The Circus at the End of the Sea by Lori Snyder
1- Where did the idea for Writers Happiness Micro-Grants come from?
The arts, to me, are one of the most important parts of being human and one of the best ways to create courage, kindness, and ferocity of the heart. I want to live in a world where all creative artists are fully supported in every way so they can create whatever kind of art they feel drawn to create, and since I'm a writer and understand that life, I Iaunched the Writers Happiness Movement in early 2020 as a way to help build this world. Down the road there will large-scale grants for writers, but I had to start small! The $25 microgrants aren't going to change anyone's life, but I hope they might remind a writer that what they do matters and to keep going. It's really meant to cheer a writer on. If you'd like to nominate a writer you know for a Writers Happiness Movement microgrant, you can do that on the website!
2- Would you please, in 160 characters or less, give a #WriteTip ?
So much of what we as writers have to do looks like "time off" to the rest of the world—& our culture doesn't really like people taking time off. Do it anyway. It is vital to your creative process.
3- What most motivates you to read a new book?
Certainly the usual (recommendations from friends, flap copy, first pages), but I also read the blurbs that are printed in the book. I tend to look for books with a sense of hope in them, and I can often tell from the words used in blurbs whether that's the case.
4- Do you take part in NaNoWriMo? (If so) Do you have a Municipal Liaison you'd like to thank? (If not) Why not? (http://nanowrimo.org)
I love NaNoWriMo! That said, I don't really ever do it. I've only done it once, and even then I set my own rules for myself rather than doing it the way you're supposed to. I think I spend so much of my life creating communities that I don't tend to have the energy to fully join other ones, so I jump in and out of them at my own pace.
5- Would you share a picture with us of your book in an autumn setting?
I think It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown is the epitome of autumn.
6- What should writers know about yoga?
That yoga, if it's something you like, can really bring you closer to the truest, most real part of you, the part that all art comes from. The physical benefits of strength and flexibility are fabulous side effects, but not the main goal. Also, that "yoga" isn't one thing—there are countless styles and lineages that can be in direct opposition to each other—and within all those different kinds, each teacher brings their own take on it. If you want to try yoga but don't like the first class you take, keep trying! Also, yoga is something I love but it isn't the only path, so don't worry if it isn't for you. There are plenty of other methods and tools to become more of who you are.
7- What's your Twitter handle, and do you have two or three writer friends on there to shout-out to for #WriterWednesday ?
And yes! Huge shout outs to: Jason June, author of JAY'S GAY AGENDA and more @HeyJasonJune
Dawn Quigley, author of the JO JO MAKOONS series and more @DawnEQuigley
Megan Rosenbloom, author of DARK ARCHIVES: A Librarian's Investigation into the Science and History of Books Bound in Human Skin @LibraryatNight
I love Megan, and thought I'd throw in a good Halloween book!
8- When did you first know you wanted to publish a book someday?
When I was in my late 20s, around 1996. Yes, it took that long.
9- Are you a Plotter, Pantser, or Plantser, and how did you adopt that style?
Plantser. I have a weird writing style which everyone tells you is a terrible way to write a book, in that I start from some big theme and then write out, oh, between 20K and 100K of notes trying to figure out character and plot. I end up with almost an entire book of stream-of-consciousness notes from which I collect something vaguely outline-esque, and then I start writing. Soon I get stuck again, and I go back to notes and a sort-of outline. KIDS. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME.
10- What does your basic writing schedule look like, and how often do you write?
It really varies depending on deadlines and what else is going on work-wise for me. I freelance and teach yoga and run the Writers Happiness Movement in addition to writing, and so none of my days ever look the same. I've gone for huge stretches where there's no time for my own writing, to writing every day, all day for months to meet my deadline.
11- What is your favorite book by someone else, what's the author's Twitter handle, and what do you love most about that book? #FridayReads book recommendation time!
Author name: Chris Baron @baronchrisbaron
Title: The Magical Imperfect
Love because: I adore this mg book in verse for so many reasons, but a few of them are that it's a beautifully written story about grief, love, and magic with a main character who is a boy and who is allowed to be gentle and kind and thoughtful. I also love that the fact that the main character and his family are Jewish, and the (possible) magic in the book is informed by Jewish mythology, and that the Jewishness is simply woven through the story as a fundamental part of who these characters are but without being the main reason for the story. That's just starting to happen more and more with Jewish characters, and I'm so grateful for it.
