My new middle-grade novel Me and Banksy came out a couple weeks ago, so I’ve been visiting bookstores, chatting with book bloggers, and secretly sleeping with copies under my pillow. (Just kidding, but I do feel about new-book smell the same way my husband feels about new-car smell.)
Me and Banksy is the first of my books to have an audiobook edition, which I’ve already gushed about here. This week, I got to download and listen to it for the first time. My son, Violence, who has just turned thirteen (!!!) and who’s long been the biggest audiobook fan in our household, hung out with me in the kitchen listening to the first chapter. I think he’s decided I’m now a real writer.
There are reviews posted, including this one from Quill and Quire, one here from Shelf Awareness, and these lovely words from Publisher’s Weekly. Today, the Canadian Children’s Book Centre published an interview with me. I also have guest posts appearing on various book blogs next week, so watch this space for the links.
And thanks to everyone for your kind words and support!
Here’s some exciting news… Me and Banksy, my novel coming out with Penguin Random House next spring, is going to be an audio book!
My kids and I are big audio-book fans, so there were celebrations in my house. Everyone thought I was very glamorous for at least fifteen minutes, until they wanted to know what was for dinner and whether their martial arts gear was clean. But hey, those were fifteen dog minutes, and we parents take what we can get.
I had no idea how audio books were made. My friend Stacey sent me this great video, so I could pretend to be intelligent while on the phone with the producer, Ann. (“On the phone with the producer”… I wish I got to type that phrase more often.)
This is how an audio book gets made, from an author’s point of view:
Ann sent me sample audio files from three shortlisted actors. I was asked to review and rank these files, on the understanding that the publisher would have the final choice, and things might depend on each actor’s availability.
I listened to the audio files approximately one billion times. Fortunately, I had a live-in focus group and they were happy to give their opinions. We all loved an actor named Veronica Hortiguela. She sounded smart, funny, and emotional but not too emotional.
I sent the opinions of my focus group to Ann, who right away said that she’d offer Veronica the part.
Veronica said yes!
After the director read through the book, I received a list of pronunciation questions. Some of these, I could answer. For example, I knew how to pronounce my name. Other questions were more difficult. How did I want emojis handled? (I quickly consulted the focus group.) Artist Rineke Dijkstra is mentioned in the text. How should her name be pronounced? (Um… thank goodness for YouTube!)
Now production is underway.
It’s always thrilling to see a new book in print, but this time, I get double thrills. I get to hear the new book, too!
This was absolutely fascinating to write. I had no idea we experience so many chemical and neurological changes related to stress. Plus I got to research obsessive tennis players, fearless base jumpers, and feminist rat researchers. (Um… the researchers were feminists. I’m not sure about the rats.)
This is my first-ever book with Kids Can Press. They have been incredible to work with — not an ounce of anxiety involved! Plus they recruited the über-talented Marie-Ève Tremblay to do ever-so-subtly-silly illustrations.
I kind of want to sleep with this copy under my pillow. Would that be weird?
Speaking of weird, I have two more books coming out with Kids Can Press in the next couple years, both on subjects that also begin with the letter S. My accidental S-sound series will eventually include stress, stereotypes, and sleep.
The writing part of the next two books is complete, so I’d better get working on a new proposal. Smells, possibly? Snails? S’mores?
Under Pressure is out in September. But you could avoid any undue stress and pre-order your copy now.
Happy first day of school! It seems as if today should be about all things new, so I’ve decided to post the cover for my upcoming middle-grade novel, Mya’s Strategy to Save the World (Penguin Random House).
Here’s the official write-up:
Twelve-year-old Mya Parsons could save the world and organize her family, if only she had her own cell phone. A Dork Diaries for today’s socially conscious young readers.
