Saturday, September 30, 2017

Free People Read Freely: Texas Edition 2017


The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas has produced a report on attempted book-banning by Texas school districts each year for twenty-one years. Challenges increased during 2017 from the year before, but bans decreased. Out of eighteen challenges, two books were banned in Texas schools during the 2016-2017 school year. The results of this report are below and include the reasons given for each challenge, which makes for some interesting reading.  

Special mention for an outstanding job: Harmony ISD, New Braunfels ISD, Orenda Charter Schools, Taylor ISD, and Uplift Charter Schools - Thank you for taking a stand and retaining the challenged books.

Special mention for caving in one form or another every single time: Franklin ISD

Very special mention for being particularly insulting: Whoever complained that Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel was too complex. Way to have confidence in your kid. I hope this complaint was made by a kid trying to get out of homework.

CHALLENGED BOOKS (by school district):

Blum ISD
Book: Malcolm X: By Any Means Necessary by Walter Dean Myers
School: Blum Middle School
Reason cited: Offensive to religious sensitivities; politically, racially, or socially offensive
Action taken: Alternate book assigned

Franklin ISD
Book: True Colors Series by Melody Carlson
School: Franklin Middle School
Reason cited: Inappropriate situations for age of student reading
Action taken: Use restricted for certain age group

Book: Maximum Ride Manga Series by James Patterson
School: Franklin Middle School
Reason cited: Inappropriate language for age of student reading
Action taken: Use restricted for certain age group

Book: Drama by Raina Telgemeier
School: Franklin Middle School
Reason cited: Inappropriate material for all ages on this campus
Action taken: Banned

Harmony ISD
Book: Black Butler #5 and #6 by Yana Toboso
School: Harmony School of Advancement
Reason Cited: Offensive to religious sensitivities; witchcraft, satanic, and occult themes
Action taken: Retained

Kirbyville CISD
Book: Drama by Raina Telgemeier
School: Kirbyville Junior High School
Reason cited: Politically, racially, or socially offensive
Action taken: Banned

Lake Travis ISD
Book: More Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark by Alvin Schwartz
School: Lake Travis Elementary
Reason cited: Violence or horror
Action taken: Book removed from school library pending decision

Book: 1984 by George Orwell
School: Lake Travis Middle School
Reason cited: Parents felt book was not age-appropriate
Action taken: Alternate book allowed

Leander ISD
Book: Boxers by Tammy Gagne
School: Camacho Elementary School
Reason cited: Information regarding bull-baiting, bull-docking, and bull-cropping was not appropriate for elementary school
Action taken: Retained

Book: Beyond The Grave by Judith Herbst
School: River Place Elementary
Reason cited: Photographs will scare children and give them nightmares
Action taken: Book moved from elementary school campus to middle school

Montgomery ISD
Book: The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes
School: Montgomery Junior High
Reason cited: Profanity; sexual content or nudity; violence or horror
Action taken: Unknown

New Braunfels ISD
Book: I Survived (The Attacks of September 11, 2001) by Lauren Tarshis
School: Memorial Elementary School
Reason cited: The word "terrorist" being used
Action taken: Retained

Orenda Charter Schools
Book: The Stranger by Albert Camus
School: Gateway College Preparatory School
Reason cited: Violence or horror; offensive to religious sensitivities
Action taken: Retained

Poth ISD
Book: The Tell Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe
School: Poth Junior High
Reason cited: Violence or horror; offensive to religious sensitivities
Action taken: Alternate book assigned

Taylor ISD
Book: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
School: Taylor Middle School
Reason cited: Politically, racially, or socially offensive
Action taken: Retained

Uplift Charter Schools
Book: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
School: North Hills Preparatory
Reason cited: Unknown
Action taken: Retained

Book: Like Water For Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
School: North Hills Preparatory
Reason cited: Too complex for the grade level assigned
Action taken: Excerpts of text still used in 11th and 12th grade Spanish IB diploma course


Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Review: THE NEON PALM OF MADAME MELANCON by Will Clarke

I reviewed The Neon Palm of Madame Melançon by Dallas's Will Clarke for Lone Star Literary Life! This is a riotous, rollicking ride with a message.

