I'm ecstatic to have author Natalie Standiford here in the spotlight for a guest post! Natalie's book "How To Say Goodbye In Robot" is phenomenal! I absolutely LOVED it! Not only is Natalie Guest Posting, but she's also offering a copy of "Saying Goodbye In Robot" to one of my readers!
Before I turn the spotlight over to Natalie -- and NO! I'm NOT hogging it! I just wanted to give you a little synopsis of the book! *IF* the spotlight happens to shine on me for a few more minutes while you read about it, so be it! Now, about "How To Say Goodbye In Robot" ....
(I'll be here posing, dancing and practicing my runway walk but please, don't let that distract you in any way! What? I don't get the spotlight that often!)
HOW TO SAY GOODBYE IN ROBOT --
New to town, Beatrice is expecting her new best friend to be one of the girls she meets on the first day. But instead, the alphabet conspires to seat her next to Jonah, aka Ghost Boy, a quiet loner who hasn't made a new friend since third grade. Something about him, though, gets to Bea, and soon they form an unexpected friendship. It's not romance, exactly - but it's definitely love. Still, Bea can't quite dispel Jonah's gloom and doom - and as she finds out his family history, she understands why. Can Bea help Jonah? Or is he destined to vanish?
Author Natalie Standiford is the author of the Dating Game series. This is her hardcover debut. She lives in New York.
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My thoughts -- To me, HOW TO SAY GOODBYE IN ROBOT was like being with a group of very unique friends. Ones that you'd want to hold onto forever and not let go! Superbly written, this book's got heart!
Without further ado, let's please welcome NATALIE STANDIFORD!
Using Setting to Find Your Writer's Voice
When I was growing up I envied army brats. Movie stars, I noticed, often said that they learned to be entertaining because they moved from place to place as kids and constantly needed to make new friends. An itinerant childhood seemed to be a requirement for a glamorous adulthood. My childhood was the opposite: extremely rooted. My family lived in Baltimore and--except for a two-year stint in the California desert while my dad in was in the Air Force (I was a baby and barely remember it)—we never left. My parents grew up there. My grandparents had lived there. My aunts and uncles and cousins lived there. When we went on vacation, we went to Ocean City, Maryland, or Bethany Beach, Delaware, with all the other Baltimoreans. I could hardly walk down the street without running into someone I was related to. Even when I met new people, it always seemed to turn out that their father knew my mother in kindergarten or their sister played lacrosse with my sister, or something. I was steeped in that place.
My parents tried to bribe me to stay in Baltimore for college, but there wasn't enough money in the world. I was out of there! Four years in glamorous Providence, Rhode Island! Then, after college, I moved straight to New York City and I've been here ever since.
Now that I'm writing teen fiction and mining my own memories for material, that strong sense of place is a godsend. HOW TO SAY GOODBYE IN ROBOT is my first novel set in Baltimore, and, not coincidentally, it was in writing this novel that I found my true writer's voice. That voice has been lurking in my other books, of course, on the fringes, but now I have a real sense of what it is—melancholy, funny, a little odd—a reflection of the place where I grew up. The city's inflections and imagery permeate my personality, and I've finally figured out how to use those elements to make my writing richer.
People often talk about character and plot when giving writing advice, but don't forget about setting. A vivid setting can inspire you, give you story and character ideas, pull you out of a hole when you get stuck. A novel is a monster that eats details: the writer feeds the story to make it grow and keep it moving forward. When you are writing about a vivid setting, you have more details at hand to feed the monster. Trust me, you want that.
Everyone sees home in her own way; even members of the same family will describe their childhood home differently. New York City has been the setting for countless books, movies, and TV shows, but the New York of J.D. Salinger is different from Woody Allen's or Cecily von Ziegesar's or Jerry Seinfeld's. Their visions of the city reflect their personalities and their feelings about it—their "inner landscape"—and that's the secret to using setting in fiction. Don't feel bound to describe a place exactly as it is. Describe it as it looks through your characters' eyes. Choose the details that reflect their state of mind, that illustrate your character's inner landscape. I've been a New Yorker for years, but I still see everything through my Baltimore-bred eyes, which tend to focus on the melancholy, the funny, and the odd no matter where I go.
For Pictures of Baltimore places, a playlist of songs, and stills from movies mentioned in HOW TO SAY GOODBYE IN ROBOT, visit THIS LINK!
Now that you know ALL about Natalie and her Young Adult Novel HOW TO SAY GOODBYE IN ROBOT, I'd like to offer a copy for one very lucky follower -- courtesy of Natalie Standiford! Thank you Natalie!
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