Friday, July 16, 2010

Cuckoo for Canary

Rachele Alpine over at Freckle Head was sweet enough to answer a few questions on her life as a writer and her book that is currently in submissions!! She's also hosting a contest today over at her blog so check it out!!!

1. So Rachele you are a YA author who has a novel currently on submission titled Canary, could you tell all of us what it is about?

Ugh! For some reason I have the worst elevator pitch for my book ever. I try to sum it up and it just sounds nuts. Nonwriters will ask me what my book is about and I’m like, “Well, there’s this girl, whose dad is coach at a new school and she goes to the school and she’s able to be accepted pretty easy but her brother isn’t and he’s bullied by the school and blah blah blah…” and it just sounds like I’m rambling!

I’ll give you the summary I include in my query, which is the plot in one paragraph!
Kate Franklin’s dad is good at coaching basketball; what he isn’t good at is communicating with Kate and her brother Brett. When her mother dies, he shuts down, throwing himself into basketball as a way to cope with his grief, leaving Kate alone in silence. When he lands a job at Beacon, Kate finds it easy to fit in when she starts dating a player on the team, while her brother, shy and weak, is rejected by the school. Kate quickly learns to overlook the perks given to the athletes who openly disgrace her brother for not being one of them. However, the players take their power too far one night at a party and Kate is raped. Kate doesn’t stay silent about the rape, but her accusations aren’t accepted by the Beacon community. The school rallies with the team and lashes out at her. Ugly rumors are created to destroy Kate and her credibility. She’s not praised for her decision to be truthful, but instead, it brings terrible consequences. The final blow comes when her dad tries to silence her in order to protect the team. The world that Kate believed was safe is now her worst enemy, and Kate must decide whether to stay silent or expose the corruption, destroying her father’s career and bringing down a town’s heroes.

2. How long did it take you to write Canary? Revise? Query?

I started CANARY in the summer of 2007. I mainly wrote it in the summers of 2007 and 2008, although it’s evolved so much from the story it was then. I got serious about querying in the fall of 2008, spent the time doing some hard core editing and started to query in January of 2009.

3. How did you celebrate finding an agent? Sing, dance, hop around with a kangaroo?

Oh, there was a total dance party…I love to dance and there was much dancing, jumping and squealing involved. The night I made my decision to sign with Lina, my boyfriend and I shook up a bottle of champagne, all over the kitchen. When I settled down a bit, I did some things I was waiting to do… I got myself some totally awesome business cards, started my blog and bought a Macbook.

4. I saw that you taught High School, what grade and subject?

I do teach high school and am loving my job right now because it’s summer break! I teach 10th grade Language Arts and Creative Writing. I love both classes, the tenth grade subject area is American Literature and I’m working hard with the librarian to incorporate a lot of YA into the curriculum.

5. Do you have any other stories currently in the works?

I do, I do! I actually have two, which is crazy for me because it seems like the two are warring against each other inside my head. I never know what one I’ll sit down and work on, because they both are fighting to get out. This past week I’ve been working on one more than another, but that could change. It’s so strange to have two different ideas, but I feel so passionate about both that I don’t think I can push one aside. Well, the truth is that they won’t let me!

The first is one I’ve been thinking about for over a year. It’s a contemporary YA about a small farm town in Indiana. It involves two sisters, a tragedy and how people deal with things after. I’m intrigued about how our nation came together after 911 and we all held onto each other (even complete strangers), glued together from tragedy. There’s an image from the event of a crowd of people with a little girl looking up towards the heavens and holding a flag that I keep near me when I’m writing this new book. It evokes so much emotion from me every time I look at it. I’m
exploring the idea of what we hold onto when there is nothing left to hold on to and how people often cling to false hope. I write by hand first and I have three notebooks full of scenes, dialogue and ideas for the book. I just started typing everything up and it’s going to be a task in and among itself!

The second book is a risk. It’s a tough story (I call it my Living Dead Girl book because the subject isn’t easy) with dual narrators. One of the narrators may be unreliable and you may feel empathy towards things that you might later be angry with me for making you feel that way. I know this is vague, but this story came as a surprise and I’m still trying to figure out what to make of it. Every time I try to push it aside, the characters keep coming back.

6. Was Canary the first novel you finished or do you have several others currently collecting dust?

It was my first novel and it felt training for a marathon. The second book (or books) are coming along a bit easier, because I’ve learned from some of my mistakes with CANARY, but it still seems like such a daunting task. I can’t imagine having books that I wrote and then trunked. That would be too hard for me (so let’s hope CANARY sells!).

