Wednesday, March 21, 2012

GLORY BE Giveaway! And I'm chattin' it up with Augusta Scattergood!

Augusta Scattergood and I became online friends a couple years back and have bolstered and supported each other on our book publishing journeys so I was thrilled to pieces when she sold her Middle-Grade novel to Scholastic Press and we became Scholastic *Sisters*! (After you read this very entertaining interview, be sure to see the details about the giveaway of Glory Be, including a Signed Book Plate and bookmark down below!)

Kimberley: Before you became a published author, what other careers did you have and how do you think they prepared you to become a writer?

Augusta: Other than college stints as a lifeguard and earlier as a doctor's office assistant, I had one career my entire working life. The best career a writer could imagine! I was a school librarian. When I was in sixth grade, I was asked to be a library assistant at my elementary school. As a kid, I loved lining up the spines of the books just so. That little ink date due stamper. Sigh. Such power.

I decided right then and there to be a librarian.

I held various library positions, including a year as a medical library assistant when I was in graduate school at Simmons College, five years as a reference librarian (tax forms, anyone?), and a college summer working for the Mississippi Library Commission. Parts of GLORY BE are actually based on that summer’s experience.

Kimberley: Can you give us a timeline of the writing and publishing of Glory B? When did you start, how long did the process take?

Augusta: This is going to sound very depressing, but I started this story when I left my school library to write, in the spring of 2001. Yes, I know. Pitiful.

Kimberley: Nope - it happens to all of us! That was the year I began drafting The Healing Spell! See, we're sisters in many ways!

Augusta: I had an idea of a short story about two girls and their babysitter who was a wedding planner at their daddy’s church. Sent to their rooms for their afternoon “rests,” (as we all did in the Deep South, pre-air-conditioning), they invented a game they called Junk Poker. It was so not a story. Just a memory. Pretty soon, I realized it needed that elusive plot thing. 

Although my own town didn’t close a swimming pool, I knew of and researched stories of towns that closed pools rather than integrate them. Plowed them under. Made them private. It was a sad, serious time in many places, not just the South. Once I had an historical time and event to tie my memories, characters and setting to, the plot developed.

I met my agent via a regional SCBWI conference in 2009, and she took me on about a year later when I submitted the manuscript for Glory Be. She sold my first novel to Scholastic in the summer of 2010. The book was ready about a year later.

Signing stacks of books on tour!!

Kimberley: What was your favorite scene/chapter to write?

Augusta: That would have to be the Elvis's house in Tupelo chapter! I had a huge crush on Elvis when I was about Glory's age, maybe even younger. And I'd visited his little house way before it was a shrine. At first my amazing editor thought it might be something we should cut. We talked. I made some changes that tied it into the story better. I confessed to my brief stint as an Elvis impersonator. We left it in.
Kimberley: Love that! (When you desperately want to leave something in your story, just incorporate it into the plot in new and creative ways!) 

What's your favorite Southern Supper?

Augusta: Supper wasn't a big deal in my childhood. But dinner, in the middle of the day, sure was. Sunday dinners at my house were something to behold! Fried chicken, field peas, brown butter beans, asparagus casserole topped with lots of bubbling cheese, sweet tea, homemade rolls, always dessert. I get hungry just writing that!

Kimberley: Oh, my gosh, Augusta, can I come to dinner at your house sometime?

Augusta: But the best part of Sunday dinner was the storytelling. How my daddy loved to tell the tales! About once a month, we had the preacher and his wife for Sunday dinner. Almost always my grandmother came. Often her entertaining best friend who was a daughter of the governor of Tennessee, I think—a world traveler who smoked cigarettes from a long holder. Those people knew how to talk. I can still see us around the table, passing the stories around.

Kimberley: How fascinating! I used to love to listen in on the adults talking more than I did playing with the other kids or cousins.
Augusta: I'm  reminded of a story Eudora Welty wrote about her childhood. Driving around Jackson with her mother and her mother's friends, she'd sit between them with great expectations. "Now talk," she'd order, and she'd sit to listen.

Young children weren't supposed to talk much around the Sunday dinner table, but I sure did listen.

