Author Archives: Elly Swartz

About Elly Swartz

I write books for kids. My debut, middle grade novel, FINDING PERFECT, comes out in fall 2106 from FSG. A little OCD/slam poetry/friendship/family and forgiveness (maybe).

In It Together

 

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Goodbye often feels like concrete. Hard and unforgiving.  But today, it feels like something else. Something warm and kind and filled with possibility.

On October 18th, my middle grade debut novel, Finding Perfect, found its way into the world. So today it’s my turn to say goodbye to my fellow Emu Debuts. My Emus are so much more than a group of debut authors; they’re a family. A wonderful, loving, supportive writing family. Together, we have traveled the path of publication to our first novels, shared our insecurities, our worries, our excitement and our joy. Together we have learned the power and the gift of the written word. Together we have learned the true mean of dreams come true.  I am beyond grateful for all of their book love and author cheers along the way. I am truly honored to have shared this journey with each and every one of them.

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I will miss my Emus, but know in my heart of hearts that they will remain a part of my life. We will continue to share the next steps together. Not in the enclave of the nest, but in our retreats, our pages, and our friendships. So, as my time as an Emu Debut is ending, something else is beginning.  I have faith that this something else will be filled with wonderful reads, amazing friendships, gracious educators, and incredible students. I am excited to see what adventures come next.

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Elly Swartz is a middle-grade author. Her debut novel, FINDING PERFECT (FSG October, 2016) is about twelve-year-old Molly, friendships, family, OCD, and a slam poetry competition that will determine everything. She happily lives in Brookline, Massachusetts with her husband, two sons and beagle named Lucy. If you want to connect with Elly or learn more about what she’s working on, you can find her at www.ellyswartz.com, on Twitter @ellyswartz or Facebook.

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My Traveling Companions

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”
― A.A. MilneWinnie-the-Pooh

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Today, my heart is overflowing with gratitude. On Tuesday, my debut novel, Finding Perfect, found its way into the world, into the hands of kids, teachers, moms, dads, and grandparents. Today, Molly’s story is a shared one. But, it didn’t start that way. Molly’s story started with an idea, then morphed into words on my computer, then into a book. It started with me, but I never traveled this path alone.

And, so today is about all those who traveled with me. All those I want to thank.

My husband. Wow. Not even sure where to begin. You have been with me on every step of this 15 year journey. And at no time did you waver in your steadfast belief in me. You are the love of my life and I am so grateful to have you by my side. Always.

My sons. Two boys, endless inspiration. Through the years, you have inspired me to write, to go for my dream, to work hard, to be better. Your belief in me, allowed me to believe in this dream and believe in me. I am so lucky to be your mom. You make my heart happy every day.

My family near and far. I love you all with all of my heart. Thank you thank you thank you.

My friends. You may never know how impactful your support has been. You gave me hugs and wine and walks and talks and candy, all at exactly the right moments.

FSG. Joy and the entire FSG team thank you for taking a chance on me. For believing in me and my story.

My agent. Trish the amazing. Honestly, so thankful to have you at the helm, helping me navigate these waters and always having my back. You are so much more than my agent. You are my friend. And, for that, I am grateful.

EMLA. You guys rock. I never knew getting an agent, meant I was also getting a writing family.  Love you guys.

Sweet 16ers. It’s been one heck of a year. Thank you for sharing this ride with me. You are kind and supportive and, obviously, sweet.

Educators. You seamlessly welcomed me and Finding Perfect into the kidlit world before the book had even entered the world. You made me feel like Molly and I belonged. You are kind and gracious and dedicated. I wish every kid has a lifetime of teachers like you.

To all of my traveling companions, thank you for being a part of my journey. It’s been one amazing ride!

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IMG_9552  Elly Swartz is a middle-grade author. Her debut novel, FINDING PERFECT (FSG October, 2016) is about a twelve-year-old girl named Molly, friendship, family, OCD, and a slam poetry competition that will determine everything. It took thirteen years, numerous drafts, many Twizzlers, loads of hugs, and much unconditional love, to find her way to YES. She lives in Brookline, Massachusetts with her husband, two sons and beagle named Lucy. If you want to connect with Elly or learn more about what she’s working on, you can find her at www.ellyswartz.com, on Twitter @ellyswartz or Facebook.

