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Thanks so much for visiting HipWriterMama, my blog about children's books, authors and readergirlz!

It's time for a change. I've decided to focus my attention on my writing blog, www.vivianleemahoney.com. Hope to see you there!

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Shining the Light on THE HEART IS NOT A SIZE by Beth Kephart and a Donation Challenge

I've been swamped with revisions and thought I'd ask my talented friend, Beth Kephart, to host today's post. Beth kindly agreed and it made me all sorts of happy. I mean, have you visited Beth's blog? Her blog is beautiful prose and color.

And she's here!

Please welcome Beth...
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Dear HipWriterMama (who is indeed a very hip, very fine writer, not to mention a very great mother and dear soul) invited me here for a guest post, and I said yes, of course. It’s really great, for one thing, to hang out in her well-decorated, thoroughly well-organized space. (I’m already feeling calmer.) But it’s also really wonderful to have a chance to talk here about my new book, THE HEART IS NOT A SIZE.

HEART was a long time coming. Written shortly after I journeyed to Juarez with my husband, son, and about two dozen others, it stayed put for awhile—bought by HarperTeen but put onto a back shelf while work on NOTHING BUT GHOSTS proceeded. Sometimes books need to stew, and HEART certainly did, for while I had the landscape down, and while I had captured my love for the gorgeous children that we’d met in a squatters’ village known as Anapra, I did not yet have a sufficiently firm grip on my two protagonists, Georgia and Riley. I knew Georgia, my protagonist, to be a middle child, as I am a middle child. I knew her to be sturdy, responsible, strong-seeming. I knew that she was wrestling with something deep within, but I had not named it yet. Georgia sees a flier, in the story, announcing a goodwill trip to Juarez. She decides that she must go. Something is drawing her to the raw and the unknown, but in my first drafts of the book, it wasn’t entirely clear to me what that was.

Riley, Georgia’s best friend, is a character I discovered one night at a restaurant as I watched a beautiful slip of a girl tell stories to a friend. She was familiar to me; I sensed I knew her inner story. She was Riley; I have no idea where that name came from. I put her down on paper and then I waited to move more knowingly within her world.

I need time away from books to make them right, and I took about a year away from HEART. When I returned to it, I was aching for it. I wanted to be with it, and with nothing else. Jill Santopolo, then at HarperTeen, was asking some interesting and on-point questions. I wanted to answer her, but more than anything: I wanted answers for myself.

HEART matters to me because it is about a real place suffering very real turmoil. It is about that question: What can we really do to make a difference in the world? I have always sought to write books that somehow make a difference, and if I can, with HEART, bring attention to Juarez, if I can help girls who are battling with the secrets with which Georgia and Riley do battle, then I will feel as if the journey that I took with HEART was ultimately the right one.
Guest post by Beth Kephart


Thank you so much, Beth!

If you want to know more about Beth, check out her WBBT interview, her writing tip on bringing emotion to the page, and her interview podcast with Barbara DeMarco-Barrett. Beth's kindness, her talent, her spirit simply shines.

THE HEART IS NOT A SIZE received a starred VOYA review and was named to the Indiebound list for spring. Please join Beth at Barnes and Noble, Devon, PA on Educator's Day, April 13th at 3:30pm or for the book's launch party at Children's Book World, Haverford, PA,
April 20, 7pm.

EDITED TO ADD: In the spirit of Jennifer Hubbard's Library Challenge, I've decided to tweak things and take up Beth's call to action and make a difference for the children in Juarez. I'm currently researching a couple organizations--Missions Ministries and the Juarez Children's Education Program--they help build homes and educate the children in Juarez. Hopefully, I'll be able to nail down the right non-profit fund in the next day or so and will update the information on this post.

In the meantime, every unique comment on a favorite way to give back will earn 25 cents for one of these groups. If you help spread the word about Beth's book, THE HEART IS NOT A SIZE, please let me know in the comments and I'll put in 50 cents toward the fund. I'm sure I'll cap my contribution but let's see how many comments I can get first. Feel free to share your info if you're participating in raising money for a cause.

