionage emergency? (This is a very difficultly worded question!)

It sounds like something I’ve written! The voice-acting talent [for my audiobooks] is always calling and complaining because I love tongue-twisters. I don’t even realize I’ve written them until somebody’s like, “Why did you write that?!” “I didn’t think about you guys reading it out loud.”

“Handiest gadget?” is the short version!

I love Sophronia’s fan, but I think it’s really handy for her. She becomes comfortable with it and adapts to it, but it’s not necessarily something that would be useful for everybody. In the final book, the chatelaine really comes to the fore. The girls keep going to balls, and they keep having to have chatelaines on them. A chatelaine is like the base for a Swiss Army Knife; it hangs off your belt and there’s a bunch of little chains and clips so you can hang multiple little things off it. Customarily you’d have a bit of perfume and a dance card, maybe keys or a little sewing kit. But of course Geraldine’s girls have a whole different set of things dangling! I love the idea that you could just attach something that has everything useful hanging off of it. Why can’t we still do that?

More fabulous photos at the Brookline Public Library Teen Room Tumblr.

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Roxie’s Puzzle Adventure app review http://www.hbook.com/2014/11/choosing-books/app-review-of-the-week/roxies-puzzle-adventure/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/11/choosing-books/app-review-of-the-week/roxies-puzzle-adventure/#respond Fri, 14 Nov 2014 17:06:43 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=33750 Roxie Munro was a featured artists in KidLit TV’s premiere StoryMakers episode earlier this week — and with good reason. Not only has she written and illustrated more than thirty children’s books (including Hatch!, Busy Builders, and Mazeways), she’s also created a series of “Kids Interactive Walk-in Story Books” with affiliated apps and three stand-alone […]

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roxies puzzle adventure menu Roxies Puzzle Adventure app reviewRoxie Munro was a featured artists in KidLit TV’s premiere StoryMakers episode earlier this week — and with good reason. Not only has she written and illustrated more than thirty children’s books (including Hatch!, Busy Builders, and Mazeways), she’s also created a series of “Kids Interactive Walk-in Story Books” with affiliated apps and three stand-alone apps. We’ve previously reviewed two of these stand-alone apps, Roxie’s A-MAZE-ing Vacation Adventure and Roxie’s Doors; here I take a look at Roxie’s Puzzle Adventure (OCG Studios, September 2013).

Puzzle returns users to the lavishly detailed, frequently whimsical world of A-MAZE-ing Vacation. After creating a profile (the app saves up to five individual players’ games), you enter a main screen showing the entire intricate landscape, shrouded in mist. Intriguing details such as the top of a roller coaster, a ski lift, and a hot-air balloon peek out. As you make your way through the sixteen interconnected puzzles, solving one and unlocking the next, the mist clears to show your progress.

roxies puzzle adventure screen Roxies Puzzle Adventure app review

Before beginning each puzzle, a sliding scale allows you to select how many pieces you’d like to brave, from six pieces up to 130 on the iPhone or 260 on the iPad. Revisit any puzzle at any time to attempt a different difficulty level. Another choose-your-own-challenge option: decide whether you’d like the pieces to automatically orient in the correct direction when you select them, or be scattered every which way. If you’re a puzzle purist (a.k.a. masochist) who selects the latter option, simply tap a piece to rotate it a quarter turn.

The image you’ll be re-creating is briefly shown, then the pieces scatter — you work on a mat at the center of the screen, with a wood-plank-style background where you can sort your pieces for later. Pinch two fingers together or spread them apart to zoom out and in, increasing or decreasing your work space. The pieces snap into their correct places with a satisfying click; you can also fit together several pieces and then move them as a unit. Once completed, the jigsaw lines disappear from the scene, allowing you to pore over its details: hidden numbers and letters, various modes of transportation, animals (including a sea monster), and other humorous surprises (a grand piano–shaped building).

roxies puzzle adventure screen 2 Roxies Puzzle Adventure app review

An icon on the left side of each puzzle screen accesses options to re-center the puzzle on the screen, receive a hint (viewing only edge pieces or seeing the full image), turn the cheery music on/off, and return to the full map.

Available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch (requires iOS 5.1 or later); $1.99.

