I'll start with the little bit of news.
Carlsen Verlag GMBH, the German publisher that will be publishing Life As We Knew It has also agreed to publish the dead and the gone.
More book covers! More euros! I am delighted. And curious to see how they'll translate "body shopping" and "fluicide."
I've been doing a lot of thinking about the third book. My editor will be returning to the office tomorrow, and I'll e-mail her what I have to see if she likes it. I hope she does (well, of course I hope she does), but I particularly hope she does by a week from tomorrow, so I can use the long drive to and from New Hampshire to do some heavy duty thinking.
But in the meantime I have a couple of questions that I'm turning to you, oh those with names and those with anonymouses, for answers.
First of all, the third book is currently set in Austin, Texas. As it happens, I've never been to Austin, Texas (although I've heard many fine things about it). The plan is for the book to start with Sarah tagging along with her older sister and her friends on a long drive out of town to watch the moon crash. Shortly after they begin the drive home, the car swerves off the road and crashes.
I've been assuming the car swerves because a herd of deer run across the road and the driver of the car, trying to avoid hitting them, loses control. I just realized that's a very New York thing (I have at least two friends who've hit deer with their cars). So I guess I should ask people who know about Austin, Texas if there are herds of deer around there. Which wasn't even the question I meant to ask, which was if outside of Austin, is there any relatively unpopulated deserted spot where the kids could have gone? I'd pictured the car rolling into a gully, but the important thing is that Sarah can't just go to a conveniently located house/business and get help (or try to get help). So anyone who knows anything about Austin, Texas, could you either e-mail me (using that handy link on the right) or comment right here?
The other question is for all of you who read young adult fiction. I write it, but I have to admit I don't read it (I read very little fiction of any sort). When I've been hearing this third book, it's coming in as third person, which is fine by me. But I've always had this problem with third person in YA books I've written (which is why my first few dozen were in first person). I never know what to call the parents.
Let's say Sarah's mother is named Shelley Cosgrove. Here are the options:
"Sarah, clean your room," Shelley said.
"Sarah, clean your room," Mrs. Cosgrove said.
"Sarah, clean your room," Shelley Cosgrove said.
"Sarah, clean your room," Sarah's mother said.
"Sarah, clean your room," Mom said.
"Sarah, clean your room," Sarah's mom* said.
How do other YA authors handle it? I didn't have this problem with d&g because even though it was third person, you never see or hear from Mami and Papi, so I could just stick with what Alex called them and not worry about it.
I'd appreciate some advice from people more familiar with YAs. And I doubt I'll go the Shelley Cosgrove route. It's just as I was writing all this, I realized there is going to be another set of adult characters, who Sarah will soon, but not immediately, call by their first names. A whole other problem.
First person is so much easier. But I suppose if you're going to end the world on a regular basis, figuring out what to call the main character's parents is the least of it. Especially if you have wonderful people with real names and anonymouses to call on for help!
*Suggested in the comments by Heather T