Tuesday, April 1, 2008

It Was A Fine New Year's Resolution While It Lasted

But I'll ease into the bragging, so you'll hardly even notice when I begin.

As you know, on account of it's on the right side of the page for all to see, Life As We Knew It achieves official paperback status on May 1, and the dead and the gone will be officially published in the United States on June 1. But I'd noticed that Amazon and Barnes & Noble were both claiming they had LAWKI paperbacks in stock. So I e-mailed my incredibly kind and patient editor about this, and she responded that while the pub dates were the official pub dates, once a bookstore gets copies of Harcourt books in stock, they can start selling them. So anyone who is interested might want to be on the lookout for paperbacks of LAWKI any old time and for d&g in May.

I also learned this week that the recording of the audio version of d&g (Listening Library) is about to commence. I was contacted to make sure they knew how to pronounce Pfeffer, for which I am very grateful.

See, that's not bragging.

Now here's a little bit of bad news. LAWKI is no longer nominated for the Rhode Island Young Reader's Award. Some other book won, so I took RI off the list. Fortunately, Oklahoma nominated LAWKI, so I was able to slip Oklahoma onto the list while none of you were looking.

I'd really like it if LAWKI won something other than Most Depressing YA Book Ever, which, while a great honor, didn't come with a plaque or medal or free meal.

Heh. I'm doing very well with the not bragging part of this blog entry. It's always good to throw in a little self-pity (my absolute favorite emotion) to throw the scent off.

The following doesn't constitute bragging because it's clearly not true. Bragging only counts if there's some tiny semblance of reality. But this sucker amuses me so I'm throwing it in.

Barnes & Noble has customer reviews, and naturally I check to make sure they're favorable (and don't read them if they're not). In my obsessive checking of all things dead and gone, I discovered that it had its first review over at B&N. Technically speaking, the review has nothing to do with d&g, but who cares. Somebody pretended to be somebody famous when posting the review:

Customer Reviews
Number of Reviews: 1Average Rating:
Write a Review
Dead and Gone Gerard Way, in My Chemical Romance (band), 03/27/2008
Life As We Knew It is now my favorite book. It's told in the perspective of a highschool girl trying to survive Earth, as it strives to survive after the Moon is hit by an asteroid.
Also recommended: Life As We Knew It


My Chemical Romance is now my favorite group ever! Although I'll be happy to switch allegiance to The Rolling Stones or The Dixie Chicks if anyone wants to pretend to be them instead.

Now for anyone who can't get enough of me (a group that consists of me), Cynthia Leitich Smith has a Cynsations interview, in which I reveal how totally ignorant I am and the advice I'd give a younger version of myself:


I hope some of you are still here, because the major major bragging is about to begin. There's a newspaper in Great Britain called The Guardian, and it had a sixteen page slick paper supplement for Spring '08 Children's Books. It covered picture books, middle level books, YAs, non-fiction, etc. with short reviews of about a dozen books in each category and one review singling out the best of the current bunch.

The last page of the supplement was devoted to classics. Real ones too, like The Secret Garden and The Snow Goose. They selected two books as Future Classics. One of them was Life As We Knew It!!! And the other was The Dead and the Gone!!!!!

Yes, you are currently being bored by the author of two future classics. And it only took me forty years and seventy five books to achieve that status.

Wait until Gerard Way finds out!


S.M.D. said...

No way, Gerard Way reviewed your book? That's amazing! Congrats!

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi S.M.D.-

My guess is someone pretending to be Gerard Way reviewed my book. But it's as close to famous as I'm likely to get!

Meg said...

That is *so* awesome about the Future Classics designation. But, you know, The Guardian is really copying me, as last week I listed LAWKI on my short list of the Best Books of the Decade So Far, so we know where they *really* got the idea. :)

I only found it last week, but I've already read the whole darn blog from start to present. I love the blog! And I love the insight to your writing process and story development. Whatever you decide to do about the P3B is fine by me.

By the way, I totally loved _Courage, Dana_ as a kid. You should see my very battered ex-library Dell Yearling edition I've dragged around since childhood. It's a toss up whether that book, or my original copy of Ellen Emerson White's _The President's Daughter_ is more battered from re-readings and all the constant moving/relocating the last 20 years. :)

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Meg and welcome to the blog-

First of all, thank you for inspiring the Guardian. Do you think they read your blog or were transatlantic psychic brain waves the culprit?

Courage, Dana is one of my absolute favorite books. I loved writing it, and there's one line in it (something like, It was then I decided to write my memoirs) that still cracks me up.

I have a probably false memory of coming up with the story at the kitchen table one day. I do remember that a friend of mine was quite ill at the time, and his courage in some hard to explain way inspired me.

Courage, Dana still earns me a little bit of money. One of those standardized reading tests uses a selection from it, and I get a check or two a year as a result.

And anyone who actually read this entire blog has shown far greater courage than it takes to stand up to a bully and/or admit the truth!

Esther said...

Hi Susan --

About the next third book, I think you should write it from the point of view of someone living on the Amalfi Coast. Of course, you'd have to spend some (tax-deductible) time over there to get all the details right -- and of course, we'd come visit you.

Your ever faithful sister-in-law,

savannah said...

I am looking forward to any book you decide to publish in this world you have created. I would especially like the book to relate more to the characters you have already developed, or have been introduced, because I tend to care about the characters and would like to see their story continue.

