Interview with Michaela MacColl, Author of Nobody’s Secret

imagesCAVTYJWPMichaela MacColl studied multidisciplinary history at Vassar College and Yale University, which turns out to be the perfect degree for writing historical fiction. She lives with her husband, two daughters, and three extremely large cats in Connecticut. To learn more about her work, please visit www.michaelamaccoll.com 

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Albany NY.

When did you begin writing?

I began writing about 12 years ago. I was traveling with my young kids in Italy and trying to get them interested in the places we were seeing (with poor results). I started to think about writing historical fiction about particular places. My goals and style evolved – but I still consider setting to be an important “character” in my work.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

I hate this question! I wish I was more disciplined than I am. I basically write to deadlines. I have a wonderful critique group who meet weekly. That’s my impetus most weeks. Of course now I have contracts and deadlines with my publishers. But guilt is usually my driver!

What is this book about?

Nobody’s Secret is a literary mystery starring Emily Dickinson. I started with the premise that Emily might be a brilliant natural detective – she’s a born observer (just read her poems about nature) and she questions authority. She feels passionately about life and knows how to mourn death. I knew that if I gave her something to care about, a mystery to solve and an injustice to right, she would never ever stop.

What inspired you to write it?nobody

It’s based on a poem, “I’m Nobody, Who are You? Are you Nobody too?” It’s one of my favorites of hers. The poem seems to sum up all her frustration with being the daughter of a important person when all she wants is anonymity. When she meets a handsome stranger, who also desires anonymity, they are immediately attracted to each other. Mr. Nobody, as Emily calls him, is just the kind of hero that Emily might fall in love with.

Who is your favorite character from the book?

Well, I loved writing Emily. It’s such a daunting task to try and write a character based on a true person – particularly a brilliant writer like Emily. But once I found a voice for her that I liked, it was easy! On the other hand, I was a little bit in love with Mr. Nobody.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

When I had the idea to write a literary mystery with Emily Dickinson, I first envisioned a series of books with her as my “detective.” To be honest, I was hoping to cut down on the amount of research I had to do with every book. I pitched the idea to my very very smart editor, Victoria Rock. She responded by suggesting that Emily might not be sustainable as a series – but what did I think of a series of mysteries about different writers, with their own settings, time periods and of course literary style. In other words, four times the research!

I’ve finished the next one already, a novel about the Bronte sisters. And as she usually is, Victoria was right. It was a delight to learn about these writers and immerse myself in their work. Hopefully readers will find the idea as fun as I do.

Do you have a video trailer to promote your book? If yes, where can readers find it?

There is a really fun trailer for Nobody’s Secret. You can find it on my website, www.michaelamaccoll.com.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

It was a long time between starting to write in 2000 before being published in 2010 (to be fair, I sold the book in late 2008). You have to be stubborn and keep writing. And reading. Consistent writing and reading is the best way to improve your craft.

Back to Bataan – New YA Novel Coming in July from Jerome Charyn

I’ve been a fan of Jerome Charyn’s work for a while. Right now I am reading one of his older books, Blue Eyes, which has recently been released in a Kindle version. Today I am pleased to announce that Charyn’s latest book, a young adult novel entitled, Back to Bataan, will be released on July 1st.

Hiding out in Riverside Park after lashing out at the boy who stole his girlfriend, Jack joins ranks with a group of vagrants and is soon under the sway of a man called the Leader, a charismatic ex-convict. You can add the book to your to-read list on Goodreads at http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13613896-back-to-bataan.

Visit Charyn online at http://jeromecharyn.com/.

Winner of For the Love of St. Nick by Garasamo Maccagnone

Congratulations go out to authorphilipkledzik, the winner of a copy of For the Love of St. Nick by Garasamo Maccagnone that we offered as a giveaway last month.

We’ve emailed Philip, so hopefully we’ll here from him soon and be able to ship out his prize.

Thanks to all who participated. 

If you are interested in picking up a copy of For the Love of St. Nick visit Amazon.com. You can view a trailer for this book at YouTube.

Tweet for Literacy – Prize Package 6 Announced!