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My Friend, Fear

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Fear is a fickle friend. I mean at first glance it’s hard to imagine her as your lunch buddy, but as time goes on, you understand her subtle ways. Confession – I’m not always the bravest. I’m scared of hairy/crunchy/large bugs, heights, the dark, mice crawling over my sandals at the movies. You get the picture. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that as publication for my debut mg novel, Finding Perfect, inches closer, so does fear. She visits with some regularity these days. She accompanies me when I hit send to my editor and when I venture into uncharted territory, like this week at the New England Independent Bookseller Association Author Reception. This is me at the reception hanging with Gillian Kohli, owner of the amazing Wellesley Books and president of NEIBA. (Fear aside, the night was amazing.)

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Fear tugs at my chest as the years/months to publication dwindle to days. When my daily activities of marketing, tweeting, blogging, signing, visiting school, and participating in panels, all fall outside of my comfort zone and squarely into the box marked ARE-YOU-KIDDING. But it’s in these moments that I have begun to see fear less as my-roller-coaster-going-to-throw-up foe, and more as my you’ve-got-this friend. You see, fear is what has taught that to grow I need to learn and to learn I need to step beyond what’s comfortable. I need to embrace the itchy, the awkward, the feared. I need to welcome all of it. Because it’s in those moments when the real magic happens.

So as the days to publication now number 26, I say, bring it on! The fear, the challenge, the awkward itchiness.  Let’s do this thing!

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Elly Swartz’s debut middle grade novel, FINDING PERFECT, comes out October 18th, 2016 with Farrar, Straus and Giroux. FINDING PERFECT is about a twelve-year-old girl named Molly, friendship, family, OCD, and a slam poetry competition that will determine everything. She happily lives in Brookline, Massachusetts with her family. If you want to connect with Elly or learn more about what she’s working on next, you can find her at www.ellyswartz.com, on Twitter @ellyswartz or Facebook.

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10 Busy Brooms – Some Good Witch Love

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10 Busy Brooms by Carole Gerber is a sweet, counting story about 10 little witches who unite on a broom and soar through the night sky. The pages are filled with friendship and adventure, and sprinkled with a few skeletons, ghosts and goblins.

To celebrate the launch of 10 Busy Brooms, author Carole Gerber asked her fellow Emu Debuts to share their favorite good witch. The answers may surprise you.

We kick this off with Carole, the author. Turns out her favorite good witch is her daughter, Jess, to whom the book is dedicated. She is the “brave little witch on the long skinny” broom in 10 Busy Brooms and even played  a witch in “The Wizard of Oz” in 7th grade.

For me, it’s Miss Price, witch-in-training, from Bedknobs and Broomsticks, one of my favorite books growing up. I mean if you can turn a bed into a flying contraption, you must be the best witch ever. Right?

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Next up, Debbi Michiko Florence. For her, it’s all about Hermione Granger of the Harry Potter series. The confident, independent, wise, courageous, and loyal witch has all qualities she admires in a witch or a muggle.

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Katie Slavinsky shared that her favorite magical lady is Polgara from the Belgariad and Mallorean books by David Eddings. She’s a stubborn, no-nonsense gal with centuries of life experience to draw from. She’s spent her immortal life learning all sorts of trades because they were practical and interesting. She’s won wars by reason, diplomacy, and pure toughness. She’s raised oodles of generations of “chosen ones,” which says a lot for her patience. Plus, she can turn into an owl. Polgara is pretty much the best magical female character to ever grace the pages of fantasy literature.

For Jason Gallaher, it’s Luna Lovegood. She’s unabashedly herself, and constantly fights for good in her own way. She may be kooky, and have to put up with taunts from her Hogwarts peers, but that doesn’t stop her from being true to herself and doing what she thinks is right. As Jason says, “Love you, Luna!”

