Friday, February 19, 2010

FF - 8th GRADE SUPERZERO by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich

Wow, guys. I am so sorry. I meant to have this post up before I left for my crit group meeting, but I didn't make it! But it's still Friday, right? So here we go!

The author:

Today I'm happy to welcome another 2010 debut author, Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich. Don't you love her smile? ---------------------->
It's contagious. I can't help smiling right along with her.

Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich is the daughter of a Nigerian father, a Jamaican mother, ,and married to a man of Croatian descent. She was born in New York City, and was the 'new kid' at school many times, in more than one country. She now lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York, where she loves working on crafts in many forms.

You can find out more about Olugbemisola on her website.

The Book:

Publisher's Weekly gave EIGHTH GRADE SUPERZERO a starred review, calling it “…a masterful debut…" Kirkus says it is written with "lively good humor." And Amazon choose it as a Best Book of the Month for January 2010!

The interview:

Are any of your characters based on real people (or cats) that you know?
I think that yes, in a sense, my characters include some part of everyone I know, or come across (including cats). There may be a moment, or personality trait, or mannerism that I incorporate into a character if it seems appropriate... A lot of the characters have the spirit of some of the people that I knew in junior high, and college.

What excites you?
Seeing my daughter make her own books and toys, the availability of diverse stories by people of colour, radio documentaries, snacks, making things, podcasts, the books of Jean Ray Laury, kids getting really excited about new books, the cover illustrations of Langston Hughes' The Best of Simple collection, Weston Woods videos, the prospect of travel, the moment right before I open a book that I just *know* is going to be good, the chance that I'll be surprised by a good story, getting ready to re-read an old favourite, oh! sharing an old favourite with my daughter!, Advent & Easter, 'adult' works by old favourite children's lit authors (like Elizabeth Enright's Doublefields), a really good meal that I feel comfortable enough to enjoy wholeheartedly, an opportunity to laugh, cheese, The Muppets, when SuperGrover comes on Sesame Street, rainbows, pants that fit, Martha Speaks, studying the Bible...I could go on.

What turns you off?
Rare meat. baby pink. the sound of my own voice. finding out that there's been food in my teeth for a while. the times when people, including myself, take themselves too seriously. People who go on for too long in meetings. People who complain about other people. Ahem.

How does one pronounce your name? : )
My first name? The closest I can offer is Oh-loo-bemmy-soul-ah. :)

Do you have any special writing rituals or totems to connect with your muse?
I like to write with a pot of black tea by my side, and I usually say a quick prayer before I start. If I'm struggling, I might read a bit from a collection like Bird by Bird, The Rock That Is Higher, On Writing, The Creative Habit -- something inspirational/motivational.

What songs would make the playlist for 8th Grade Superzero?
That would be a *long* playlist! It would include music 'about' the book, and music that I listened to while I worked...some would be Ben Harper and The Blind Boys of Alabama's "There Will Be A Light", Bob Marley's "Redemption Song", Souad Massi's Raoui album, Jill Scott "A
Long Walk", Yo-Yo Ma's 6 Unaccompanied Bach Cello Suites, Cecile Licad's Schumann: Carnaval/Papillons/Toccata album, Ella Jenkins' You'll Sing a Song, I'll Sing a Song album, Odetta's This Little Light of Mine album at least twice, Pete Seeger's "If You Miss Me at the Back of the Bus", Bonga's "Sa Ka Mache", Blind Melon's "No Rain", Prince's "Starfish and Coffee", Billy Joel's "River of Dreams", and Nneka's "Heartbeat"....Again, I could really go on and on!

What is an interesting writing quirk of yours?
I don't know how interesting it is, but a lot of people are surprised at how much I write longhand. For me, it's another revision opportunity; I think differently about the words and the work when I use different media to write.

The Freebie:

Olugbemisola is offering this week's winner a signed copy of EIGHT GRADE SUPERZERO. Since part of Reggie's growth in this book involves his service to the community, to be entered to win, leave a comment below telling one thing you can do this week to make a positive change for someone (including yourself).

This drawing will remain open until Wednesday, February 24.