Monday, July 9, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - Tracing Stars and a Giveaway

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday
I know I don't normally do MMGM posts on the 2nd Tuesday of the month, but I have a great new book to share today as part of its blog tour - Tracing Stars by Erin E. Moulton. Keep on reading for more info, a Q&A with Erin and the details on how to participate in a giveaway of a signed ARC.

Tracing Stars
by: Erin E. Moulton
Philomel Books - May 2012

First a description (from Erin's website):
Indie Lee Chickory is the fish freak of Plumtown. She's an expert at making fish faces and has a pet, The Lobster Monty Cola, who lives in a salt-water pool outside her bedroom window. But while she likes fish very much, not everyone else does, which makes finding friends a little difficult. Sure there’s her older sister, Bebe, but she has other friends—and also has a starring role in the upcoming town musical, which has made her pretty popular. So when Indie accidentally brings Monty to school, to disastrous results, Bebe almost dies of embarrassment and Indie is left without anyone. No friends, no sister, and no lobster.

One night, Indie wishes on her favorite star. She wants to find the lobster Monty Cola and to be a better Chickory so that Bebe will like her again. But finding Monty and being a better Chickory is an all day and all night job. During the day, Indie works at the theater, showing Bebe and her friends how much she can fit in with their crew. And at night, she searches for her lost lobster by building a fishing boat up in a tree with Owen Stone, who works in the props shop. Everything seems to be going well—until Bebe and her gang make it clear that being friends with Owen is a ticket straight to loserville.

Can Indie keep her friendship with Owen a secret? And will doing so make her a better Chickory—or a worse one?

I absolutely loved this book! First it takes place by the ocean, which is always a setting I enjoy. The details and description make me feel like I'm right there in Plumtown. Secondly, the plot is very real and down-to-earth, something every middle-schooler can imagine happening to them. Indie and Bebe are true sisters and are dealing with issues that many siblings face. The book ends in a realistic way and shows how sometimes wishes can come true, just not in the way expected.

I would like to hand it over to Erin for a few questions.

Indie Lee Chickory is such an unusual name. How did you decide that would be the name of your main character?
I love naming my characters. I actually threw in Indie’s name at the outset of the project thinking it would change. As you know, Tracing Stars is all about individuality and so I thought Indie would be very fitting. Little did I know, it was just about the only thing from the outline that stuck!

Tracing Stars is written in first person. Was that the plan from the beginning or was it a trial and error decision?
Hrm, good question. I think my natural voice is in first person present tense. Sometimes I try to switch that around and it doesn’t feel easy. I find that if I am writing in another point of view or tense I have to focus very hard on it or I will automatically switch back into first person present randomly in the manuscript. I hope as I grow as a writer that other points of view will become more automatic.

I loved Tracing Stars and am adding Flutter to my to-read pile. Any other books in the works?
Yay! I hope you like FLUTTER! I do actually have two others I am working on. The easiest to explain--and the most developed--is a treasure hunt that takes place at Fort Ticonderoga. The story centers on an 11 year old history buff, Valore “the snore” Arbuckle, her dog, Petty Officer Boone, and her playground bully, Melanie Burkram, as they search for lost revolutionary war treasure.

And lastly, any words of wisdom for myself and other authors looking to make that first book sale?
I think the most important thing is to acknowledge what you are good at and use it! Authenticity is a big factor in any good story and you can’t write something truly authentic without digging deep and understanding what you know and what you can do.

Other than that, the will to persevere and keep your head in the game. Rejection is not easy, but you certainly aren’t going to get anywhere if you quit, so while you are subbing your work around pull something else out and start working on it. Let time do its thing.

Erin's Bio:
Erin E. Moulton graduated with an MFA in Writing for Children from the Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2007. She is the author of Flutter: The Story of Four Sisters and One Incredible Journey (Philomel/Penguin 2011), and Tracing Stars (Philomel/Penguin 2012). Erin is co-founder of the Kinship Writers Association and is currently the YA librarian at the Derry Public Library. Erin lives in Southern New Hampshire with her husband and puppy where she writes, reads, drinks tea and dreams. You can visit her online at or on Facebook as Erin E. Moulton (Author), or find her on twitter @erinemoulton.

I love Erin's advice and it's so true! Now, for the giveaway. Erin has generously offered a signed ARC of Tracing Stars to one of my followers. All you need to do to enter is be a follower (either via google or email) and leave a comment on this post by Saturday, July 14th at midnight EST. (US and Canada entries only, please.) I will give you an extra entry for sharing the post in some way, either via your own blog, Facebook or Twitter, just let me know in your comment.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great week! For other MMGM blogs that I love, check out my list to the right.