Confessions of a DQ - guest post by Gail Karwoski and GIVEAWAY!
Today, I invited Gail Karwoski to drop by and tell us about her newest title, which I read when it was still a work-in-progress and I think you'll love. Take it away Gail!
It’s not my fault. Kid readers kept urging me so how could I resist? After all, I’m a DQ. (No, not Dairy Queen, Silly Reader … get your mind off dessert! DQ stands for Disaster Queen.)
Disasters have turned the plot of many of my books. For the sake of my readers, I’ve weathered shipwrecks and tsunamis, earthquakes and epidemics. So Hurricane Katrina was a natural event for me. I battened down my keyboard, and the result is here – and in time for hurricane season. My just-released novel, When Hurricane Katrina Hit Home, is being loaded onto the shelves of bookstores and libraries as heavy winds swirl across super-heated oceans.
Being a survivor of 17 years in the unpredictable publishing industry, I’ve gained both courage and chutzpah. This time, I put on my waterproof raincoat and experimented with the literary device of alternating narrators: Two New Orleans kids end up stranded on the same roof in a flooded street. One is Chazz Cohen, a teen from the well-to-do Garden District. The other is Lyric Talbert, a spunky girl from the Ninth Ward. The kids think they have nothing in common before the storm washes away surface differences. As both kids are tested to the limit of their endurance, they gain an appreciation for each other’s strengths. They come through the disaster with a new understanding of the richness of the place that they both call home.
This book grew like a well-watered weed. The first scene that popped into my head (and survived many edits and rewrites) was Chazz wading through a flooded house. Suddenly, he spots something swimming through the water and realizes … yikes, it’s a snake! With this eye-popping moment, I began telling Chazz’s story with my voice and my hands, in third person.
Then, without any planning, I began to write from a second point of view. Lyric, a level-headed, no-nonsense ten-year old girl wanted to tell her tale on her own terms, and she wasn’t gonna take no for an answer. So I gave in and alternated chapters, letting her tell it as she saw it.
But Chazz is a teenage boy, and he thought this was totally unfair – him being older, and Lyric having her own voice. So he humphed and he grumped until I gave in. “Okay, have it your way,” I told him. And he did. (I have to admit - even if it kills me to agree with a stubborn teen - that it’s a much tighter story now.)
Enough talking - the storm is on the way, and it’s time for you to get reading. If you act fast, you may be the lucky one to win a free copy. If not, go to your bookstore or library and put in your order. Remember: If you delay too long, you may find yourself stranded without a book to save you from disaster!
One lucky commenter will win a free signed and dedicated copy of WHEN HURRICANE KATRINA HIT HOME. (Must live in the continental US to win.) Sign up below:
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