the ups and downs of writing for teens
Friday, February 25, 2011
Monday, June 14, 2010
Presenting ... Romeo!
Oh, man it's been a long time since I've posted. Lots to catch up on.
Back in February we adopted Romeo from Austin Boxer Rescue. I've been meaning to post a photo of him for a while, but the truth is he' s not that photogenic. Every time I take his picture he winds up looking like some ferocious snaggletooth, and he's really such a lover. He's got these soft mushy jowls and a HUGE tongue and loves to give kisses. He keeps me company while I write.
My daughter Korina and I just returned from NYC. We saw Billy Elliot and In the Heights - two amazing shows. We also spent a lot of time in the East Village, shopping on St. Mark's and walking the streets of Alphabet City. I had lunch with my lovely editor, which is always a treat. But I forgot to take my camera! Which is why I don't have any photos. Oh, well, next time.
I recently had the pleasure of taking part in a reader's theatre in College Station with Kathi Appelt, Jenny Moss, Varian Johnson, and Janet Fox. What a fantastic time! Here's a photo.
Kathi's husband, Ken, took a little footage from the show. Take a peek.
After the show, Kathi fed us some amazing guacamole and other goodies, and while we were eating and drinking wine, she opened her flip-cam and did a few spur-of-the-moment interviews. Take another peek.
On the book front, I'm busy working away on my WIP. (Not giving away any details yet.) Also, I was so pleased to find a nice review of The Less-Dead in ALA's GLBT Round Table Newsletter.
Here's lover boy again...
Monday, January 11, 2010
A Brand New Year
All my kids are home, and life has been crazy but fun. In fact I feel like I've been on a non-stop vacation. Last night my daughter Liz and I went out for sushi and a George Clooney fix with Up in the Air. So good. Here are some photos of our New Years Eve hike at the Barton Creek Greenbelt. And yes, Daniel dove into the frigid water.
Ed took this photo of Jonny. I'm thinking, first album cover?
And so ... The Less-Dead will be released tomorrow. I seriously need to do something like update my website and myspace page and stuff like that, but I can't seem to get my act together. There's always tomorrow. Anyway, I've got some reviews to post -- so far so good. Whew.
"In her compelling mystery, Lurie draws attention to the prejudice and hatred many gay teens face ... suspenseful and emotional." Publishers Weekly
"Lurie has wrought a compelling, edge-of-your-seat thriller that will keep readers riveted to the end." Kirkus
"Peppered with surprises ... Lurie's character detail are totally refreshing ... dead on." Booklist
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Saturday, August 01, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
A Wicked Time
Just about every year I take one or two of my kids to New York to visit my parents and see the sights. This time I took Jonny and Korina - first to Maryland to visit their cousins - then to the Big Apple. We always take in a Broadway show and this time we saw Wicked. Oh my gosh, it was amazing. We had perfect seats (although there was a couple making out in front of Jonny so he was a bit distracted), and the music was outstanding.
The following night I took Jonny to The Blue Note in the Village, and we saw Dizzy Gillespie's All Star Band. We sat about two feet from the tenor sax player who was incredible.
Before the show, we watched an intense basketball game right outside The Cage on West 4th Street. It brought back memories of Dylan Fontaine, Toulouse Lautrec, and Mother F. (You'll need to read my novel The Latent Powers of Dylan Fontaine to understand).
I also caught up with some friends, old and new, and had a great time with my parents. They still live in the same house I grew up in. Here they are in Washington Square Park. Here's Jonny and Korina too.
On the book front, The Less-Dead is completely finished (Yay!) and I'm waiting for my ARCs to arrive. Can't wait to see it in print. The flap copy has changed a bit since my last post. Here it is:
Noah Nordstrom has been dissing the religious beliefs of his father, who hosts a popular Christian radio show and
whom Noah accuses of spreading hate. When two local gay teens are murdered, Noah’s anti-evangelism intensifies—he’s convinced that the killer is a caller on his dad’s program.Then Noah meets Will Reed, a cool guy. But when he learns that Will is gay, Noah gets a little weirded out. Especially since Will seems really into him. Noah gives Will the brush-off. Meanwhile, the killer is still at large . . . and soon Noah finds the next victim. It’s Will.Racked with guilt, Noah decides to investigate. He knows the serial killer is targeting gay teens, but only those who live in foster homes, whose deaths are not that important to society; they are the less-dead. Noah, however, is determined to prove that someone cares. With the help of Will’s journal, which he pocketed at the scene of the crime and in which the killer has written clues, Noah closes in on an opponent more dangerous than he can guess.
