Our last OAAA author is Michael Buckley, author of the not-yet-released Undertow. He has also written several books for middle grade readers. In May Michael will be attending Rochester’s TBF Live event and spending a good chunk of time touring on the West Coast.
Please welcome Michael Buckley.
1. What makes your new book different from what you’ve released in the past, writing process wise?
Most of my work has been for the middle grade audience so it has been high adventure with lots of humor. Undertow is YA and has a social message I’ve never been able to explore before. It’s scary and thrilling and there’s some romance, and it tackles some questions about equality and race and who we are as a people. It’s quite different than anything I’ve done before.
2. Can you talk a little bit more about the new book?It’s the story of Lyric Walker who witnesses the arrival of 30,000 underwater sea warriors who walk out of the ocean and build a tent city on the beaches of Coney Island. Lyric is caught is a clash of civilizations when some of these visitors send their children to high school and the community explodes with xenophobia and fear. Unfortunately, Lyric is wildly attracted to one of these new students, the prince of the Alpha, a boy named Fathom.
3. What kind of events are you going to be doing for the new book?
I’m doing an eight city tour, most on the West Coast – Seattle, Portland, LA, San Francisco but I’m also visiting Minneapolis, and Salt Lake City for the first time ever. In the world of kid lit the best way to get people excited about what you’re doing is go and meet them yourselves. I’ll be posting dates on my site www.michaelbuckleywrites.com. I’m also doing some guest blogging for the first time and reaching out to the millions of kids who loved my earlier series The Sisters Grimm and of course, NERDS.
4. Do you have any advice for new or aspiring writers?
Write every single day. If you can’t find time you’re never going to do it. Read everything you can. People who aren’t ferocious readers are really lousy writers. Get into a writing workshop with others who will critique what you’ve written and then rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. Oh, and read Stephen King’s On Writing – should be mandatory.
5. Do you have writing traditions or rituals? Places to write, snacks, music, etc?
I like to read before I write – it help me warm up. I try to find places that aren’t too loud but I can’t seem to do it in places that are too quiet, either. I don’t write at home. There are too many distractions.
6. What kind of research do you do for your books?
Of Undertow I read A LOT of YA – I needed to know what was good, what was respected, and I needed to see how other writer’s tackle language and story. I talked to a lot of other author’s and got advice before I even bothered to look up anything about mermaids. When I was ready I read a lot of folklore, but I also dug deep into history on the Civil Rights movement. I also searched the web for pictures of weird sea creatures – which happily – there are a lot.
7. Are you an organized writer or a go-with-the-flow kind of writer?
I think I’m very go-with-the-flow. I try to write every day but I trust my brain and if it isn’t there I pack up and do something else. Going to the park is a great way to get the subconscious brain working on your story while you’re feeding birds. I put a lot of faith in my mind when it I’m asleep or in the shower. That’s when the it’s all getting worked out.
8. What do you do when you aren’t writing?
I’ll let you know if that ever happens again. I’m usually working on something.
9. Can you talk about your next project?
I just finished up the second Undertow book called Raging Sea and need to start thinking about the third one. After that I think I might write a contemporary middle grade book which I’ve never done and then I have a ghost story that’s haunting me.
Michael has donated a complete Undertow swag pack including a beach bag and Undertow towel to the month long giveaway. Check out the giveaway page to enter.