That being said, I wish you would also consider a sequel to the Year without Michael. In the age of Amber alerts, I think you could have Michael somehow find his way home, or alternately have his body discovered. Perhaps have a book set today in which a family is dealing with an abducted child and somehow we find the secret of what happened to Michael.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Esther and Savannah-

Much as I hate to disappoint my favorite sister-in-law, coasts don't do very well in the LAWKI/d&g world. You might want to think of some inland place, equally nice, for me to research and you to visit.

Savannah, you have no idea (well, no one here does except maybe my brother) how hard I tried to convince Bantan Doubleday Dell Random House Knopf that they should let me write a sequel to The Year Without Michael. I used all the weapons in my arsenal, whining, begging, stomping my foot. I even had librarians sign a petition asking for a sequel. And yet BDDRHK never agreed.

My guess was they felt Michael would somehow be cheapened if there were a sequel. I didn't agree then, and I don't agree now, but since it's been years since I wrote anything for BDDRHK, I doubt I could convince them now.

I like your concept though. It's funny how books date. Michael was written in a pre-internet, pre-cellphone era, and while DNA existed, no one knew how to use it for identifications.

Life was so primitive back then!

Jen Robinson said...

Congratulations on the whole future classic thing. I certainly think that both books are future classics. I plan to remain smug about having appreciated them early.

Marci said...

I congratulate the Guardian for noting what most of us knew long ago, these books are destined to be read and on library shelves for a long, long time. This makes you a classic author, but we all knew that!

Esther is on to something. What if there was one place left on earth that actually benefited from the catyclysm and everyone is trying to get in. Sort of a reverse "The Prisoner" where the food is good, the weather actually improved and heaven is created on earth. What a concept!

The Brits just understand classic literature better and that's the truth! From she who has a future classic dedicated to her and her cohort in bookstore shenanigans.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Jen Robinson and Marci-

I think Marci, and everyone else who knows me, would agree that I have a ways to go before I personally can achieve smug status. I'm still working my way through the "O"s-obnoxious, ostentatious, and overbearing, with the "P"s (pathetic), "Q"s (querulous) and "R"s (ridiculous)to muddle through before I can even begin to hope for smug.

Actually, I am prone to the querulous, so maybe I'll just stop there!

Jen Robinson said...

Querulous is such a great word, too. Well worth stopping at, I'd say. I'm not really a fan of smug as a word. Perhaps I'll go for prescient instead. As in "I was prescient at knowing that the books would be a success."

Meg said...

I'm glad you like _Courage, Dana_ as much as I did (and still do! I read it about once a year or so). LAWKI is my favorite of yours, but _Courage, Dana_ is second (for now, although I suspect d&g will surpass it...I can't wait!).

Hmmm....to answer your question, I must say that I *do* get an unusually large number of hits from the UK to my blog, and now I guess I know why. ;) The Guardian is apparently stalking me. It's probably for all the fun action shot dog photos I post, but they are apparently into the blog for the kid's/YA book mentions, too. Hey, that's fine by me!

Now if only I can get some publishers to read it, too, and decide to start reprinting more of my favorites I'd be a *really* happy camper...

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Meg (again)-

In gleeful coincidence, I cashed a check today for Courage, Dana. It was used for a reading test in the great state of Arizona.

I forgot to mention how Dana got her name. A friend of a friend of mine is named Dana. He's a really nice guy, and he didn't mind at all when I shamefacedly admitted having "borrowed" his name, and for a girl at that.

Many many years ago, I borrowed a fairly unusual girl's name for one of my books, taking it from a friend of mine in high school. We reconnected for a while, and I admitted using her name. She read the book and swore the character was very much like her, which was kind of a shocker to me.

Oh, and I have a lot of relatives named David, and my David character is a murderer. My mother wasn't too happy about that ("Couldn't you call the book About Donald?" she asked).

Naming characters is real tricky. I think from now on I'll just call everyone Anonymous!

BeccaThesaurus said...

I love your books! Right at this moment (well not this moment!) I am writing a review for Life As We Knew It!I have a few friends who just love your book! It's on my blog! I havent read the second one but i'm working on it! if you could like go to my blog sometime in the near future... I'm not done with the review yet! it's called http://beccathesaurus.blogspot.com/

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi BeccaThesaurus-

Welcome to the blog and thank you for your comment.

I look forward to reading your view (Google will let me know when you've posted it).

Say hi to your friends for me!

BeccaThesaurus said...

I'm done with it! And once the weekind is over i'm going to check out your other book. It sounds really good what is it about other than the moon and disasters?

From beccathesaurus :)

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hello again BeccaThesaurus-

The Dead And The Gone (I'm in a formal mood this morning, so I'm giving it all caiptal letters) is about the exact same catastrophe as Life As We Knew It, but from the point of view of a completely different character- Alex, a teenage boy in New York City.

And the book I'm working on now, This World We Live In, is a return to Miranda's diary, but in it, she meets Alex.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

PS To BeccaThesaurus-

Google just sent me an email linking me to your review of LAWKI.

Well done. That was an excellent and quite thoughtful review, and a very nice way for me to start this weekend.

Thank you!

BeccaThesaurus said...

Now I really can't wait! I can;t wait to tell my friends! one of them didn't even know you wrote a second let alone you are writing a THIRD! Who is your fave character? mine is mrs. Nesbit or Miranda's mom cause both of them have spunk and the will for others to come before them. Since you haven't finished... are you still at the drawing board or do you have the whole story in your head? When I write book reviews I wing it and go with whatever comes out! sometimes I hav no clue where or why i wrote something! Sometims it doesn't make since at all!