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November Notes is here! http://www.hbook.com/2014/11/blogs/out-of-the-box/november-notes/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/11/blogs/out-of-the-box/november-notes/#respond Wed, 12 Nov 2014 20:17:56 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=43078 In November’s Notes from the Horn Book, K. T. Horning chats with Sharon G. Flake about her new middle-grade mystery Unstoppable Octobia May. In this issue, you’ll also find more wacky middle-grade adventures pals in new picture books books around the world for primary and intermediate readers YA nonfiction about social justice Read the issue […]

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In November’s Notes from the Horn Book, K. T. Horning chats with Sharon G. Flake about her new middle-grade mystery Unstoppable Octobia May. In this issue, you’ll also find

  • more wacky middle-grade adventures
  • pals in new picture books
  • books around the world for primary and intermediate readers
  • YA nonfiction about social justice

nov 14 notes November Notes is here!

Read the issue online or subscribe to receive the monthly Notes from the Horn Book newsletter — and its supplement Nonfiction Notes — in your inbox. For more recommended books and interviews, check out the newsletter archives.

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Cece Bell on El Deafo http://www.hbook.com/2014/11/authors-illustrators/interviews/cece-bell-el-deafo/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/11/authors-illustrators/interviews/cece-bell-el-deafo/#respond Wed, 12 Nov 2014 17:10:59 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=43067 In the November/December 2014 Horn Book Magazine, reviewer Deirdre Baker asked Cece Bell about her graphic novel memoir El Deafo — which is told entirely with anthropomorphic bunnies. Read the starred review here; see more grrl-power graphic novels here. Deirdre F. Baker: Why did you choose to tell your autobiography with bunny characters? Cece Bell: […]

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eldeafo Cece Bell on El DeafoIn the November/December 2014 Horn Book Magazine, reviewer Deirdre Baker asked Cece Bell about her graphic novel memoir El Deafo — which is told entirely with anthropomorphic bunnies. Read the starred review here; see more grrl-power graphic novels here.

Deirdre F. Baker: Why did you choose to tell your autobiography with bunny characters?

Cece Bell: As the only deaf kid in my elementary school, I felt very different and isolated from everyone else. Having to wear my awkward hearing aid intensified that feeling. To metaphorically show the magnitude of this, I made all the characters bunnies.

What are bunnies known for? Big ears; excellent hearing. In the book, my bunny ears are just as big as everyone else’s — but they don’t work the same. Plus, I’ve got those funny-looking cords. Embarrassing! It wasn’t easy being a broken-eared bunny. And thankfully, I don’t feel like that now.

From the November/December 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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Little library http://www.hbook.com/2014/11/blogs/out-of-the-box/little-library/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/11/blogs/out-of-the-box/little-library/#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 17:00:47 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=40183 On my way home the other day I saw a Little Free Library in the flesh. So cute! Has anyone else seen, used, or implemented one?

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On my way home the other day I saw a Little Free Library in the flesh. So cute! Has anyone else seen, used, or implemented one?

little library Little library

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Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site app review http://www.hbook.com/2014/11/choosing-books/app-review-of-the-week/goodnight-goodnight-construction-site-ebook-review/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/11/choosing-books/app-review-of-the-week/goodnight-goodnight-construction-site-ebook-review/#respond Thu, 06 Nov 2014 17:29:34 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=42882 Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld’s best-selling picture book Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site (Chronicle, 2011) — about some hardworking, tuckered-out trucks callin’ it a night — is newly available in a digital book app edition (Oceanhouse Media, November 2014). One by one, Crane Truck, Cement Mixer, Dump Truck, Bulldozer, and Excavator finish their tasks and settle […]

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goodnight goodnight construction site Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site app reviewSherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld’s best-selling picture book Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site (Chronicle, 2011) about some hardworking, tuckered-out trucks callin’ it a night — is newly available in a digital book app edition (Oceanhouse Media, November 2014).

One by one, Crane Truck, Cement Mixer, Dump Truck, Bulldozer, and Excavator finish their tasks and settle in for some shut-eye. Soothing narration (which can be turned on or off, or you could record your  own) describes, in gentle rhyme, the bedtime routines of each vehicle; for Crane Truck: “Reaching, stretching, lifting high, / He swings the beam into the sky. / He’ll set it down right on its mark, / Then off to bed; it’s almost dark.”

construction site beam Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site app review

Tap any word in the text to hear it read aloud; tapping on the illustrations also IDs many items in the pictures (including potentially unfamiliar ones: “rebar,” “hoist line,” “outrigger”). The trucks all have sounds effects: beeping, yawning, laughing, and — my favorite — Cement Mixer’s jazzy little ditty to go with his “whirly song” in the text. There’s some gentle background motion and zooming in and out of the illustrations, but it’s all fairly subdued, as befitting a bedtime book for truck-loving little ones.