CONTEMPORARY FICTION
Will Clarke
The Neon Palm of Madame Melançon
Middle Finger Press
Hardcover, 978-0-9726-5883-6 (also available as an e-book); 354 pgs., $29.99
July 19, 2017
“There are no coincidences, only the chess moves of an unseen hand.”
—Madame Melançon
Duke Melançon left New Orleans for Houston (“a world that wasn’t ruled by tarot cards and Aleister Crowley’s incantations”) as soon as he could, embarrassed by his family, especially his mother, the titular Madame Melançon, queen of “Nawlins” fortune-tellers, adviser to politicians and the mob, among others. Duke is a corporate attorney for Mandala Worldwide, an oil company whose Sub-Ocean Brightside well has just exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing dozens of workers and spilling millions of barrels of crude into the waters off Louisiana. Duke returns to New Orleans to rescue Mandala’s reputation and revenue, but when he gets there he must also deal with another urgent catastrophe: Madame Melançon has chased a calico cat (“basically text messages sent from the devil”) out of her kitchen with a broom, running down the street after the bad omen, and disappeared without a trace.

The Neon Palm of Madame Melançon is the new novel from Dallas’s Will Clarke, whom Rolling Stone has dubbed a “hot pop prophet.” This book is published by Middle Finger Press (“hand-crafted fiction written for titans of industry, Bilderbergs, and oligarchs”), a Dunning-Kruger Company. In psychology, the Dunning-Kruger effect is “a cognitive bias wherein persons of low ability suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their cognitive ability as greater than it is.” Seriously, to get the full sublime effect go to www.middlefinger.press.

Duke’s first-person narration is fast-paced and wholly entertaining. The seventh son of a seventh son, he is a cynical nonbeliever in his mother’s powers. As clues are uncovered in a sort of demented scavenger hunt, and a preponderance of the evidence shows that it may be Duke’s fated responsibility to save the world from the soulless future of the Great Unseen Hand, a crisis of conscience forces him to reconsider his career, his choice of employer, his feelings about his family, and whether he can count himself a good person.

Clarke reminds me of Thomas Pynchon. His colorful characters include a Kurt Vonnegut impersonator (or is he?); a Loup Garou (or is he?); Duke’s uncle, a pot-smoking priest called “Uncle Father”; and Duke’s sister LaLa, who dresses as successful celebrities (Pink, Annie Lennox), hoping to trick the fates into bestowing the luck of the rich and famous upon her. Clarke is equally skilled at sweet family scenes with Duke and his wife and little boys, and slapstick scenes involving a plague of raccoons. Dialogue is smart and engaging, with a Cajun accent.

There are footnotes, doodles, and chapter titles such as “Turn to Page 5 of Dracula!” and “Cab Smells Like SpaghettiOs and Febreze.” Clarke is having a very good time, but he’s also very serious about climate change and the environmental future of the only home we have. In the words of maybe-Vonnegut: “Wake up, you moron! The planet is dying as we speak. Whatever made you think that money was worth this? You can’t breathe it you know!”

The Neon Palm of Madame Melançon is a smart, ultimately hopeful mystery of science and magical realism, a loving evocation of “all this broken beauty” of New Orleans, and a riotous, rollicking ride with a message. One person’s witch is another person’s scientist. And vice versa.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Guest Post: RACING STORMS by Sara Russell



RACING STORMS
Chasing Desire Trilogy #1
by
SARA RUSSELL

  Genre: Clean Contemporary Romance 
Publisher: North Loop Books
Date of Publication: April 25, 2017
Number of Pages: 198

Scroll down for giveaway!


Decoursey dreads the upcoming weekend. A big NASCAR race is taking place at the speedway near her home--and her abusive, murder-threatening ex-husband just so happens to be a member of a NASCAR pit crew. Determined not to let her ex-husband have a decent opportunity to make good on his threat, Decoursey puts an ad online, hoping to find some security in the form of a guy needing a place to crash. 

Enter Kennan, a storm chaser looking to get away for a few days. Fresh off a failed storm chase, Kennan doesn't make the best first impression. But that quickly changes as Decoursey gives Kennan a chance and finds the recently broken heart of a gentleman hidden beneath the surface. As sparks fly, so do hopes that they can dream of romance once again. But when their new-found trust is broken, will Decoursey and Kennan weather the storm to find a love that lasts? 

Racing Storms, the exciting debut in Sara Russell's Chasing Desire trilogy, will get your heart pumping all the way to the finish line.

