Deep Valley Book Festival

Deep Valley Book Festival–Betsy-Tacy Society Calendar of Events.

The Deep Valley Homecoming is coming up at the end of June. Author Melissa Wiley (whom I met at ALA in San Diego a couple years ago) will be a featured speaker. This will be fun. Check the above calendar. Book Festival/Book Fair is Sunday at Sibley Park. I’ll be selling Chasing AllieCat, Beauty Missing, Hair Hissing: Medusa Tells All, and Girl Meets Boy Because There are Two Sides to Every Story.



Jake Riley email makin’ my day

Last night, I finished the reading edit of my latest novel, Who the Frack is Maddie Jackson?  I was pretty happy.

This morning, I got up, ready to email a query and to send it off to FLUX, who published Chasing AllieCat and has first right of refusal for my next YA novel.

I turned on my email, and was overjoyed to receive this email:

“To Rebecca,

My name is Kayla and I have been reading your novel Jake Riley: Irreparably Damaged over and over again since the 6th grade. I am now in 9th and just got done reading your book literally 2 mins ago. I’d like to ask you a couple questions if I may, 1.) What was your inspiration to write this story because I find it especially intriguing, because so much psychological things were put into this book. Also 2.) If you could/ would write an extended version of this book what would you say would happen to Lainey and Jake and if they would ever meet again. As stated above I love this book and just can not get enough of it! If you do not get the chance to open or respond to this email, I completely understand but if possible I’d love to know!

Awaiting eagerly, Kayla”
This was about the nicest news I could get.
So I wrote back:
Hi Kayla,

You completely made my day with this email. Thanks for writing!

1. My inspiration was that I wanted to write a book set on the farm…I love the country, and since it’s what I know, I like to use that for setting. All I started with were two kids in an oats field chasing fireflies, and didn’t know where it would go. When Jake pulled Lainey’s shirt up, I knew he had a history of trouble and hurt inside, and then I had to figure out what that was. This book is the one I’ve written where I knew least how it would end at the time I started it. Oh, and the book I wrote before this was rejected over and over. One editor told me that the story in that book wasn’t unique enough, but he liked how I wrote. He said, “If you write something more idiosyncratic, please send it my way.” So I set out to write an idiosyncratic book set in the country!

2. I actually started a sequel, and then my editor told me to “leave Jake alone…let him be a mystery…” so I did. However, what I had Jake do was hop a semi, hitchiking north and west. He sends Lainey postcards from along the way, but since he doesn’t want to be found, they never come from where he actually is at the time–only from where he’s been. Lainey tries to track him down, and it takes a long time…That’s as far as I got with the story, but I intended that her friendship would be the healing element for him to finally quit hating himself and be able to have a life. I think wherever he ends up, he also might become a mountain biker or BMX rider, which finally gives him the confidence he needs to like his life and eventually come home and be with his dad again.

That’s how it plays out in my head. Do you have a different idea? If I ever do write the sequel, Jake might decide something slightly different.

Thanks again for writing, Kayla.


P.S. Would you mind if I put your letter (with only your first name and no email address) on my blog? 🙂 You really did make my day.
And she answered:
“To answer your question I think that Jake would struggle alot with what has happened in the past and take a long time to wrap his head around not having to be like those boys or like the guy he has been. I think he would try to find some thing to channel his emotions and maybe even become a veterinarian. As for Lainey I think that she would try to move on and focus on cross country and hopefully not having to punch anymore boys to set it back. I’m not sure if they would meet again because Jake has been on his own for a long time, he wouldn’t be willing to just come back. But if they did meet I think that they would have to re get to know eachother because they both have changed so much.
           Thank you so much for responding,[…]and I wouldn’t mind at all!   Kayla”
I have to say again, this COMPLETELY made my day! I think Kayla’s understanding of these two characters and how they grew is even better than the response I gave her. What a terrific reader she is! (And I have a hunch…maybe she’s a writer, too. Maybe someday I can write her a fan letter).

Required Reading for Singletrack High: Chasing AllieCat

So….I’m hoping if we want kids to RIDE–which we DO–maybe we want kids to READ as well. Wouldn’t everybody in this documentary love to read about mountain biking kids as well?

Chasing AllieCat!

SPRING! Theater, and Blog Tour continues.

Spring! Spring, spring!

Can anyone anywhere love spring more than Minnesotans and Canadians? It’s not possible to be more grateful for melting snow mounds and the sight of bright green grass, is it?
And a bike ride outside (yes, I got one in this weekend in spite of an insane amount of work to do)!
Joe is on the block today on the Teen Book Scene Blog Tour. You can read his interview here at Reading Teen. And don’t forget that you can click on the icon here to donate to “Give a Girl a Bike” through Global Giving. Every meaningful comment on one of the host blogs will result in a dollar donated, too. $50 buys a girl in India a bike, which means the difference between being able to go to school or not getting an education.
Besides trying to get a bunch of grading done this weekend, trying to finish my part of the Program Review for Liberal Arts and Sciences report, playing with Freya in the woods, and riding my bike, I went to two theater productions in the Twin Cities: “Annie” by the Immaculate Heart of Mary Middle School in Minnetonka, which was SPECTACULAR and made it hard to believe that it was all seventh and eight-graders on stage.
Five of my Humanities students and I went to the Guthrie on Sunday to see “A Winter’s Tale” by Shakespeare. I’d never seen this play, or read it, which is sort of rare for an English major. I hadn’t heard the best reviews about it, but I actually truly enjoyed it, and my students did too. We had quite a lot to talk about on the way home. The two time periods of the two acts made sense if we considered the first act to be about 1950, and sixteen years later put it smack-dab in the sixties flower children era.
At any rate, every one of my students can’t wait to get back to the Guthrie, so it was worth every minute and every penny spent.
Oh, yeah, I also did a reading/book event at the Blue Earth County Library Saturday morning. It was small, but there were great questions, and we had a delightful discussion. Thanks, thanks, thanks to those of you who came, and to Jennifer Cassman for organizing it!