Saturday, May 28, 2016

20 Days of Backstory: Day 13

Hi, friends,

In the spirit of Wayne Kovok, the fact-loving protagonist of my new novel, MAYDAY, I'm sharing facts about the story. 


BACKSTORY FACT 13


I watched this neighborhood kid sprint to the bus every morning for a year. Each day, he barely made it on time. I rooted for him. I thought, he must be doing this on purpose. It seemed like this was something Wayne Kovok would do, too. It gave me the idea to include running as a theme in MAYDAY. 

Check out my interview in BOOKPAGE magazine here for more backstory.


Friday, May 27, 2016

20 Days of Backstory: Day 12

Hi, friends,

In the spirit of Wayne Kovok, the fact-loving protagonist of my new novel, MAYDAY, I'm sharing facts about the story. 


BACKSTORY FACT 12

After the crash in MAYDAY, Wayne naturally sees airplanes in a new light. He's even more aware that real people are flying miles above the earth at all times. He lays down in his yard and ferries planes in his hands as they pass over his airspace. 

I did that. 

It takes 28-30 seconds for them to pass over my house. Sometimes I made up small stories about the people in the planes.

The view from my backyard



--

Praise for Mayday:

"A fine character-driven tale that slowly grows to a crescendo of satisfaction."
Kirkus Reviews


"Wayne is an appealing protagonist with a strong voice who develops believably over the difficult months, as do the other characters. A well-done book on all levels."―Publishers Weekly


"The main characters are well depicted and highly appealing.... Thought provoking and touching, Mayday applies to anyone who has ever felt like an outcast and wishes to become someone with a sense of pride."
VOYA

"Wayne's is an authentic, funny, and sometimes sarcastic teen voice, which comes through clearly, even when he can't speak out loud.... in this sweet tale of survival, heroism, and the search for strength."
School Library Journal

Thursday, May 26, 2016

20 Days of Backstory: Day 11

Hi, friends,

In the spirit of Wayne Kovok, the fact-loving protagonist of my new novel, MAYDAY, which is a PW Pick of the Week!



BACKSTORY FACT 11


In MAYDAY, Wayne's mother creates a Wall of Honor, showcasing photos of Wayne’s ancestors. 

I have a similar collage in our house and use it to tell our daughters about the interesting people they came from. Each photo has a story.

Here are a few of the photos.





Wednesday, May 25, 2016

20 Days of Backstory: Day 10

Hi, friends,

It's Day 10 of my blog series on backstory about MAYDAY!



BACKSTORY FACT 10
-

I spent a year researching plane crashes. The Congo crash, featured in the opening chapter, haunted me most. It’s a great teacher: group think can be deadly.

--

Praise for Mayday:

"A fine character-driven tale that slowly grows to a crescendo of satisfaction."
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Wayne is an appealing protagonist with a strong voice who develops believably over the difficult months, as do the other characters. A well-done book on all levels."―Publishers Weekly, starred review

"The main characters are well depicted and highly appealing.... Thought provoking and touching, Mayday applies to anyone who has ever felt like an outcast and wishes to become someone with a sense of pride."
VOYA

"Wayne's is an authentic, funny, and sometimes sarcastic teen voice, which comes through clearly, even when he can't speak out loud.... in this sweet tale of survival, heroism, and the search for strength."
School Library Journal

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

20 Days of Backstory: Day 9

Hi, friends,

It's publication day for MAYDAY! 

In the spirit of Wayne Kovok, the fact-loving protagonist of my new novel, MAYDAY, I'm sharing facts about the story. 



BACKSTORY FACT 9


-      Wayne gathers lots of research about the debris field of his plane crash. He also matches this with wind speeds on the day of the crash. 

My daughter got so interested in Wayne’s wind speed research that she did her science fair project on wind. It was called BLOWN AWAY. A+! 



If you want to be blown away and/or learn about wind speeds, order your copy of MAYDAY on Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

Monday, May 23, 2016

20 Days of Backstory: Day 8

Hi, friends,

Only one more day until MAYDAY is published!

In the spirit of Wayne Kovok, the fact-loving protagonist of my new novel, MAYDAY, a story Publishers Weekly gave a starred review and calls "a compelling exploration of life after disaster." 


BACKSTORY FACT 8

I first thought of writing about a plane crash after watching an episode of AIR DISASTERS in which debris trailed out of a doomed plane, landing miles from the actual crash site. 