Tweet-for-Lit-Logo-sidebar-sepia

Our Motto: “The family that reads together has a lot of fun!”

The Tweet for Literacy Giveaway is a campaign designed to raise awareness of the importance of involving the whole family in a child’s reading activities. Tweet for Literacy will be giving away literacy-related prizes every two days throughout the month of November in honor of National Family Literacy Month. Help a child to read, and let the fun begin!

How to Enter the Tweet for Literacy Giveaways

Step 1: Follow our 7 sponsors on Twitter. This step is required. We will all follow you back!

http://twitter.com/ccmalandrinos

http://twitter.com/lindathieman

http://twitter.com/hollyhardin

http://twitter.com/susieqtpies

http://twitter.com/cafeofdreams

http://twitter.com/nicole_odell

http://twitter.com/sherikayehoff

Step 2: Re-tweet (RT) any post about the giveaway. Use the hashtag #Tweet4Lit on each RT. Be sure to add the bit.ly URL link for this contest page. It’s .

Sample Entry Re-tweets

RT @ccmalandrinos Tweet for Literacy is giving away 12 prize sets and a grand prize thru Nov. Enter here. http://bit.ly/1Im7Gd  #Tweet4Lit

RT @ccmalandrinos Enter Tweet for Literacy giveaways here! New prize sets every 2 days. #Tweet4Lit http://bit.ly/1Im7Gd

Step 3: That’s it! See the Official Rules below.

Official Rules

You can re-enter as many times as you like. Prizes are awarded every 2 days starting on November 8. First day to enter is November 6, 2009. Last day to enter is November 30. A prize package will be awarded on each even day of the month. Each prize package will be a set of items that are literacy related. See below for specific information on prizes.

The name of the winner will be selected at random and will be drawn at approximately 6pm CT. The winner will have 3 days to respond. If we don’t hear from the winner, we will select another winner for that prize package. We will notify our 13 winners by Direct Message (DM) on Twitter.

Whereas you can enter as often as you like, if you are not following all 7 sponsors on Twitter, which will be verified, your entries will be disqualified. All entries that comply with the above rules will be valid for each drawing, including the Grand Prize. The Grand Prize will be awarded on December 1, 2009.

Open to residents of the U.S. only. Must be at least 18 years old to enter.

If you have any questions or comments about the giveaway, please contact Linda Thieman at blog (at) katieandkimble (dot) com.

Our Sponsors

Authors

Holly Hardin, author of the children’s picture book Aurora of the Northern Lights

Twitter name: @hollyhardin

Blog: Holly’s Helpful Hints

http://hhhelpfulhints.blogspot.com/

http://hollyhardin.net/

Sheri Kaye Hoff, Life Coach and author of Keys to Living Joyfully

Twitter name: @sherikayehoff

Blog: Coach Sheri’s Living Joyfully Everyday blog

http://www.lifeisjoyful.org/id1.html

Nicole O’Dell, author of the Scenarios books for girls ages 10-15

Twitter name: @nicole_odell

Blog: Nicole O’Dell blog

http://nicoleodell.blogspot.com

www.nicoleodell.com

www.scenariosforgirls.com

Linda Thieman, author of the Katie & Kimble: A Ghost Story chapter book series for ages 7-10

Twitter name: @lindathieman

Blog: The Katie & Kimble Blog

http://www.katieandkimbleblog.com

Bloggers

Susan Buetow, homeschooling mom/blogger

Twitter name: @susieqtpies

Blogs: The Homeschool Messenger; Scraps of Life

http://homeschoolmessenger.blogspot.com/

http://cafescrapper-scrapsoflife.blogspot.com/

Cheryl Malandrinos, writer/mom/book blogger

Twitter name: @ccmalandrinos

Blog: The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection

https://childrensandteensbookconnection.wordpress.com/

April Pohren, mom/book blogger

Twitter name: @cafeofdreams

Blog: Café of Dreams

http://cafeofdreams.blogspot.com

Prizes and Winners

The Tweet for Literacy campaign was designed to encourage family literacy. Our motto is “The family that reads together has a lot of fun!”