Kimberley: Favorite Book as a child?
Augusta: I loved Nancy Drew. When I was a little older, I adored Little Women. My other grandmother was a 4th grade teacher until she retired (mandatory!) at age 75 or so. She gave me books on every occasion. I was an avid, eclectic reader.

Kimberley: I knew we were *sisters* in more ways than one! I read Nancy Drew like a fiend. And I have boxes of copies from the original printings from the 1940s that I got from my orthodontist assistant who saw me reading Nancy at an appt one day. Next time they tightened my braces, she brought out a whole box for me to take home! 

What are you working on now?

Augusta: I have a very tiny idea for a new middle-grade novel that I'm noodling. I love writing about the South. I love the intriguing characters that pop up when I listen.

I've been in Mississippi almost two weeks sharing GLORY BE. My brother-in-law and his brother, two great storytellers, told me about a character from their childhood hometown, a bootlegger named Taxi Jones. Don't you love that?

Kimberley: Next time you go to Mississippi, let me stow away in your suitcase!  
Augusta: I'd better not put a bootlegger in a middle grade novel. But I'm saving that name for something.

Kimberley: You get first dibs, girl! 

And now Dear Readers, leave a comment below to get a chance to win a copy of GLORY BE!!! 

If you can Tweet, Blog or Facebook this interview and contest, Augusta and I would be much obliged! (And give you extra entries, too!)
Now go enjoy one of the Best Middle-Grade Novels of 2012!
Contest is Open until Tuesday, March 27th Midnight Pacific Time! 
Winner announced Wednesday, March 28th.


Barbara Watson said...

I would LOVE a chance to win Glory Be! What great questions and insightful answers, Kimberley and Augusta.

And I can't wait to read this book!

Stephanie J. Blake said...

This book is special! I love it. And I love that you shared your long journey. Sometimes the best things take the most patience.

Heather B. Moore said...

Great interview. Congrats on the new book!

Leslie Davis Guccione said...

As part of Gusty's writing group I've loved Glory Be since forever. And as a Yankee I never tire of imagining Sunday dinners and Elvis and somewhere down the line we're gonna need a Junk Poker marathon. Great post!

Rebecca Donnelly said...

I put my library's copy of GLORY BE on hold and I should have it in my hot little hands fairly soon. If only I could also have the fried chicken, rolls, field peas...

L said...

Another voice from Gusty's NJ writing group. What a fun post! And you know I love it when you talk Southern food.

Janet McLaughlin said...

Everybody who knows her loves Augusta, and for good reason. She's talented, kind, giving, a great critique friend, and tons of fun. I loved "Glory Be" from the first read. It deserves all the kudos it gets. Augusta! Lunch! Soon!

Mrs. Miller said...

Great interview and discussion. I would love a copy of the book for my library.

Pat Zietlow Miller said...

Please enter me in the drawing. I'd love to win a copy of the book.

jpetroroy said...

I'd love to read this--great interview

Dena Bradford said...

This is a wonderful book told from the viewpoint of a child! I loved every minute of it! Thanks for writing this story Augusta!

Anonymous said...

Great interview!

I Tweeted and Facebooked about the giveaway.


Carol said...

I'm on a waiting list at the library, but I'd love to win my own copy. Loved reading the stories behind the story! Thanks so much!

Kathryn Fitzmaurice said...

Great interview and I'd love to win a copy! Thank you!

Sarah said...

I would really love to win a copy of this book!!! If I do not win I will defenitly read it!! I love the interveiw it really gives me alot of information!!!

juli said...

I would love to win a copy of Glory Be. I just recently added this book to my wish list. Your interview was insightful and enjoyable and now the book will be moved to the top of the wish list. Here's hoping I win!!!

Augusta Scattergood said...

Thanks for all those great comments and congrats to the winner (just announced!).

There will be another giveaway in the not-too-distant future. I'll be sure to let Kimberley know the link. Or check out my own blog. Or friend me on Facebook. I love connecting and sharing.

Thanks so much, Kimberley.



Winner of The Southwest Book Award!

Time travel, war, love, rattlesnakes, magic . . .

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