12- What emotions do you hope your book will evoke for the reader?
Awe. Delight. A sense of agency over their own lives and choices. A recognition of fear as an important part of us that serves a role. Joy. Wonder.
13- What kind of impact do you hope your book will have?
I hope my book reminds kids that they get to choose who they are and who they grow to become: not society, not the labels we put on them, not even, honestly, their parents or family. I hope it reminds them that there is magic everywhere, hidden and obvious. I hope it lets them tap into their own sincerity and not get lost in easy cynicism. I hope it makes them laugh with joy and feel like they belong. I hope it offers happiness and goofiness and refuge and a reminder that the world can glow with possibility.
14- What is your favorite creative non-writing activity to do?
Oh, so many! For now, I'll say rollerblading. I'm a Venice beach girl through and through, and strapping on my skates, putting on tunes, and skate-dancing down the bike path is just the best!
15- In what ways are the main characters in your book diverse? diversebooks.org #WeNeedDiverseBooks
My book is my love letter to Venice, CA, and reflects the diversity of that magical place. The main character, Maddy, doesn't have parents. I happen to know on good authority that she is brown-skinned and Jewish, but that doesn't play into the story. As she makes her way into her chosen family of the magical Il Circo delle Strade, the people around her—both main characters and background-y—are of all the many different ethnicities and background and ages that I see every day in Venice.
16- What method do you feel is the best way to get book reviews?
Get an amazing artist like Petur Antonnson to do your cover?? Also, I tell my friends and mailing list how helpful it is for an author, and ask them to leave a review anyplace it's easy for them if they feel so inclined.
17- What was the deciding factor in your publication route?
I always only wanted to be traditionally published. Part of this is that I started writing for real in 1998, and back then traditional publishing was the only thing that was taken seriously. But even now, when you write for the 9-12 age group, I think traditional publishing is the best way to reach teachers, educators, librarians, parents, and kids. Plus, I really wanted to be in book stores and have that kind of a career.
18- What's the biggest writing goal you hope to accomplish in your lifetime?
As of this last week: my husband and I were talking about The Circus at the End of the Sea, and he said, "Wouldn't it be cool if Cirque du Soliel did a show based on your book?" ...and I gasped and nearly fell over. I love love love LOVE Cirque du Soliel, and if I say so myself, The Circus at the End of the Sea is practically a Cirque show already. So that's my new goal.
19- Would you please ask our audience a question to answer in the comments?
Anyone have an in with Cirque du Soleil? :-)
Ok, for reals: What place in the world, real or in fiction, is one of the great loves of your life?
(But seriously, also: if you have an in with Cirque, can you tell me?)
20- Anything else you would care to share about your book and yourself?
This book is my love letter to Venice, Ca; to found families; to magic; to delight; and to the sea. Also to octopusus, the nighttime, and all the wild, feral beauty in the world. Here's the blurb from HarperCollins:
A vibrant and enchanting debut novel about a lonely girl who discovers a magical circus, perfect for fans of Kelly Barnhill and Rebecca Stead!
Maddy Adriana knows that magic is real. All her life, her heart has pulled her towards things too perfect to be ordinary. One day, that tug leads her to a magical street circus, hidden in plain sight among the canals and boardwalks of Venice Beach.
For the first time in Maddy’s life, she finally feels like she belongs. But the circus is in grave danger. Maddy will need to confront the frightening side of magic, as well as her own deepest fears, if she’s to have any hope of saving the place she dreams of calling home.
This unforgettable debut shows readers the magic of following your heart and finding where you belong.
There's a plethora of kid and educator activities—including bitmoji rooms, teacher's guides, and audio me reading a chapter from The Circus at the End of the Sea that's been engineered with sound effects and an amazing musical soundtrack by a friend who's a TV editor—on my author website, https://lorirsnyderauthor.com
Also, I'm the founder of the Writers Happiness Movement, which offers free happiness tools for writers including free online retreats and yoga, microgrants, and more, with a long-term goal of also building retirement homes, co-living spaces, and residencies for writers that are completely funded by the Writers Happiness Movement. You can check it out at https://writershappiness.com.
I'm not on the socials too much—I find they tend to take away from my happiness rather than add to it—but when I am, you can find me at @LoriRSnyder (twitter) and @lorisnyder28 (instagram).
Please answer the question in the comments. There are TWO copies of the book up for grabs, so that means TWO winners!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
The Circus at the End of the Sea by Lori Snyder