Pighearted by Alex Perry
1- Can you please tell us more about being a "derby girl"?
|My derby photos all look terrible, so here is my baby in my derby helmet looking much tougher than I do.|
I practiced with my local derby team for years and loved skating as “Alexandra Jamilton” on our tennis court practice area, but I’ve never passed all of the qualifications to compete. Also, hitting people is an important part of roller derby, but I squeal when someone hits me and apologize every time I hit someone else. I’m not sure that I have the necessary fighting spirit. Then I got what’s called the “nine month injury.” After my daughter was born, I was ready to jump back into practice! But then 2020 happened and I Rapunzeled myself in my house with the baby. I hope to rejoin roller derby someday. Actually, I’d settle for just rejoining society.
I feel that. #InThisTogether
2- Would you please, in 160 characters or less, give a #WriteTip ?
Find a critique group and read them your work aloud. Avoiding embarrassment has improved my writing more than anything.
Tip from J: https://wordcounter.net Has text-to-speech proofreading, if you need help vocalizing.
3- What most motivates you to read a new book?
I love that moment when a book clicks for me and I have to keep going. Usually, my petty hunger for drama keeps me turning the pages until the characters have charmed me and I get invested in the plot.
4- What is something about organ transplants that most people probably don't know?
Before writing Pighearted, I thought an organ transplant could make someone almost “good as new,” but life expectancy is relatively short. Every recipient is on several medications for the rest of their life and might experience issues with their immune system. However, the technology is improving rapidly and all of the cutting-edge advancements in Pighearted are possible today.
5- Would you share a picture with us of your book with your dog?
Birdie and Pighearted!
6- Any fun Halloween plans for this year?
Halloween falls on my debut week. It’s also the first week that we’ll be in our new home in a new state. Just getting through it will be enough for us.
I’d like to dress up my toddler and use her to scam candy from my new neighbors, but I don’t know how to do that safely in a pandemic.
7- What's your Twitter handle, and do you have two or three writer friends on there to shout-out to for #WriterWednesday ?
When I was in high school, I thought @alextheadequate would be a cute play on Alexander the Great. I was wrong, but it’s still my twitter handle.
I’d love to shout out some of my real-life critique group members! They are that rare combination of productive, talented, and extremely friendly. With most people you only get two out of the three, but they do it all. @rebecca_fryar @JennetteGahlot @ashewriter
8- What is your favorite book to movie adaptation?
I think this is going to get me kicked out of the writer’s club, but I prefer the Lord of the Rings movies to the books. The Return of the King is one of my all-time favorites and it hits me right in the heart.
9- Are you a Plotter, Pantser, or Plantser, and how did you adopt that style?
I’m a definite plotter and I always have been. In high school they taught us to outline everything, and I just kept with it. I don’t have the self-confidence to be a pantser. I can only make it a few unplanned pages before anxiety takes over.
10- What does your basic writing schedule look like, and how often do you write?
I wish I wrote sometimes. Occasionally, I can write during my daughter’s nap. I think a lot of pandemic parents are in the same boat.
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: Lauren Allbright @laallbright
Title: Milo Moss is Officially Unamazing
Love because: It’s officially amazing and charming from the first page. I appreciate that the family’s structure was complicated but felt very relatable. At the same time, they were the quirkiest bunch of lovable weirdos that kept me engrossed.
12- What emotions do you hope your book will evoke for the reader?
I want the reader to laugh out loud at least a couple of times, but at a certain point in the book I hope that they’re weeping bitter tears like they just watched UP.
13- What kind of impact do you hope your book will have?
I’d love for kids to take an interest in medical and STEM topics that come up in the story. Hopefully, this book makes it clear how much respect I have for young readers and their ability to understand complicated topics and come to their own conclusions about it.
14- What is your favorite creative non-writing activity to do?
I’d have to be a toss up between two very wintry things I don’t have time for: baking and knitting.
15- In what ways are the main characters in your book diverse? diversebooks.org #WeNeedDiverseBooks
For me, diversity is accurately representing the world kids live in. My novel is set in Houston, one of the most diverse cities in America. The main character and his family are white, but none of the other main characters are. His doctor is a young black woman and his best friends are a Hispanic girl and a Muslim boy with Syrian heritage. Two female farmers are married to each other. I set out to reflect what’d I’d experienced in Houston, and the resulting story could not have been anything other than very diverse. I sincerely hope many different readers will be able to see themselves and their families in Pighearted.
16- What method do you feel is the best way to get book reviews?
I wish I knew!
17- What was the deciding factor in your publication route?
As you can see from the previous answer, I’m not savvy enough to be an indie author. Also, middle-grade seems like it’d be particularly difficult to market without the resources of a traditional publishing house to help connect my book with readers, teachers, and librarians.
18- What's the biggest writing goal you hope to accomplish in your lifetime?
This is it! Publication has been my lifelong dream. My new goal is to hear that a kid has enjoyed it.
19- Would you please ask our audience a question to answer in the comments?
Does anyone have a favorite animal protagonist in a book?
20- Anything else you would care to share about your book and yourself?
Charlotte's Web meets My Sister's Keeper in this charming story told from the alternating perspectives of a boy with a fatal heart condition and the pig with the heart that could save his life.
Jeremiah’s heart skips a beat before his first soccer game, but it’s not nerves. It’s the first sign of a heart attack. He knows he needs to go to the hospital, but he’s determined to score a goal. Charging after the ball, he refuses to stop…even if his heart does.
J6 is a pig and the only one of his five brothers who survived the research lab. Though he's never left his cell, he thinks of himself as a therapy pig, a scholar, and a bodyguard. But when the lab sends him to live with Jeremiah's family, there’s one new title he’s desperate to have: brother.
At first, Jeremiah thinks his parents took in J6 to cheer him up. But before long, he begins to suspect there's more to his new curly-tailed companion than meets the eye. When the truth is revealed, Jeremiah and J6 must protect each other at all costs—even if their lives depend on it.
This charming story about family, sacrifice, and survival -set against the backdrop of boundary-pushing science and the ethics behind it - will inspire readers to never stop fighting for the ones they love.
Alex Perry used to teach sixth grade in Houston, but now she writes books for kids everywhere. Pighearted is her debut novel. She lives just outside of Chicago with her husband, daughter, and two huge dogs. You can visit her at http://alexperrybooks.com or follow her on twitter @alextheadequate .
Pighearted by Alex Perry