Hearing voices

I’m talking to myself this morning, practicing to be part of YA: The Trilogy at the Central Branch of the Vancouver Public Library tomorrow. There’s a whole slew of local YA writers presenting and reading, including Sara Leach, Carrie Mac, Melanie Jackson, and current VPL writer-in-resident Gabrielle Prendergast.

In the afternoon session, I get to talk about taking non-fiction “outside the box.” But mostly, this morning, I’m thinking about my first presentation, which must fit under the category “What IS Young Adult Literature and Why Should I Read/Write It?” My plan is to talk about voice and how it stems partly from place, then read a little from both Anywhere But Here and my newest work-in-progress.

I have 10 minutes or less in each session to be funny or enlightening or both. Totally doable, right? (Don’t answer that.)

I read an amazing YA novel over the weekend, which is part of what has me mulling about voice. The book is Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern, and one of the protagonists is Amy, a girl with cerebral palsy. Because Amy is bright, and has spent much of her life with adult aides, there’s a wonderful adult quality to her thoughts. One of my favourite scenes in the entire book is one in which she points out to fellow student Sanjay that his talk of “conquests” may actually be a problem in the girl department.

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Amy is struggling with all the emotions every other teen faces, and so, despite her educated and adult thoughts, she still agonizes about clothes and kissing and her big crush — all in maybe even a younger-than-teen way. The two sides of Amy make her an entirely unique character.

But enough about Amy. Let’s go back to talking about me, and how I’m going to ensure I sound like an adult at the podium tomorrow. How does one pronounce “pedantic” anyway? Did you know I had an argument with an urban planner last week about whether one was supposed to pronounce detritus as “dee-tree-us” or “dee-trite-us”? The urban planner won.

You see why my solo practicing is necessary…

Feel free to stop by and say hi at YA: The Trilogy! And tell me if I pronounce things wrong.

Boy talk

Someone asked me recently why I chose a male protagonist for Anywhere But Here, and how I managed a male voice. Both questions have the same answer: I chose a guy because I didn’t want my main character to be too reasonable, and guys’ brains work in strange and alien ways. For example…

Guys use nicknames. I don’t spot my friend Shanda and yell, “Hey, Shandski” or “Shandmeister” or “The Shand.” I don’t call her by her last name. I don’t call her “bro” or “man” or “bud.” Guys do all of these things. ALL the time. (I have no idea why. I’m not here to explain the male brain. Just to report my observations.)

According to a parenting book I read about communicating with boys, males think best while moving. And from experience, I know that they can’t think at all when confronted by an angry woman. So, if my male protagonist is going to have a major realization, he’s unlikely to have it during an intense conversation. He’s more likely to have it in the car on the way home.

Guys are more likely to show sadness as anger. So while a heartbroken girl protagonist can cry in the bathroom, my heartbroken male protagonist is going to pick a fight instead.

Anyone else have deep thoughts to offer on this alien species?

DVD Extras!

There’s an extra scene from Anywhere But Here posted today on Wattpad.

It’s a favourite scene of mine, but during one of my revision stages I decided the book needed an actual plot and I began creating charts and graphs and timelines and all those other logical things I usually avoid. I found this particular chapter, while entertaining, didn’t serve a discernible purpose. So, repeating “kill your darlings” to myself (that’s classic writing advice, for those of you who don’t spend your days with your nose in how-to-write-a-decent-novel guides like I do), I cut it.

And then I regretted it.

I told myself I could sneak it into a future book. Realistically, though, it’s about skinny dipping in a lightning storm. How many books is that going to fit into?

Fortunately, Wattpad came to my rescue.

I rewrote the scene and found, now that my mind has some distance from the book and some clarity, the text probably should have been included in the first place. There was meaning after all!

Whew. A lot of blathering about one scene. Feel free to charge me for these moments of therapy. And please check out Wattpad!

Launched!

Anywhere But Here was officially launched last night, with plenty of fun and fanfair, and perhaps a teensy bit of Prosecco.

Kidsbooks did an amazing job of hosting a big crowd of friendly folks.

And wow — worlds collided for me. There were school friends there, and writing friends, and parent friends, and people I didn’t know at all! (Though I assume most of them came with my co-launcher, the lovely-in-pink Gabrielle Prendergast.) Min asked me if I was nervous speaking, but it was such a friendly gang that I think they would have applauded even if I spoke complete gibberish. (Which I may have. Who knows?)

Here’s a photo of me attempting to appear calm and collected while Simon and Schuster sales rep extraordinaire Kate Saunders offered a lovely introduction:

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Dirty Girls Joanna and Alex with their new favourite book:

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One of the many displays ALL over the store. Look how nicely the Anywhere But Here and Audacious covers matched.

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Coincidentally, Gabrielle and I matched, too! Though I’m thinking I should have placed that pink Audacious pin a little higher. Does it look like I have a mutant nipple, or is it just me?

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And finally, writers Rachelle Delaney and Lori Sherritt-Fleming, two of the Insklingers, without whom the book would never have been written.

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Thanks to everyone who came to celebrate with me!

Squee!

I spotted this display at Kidsbooks on the weekend. Well, actually, my kids spotted this display at Kidsbooks. Then all three of us spent quite a while squealing and jumping up and down in front of it. If this photo is blurry, it’s because my insides are still jumping.

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There is a rule in blogging: you’re not supposed to talk about yourself ALL the time. I’ve read that the maximum allowable is 25%. The rest of the time, you’re supposed to be useful to others.

Well, realistically, have I ever been useful?

To make matters worse, not only am I talking about myself here, I’m also navel-gazing on the CWILL blog today, as part of CWILL BC’s Starting Points series.

 

Happy Birthday!

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Today is my book birthday! Anywhere But Here is officially in stores and I am beyond excited.

So, how am I going to celebrate this momentous occasion?

More shopping, perhaps?

A glass of champagne with lunch?

A browse through local bookstores?

No. Through a feat of truly terrible scheduling on my part, I’m off to have my annual physical. But my doctor is quite nice. So maybe we can chat about books. While she’s… you know.

It’s a boy!

Alright, get out your magnifying glass (and maybe your champagne glass, too) and take a look at this:

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You may want to read it again. Really, go ahead. I’ll wait. Because it’s from Publishers Marketplace and it says my name and Simon & Schuster and Anywhere but Here, the title of my Fall 2013 YA novel.

Ooooh… I’m so excited. Hang on, I just have to read it one more time. And then I have to look at the Quill & Quire announcement.

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Do you see where it says “Vancouver author Tanya Lloyd Kyi”? Yeah. I love that part. And the line where it says “Simon & Schuster”? My other favourite.

Last year I started working with Patricia Ocampo at Transatlantic Literary Agency, and she sent this book along to Simon & Schuster, where I worked with editor extraordinaire Annette Pollert, and now Anywhere but Here is going to be a real book!

My hot, documentary-filmmaking, imaginary guy is going to star in a real book. And he’s not just hot in my imagination anymore: you should SEE the cover. But you can’t. Because it’s not quite ready for revealing yet. We’ll save that for 2013!

Have a wonderful Christmas, all!