Available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch (requires iOS 5.1 or later); $3.99. Recommended for preschool users.

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Susan Bonners storytime this Saturday http://www.hbook.com/2014/11/blogs/out-of-the-box/susan-bonners-storytime-saturday/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/11/blogs/out-of-the-box/susan-bonners-storytime-saturday/#respond Wed, 05 Nov 2014 21:34:38 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=42914 Author/illustrator Susan Bonners and friends will read from Ms. Bonners’s books in a special storytime this Saturday, November 8th, from 10 am to noon. As Ms. Bonners is a Roslindale resident, the event will take place in the Community Room of the Roslindale Public Library. Ms. Bonners’s many books include A Penguin Year (1982 National […]

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bonners silver balloon Susan Bonners storytime this SaturdayAuthor/illustrator Susan Bonners and friends will read from Ms. Bonners’s books in a special storytime this Saturday, November 8th, from 10 am to noon. As Ms. Bonners is a Roslindale resident, the event will take place in the Community Room of the Roslindale Public Library.

Ms. Bonners’s many books include A Penguin Year (1982 National Book Award: Nonfiction Children’s Book winner), The Silver Balloon (1997 Christopher Award winner), Edwina Victorious, Making Music, The Wooden Doll, and Why Does the Cat Do That?

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Monstrous Affections panel interview http://www.hbook.com/2014/11/blogs/out-of-the-box/monstrous-affections/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/11/blogs/out-of-the-box/monstrous-affections/#comments Tue, 04 Nov 2014 15:38:39 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=42313 When you meet an author you admire and he says, “Hi, I’m Tobin,” it might be best not to say, “I know! …Sorry, that’s probably creepy.” Luckily for me, M. T. Anderson and his Monstrous Affections: An Anthology of Beastly Tales colleagues — author/editors Kelly Link and Gavin Grant (who also own the mostly adult […]

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monstrous affections panelists Monstrous Affections panel interview

Kelly Link, Sarah Rees Brennan, and M. T. Anderson

When you meet an author you admire and he says, “Hi, I’m Tobin,” it might be best not to say, “I know! …Sorry, that’s probably creepy.” Luckily for me, M. T. Anderson and his Monstrous Affections: An Anthology of Beastly Tales colleagues — author/editors Kelly Link and Gavin Grant (who also own the mostly adult indie publishing house Small Beer Press) plus contributor Sarah Rees Brennan — are extremely gracious as well as extremely talented. And, obviously, they have an affection for the creepy. Fellow Horn Booker Shoshana Flax and I sat down to chat with the four writers prior to their Brookline Booksmith panel event on Wednesday, October 22nd.

Shoshana: I notice that in the acknowledgements you credit Cassandra Clare and Holly Black with inspiring the collection. How exactly did that came about?

Kelly: I think we were all in a car coming back from an event and we were talking about vampire stories. Cassie said it did not make a ton of sense to her that a very old vampire would want to hang out with a bunch of teenagers. In fact, she felt that it was much more likely that a vampire would want to hang out with people who were old and of his own generation. It seemed like such a melancholy riff on the vampire story, and we thought it would be great to ask people for other kinds of monster stories.

Katie: Did certain authors immediately come to mind?

sarah rees brennan Monstrous Affections panel interview

Sarah reads from “Wings in the Morning.” One of my favorite audience questions (from a very serious tween boy): “What about harpies makes you think they would make good lovers?”

Kelly: Yes. Tobin and Sarah were at the top of the list. We sent out queries and Sarah wrote back and said, “I am going to write a story about a boy harpy for you!” ["Wings in the Morning"] I thought, This is not a story that I knew I wanted, but I do! Almost everybody we asked had a monster story they wanted to write.

Shoshana: So there was no comparing of notes among the authors? Everybody had distinct ideas?

Gavin: We didn’t have to say to anyone, “No, we’ve got a boy harpy story. (Or a monster hill story.) Sorry, we’ve got two leviathans.”

Katie: Tobin, the monster in your story — the monstrous hill Gavin mentioned — is so… unusual. How did that come from the prompt? And Kelly and Gavin, what exactly did you say in your query?

Gavin and Kelly [together]: Not much.

Tobin: You originally said that you wanted it to be specifically about love and a monster, in any permutation.

