Friday, January 25, 2013

A Nice Shot in the Arm

I attended the Gayle Forman signing at Children's Book World in Haverford, PA. She had a nice crowd for a chilly Wednesday in January. Actually, let me re-phrase that - she had a crowd of nice people.

Children's Book World is enchanted. There's the cozy atmosphere, books literally wrap themselves around you. There's always yummy snacks, sometimes themed to match the book, or if David Levithan's in town, it's home made baked treats. Wednesday's menu? Macarons which appear in JUST ONE DAY, Gayle's new book. And chocolate chip croissants. To. Die. For.

Yes, books and flaky pastries are made of win, but the most magical ingredient: people. The owners, the staff, and the customers feel like home. A kind and compassionate home.

Some of you know I sign my books with the words, "Kindness Matters". Some of you know why I write the books I write. Some of you unknowingly say just the right things at just the right moments.

Wednesday night was that kind of night.

Heather Hebert, the store's manager and daughter of Hannah Shwartz, the owner of Children's Book World, provided me with two "just the right things at just the right moment" moments that night.

Heather, a staunch lover of CRACKED, shared with wide eyes that she'd finished reading EMPTY the night before. Then her hand flew up and covered her mouth. Knowing EMPTY and some of the passionate responses it has received I wasn't sure if she'd remove her hand and proclaim love or anger.

"Kate, you did it again," Heather said. She went on to explain how tragic and powerful Dell's story felt to her, and how when she closed the book she made a promise to never let anyone in her life feel as invisible or broken as Dell. I blinked and blinked, standing among beloved books and people, and told her I wanted to cry.

Kindness matters.

Gayle got her presentation started. She filled the store with her genuine loveliness, sharing personal inspirations for moments in JUST ONE DAY, and then reading the scene (a format I may have to try out at one of my future signings).


The signing line formed, and I chatted it up with the gazillion people I knew--CBW staff included. Then it was my turn. I've never met Gayle Forman so I nervously introduced myself and told her how much I adored IF I STAY. She graciously thanked me. Heather said from behind, "Kate's an author too, Gayle."

Gayle asked me what my book was. I told her about CRACKED and EMPTY. She said, "Oh yeah, I've heard of Cracked."

My mouth unhinged, much like THIS MOMENT.

I pulled myself together and talked publication dates and publishers. Heather peeked her head over my shoulder and proceeded to say the most complimentary things about my writing to Gayle and, and, and...I was speechless. Again. Heather gifted a copy of CRACKED to Gayle right before my very eyes. Gayle asked me to sign it for her. I seriously have no idea what I wrote in that woman's book. All I know is my hand shook the entire time.

Wednesday night turned out to be an unexpected gift to me. Being surrounded by books and people who know and understand me (and my characters) is a treasure I wish I could bottle and wrap and re-gift.

Kindness matters.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

GRATITUDE

I'm just about coming down from my launch cloud, and I've had some time to reflect upon the whole experience. One overwhelming thing continues to rise to the surface: gratitude.

So many people have supported me on this wild author ride. I wouldn't have CRACKED or EMPTY if my husband, sons, sisters, and mother refused to let me quit during my 2.5 years of query hell. To stand at that podium and look into the sea of faces--family, friends, and strangers included--filled me up with such love.

I am truly a lucky writer.

My friendship base has widened considerably since diving headfirst into the world of publishing. I've been fortunate to participate in many writer-focused groups: The Apocalypsies, PLN (Philly Lit Night), KidLit Author's Club, and Young Writers Day. I've met incredible people from these groups, who have been, you guessed, supportive!

I'd like to throw gratitude to the overwhelming amount of fellow authors, ranging from picture book to non-fiction, who were able to attend EMPTY's launch event. I was deeply honored by the show of author support.

Authors make quite a community.

The names below are linked to their websites. I highly encourage you to click through and learn more about these wonderful authors and their incredible body of published works.

Author attendees in alphabetical order:

ELLEN JENSEN ABBOTT
Young Adult author

JESSICA CORRA
Young Adult author

AME DYCKMAN
Picture Book author

KIT GRINDSTAFF
Middle Grade author

JENNIFER R. HUBBARD
Young Adult author

BETH KEPHART
Young adult and memoir author

A. S. KING
Young Adult author

ELISA LUDWIG
Young Adult author

E. C. MYERS
Young Adult author

KATHYE FETSKO PETRIE
Picture Book author

MARGIE RICHARDS
Self-help author

TIFFANY SCHMIDT
Young Adult author

SUSAN SHAW
Young Adult author



If you weren't able to make it to the launch, and you'd like to hear my speech, my supportive sister taped it and got it up on You Tube. I share why I wrote the book, what I hope readers take away from Dell's story, and of course, gratitude.

You can watch it HERE.