Fun & Random Questions
Favorite pizza spot: My backyard barbeque! My boyfriend and I have perfected pizzas on the grill, and I’m not sure I can go back to anything else after making them outside. It took a lot of attempts to get it right, but it was worth it…they’re so good. I pile mine up with vegetables so it’s a mountain of goodness!
Chocolate or gummy bears: Gummy all the way…I love gummy candy. I’m actually not much of a sweets person, but I’ll do just about anything for gummy peaches with the candy store near me called Malley’s Chocolates. Lucky for me, my boyfriend’s mom works for the company!
Favorite writing snack: Gummy peaches, Diet Mountain Dew, edamamae
Favorite season: Fall…even though summer ends and it’s back to school, I love the chill in the air, football games (I grew up near the high school in my city and used to fall asleep to the sound of the band playing and people cheering), the smell of fires and leaves, hot cider and sweaters without winter jackets.

So there is the lovely miss Rachele Alpine, isn't she a doll?!!! I love her so be sure to check her out and follow her if you have yet to do so! Remember she is also running a contest so make sure you check it out!!!


JE said...

Pizza on the grill?? I'm assuming with a pre-made crust, right? Otherwise, it sounds messy.

Great interview!


Vicki Rocho said...

I want to try your pizza! YUM.

Another great interview--have a fab weekend all!

Carolyn V. said...

I want to try that pizza too and the gummy peach. I've never heard of them before. Yum!!! Great interview!

Diana Mieczan said...

I am so up for that pizza:) Such a great interview:) Kisses ladies and have a wonderful Friday:)

Candyland said...

No kidding-pizza?!!! Funny, it's all everyone's commenting about,lol.
Another great interview!

Laura Pauling said...

Great interview! Good luck with Canary. And grilled pizza sounds so yummy!

Susan Fields said...

Her book sounds so good! And I totally love fall, too. Thanks for another great interview, Jen!

Jessica Bell said...

Great interview! I don't know how I'd handle having to shelve a book I sweated over either ... :o)

Stina said...

Great interview!! And I can't wait to read the book *crosses fingers that will be able to read it one day*.

I haven't blogged all week (oops! including today), but I missed you Jen, and wanted to drop by to tell you to have a great weekend. :D

Angie said...

Awesome interview!! Crossing my fingers too that it'll get pubbed.

Joanne said...

Thanks for the interview, Rachele and Jen. I have a question for Rachele ... Do you think that your environment as a teacher helps inform your work in the YA genre, in settings and characteristics? And best wishes with Canary!

Kristan said...

Edamame, ew! But the two new ideas sound lovely! I can't wait to hear more about them. (And READ them eventually! ;D)

Thanks for the great interview, y'all.

Lenny Lee said...

wow another cool interview. that canary book sounds really good. i like books that teach us something on life. i got a whole list of books to get just from reading the interviews. i write out my stuff too with a pencil and paper. im not a good typer so my brother puts it in the computer for me. im learning to type but im pretty slow at it. ha ha.
...smiles from lenny

Matthew MacNish said...

Rachele is the best! I'm sure CANARY will sell soon.

Theresa Milstein said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Theresa Milstein said...

Canary sounds like a powerful book.

As a teen, I read a book about a girl who was date raped, and nobody believed her story. When she went to court, they tried to make her sound like a slut. I was so enraged. It opened my eyes. It's a shame that all this time later, this type of story still needs to be told.

Crystal Cook said...

Another great interview! Have a great weekend Jen!

Laura S. said...

Rachele's novel sounds awesomely intense!

Pizza is my favorite food. I've never had it on the grill, though!!! Rachele, if you can, share your recipe with us!

Jillian said...

The book sounds like such a relatable read. I love the fact that you are a teacher, to me that is the most admirable job in the world. My 10th grade english teacher was the person who inspired me to write!

Clara said...

Wow that is a strong premise, very interesting!
I´d totally throw a dance party too!

Janet Johnson said...

She is great! But what is edamame? Or did I read it wrong? I'm dying to know!

Jemi Fraser said...

Wow - terrific premise - sounds like a powerful book.

Thanks for sharing :)

Robert Guthrie said...

CANARY sounds compelling. And good luck w/the librarian & YA!

Christina Lee said...

Yeah Rachele--she has become my bud (we live in the same city and belong to the same book club)--so I am rooting for her big time!

The Words Crafter said...

I'm very intrigued by the second WIP that was mentioned...Canary sounds intense, good luck with it. Great interview!

Kristin Rae said...

She sounds super fun! Interesting book storyline too!

You are quite the interviewer these days! I can't get over it!

Paigeewa said...

Hello! I like that you found me on Rachele's blog and wanted to say hi! So this is me saying hi back! I like meeting new people too!

Awesome interview, I love reading interviews with YA authors and authors in general, but YA ones always seem to be so much more approachable!

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

congrats on getting that agent! sounds like a lot of fun things going on your life. hope you can influence those high schoolers!

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Wow! This is a serious topic, and I feel sure you will land yourself a publishing deal. I'm also checking out your blog site.

Thanks for the interview, Jen and Rachele!

Rachele Alpine said...

Jen....thanks again for featuring me! I had fun with your interview! :)