August 13, 2014
Last week I visited with the talented, friendly and inquisitive readers and writers at Symphony Space’s Thalia Book Club Camp. Was a good time had by all? Well…a good time was had by me, at least. I hope everyone else enjoyed my stories and evasive answers!
Check out the entire gang I was lucky enough to meet and click through for an account of the day. It’s a fantastic take on summer camp and I encourage any young folks in the NYC area to apply:
And if you’re an author in the metropolitan region, do what you can to get involved!
July 29, 2014
It seems like only yesterday I was telling you about The Riverman. If you’re one of my Twitter followers, then it probably was yesterday. Be thankful. Because I’ve given such shameless promotions a rest.
So I can shamelessly promote this bad boy!
That’s right. The Whisper is in the can and has a gorgeous cover created by Yelena Bryksenkova. Do you want to hear more about it? Well…SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t read The Riverman, then you might not want to read the following description of its sequel. Or maybe you hate surprises. I respect your strange decisions.
Twelve-year-old Alistair Cleary has washed up on shore. But where? It seems to be Aquavania, the magical realm where children create entire worlds from their imagination. There’s something wrong, though. The creators have disappeared and the worlds are falling apart.
All Alistair wants is to find his friend Fiona Loomis and go home. Easier said than done. Animals made of starlight, a megalomaniacal boy king, and astronauts who peddle riddles are hard enough to outwit, but they’re only the beginning.
To find Fiona, Alistair must travel from world to world. He must confront the mistakes of his past. And he must face countless monsters, including the soul-stealing stalker that some people call the Riverman, the merciless but misunderstood servant of Aquavania who refers to himself as the Whisper.
Pretty rad, right? My parents think so. If you’re one of the few to come across an ARC, then read it and sing praises or air grievances. As for the rest of you: wait until March 17, 2015. All good things…
April 1, 2014
Updated often, so check back from time-to-time why don’t you?
- Saturday, March 22, 2014: Books of Wonder (New York, NY) from 1-3PM, with Laura Marx Fitzgerald and Rebecca Behrens
- Sunday, March 23, 2014: Oblong Books (Rhinebeck, NY) at 4PM, with Kari Sutherland
- Thursday, April 17, 2014: Foxborough Regional Charter School (Foxborough, MA) from 5:30pm-8pm
- Saturday, April 19, 2014: Easton YA Festival (Easton, PA) from 10:30am-3pm, with Josh Berk, Michael Northrop and a metric ton of YA authors
- Thursday, May 1, 2014: The All Ages Show, Rutgers University YA Conference (New Brunswick, NJ) from 10am-1pm, with Lev Grossman, Claire Legrand, Catherynne Valente and Clay McLeod Chapman
- Saturday, May 3, 2014: SCBWI New England Conference (Springfield, MA), with Laurel Snyder and Kate Milford
- Wednesday, May 7, 2014: Teen Author Reading Night (New York, NY) from 6-7:30pm at Jefferson Market Branch of NYPL (corner of 6th Ave and 10th St) with Corey Haydu, Barry Lyga, Andy Marino, Kieran Scott and Yvonne Vintresca
- Wednesday, May 14, 2014: WORD Bookstore (Jersey City, NJ) from 7:30pm-8:30pm with Jorge Aguirre and Michelle Knudsen
- Saturday, May 17, 2014: Rochester Teen Book Festival (Rochester, NY) from 9am-5pm, with Jonathan Auxier and assorted YA royalty
- Tuesday, May 27, 2014: McNally Jackson (New York, NY) at 7pm, with Tony Abbott, Christopher Healy and J.A. White.