The fabulous DDDs did an event at Book People last week (a panel with the amazing author Sarah Bird) and we had a big turnout. Shana stole the show by talking about her Mango allergy. So funny! Check out her post here.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Now onto the Scooby. My son, Daniel The Health Nut, brewed me a batch of Kombucha over spring break. Yesterday it was time to harvest the Scooby (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). That's the slimy mushroom thingie floating on top. I wasn't sure what to do, so I gave him a call at college.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Well, enough time has passed since my good buddy Leo went to doggie heaven so I thought I'd post his photo an say what a great friend he was. Believe it or not, this photo was taken only six months before he died of a ripe old age of sixteen. We got him at the pound when my kids were little. He'd been a stray and had every disease in the book, but we nursed him back to health. He stole food off the table and chased the cat and chewed the superhero action figures, but we loved him anyway. We miss you, Leo.
The killer, though, is still at large . . . and Noah is the one who finds the next dead victim. It’s Will.
Thursday, February 05, 2009
Cover Art for The Less-Dead
I'm very excited about this cover. If you closely, you'll notice that the cover of the book is a book. A leather bound journal. See the stitching, the ragged pages peeking out around the edges? Mostly I love how the artist superimposed (is that the right word?) the creepy woods at dawn over the leather. So happy!
Friday, January 16, 2009
Saturday, January 03, 2009
Lazy, Lounging, Sleeping Till Ten (or eleven) Chowing Down and Basically Goofing Off
Yeah, that pretty much sums up what I've been doing over the holidays. I finally finished my three month long revision on The Less-Dead (yes, I'm aware some people write complete books in three months), sent the manuscript to my lovely editor, and now I'm crossing my fingers, hoping she'll call and say, "It's perfect, April. I'm sending it to copy editing." Ha.
Besides all the lounging around, my daughter Liz and I made a lofty goal to see all the 2008 Oscar contenders. So far we've seen Milk, Doubt, Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight (ugh) and Slumdog Millionaire. (So far, Slumdog is my fav.) Next two on our list are Synechdote New York and Revolutionary Road.
Our family did something completely different this year. We decided to skip the tree, the gifts, the decorations, the lights, the shopping, the stress, and just hang out together. We had a really nice time! We took walks, cooked, talked, laughed (we were all pretty silly), and generally had fun without really doing much of anything. Oh, and Jonny and his band had a gig at the Thirsty Nickel on 6th Street the day after Christmas. They were awesome.
Pretty soon it's back to work which means facing the blank page. It's scary in a way, but exhilarating too. There are so many possibilities. I've been reading some post-apocalyptic/dystopia novels, and I'm thinking about giving that genre a try. I seem to skip around a lot. So far I have a character and scene involving a poisonous mushroom. I know that sounds weird, but I can't seem to get it out of my head. But ... for now, a glass of wine and a Belgium chocolate are calling to me. Must go.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
I don't normally get political in my blog posts, but ... Yay! Obama!
So, check out my son Jonny and his new band, The Unreal. Pretty cool, huh? It's so funny because Jonny (the tall guy with lots of hair) looks like a dangerous dude, but he's a real sweetie. Anyway, they're playing tomorrow night in Denton, and they're awesome.
Jeez, I haven't posted a blog in ages. The reason? I've been using all my creative energy working on my revision of my serial killer YA novel coming out in Spring 2010. After I finish, mark my words: I am writing something light and funny - no controversial subjects, no murders.
