Books and News and Changes

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a newsy update, and there’s a lot going on. Here’s my catch-up-lots-of-things-happening update for December…

SUGAR AND ICE is out in paperback now!

OVER AND UNDER THE SNOW was on the NY Times Notable Children’s Books of 2011 list and has gone into a second printing. In the mean time, the book has become a little harder to find in stores and online, but if you’re looking for copies for the holidays, some little indie bookseller birds have told me that Books, Inc., The Bookstore Plus, and Flying Pig Bookstore all have a few copies left – and they ship!

Advance reader copies of EYE OF THE STORM (Walker/Bloomsbury – March ’12) started going out at NCTE in November, and some lovely readers have started sharing reviews on GoodReads. You can see some reviews and enter to win a copy of the book here.

MARTY MCGUIRE DIGS WORMS will be out April 1st. It’s the second title in my MARTY MCGUIRE series with Scholastic.

Marty #2 will be out just in time for Earth Day, which I suspect will lead to some terrifically fun classroom activities surrounding this new story.  In the mean time, I’m running a “Tell a Friend About Marty and Win Great Stuff” contest here. You can enter through January 14th.

Not long after Marty returns, my Scholastic mystery series debuts, with CAPTURE THE FLAG in June. I’m told the cover is almost-almost-final, so I should be able to share soon.

And finally… (In my old field of journalism, this is what they call burying the lead) I have a big, big change coming up in two weeks. For a long time, people have been asking me, “So when are you going to leave teaching?” And my answer was always the same: “I’m going to keep doing both – teaching and writing – as long as I can keep everything in balance.”

But my writing life has taken off in a way that I never could have imagined – never could have dreamed about when I was that kid with a stack of notebooks in my closet. And by last spring, it was pretty apparent that I was getting to that place where I couldn’t do it all any more — teaching, writing, and being a wife and mom — and keep things in balance. So when the New Year begins…I’ll be starting it as a full-time writer. Leaving my classroom wasn’t an easy decision, but it’s made easier by the fact that I’ll still be able to do so much teaching and reading and writing with kids through my author visits and writing workshops. And our district has a high school English teacher whose position was never filled when she went on maternity leave in the fall, so when she returns second semester, she’ll be working with my students, and I know they’ll be in great hands.

The transition feels a little scary but mostly exciting. It means I’ll have more time to work on the books I have under contract, as well as some exciting new projects that I’ll be able to talk about soon. I’ll be able to say yes to more Skype visits and more in-person author visits that I’ve had to turn down in the past. I’ll be able to write during daylight hours (instead of the wee hours of the morning!) and then pick my own kids up from school at the end of their day, which I’m looking forward to most of all.

Aside from the occasional book recommendation, this blog is likely to be pretty quiet these last weeks of December as I clean out file cabinets and make plans, read books and hug kids, decorate the tree and bake cookies. Look for me in January, with some thoughts on new projects, new schedules, writing, and revising. And in the mean time, have a wonderful holiday season!

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32 Comments

  1. Posted December 11, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    How exciting, Kate! So thrilled for all of your success and happy you won’t have to try and juggle so many balls in the air. Looks like it’s going to be a great year for you!

    • Posted December 12, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Lisa! I remember when you made the leap to writing full time & have been inspired by your posts on that. Thanks!

  2. Posted December 11, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations, Kate, I am sure the decision making was tough but what a wonderful opportunity! I look forward to following your next steps. And thank you for telling where we can find OVER AND UNDER as I have had friends calling since I tout the book so much and they want to know WHERE to find it! Happy Holidays to you and your family!

    • Posted December 12, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Carol, for the good wishes and for the OVER AND UNDER THE SNOW love, too! Hope you and the whole RIF family have a wonderful holiday season!

  3. Posted December 11, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations on all your writing success! Thank you for all you have given your students. They have been lucky to have you. Best wishes for your future endeavours!

  4. Posted December 11, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations! Getting to quit your day job is one of the major watersheds for any artist, and it’s been an inspiration to see you get there!

  5. Posted December 11, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    WOW, Kate. That’s some seriously big news. Congratulations on taking the plunge! I’m sure your students will miss you, but this is such good news for your readers! And, I’m sure, for you. Big-time congratulations!

  6. Posted December 11, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Con-grat-u-la-tions, Kate, on this exciting change!!

    • Posted December 12, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Sharon! Scary but exciting – I’m looking forward to having more creative time.

