Sunday was a day to meet and greet Kate Conway, author of the new YA title Undertow. I should write about the book and story but I’d like to say a few words about the author. Listening to Kate describe her process of writing this particular story line was amazing. Originally, Kate was asked to write about her grandfather’s experiences as a 17-year-old Marine in WWII but her mind wanders, actually races to many places when given an idea. Originally a forensic psychiatry major at Mt. Holyoke, Kate WASN”T a writer until a particular paper she wrote was recognized as LITERATURE by a professor. It was storytelling not just telling a story. Needless to say at this point in her life she is a writer, journalist, bloggist, bus driver and publicist all in one. That story of her grandfather led Kate to consider how people still have the normalness of everyday life in the midst of war or disaster. She was also affected and incorporated a bit of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in the sense that warring families create havoc among the innocents and members of the family. And so it is in Undertow. And, then, I think, the characters began to show up. Kate, a graduate of Barnstable High School, has created a tale grounded on Cape Cod because she knows this place so well. It’s an honoring in a sense. She has also promo-ed students from BHS on her character cards and cover art. I think the method of writing, publishing and publicizing could be called the ‘Whole Foods’ process….she knows exactly where everyone, everything thing, every image and every scene in the book generated. MORE people should do the Live Author thing whenever presented. It’s like adding a layer of cream cheese frosting (the author meet) to an already good carrot cake(the first time you read the book) and then taking another bite with the frosting (the second read). Cream cheese really has it’s influence, you know.
I’d like to recommend, or rather, I am now a FAN of the author Rainbow Rowell. FANGIRL is THE book for the nerdy in all of us, those of us who have to change up in order to grow up, those of us who recognize others weaknesses before we recognize our own, those of us who can be true FANS of an author or story (i.e,. who will ever NOT LOVE Harry, Hermione and Ron, etc.?). Anyway, Cath (Catherine) and Wren (Catherine) are identical twins who just landed in Lincoln, Nebraska at the University. Bonded by twin-ness and a ‘fan’atical adherence to writing a killer Fan Fiction blog about the Simon Snow books (i.e., a HP lookalike kinda but, hey, this is not plagiarism only mimicking real life…) Cath is stunned when Wren decides that they WILL NOT be roommates, and Wren sets her own course as a freshman at UNL. Cath is lost and her inner ‘loner’ attitude becomes her visible persona. She stills writes the popular fan fiction blog about Simon and Baz that she and her sister always wrote together until the Big Change. A deep personal fissure begins between herself and Wren as Wren spins outwardly into the freshman scene at UNL. Cath’s in an upper level fiction writing class but swimming in learning the ropes about being just herself not a twin. Her roommate is funny and sarcastic – she later is the friend that ALWAYS speaks the truth – and her roommate’s boyfriend is always hanging around the room. Oh, wait, he’s NOT her boyfriend anymore but at first that is not what Cath sees. Cath meets people despite, writes, tries to take care of a Dad in Omaha who is brilliant but manic-depressive and a ‘mom’ who wants a relationship with her daughters after abandoning them on 9/11 (or thereabouts). I love the characters conversations and observations. They don’t come off trite or snarky. There is swearing. There’s ‘thought sex’ situations and just a bit more so I see this as a 16 and up kind of book. So readable and so fine tuned about that first year in college. It’s in YA because I think the reader base could be a little heavier here than in adults. Rainbow Rowell also wrote Eleanor and Park, semi-new to our collection. I’ll be reading that book now because when a writer’s ‘style’ or characters have ‘the voice’, I’m in for another taste of them. Read this one. You will really enjoy it, I think. Not chicklit but geared toward young women. Enjoy.
Sunday, October 27th at 1 pm Kate Conway will deliver a reading of her new Young Adult title – set on the Cape – UNDERTOW. Kate has written a paranormal romance/thriller set right in our own backyard. Readers will be familiar with the setting but the story device is a new twist on those vampire/zombie/ghost core tales. Eila has come to claim an old house in Barnstable that has been ‘gifted’ to her by an unknown person. Game to take on anything in her life right now to get out of Kansas, she moves, registers at Barnstable High, and then ‘things’ start happening and peers seem to be either avoiding her or paying her a little too much attention. Eila is different and is about to find out – if she lives – just how different she is….
Kate is a longtime writer and this is her first book. She’ll also be offering another session of her popular Fan Fiction for Teens workshop in January. So if you are an aspiring writer, an inspired reader or just have a curiosity about how lit happens, please do come. Refreshments. The signing will be held downstairs in Room 2. TELL YOUR FRIENDS! We’ll have a drawing for the book as well.