Archive for June, 2010

Clarion Write-a-Thon and the POWERLESS Sequel!

Posted in Clarion, Life, Powerless, Speculative Fiction, Writing, YA Books on June 26, 2010 by Matt

Clarion WRITE-A-THON: Start something different

2007 was a big year for me.  My wife and I had a baby, I signed my first book contract and I was lucky enough to spend six weeks at the Clarion Writers’ Workshop.

Clarion is one of the most respected writers’ workshops around. For six weeks every summer a handful of writers of fantastic literature – science fiction, fantasy, or something in-between – gather in San Diego to learn from respected professionals in the field. If you have a favorite fantasy or sci-fi writer, odds are they’ve either taught or graduated from Clarion.

When I was there I wrote a story a week (and got the stink eye from a seal who thought I was trying to move in on his oyster lunch.  Note to future Clarion writers – be careful where you swim in your off-hours!). It was a grueling schedule that really shook up my expectations of what it meant to be a writer.  And it was the best creative experience of my life.  I was surrounded my a number of writers far more talented than I’ll ever be, and I made some wonderful friends.

Clarion makes writers.  Or at least it helps make them into the best writers they can be.  Bookshelves wouldn’t be bare without it, but they would be a heck of a lot more dull.

But all of this takes money, and I know I wouldn’t have been able to attend myself without a generous scholarship from the Clarion Foundation.  In this economic storm, arts organizations everywhere are struggling to just stay afloat.

That’s why I’m asking for your help.

So for the next six weeks, while this year’s batch of talented scribes rubs their fingers to the bone churning out words in San Diego, I’ll be doing the same.  I’m committing to the Clarion Write-a-Thon, in which I’ll be working on the opening chapters of the sequel to POWERLESS!  Oh yeah, did I mention that there is a sequel? As part of my new contract with the wonderful folks at Knopf, I’ll be writing the further adventures of the Supers of Noble’s Green.

I’ll be blogging about the experience regularly, and asking for donations for Clarion along the way.  A whole host of terrific writers are participating in the Write-a-Thon, and we are competing to raise money for this workshop that means so much to so many of us.  To make a donation (even 5 bucks helps!) all you have to do is click on the Write-a-Thon link on the right side of this page, or heck, just click here. It’s a great chance to get a behind-the-scenes peek at what goes into writing the first draft of a book, and to help out a great cause.

How do you say “Super” in Italian?

Posted in Powerless, The Dead Gentleman, Writing, YA Books on June 17, 2010 by Matt

I got a lovely surprise in the mail yesterday via overseas Fed-Ex: a wonderful middle grade novel called SUPER.  Don’t know who that hack author Matthew Cody is, but the cover looks cool . . .

UPDATE: Here’s a blow-up of the back cover.  I like this almost more than the front!

This is exciting for me because its my first look at one of the foreign editions of POWERLESS.  This Italian version is published by Mondadori, and I’m expecting to see something from our German publishers soon.

What is perhaps the coolest thing about seeing these books is that it’s like looking at an alternate universe version of your work.  I’m half expecting this one to grow a goatee.  You get so used to the US version (which I still LOVE) – the cover, the jacket design, etc – that seeing something like this is like seeing the “book that could have been.”  The story is, of course, the same (or at least I assume it is. Anyone read Italian?) but the cover sets up the readers expectations in such a strong way, I wonder how different the experience will be for readers of SUPER and the readers of POWERLESS will be.

I can’t wait to see more!

Speaking of covers, I’ve been seeing sketches for THE DEAD GENTLEMAN and I just wish I could put them up here.  What I loved about the POWERLESS cover was the playfulness and the irony that fit that book so perfectly.  But there is nothing playful about THE DEAD GENTLEMAN cover – it is adventurous, creepy, and perfect.

Different book.  Different cover.  Happy author.

To quote the Once-ler . . .

Posted in Life on June 13, 2010 by Matt

In light of the daily, daunting and depressing news regarding the BP Deep Horizon Oil Leak . . .

I think it’s time we reflected on the words of the Once-ler . . .

Now that you’re here,

the word of the Lorax seems perfectly clear,

UNLESS someone like you

cares a whole awful lot,

nothing is going to get better.

It’s not.”

-From THE LORAX by Dr. Seuss.  If you haven’t read a copy yourself (or parents to your kids), you should.  Now’s as good a time as any.