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Savinder Bal Naberhaus’s favorite is Minikin Snickasnee, called Minx for short, from Little Witch by Anna Elizabeth Bennett, Helen Stone (Illustrator). Minx was nine years old and wished with all her heart that she was not a witch’s child.

And for Donna Bowman, her love is for Glinda from The Wizard of Oz. She’s beautiful, sparkly, and generally made of sugary sweetness. Bewitch‘s Samantha wins as her favorite television witch because she was the best at wiggling her nose on cue, making people disappear, and fixing things without the help of her husband. And finally, Hermione Ganger ranks her most recent favorite witch because even Harry Potter wouldn’t survive without her smarts.

Glinda the Good Witch

So, that’s a wrap. There’s a lot of Emu love for good witches. Let’s embrace all that love and say a huge Woot! for the 10 little witches of 10 Busy Brooms!

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Elly Swartz is a middle-grade author whose debut novel, FINDING PERFECT (FSG) hits shelves October, 18 2016. FINDING PERFECT is about a twelve-year-old girl named Molly, friendship, family, OCD, and a slam poetry competition that will determine everything. It took thirteen years, numerous drafts, many Twizzlers, loads of hugs, and much unconditional love, to find her way to YES.  If you want to connect with Elly or learn more about what she’s working on, you can find her at www.ellyswartz.com, on Twitter @ellyswartz or Facebook.

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Writing, Twizzlers, and the Music

I write. I revise. I eat Twizzlers. I write some more. Recently, I realized there’s another thing I do when I’m in the writing zone, I listen and sing poorly to songs that inspire me. Now, as I recently confessed to a classroom of fifth graders, I sound a bit like a dying frog when I sing. But, I love it! So, I can’t seem to stop myself from belting out the the music when I’m cooking, driving, or on a run. So, if you happen to be nearby, I truly am sorry.

A while back, while in the kitchen making meatballs and singing poorly and dancing with my sauce-splashed apron on, I realized the song I was singing over a killer tomato-basil sauce, had less to do with dinner, and more to do with my current work-in-progress. I was right in the thick of a first draft. To me, this is the part of the process where I fear everything.  I’ll never come up with a gripping plot. Even if I have a good plot, I’ll never be able to construct a whole story. Even if I can construct a story, it’s going to stink. So naturally, I found myself singing Brave by Sara Bareilles, loudly and out-of-tune, while slicing and dicing. There I was in all my first draft glory singing along with Sara like we were old friends. “Say what you want to say. Let the words fall out. Honestly, I want to see you be brave.”

So after a delicious Italian dinner, I jumped back into my work-in-progress with purpose, and to my happy surprise, I eventually completed a draft of my new story. Woot! Let the celebration begin! I was super excited until I read the whole thing over and realized it stunk. I mean no-one’s-going-to-read-this kind of stunk. I knew I needed to summon the courage to reconstruct the characters, the plot, the pacing.  So, I popped in my earbuds and listened to The Fight Song by Rachel Platten before I dug back into all those words on the page.

Once I finished, I mean really finished, a process that included several bags of Twizzlers and many many drafts, I sent my newly revised story to Trish, my agent. And, I waited for her thoughts while I jumped back into all the things I had put on hold while revising. The music of choice – The Waiting by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. And then, Trish called. She loved it! So, I popped in my earbuds and went for a run to Happy by Pharrell Williams!