News flash: Book People in Austin is having a very cool party on November 13th. I hear Philip Yates will be dressing up like a pirate and reading from his zany new picture book. There will be a number of panels, and yours truly will be on one of them. Should be lots of fun. Here's the invite:
A Celebration of Books for Children and Young Adults
Thursday, November 13, 2008
At BookPeople – 6th & Lamar
6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Readings * Panel Discussions * Door Prizes * Refreshments * Book Signing
The Austin Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators
Your number one resource for published authors and illustrators of youth literature
"2005 Publishers Weekly Bookseller of the Year"
6:30 Social Time – Second Floor
Visit and enjoy refreshments
7:00 A Holiday Reading - Amphitheater
Join us in the amphitheater as author Philip Yates (in full pirate costume) reads from his latest book, A Pirates Night Before Christmas (Sterling, 2008)
7:15 Picture Book Panel Discussion – Amphitheater
Featuring: Greg Leitich Smith, Philip Yates, Don Tate, & Emma Virgan
Moderated by Brian Anderson
Middle Grade/Young Adult Panel Discussion – Second Floor by the Stairs
Featuring: Lila Guzman, Shana Burg, P.J. Hoover, Helen Hemphill, and Jo Whittemore
Moderated by Tim Crow
8:15 Young Adult Panel – Third Floor
Featuring: Jennifer Ziegler, Cynthia Leitich Smith, April Lurie, Brian Yansky, &
Varian Johnson. Moderated by Julie Lake
Friday, August 22, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
There's No Shangri-La
Those were the last words my father spoke to my son Daniel before Dan ventured off to a raw foodie commune on the big island of Hawaii this summer. At the time I sort of rolled my eyes, "Please Dad, give the kid a break," but it turned out my father was right. For a while Dan had a good time working the farm - milking goats, harvesting coconuts, hacking his way through the jungle - but even paradise has its price. Like disease. Poor Dan got really sick and wound up in the hospital. And since worrying seems to be what I'm good at, that's what I did. But he's home now and doing much better. Now my job is to fatten him up.
Anyway, I was thinking that the writing world is no Shangri-La either. Believe me. Oh sure, I love what I do and wouldn't choose anything else, but you do pay a price. Like I recently got a nasty review on Dylan Fontaine from PW (why are these people so mean? all I did was write a book); a not-so-nice blog comment - one I didn't post - accusing me of plagiarizing two books that I have not read; and a scolding from my mom because there are some "inappropriate" parts in Dylan. Like I said, no Shangri-La.
But on the flip side, Dylan got a really nice review from The Bulletin. Here's a quote:
"Calling to mind Hinton's classic That was Then, This is Now, this story of a guy in danger of losing his hero brother to drugs is updated in just about every way: Dylan is a well-off, hip guy from Brooklyn who knows his way around Greenwich Village, has a thing for vintage LPs, and plays a mean classical guitar ... Readers may well be inspired by Dylan to take some risks and discover their own latent powers."
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
Monday, June 02, 2008
June is a time for change.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
My Two Sons
Last week I attended TLA in Dallas and had a really great time with my lovely editor, my terrific friends, some wonderful librarians, and many talented authors. After that I went to visit my son Dan (handsome but slightly ticked off looking dude on the right), who's a music major at UNT. It was a beautiful day, so we walked around town, went to a very cool used bookstore where Dan promptly handed me two of his favorite classics - Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse, and A Portrait of the Artist, by James Joyce, and told me, "You MUST read these!" So, okay, I will. For dinner we ordered some really good take out Indian food and shared a bottle of organic red wine. What a great day.
Both Dan and Jonny (Jonny's the handsome and patient looking dude on the left), inspired me to write Dylan Fontaine. It's not a story about them, but it's about two brothers who love each other very much, but sometimes have trouble showing it. Anyway, what's cool is Jonny just got the MVP award for varsity basketball this year, and his number is 34. When the cover was being designed for Dylan, my editor asked what number I would like on Dylan's jersey, so ... guess what I chose? Yep. 34. She's a sweetheart.Oh yeah, Readingjunky posted a really nice review for Dylan on teensreadtoo.com. It should show up on amazon soon. Thank you Readingjunky!!
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
I recently finished Cormac McCarthy's stunning post-apocalyptic novel, The Road. Wow. Basically it's about a father and son who walk through burned and ravaged America. Dark? Definitely. Depressing? Maybe. Hopeful? Absolutely. The love shared between father and son is so strong and so moving, it lifts the reader above the death and destruction they encounter. I loved it. This is the last sentence of the book, which really stayed with me: "In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery."
After The Road, I needed something a little lighter, so now I'm reading Luncheon of the Boating Party, by Susan Vreeland. As I've mentioned before, I love the Impressionists, and this book is about Renoir and how he came to paint Luncheon. Above is a closeup of my favorite part of the painting.
As for writing, my WIP is coming along nicely, and I should make my June 30th deadline. Yay. Also, I've been biting my nails, waiting for the review from Kirkus on Dylan Fontaine. I'm happy to report that Kirkus was much kinder this time around. (They annihilated Brothers.) So, here is a quote - it's not much, but hey, I'll take it: "Lurie has created a well-paced story about a teen guy who shoulders responsibility while becoming his own person."
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Last night I found this awesome video on you tube. A girl named Melissa did a project for her English class on my novel, Dancing in the Streets of Brooklyn. Thank you, Melissa. I'm totally honored. Click on the link below to see it.