Very excited today to welcome Stephanie Burgis author of Kat, Incorrigible and the soon to be published sequel Renegade Magic.
Stephanie Burgis grew up in East Lansing, Michigan, but now she lives in Wales, surrounded by mountains and castles. Her first book, Kat, Incorrigible, was chosen by VOYA as a Top Shelf Pick for Middle School Readers. Her second book, Renegade Magic, will be published on April 3, 2012. You can read the first three chapters of both books on her website: http://www.stephanieburgis.com
She has written a guest post about why she write middle grade books. I'm also curious about that. Why do authors pick MG instead of writing for any other age level.
Stephanie has also offered up a giveaway of ARC of Renegade Magic!!!!! Details below.
First a bit about her books
Katherine Ann Stephenson has just discovered that she's inherited her mother's magical talents, and despite Stepmama's stern objections, she's determined to learn how to use them. But with her eldest sister Elissa's intended fiancé, the sinister Sir Neville, showing a dangerous interest in Kat's magical potential; her other sister, Angeline, wreaking romantic havoc with her own witchcraft; and a highwayman lurking in the forest, even Kat's reckless heroism will be tested to the upmost. If she can learn to control her new powers, will Kat be able to rescue her family and win her sisters their true love?Renegade Magic
Kat Stephenson is back to cause more chaos! Stepmama drags the family to Bath to find Kat's sister a new suitor. But, unknown to most of its gossipy visitors, Bath is full of wild magic. When Kat uncovers a plot to harness this magic in the Roman Baths, she finds her brother Charles is unwittingly involved. Kat must risk her newfound magical powers as she defies the Order of the Guardians to foil the plot and clear her brother's name.
Why I Write MG
Every so often, I talk to another writer who is genuinely baffled by why I write MG. Why not at least move to YA, if I won’t/can’t write adult fiction? Wouldn’t YA be more interesting - more mature? Doesn’t choosing MG kinda indicate… *lowering voice* …that maybe I’m a little stunted emotionally myself, if I’m not interested in writing for older readers? Why else wouldn’t I want to live with older characters in my head?
Maybe this all comes right back to how I felt when I was a teen. I still remember the disconnect I felt when I got to high school and realized that I was supposed to be happier now. Everybody prefers high school to middle school, right?
I really loved middle school. I had a group of close friends, and we moved around in a pack of smart, geeky girls, mostly unconcerned by popularity. I had truly fabulous teachers who loved my writing and mentored me in wonderful ways. As just one example, even after I moved on to 8th grade, my 7th grade English teacher kept an eye on me and signed me out of school one day to go see Chaim Potok talk about his writing process at another local school. She thought it was too important for me to miss, as an aspiring writer.
Every English teacher I had in middle school believed in my writing, believed that I would one day publish novels, and I felt like I was blossoming with pure possibility in that atmosphere.
And oh, the middle school library! I still remember the sense of wonder I felt when I stepped inside that first time and saw SO MANY awesome books waiting for me! In that library - and with the guidance of the wonderful librarians there - I discovered so many of the authors who’ve influenced me as a writer and as a person ever since them, from Gillian Bradshaw to Virginia Euwer Wolff. Meanwhile, at my public library in those same years, I was busy discovering Georgette Heyer, one of the direct inspirations (along with Jane Austen) for my Regency-era fantasy trilogy, KAT, INCORRIGIBLE. I gulped up her books and fell headlong into love.
I spent my middle school years feeling like there were lights and connections sparking all around me, showing me a world of possibility and wonder. I was surrounded by people who liked me for who I was. I liked who I was, and I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next.
Then I went to high school.
First of all, I lost touch with several of my friends as we all got put in different classes and lunch periods. I felt overwhelmed and tiny in the (comparatively) massive high school. And remember the cool stuff I learned/experienced in middle school? Well, here, by contrast, are some of the lessons I learned in high school:
- Guys don’t like it if you seem too smart. If a guy you like says something to you, giggle instead of giving an actual (possibly critical) reply. Act impressed by their intelligence, rather than sharing your own. (Sadly, I am not kidding about this. I still remember working out this social rule in my freshman year, as an aha! Moment.)
- Loving books is weird.
- Looks matter more than brains.
- …You know what? I’m too depressed to even go on.
I spent years and years of my early adulthood un-learning the lessons of high school, working my way back toward confidence and my authentic self, forcing myself out of the defensive, artificial shell that I had to construct to get through high school. I wish I could go back and tell my teenage self how wrong I was - or at least that the survival rules of high school are NOT the same as those of adult life.
Guess what? Now that I’m an adult, I’m surrounded by friends who love books and creativity, and I’m married to a guy (another writer) who wants to hear my real opinion - a guy who loves me, not the girly shell I used to try to put on.
So it’s no surprise that when the book of my heart arrived in my life - when twelve-year-old Kat Stephenson started whispering into my ears - it took me straight back to those earlier years of bright, sparking creativity - those years when I truly felt a sense of wonder.
I write MG to share that sense of wonder, and to experience it myself. I hope I’ll never stop.
I’d love to give away an ARC of my second book, Renegade Magic, to a commenter on this blog entry! And I’m happy to ship it internationally.
Just let me know - what’s one memory (of a book or an event) from your middle school years?
Ends March 31st