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Praise for Racing Storms:

“In Racing Storms, fresh new voice Sara Russell begins her three-book series with a courageous and adorable hero, a sassy but vulnerable heroine, spicy love scenes and an insider’s view of daredevil storm chasers! What more could you want from a romance?” 
-- Vicki Lewis Thompson, New York Times bestselling author


"Russell’s debut successfully tackles the idea of finding love when you least expect it." 
--RT Reviews

"Austin-area writer Sara Russell’s self-described 'first foray into fiction' is a smoothly written, nicely plotted romance novel that will entertain many readers who like books with contemporary Texas settings." 
--Lone Star Literary Life

CLICK TO PURCHASE:
Amazon  ┃  Barnes & Noble  ┃  iBooks



My Top Five Weather Books
By Sara Russell
Author of Racing Storms

I read a lot of books about the weather; after all, weather is story, and it’s often stranger than fiction.  It’s tough to pick only five favorites! If you want to expand your mind and your library, check out these selections. 
  1. Isaac’s Storm by Erik Larson: The writing is of a quality that usually marks high literature, not nonfiction.
  2. And Hell Followed With It by Bonar Menninger: This account of the 1966 Topeka tornado is another with excellent writing. Find out how tuning your piano can save your life.
  3. Snowstruck by Jill Fredston: One of my favorite books of all time. The human perspective she has from being an avalanche expert shines through. Plus, like many Texans, snow is exotic.
  4. Galveston by Nic Pizzolatto: It’s a novel framed by a hurricane. The story is dark for my taste, but utterly compelling. 
  5. The Cloud Collector’s Handbook by Gavin Pretor-Pinney: This pretty little picture book is a fun guide for kids and grownups alike. And yes, I have seen a horseshoe vortex. 

Sara Russell is a near-native Texan who sees nothing wrong with using “y’all” in formal conversation. She maintains that one can do practically anything in a cute dress and flats, including storm chasing, attending motor-sports events, and exploring the endless delights of the Austin area, where she’s lived since childhood. When not writing or hunting & gathering at Whole Foods, Sara spends time with friends & family and enjoys live music and dancing.
-----------------------------------------
GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
FOUR SIGNED COPIES OF RACING STORMS!
September 19-28, 2017
(U.S. Only)


CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

9/19
Author Interview 1
9/20
Review
9/21
Notable Quotable
9/22
Review
9/23
Author Interview 2
9/24
Playlist
9/25
Review
9/26
Guest Post
9/27
Excerpt
9/28
Review


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Monday, September 25, 2017

Monday Roundup: TEXAS LITERARY CALENDAR 9/25-10/1

Bookish events in Texas for the week of September 25-October 1, 2017: 

Special Events:
Banned Books Week, September 24-30

Inkstravaganza Gala honoring Dr. Tomás Ybarra-Frausto, San Antonio, September 28

6th Annual LibroFEST, San Antonio, September 30

TEDxSugarland 2017, September 30

6th Annual Granbury Paranormal Expo, September 30-October 1

Ongoing Exhibits:
Austin
Austin Community College - Eastview, World Affairs Council of Austin presents "Truth Stranger Than Fiction? How Thrillers are a Window into how U.S. Foreign Policy Really Works" with Todd Moss, author of The Shadow List, 4:45PM

BookPeople, CELESTE NG speaking & signing Little Fires Everywhere (in conversation with Clay Smith of Kirkus Reviews), 7PM

BookWoman, A Tribute to Kate Millett with author Pamela Ellen Ferguson, 7PM

Chez Zee American Bistro, Chez Zee Author Series with Donna Marie Miller, author of The Broken Spoke: Austin's Legendary Honky-Tonk (with James White, owner of The Broken Spoke), 6PM

Harry Ransom Center, award-winning poet Roger Reeves, Associate Professor of English at The University of Texas at Austin, gives his inaugural reading, 7PM

Spiderhouse Ballroom, Austin Poetry Slam hosted by Peter Nevland, 7PM

Checkered Past Winery, Dallas Poetry Slam presents "DFW Unplugged", 8PM

Half Price Books Mothership, New York Times bestselling-author Doug Stanton will discuss and sign his military history, The Odyssey of Echo Company: The 1968 Tet Offensive and the Epic Battle to Survive the Vietnam War, 7PM

SMU - McFarlin Auditorium, Tate Lecture Series: The Linda and Mitch Hart Lecture with Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations and author of A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order, and Fareed Zakaria, CNN international affairs expert and author of In Defense of a Liberal Education (moderated by David Gergen), 8PM

