Thursday, November 13, 2014

Los Angeles, France, Scandalous Sisterhood, oh my!

Here’s an overdue bulletin of all that’s been happening with me lately (and why I’ve been so behind in my blogging!).
1.     This year we managed an epic cross-country move from suburban Boston to suburban Los Angeles. And all in a relatively short time, too, from final decision to final arrival. It’s been a somewhat harrowing adventure, including home renovations, yard sales, getting rid of tons of stuff, packing, unloading vehicles, buying new vehicles, flying family plus cats across America, arriving, unloading our PackRat container (little ad here: if you need container storage/moving, THESE are the ones to use, I promise), buying loads of IKEA furniture, and gradually settling in to our new lives in sunny LA. There’s a lot I miss about the Northeast, especially during the fall, but we’re making new friends and having grand adventures in California, so all is well. And, fortunately for me, book promotion means I get to travel a lot and visit all my old haunts, so I don’t feel cut off from my old life.
 All theTruth That’s in Me came out in paperback this year, sporting a fetching new cover.  It’s had a great year, shortlisting for the UK’s Carnegie Medal (and winning the Shadower’s Favorite honor, which is sort of a reader’s choice award for the thousands of teen Carnegie participants, or “shadowers”), and winning Australia’s Silver Inky prize for the top YA novel written by a non-Australian. Very exciting.
  3.       This year I researched and wrote a new novel, a YA to be published by Viking, and currently set for a fall 2015 release. It’s set in 13th Century Southern France, and I got to take a marvelous research trip to Toulouse with my sister Joanna this past spring.
With the gargoyles (Obviously!) at La Musee des Augustins, Toulouse

Carcassonne just before twilight

Julie with coquelicot
I’d always dreamed of visiting France and getting to use my high school French. To my great surprise, there was still a fair amount of it rattling around in my head after 20 years, and much of what I’d forgotten came back to me. This book, as yet untitled, tells the story of a medieval mystic girl who runs afoul of the inquisition period that follows the Albigensian Crusade, and her unlikely friendship with an earthy peasant girl who runs a tavern and plays local matchmaker. This has been a wonderful book to research and write, yet also a very challenging project, because I had so much to learn about this time period. I still do. The book is in the revision stages now, and I’m still reading new books and re-reading the ones I’ve read already, to try to understand all that I can about the context of this fascinating world.
4.       This fall I launched a new title, The Scandalous Sisterhood of PrickwillowPlace, published by Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan. This farcical Victorian murder mystery will be published in the UK by Piccadilly Press, as well as in Germany, Brazil, and Japan. I’ll do another post about it soon, and about all the traveling I’ve been doing to promote it, but for now, here’s a glimpse at the animated book trailer:

My blogging may have lagged, but life’s gone on at a breakneck pace. I have so much to be thankful for – above all, my family, safe, healthy, and happy on average. : I look forward to wrapping up revisions, turning them in, being lazy through the holidays, and developing new projects in 2015. Happy fall to you! 

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