  7. Posted December 11, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Kate, congratulations on making the brave change, keeping life in balance, and the great success with writing that has led to this decision. You’re right that you’re not leaving teaching, but doing it from a different room or rooms. Happy holidays! And happy new year!

    • Posted December 12, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      I love this concept – “not leaving teaching – just doing it from different rooms” – I really feel that way. Thanks, Jeannine! Hope you and your family have a great holiday season!

  8. Tamara
    Posted December 11, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    What great news! While it must be bittersweet, I’m sure more sweet than bitter, since you’ll get to be there at the end of the school day for your own kids. I’m looking forward to even more great Kate Messner titles, although more than this year is difficult to imagine!

    • Posted December 12, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Tamara! And yes…being able to pick up my own kids at the end of their school day is something I’m so excited about.

  9. melissa manlove
    Posted December 11, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Yay! and Boo! I will miss hearing about the amazing things you do with your students and how they’ve inspired you. But now I get more of your time! Mwah-ha-ha!
    hearts,
    M

    • Posted December 12, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

      I love your evil laugh more than I can possibly even say. Thanks, Melissa! xo

  10. Amy Ellerman
    Posted December 11, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    You are such an inspiration! Proof that making space for what you love is worth every sacrifice. Congratulations!

    • Posted December 12, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

      Thanks so much for the good wishes, Amy!

  11. Posted December 11, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    We are so proud of you! Congratulations and enjoy the wonderful holiday season!

  12. Erin Dealey
    Posted December 12, 2011 at 12:47 am | Permalink

    Good for you, Kate! Leaving you classroom is a tough move, but it sounds like it’s time. As I read your post of good news and all those book contracts, I honestly said–out loud–How are you doing all this and teaching too! I made this move a while back and, as a teacher, I love doing school visits and Skypes!!! Yes, the kids will miss you. Yes, you’ll miss the kids. But you are teaching them an important lesson: Follow your dreams.

    • Posted December 12, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      That dream-following lesson is exactly what my superintendent talked about when I met with him to share the news. Thanks, Erin!

  13. Posted December 12, 2011 at 1:15 am | Permalink

    Congratulations, Kate! I always wondered how you did it all – enjoy being a full-time writer. I can’t wait for Eye of the Storm and Marty #2 (I am planning to use both Marty books this summer with the third graders). Have a happy holiday season!

  14. Michelle
    Posted December 12, 2011 at 1:33 am | Permalink

    Wow Kate! Such big news to share! Congratulations on making that very difficult decision, but it’s good news for all of us! I’m sure your family is happy as well — as a newer mom, finding time to balance is so difficult for me. Looking forward to your many future books and projects and maybe even a Skype visit too!

    • Posted December 12, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Michelle! I hope to have time not only for more family stuff and writing but Skype visits, too, so by all means, drop me an email once we get settled in the new year!

  15. Posted December 12, 2011 at 2:11 am | Permalink

    Congratulations on making the big leap, Kate! I’m looking forward to all your new news. BTW, the Cambridge Elementary 1st graders loved, loved, loved OVER AND UNDER THE SNOW, which I read in combination with Owl Moon and White Owl, Barn Owl. More than one was glad that they had library that morning so that they could check out OVER AND UNDER THE SNOW. (I’m glad I wasn’t there to have to referee any disputes.)

  16. Posted December 12, 2011 at 3:06 am | Permalink

    Congratulations! I know your decision was difficult, but you can now teach children and middle school kids all over the world. You’re not leaving teaching – just expanding. However, one wise advice from a veteran educator, keep your certificate up. You never know what the future holds. I know your career as a writer will do well, but just for safety sake.
    I look forward to sharing with all my contacts (adult and children) every book you write.
    Chorkie

    • Posted December 12, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      Thank you so much, June – for both the good wishes and the advice!

  17. Posted December 13, 2011 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    What exciting news, Kate! Your writing has really taken off and is an absolute joy to share with kids. I know your transition will be hard in some ways, but so good in others. You are so right – it is all about balance.

    I still laugh every time of I think of the raccoon scenes in Marty. Thank you for bringing so much joy to our lives.

    • Posted December 15, 2011 at 2:26 am | Permalink

      Thank you so much, Mary Ann! (And your comment made me smile… Sparky the raccoon might be one of my favorite “characters” in all my books!)

  18. MJ Auch
    Posted December 13, 2011 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    I just heard about this at critique group this morning. I’m so happy for you. I’ve been wondering how you’ve been able to manage everything you do.
    MJ

    • Posted December 15, 2011 at 2:25 am | Permalink

      Thanks, MJ – I’m excited!

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