April 17, 2012

2K12 Author: J. Anderson Coats - The Wicked and the Just

A long while back I was approached by Caroline Starr Rose to help promote the fantastic group of authors in the Class of 2k12.  These are a group of authors being published in 2012.  I jumped at the chance to help out.  
What we came up with was a series of guest posts.  The topic: 
 Since I teach 7th grade I live and breath middle school (ok some of you can stop shuddering now). 2

So over the course of 2012 you will get to hear from some the the 2k12 authors and their memories/thoughts about that time in their life.  I thank each of them for jumping in a tackling the subject!
To learn about all the 2k12 authors check out their site: Class of 2k12: Fiction that Rocks

Today our 2k12-er is:

J. Anderson Coats

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 17 April 2012

About her book:
Cecily’s father has ruined her life. He’s moving them to occupied Wales, where the king needs good strong Englishmen to keep down the vicious Welshmen. At least Cecily will finally be the lady of the house.

Gwenhwyfar knows all about that house. Once she dreamed of being the lady there herself, until the English destroyed the lives of everyone she knows. Now she must wait hand and foot on this bratty English girl.

While Cecily struggles to find her place amongst the snobby English landowners, Gwenhwyfar struggles just to survive. And outside the city walls, tensions are rising ever higher—until finally they must reach the breaking point.

What were you like as a middle-schooler?

Here is J at age 12:  Bright.  Cheerful.  The kind of perky overachiever that makes most other kids roll their eyes.  Begs her parents for purple-painted bedroom walls and a dual-cassette tape deck so she can listen to Paula Abdul.  Bold.  Sassy.  Opinionated.  But also helpful, curious and actively writing stories about horses in pink spiral notebooks.

Here is J at age 13:  Surly.  Touchy.  Cannot wear enough black, down to her fingernails inked with Sharpie.  Her parents have to pry out two words back to back.  Sleepwalks from class to class.  Pretends not to hear the whispers and snickering.  Cuts deep lines into her upper arms and other hidden places with a rusty exacto knife stolen from the art room.  Will never write again.

Then J’s father makes her an offer: write him a novel – any novel, about anything – and he’ll give her ten dollars.  J wants the money, so she writes the novel.  It’s a hundred pages long, typed, single-spaced, about a girl who goes to summer camp.

She never shows it to him.  He never asks to see it.  But J starts writing again.  Her notebooks now have skulls erased into the covers, but she’s scribbling like mad in them.

J keeps wearing black.  She starts talking again.  She throws away the blade.  She still ignores the whispers and giggles well into high school.

But now she writes.

Thank you so much for coming to The O.W.L. today! I absolutely love this guest post especially being a teacher of 12 and 13 year olds!!!!  So right on.

And about the book.  Sounds fantastic! And the cover is just perfect.  


  1. I can't wait to read this book!!

  2. This one is already in my queue. I am so looking forward to reading it. It sounds like J writes from a place that is deep, sometimes painful, but always cathartic. I can't wait to see what that produces.

  3. I'm anxious to read Ms. Coats' book. Sounds exciting.