Launch Day!

August 27, 2012 @ 5:19 pm | Filed under: , , , ,

Today is a big day for me: pub day for two new books. That doesn’t happen often—books launching on the same date, and it’s been a whirlwind for me this month with Fox and Crow Are Not Friends launching a couple of weeks ago. Usually things are more spread out, but one book got moved up, and one got moved back, and boom! Three, three, three books in one month. I’m a bit dizzy.

And you’ll have to bear with me, because instead of doing my authorly duty to share links and talk up one book, I must do it for three. They’re all my babies. They’re heading out into the great world and I feel much the same as I did in June when I put my seventeen-year-old on a plane to spend the summer at an internship in Austin. I suppose the difference is that one never says about one’s book, “Oh, they just grow up so fast!” Takes a looooong time to raise these story-children.

Especially The Prairie Thief.

This novel, very dear to my heart, started taking shape in my head years ago, when I had an idea about a girl whose mother—it was going to be her mother at the time—being accused of theft, and it was up to the girl to clear her mother’s name, with the help of a magical creature. By the end of the very first sentence, it turned out the accused was her father instead.

“The Smirches took Louisa in when her Pa went to jail, but they weren’t happy about it.”

In the space of that one swift sentence, the whole story shifted. I knew, then, that it was going to take place on my beloved prairie landscape, in a time period that has always captivated me. My working title for the story was Not the Whole Truth, both because of a major plot point and because it hints at the tall-tale quality of the story. It’s set in a fictionalized version of a real historical time and place, but it isn’t straight-up historical fiction; it’s more akin to a folk or fairy tale. Well, if you’ve read my Martha and Charlotte books, you know how much I love spinning a fairy tale.

The main character is a girl, and the cover shows girls, so I’ve been asked whether it will appeal to boy readers as well. My answer: I certainly hope so! There are some very important male characters (including a couple of rowdy young boys), and adventure and bugs and wolves. If your boys read it, let me know what they think. Your girls, too, for that matter!

It’s a Junior Library Guild selection, the Bravewriter Arrow selection for October, and it got a nice review at Kirkus. If you’d like to hear me gabbing out it with the wonderful hosts of the Authors Are Rockstars podcast, it’s the first thing they asked me about. The novel features really quite breathtaking illustrations by the amazing Erwin Madrid (I mean, that cover, could you die?) and I am incredibly excited to see it in print. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

And now for Inch and Roly.

Inch and Roly Make a Wish is the first book in my early reader series about an inchworm, a roly poly, and their buggy friends. It’s a Level 1 Ready-to-Read, which means it’s aimed at the very beginningest of readers. (Whereas Fox and Crow Are Not Friends is a Step Into Reading Level 3.)

If Huck is any indication, Inch and Roly works as a read-aloud for younger children as well. 😉

Inch and Roly and the Very Small Hiding PlaceThe illustrations are by another fabulously talented artist: Ag Jatkowska. I swooned every time a new sketch came to my screen.

Here’s my author letter to readers at the Ready-to-Read home page.

A sequel, Inch and Roly and the Very Small Hiding Place, will be published in January, 2013.

Here’s a roundup of recent reviews and interviews.

So that’s the scoop on the new books! Got any questions for me?

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18 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Julie says:

    May I be the first to wish you luck and to congratulate you! This is fantastic news. I’m so glad you write books for children and teens!

    Excited to share The Prairie Thief with Brave Writer families!

    Julie Bogart

  2. Rachel says:

    CONGRATULATIONS! That is really very exciting for you 🙂

  3. Penny says:

    Yippee! Congrats!!! I can’t *wait* to read The Prairie Thief!

  4. MelanieB says:

    My copies just shipped! I can’t wait. Fox and Crow makes a great read aloud too.

  5. Lori B says:

    Happy pub day!

  6. Karen Edmisten says:

    I can’t wait for the UPS man today. 🙂

  7. Shelli Craig says:

    Hooray! 🙂

  8. Fanny Harville says:


  9. Joann says:

    Can you sign my Kindle copy?

    Lol. Will report on boys’ reactions soon as finished. You ARE a star!

  10. Sara says:

    Ordering them all today! Some for us and some for the nieces and nephews!

  11. sarah says:

    Congratulations, I am so happy for you!!

  12. Ruthie says:

    Congratulations! Thought you might like to know that we were at our neighborhood kids bookstore (Yellow Brick Road) today and Prairie Thief was front and center on display! I bought a copy and they mentioned you would be there next month. Exciting!

  13. Melissa Wiley says:

    Aw, thanks!! I’m thrilled to hear it. Yes, I’ll be signing books there on Sept 29 at 3pm. Drop by so I can sign your book! 🙂

  14. Jeannie says:

    Just had to say our books arrived about 30 minutes ago. My 8 year old is in MY reading chair already into the Prairie Thief. 🙂 She hasn’t looked up once.


  15. Sue B says:

    I’m actually looking foreward to reading “The Prairie Thief” myself. Sounds like fun.

    My question is – when will you be signing in San Diego? I want to bring my two
    fourth-graders by to get a signed copy, and actually see you in person after
    years of reading your blog.

  16. Melissa Wiley says:

    Sue: Saturday Sept 29 at Yellow Book Road, 3pm. Hope to see you there! Be sure to introduce yourself. 🙂

  17. Becca says:

    Ordered all three. My little guy loved Inch and has requested it many times. My 7 year old boy read Fox and Crow through twice–rare for my fiction-hating guy. And my nine year old daughter inhaled Prairie Thief. She finished it tonight, gave a happy sigh, then gave it to me and ordered me to read it next, “so we can discuss it, mom.”

  18. Ami Jones says:

    Gasp! I got these a week ago…and catalogued them, but didn’t have time to read them…and then they had to go through processing…and then the internet was down, and then they had a board meeting, and they sat on my desk until just now. And, on page 13, there is the EXACT image of a roly-poly bug that I have been looking for to represent my youngest in my new tattoo. Please thank Ms. Jatkowska! I’ll venture a guess that this is the first time either of you has inspired a tattoo (and I can totally see my little Roly-Poly wishing for more wishes!)