The news is out: I’m working on a new series:
Kristin Rens at Balzer + Bray has acquired North American rights to a new middle-grade action/adventure series from Diana Peterfreund, author of Rampant and For Darkness Shows the Stars. The new series, called OMEGA CITY, was pitched as Goonies meets City of Ember; it follows a group of children as they venture into an abandoned underground fortress filled with technological marvels of the Cold War in order to clear the name of an innocent man. The first book in the series will be published in spring 2015. Michael Bourret of Dystel & Goderich Literary Management did the deal.
Now, I’m sure you all have plenty of questions, so let’s get this party started!
What in the world is Middle Grade?
So glad you asked. Middle Grade is a technical term the publishing industry uses when they talk about books that are for readers younger than teens. The system goes: picture books (0-6), early readers (3-6), chapter books (6-8), middle grade (8-12), young adult (12+). And of course, those age groups aren’t set in stone, there’s just a sort of guideline to help parents and educators figure out what kind of level the reading and content is going to be at. Obviously there are plenty of picture books for infants that aren’t going to appeal to a six year old and vice versa. And there are plenty of teens and adults who love to read middle grade books.
Middle Grade is a term they use for independent readers that aren’t yet teenagers. A few examples of Middle Grade books: The Percy Jackson series, A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Spiderwick Chronicles, anything by Roald Dahl, and Harry Potter (or at least the first five). Middle Grade books are what most people think of when they think of “children’s books.”
So, what does this mean for Omega City?
Omega City is categorized as “upper middle grade” which means that it’s going to be on the longer and more advanced end of the middle grade spectrum. It’s filled with puzzles and adventures and cool facts about NASA and the Cold War, and most of the main characters are eleven or twelve.
Who are these main characters?
The first book is narrated by a girl named Gillian. She’s a sixth-grader who lives with her disgraced professor father and her brother, Eric, (aged eleven) in a small town. Eric is also a main character, as is Gillian’s best friend, Savannah, and two more characters I’ll tell you about later.
Are you just going to keep going younger and younger?
I don’t know. I do have a few picture book ideas rattling around up in my head.
Aren’t you ever going to write an adult book again?
Yes. Also, my husband says this is my favorite book of his. So, you know… just because you’re a grown up, doesn’t mean you can’t read this one, too. (Also, Sailor Boy would like it known that he came up with the title.)
I love the Goonies. This is going to rock!
Right? Me too!
But what about the third unicorn book?
Hold your unicorns, guys. Sometimes these things take time.
Is this book sci-fi?
This book is very much grounded in our world and what’s happening now. It’s not set in the future. There may be a few elements that are larger-than-life, but it’s not like Across a Star-Swept Sea.
Who are Kristin Rens and Balzer+Bray?
Kristin is my editor at Harper. We’ve been together for four books now (Rampant, Ascendant, For Darkness Shows the Stars, and Across a Star-Swept Sea). This will bring the total up to seven, which is a lengthy relationship in this day and age in publishing. Balzer+Bray is the name of the imprint at Harper Collins Children’s Books that publishes my books. If you look on the spine of For Darkness Shows the Stars (and soon, Across a Star-Swept Sea) you will see B+B in a little square. That’s their symbol. What an imprint is varies from imprint to imprint and from publisher to publisher, but what it means for me is that I’m under the wing of a really awesome team, led by publishers Donna Bray and Alessandra Balzer, who care very much about their “list (the books they put out). When I was at BEA two weeks ago I got to talk to several of the folks at Balzer+Bray about how excited we all are to do Omega City together.
Who is Michael Bourret at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management?
Michael is my literary agent. He’s responsible for sending my book out to publishers and movie producers and etc., and negotiating any offers that come in. I really like working with Michael because he might be the only person on Earth who loves Omega City more than Sailor Boy. He’s super jealous of my research trips.
Any more questions? Ask in comments and I’ll be happy to answer if I can.
Thank you all so much. I’m going to get back to work. Three adventure novels can’t write themselves, you know!