You can also read these lovely recap posts:
FRANKIE DIANE MALLIS (includes lots of wonderful photographs)
PAUL JOSEPH (he has a giveaway running for a signed copy of EMPTY!)
KELLY LYMAN
CHRISTINE DANEK

And in closing, certainly none of this author gratitude would even exist without the mountains of support received from my agent, Sarah LaPolla (Curtis Brown Ltd.), and my editor, Annette Pollert (Simon Pulse). Those two are amazzzzzzing.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

EMPTY Giveaway Winners + More Release Fun






CONGRATULATIONS TO THE EMPTY RELEASE CELEBRATION WINNERS!

Matthew McNish
Christine Danek
Diana Grace
Jamie
Kevin

You have each won this beautiful custom made EMPTY key chain to help commemorate the release of the book! To receive your prize, please email me at kmwalton1 (at) verizon (dot) net with your mailing address.Congrats again.

Keychains hand made by Tags N' Stones

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The EMPTY launch event went off without a hitch. The Barnes & Noble was packed, the food was amazing, I got to hug lots of people who I love and respect, and I made it through my speech without messing up (I will share the video in a future post).

I can't thank Stephanie (Exton B & N's CRM) and the rest of the B & N staff enough for all of their hard work making the night run like clockwork. 

Here are a few photos from one of the best nights of my life. I will treasure every moment.

The massive banner at the top of the escalator. 

The lovely book table.

The crowd from above.




Stephanie made everything look so lovely.

The never ending table of food.
Some of the wonderful crowd.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

EMPTY Releases Today

I am proud to announce that my next contemporary young adult novel, titled EMPTY, is out in the world today.



EMPTY is Dell's story.

Dell's story is important.

Dell is in desperate pain. Her pain is in her soul. Her heart. Her very skin.

She is overweight, which, remarkably enough, renders her practically invisible to everyone in her life. Except of course when they want to humiliate her. But no one takes the time to see her. To see that she isn’t happy. To notice her broken heart…her deflated sense of self.

No one.

The important people in her life aren’t there for her when they should be. They fail her miserably.

Dell’s depression is consuming her, making it nearly impossible for her to focus on anything other than what she sees: the weight.

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WHAT I'D LIKE TO HAVE READERS OF EMPTY DO,      
IN A PERFECT WORLD

If Dell’s story touches your heart, do something about it.

By “do something” I mean reach out to anyone you know who's in pain, who's lonely. Let them know you care somehow.

And on the flip side, look out for fellow human beings in pain that you don’t know. The people who are alone or depressed. The bullied. Anyone who has been publicly humiliated.

Smile at them. Say hello. You could also visit projectlinkup.org. It’s an incredible organization started by a big-hearted and amazing teenager! Projectlinkup.org’s tagline is: One Paper. Two People. Endless Possibilities – and it centers around doing kind acts.

Lastly, if you know anyone who is being abused, suffers from depression, or is suicidal: TELL SOMEONE who can help. Do not sit on this information. Use your words to save a life. Do everything you can to get them help.

Words matter. Kindness matters.

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ADVANCE PRAISE FOR EMPTY

"Walton writes books that matter. She writes with the intent of saving lives. Words are weapons-- but as Walton has deftly illustrated in EMPTY-- they are also hope."
 ~ Kim Sabatini, author of Touching the Surface

"K.M. Walton's EMPTY is riveting, compelling, and brutally honest. Walton has crafted a very brave novel that draws readers not only into the complexities of a discarded teen's troubled world, but also toward the inevitable questions we must ask ourselves -- the questions EMPTY dares to explore. This is a very powerful book."
~Andrew Smith  author of Stick, The Marbury Lens, Passenger

"Empty is a brave book written by a brave writer—relentless, unblinking, harrowing. We read it to know. We read it disabuse ourselves of the easy notion that those young people floating on the margins will be just fine without us, that they somehow don't need our attention or care. They are not fine without us. They need our care."       
~ Beth Kephart author of Small Damages & You Are My Only 
Read full review HERE.


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7 THINGS IN HONOR OF EMPTY'S LAUNCH 

1. A GIVEAWAY* to five lucky blog readers. The lovely and talented Christina Lee, from Tags N' Stones (and Write Brained) has created custom made EMPTY keychains. Look!!

*Everyone who leaves a comment on this post is officially entered. Winners will be announced next Tuesday, January 8, 2013. 

2. You're invited to the EMPTY launch event!
This Saturday, January 5, 2013 
7 PM
Exton, PA Barnes & Noble 
Click HERE for more exciting details! 

3. Check out the EMPTY Pinterest board. Each image represents something significant in the novel. 

4. The EMPTY blog tour starts today, complete with interviews, insider information, a giveaway, and the EMPTY playlist CD! Visit Lady Reader's Bookstuff for complete details. 

5. EMPTY is available, in both hardback and ebook formats, anywhere books are sold. 
Here are a few online locations:

6. For a deeper insight into my motivations for writing EMPTY, watch my TEDx talk on THE POWER OF HUMAN KINDNESS.

7. And in honor of Dell's story, I leave you with BATTLE SCARS by Lupe Fiasco & Guy Sebastian:

Love like you mean it everyone. Please.