Friday, April 22, 2016

Queen of Likes by Hillary Homzie

Join us in the all as we visit with Hillary Homzie, author of QUEEN OF LIKES. There's a Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a $50 Amazon/BN GC!

Why do you write juvenile fiction? What draws you to it?

I write juvenile fiction because when I was younger I had a passion for making up stories, as well as reading them. But my greatest joy was as a storyteller. I write for children and tweens as attempt to reconnect with that joyful inner child. I feel like the stories that I read as a child inform me now as an adult, and I want to write those stories that influence a child's development and perception of the world.

Pretend your protagonist is at school and opens his/her locker-what will we see inside?

In Karma Cooper's locker you would see her textbooks stacked at the top shelf. There would be a pre-algebra textbook as well as the book she's reading for language arts. On a hook below there would be a sweatshirt. She has forgotten to bring it home and it's been in her locker for a couple of weeks. There's also a couple of candy bar wrappers that she needs to throw away but hasn't yet. She also has a magnet frames on the inside with a photo of her dog and a photo of her best friend.

What books were your favorite as a youth and why?

My favorite books growing up were A Secret Garden and A Wrinkle in Time. I love how A Secret Garden introduces a disagreeable child who we come to love. Her transformation in the book is extraordinary, and I loved how she found the secret garden that like her had been neglected. As she tends the garden she blossoms as a person. It's a book full of hope and transformation. I also really loved A Wrinkle in Time. I like how the main character is a bit fearful, doesn't have a lot of confidence is a bit of an introvert and yet she becomes a heroine who goes on an extraordinary journey to rescue those she loves.

What's your favorite sweet treat?

My favorite sweet treat is caramel corn. I'm a big fan of popcorn so when you throw something sweet on top of it, I'm a pretty happy person.

What would you write in the letter to your teen self?

I would tell myself not to yearn to be something that I'm not. For example, I wouldn't look at girls who, like my younger sister, were really gifted at lacrosse and wish that I were on the lacrosse team. Or look at with envy my friend’s long silky blonde hair and watch her get asked to slow dance at a middle school dance and wish if only I could look like her I would find happiness. Instead, I would say--celebrate what it is that you love and know that that's OK-- it's more than OK ---it's marvelous.

Here's what the book is about:

Like everyone at Merton Middle School, Karma Cooper’s smartphone is almost another body part. She’s obsessed with her LIKES on Snappypic. When her parents shut down her social media account and take away her smartphone, Karma’s whole world crumbles. She has to figure out what she actually likes and how to live life fully unplugged. This book will jumpstart conversations about how social media is changing the ways tweens are growing up.

Here's an excerpt from the book:

“So we’re come up with a new punishment,” says Dad. “Something that will get your attention.”

Dad looks at Mom and Mom looks at Dad and I can tell that they are a united front against me. “We’re going to close your Snappypic account,” states Dad.

“What?” My stomach dips as if I’ve just dropped from highest part of a roller coaster. I want to flop against the nearest car in the parking lot. “You can’t do that. It’s my account. It’s private. You can’t.” Every day, I get smiley faces and hearts and balloons and LIKES. All of the time. Waking up and not being able to se what my followers are up to? Being totally cut off like that? My parents might as well send me to Antarctica because I’m going to be frozen out of everything. “This must be some kind of hallucination,” I say. “The parents I know would never do this to me!”

“Karma, I’m sorry,” says Mom. “But I think you are over-reacting. You knew the rules.”

“Please.” I clasp my hands together. “Please, please. Please. I’ll do anything. I’ll babysit Toby as much as you want. I’ll clean the house every single day. I’ll make dinner I’ll—”

“It’s a final decision,” says Dad.

“But I’m like… a professional. I have more followers than some companies.”

“Exactly our point, Karma,” says Mom. “You’re not a company. You’re our daughter and still a kid. And I don’t really love this obsession of yours.”

The parking lot is practically spinning. “You just don’t want me to grow up!” I fling up my arms. “Please,” I beg. “Don’t do this.”

Here's the author's bio:

Hillary is the author of the tween novel, THE HOT LIST (Simon & Schuster/M!X) which Booklist says “captures the angst of young teen friendships and fragile identities.” She’s also the author of the middle grade novel, THINGS ARE GONNA GET UGLY (Simon & Schuster/M!X), a Justice Book-of-the-Month, which was just optioned by Priority Pictures, and the forthcoming QUEEN OF LIKES (Simon & Schuster/Aladdin M!X, April 2016), which is about social media, as well as the humorous chapter book series, ALIEN CLONES FROM OUTER SPACE (Simon & Schuster/Aladdin), a Children's Book-of-the-Month Best Books for Children. Emmy-nominated Suppertime Entertainment developed the books to become an animated television series and it was sold to ABC Australia. Hillary’s young adult fiction has been published in TEEN MAGAZINE and anthologized (MUDDVILLE DIARIES, Avon Books). She has sold non-fiction and fiction projects to Klutz Press/Scholastic Books, The Learning Company and John Muir Books. With her frequent writing partner, Steven Arvanites, she has had film projects developed by Brooklyn Weaver’s Energy Entertainment. Hillary got her start performing and writing sketch comedy Off-Broadway, and was a Heideman Playwrighting Award Finalist. Hillary holds a master's degree in education from Temple University and a master’s of arts degree from Hollins University in children's literature and writing. Currently, she’s a visiting professor of children’s literature and writing at Hollins University.
Here's where you can buy the book:
Here's a link to the song QUEEN OF LIKES which was written just for the book. It’s a wonderful song.

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