Sunday, March 31, 2013

That Time I Joined the Circus Blog Tour: Guest Post

That Time I Joined the Circus is an exciting new debut written by J.J. Howard.  The book will be released on April 1st, 2013 from Scholastic Point.  As a part of the awesome blog tour to help promote this book, I'm able to share a guest post with you today!  Check the summary of the book below to see if you'd pick it up and stick around to see what stories and authors inspired J.J. the most!

Lexi Ryan just ran away to join the circus, but not on purpose. 

A music-obsessed, slightly snarky New York City girl, Lexi is on her own. After making a huge mistake--and facing a terrible tragedy--Lexi has no choice but to track down her long-absent mother. Rumor has it that Lexi's mom is somewhere in Florida with a traveling circus. 

When Lexi arrives at her new, three-ring reality, her mom isn't there . . . but her destiny might be. Surrounded by tigers, elephants, and trapeze artists, Lexi finds some surprising friends and an even more surprising chance at true love. She even lucks into a spot as the circus's fortune teller, reading tarot cards and making predictions. 

But then Lexi's ex-best friend from home shows up, and suddenly it's Lexi's own future that's thrown into question.

Guest Post

What stories/authors inspire me the most:

The making of a book nerd book lover:

In ninth grade, I read Wuthering Heights, and Jane Eyre, and all the Austen novels. For a few months, I started wearing longs skirts and wishing I’d been born in the early nineteenth century. (Somehow I seem to have skipped past all those Brontes having tuberculosis).

I started wanting to live inside the books I loved. I was pretty much ruined after that.

The lightbulb moment:

The book I was reading when I first thought, hey, I could write a book, and I think I’d like to write a historical mystery: The Eight by Katherine Neville.

Trust me to get inspired by a 598-page epic, and think that probably my book should be gigantic as well. I started writing it...and I just kept on writing. I didn’t ever think it was long enough. I finally finished writing the story four years later, and it was over 170K. Then I went and learned how to query and everything I read told me it was waayy too long. It takes like five full minutes to bring up the document on MS Word. I plan to edit it at some point, because I love the story. And I do mean edit. ;)

Characters/Respect the Mushroom

I love Diana Gabaldon’s book Outlander almost more than life. So when she released The Outlandish Companion, I was definitely one of the superfans that this compendium of tidbits on the series was aimed at. One really memorable section had Gabaldon discussing her writing process, and how characters come in types. It really stuck with me the way she classified some characters as mushrooms: the ones that show up, seemingly fully formed—and often proceed to take over the narrative. The other main type of characters were the onions—the ones you knew you needed plot-wise, but who were more difficult to figure out, hence the oniony-peeling metaphor.

I had one serious onion in my first book, but I also had two complete mushrooms who I basically let take over the book. I’ve always remembered this really cool analogy, and I’ve learned to respect the mushroom. Jamie was one character in CIRCUS who just showed up and started talking. I’d had a completely different story in mind for him, but he seemed to have different ideas.

Style & snark

Margaret Atwood. She’s a genius, first of all, but she’s so witty and even wittily self-deprecating that I don’t even begrudge her amazing talent. Her style is so distinct—you can hear the way the words should sound in your head (sarcastic inflection included). Reading one of her short stories is a little bit like going out to the museum, and then coming home and being like, hmm, I feel like painting. You’re just happy to be playing in the same sandbox—you’re not expecting yours to be a Monet or something.

Snark part II, and also slang

Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer is inspiring in so many ways, but the way he and his writers used slang, the comic timing of his scenes—none of it had been seen before (at least by me) –and it really changed the way I thought about comedy and drama. Even when I don’t use actual Buffy-slang in my own writing, the experience of watching (and re-watching) those episodes gave me an ear for slang that I don’t think I would have had otherwise.

Connect with the author: Blog | Website | Goodreads | Twitter
Buy the book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Check out the rest of the tour:

3/27: Through the Looking Glass: Blog Tour Kick Off
3/28: Literary Exploration: Book Review
3/29: The Book Cellar: Author Favorites List
3/30: Nick’s Book Blog: Top Five YA’s and Top Five TBR
3/31: The Hollow Cupboards: Authors/Stories that Inspired J.J. Howard the Most
4/1: Forever 17 Books: Top Ten Guilty Pleasures
4/2: Emilie’s Book World: Favorite Circus Attractions
4/3: Novel Sounds: Author Playlist
4/4: Nawanda Files: Author Interview
4/5: Hobbitsies: Advice for Teen Writers
4/6: Through the Looking Glass: Book Review
4/7: The Book Vortex: Seven Random Facts about JJ Howard
4/8: Stalking the Bookshelves: A Day in the Life of JJ Howard
4/9: Word Spelunking: Author Interview
4/10:The Busy Bibliophile: Top Seven Things I Would Like to Collect
4/11: Through the Looking Glass: Wrap Up Post

My review of That Time I Joined the Circus will be up shortly, so come back soon!

1 comment:

  1. I am really looking forward to reading this one so I'll be anxious to read your thoughts on it! Thanks for sharing :)