With only six more weeks until the On the Road to Sparkling Literature Conference on September 20-21, you know what that means, right? Another series of awesome speaker interviews! We’re kicking things off with David Teague joining us in the cyber café and he’s brought along one of our best “favorite place to work photo” so far.
David is the author of the picture book Franklin’s Big Dreams and the forthcoming Henry Cicada’s Anything But Ordinary Adventure. He lives in Wilmington, Delaware with his wife Marisa de los Santos and their two children, Annabel and Charles. Marisa is the author of the New York Times bestselling adult novel Love Walked In, which is also a perennial staple on YA fiction lists, as well as Belong to Me, Falling Together, and the forthcoming The Precious One. Saving Lucas Biggs is David and Marisa’s first middle-grade novel, and their first collaborative project.
Perfect for fans of Margaret Peterson Haddix, When You Reach Me, and Savvy, this charming time-travel story from husband-and-wife team Marisa de los Santos and David Teague follows one girl’s race to change the past in order to save her father’s future.
Thirteen-year-old Margaret knows her father is innocent, but that doesn’t stop the cruel Judge Biggs from sentencing him to death. Margaret is determined to save her dad, even if it means using her family’s secret—and forbidden—ability to time travel. With the help of her best friend, Charlie, and his grandpa Josh, Margaret goes back to a time when Judge Biggs was a young boy and tries to prevent the chain of events that transformed him into a corrupt, jaded man. But with the forces of history working against her, will Margaret be able to change the past? Or will she be pushed back to a present in which her father is still doomed?
Told in alternating voices between Margaret and Josh, this heartwarming story shows that sometimes the forces of good need a little extra help to triumph over the forces of evil.
David will be giving a presentation on Saturday called:
Let Me Not to the Marriage of True Minds Admit Impediments
After twenty years of marriage and countless individual writing projects, authors Marisa de los Santos and David Teague, somewhat rashly, over a lunch where martinis were not a factor, hatched what seemed like a great plan for a collaborative novel. The story of the composition of Saving Lucas Briggs makes an intriguing tale in its own right. Spoiler alert: a second co-production is under contract and expected out in 2015.
He’s also leading a Sunday Intensive workshop:
Collaboration, Inspiration, and the Sound of Your Own Voice
Saving Lucas Biggs features joint narrators speaking in alternating chapters penned separately by each author. Thus, each of us had to write our counterpart’s narrator as a character in our own chapters. By the same token, with each new chapter, we each heard our character’s voice as written by somebody else. This experience was sometimes exhilarating, sometimes painful, and always enlightening. “Collaboration, Inspiration, and The Sound of Your Own Voice” will provide a workshop setting in which to sharpen your own character’s voices by imagining them spoken by others, and by conceiving others’ voices as your own (it’s actually a lot of fun).
And now that David is settled in the cyber chair with his favorite coffeehouse beverage–coffee, super tall extra venti-grande large, (with free refills, ideally,)
And his favorite snack, a 7-layer bar, (as long as three of them are chocolate,) let’s begin!
Okay, David, easy questions first. What was your favorite book as a child?
Jerome, by Philip Ressner, illustrated by Jerome Snyder. c. 1967. Sadly, long out of print. Man, Jerome was one nutty frog. With unforgettable teeth.
As a teen?
The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper. Happily, still extremely in print!
And now, as an adult?
Anna Karenina, by Leo “The Count” Tolstoy. All happy families are alike. Every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. Everything was in confusion in the Oblonsky household . . .
What advice for beginning writers do you wish you would have followed?
Never quit, even for one day.
What is your favorite writing how-to book that has helped you improve your craft or provided inspiration?
Story by Robert McKee. I know. He pontificates a little bit. But that structure of his, status quo, inciting incident, etc. was just the discipline I needed to organize my thoughts into a narrative.
(I have to admit that Story has been sitting unread on my bookshelf for years. I really need to read this!) Okay, where’s your favorite place to work?
Ha, hilarious shot! Okay, how were you inspired to write your current or upcoming release?
My writing partner went for a bicycle ride and came back with the whole idea ready to go. So I just hopped on the bandwagon.
What is your favorite line(s) from this book?
“You’ve got a superpower. A brain superpower!” (from Connect the Stars, Harper Children’s 2015)
If you followed the career path you chose for yourself in high school, what would you be doing for a living now?
You’ve been locked in a bank vault Twilight Zone style, so you finally have time to read! Your glasses are fine, (whew,) so what’s the first book you crack open?
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume II: The Kingdom on the Waves by M. T. Anderson. Because volume I is the best young adult book of the 21st century.
If you could go back in time and make changes to any of your published books, would you? If so, which one and why?
I say if it ain’t EXTREMELY broke, don’t fix it. So I’d just leave things alone.
For one day, time travel is a reality and you have the opportunity to visit any famous deceased author you want. Who do you pick?
Plato. I want to know why he made Socrates hang around with Glaucon even though he asked all those dopey questions!
Congratulations, Steven Spielberg is doing a movie based on your book! Who would play the lead role and what songs would be on the soundtrack?
Stumped. I’d like Harrison Ford in there somewhere, though, maybe as Grandpa Josh, and “Heart of Gold” Neil Young.
You magically find a $100 bill in your box of cereal. In what frivolous way would you spend it?
Buy more of that cereal!
What is your favorite quote?
“The grandmother didn’t want to go to Florida.” Which is the first line of A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor. It tells the whole story. After which, Flannery tells the whole story . . .
If you could sum up your best advice for new writers in only four words, what would they be?
Never ever quit writing.
Time for the lightning round—no more than four words per answer! Do you . . .
Talk about works-in-progress, or keep it zipped? Talk. To everybody.
Sell by proposal or completed draft? Or hook or crook.
Dread marketing/blogging or love it? Love it, usually.
Read Kindle or traditional books? BOOKS!
And finally, what’s your favorite:
Time to work? 8am-noon.
Music to listen to while writing? Bach violin concertos 2, 4, and 5.
Writing tool? Fine point roller ball black ink pen.
Pair of shoes? Keen sandals. Ten years old.
Guiltiest pleasure? Sheesh!
Line from a movie? “If what I think is happening IS happening, it better not be!” Mrs. Fox in Fantastic Mr. Fox by Wes Anderson.
Awesome, thanks for stopping by, David, and letting us get to know you better before the conference! I’m looking forward to both of your presentations.
And for those who’d like more conference information and registration instructions, be sure to go here!
Happy writing and drawing, everyone!