So excited to present a special guest on the blog today! #DiversityDecBingo has been happening on many social media platforms be it Youtube, Instagram or Twitter. If you didn't already know that an awesome diversity event was happening, it's never too late to start. It was actually my fault for not sharing it on my blog, but I never had the time to write up a blog post. I apologize.
#DiversityDecBingo is a month long readathon created by yours truly and a group of diverse book advocates. All their usernames on twitter (and occasionally on Instagram) are directly on the Bingo sheet, so feel free to give them a follow.
It runs from the 1st to the 31st of December. Despite the fact that I'm sharing this news pretty late, you still have time to jump in and join us because the month is nowhere near over! A lot of us also have winter break to look forward to, and you should be able to finish your 5 books then. Once again, I apologize for bringing this up so late.
Anyways, the idea of the bingo sheet is to pick a row, column, or diagonal line to read in. You know how bingo works! We also included a free space for you to choose any diverse book that's perhaps not one of the categories on the sheet. Just have fun and remember that this sheet is not the strict definition of diversity! There are so many other diverse groups that we forgot to include, but yet again we could only include 25!
**If you won't be able to participate in #diversitydecbingo this month, don't forget to join us for #DiversityBingo2017, the year long version!
Meet Laura Silverman!
Title: Girl Out of Water
Author: Laura Silverman
Pages: 320 pages
Release Date: May 1st, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Anise Sawyer plans to spend every minute of summer with her friends: surfing, chowing down on fish tacos drizzled with wasabi balsamic vinegar, and throwing bonfires that blaze until dawn. But when a serious car wreck leaves her aunt, a single mother of three, with two broken legs, it forces Anise to say goodbye for the first time to Santa Cruz, the waves, her friends, and even a kindling romance, and fly with her dad to Nebraska for the entire summer. Living in Nebraska isn’t easy. Anise spends her days caring for her three younger cousins in the childhood home of her runaway mom, a wild figure who’s been flickering in and out of her life since birth, appearing for weeks at a time and then disappearing again for months, or even years, without a word.
Complicating matters is Lincoln, a one-armed, charismatic skater who pushes Anise to trade her surfboard for a skateboard. As Anise draws closer to Lincoln and takes on the full burden and joy of her cousins, she loses touch with her friends back home – leading her to one terrifying question: will she turn out just like her mom and spend her life leaving behind the ones she loves
Q&A with Laura Silverman: You asked the questions, she answered!
1. What influenced you to write GIRL OUT OF WATER?
I always wish I had a more interesting story for this question! The title used to be LANDLOCKED. The word came to me in the middle of the night, and I thought it sounded like an interesting title, so I built a story around the literal and figurative feeling of being landlocked. Ultimately, the title changed, but the themes stayed the same. I’ll always be grateful to that original title idea. I don’t think I’d have this book without it.
2. Approximately how long did it take you to write GIRL OUT OF WATER & how much research was involved?
The timeline gets a little complicated once you sign with an agent because there’s a lot of stop and start, but it took me about six months from first digging into the idea to signing with an agent. That said, I was incredibly lucky to have those six months. I was in graduate school for creative writing, so although I was also interning and freelance editing other manuscripts for work, my main job at the time was writing. And I had a built-in network of critique partners and an amazing thesis advisor. So I knocked out four or five full drafts fast. Research was never-ending, but I enjoyed it most of the time. I’d look up plants native to Nebraska and end up spending two hours pouring over different types of flowers J
3. What advice would you give to people hoping to write diverse characters outside their own experience?
Ooph. That’s a big question. The basics: Do your research. Google is your friend, Twitter is your friend, #ownvoices books are your friends, and sensitivity readers are your friends. Be ready to admit you’re wrong and actually fix the text. There’s no point in doing the research and getting help from sensitivity readers if you’re not going to actually absorb what you’re learning. And keep your audience in mind. Be kind and respectful. This tip from @mara_fitzgerald really resonated with me: “1am tip for writing a character of an identity you don't share: imagine a teen of that identity picking up your book at their worst moment.”
4. What is one thing you hope for your readers to get out of reading your book GIRL OUT OF WATER?
Is it cheesy to say I hope they get out of it whatever they need from it? Yes, that’s cheesy. But also it’s true. *eats some sharp cheddar and smiles*
5. Where do your books start? With a character, a theme, a scene or a general storyline?
All of the above! And often at the same time. What would this character do in this setting? What storyline would align with this theme?
6. If you could collaborate with any author for your next book, who would it be and why?
Ah! This is a surprisingly easy question because I’m already brewing up a YA contemporary side project with one of my best friends Anna Meriano. We went to graduate school together, and we were roommates for a year. Her MG debut LOVE SUGAR MAGIC comes out 2018 from Harper Collins. I want to collaborate with her because 1) she’s an amazing person and an absurdly gifted writer and 2) our story idea is really fun J *says nothing more about it*
7. What are your most anticipated 2017 releases?
This is always too difficult, so I’m just going to list the books I have in my possession that are next up on my TBR. I’ll probably start sorting by release date because ahh 2017 is almost here! I’m currently reading THE HATE U GIVE (yes, it’s that good), and I’m also incredibly excited for THE LOVE INTEREST, THE EDUCATION OF MARGOT SANCHEZ, THE GALLERY OF UNFINISHED GIRLS, and DONE DIRT CHEAP. There are so many more I’ve already read and loved and can’t wait to read. If you follow me on Twitter, I will probably blab about them all J
8. What was your first thought when you saw the cover for GIRL OUT OF WATER?
SHOULDERS. But really, I love how athletic Anise, the main character, appears. She looks like someone who battles waves daily! Also, the title font is gorgeous.