You are invited to a virtual month-long discussion
of BEFORE MY EYES with author Caroline Bock!
Date: March, 2014
Venue: YA Reads for Teachers (And Any
Location: The United States
Here is the Goodreads book summary of BEFORE MY EYES:
From the author of LIE, a powerful new
young adult novel about a fateful Long Island summer and the lives of three
young people who will never be the same...
"GRIPPING, DISTURBING AND
"Every one of Bock's fragile
characters hides an unflinching inner backbone of steel. Impassioned and
moving." - Elizabeth Wein, bestselling author of Code Name Verity and Rose
Message from Rory M., moderator of the goodreads group, YA For Teachers (and Other Adults):
I'm thrilled to
have Caroline Bock as our guest this month! Let us know if we should expect you
on the discussion thread -- it is a book that will haunt you!
...and I hope you can join too....Caroline
My eight-year-old daughter lost another tooth this week, and she insisted that she still believed in the tooth fairy
. So the tooth fairy was contacted and replied with this note:
I believe in you…
And I’m glad you believe in me.
Stay forever young…
With love always,
Your Tooth Fairy
This note (and a few dollars) from the tooth fairy made a little girl very happy. Do you still believe?
Sometimes it's nice to know that simple things are still good things to believe in--like the tooth fairy.
P.S. If I had a fairy, it would be a book fairy, someone who waves a wand and encourages all to go read my new young adult novel, BEFORE MY EYES, which is NOT at all whimsical, but as much adult as much as young adult. Look for BEFORE MY EYES everywhere books/ebooks are sold. Read it with your mature teen (age 14 and above) or just read it.
A poem dedicated to novelists everywhere
Another ordinary day—
The sun will rise across the fields.
The cold will parse the light,
on par for February.
My son will forget to zip or button
And I’ll remind him, adding:
‘Put on a hat,’
like my father always said to me
when it was cold or hot.
I’ll hear my father’s gruff
and it will make me happy in a way
that when he was alive it never did.
The teapot will shrill and
I’ll hurry it off the stove top,
hushing the boiling water.
I’ll press my mug,
with specks of tea
and milk and honey to my cheek, wondering what to make
for supper, and how I should
get to work today writing—
I don’t know what.
I’ll spot black birds
pecking at the ice-patched fields,
the school bus ruffling around
the bend, and my son loping
down the hill to the bus stop, and
it will be an ordinary day except
for the rush
that every novelist should feel
at least once in their lives:
today my book will be published.
-- Caroline Bock 2.11.14,
As the publication of BEFORE MY EYES, my second young adult novel, approaches
I have to turn to other writers to stay sane because publishing is an insane business. Here's a quote that I particularly like from a great American writer who drank too much, died of consumption, and left great writing behind:
"Mostly, we authors must repeat ourselves-- that's the truth. We have two or three great moving experiences in our lives--experiences so great and moving that it doesn't seem at the the time anyone else has been caught up and pounded and dazzled and astonished and beaten and broken and rescued and illuminated and rewarded and humbled in just way that way before." -- F. Scott Fitzgerald
Tales From A Hungry Life: A Memoir with Recipes
made me laugh out loud -- and cry.
It's the story of Maria and her six brothers; a stray dog or two; a garage
band; an Italian father and a Puerto Rican mother, and a raucous, high-spirited
extended family -- that turns from
a rollicking tale to a heartfelt one of loss and remembrances (no spoilers here
- you must, must read this memoir).
The setting is a character too -- Queens,
New York, with all its diversity, comes alive with this writer's deft hand. The
short, vividly written chapters all culminate with delicious recipes and spot
on funny advice for any family. I loved the opening, a tragically-comedic
chapter about the author's family home being struck by lighting, which ends
with a recipe for blackened chicken.
I come from a large Italian-American
family on my mother's side, and I could relate to the food, to the chaos, to
the comedy in tragedy, which this author captures so well. This is a memoir to
A snowy blustering day--darkening, storming skies-- all said, a perfect day to work on updating my website. Check it out! www.carolinebock.com.
This is the time of year to look back, a writer’s dilemma.
It seems like I am always mulling on memories, lingering over
scenes half-remembered, reconstructed as fiction.
