YA (and graphic) novelist Cecil Castellucci sold North American rights to a currently untitled Depression-era graphic novel to Dark Horse’s Sierra Hahn. The book, which William Morris Endeavor’s Kirby Kim represented, will be illustrated by Joe Infurnari, and is currently set for a fall 2014 release. The story is set in 1932 and follows, Dark Horse said, two misfits “and a relationship built during a train-hopping journey from the cold heartbreak of their eastern homes toward the sunny promise of California.”
My friend Jenn Fujikawa tagged me in this meme where you talk about a project you’ve been working on. She got it from our friend, the fabulous Sarah Kuhn and Amber Benson. I decided to answer questions about my newest book Odd Duck!
A little something about Jenn. She’s a cook, a nerdy girl, a sassy mom, a designer. You should totally check out her recipie blog. If you’ve ever wanted to make things like wookie cookies or princess leia cupcakes, her blog is the place to go. Right now she’s got a mochi book out. YUM.
The Next Big Thing: Odd Duck!
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I think everyone I know is a little bit odd.
What genre does your book fall under?
It’s a hybrid graphic novel picture book for kids of all ages. (6 – 106) It’s written by me and illustrated by the fabulous Sara Varon.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie
It’d be voice actors! Because I would want an animated movie. I think I’d choose my old pal Reno Wilson to voice Chad and Jennifer Hale, from my fave video game Mass Effect, to voice Theodora. To round it out, let’s say Dave Foley, Sean Cullen and Jane Lynch for Gabe, Max and Velma.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Theodora is a normal duck, following her daily habits. Chad is a bit of a strange egg, chaotic and creative. But which of them is really the odd duck? (that’s from the Junior Library Guild page where it is a spring pick!)
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I originally wrote it as an easy reader. So it was all text. Then Sara Varon came on board and we decided to throw out the words and make it pictures. Sara broke down the text and then we worked together on the pacing and fleshing out what needed to be fleshed out. All in all it took about three years.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Any book where there are two mismatched best buds.
Ernie and Bert. Wallace and Gromit. Bink and Gollie. Elephant and Piggie.
Oscar and Felix.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
Many years ago I was sitting at a dinner with author/artist Peter Reynolds. We started talking about the odd ducks we knew. I got an image of a duck swimming with a tea cup on her head. That’s when I came up with Theodora. I made everyone laugh at dinner with stories of Theodora. And what better way to ruffle her feathers then to have a new duck move in next door. . I loved the idea of Chad being loud and colorful and messy. I wanted to write a book about being okay with yourself being weird.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
What I like a lot about this book is that it really is for all ages. It works on three levels. Kids who can’t read can follow the pictures, which are adorable. Kids who can read can get more details about the story, not only in the regular text but in the asides that are in the pictures. And then I think that adults can enjoy it because because we as adults know exactly what it’s like to be a Theodora or a Chad.
As for who I’m tagging to go next, I wanted to highlight some fantastic female writers/creators/artists that I adore and also call friends.
Jillian Lauren, Liza Palmer and Sherri L. Smith
Jillian Lauren is a sassy lady who writes non-fiction and fiction. She wrote the memoir, My Life as a Harem and the novel Pretty. She also performs. She just did a one woman show at the Edinburgh Fest! She keeps a great blog about motherhood, which I adore.
Liza Palmer has written five books. She’s emmy nominated. She’s best selling. She’s sassy, funny, plays board games and is always a good time. She wrote More Like Her, A Field Guide to Burying your Parents, Seeing me Naked, Conversations with the Fat Girl and her most recent, Nowhere but You. Chuck her books into your bag and read them everywhere.
Sherri L Smith is an award winning YA author. She wrote one of my fave historical fiction YA books, Flygirl, which won the California Gold Medal. She’s worked in comic books, has helped organize special effects, makes cool jewelery and is an all around great gal to go to a comic book convention with. Her new book Orleans is an amazing dystopian YA set in a post hurrican New Orleans. So. Good. She blogs over at the Middle Hundred.
And I’m going to back tag Sarah Kuhn and Amber Benson
Most of you know that I really love outer space. Almost all of my books have some kind of observational astronomy in it. My newest book, First Day on Earth, (coming out in November 2011) is a Sci Fi(ish) book. And my current work in progress, The Tin Star, is a two book series that takes place on a space station around an extra solar planet. So, you know, finding out that there was a workshop to teach writers about space science… well… I could not apply fast enough.
And so last week I went to LaunchPad 2011 (aka space science camp.) It was the most fun and brain breaking thing ever.
LaunchPad is the brainchild of astronomer and sci fi writer Dr. Mike Brotherton (Spider Star and Star Dragon) It’s been funded by NASA and the NSF and its goal is to teach writers (of sci fi) space science so that the science is correct in your fiction. (I know, right? AMAZING!)
It takes place at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. (by the way, we all know Laramie has a bad rap. But it’s a sweet cute place. Totally adorable. For example, i saw a pair of victorian boots that I am coveting and also the cowboy saloon and dancehall which we got to sneak into and look at its amazingness – including saddle seat bar stools and a buffalo that snorts smoke. I was sad the saloon was closed for summer.)
Cowboy Saloon and Dancehall. I know you are two-stepping in your mind right now.
We were there for one week. Every day we had a lecture on space science. For a space dork like me it was amazing. I learned so much.
Learning about Stars. Learning about space medicine. Dark Matter. Spectrograph lab.
I even liked cosmology. (although it nearly broke me.)
We had two observing nights. I so desperately wanted to see M51 because there is a supernova in it right now. But we couldn’t see it from where we were. A stupid streetlamp was in the way and the weather was not cooperating. But we saw clusters (open and globular) Saturn. M82 galaxy. The Ring Nebula. I admit, many of these things looked like smudges. But they were very. cool. smudges.
We also went to WIRO (Wyoming InfraRed Observatory)
It was way up high on Mount Jen… Gorgeous. There was a lightning storm that surrounded us below. We could see bolts in the sky.
Lovely grad students Rana and Jessie let the few of us stay later help to open the telescope door and engage the telescope.
Dani opening the observatory doors.
Me in front of WIRO (pic by Liz)
The late night WIRO crew – Chris Rowe, Dani Wolff, Me!, Liz Gorinsky, Shelly Li (Todd Van der Mark took the pic)
I enjoyed the fine company of all of my fellow classmates. And I know that my reading list got huge. I think you should probably go read them all, too. Liz Gorinksy, Greg Fishbone, Mike Albo, KC Ball, Shelly Li, Todd Vandermark, Christopher Rowe, Stan Schmidt, Jennifer Willis, Danielle Wolff, Henry Strattman, Deborah J Ross , Shariann Lewitt, An Owomoyela , Pembroke Sinclair, Eric James Stone
And if you write Sci Fi, or long to, you should totally apply to LaunchPad next year. (And if you are science organization, (hint hint NASA and NSF) you should continue to support them.)