- Saturday, May 31, 2014: Jefferson Market Library (New York, NY) from 5pm-8pm for the Kids Author Carnival, with dozens of other middle grade authors
March 17, 2014
The Riverman comes out tomorrow. In the back of the book there are a handful of acknowledgements. That lists represents only a small percentage of people responsible for inspiring, creating and sharing a book like this. I’d like to thank those people again, as well as expand that list. I know I’m still missing some folks. So I’m also including these photos. You should be on there somewhere. Thank you, if I haven’t already told you, for all the small and big things you’ve done. And I mean, you:
- All those artists who have inspired me, which includes:
- Nova Ren Suma, a supremely talented writer I met when I contributed a scary story to her website and who was generous enough to introduce me to her agent:
- Michael Bourret, a fellow of impeccable taste, enthusiasm and knowledge who welcomed me into his breathtakingly accomplished stable of authors and quickly sold my stories to:
- Joy Peskin, a delightfully, devilishly intelligent editor who shaped this story into, well, an actual story, and shepherded it thorough the bumpy publishing landscape, with the help of:
- Angie Chen, of course, her intrepid assistant at Farrar, Strauss & Giroux Books for Young Readers, as well as:
- Kate Hurley and Karla Reganold, who copy-edited and proofread the dumb out of my writing, not to mention:
- Beth Clark, a designer who is not be trifled with, because she turns humble books into breathtaking objects, thanks in no small part to:
- Yelena Bryksenkova, an artist you’ll be hearing more about, and not just because she created the cover for my book, though that’s made it an easier sell for people like:
- Mary Van Akin, a tireless master of publicity who has rampaged through the blogosphere and media landscape leaving press kits for The Riverman in her wake, but she’s not the only one at Macmillan Children’s Books doing her part, because:
- Simon Boughton, Angus Killick, Katie Fee, Ellen Cormier, Caitlin Sweeny, Katie Halata, Ksenia Winnicki and sales reps near and far (and a ton of other people I don’t even know about) are working day-and-night (well, 9-5, except on summer fridays) to make sure everyone in this country reads this thing, and for those in this country who would prefer to listen to this thing:
- Claudia Howard and the team at Recorded Books are producing a beautiful audio version, and for all those folks outside of the country:
- Lauren Abramo, is picking up the slack, because she’s awesome and international like that, and why wouldn’t she be, after all she works with:
- Jane Dystel and Miriam Goderich, two titans in the industry, and speaking of titans, there’s the inimitable:
- Jack Gantos, who writes better books and dresses sharper than I ever will, all while providing humbling blurbs to incorrigible scamps like myself who need the support of other authors, such as:
- Kurtis Scaletta, Laurel Snyder, Bryan Bliss, Steve Brezenoff, Kelly Barnhill, Kim Baker, Stephanie Kuehn, Robin Wasserman, Jeff Kay, Edith Cohn, and Laura Marx Fitzgerald, who all read early copies of The Riverman and said wonderful, writerly things about it online and in the back rooms of seedy pool halls (one would presume), and add to that list:
- Kate Milford, Sandy London, Michael Northrop, Matt Cody, Josh Berk, Mary G. Thompson, Jonathan Auxier, Brian Farrey, Nikki Loftin, Natalie Lloyd, Sean Ferrell, Caron Levis, Marcy Beller Paul, David Anaxagoras, Maria Barbo, Erin Entrada Kelly, Amber Lough, Melanie Conklin, Trisha Speed Shaskan, Kellie DuBay Gillis, Sarah Hawkins Miduski, Kim Broomall, Matt Snider, Keri…I mean Kate Brandon and Facebookers, Goodreaders and Tweeters, who’ve help spread the good word with mentions and stars and favorites and likes and all that social media goodness, which has encouraged:
- Festivals and organizations to invite me to speak and sign and all that stuff, and:
- The media types to review it, and ever-so-kind blogs like:
- Bookish, Alice Marvels, Book Jems, Maria’s Melange, Books and Whimsy, Great Imaginations, World Spelunking, Live to Read and Queen Ella Bee Reads to donate their time and bandwidth to a blog tour, and organizations/publications including:
- Junior Library Guild, Indiebound, Amazon, Children’s Book Council and Publisher’s Weekly to add it to their lists, and enthusiastic booksellers by the names of:
- Caitlin Luce Baker, Elizabeth Anker, Cristin Stickles, Suzanna Hermans, Peter Glassman and the Valleau Family (plus scores of other catalog-scouring bibliophiles) to put it on their shelves, and dedicated teachers and librarians such as:
- Betsy Bird, Anthony Kendrick, Mark Bobrosky, Monica Edinger, Colby Sharp, Katherine Sokolowski, Benji Martin, Sam Musher, Angie Manfredi, Mr. D. and Diane Heinsohn (in addition to loads of hardworking education professionals) to hand it to their colleagues and students, so that I can assure my friends from:
- Hoboken, Drew, and Fayetteville-Manlius, as well as my in-laws:
- Jim, Gwenn and Pete and the extended Wells and Evans families, that people are going to read this crazy thing they encouraged me to write, and who could forget:
- All the Amundsen and Starmer folks who’ve been cheering me on from day one, the most enthusiastic of them being:
- Mom and Dad, whose unwavering faith in my stories has paid off, or will at least pay a few royalties, so that I can take them, and:
- Tim, Toril, Dave, Jacob and Will, out for dinner to thank them for being the greatest family there is, and oh yeah, you know who’s also going to be at this dinner:
- Cate and Hannah, because they’re the best, the absolute best, and I love them dearly.
March 15, 2014
The Riverman arrives in just a few days but a few people have already read it. They’ve got some things to say, so hear them out, okay?
- Wall Street Journal: “…an ominous awareness of loss flows all the way through Aaron Starmer’s riveting and sophisticated novel for younger adolescents…There is plenty of surprise, though, and it resides in almost everything else that happens in this emotionally complex tale…The story of what follows…unfolds with disarming naturalness, yet every page feels so carefully written that, although we can’t predict what will take place, we feel certain that the author knows exactly where he is taking us.”