Gavin: We wanted their relationships, right.

Tobin: I had read a story a few years before in The Fortean Times about a kid in India who had to marry a hill to save his village — from drought, in that case. And I’d been reading a lot about WWII and the home front, so I thought, Combine the two things, and there you go: love for a hill!

Katie: There are monsters in this collection who are so human, and then there humans who are monstrous. What do monsters teach us about being human?

Sarah: There is a poem that starts “When is a monster not a monster?” and the answer is “Oh, when you love it.” Which, of course, encapsulates this collection’s title very nicely! I think monsters teach us about being human through not seeming human to us. Ariel in the sea was a totally normal person, but she realized that she would be a monster to the person she wanted to get with. So she realized that she had to undergo a terrifying transformation. The moment when we realize we don’t need to undergo a terrifying transformation for love, or when we realize we already have — through loving someone — gone through a terrible transformation, that’s the moment when everyone becomes the opposite of monstrous.

Katie: Which monsters — either from the collection or elsewhere — do you feel the most affection for?

Tobin: I really love the Dover Demon, who is one of our local monsters. 1970s Dover, Massachusetts: kids are driving down the street and their headlights pick out this very frail little body with a giant watermelon head. Several other people saw him the same night, and it’s never been explained. I love the idea of something without much of a mythology to it, but at the same time it’s kind of an unexplained and unexpected guest.

Sarah: Particular-gendered monsters, like the banshee (obviously, because Irish pride) and mermaids — and harpies, in fact — allow me to talk about gender. The idealized form is this form; what happens when you find out your form isn’t the ideal form? It led me to spin off to other fantasy species and talk about their various ways of approaching gender, which meant I had a running joke about misandrist elves.

link and grant monstrous affections Monstrous Affections panel interviewShoshana: We loved the pop quiz in the book’s introduction. What would you do if you saw something move in the dark of the storm drain?

Kelly: I would book it! I’m a huge coward.

Gavin: Close the door. Go back in the house.

Tobin: I have a belief that nothing interesting ever really happens, so I quite frequently do stupid things because I assume that nothing exciting will happen as a result. I’m sure that I would walk right toward the thing moving in the drain — while, in fact, the audience on the other side of the screen yelled, “You fucking idiot!”

Gavin: You were actually replaced by a monster a couple years ago. We saw the video.

Katie: You just never noticed.

Tobin: That’s right! I forgot about that.

Gavin: You were walking around in a forest and you disappeared. So we don’t know what you are!

Kelly: I think people or characters are either plot-averse or drawn toward plot. Tobin is clearly drawn toward plot; I’m plot-averse.

Sarah: You always try to pick a protagonist who’s drawn toward plot, and then sometimes you wind up with a plot-averse protagonist and you’re dragging against each other: “I have good reasons for this!”

Kelly: See, I suspect plot is everywhere.

Katie: Maybe the secret to making interesting things happen is to pretend they never will.

Sarah: Be the skeptical friend!

Kelly: Be like, “Surely nothing bad will happen now.”

Tobin: You mean, be Scully? But then you find out you’re weirdly pregnant with a monster.

Sarah: But Scully — you know, her unbelief proved things that were true. Mulder was just sitting in his office for years being like, “This paperclip could be an alien,” and then she arrived and everything started to snowball.

Katie: Do you have favorite scary short stories that aren’t in the collection?

Sarah: I’m thinking of those one-line, super-scary short stories on Creepypasta. There’s that one where the child asks his father to check under the bed, and then he sees the child under the bed, saying “There’s someone in my bed!”

Tobin: That’s a good one.

Kelly: There’s a pretty misogynistic short story called “How Love Came to Professor Guildea.” It’s the same era as M.R. James. It’s about a guy who teaches at Oxford or Cambridge and does not believe in anything spiritual at all. But something follows him home and begins to distress him. And he has a parrot, and the parrot begins to repeat things to him, begins to say “I love you” and things like that. Finally he flees on a boat and is pursued by what is clearly a brainless, loving entity which he can’t see but which is clinging to him.

Sarah: I’ve just remembered Roald Dahl’s short stories and how they terrified the marrow out of me. They’re just… not right. That baby being fed royal jelly.

