Friday, April 2, 2010

Reviews on temporary hiatus; "Hotel Olympia" about to begin

For the small but dedicated group of readers who come by this kid-lit blog regularly, I just wanted to mention that today's review of John Green's Looking for Alaska will be the last seen here for awhile; and that's because it's finally time for me to try writing my own first children's title, a character-based dramedy for 10- to 14-year-olds in the spirit of Susan Patron and '70s Judy Blume, called The Hotel Olympia. (That's the finished outline you're seeing in the photo, which I finally came up with yesterday.) Unlike other projects in the past, I will not be posting any excerpts from the book itself while actually writing it; but I thought I'd at least go ahead and post small updates here for the next month or two while I'm actually writing and editing it, on how the process is going and how far along I am. Anyway, I hope you have a chance to follow along, and of course don't forget that I'm in real need of people willing to test-read it afterwards; just drop me a line at ilikejason [at] to let me know of your interest.

For those who are interested in knowing more, by the way, The Hotel Olympia is the story of an over-worrying 13-year-old boy, whose family takes an unexpected vacation to a crumbling Victorian grand hotel in the Missouri Ozarks, situated in a quaint village that first became famous in the late 1800s for its "curative" mineral springs, then more famous in the early 1900s for hosting America's first Winter Olympics. (This is all made up, by the way.) While there, the boy becomes wrapped up in a mystery over whether Theodore Roosevelt once stayed there (which the local historical society is trying to prove, to save the hotel from being torn down); develops his first serious crush (on a fellow 13-year-old female tourist); becomes friends with a college-aged goth-girl employee with conflicted feelings about the town; has his first experiences with historic architecture, after spending most of his life so far staying during vacations at cookie-cutter Holiday Inns off business-road exits in metropolitan suburbs; and is forced to confront his growing certainty that his parents have taken them there to announce an impending divorce. It'll be between 30,000 and 40,000 words when I'm finished, and with a deliberately laid-back and atmospheric tone.

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