However, I'm not a nervous flier. I learned from Wayne Kovok's research that 80% of all crashes are survivable.

Also, I like this graphic about how planes fly.


v


--
Find out more at www.karenharringtonbooks.com 
 
"MAYDAY is an utterly engaging and heartwarming novel of loss and redemption. Wayne Kovok is a natural-born wonder." - Mark Goldblatt, best-selling author of Twerp and Finding The Worm.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

20 Days of Backstory: Day 7

Hi, friends,

Who likes to know a little behind-the-scenes information about a story? 


BACKSTORY FACT 7

     
Wayne Kovok, the main character, is a fact-loving seventh grader. He shares more than 70 confirmed, true facts in MAYDAY. This was a fun part of the novel to work on because I'm a fact nerd.

I’ve been asked what my favorite facts are and would have to say the history of Arlington National Cemetery and the continued search for Columbia Space Shuttle debris in East Texas. Also, I 
spent an inordinate amount of time researching the weight and dimensions of the world’s largest matzo ball.

    Here is my copy-editor’s comment that sent me down the rabbit hole.
-          Seems like there have been larger, but I don’t know that any larger than 267 pounds have been recognized officially by Guinness World Records. See http://azjewishpost.com/2010/p-s-tucson-chef-creates-guinness-world-record-matzah-ball-israelis-israel-travels-pilates-guru-hadassah-hears-marquez/

-          http://jewishworldnews.org/worlds-largest-matzo-ball-competition-more-than-just-a-cooked-mass-of-unrecognized-ingredients/



Saturday, May 21, 2016

20 Days of Backstory: Day 6

Hi, friends,

Who likes to know a little behind-the-scenes information about a story? I know I do. In the spirit of Wayne Kovok, the fact-loving protagonist of my new novel, MAYDAY, I'm sharing facts about the story. (You might remember 
Wayne from his small role in COURAGE FOR BEGINNERS.) 

MAYDAY is a story about friendship, fathers and sons, and the importance of finding one's voice. 




BACKSTORY FACT 6


My good friend Tim is a car restoration professional. He helped me with the Ford Mustang research in MAYDAY. He also told me to put the word “weedwhacker” somewhere in the book. I couldn’t find a spot so I put it in the acknowledgments next to his name. He thinks that's hilarious. 


My friend, Tim,with his custom built Ford Bronco racer.
He and my husband race in the Baja 1000.

Find Tim's other custom projects on his website.

Friday, May 20, 2016

20 Days of Backstory: Day 5

Hi, friends,

Who likes to know a little behind-the-scenes information about a story? I know I do. In the spirit of Wayne Kovok, the fact-loving protagonist of my new novel, MAYDAY, I'm sharing facts about the story. (You might remember 
Wayne from his small role in COURAGE FOR BEGINNERS.) 

MAYDAY is a story about friendship, fathers and sons, and the importance of finding one's voice. 



BACKSTORY FACT 5


Caddo Lake State Park in Uncertain, Texas is a key setting in the book. As Wayne's plane comes apart, debris falls to the ground over East Texas. Wayne hypothesizes that his uncle's honor flag may be in or near the park. 


My family camps there every year with family and friends.

With my daughter

Along the river




Praise for Mayday:

"A fine character-driven tale that slowly grows to a crescendo of satisfaction."
Kirkus Reviews


"Wayne is an appealing protagonist with a strong voice who develops believably over the difficult months, as do the other characters. A well-done book on all levels."―Publishers Weekly


"The main characters are well depicted and highly appealing.... Thought provoking and touching, Mayday applies to anyone who has ever felt like an outcast and wishes to become someone with a sense of pride."
VOYA

"Wayne's is an authentic, funny, and sometimes sarcastic teen voice, which comes through clearly, even when he can't speak out loud.... in this sweet tale of survival, heroism, and the search for strength."
School Library Journal

Thursday, May 19, 2016

20 Days of Backstory: Day 4

Hi, friends,

Today, I'm continuing my backstory blog series about my new novel, MAYDAY, 
a story about friendship, fathers and sons, and the importance of finding one's voice. 



BACKSTORY FACT 4


To get a solid understanding of what a pilot would do in an emergency, I interviewed American Airlines First Officer and Air Force Lt. Colonel Gavin Tade. His insights were invaluable.

Check out Lt. Colonel Tade's background from growing up to serving in the Air Force.