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IMG_9552 Elly Swartz is a middle-grade author. Her debut novel, FINDING PERFECT (FSG October, 2016) is a story about a twelve-year-old girl named Molly, friendship, family, OCD, and a slam poetry competition that determines everything. It took thirteen years, numerous drafts, many Twizzlers, loads of hugs, and much unconditional love, to find her way to YES. Elly lives in Brookline, Massachusetts with her husband, two sons and beagle named Lucy. If you want to connect with Elly or learn more about what she’s working on, you can find her at www.ellyswartz.com, on Twitter @ellyswartz or Facebook.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Unexpected Moments

“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.” —The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne

As my first book is nearing publication, well, 5 months away, but who’s counting, I think a lot about this quote. I knew when I got my YES, the yippee-woohoo moments would fill my soul and explode with joy at every moment on the path to publication. What I didn’t expect was the moments of sadness that have, at times, crept in. Now, don’t get me wrong, these are not languishing moments, just times of missing. Because in my world, Pooh’s tomorrow is here. My mom died twenty years ago at the age of 55. She was quite simply, my hero. She made me believe I could do anything. She was the one who showed me how to color outside the lines, be brave, have fun, and, maybe most importantly, love unconditionally. So as my dream to become a published author is about to come true, I miss her. It’s simple. I want the people in my life who I love the most to be here when Finding Perfect becomes a real book with a real ISBN and real readers who aren’t related to me. Topping that list is and always has been my family. I am beyond grateful and downright giddy to share this journey with my boys and my husband. Just wish my mom was around to share it with, as well.

So, I hope with all my inner twelve year old enthusiasm that Pooh is right.  That my mom will be with me as I traverse down this wonderful path. That she is somewhere with my father-in-law and my gram, drinking her white wine, smelling the lilacs, and reading my story.

me and mom at camp

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IMG_9552  Elly Swartz is a middle-grade author whose debut novel, FINDING PERFECT, comes out October, 18, 2016 (FSG). FINDING PERFECT is a middle grade story about a girl named Molly, friendship, family, OCD, and a slam poetry competition that will determine everything. It took thirteen years, numerous drafts, many Twizzlers, loads of hugs, and much unconditional love, to find her way to YES. Through the years, Elly’s been a Sesame Place ride operator, messenger, lawyer, legal author, and college essay adviser. She lives in Brookline, Massachusetts with her husband, two sons and beagle named Lucy. If you want to connect with Elly or learn more about what she’s working on next, you can find her at www.ellyswartz.com, on Twitter @ellyswartz or Facebook.

 

 

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Connecting Beyond the Page

Some say writing is a solitary sport. But, I wholeheartedly disagree. While I may create, revise, delete and rewrite at my computer by myself, well with my beagle Lucy sleeping under my chair, I have never felt alone. That’s the funny thing about writing for kids.  Along the road to YES, I’ve happily become a part of an amazing community. It’s filled with people who are gracious, smart, kind, and genuine. From my EMLA agency family, to my VCFA writing retreat gang, to my Sweet 16ers, writing friends, book journey educators, teachers, and librarians, I feel wholly grounded and connected. This community offers inspiration, guidance and encouragement. Sometimes they don’t even realize the impact or reach of their kindness. Often their gracious sentiments lead to a happy dance replete with hopping feet, swaying arms and bobbing head!  This group of amazing talent fills my community, my writing world.  So even when I’m sitting at my desk writing in my office, I’m never truly alone.

Love my community!

This sense of connection and belonging transcends the page. While we, as writers, need to connect with our characters and our story, we also need to connect with readers and educators and each other. We need to know who’s got our back. We need to know who will bring ice-cream when it’s the worst-kind-of-day and who will cheer the loudest when a woo-hoo moment requires celebration. I imagine this sense of belonging is of equal importance to our readers. The kids, just like those of us who write for them,  need to know they’re part of something bigger then themselves.  Community is the safety net that grounds us, refuels us, inspires us. It’s strong, well-woven and unconditional. The page may be where it starts, but that is just the beginning.

So to my writing community (and of course the family and friends who make up my life community), I just want to say thank you for never letting alone ever feel lonely.

 

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IMG_9552  Elly Swartz is a middle-grade author whose debut novel, FINDING PERFECT, comes out October, 18, 2016 (FSG). FINDING PERFECT is a middle grade story about a twelve-year-old girl named Molly, friendship, family, betrayal, OCD, and a slam poetry competition that will determine everything. It took thirteen years, numerous drafts, many Twizzlers, loads of hugs, and much unconditional love, to find her way to YES. Through the years, Elly’s been a Sesame Place ride operator, messenger, lawyer, legal author, and college essay adviser. She lives in Brookline, Massachusetts with her husband, two sons and beagle named Lucy. If you want to connect with Elly or learn more about what she’s working on next, you can find her at www.ellyswartz.com, on Twitter @ellyswartz or Facebook.