Our goal is to empower children and teens, especially girls, who are so often overlooked. We also seek to teach tolerance and self-acceptance through reading and through family interaction.

Our sixth prize package winner will be selected on November 18, 2009, at 6pm CT. Total value of Prize Package Six is $116.

Prize Package Six

1) Henry & the Crazed Chicken Pirates by Carolyn Crimi and John Manders for ages 4 to 8. ($15.99 value) This is the sequel to Henry & the Buccaneer Bunnies. Donated by Blue Slip Media.

2) Aurora of the Northern Lights by Holly Hardin (autographed — an $18.95 value), the delightful Yuletide-themed picture book by one of our Tweet for Literacy sponsors. Donated by the author.

3) Kids Across, Parents Down: Crazy Critters: The Puzzles That Kids & Adults Enjoy Together by Jan Buckner Walker; Ages 9-12, $4.95 value. Donated by Tweet for Literacy sponsor April Pohren.

4) While Shepherds Watched: Stories of Christmas Miracles and Mysteries by Steven Roberts. For all ages. (Value $15.95). Donated by Tweet for Literacy sponsor Cheryl Malandrinos.

5) Across the Pond by Storyheart (Barry Eva), autographed, for Young Adults. (Value $19.99) Donated by the author.

6) Close Encounters of the Third-grade Kind: Thoughts on Teacherhood by Phillip Done ($22.99 value). Donated by Hachette Book Group.

7) Killer Bunny Hill by Denise Robbins (signed/personalized), a $16.95 value, for Mom or Dad. Donated by the author.

Check back here daily as we will continue to update the list of prizes.

For the Love of St. Nick by Garasamo Maccgnone – Giveaway!

st_nickcover

You’ve read our review. Now enter to win a copy of the newly expanded and illustrated version of  For the Love of St. Nick by Garasamo Maccagnone.

enter to win imageHOW TO ENTER:

1) Comment here with your working email address so that we can contact you if you win.

2) Get one additional entry for blogging about this contest. Leave a comment here telling us where you blogged about it.

3) Get two additional entries for tweeting about this contest. Don’t forget to let us know here that you tweeted!

This giveaway will run from today until 11:59 p.m. (Eastern) on November 30th. A winner will be announced in early December.

This contest is open to residents of the United States and Canada only.


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For the Love of St. Nick by Garasamo Maccagnone

st_nickcoverCome enjoy the newly expanded and illustrated version of For the Love of St. Nick by Garasamo Maccagnone.

Last year I reviewed the original version of this book at The Book Connection.  When I heard the author had revised the story and had the book illustrated, I certainly wanted to read the new version.  For the Love of St. Nick  is the story of two young boys coping with the loss of their mother, who died giving birth to the youngest boy, Johnny.   Due to complications during childbirth, Johnny is often sick.  When the boys’ father, a Navy Commander, is transferred to a base in northern Michigan, the family must survive military life as they dwell in an old hunter’s cabin on Lake Huron. 

When the boys’ father must leave a few weeks before Christmas to fulfill a secret mission for the United States Military, the boys are surprised by a chance encounter with the saint who they have been praying to for their father’s safe return.

All that I said in my original review holds true for this new version.  This book is filled with human emotions:  loss, fear and uncertainty, and most of all separation from those you love.  Though the boys have Mrs. Pennington to watch over them, they are nervous when the Commander goes away right before Christmas.  Tiger, the older brother and narrator of the story,  knows this is a serious mission, and even though the Commander’s friends promise to bring him home safely, Tiger interprets  his father’s actions–especially those on the night before he leaves–to indicate even the Commander is unsure of what could happen.

I mentioned the lovely cover art in my first review, and truly no online picture can do it justice.  You have to see the beauty of the cover up close.  Add to that the exquisite black and white illustrations found inside this copy and you have a beautiful story that is complimented by striking visuals. 

Anyone who loves the magic of Christmas will enjoy For the Love of St. Nick!

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher: BookSurge Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 1439227608
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439227602
  • SRP:  $12.99


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