Friday, January 16, 2009

FREEBIE FRIDAY On The Road - Logsted Edition

Guten tag! I'm writing to you today from beautiful Heidelberg. It's absolutely stunning here... but COLD. I don't mind too much, though. It's been a great trip so far. I even got to meet book blogger Lenore in Frankfurt for an evening of sushi and laughs along with her DH Daniel and their friend (whose name I will misspell even though it is simple and she told me how to spell it - but I claim jet-lag induced memory loss.) Edited to add: It's Weina! Sorry about that, Weina! (I cheated and looked at Lenore's post about our fab night out...)

Meanwhile, I'm shivering under my federbett, but very happy to bring you a unique Freebie Friday today with my online friend, agency and Teen Fiction Cafe sister, Lauren-Baratz Logsted, along with her husband Greg Logsted and daughter Jackie Logsted.
In celebration of the recent release of the first two books in their SISTERS EIGHT series (which Kirkus Reviews calls "tales of thrills, suspense and hijinks should satisfy adventure-seeking young readers") and Greg's latest release, SOMETHING HAPPENED ("Shockingly real" according to TeenReads Too), the Logsteds are providing the Freebies today. Yes, that was plural. Details after the interview:

What inspired you to write SISTERS EIGHT and make it a family project?
LBL: In December 2006, when our daughter Jackie was still just six years old, a blizzard stranded us in Colorado for 10 days with neither TV nor other kids for her to play with. Near the end, desperate for new things to do, I remembered that I'd always wanted to write something Jackie could read since she's always been so proud of my career but the subject matter of my books was too mature. So I asked what she'd like in a story. Being an only child, she wanted a book about sisters. When asked how many, she said eight. When asked what ages, she said one thru eight. Then I decided to make them octuplets, all three of us brainstormed the concept of girls whose parents go missing one New Year's Eve, and Greg started mixing in things like talking refrigerators and flying watering cans.

Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process as a family?
LBL: Basically, I'm "The Pen." We talk first about what needs to go into each book, then I write a chapter, after which we all read it together and Greg and Jackie tell me what works, what doesn't work, and then we brainstorm the chapter to come. We also have editorial breakfasts and lunches where we go out to eat, talk about future books, and I come home with napkins covered with hasty scribbles shoved in my handbag. It's actually a lot of fun. Oh, and when edits or proof pages come from our publisher, we all go over everything - Jackie knows what STET is and she's not afraid to use it!

Jackie, what's it like to be a published author? What do your friends at school think?
JL: It's cool! They've heard the first three books in the series - Mommy came to read to us - and they like it. They try to get information out of me about future books and sometimes I can't help it - I tell them!

Greg, your book SOMETHING HAPPENED was also just recently released. What inspired you to write that book?
GL: Basically, just reading the morning paper. It seemed for a while all you ever read about was how some hot young teacher was caught having an affair with a thirteen-year-old boy. It made me wonder what happened between these two people in the beginning, what was it that led them down this path.

What can you tell us about your next release (which I think looks way cool) ALIBI JUNIOR HIGH?
GL: I'm very excited about ALIBI JUNIOR HIGH. It's going to be my first hardcover! ALIBI is much more 'action packed' then my last book. It's about a thirteen-year-old boy, Cody Saron, who's spent his whole life living with his CIA agent father. He's traveled the world, speaks five languages, is a martial arts blackbelt, has been home-schooled to almost a college level of education. He's done everything except try to fit in with other kids his own age. That's exactly what he has to do after someone tries to kill him and his dad at a cafe bombing in Chile. After the carnage of that day his dad decides it's no longer safe for Cody to work with him anymore and he sends Cody to Connecticut to live with his aunt until he can find out who's after him and why. Cody thinks that after everything he's been through going to some small town junior high will be easy, a piece of cake, nothing to worry about...boy, is he ever wrong!

Lauren, please dazzle the readers with the number of releases you had in 2008.
LBL: Um, five. Should I be feeling as self-conscious as I am right now?

No way! But you can tell us what to look forward to from you in 2009.
Only three books! At least as far as I know. Books 2 and 3 in THE SISTERS EIGHT series - GEORGIA'S GREATNESS and JACKIE'S JOKES - and my next YA novel, CRAZY BEAUTIFUL, which is a contemporary he-said/she-said retelling of Beauty & the Beast involving a gorgeous girl and a boy with hooks for hands who meet on their first day at a new school.

How do you get it all done?
I'm a lunatic. Also, I just work really hard, treating my writing like a full-time job. If you sit in front of the keyboard for nine hours a day, words are bound to come out.

What excites you? (Collectively or individually)
LBL: File this under pathetic: Each day, when I tick off the last item on that day's to-do list, I become ecstatically excited. See? I told you it was pathetic.
GL: The unexpected surprise that turns out to be something fantasic.
JL: All the ideas we have for THE SISTERS EIGHT that I've never seen in any other books.

What turns you off?
LBL: Me, when I get crabby or dissatisfied with the world. It doesn't happen very often, but when it does, I can't stand being around me.
GL: People who stand really close to you when they talk.
JL: Mean people.
If you could invite anyone you wanted - living or dead - to hang out with you at a weekend retreat, who would you invite and why?
LBL: My two best girlfriends. They don't really know each other but I've known one for 32 years and the other for 22 years. I think it'd be a hoot.
GL: Oh, it might be fun to go deep-sea fishing and have a few beers with Ernest Hemingway.
JL: Nastya, because she's my best friend.

What's your favorite quote?
LBL: "We know what we are, but know not what we may be." Ophelia, from Shakespeare's Hamlet. Of course if you ask me again tomorrow, I'll say something different.
GL: "Time goes, you say? Ah no! Alas, Time stays, we go." Henry Austin Dobon, The Paradox of Time, 1875.
JL: "That makes no Hooonga!" [Jackie's mom here to say, Please note: "Hooonga" is a word Jackie's friend Tess made up, it really is spelled that way - capital H and triple 'o' - and it means "sense." Just thought you'd like to know!]

Milk Chocolate or Dark?

And now for the freebie - to be entered to win a copy of SISTERS EIGHT book one, ANNIE'S ADVENTURES or SOMETHING HAPPENED, leave a reply below, telling me what you would write about if you could write a book with your family (or best friends.) Keep it PG, please!

This contest will remain open until Inauguration Day! (Tuesday, January 20)