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Sunday, January 27, 2008

More Reviews

I'm knee-deep in finishing up my work for The Brown Bookshelf's 28 Days Later campaign (be sure to check us out starting Feb 1st), so I'll have to make this quick.

First of all, I just got back from my 10 day winter residency for the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA Program for Writing for Children and Young Adults, and I'm happy to say, all of the workshops and discussions and reading were great. The best thing about this residency was that, except for the cold, I knew exactly what I was getting into this time. And, I'm really excited to be working with award-winning author Rita Williams-Garcia this semester.

While I was up in Vermont, we got a few new reviews for My Life as a Rhombus. The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books gave Rhombus a Recommended review--I'll post a blurb from the review next month, after the print edition of the journal is out. In addition, the good folks at TeensReadToo.com gave the book a Five Star, Gold Award for Excellence! Be sure to check out their review at their website, or on Amazon.com.

While those reviews are nice, my favorite review comes from a teen reader that emailed me to say, "...I really want to thank you for writing such a great book...You Rock!"

Good stuff, right?

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

And now's probably a good time to say how much I love librarians…

My Life as a Rhombus isn't officially supposed to be out until Jan, but we've already gotten love from a bunch of libraries and librarians, including The Cincinnati Public Library, Readerlady, and Teen Bookity. And, as Andrew noted on the Flux Blog, Booklist (the American Library Association’s journal) also included Rhombus on its Core Collection: Math in Fiction list (also including Andrew’s man crush, John Green, and my new MySpace friend, Paula Yoo).

Being that my hometown didn't get its first real bookstore until I was in high school, I spent an insane amount of time at the Florence Public Library. Librarians are not only directly responsible for me becoming an author, they’re also responsible for coming up with my name.

Yes, that's right. A librarian helped to come up with my name.

As some of you know, I'm a twin, but Momma Johnson didn't realize that she was having twins until THE DAY BEFORE WE WERE BORN. I mean, we were small little suckers, but come on, how could a doctor constantly see a pregnant woman for seven months and not figure out that there were two little people in there.

Anyway, so she found out that she was carrying two of us one day, and then before you know it, she was in labor. My brother did his whole "birth thing" first, and in the process of making his way to the outer world, he twisted me around, so I was facing feet first. And that’s how I was born.

Yes, that's right. Feet First. According to those in the delivery room, it sucked for me and for Momma Johnson.

Eventually I was born safe and sound, but now my parents had a new problem—they didn't have names. We were originally going to be named after my father, but unless they were going to name us Larry 1 and Larry 2, that wasn't going to work anymore. So we went unnamed for three days. And then a Librarian intervened.

My Aunt Annette worked as a librarian at one of the middle schools in the neighboring county, and decided to hold a baby naming contest to come up with Larry 1 and Larry 2's middle name.

Yes, that’s right. I was named by bunch of middle school kids.

But, it didn't work out so bad. They came up with Bradwick and Chadwick, which, I must admit, I really like (FYI--most of my family and friends call me Chad). For a long time, I considered using Chad Johnson as my “author” name, until I realized that Varian looks a hell of a lot better on a book cover.

Now, as for our first names, Momma Johnson came up with those after watching some TV show supposedly involving aliens.

Yes, that's right. I was named after an alien. But what can I say...it was the Seventies. Perhaps there where other "extra-sensory agents" at play while Momma Johnson was picking out names.

All this is just to say that I love librarians, and I love libraries, and I love Momma Johnson, and I thank everyone for their support.

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