Thank you for commenting!

31 comments:

Beth Kephart said...

So honored to be here with you
(and sending a copy of HEART your way, not that you need anymore heart, my dear friend).

I will be linking to this in an hour or so, just as soon as I get a paper to a client.

PJ Hoover said...

I love hearing the stories behind Beth's books!

Mandy said...

Wonderful guest post! Thanks for sharing! :)

Jeannine Atkins said...

Both of you brought light to my day, so thank you! I look forward to reading The Heart is Not a Size.

Calliope said...

I love Beth Kephart's books! I feel really selfish since all I ever do is donate to local charities. Nothing like helping in a shelter or food bank. I deeply admire people who do.Methinks there should be a change.

Priya said...

It's so interesting to read about the background behind Heart. Thanks to both of you for the guest post today!

beth said...

I've got one of Beth's books on my TBR shelf right now (I think Undercover? The blue one).

I usually donate to World Vision (I've got a kid "adopted" through the program) but I love these comment drives, too!

Solvang Sherrie said...

Oh, too funny -- I'm the one that sent Undercover to Beth Revis!!!

I am so looking forward to reading this book (already have it on preorder at Amazon!) and I hope you get lots of comments so you can make a big donation

Jo Whittemore said...

I love to give back by donating books to one of my favorite local schools!

Karen Mahoney said...

What a wonderful post, and a wonderful thing you are doing, you Hip Writer Mama! ;)

Seriously, I loved learning more about HEART & then listening to Beth's beautiful reading... Thank you for doing something to help such a worthwhile cause, too.

There are so many things that *I* want to do to give back, and I am making plans for something (not related to this cause) this summer. I hope I can pull it off.

Hugs,
Karen

cynjay said...

Great idea! I'm commenting. Too early here to be thoughtful, constructive or humorous :)

liquidambar said...

I met Beth Kephart at my local B&N in January, so I'm doubly glad to leave this comment for the library challenge!

Jenn Hubbard

Heather Zundel said...

This looks like an incredible cause. Thanks for posting about it.

Denise Jaden said...

So much library love out there!

jama said...

Thanks, Vivian! You're the best!

Jess said...

Fantastic cause. Good luck with your challenge!

Marla Warren said...

I couldn’t live without libraries.

I'm participating in the library blog challenge, though I've gotten a bit of a late start:
Michael Crichton’s Recommended Reading – Library Promo

Taffy said...

Hi library-loving blogger! I wish my library was bigger so it could hold more books!

Here is my challenge:
http://taffyscandy.blogspot.com/2010/03/library-loving-blog-challenge.html

holly cupala said...

Love this, V! What a fantastic way to join Beth's wonderful book with the library challenge. I just interviewed her today, too!

Margo said...

Thanks for participating in the challenge, Vivian! My library-loving post can be found at: http://bit.ly/ilovelibraries

Brimful Curiosities said...

I haven't had a chance to read any of Beth's books yet but I do own Nothing But Ghosts. Time to take it down off the shelf and spend an evening reading! Good luck with the challenge.

Beverley BevenFlorez said...

It was interesting reading about how the book came about.

Kimberly Sabatini said...

You are doing wonderful things! You rock!

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

I cant believe she stayed away for a year! that's hard.

Janet Fox said...

This is terrific - a great challenge plus!

robin said...

What a cool post! Good luck with your challenge!

Sydney Salter said...

Great cause!

Michelle said...

HEART sounds wonderful!

Right now most of my giving back is in the form of donations - books to the library, and money to ALS research. I do hope to start volunteering again soon, though - I volunteered at blood drives for a while, and will look for another good cause to donate time to once I'm done with grad school in July.

Thanks for participating in the challenge! I'm participating at my blog, too:

http://michelleknudsen.blogspot.com/2010/03/library-loving-blog-challenge.html

Michelle :)

Kelly Fineman said...

Great beneficiaries, Vivian!

Ashley said...

Thanks for being so generous.

Looking forward to reading this book!

Crystal said...

You're awesome for participating in the challenge!