The Wild Detectives, Join Colombian novelist, short story writer and journalist, Santiago Gamboa for a reading from his latest novel, Return to the Dark Valley, followed by a bilingual Q&A and public conversation moderated by Vicky Sanz and Lauren Smart, 7:30PM [Bilingual event]

Fort Worth
The Dock Bookshop, Fort Worth Poetry Slam and Open Mic, 8PM

Houston
The Black Labrador, Houston Writers House meeting: Megan Lafollett will discuss social media and digital marketing tactics for authors, 6:30PM

Blue Willow Bookshop, Soman Chainani will discuss and sign his books for young people, including QUESTS FOR GLORY, the fourth book in his series THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL, 5PM

Bohemeos, Glass Mountain fall reading series with Erika Jo Brown, LeeAnne Carlson, and Quentin Key-Tello (also collecting monetary donations for Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, and canned good donations for the Houston Food Bank), 7PM

Wednesday, September 27:
Austin

Thursday, September 28:
Austin

Dallas

Deep Vellum Books, Dallas Chapter of the Nonfiction Authors Association meeting: DIY Editing Tips: Polish Your Manuscript w/o Blowing Your Budget with Leslie Lutz, 7PM

Half Price Books Mothership, Collectible Conversations: Timothy Binkley, archivist at the Bridwell Library at the Perkins School of Theology at SMU, will share practical insights on archival preservation, 6PM

Richland College, Daniel Bergner presents Sing For Your Life: A Story of Race, Music, and Family, 11AM, followed by "The Art of Writing" workshop, 12:30PM

UT Dallas, Creative Writing Lecture Series: David Wright will read from an in-progress novel that tells the story of the Union army’s "African Brigade", 7PM

The Wild Detectives, Verónica Gerber Bicecci reads and signs Conjunto Vacio, in conversation with Vicky Saenz, 7:30PM [Spanish event]

Fort Worth
The Fort Worth Club, World Affairs Council of DFW hosts Dr. Jeremi Suri discussing and signing The Impossible Presidency: The Rise and Fall of America's Highest Office, 11:30AM

Houston
The Black Labrador, World Affairs Council of Greater Houston hosts Retired Lieutenant Colonel and Professor, author of U.S. Military Operations: Law, Policy, and Practice, 7:15PM

Brazos Bookstore, Banned Books Week 2017: Read. Resist.: hear Texas authors and librarians read excerpts from their favorite challenged or banned children’s and YA books. Readers include authors Caroline Leech, Anna Meriano, Varsha Bajaj, Josh Gottlieb-Miller, and Chris Cander, 7PM

Murder By the Book, Todd Moss will sign and discuss his new Judd Ryker novel, The Shadow List, 6:30PM

Museum of Fine Arts, MFAH Author Talk: A Conversation with Dominic Smith, author of The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, followed by a book signing, 6PM

Poison Girl, Poison Pen Reading Series featuring Niki Herd and Yuki Tanaka, 8:30PM

Rice University - Sewall Hall, “Loving Work”: a feminist take on popular advice literature with Dr. Kathi Weeks, 4PM

River Oaks Bookstore, James Garrison reads and signs QL4, 5PM

San Marcos
Texas State - Alkek Library, Center for the Study of the Southwest hosts Steve Schafers reading from The Border, followed by a book signing and panel discussion, 5:30PM

Sugar Land

Malvern Books, 100 Thousand Poets for Change, 3PM

Dallas Public Library - Bookmarks, The Bookmarks Children's Author Series presents Farahana Surya Namaskar, author of Doing and Being, 10:30AM

Interabang Books, Translator George Henson discusses THE MAGICIAN OF VIENNA, 7PM

The Wild Detectives, Workshop: "Abstract Comic" conducted by Verónica Gerber in conjunction with Oil and Cotton, 10:30AM

The Writer's Garret, Workshop: "Finding Your Voice" with Melissa T. Schultz, 1PM

El Paso
Blue Willow Bookshop, celebrate with Jennifer Mathieu as she launches MOXIE, her new novel for teens, 11AM

Christ Church Cathedral, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon reads and signs MOONGLOW, 7:30PM [ticketed event]

Half Price Books - Clear Lake, Local Author Saturdays: Meet local Indie authors and pick up their latest release, while supplies last

McGonigel's Mucky Duck, Texas singer-songwriter Radney Foster Special Acoustic CD/Book Release Party for For You To See The Stars, 7PM

Murder By the Book, Harlan Coben will sign and discuss his newest stand alone novel, Don't Let Go, 1PM [numbered pass required]



Friday, September 22, 2017

Review: THE NIGHT OF THE VIRGIN by Elliott Turner

I reviewed The Night of the Virgin: A Novel (Round Ball Media) by Houston's Elliott Turner for Lone Star Literary Life. This is an uneven but thoughtful and eye-opening debut novel. Turner has promise and soccer fans will love it.

