the MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults Author Blog

Robin Herrera's HOPE IS A FERRIS WHEEL

Posted by Adi Rule on Tue, Mar 11, 2014 @ 07:03 AM

Today is the launch of Robin Herrera's debut novel, Hope is a Ferris Wheel (Amulet Books), and we couldn't be more excited!

Here are the deets:

18405519Ten-year-old Star Mackie lives in a trailer park with her flaky mom and her melancholy older sister, Winter, whom Star idolizes. Moving to a new town has made it difficult for Star to make friends, when her classmates tease her because of where she lives and because of her layered blue hair. But when Star starts a poetry club, she develops a love of Emily Dickinson and, through Dickinson’s poetry, learns some important lessons about herself and comes to terms with her hopes for the future.

With an unforgettable voice with a lot of heart, Hope is a Ferris Wheel is the story of a young girl who learns to accept her family and herself while trying to make sense of the world around her.

Welcome, Robin! So, tell us . . .

What authors do you love for their sentences? How about plot? Character?

I love every word that Jaclyn Moriarty writes. Her sentences are characters of their own, amazingly enough. I've encountered two other authors whose sentences make me feel the same way: Amy Rose Capetta and Meg Medina.

For plot, I love Cinda Williams Chima and Catherine Jinks. Jinks is the master of twists and turns, while Chima ensures you'll turn pages faster than you can read words.

For character, there are a lot of characters I love, so it's hard to chose! I love Michelle Knudsen's characters, though, as well as Faith Erin Hicks' and Nina Matsumoto's. (The latter two draw/write comics.)

Do you write in silence? If not, what’s your soundtrack?

I almost always write in silence. I have this superstition that if I listen to music while writing, I'll end up writing the lyrics instead of my story. But for my current WIP, I've been listening to 80s music. It puts me in just the right mood, considering the book takes place in 1990.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever Googled as research for your writing?

For Hope is a Ferris Wheel, it was something like "Trailer Parks Brookings." I wanted to see what kinds of names trailer parks had and how they were laid out. For the above-mentioned 1990 book, it was "LARP," because I wanted to see if that was a thing in the late '80s. (It was.)

What is your favorite VCFA memory?

Probably the time Adi and I (with friends Annie and Blessy, along with a couple others, maybe?) pulled an epic prank on our friends Matt and Lee. And by "epic prank" I of course mean "poorly-planned enterprise." We took a drawing of Violet Baudelaire, wrote a bunch of weird things on it, taped it to their door, knocked loudly, and then ran away. It was very Junior High, but also very Children's Writer.

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Oh, you mean this poorly-planned enterprise?

What advice would you give to a prospective VCFA student?

Try not to sleep! Seriously, the less sleep you get, the more you will learn. Oddly enough. And also, talk to everyone! Everyone is interesting and great and wonderful and oh so knowledgeable. You'll regret not knowing more about your classmates when you graduate!

Thanks for stopping by, Robin! Congratulations on your awesome debut!

You can pick up Hope is a Ferris Wheel starting today! Check out Robin's website and find her on Twitter and Tumblr!

Topics: 2014 release, Robin Herrera, middle grade, Amulet Books

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