But as 2013 ends, this is a
happy look back at my literary highlights of the year, as I prepare to pop the champagne and get ready to
sing “Auld Lange Synge" (does anyone on the planet know all the words to this song?!):
Cheers! to My Literary Crush of the Year:
Alice McDermott from That Night
to Charming Billy
and now on
. I’ve read everyone of her novels and I think Someone is one of her
best – it travels down some of the same streets as the one before – Brooklyn,
Long Island’s South Shore, a young girl looking into her neighbor’s world and
then into her own, an Irish-American girl trying to make sense of the
ordinariness of life. I loved Someone.
Cheers! To Best Literary Find in My New City – The District of
I met my literary crush Alice McDermott here hand selling
books on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I also attended readings by Edwidge
Danticat and Elizabeth Wein
9also author of the best YOUNG ADULT novels that I read this year CODE NAME VERITY and its sequel: ROSE UNDER FIRE). Best of all, I found a new home to buy books, discuss books, breathe books.
And cheers to:
The Best Books I read with my book club:
Best Poetry Find:
I took an amazing class with her: Grand Theft Poetry and
realized that poetry can be found, stolen, nourished in many places.
Best Self-Published Book:
Best Indie Book:
Favorite “classic” book re-read:
The Joys of Yiddish by Leo Rosten – read for research, with
naches for the language, which as a kid my father sprinkled around our dining room table. Oy!
Best Movie Based on a Novel:
based on Suzanne Collins Hunger Games series, as if you didn't know. But best new addition to the cast: Phillip Seymour Hoffman. This December, the movie just crossed 700 million in box office world wide. May the odds be forever in their favor!
Best Television Series Based On a Novel:
House of Cards
starring Kevin Spacey and awesome Robin Wright - is based on the novel by same name by Michael Dobbs
(interesting a British writer and politician). I am currently binge-watching for the holidays on Netflix!
...For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne...
My son, who is in middle-school, had to interview someone in the family on his or her profession, so after much debate he interviewed me, his mom, on her second-career adventure as a writer. I would highly recommend this as an exercise for any mother and son because it gave us a chance to talk about me rather than him, though in the process we talked about him too-- about how you get from middle school to anywhere else in this world, which I didn't realize seemed to him an improbable journey. We discussed his aspirations, his dreams, his desire to do big and good things in the world. But since this was an interview with me, here are the answers to the 20-questions he asked about my career -- from the answers you can imagine the questions, or not:
My mom is a writer.
responsibility is to write at least 5 days a week and to complete edits in the
time designated by her editor.
She works in my house.
She works in an office crowded with papers,
books and notes. She does a lot of
research on the internet and in the library, and even, travels to locations she
is writing about in her work.
She loves to read. Sometimes she reads more than
one book at a time. I don’t know how she does this but she makes me go to the
library with her so I can testify to the fact that she read a lot.
believes that the more she writes the better she becomes as a writer.
There are no requirements for this job. However,
my mother has a B.S. in English and Communications, worked for twenty years in
cable television, and recently completed her Master of Fine Arts in Fiction
there is no special clothing.
she works 25-30 hours a week depending on deadlines. When she is finishing a
novel, she works all the time and forgets to make us dinner.
a year-round job.
men and women write.
can be done anywhere.
mother has a high satisfaction in her job.
because she’s self-employed.
17. She believes you need life experience to write fiction, a love of
novels, and a good command of grammar.
18. Yes, she wanted to write since third
19. She doesn’t particularly like
semi-colons. She calls them the bastards of grammar. She says it is okay for a
writer to use all kinds of words including “bastards” when writing.
20. No, she’s self-employed.
Interview conducted by Michael Bock
for a middle school class project.
Six random things you don’t know about me…
-I can’t stand coffee, the taste or the smell. (I drink lots of tea!).
-I’m afraid of Ferris wheels and apartments on high floors
with lots of windows (that’s why I always lived in brownstones in Manhattan).
-The summer after I graduated high school, I biked from
Hyannis to Provincetown and via ferry onto Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard with
my brother Mark, still one of the best trips of my life.
-I hiked the High Peaks in the Adirondacks and climbed Mt.
Marcy and Haystack among a dozen other mountains and had my first kiss in a pup
tent with Howard from Brooklyn. I was fourteen and on a three-week backpacking
trip with the American Youth Hostels.
-I miss my dad, who passed away last October, every day. He
brought four kids on camping trips every summer. He made a great kugel. He gave
us the world and all the love in it.
-In Mrs. Murano’s class third grade class at George M. Davis Elementary school in New Rochelle, I wrote my first poem,
and I can recite it to this day: In the woods/where there are tall. towering
trees/tiny. timid animals/rigid, rustling leaves/I stand there/just me.