LITERARY FICTION/SPORTS
Elliott Turner
The Night of the Virgin: A Novel
Round Ball Media
Paperback, 978-0-6927-8103-6, (also available as an e-book), 298 pgs., $15.97
June 1, 2017

Emmanuel “Manny” Hernandez grew up in Brownsville, Texas, loving books—his mother dropped him off at the library during summers to avoid running expensive air conditioning—and soccer. Manny longs to escape South Texas but is constrained by his undocumented status—he’s a Dreamer, brought to Texas by his mother when he was a toddler. He refers to the Border Patrol checkpoint at Falfurrias as garrita (“claw”). In eighteen years, Manny hasn’t been further from Brownsville (“a prison and his sentence was ad infinitum”) than that checkpoint. But to follow his soccer dream Manny must brave the checkpoint, and so one day he does, with his sister, Maribel, and his best friend, Hector, and they make it through, all the way to San Antonio and a chance at more.

The Night of the Virgin: A Novel is the fiction debut of Houston freelance journalist Elliott Turner. Part inside soccer, part coming-of-age story, The Night of the Virgin is an uneven but thoughtful, knowledgeable, and illuminating first novel.

We meet Manny in a hospital emergency room after he’s broken his leg during practice with the San Francisco Gales professional soccer team. In and out of consciousness, Manny grows reflective, moving back and forth in time, from the present to the past, into the future, and back again. Turner also changes perspectives, from third person to Manny’s first person in the form of diaries dating back to childhood. The pacing is highly variable, with a disjointed narrative and abrupt shifts, and my attention wandered at times. Turner’s male characters feel authentic; they are complex and diverse in race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, and religion. His female characters aren’t as detailed; Maribel is a presence in most of the novel but in the end, we still don’t know her.

The Night of the Virgin is often funny. Manny continually reinvents himself after the end of his soccer career and obtains a teaching certificate. “[Manny] imagined Socratic dialogues and articulate debates,” Turner writes. “In reality, he had stood up to millionaire coaches and billionaire owners, but was about to get his ass kicked by a group of twenty-five high schoolers.” Turner’s deceptively simple prose is often sly, and he is skilled at dialogue, especially a technique where only one side of the conversation is heard. Unfortunately, there’s not enough dialogue—he tells more than he shows. Turner appreciates language, especially the geographical variations of Spanish. “The Rio Bravo has long separated the US from Mexico and English from Spanish,” he writes. “Yet those inhabiting the border often speak both languages and have twisted the two tongues.”

Texas, particularly the borderland and Rio Grande Valley, come alive in The Night of the Virgin. “In the RGV, as in ancient Rome, time and people moved slower.” Before Manny moves up to the pros he plays for a minor-league soccer team in San Antonio, his “weekends filled with road trips to Odessa and other small Texas towns forlorn by civilization, but full of humidity and dust.”

The Night of the Virgin is a bumpy beginning, but Turner has promise. Soccer fans will appreciate this novel, and I wait with interest to see what Turner does next.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Author Interview: THE DAY THE ANGELS FELL by Shawn Smucker


THE DAY THE ANGELS FELL
by
SHAWN SMUCKER

  Genre: Psychological Fiction / Christian
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: September 5, 2017
Number of Pages: 320

Scroll down for giveaway!


Shawn Smucker will capture readers’ imaginations with this masterfully written debut novel that combines elements of mystery and magical realism.

It was the summer of storms, strays, and strangers. The summer that lightning struck the big oak tree in the front yard. The summer his mother died in a tragic accident.

Twelve-year-old Samuel Chambers would do anything to turn back time. Prompted by three strange carnival fortune-tellers and the surfacing of his mysterious and reclusive neighbor, Samuel begins his search for the Tree of Life—the only thing that could possibly bring his mother back. His quest to defeat death entangles him and his best friend, Abra, in an ancient conflict and forces Samuel to grapple with an unwelcome question: could it be possible that death is a gift?