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A Chat with Agent Erin Murphy about The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle by Janet Fox

 

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The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle by Janet Fox is a book I fell in love with on page one and could not put down until I read the very last word. I, however, was not the first to fall in love with this read-with-the-lights-on mystery. That honor goes to Janet Fox’s agent, Erin Murphy of Erin Murphy Literary Agency (EMLA). I had the privilege of talking with Erin about her first impressions of this unforgettable story. But first, a bit about the Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle.

“Keep calm and carry on.”

That’s what Katherine Bateson’s father told her, and that’s what she’s trying to do: when her father goes off to the war, when her mother sends Kat and her brother and sister away from London to escape the incessant bombing, even when the children arrive at Rookskill Castle, an ancient, crumbling manor on the misty Scottish highlands.

But it’s hard to keep calm in the strange castle that seems haunted by ghosts or worse. What’s making those terrifying screeches and groans at night? Why do the castle’s walls seem to have a mind of their own? And why do people seem to mysteriously appear and disappear?

Kat believes she knows the answer: Lady Eleanor, who rules Rookskill Castle, is harboring a Nazi spy. But when her classmates begin to vanish, one by one, Kat must uncover the truth about what the castle actually harbors—and who Lady Eleanor really is—before it’s too late.

Now, to my chat with Erin.

When you first read this novel, what was your initial impression?

Erin: Something like, “My God, this woman can write!” WWII-era England is a great sweet spot for me so far as pleasure-reading, so when Janet first queried me and described this project (then called Chatelaine), I literally wrote back, “I want to read it right this minute.” When I did read it, it didn’t just meet my expectations, it far exceeded them.

Of all the characters in The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle, who do you most identify with?

Erin: Kat, of course. Oh, do I identify with the need to balance left-brain and right-brain thinking—although the older I get, the more I favor the intuitive and imaginative. Plus, she’s an eldest child, always feeling responsible.

I was wonderfully surprised at Janet’s ability to seamlessly blend mystery, suspense and fantasy on the very real backdrop of WWII. How do you feel about the blended genres?

Erin: I absolutely adore them. Speaking of imaginative things, I think some of the most imaginative books I’ve read have been blended genres. There’s just something about mashups that brings out both the comfortingly familiar and the wonderfully surprising.

Finish this sentence: You must read The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle because …

Erin: …it will sweep you away to another time and place and you will be satisfied until the very last page!

Your favorite mystery as a kid?

Erin: I can’t pick just one! I was a voracious mystery reader, especially on summer vacation, when I’d devour every book by a mystery author—the Trixie Belden books, and Nancy Drew, and the Hardy Boys, and Agatha Christie, and Sherlock Holmes….Right now I’m exceptionally busy and stretched thin as I prepare to relocate across the country, and the reading I reach for? Mystery series. Even now, that is escapist comfort reading to me.

And since no good interview would be complete without a surprise question…What’s the oddest job you have ever had?

Erin: That’s a funny non-sequitur of a question! I guess it was the brief period when I was a Secret Diner, eating at various locations of a particular chain restaurant and turning in reports on the food quality, service, and cleanliness. But all I got paid was free meals.

Huge thanks to agent and secret diner extraordinaire, Erin Murphy, for sharing her thoughts on Janet’s wonderful story. Charmed Children of Rooksill Castle is at a bookstore or library near you. Today!

 

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IMG_9552   Elly Swartz is a middle-grade author whose debut novel, FINDING PERFECT, comes out October, 18, 2016 (FSG). FINDING PERFECT is a middle grade story about a twelve-year-old girl named Molly, friendship, family, betrayal, OCD, and a slam poetry competition that will determine everything. Elly lives in Brookline, Massachusetts with her husband, two sons and beagle named Lucy. If you want to connect with Elly or learn more about what she’s working on next, you can find her at www.ellyswartz.com, on Twitter @ellyswartz or Facebook.

