Monday, January 28, 2008

What's your Mushroom Factor?

Those of you who’ve ever taken up a home renovation project are probably familiar with the “mushroom factor” – you decide to fix that leaky faucet, then you discover that the leak has been going on so long that the counter has rotted out beneath it and the floor is getting kind of mushy. So you start tearing that out and you see that the genius who put the sink in decided that it was okay to cut a huge hole in a support beam to run the pipe through and now oops—the beam’s starting to crack. So you open up a little more and—oh, my God!—the mice have gotten in and are chewing your electrical wires and your house is a bonfire just waiting to happen….

Well, I’ve realized that the same thing seems to be happening with my research on the historical novel I’m working on. The last one wasn’t too mushroomy, because it developed around information I’d already gathered during the course of working at Old Sturbridge Village. But for this one, I had to send my characters on a road trip, so now I’ve got to find out about: transportation, inns and taverns, every person/business they encounter along the way (with, of course, period-appropriate names, occupations, tools, clothes, etc., etc.). Plus I have to pick out a route for them and find out about the towns along the route. Then one of my characters decided to work on the railroad, another stubbornly insists on taking up with a prostitute (I told him this was a YA book, and he said “Well, that would be the ‘adult’ part, wouldn’t it?"), a third is getting embroiled in a child custody dispute, and somehow a circus with a conjuror, jugglers, singers, and six dancing ponies have been thrown into the mix. Whew! I can see myself researching this until doomsday and never getting all the details I’ll need to make it right!

So my question for you writers out there is—does your writing have a “mushroom factor,” too? What is it and how do you handle it?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Class of 2k8 Scavenger Hunt!

Answer questions! Win books! Check out the Class of 2k8 scavenger hunt. It's a mid-term you'll want to take!

It's easy. Each quarter The Class of 2k8 will host a contest. This quarter we've gone with a virtual scavenger hunt. Simply find the answers to ten questions about Class of 2k8 books posted on the Class's contest page. Email your correct answers to Once we've checked your answers we'll notify you that you've been entered into a drawing to win books from our fabulous authors! So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and get started!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Introducing the Haunting Lisa Schroeder!

The Class of 2k8's second launch is on its way. Lisa Schroeder's debut novel, I Heart You, You Haunt Me (from Simon Pulse Books) hits the shelves this month. Lisa's poignant novel in verse got a 5 star review for YA Books Central! Check out this excerpt at the Class of 2k8 website. Or go to Lisa's web page for more details. Lisa will be featured next week on the Class of 2k8 blog.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Class of 2k8 first release!

Big things are in store for Liz Gallagher, the Class of 2k8’s first baby to be officially launched. Her debut novel, The Opposite of Invisible (from Wendy Lamb Books) hits the shelves today. Way to go, Liz!!! Liz's book follows a Seattle teenager as she wrestles with the difference between a crush and love, and love and best friendship--I can't wait for my copy to hit my mailbox. Check out this excerpt at the Class of 2k8 website. Or go to Liz's web page for more details. Liz will be featured all week on the Class of 2k8 blog, letting us know how it feels to be a first-time author with her dream come true.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Class of 2k8 is alive and kicking!

News of the Class of 2k8 is getting around! Check out the Class Blog to see where we've been mentioned. And, of course, I was delighted to see that Ron Hogan, editor of the Galley Cat blog ("The first word on the book publishing industry") at Media Bistro, not only gives the Class of 2k8 a thumb's up, but also gives A Difficult Boy a teeny mention. Check it out!

Meanwhile, I can't wait to get my hands on the first two Class of 2k8 books: Liz Gallagher's The Opposite of Invisible and Lisa Schroeder's I Heart You, You Haunt Me - both hitting the bookstands (and, with any luck, my mailbox!) in the next couple of weeks. Liz will be featured on the 2k8 blog next week, and Lisa just gave this great interview at Authorlink.