105 Ways to Give a Book

Summer Contest For Cassie Was Here

For the last part of Tell An Author You Care... well, Week, I am posting my MotherReader Standard Interview of a dynamic new author, Caroline Hickey. Her book Cassie Was Here was my first recommendation to my county’s 2008 summer reading program. In fact, I entered my suggestion a mere ten minutes ago.

I may be doing a disservice by not doing a full review of this book, but I wanted to get this post up right now. Some plot basics are covered in the interview below, and I can confidently give it the official Thumbs-Up from MotherReader. Cassie Was Here is interesting and engaging and a particularly good summer read. As a promotion for this smart, fun book the author is giving away a free signed copy. Simply comment below with one idea of something fun to do in the summer, and I’ll pick a winner at random. It’s likely I’ll throw in a little something myself. Now, let’s talk to Miss Caroline.

When did you start writing?

I started writing poems when I was in grade school and considered myself quite the little poet (I wasn’t!). I moved on to short fiction in middle and high school, then back to poetry in college, where I took an amazing poetry seminar and was introduced to the workshopping process. I didn’t start writing for children until my twenties and when I did I couldn’t believe I’d ever done anything else! It’s funny how some things just click.

Where do you do your best thinking?

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of great thinking on the subway. It’s one place you can’t multi-task (unless you have a BlackBerry, which I thankfully don’t), so if I’m trying to figure out a thorny plot or character problem, I stare at the ceiling and just mull, mull, mull. I can’t think at my desk because it’s overflowing with revisions and bills and folders and manuscripts and a stack of books I want to read.

Who inspires you personally and/or professionally?

My writing group, The Longstockings, inspires me and keeps me motivated. We started writing and workshopping together in graduate school, and we’ve supported each other through every step of the book process, from first chapters to first acceptance letters to first book parties! When I feel frustrated with my own work, I read something another Longstocking is working on. It helps me remember how much fun writing is and how I wouldn’t want to do anything else.

Why did you need to write this book?

I wrote Cassie Was Here because I wanted to capture the effect a new influence can have on someone, particularly an older girl on a younger one. My main character, Bree, is eleven and whiling away a lonely summer in a new neighborhood when she meets thirteen-year-old Cassie. There’s nothing more intriguing to an eleven-year-old than a girl who’s a little older and a lot more sophisticated — even when she’s a bully — and that relationship is what I wanted to explore.

How does Cassie Was Here reflect your own life experience?

Since Bree has an imaginary friend (at age 11!), I often get asked if I did as well. The answer is yes, but I was only about 3 at the time. So I’m afraid that Bree is not me, nor much like me, really. However, the book does take place in a small suburb of Baltimore where I grew up, in my old neighborhood, and in my old house. I don’t think I’d do very well writing characters and plot taken literally from my life, because I’d be so constrained by what really happened that I wouldn’t be able to listen to the story and let it tell me where it needs to go.

What’s next for you?

Next up is a tween/YA novel called Isabelle’s Boyfriend, coming out with Roaring Brook next fall. It’s about a fifteen-year-old girl who goes bananas for another girl’s guy and tries to steal him. The problem is, she’s too nice to really do it, so she ends up botching the whole thing and making another guy fall for her!


Anonymous said...

I'll play.

Eating watermelon off the rind and spitting out the seeds.


Becky said...

Reading was always my favorite thing to do. But I suppose, if you're looking for a more summerish activity, I'll go with eating lemon chills at an amusement park or zoo! Yum!

JenFW said...

Can I play, too?

Bouncing on soft springy tundra, rolling down a hill, and eating blueberries off the bushes the way the bears do. Oh, and gliding on the deck when it's midnight and the sun's still up.

Anonymous said...

The premise of Cassie Was Here sounds intriguing, and I'm eager to read it.

For summer fun, what about floating on your back in the nearest pool (pond, lake, or ocean) and gazing up at the summer clouds...

Or just sitting on the beach listening to the sound of the waves?

Thanks for the interview and recommendation.

Erin said...

Treat yourself to a book shopping spree. :)

Little Willow said...

Lovely book, great writing, sweet author, great interview! :)

Something fun to do in the summer:
Watch the clouds as they drift from one animal shape into another.

Anonymous said...

Sitting on the screened in porch, a breeze blowing, reading a great book.

tanita✿davis said...

Scrunching toes in the sand, playing with those little sand crab thingies, collecting tiny shells and hoping for a perfect sand dollar. The book is abandoned, the blanket is grubby, the day is over, and you still can't force yourself to leave the rhythmic soughing and sighing of the sea...

Man, do I need a vacation!!

Mary Lee said...

My favorite thing to do in the summer (in July, at least) is to ignore my to-do list and know that there will be plenty of time tomorrow to be motivated and on-task!

Caroline Hickey said...

I'm not eligible for the contest since I, um, wrote the book but I can't help submitting my fave summer activity ... eating Maryland crabs on the back porch! Can you tell I'm from Baltimore?

MotherReader said...

Great ideas everyone!

Little Willow, I was going to link to your interview and book review and was in a rush and forgot. But seeing your name, now I remember and for everyone else they are here and here.

Caroline, you see, that's why I'd throw in extra stuff. So anyone who might say, "I don't need the signed book, because I know/am Caroline," can play anyway. I'm always thinking.

Emy said...

Wear flip-flops!

Andromeda Jazmon said...

Another lovely contest! My absolutely favorite thing this summer is eating second breakfast of just made blueberry muffins with my kids on the patio, knowing there is no reason to rush off somewhere unless we want to have an adventure.... Long slow, quiet mornings with sit down breakfast in the garden. MMmmmm.

Charlotte said...

My favorite thing to do in summer is to get up at 5 in the morning, long before anyone else is up, and weed the garden as the sun rises. It is the most peaceful thinking time I have all year.

Anonymous said...

Walking barefoot at the edge of the ocean, collecting interesting shells/rocks/shark's teeth and occasionally looking out over the ocean. Takes my breath away.

Anonymous said...

Eating popsicles on the porch at the end of the day and then catching fireflies with the kids way past their bedtimes.

Kathy P