 

 

 

 

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Life’s Gravy

Somewhere between drafting, revising, submitting and waiting, a book was created. I mean an actual, bound book with a cover and a title. And a name. An author’s name. My name. This is the are-you-kidding-I’m-freaking-out part. After 13 years, many hugs, Twizzlers and talks that included, ‘I believe in you’ and ‘just focus on the process,’ my debut book, FINDING PERFECT, is actually coming into the world. Where it will meet people who don’t eat Thanksgiving at my table and don’t know me.

For so long my focus never moved off the process. And, now, with a box about to be delivered to my door filled with galleys, my focus has moved from the journey to the actual book. And, if I am being spill-the-beans honest, I’m a blend of dreams-come-true excited and just plain old terrified.  This last part was a huge surprise to me.  I knew I’d be dance happy, but stomach-hurt-nervous, where did that come from?  Then I realized these feelings were similar to those I had when I sent my sons off to college. I was happy for them, but as a mom, I knew the days of me knowing everyone and everything in their lives was, well, over. And, once FINDING PERFECT no longer lives only on my computer to be shared solely with my family and friends, the days of me knowing everyone that reads my story will, well, be over, too.

And that is the absolute privilege of writing. That is the dream. And, that is also where my nerves and joy unite.

I have told myself that in those moments that I promise to remember something my mom used to say, “This is the gravy of life.” While she is no longer here with me, I still hear the words in her loving and mom-knows-best voice. And, you know what, she’s right. This IS the gravy of life. This ranks as a sing-in-the-shower, dance-like-crazy moment. So, when my nerves peek through, I’ve decided to turn up the volume of Happy by Pharrell, embrace my happy, and rock out to life’s gravy moments.

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IMG_9825  Elly Swartz is a middle-grade author whose debut novel, FINDING PERFECT, is coming out October, 18, 2016 (FSG). FINDING PERFECT is a middle grade story about a twelve-year-old girl named Molly, friendship, family, betrayal, OCD, and a slam poetry competition that will determine everything. It took thirteen years, numerous drafts, many Twizzlers, loads of hugs, and much unconditional love, to find her way to YES. Through the years, Elly’s been a Sesame Place ride operator, messenger, lawyer, legal author, and college essay adviser. She lives in Brookline, Massachusetts with her husband, two sons and beagle named Lucy. If you want to connect with Elly or learn more about what she’s working on, you can find her at www.ellyswartz.com, on Twitter @ellyswartz or Facebook.

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A Chat with Luke Reynolds, author of Bedtime Blastoff!

I had the wonderful opportunity to talk with Luke about his debut picture book – Bedtime Blastoff, life with two young boys, and how being a dad has changed what and how he writes. But first, a bit about Bedtime Blastoff.

For little kids who love construction vehicles, race cars, and fire trucks, this is the perfect bedtime story to get them strapped in and ready to blast off to bedtime!

Author Luke Reynolds captures this bedtime adventure with perfectly simple but poignant text, while debut illustrator and animator Mike Yamada brings it to life with his awesome ability to transform a bed into a rocket, a plane, and even a pirate ship!

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Now to my chat.

You have 2 boys, right?

Our oldest, Tyler, is seven and our youngest, Benjamin, is two, and they both love anything that invokes imagination!

Has being a dad changed how and what you write?

