Welcome to the second day of #14Debuts! Today I’m featuring:
Dream Boy by Madelyn Rosenberg and Mary CrockettPublication Date: July 1st, 2014 Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Annabelle Manning feels like she’s doing time at her high school in Chilton, Virginia. She has her friends at her lunchtime table of nobodies. What she doesn’t have are possibilities. Or a date for Homecoming. Things get more interesting at night, when she spends time with the boy of her dreams. But the blue-eyed boy with the fairytale smile is just that—a dream. Until the Friday afternoon he walks into her chemistry class.
One of friends suspects he’s an alien. Another is pretty sure it’s all one big case of deja vu. While Annabelle doesn’t know what to think, she’s willing to believe that the charming Martin Zirkle may just be her dream come true. But as Annabelle discovers the truth behind dreams—where they come from and what they mean—she is forced to face a dark reality she had not expected. More than just Martin has arrived in Chilton. As Annabelle learns, if dreams can come true, so can nightmares.
LOVE this cover, and the book in general sounds really interesting. Excited to be featuring Mary here today!
I’ve always been obsessed with dreams. I mean really, why do we tell ourselves stories when we sleep? How weird is that!But the idea for Dream Boy specifically came from watching an old Ginger Rogers movie in the wee hours of the morning. I was more asleep than awake, but I did remember that there was this guy in an Indian costume who seemed to pop out of Ginger Roger’s dream.The next day, I contacted my friend Madelyn Rosenberg and asked her the big “What if?” What if a dream boy walked out of a girl’s dream and into her life?We decided together to write the story as a way of answering that question.
Dream boy becomes real. Tada!
Madelyn and I started with a very general story arc (one that could be summed up in maybe two sentences) and a few ideas about some key characters. Other than that, we didn’t have any set plans. There was never an outline or anything of that sort. We just set to work—finding our way through the writing.Since we live in different towns, we emailed the story back and forth. I might start writing and when I ran out of steam, I’d send it to Madelyn. She’d comb through what I’d written, making changes as she went, and then add to it. She’d send the new stuff to me, and I’d do the same.The whole way, it was sort of like the bunny hop—two steps forward, one step back. But that bunny got us across the finish line! And once we got there, the book was that much better because we each scratched its ears so much along the way.
I think I might be more of a natural wordsmith than I am a natural storyteller. So, yes, there were challenges involved in moving from writing poetry to writing a novel. They ask different things of you as a writer. It was hard work at times—but good work. And fun work, too. One of the challenges was the change in length; naturally, there is this divergence in writing a poem and writing a novel. My previous poetry comes nowhere close to the average wordcount of a novel so I had to adapt to this increased expectation of my output as a writer. Aspiring novelists should know the average wordcount for a novel in the genre they’re writing in as this can make the process of presenting your work to a publisher or agent a lot easier. See here for information on this – https://jerichowriters.com/average-novel-wordcount/.I’m glad I started with a YA novel, though, instead of some hoity-toity literary fiction piece. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like there’s just too much baggage involved with literary fiction.With YA, I felt much more free. I could concentrate on telling an interesting story with realistic characters and compelling ideas—and I could have a great time while doing it!
Favorite: Writing with Madelyn. Fun fun fun!Least favorite: That point in the middle of writing a novel where nothing seems clear and all progress grinds to a stop. Yeah, we’ve written the beginning, and yeah, we know where we’re heading. But how do we get there? That’s tough.
OMG! I never really saw this coming, but when you asked that, it hit me: Revelation!I see myself in Will.Not Annabelle. Will.Some time ago (when I was jotting down a similar question for a writer I was interviewing), it occurred to me that someone might one day ask me which character I identified with in Dream Boy. At the time, I assumed I would think it through and likely decide that I identified with Annabelle. After all, she’s the main character—and most importantly, shetells the story. It’s hard to be inside someone’s mouth for a few years without identifying with her!But as soon as you asked me the question for real, I saw the answer. Utter clarity. Will. Yikes! Weird.
Ask me another time, and I would probably have another answer, but at this particular moment on this particular day, I would like to meet Ella Fannie from Ella Fannie’s Elephant Riddle Book. When I was a kid, I checked that book out of the school library every week for a year.There were riddles like QUESTION: “Why did Ella Fannie paint her toenails red?” ANSWER: “Because she wanted to hide in the cherry tree.”The riddles didn’t really make sense, and yet they were gorgeously constructed nonsense.After years of fruitless searching (I had misremembered the name as Ellie Elephant’s Elephant Joke Book, so Google wasn’t any help), I stumbled across a copy of that Ella Fannie book at a library sale. JOY! When I read it with my husband, he said Ella Fannie had likely shaped my sense of humor more significantly than any other single factor in my life.Plus, I kind of miss her. I’d like to hear some new jokes. So yes, right here, right now, it’d be her.
Nope, not really. I mean, there are ideas in the book—ideas about what makes us human, how we can take control of our own lives, the value of friendship, the necessity of family. But no lessons, exactly.
Now, that would be Annabelle. It’s a point-of-view thing.
I’m always juggling a bunch of projects, but the one that has the firmest grip on me right now is quite dark. Dark and realistic. (Which is much more disturbing to me than dark and fantastic.) The voice is comic, but the subject is very dark.