Haunting and hypnotic, The Day the Angels Fell is a story that explores the difficult questions of life in a voice that is fresh, friendly, and unafraid. With this powerful novel, Shawn Smucker has carved out a spot for himself in the tradition of authors Madeleine L’Engle and Lois Lowry.

CHECK OUT THE BOOK TRAILER!



Praise for The Day the Angels Fell:
“Neil Gaiman meets Madeleine L’Engle. I read it in two days!”
Anne Bogel, Modern Mrs. Darcy

“Shawn Smucker enchants with a deftly woven tale of mystery and magic that will leave you not only spellbound but wanting more.”

Billy Coffey, author of There Will Be Stars

CLICK TO PURCHASE:




Interview with Shawn Smucker
Author of The Day the Angels Fell

Tell us a little about The Day the Angels Fell. Where did you get your inspiration to write this story?

I was cowriting a memoir with a man in Istanbul, Turkey, who was dying of cancer. The goal was to finish the first draft before he passed away, so it was an intense three weeks, and we spent a lot of time together. For the first time in my life, I was face-to-face with mortality—he was forty-nine years old, a husband, a father of two children—and I wondered how I would feel if that was me, preparing to die.

When I got home from the trip I started talking to my children about what kind of story they would like, and together we came up with the basic structure for The Day the Angels Fell. As I began to write the book, I realized that doing so was my way of working through this fear of death I had taken on. And writing it really helped me come to grips with my own mortality.

Which character is your favorite and why?

My favorite character is Abra. She’s a strong, determined girl, fiercely loyal, courageous in the face of death. In other words, she’s who I would like to be. I also like the old Samuel Chambers because I have a feeling he’s very much how I will be when I’m an old man—a little grumpy, a little bit of a hermit, but mostly a soft, sentimental type.

How did you choose the setting for your novel?

The setting is the farm where I lived for five years, really the earliest place I can remember. It’s always had mythic attributes to it, at least in my mind—there was the farm with its shadows and huge barns and open spaces; there was the church across the street and the creek behind it; there was the cemetery and the road that went off into the country. This setting has always meant so much to me.

Would you classify your book more as a mystery or as a fantasy?

I don’t think of it as a fantasy although there are certainly fantastical elements. What I wanted to do was write a story that an old man looking back on fifty or sixty years later might find hard to believe, which is what’s happening here. I guess I’d say more mystery although not in the classic whodunit sense. The mystery is Samuel and Abra trying to find out more about the mystery of death, which is, I think, a mystery we are all very concerned about.

Did you write The Day the Angels Fell for pure enjoyment, or is there some lesson you hope readers will take away from reading your book?

I’d like young readers, any reader, to think more about their own death, to think about why it’s scary for many of us. Our culture does everything it can to keep death at arm’s length, especially with children. I’d like us collectively to consider what death actually is, what it might lead to, what its greater purpose could be.

In what way would you say your faith is worked into the book?

My personal faith is strongly rooted in hope. I think what this book really is, at its core, is me trying to find hope even in the darkest edges of life.

Who is the primary audience for The Day the Angels Fell?

The primary audience would be people who enjoy whimsical tales about childhood that are a bit melancholy, a bit nostalgic. Also, people who would like to explore the idea of death being a part of life.

What are you working on next?

I’m working on a lot of things! I cowrite and ghostwrite nonfiction for individuals and publishing houses, so there’s always something going on there. We’re currently working on the edits for the sequel to The Day the Angels Fell. And I’m exploring some ideas for my third novel, which will be for the general market.




Shawn Smucker lives with his wife and six children in the city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The Day the Angels Fell is his first novel.

 

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GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
GRAND PRIZE:
Copy of The Day the Angels Fell + Ancient Tree Journal + $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card
2nd PRIZE: Copy of the book + leather bracelet charms
3rd PRIZE: Copy of the book + $10 Starbucks Gift cCard
September 17-26, 2017
(U.S. Only)

CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
9/17
Character Interview
9/18
Review
9/19
Excerpt 1
9/20
Author Interview
9/21
Review
9/22
Excerpt 2
9/23
Review
9/24
Author Interview
9/25
Playlist
9/26
Review

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