Mya runs her school’s social justice club with her best friend, Cleo. Her lifelong desire is to work for the United Nations and change the world, and then bask in all the ensuing adulation. Her more immediate desire is to get a phone, preferably one like Cleo’s, with a leopard-print case to match. When her distracted dad and her long-distance mom (temporarily in Myanmar taking care of Mya’s grandmother) both say no, no way, and possibly never, Mya launches a campaign to prove herself reliable and deserving. She advertises her babysitting services, takes on more responsibility around the house, and attempts to supervise her sister’s skateboarding lessons. Her efforts leave her ego bruised and the kitchen slightly scorched. She’s no closer to touch-screen victory, let alone the Nobel Peace Prize she deserves. But all that changes after an accident leaves Mya to take charge—an experience which helps her realize how much she’s grown, with or without access to proper communications.
This is the most fun I’ve ever had writing a book, possibly because the cell phone issues in my house at the time proved so… um… inspirational. The book isn’t out until Spring 2019, but it’s officially available for pre-order now on Chapters Indigo and Amazon.
Since I posted about Prince of Poton Facebook last week, my friend Bettina in Switzerland has ordered a copy, my high-school friend Heather ordered one from Amazon UK, and my cousin Chelsea in Edmonton emailed to ask which method of ordering would have the most impact. (Thank you, Bettina, Heather, and Chelsea. You’re awesome.)
In case I have other friends and family members who might be willing to help with a little book promotion, I’ve put together a list of possible actions, complete with handy categories.
If you love me like store-bought cookies:
Consider posting “Can’t wait for Tanya Lloyd Kyi’s new PRINCE OF POT” on your Facebook or Twitter feed. Tag me, so I can share.
Tell your friends, your sister, your dentist, your kid’s teacher-librarian, and anyone on the street who looks bookish.
If you love me like coffee-shop macadamia nut cookies:
All the above.
PLUS, stop in at your local independent store and ask for a copy. If they don’t have one, say, “Oh, she’s awesome. I love her better than store-bought cookies. You should probably order the book.”
OR, pre-order a copy on Amazon or Chapters Indigo. Pre-orders help booksellers decide to stock extra copies.
If you love me like homemade chocolate chip cookies, still a little gooey in the middle:
All of the above.
PLUS, rate the book on the Goodreads, Amazon, or Chapters websites. Preferably, rate it highly. My mom asked her friends to do this for me once, and one of them got confused and gave me one star. At least, I hope she was confused…
Post a picture of yourself reading my book. Tag me, so I can share.
If you love me like Christmas shortbread:
Hi, Mom! Thanks for reading this far. I’ll send you your copy in the mail!
I am terrible at keeping secrets. I tell you this not so you’ll keep from me your pregnancy and job interview news (though you probably should), but so you’ll understand how painful it was for me to keep THIS a secret for the six years weeks it took to sign the contracts.
I wrote a middle-grade novel! And someone liked it!
Titles sometimes change, but at this moment the book is called THE CAMPAIGN. It’s the story of one 12-year-old girl’s plan to get her own cell phone. (And if there was a 12-year-old girl in my house this year who happened to be lobbying for a phone, that was a complete coincidence.)
It’s going to come out with Tundra Books in 2019. Which seems like a long time from now, but at least I can talk about it until then!
My upcoming YA novel, Prince of Pot, is officially up on the Groundwood Books website, complete with cover! I could not be more excited. The book will be released this fall. Feel free to join me in nail-biting until then.
If your new year’s resolution is to write a book, mark March 8th on your calendar. The annual Vancouver Public Library/CWILL BC panel on children’s book publishing is always a fun and information night.
The Canadian Children’s Book Centre released its Best Books for Kids & Teens 2015 edition last week. I’m sure I’m not the only person who treats it as a giant to-read list each winter. I’m also honoured to have a book included.
Minding Nana is a true story I wrote about growing up next door to my grandma, who suffered from dementia. Pearson released a Well Aware series of 60 books for middle-grade readers this year, all focussed on different aspects of mental health, and Minding Nana was included. It was a difficult story to write and I sort of felt as if I had sold my soul by publishing it (much easier to write other people’s stories!), so I am sincerely touched to have it included by the CCBC.