Tobin: Oh, that’s a great story. There are a huge number of horror stories that I love. After reading Nathan Ballingrud’s story ["The Diabolist"] in this collection, I went out and got his short story collection North American Lake Monsters and absolutely loved it. The neat thing is that they are supernatural stories without being horror, necessarily — unless the horror is just the way we interact anyway. I found them moving and sad more than frightening. But I think that at my age you can’t really go for fear or else you’re likely to have an infarction.

Sarah: It is true that after the Creepypasta stories I have to sleep with the nightlight on. I’m thirty-one years old and this is what it’s come to!

Katie: Were there any stories that weren’t written specifically for the collection but were anthologized from another source?

Gavin: They’re all published here for the first time, but somebody did drop out, and Kelly got one of the stories from someone who was in one of her writing classes.

Kelly: I think there were two stories that we ended up taking from workshops: Greg Purcell’s “The Mercurials” and Nik Houser’s “Son of Abyss.”

Gavin: And they add such a range because they’re so different.

Kelly: This entire book is basically an occasion for us to ask people to write us scary stories. And occasionally when I teach someone writes a scary story, so we asked if we could see [students' stories] for the anthology, too.

Sarah: I bet they were all a decent size too. So sorry again! My story ran long.

Tobin: Oh, yeah. Mine did too.

Kelly: It’s not like you wrote a novel!

Sarah: I was like, “Kelly, it’s thirty thousand words; what should I do?”

Tobin: Add another three thousand and call it a novel!

Kelly: I assume you guys know that Sarah wrote an entire novel that goes with her story.

Sarah: It’s a free novel. Well, the world kept niggling me after the thirty-thousand-word debacle. (Kelly and Gavin very kindly and very adroitly cut the story down for me but it’s still scandalously long.) I thought, “I’ll just write a little short story [on my blog] and promote the anthology. Well. I didn’t know my blog had word limits. Cool. Ok, it will come in a couple of parts.” Yeah, twelve parts. Over a hundred thousand words. It’s a problem.

Katie: And it’s all on your blog?

Sarah: Yeah, it’s just on my blog!

Tobin: Jeez, is it a continuation of the story?

Kelly and Sarah [together]: It’s a prequel!

Katie: This is your second anthology with Candlewick; the first one was Steampunk!:  An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories. What’s coming next?

Kelly: We would love to do a third anthology with Candlewick. We have some ideas and we’ve talked some with [editor] Deb Noyes about them.

Gavin: So we hope that will work out.

Kelly: We would really like to do that.

Tobin: Are you just being cagey so you don’t have to ask us for stories?

Kelly: No, no!

Katie: Actually, you guys need to commit right now.

Kelly: We would really like you guys to write a story for a collection that we have not sold yet.

Gavin: Oh, that always goes well with writers.

Kelly: First invitations!

Sarah: And there’s your own collection, Kelly…

Kelly: Sarah has a novel [Unmade] that has just come out…

Sarah: No, I said your own collection, Kelly!

Kelly: I have a collection that will come out in February, an adult collection.

Tobin: And what is it called?

Kelly: Get in Trouble.

Brookline Booksmith staff member: There are at least two copies on the shelf directly behind you, in galley form.

Katie: Ooh, can I have one?

Tobin: Is it a Small Beer publication?

Kelly: No, it’s Random House. And you have a book that Candlewick is bringing out?

Tobin: It’s next year.

Gavin: Sometime.

Tobin: Sometime!

Kelly: We all work really hard.

Sarah: Constantly nose to the grindstone.

Gavin: Cocktails after this?

The post Monstrous Affections panel interview appeared first on The Horn Book.

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#HBWhoSaidIt? http://www.hbook.com/2014/11/blogs/out-of-the-box/whosaidit/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/11/blogs/out-of-the-box/whosaidit/#respond Mon, 03 Nov 2014 17:00:06 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=42730 November is Picture Book Month and National Novel Writing Month (or: NaNoWriMo, which, when said aloud, makes me think of Mork from Ork, may he rest in peace). To entertain and inspire — and facilitate procrastination — we’ve come up with a game of “Who Said It?” Every day we’ll tweet (from @HornBook) a quote […]

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mork #HBWhoSaidIt?November is Picture Book Month and National Novel Writing Month (or: NaNoWriMo, which, when said aloud, makes me think of Mork from Ork, may he rest in peace). To entertain and inspire — and facilitate procrastination — we’ve come up with a game of “Who Said It?” Every day we’ll tweet (from @HornBook) a quote about the creative process, by a children’s author or illustrator. You tell us who said it.

Got it? Ready? Go!

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