Things have been pretty hectic lately. And by lately, I mean the past eight months or so when the school year began. Writing books while working full-time as a school psychologist can be pretty daunting, exhausting, and stressful. I try my best, but it can be difficult to wear so many hats.
One thing I’ve been immensely enjoying, however, are the school visits. I’ve done quite a few of them, and it’s been a wonderful experience. I love getting out there and meeting young readers and fans of the book. They’re the most honest readers you’ll ever meet, sometimes brutally so, but that’s what makes it so fun to engage with them. I also have to mention that an effective, energetic, and passionate school librarian is a thing to behold. Walking into one of their libraries is like coming home for a writer.
I’ve continued to work on my next novel, which is still mostly in the research stage. I can spend forever researching a book because I enjoy it so much, and at some point I have to make myself stop and just write the thing. I’m quickly approaching that point, since the manuscript is due later this year and so far all I’ve written is the first chapter, and even that feels like a false start. Right now I have two books wrestling each other inside my head, two very different versions of the same story – one that is somewhat restrained and quiet, and one that is more sprawling and epic. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t usually outline, but this book has been so difficult to pin down that over Spring Break I deviated from my normal routine and collected all my thoughts into seven single-spaced pages. I took all the characters, themes, story fragments, and ideas, and I sat them all down together in the same document to see if I could get them to talk to each other and come up with a game-plan. Then I sent it off to my editor, and I’m both excited and nervous to see what she says about it.
Things are starting to gear up for Icefall. In fact, the first professional review has come in, quite early. From Kirkus:
The chilly, claustrophobic, ancient setting is vividly created, and the sense of impending doom generates a gripping suspense overarching the developing—and deteriorating—relationships among the group, marking Kirby (The Clockwork Three, 2010) as a strong emerging novelist. Recommend this one to teens who crave a good mystery set in an icily different time and place.
I’m really pleased that the review pretty well sums up exactly what I was trying for; “chilly,” “claustrophobic,” and “suspense” were some of the exact adjectives I was aiming at. If you’re interested, you can read the entire review here.
I was excited to see that The Clockwork Three is a finalist for the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award, a regional award voted on by members of the SCBWI – it is a special kind of honor to be recognized by your peers. Congrats to all the finalists, who you can see listed in the press release.
The Clockwork Three has also been named a finalist for a few 2012 state book awards, including the Beehive Award here in Utah, the Pennsylvania Young Readers Choice Award, and the Colorado Children’s Book Award! I’m really thrilled and honored.
And lastly, a few more blog reviews have popped up for The Clockwork Three: