Caroline Bock-BEFORE MY EYES
HALLOWEEN is around the corner, if with this early snow we'll actually have trick or treaters is anyone's guess, but it does get me thinking about Zombies. I write fiction these days, but realistic, contemporary, fiction (read: LIE
), and I'm consumed (yes, a bad pun) by zombies in pop culture. But in an odd way, zombies live in reality for me. They are the great metaphor for our times, hordes of people, who can neither love, nor hate, nor read or write, they only live, only consume the flesh of those who do. For some of us the world is too much with us, for others it has forsaken them. I root for the living in the AMC Walking Dead
series, but then I wait for the zombies to come too. They are us, if we let them be us. I wait for Brad Pitt's new movie World War Z: an Oral History of Zombies
written by Max Brooks for further insights, unfortunately I will have to wait until December, 2012. Certainly, the zombies will not consume Pitt. Only lesser mortals, those ready in some psychological or immoral way to become the other? I will continue to root for the human, and truly what makes us human. But I am taken with Zombies these days, and I'm sure there are those that root for the zombies out there?
Yes, I'm a 'lit-lover' but I am also a new fan of litlovers.com
-- and they have just included LIE on their site, which is for serious book lovers as well as book clubs. They have also posted the reading guide to LIE. Kudos to all the lit lovers out there!! Check out litlovers.com
-- especially one amazing woman named Molly!!
Big Thank You to Minverva Hernandez at www.teenvoices.com
... for her review of LIE... love tag line to their online magazine... "Changing the World for Girls through Media." Here's the review:
By Caroline Bock
St. Martin’s Griffin, 2011
Reviewed by Minerva Hernandez, 18
"One of the questions we ask ourselves as we read books is whether we find the characters believable, whether they could be the everyday people, friends, family members. In the case of Lie, it is hard to believe the people whose story we share aren't real. Caroline Bock does not create a new world but rather seamlessly injects Skylar, Jimmy, Sean, Lisa Marie, Arturo, and Carlos, along with more minor characters, into ours.
This book is amazing not just because of its believability. The story told is one of sorrow. Lie is about racism against Latino immigrants, but it is driven by more than just that very powerful subject. It is about regret, loss, manipulation, faith in others, and most importantly, questioning our own motives.
“Everyone knew. No one told.” is the motto of the group of characters after a weekend pastime of “beaner-hopping”—harassing and physically assaulting presumed illegal immigrants—goes too far. Now, two of the main characters, Jimmy and Sean, face jail time, and Skylar, Jimmy’s girlfriend, wrestles with whether to tell what she knows.
This book sickened me. It made me angry, it made me sad, it made me doubt. It opened my eyes to flaws in the American justice system and how difficult it is to convict when such a motto is adopted. A crime is committed, and people are willing to stay quiet because their faith lies in those who do not deserve it.
This book is as delicate and beautiful as the protagonist, Skylar; it transcends the boundaries of racial intolerance and death. Above all, I learned that you must always remember that who you trust reflects upon yourself."
STARRED review from Booklist for LIE! From advanced copy (final out in November): "... Suspenseful and thought-provoking, this is a compellingly readable novel with a challenging theme and memorable characterizations. A terrific choice to spark discussion and debate." My editor wrote in email (her caps) HOLY CRAP! FOUR STARRED REIVEWS. I hope this means she's happy with the starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Library Journal, and now Booklist. What's make you write in ALL CAPS out there??
I put together this totally biased writer's resource list based on groups that I have actually participated in (many on line and free or at low cost) for the talk I gave today at the Plainview-Old Bethpage Public Library reading/reception event for LIE, and I thought I'd share it.
But first, I have to LOUDLY THANK two extraordinary women -- Gretchen Browne, director of the POB Library and, especially, the fabulous young adult librarian Heather Grecco who helped organize the event (yes, that's Heather and me in the picture). The reception was warm and inviting. Ages 6 to 80 were represented, and I believe everyone found the talk interesting (my 10 ten myths about the writing process, and top 10 'truths' -- more about them in later blogs!).
I distributed the following short list, which I thought I'd share with all of all you. if you have resources that you use to help you write, let me know!
RESOURCES: This is by no means a comprehensive list, but represents groups
that I have participated in or taken classes with over the years—
Long Island Children’s
Writers and Illustrators (LICWI) - a very inclusive Long Island group meets
once a month at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue, and features group critiques
of children –young adult work.
Editor visits. Very
reasonable annual membership.
Society of Children’s Book
Writers and Illustrators – (SBCWI) National
organization for children’s writers, I’m a member of NYC chapter with monthly
seminars, annual winter meeting in January in NYC offers critiques, workshops
and panels. www.scbwi.org.
Hofstra Continuing Education (adult education writing classes
year round and a well-run Summer Writers Institute on Long Island). If you are an aspiring children’s
writer, try a class with Brian Heinz, very worthwhile.
Figment: Write yourself in. A community to share writing – no fee
to join. Teen orientated. Educator section too. Find interview with me on this
Book Country – new site to read,
explore, review and write fiction – no fee to join. Run by Penguin Group, a major publisher. www.bookcountry.com.
