Monday, October 19, 2009
Book Launch: Haven
I'm so pleased to introduce Beverly Patt and her debut novel HAVEN.
Congratulations on the publication of your novel, HAVEN. Can you tell us a bit about the story and what inspired it?
Thank you :) Sure, here's the basic plot:
Rural Illinois teen Rudy Morris meets Chicagoan Latonya Dennison on Christmas day, when Latonya ends up being the annual "orphan' at the Morris household. But Latonya doesn't disappear the day after Christmas like the other visiting orphans have. She pulls Rudy and his best friend, Stark, into a scheme to fix up and use a rusty ATV to help her run away from her group home, The Haven. Rudy reluctantly agrees but as the day draws near, his own feelings for her get in the way. What’s a getaway driver to do?
The inspiration came from a time when my husband and I wanted to take in a foster child but were continually denied because we were white and the child was not. Like Latonya, the child ended up going from group home to group home instead of getting a stable family. Fortunately, the laws have changed. But in the 80's and 90's, foster children in Illinois could only to a foster family of their same race, which ended up with a LOT of children in group homes.
How long have you been writing for children/teens? Have you written other books or is this your first effort?
I started writing for children in the 90's. I wrote mostly magazine articles and stories for several years. HAVEN was actually my second effort at a novel. Before that, I wrote what I thought was a picture book but it slowly grew until it became my upcoming April release, BEST FRIENDS FOREVER: A WWII SCRAPBOOK (Marshall Cavendish) -
not a novel but not a picture book either!
Can you describe your path to the publication of HAVEN?
It's all very long and boring, I'm afraid! I wrote the whole story probably in 8 months but then went through years of revisions, thanks to my trusty writer's group. It was sold to Blooming Tree Press in August 2006. They asked for a total rewrite which I turned in Nov 2007. In November of 2008, the publisher decided she liked the original version better! I'm not really sure what to attribute that to - there had been some changes in personnel, it's still a new company getting it's sea legs, I guess. So now, in a few days, it will finally be out. Phew!
Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
Be patient. Be persistent. Be forgiving. Don't compare yourself to others. Never stop learning. Never give up.
Can you tell us something about your personal life – inspirations, plans for the future, goals, etc.?
Well, I have a wonderful husband and four wonderful kids who inspire me and make me laugh every day. I could not do what I do without them. Plans for the future include more of the same! More writing, more books (published, hopefully!) and more laughter.
I struggle with guilt sometimes when I'm not writing. I have to remind myself that non-writing is good too. Not only does it pull you out of your hole and make you more sociable, it gives you new experiences to include in your writing. Traveling, even if it's just to a museum in your own town, can light new fires within. Plays, movies, walks, tours, your kid's soccer games - all can provide little nuggets of inspiration. Then repetitive activities like (dare I say it?) housework or gardening or knitting can help those ideas to percolate.
Do you have any new writing ventures underway?
I've got a finished novel I'm tweaking, 3 chapters of a new novel and a handful of humorous picture books.
When I get time, I'm going to query some agents as well.
Do you have a website where readers can learn more about HAVEN?
And we'll be doing a giveaway on our class website, www.classof2k9.com
There will be a teacher's guide to HAVEN on the Class of 2k9 website very shortly as well.
I hope to see you all there!