Before I became a dad, I thought the literary rainbow’s journey always ended in the genre of adult literary fiction—that was where the great stuff was at! But when we had Tyler, and I began reading thousands and thousands of picture books to him, I remember thinking, Man, these are amazing. The more I researched, I heard these incredible stories about long hours and months and years authors and illustrators put into these books—the love, dedication, and energy that imbued them. And when I watched my first son positively fall in love with the way a page turns, the reader-listener dance that happens with each new sequence, and the caesuras in action and pacing that allow for these beautiful moments of insights and joy, I was fully hooked. At the time, I had also switched from teaching in a high school to a middle school, and so my desire to write for middle-graders and younger kids skyrocketed because that’s what I saw in front of me all day—and that was the audience I wanted to inspire and connect with in everything I tried to write. I also find that I now write—like many parents—in bursts of creative energy either late at night or early in the morning or during a nap time on a weekend or…whenever there is time rather than anything close to resembling discipline! J

What was the inspiration for this book?

My wife, Jennifer, created this game with Tyler when he was little where he’d climb into a laundry basket and she’d zoom him all around the apartment. I loved it, and we would take turns pushing him around so each of us could rest. One night, I was putting Tyler to bed, and he saw the laundry basket in the corner of the room. I swear he got this spark in his eye, grinned, and then raced over to the basket and climbed in. To be honest, I didn’t really want to put him to bed yet, and I was still going on way too much coffee from the day, so I kind of asked him “Bedtime?” to which he jovially sputtered, “Not yet!”

And that night we started pretending the laundry basket was a helicopter, a digger, a race car, a jet—and we both just basically played until we collapsed. Much later that night, during a nighttime writing session, I stopped the novel I was working on because this poem just kept yelling at me that it had to get out. And that was the first draft of Bedtime Blastoff!

On teaching, what do you love most?

I love the way kids have these beautifully open minds. The world is so fresh to them—they see everything as though it has just been uncovered deep down in the dirt, like a treasure. And seeing them look at life that way energizes me. It makes me feel this deep sense of possibility in life, and I don’t want to squander it for myself or for them. Teaching reminds me that everything is worth it—every tiny smile, every little word we write, every glance, every hello, every high-five and every question. Nothing is wasted. Ever. It all matters.

 PB or book your boys love most right now?

One of Tyler’s all-time favorites is The Sunflower Sword by Mark Sperring and Miriam Latimer, and he and Jen created this amazing real-life rendition of the book: http://asparagusforbreakfast.blogspot.com/2012_02_01_archive.html

Recently, though, Tyler is loving every single Magic Tree House book and anything that has the words STAR and WARS anywhere on it. Ben absolutely adores On the Night You Were Born because it’s an audio version of my parents reading it aloud and he is mesmerized. They also both loved Sam and Dave Dig a Hole (which I read to my 7th graders and they also adored).

So garlic bread and cereal – 2 main food groups, what would be your 3rd?

I’d have to go with mangoes, preferable with a large side of garlic bread and cereal for dessert!

Oddest job you’ve ever had?

32-year old morning Paperboy!

 Character in a book you identify most with?

Alyosha in The Brothers Karamazov because he struggles with doubt but tries so desperately to hold onto hope and love and has to talk himself through so much fear and into love! Also, I kept seeing myself in Gary D. Schmidt’s character of Doug in Okay for Now. I wept through that whole book. (And when I wasn’t weeping, I was laughing hysterically—incredible reading experience!)

What’s next? Another PB? Any hints you are willing to share?

In July Surviving Middle School comes out—a book close to my heart because it is for my 7th graders and it is what I desperately want them to always remember.

 

So, that’s a wrap.  Thanks, Luke, for talking with me about being a writer, a teacher and a father!

You can get Luke’s BEDTIME BLASTOFF anywhere books are sold.

Indiebound

Barnes and Noble

Amazon

 

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IMG_9825    Elly Swartz is a middle-grade author whose debut novel, FINDING PERFECT, is coming out October, 2016 (FSG). It took thirteen years, numerous drafts, many Twizzlers, loads of hugs, and much unconditional love, to find her way to YES. Through the years, Elly’s been a Sesame Place ride operator, messenger, lawyer, legal author, and college essay adviser. She lives in Brookline, Massachusetts with her husband, two sons and beagle named Lucy. If you want to connect with Elly or learn more about what she’s working on, you can find her at www.ellyswartz.com, on Twitter @ellyswartz or Facebook.

 

 

 

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