Friday, December 8, 2017

Book Giveaway:TRAIN I RIDE by Paul Mosier

Howdy, Campers, and Happy Poetry Friday!

This time 'round, TeachingAuthors is posting about our favorite book or books of 2017.

My hands-down pick is the stunning debut middle grade novel Train I Ride by Paul Mosier, which so far has gotten four starred reviews.

Instead of posting a poem for Poetry Friday, I'm recommending this extraordinary book, in which poetry and a classic poetry book play a role.

I'll let the publisher, Harper, and those four star-givers tell you about this book:

From Publishers Weekly Flying Start author Paul Mosier comes a poignant story about a young girl’s travels by which she learns...she can find family wherever she is. Perfect for fans of Rebecca Stead and Sharon Creech.

★ “A harrowing, moving, immersive, and ultimately uplifting debut novel.” — Kirkus Reviews

★ “In this debut novel, Mosier gives middle grade readers a character who battles life’s challenges with extreme honesty and doesn’t sugarcoat her inner battles. A tale that will stay with readers long after they reach the final destination.” — School Library Journal

★ “In his first novel, Mosier offers a cast of well-drawn characters, an unusual setting, and a rewarding reading experience.” — Booklist (starred review)

★ “An emotionally expansive and deeply affecting story. Heartbreaking and unforgettable.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

At the end of this post, you'll find instructions on how to enter for a chance to win your own autographed copy. Woo-hoo!

And, whoa--look who's climbing up to the TeachingAuthors treehouse.... author Paul Mosier himself. Come on in and have a cuppa tea, Paul!

 author Paul Mosier

This is usually our first question, Paul: how did you become a TeachingAuthor?

After the release of  Train I Ride, I lined up appearances beginning with Phoenix's Madison Meadows elementary school, my alma mater. I have spoken to as many as 400 students in a gymnasium to a handful of home schooled kids at a public library. Since Arizona is among the nation's worst in education spending, I don't ask for an honorarium. I've extended this to Skype visits with out of state schools. Many kids I visit would never be able to see an author if it came down to money. 

Now I tell schools that while I don’t require an honorarium, I’d love a school mascot t-shirt!

(Maybe someday you'll make them into a quilt?)  And who was your favorite teacher?

When I was a sophomore in high school I had a young and pretty English teacher, Ms.K. On the first day of class, she asked if we would like to be called something other than our actual names; to be a smart-Alec I told her I went by “Smith.” Ms. K called me Smith all year, as she introduced me to the first poem which ever spoke to me–“The Plot Against The Giant” by Wallace Stevens, as we analyzed song lyrics such as “Born To Run,” as we wrote our own stories, as she grieved the death of John Lennon dressed in black, as she talked about the events that shaped her. By the end of the year I had developed such respect and affection for her, I cringed every time she called me “Smith.”

She left Arizona after one year teaching, but I remember things she said. Years later, she became the answer to my bank's security question, Name of your favorite teacher?

Recently I found her on Facebook, in spite of a name change, because I recognized her smile. I told her how much she meant to me, thanked her for being the teacher that she was, and apologized for duping her into thinking I went by the name Smith all year. She wrote back, “Of course I remember you, Smith!” She's still teaching high school and has lobbied for Train I Ride to be included in the curriculum of middle grade classrooms in her home state of Ohio.

When I tell this story to teachers, I say that it is my sincere wish that they have many such experiences with former students, even if mine was too long in being delivered.

This story makes me think about which teacher I'd like to find and thank. What would you tell someone who's banging her head against writers block...or someone who's discouraged about ever getting a book published?

Going with the second part of that question, I believe in my heart that the most important thing about telling a story is telling a story. Or writing a poem. Creative writing is its own reward. I’m fond of saying there are many ways one can make a living–though I’m not necessarily the best person to ask about that–but there aren’t many ways we can come to feel the way we do in giving birth to a novel, or a poem, or a painting.

Getting paid to do it is icing on the cake. I feel very fortunate to now be awash in that icing, but it was the fourth novel I wrote which got me a book deal, which now has become multiple books which will appear around the world in multiple languages.
Maybe I should say it quietly so the universe doesn’t hear, but I was going to keep on writing novels with or without a book deal and everything that arises from that.

Going with the first part of that question, I am fortunate to have had very little experience with writer’s block, but I think it is important to put down whatever the muse is showing you. She knows the correct order you are supposed to write in, even if it doesn’t end up being chronological for the story. Also, move from laptop to pen. Write about what you are writing.

Remember that stories don’t come from inside your head–they come from the muse, from the universe, and when they’re in your head, they’re just passing through. Do your best to love them and raise them well.

I love this answer, especially not having to know everything before beginning the book. And finally, could you share a favorite writing exercise with our readers?

I think it is important for a writer–especially a new writer–to understand that one doesn’t have to see the entirety of a story before beginning. All you need is an idea, a seed, a first line. Train I Ride came from a line in an Elvis Presley/Junior Parker song. Echo’s Sister came from real life. Summer and July came from the sense of place of a seaside town with an ice cream shop and boogie boarding, and I waited for the characters to walk into the scene.
I’d encourage writers to not try to design characters–let the muse, the universe, introduce them to you. I may not understand a character at all until I hear them speaking to another, and what they say may change the course of the story.

But here’s an exercise: Write down whatever song lyric is in your ears at this moment. Then make the next line your own. Follow it to the end of the story. 

