Today is a very special day here at A Piece of My Mind.
Today is the official launch of my sister's debut Tween release, Princess Callie and the Totally Amazing Talking Tiara.
For the Tween market, she's writing as Daisy Piper - you can check out her website HERE.
1 - Daisy, what attracted you to the Tween market?
I just naturally gravitated towards it. My favorite TV shows are iCarly, Wizards of Waverly Place, and SpongeBob, so I guess I'm really still a kid at heart!
2 - You've published directly to Kindle and Smashwords. Do you find that your target readership prefers the electronic device format?
It's been suggested in several news stories lately that by the year 2020, 95% of all reading will be done on a screen. Right now, there are 15 million Kindle devices out there, and some companies are developing e-readers specficially for children, to be released by Christmas 2011. So, right now, e-reading is in its infancy. But I definitely think it's the way of the future. I myself have a Kindle and Kobo, and I love them.
3 - Do you think it's easier or more difficult to capture a young reader's attention for a full-length story in this age of the 140-character tweet?
I think it's definitely more of a challenge. Most young readers use multiple forms of social media on a daily basis, communicating at the click of a button. You have to catch and hold their attention quickly, and keep your story moving in order to compete with the myriad choices of entertainment out there.
4 - What role is social media playing in the way a Tween writer reaches her audience?
It's playing a huge role. Twitter, Facebook, blogs--these are powerful tools for any writer to use in reaching their readers, especially a tween audience. Tweens are texting each other about what interests them: hot new movies, music, and books. Things can go viral very quickly.
5 - Who were your most influential Children's/YA authors when you were a young reader?
Laura Ingalls Wilder
6 - Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I'm a little of both! I do plot the book before I start writing, but as the story develops, it always takes a few twists and turns I hadn't planned.
Do you stick to a schedule when you write? And do you have daily or weekly word or page goals?
I am very good at setting page count goals and sticking to them when I have a deadline. But I've also been known to just "wing it" sometimes, too.
7 - Tell us about Callie.
Callie Richards is the main character of the series. Two years prior to the beginning of the story, her mother was killed in a car accident. Since then, Callie has had to deal with the emotional toll of losing a parent, as well as navigating tweendom without her Mom's guidance.
On the morning of her twelfth birthday, a mysterious message appears in her cereal. She thinks it's a practical joke, until more discoveries lead her to a magical land which desperately needs her help.
But Callie finds out that things aren't always what they seem, and being a magical princess is a lot tougher than she bargained for. Callie is a wonderful, spunky character that I hope my readers love as much as I do.
8 - And Lewis?
Lewis Farnsworth is Callie's best friend. He's always there for Callie when she needs him.
He's incredibly intelligent, and reads books like Physiology of Amoebae, and A Short History of Rocks. He has a quirky sense of humour, and provides a lot of comic relief in the story. One reader mentioned to me that Callie and Lewis reminded her of an old married couple, even though they're twelve!
9 - What about Wanda?
Wanda Morris is the class bully, who gets swept up in Callie and Lewis's adventure in the magical world of Albion. This character actually "bullied" her way into the story, as I was writing it. I had not planned her at all, but during one scene she just appeared.
I knew she had an interesting story of her own, and would make a great addition to the plot. Even though I've cast Wanda as a villain, she's actually one of my favorite characters, because she is so complex.
10 - What was the inspiration for the Talking Tiara?
The Talking Tiara is based on the Russian Fringe Tiara, also known as the George III Tiara, from the personal collection of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. I was attracted to the spiked fringe of this tiara because to me, it resembled teeth. I pictured these teeth and jaws growling and snapping, with magical powers of their own.
I just LOVE that tiara. And I love that it was Queen Elizabeth's 'something borrowed' on her wedding day.
11 - You know that I'm also more than a little partial to dragons. Is there a dragon featured in the story?
Every princess needs a dragon, and Callie is no different. In the magical world of Albion, Callie is given a royal dragon to act as her life-long protector. She names him Earle, and though he's big, has purple scales and can breathe fire, he's a lot like an uncoordinated puppy with wings. Earle will definitely steal your heart!
12 - This is the first book in a series. When will the next Princess Callie e-book hit e-reader screens?
Princess Callie and the Fantastic Fire-Breathing Dragon, Book II of the Callie Chronicles, will be available shortly - late Spring 2011. Check my website for updates.
13 - Will Princess Callie and the Totally Amazing Talking Tiara be available as a print book?
Yes, it will be available very soon, through CreateSpace, Amazon's print-on-demand platform.
Well, thank you for launching your book here at A Piece of My Mind - this has been a whole ton of fun!
And as a special treat for my blog readers, you can use this FREE COUPON CODE from Smashwords until MARCH 19th:
Here's an exclusive excerpt from Princess Callie and the Totally Amazing Talking Tiara - enjoy!
They used Callie’s flashlight to guide their way down the bumpy road. Soon they came upon a big double wooden gate. It stood in the middle of the wall, flanked by two torches that burned orange in the black night. Above the gate, two hideous looking gargoyles stood guard. A weathered iron plaque proclaimed Grimstead Gate to passersby.
Callie’s breath caught in her throat and her heart pounded painfully in her chest. “Lewis, this place was in my dream. It’s exactly the same--the gate, the torches, everything! But I’ve never been here before. How do I remember a place I’ve never been?”
“Beats me, Cal. Maybe we’ve discovered another dimension. You know, this would make a great science project. Something like this would garner a lot of attention in the scientific community. We’d have our pick of universities lining up to give us scholarships.”
“Scholarships? Lewis, we’re only in the sixth grade,” Callie pointed out.
“It’s never too early to start planning for your higher education.” He grinned.
Then something happened that made Callie’s breath catch in her throat. A voice came out of the night. Then another one. They weren’t just any voices. They were gruff and scary, and seemed to be talking about her.
“I tell ye, it’s her.”
“Princess Calandria—of the Royal House of Arraband.”
“’Ow d’ye know?”
“I’ve seen pictures, so I ‘ave.”
“Where? Where ‘ave ye seen pictures?”
“In the Albion Times, if ye must know. I’m a regular subscriber--the Arraband Chronicle and Gargoyles Weekly, too. I like ta keep up on current events, which is more than I can say about you.”
Callie shone her flashlight around. Even with the glow from the two torches it was still quite dark. “Uh… Hello?”
“Uh-oh. I think she heard us.”
Callie looked at Lewis. He seemed as uncertain as she did, but he said, “We did hear you. Where are you?”
Callie shone the flashlight around the gate, but they still couldn’t see anyone who might be attached to those strange voices.
Callie slowly shone her flashlight up the wall above the gate. A hideous face looked down at her and grinned brightly. “Hi.”
Callie screamed in fright and fell back onto the dirt road. Lewis shouted in fright too, but managed to stay on his feet. The gargoyles were talking!
© Daisy Piper, 2011