SheWrites (for women writers only). Terrific site -- no fee to join. As they note, they re, “premiere destination for women
writers, providing services and support for women at every stage of their
writing lives.” Lots of free
information, sharing here. Also
writing classes for a fee offered on line. www.shewrites.com.
MediaBistro (on-line and in NYC, www.mediabistro.com): daily free email on the media business, plus some excellent short-term writing
classes. Class with D.B. Gilles on
screenwriting is very worthwhile.
He has a new book: The
ScreenWriter Within – I highly recommend it.
Publisher’s Lunch – daily free email on the publishing business. Key info for serious aspiring writer
about what books have been sold by what agents to what publisher’s, what books
optioned by film or television, and the scope of the deals. A subscription component of the
site gives more details on deals.
Top Writing Competition for
High School students:
The Scholastic Art
& Writing Awards for grades 7-12.
Top award for high school students in the country for writing. Dramatic scripts, Flash
Fiction (1,300 words), Personal Essay, Poetry, Science Fiction, Short Story are
among the categories. DEADLINE for
Northeast regional: JANUARY 6,
2012. Regional and national
winners. Scholarships for
winners. More at www.artsandwriting.org
list of my bookshelf about writing include: Bird by Bird
by Anne Lamott about the creative
process; Immediate Fiction by Jerry Cleaver, a complete writing course in one book; and The Practical Writer from Inspiration to
Publication edited by Therese Eiben and Mary Gannon on the staff of Poets
&Writers Magazine. Also,
Poets&Writers Magazine and its
website are essential resources.
I'm sure there are more out there, this is only my 'short list,' so if you have some, let me know.
Notes are together... flip chart... DVD of book trailer.... all I hope is that there's an audience for today's (Sat. Oct. 15) reading/community reception for LIE at the Plainview-Old Bethpage Public Library at 999 Old Country Road in Plainview from 3-4:30 pm. In any case, I know I'll be thanking to amazing women -- the director of the library and the young adult librarian at the POB library for a long time to come!!
Reading/Reception with coffee, tea, cakes, cookies, and yes, a talk about the writing process. The top 10 truths that I've learned about the writing process. Hint: Write what you know is NOT on the top 10 list. It's not on the list at all.
I think that's one of the biggest mistakes because would be fiction writers interpret it too narrowly. Write about what you've experienced -- in the deepest, most truthful way, from the heart, and transfer that into your story. I didn't "know" anything about hate crimes, I never was a victim of one, never participated in any violence against anybody. But I knew what it meant to be an outsider, to feel like you didn't belong, to be bullied for being different. I knew what it meant to feel lost as a teenager, to want to be part of a group, almost at any cost. But the events in LIE weren't directly mine, so I incorporated what I experienced into the story and just worked on making it the best story I could. What are your 10 ten truths about the writing process?? What else should I include??
If you are in the area I hope you can come! See below -- poster in the hall of the POB Library-- so cool -- thank you POB Library!!
999 Old Country Road, Plainview, NY 11803. Reading/Community Reception. FREE. Open to the Public!
First, I like Hilary at Bookloons! And she really likes LIE!. From her blog review, "Caroline Bock makes Skylar very real as she portrays her struggle between loyalty to her boyfriend and loyalty to herself and the values she grew up with. I highly recommend LIE to you for its excellent treatment of a tough topic." The entire review at www.bookloons.com
And I also really like D. B. Gilles new the book on screenwriting, The Screenwriter Within, which is as much a book about storytelling (with some terrific writing exercises included).
Lastly, I'm in the middle of reading Sherman Alexie's young adult novel for the second time -- The Absolutely True Story of a Part-time Indian -- which in an odd way seems so appropriate on Columbus Day, the day Columbus 'discovered' the island of Hispaniola and changed future for all of us. Sherman Alexie tweeted a thought today cut through with irony --"
Indians wish our immigration laws had been a little tougher in 1492." Though, I am so glad that my grandparents left their homes for here, left Poland and Russia and Italy (yes, I'm half Italian), and found their way here. So, the answers aren't easy, but important to raise the questions, to see the other side, to question what truths -- and yes, what lies, we tell ourselves and one another.
Late Friday thoughts... found this image on the web -- it's a book blogger's desk. I happen to like these two books too!! Am a huge Hunger Games fan (seriously)!!
This blogger hasn't written a LIE review yet... but I hope she does -- perhaps even she'll do some inter textual analysis between the two books -- of course, Skylar Thompson is living in the present, not some dark future, even though it may seem dark and hopeless to her. I wonder if writers like dystopian novels because it's easier than writing contemporary reality? There's nothing to hold you back? May we repair this world through our work, even if it means imagining another.
Last thought -- if you are in the area -- join me at the wonderful Plainview-Old Bethpage Public Library on Saturday, October 15th from 3-4:30 pm for a reading/signing/community reception. The library's address is 999 Old Country Road, Plainview, NY 11803. www.poblib.org. Hope to see you there!!
Very last thought: Good fast to those who fast, may we all be written in the Book of Life.
Until then, read LIE:)!