Wonderful! Thanks so much for stopping by, Paul--please come again! 

Watch for Paul's next book, Echo's Sisterand many more, coming soon!

Readers, to enter our drawing for a chance to win an autographed copy of Train I Ride (Harper), written by Paul Mosier, use the Rafflecopter widget below. You may enter via 1, 2, or all 3 options.

If you choose option 2, you MUST leave a comment on TODAY'S blog post below or on our TeachingAuthors Facebook page. If you haven't already "liked" our Facebook page, please do so today! In your comment, tell us what you'd do with the book if you win our giveaway--keep it for yourself or give it to a young reader?

(If you prefer, you may submit your comment via email to: teachingauthors [at] gmail [dot] com.)

Email subscribers: if you received this post via email, you can click on the Rafflecopter link at the end of this message to access the entry form.

Note: if you submit your comments via email or Facebook, YOU MUST STILL ENTER THE DRAWING VIA THE WIDGET BELOW. The giveaway ends December 20, 2017 and is open to U.S. residents only.

P.S. If you've never entered a Rafflecopter giveaway, here's info on how to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway and the difference between signing in with Facebook vs. with an email address.

And for goodness sake--don't forget Poetry Friday!
This week's roundup is hosted by Steps and Staircases

posted with bells on her toes by April Halprin Wayland, with the sleepy assistance of Eli, who was very sick this week but who is getting better, for which even Snot, the cat, is grateful.



Linda B said...

Thanks, April, Paul's book sounds wonderful! And I liked the interview, too, hearing about his long ago favorite teacher and hearing that good advice!

Kay said...

This book sounds wonderful! Thank you for sharing it. And Paul, thank you for your warm and funny and wise words in your answers. Of course, I would read the book if I won, and then I would share it---either with my nephews or in the Little Free Library that I steward.

Marilyn Garcia said...

Wow, what great advice for writers. I love that Paul would have kept writing whether he ever got paid for it or not. I agree totally - the greatest reward of writing is the writing. Maybe someday I'll have icing on my cake too, but the cake itself is pretty delicious. I am now going to add Paul's books to my wish list. :)

Ramona said...

I love this book! I wrote a blog post with a notebook page about all the things to love about Train I Ride. It was selected for the King County Library System's Mock Newbery which is why I read it. I'm retired, but still help with an after school book club. Here's an email I got from a parent after a meeting in November:

Hi Ramona,
I checked out Train I Ride from the library a few weeks ago, read it, and suggested that ---- read it. Of course, she did not heed my suggestion, but after your endorsement of it in Book Club last week, she picked it up from the coffee table and started reading. When she finished the book, she closed the cover and announced, "That was the best book I've read all year!"

And that's the best email I've received this year!

Danielle H. said...

Both my parents were teachers and I often got to go to their classrooms and experience the wonderful relationships they developed with their students. Now I have many friends who are teachers and I see the same dedication and genuine love of making a difference in young people's lives, even if they don't receive compensation. Thanks for the excellent interview today. Can't wait to read this book.

Linda said...

Thanks for this! I really enjoyed the interview with Paul, and I'm looking forward to reading TRAIN I RIDE. If I win, I would first read the book myself, then I would share it with my granddaughter.

April Halprin Wayland said...

Dear Commenters All,

Thank you for commenting and for loving his interview and/or book and/or the possibility of winning the book!

Sending out lucky vibes and love ~

John Smith said...

It's hard not to focus first of all on the excellent, excellent cover art, and then I see Kirkus says this is a harrowing book, with a lot of deep qualities!

Lisa said...

Hope Eli is feeling better, April. I enjoyed Paul's interview and his writing advice. Your interview makes it evident that he is generous with his time and spirit. And thank you for the giveaway, too!

Nicole Popel said...

Thanks for sharing your story, Smith!

kt giorgio said...

This is wonderful...thanks for sharing!

Amy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amy said...

Thank you for bringing my attention to this book! If I don't win the giveaway, I will order the book immediately!

Esther Hershenhorn said...

Paul Mosier's R-Y-D-R is someone every Young Reader should know.
Had my Chicago Public Library delivered my copy of TRAIN I RIDE last Monday, I would have included this gorgeously-written important book in my list of COURAGE-providing Favorites of 2017.
What a ride!
What a Heroine!

Michelle Kogan said...

Sounds like a fascinating read Amy, thanks for sharing Paul and his book. Following your muse hits home to me!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Book Giveaway still on until December 20th.
Paul Mosier is still an exceptional writer.
I'm still grateful for your comments, Campers.
Eli is feeling better after nearly a week in the vet hospital. We hope he will come back home on December 12th. (We would also appreciate if our bank balance would come back home on December 12th)

Irene Latham said...

I really love the advice "write about what you are writing." Yes! Thank you, April. And Congratulations, Paul -so pleased for your success. May you collect many school t-shirts!

Mary Lee said...

This was one of my favorite books of the year, too! LOVE IT!! Thanks for the interview with the author!!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Irene, I loved that piece of advice, too.

And Mary Lee ~ I'm so glad you agree!!!!

Amy Goldman Koss said...

Awww, I love his life long cringe over calling himself Smith. You never know what kids are twisting their guts over. Xo Amy

April Halprin Wayland said...

Amy! Yes, yes--md, I would've looked up to someone as avant garde as a guy who called himself "Smith!"
Thanks for stopping by. :-)