- Kirkus Reviews (starred review): “Lines between reality and fantasy blur in this powerful, disquieting tale of lost children, twisted friendship and the power of storytelling.”
- Booklist: “In this dark, twisting tale, readers are never sure if Fiona’s story is true or not, and they won’t want to stop reading until they find out…this magical tale is sure to please readers of urban fantasy, and with its theme of missing children and changing friendships, it will be perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman and Charles de Lint, too.”
- School Library Journal: “This novel built of stories yields nightmares…This writerly, chiaroscuro book is replete with the portent of violence, and thick with ideas about the psychological need for stories, all while questioning the ability of stories to redeem the tellers. Readers will find themselves confronted with deep, unanswered questions regarding the relationship of collective imaginary worlds to reality, the evolving nature of memories and friendships, and the unknowability of people. Those ready to explore darker realities will devour this book.”
- The Bulletin of the Center For Children’s Books (recommended): “Somewhere between Holly Black’s Doll Bones and Nova Ren Suma’s 17 & Gone in audience and tone, this blend of magical realism and mystery blurs the line between reality and fantasy, setting up a creepy unease that both disturbs and propels the reader forward…the deliciously tangled web of a plot defies categorization.”
- Publisher’s Weekly (pick of the week): “Starmer explores the relationship between creation and theft, reality and fantasy in this haunting novel…the novel’s strength is in the pervasive aura of unknowing that Starmer creates and sustains.”
- VOYA Magazine: “The Riverman contains plenty of boisterous action—mischief nights with “eggings”—and dialogue peppered with enough “greasy farts” talk to entertain middle schoolers. Alistair, Fiona, and Charlie are memorable characters. The amazing Fiona-controlled Aquavania where chocolate-chip-mint ice cream covers the ground will also delight fantasy readers. But this story also incorporates deeper story threads ripe for exploration…There is a lot to ponder and recommend in this unusual tale.”
- Betsy Bird’s Fuse #8 Blog (at School Library Journal): “As far as I’m concerned, this is one of the best of 2014…Once everyone’s read it, I’m going to have SO much more to say. A good book does that. It gives your tongue wings. The Riverman may creep you out and make you want to hide under the covers for a good long while, but just TRY to set it down. Can’t be done. And that is what I look for in a book.”
- The Off-Topic Blog of Kurtis Scaletta: “Like When You Reach Me and Breadcrumbs, The Riverman is about real people with real problems who find a twist in their reality. And like those books, I would find it deeply engaging even without the fantastic angle. It is the nuanced, believable children dealing with mundane crises that make it a great book.”
- Smell of Wine and Cheap Perfume: “I not only burned through this one, but wanted to start reading again immediately as soon as I was finished.”
- Great Imaginations: “The Riverman is at once an entertaining fantasy, a coming of age tale, and scary glimpse of what can happen when one is stuck in one’s own head for too long. With dark, dry humor, and a smart protagonist, The Riverman is a book that will be stuck in my head for a long time to come.”
- A Reader of Fictions: “Do you have a vast imagination and love to think about the worlds it could create? Do you like middle grade novels that will creep you out and make you think? If yes, then you need The Riverman in your life, I promise.”
- Reed Reads Book Reviews: “The story unfolds slowly and beautifully, the reader never sure of where it is going. When I reviewed Aaron Starmer’s The Only Ones, I said it was “weird, in the most literary way.” After reading his second book, I can say that Aaron is one of the most creative children’s writers out there. There is nothing formula about either books.”
- Hidden in Pages: “This is an incredibly engaging read and very hard to put down…This is a truly unique book and I really enjoyed it.”
- Bibliomantics: “Sure on the outside the novel seems like a book about a boogie man that children need to fear, but it goes so much deeper than that, exploring the flawed nature of memories…and even more so about how the unbelievable stories people tell themselves in their own imaginations are merely coping mechanisms to deal with the world at large.”
- Three Storey Books: “Aaron Starmer brings us on a dark, atmospheric fantasy adventure that deals with friendship, belief, love and all of the challenges these bring to a 12 year old boy. Not your typical coming of age story, The Riverman is infused with a sense of foreboding and more questions than answers as Starmer’s exceedingly well crafted characters lead us on Alistair’s well meaning, insightful journey into what could be either a menacing alternate reality or the mind of girl trying to make sense of fear and abuse.”
- Cougars Book Blog: “The Riverman is odd and intriguing, suspenseful and absorbing. Middle school readers, as well as juvenile and YA fiction readers of any age, will not be able to put this down.”
- Lust and Coffee: “This book is a page turner. Every chapter is so tense that I really wanted to finish it in one night, but my eyes wouldn’t compromise.”