Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday Five -- McCormick Templeman

This week's Five is with the author of THE LITTLE WOODS, published by Random House in July.  I only know her online, but McCormick Templeman is a delight to follow on Twitter.  She has a dry and unconventional sense of humor, and what seems to be an obsession with sharks.  One day, we will have to compare notes...


1. What is your guiltiest pleasure?  

Probably Survivor. I haven’t watched it in years, but there’s a reason for that.

2. What is the worst job you’ve done?

I worked for a very short while as a phone operator for a posh hotel. I am terrified of speaking on the phone, so this was not a good fit. It did not end well.

3. What keeps you awake at night?

My daughter. She scolds her brother in her sleep.

4. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Getting a basically feral cat through a metal detector at an airport. The TSA agent was like, you gotta take that cat out of the carrier, and get it through. It had taken me half a day to get her inside. I tried to beg them to give me another option. I had an image of her escaping and killing like twelve people before starting an enormous fire, but in the end, we made it through, and she actually got back in her carrier. That was definitely the most proud I’ve ever been.

5. Who would play you in the film of your life?

Kate Winslet, but Kate Winslet trying to look frumpy. Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind except not so fancy.


Are the woods behind St. Bede's Academy really haunted, or does bad stuff just happen there? When Calista Wood, a new student, arrives midway through her junior year, St. Bede's feels like a normal school . . . until she discovers that a girl had disappeared a couple of months earlier. Some kids think she ran away, others think she was murdered, but it's only when Cally starts digging around that she finds the startling truth.

You can order THE LITTLE WOODS here!


You can find McCormick on her website.
And on Twitter.

Monday, November 12, 2012

It Gets Better

When I was in high school, I expected it to be like a movie.  I watched the greats - Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Dirty Dancing, Lucas (OK, maybe they're not up there with Citizen Kane) - and I thought high school would be like that.  I went through school thinking "If this were a movie, x, y and z would happen."  And it wouldn't.  It was mostly just boring and repetitive.  No one got dunked in a toilet.  The prom queen was exactly who you would have guessed would be prom queen back in Freshman year.  I wasn't plucked from the (rather frightful) school play by a scout to be the next star of Broadway.  It was high school.  But I did hone some of my story skills - I found foreshadowing everywhere and knew there had to be a payoff for poor behavior.

But I always wondered about everyone else's high school experience.  Were there people who lived like they were in a John Hughes film?  Did people really meet the boy of their dreams at the Homecoming Dance?  Did anyone get plucked from obscurity to be famous for what they did well? (remember, this was before reality television).

That's one of the reasons why I enjoyed reading the Dear Teen Me blog and now the anthology: Dear Teen Me: Authors Write Letters to Their Teen Selves.  Comparison to my own letter.  To my experience.  But it rapidly became more than that.  Sure, I saw similarities: Tom Angleberger's Buckaroo Banzai obsession struck mysteriously close to home.  Miranda Kenneally's wish that she'd called the boy back.  Caridad Ferrer's struggle with shy Jekyll and competitive, spotlight-craving Hyde.

And I read lots of differences.  My high school was a relatively safe place.  My life was even safer.  Two parents with stable emotions and a dad with a good job.  A sister who was even more of a brainiac than I was.  Nothing like what some of these authors have gone through.  These are stories that completely change you, my friends, and I daren't even mention them here because you need to read them in the author's words.

But one thing that stands out in all of these letters is the same thing that was posted on my Facebook page by an old school friend when I asked the question, "What would you say to your teen self if you could?"

It gets better.

This is why I've seen so many reviews saying teens should read this book.  And why people say they wish they'd read it as a teenager.

Keep living.  Keep loving.  Keep dreaming.

It gets better.

Dear Teen Me is published by Zest Books, and available from Amazon, Indie Bound and Barnes&Noble

Want to know more?  Check out the Zest Books Dear Teen Me blog tour and check out the list of contributing authors.

And find out when Dear Teen Me will be near you - I'll be joining some of the authors in Corte Madera on Thursday the 15th and Berkeley on Friday the 16th.