Poached launch week update

What an amazing week this was.  The launch of Poached (in ebook, audiobook and good old actual book formats) — as well as the launch of Spy Camp in paperback — coincided with Children’s institute and the Texas Librarian’s Association in San Antonio, my old stomping grounds.  So not only did I get to hang out with my awesome editor, Kristin Ostby, and my awesome publisher, Justin Chanda (as well as all the other awesome folks at Simon & Schuster) — and not only did I get to sit on panels and hang out with a huge number of super-cool fellow middle-grade and YA writers (including but not limited to Michael Buckley, Michael Fry, Erica O’Rourke, James Ponti, Jonathan Maberry, Liesl Shurtliff, Nathan Hale, Tom Angleberger and Pseudonymous Bosch) — but I also got to hang out with folks I grew up with and speak at my old elementary school!

I hadn’t been back inside the school since I’d been a student there.  It was amazing how many memories came flooding back, especially when one of my fifth grade teachers, Mrs. Yates, showed up.


In addition to being a great teacher, Mrs Yates was also one of the finest practical jokers I’ve ever known.  Every year, she pulled off what is still the best Halloween prank I’ve ever seen.  She had made what looked like a giant doll which would sit in a rocking chair on her porch with a bowl of candy in its lap with a sign asking trick or treaters to only take one piece.  But it wasn’t really a doll.  It was a full-sized doll costume with Mrs Yates inside.  If anyone grabbed more than one piece, she’d grab them — and scare the holy heck out of them.  We used to hang out by her place, waiting to see her frighten unsuspecting kids.

At some point, Mrs Yates and her fellow fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Hiester, even inspired a prank in Belly Up.  Mrs Yates liked jellybeans.  Mrs Hiester had a rabbit.  Rabbits produce what look like black jellybeans in great quantities.  So one day, Mrs. Hiester picked the most trustworthy, well-behaved kid in her class (that would have been me), gave me a bunch of rabbit poo in a cup and suggested I go ask Mrs Yates if she’d like any jellybeans.  Mrs. Yates figured it out before anything terrible happened and thought it was funny.  Years later, when I needed a prank for Teddy to play on Large Marge, I had him swap out her jellybeans with rabbit poop.  I’d totally forgotten that the inspiration for this was none other than my own fifth grade teachers!

Anyhow, it was an absolutely fantastic week.

For the record, here’s me with my publisher, Justin and editor, Kristin, just so you can see what nice, friendly, great people to work with they are.



7 thoughts on “Poached launch week update

  1. YAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!! Poached is out!!!!! I didn’t feel like going and buying one, so im going to wait til’ my library gets a copy. CONGRATS!!!!!!! I hope this book is as good if not better then Belly Up. I grew up in the Dallas area of Texas, so I wasn’t to far from you. I hope i can get my awesome copy soon!

    A follower of your amazing blog (and huge fan),
    Justin 🙂

  2. WOW! Poached was AMAZING! I love this series (and the other ones too), but i’d like to ask a question. I was reading your awesome blog, and i saw someone comment about the language. Is there, by any chance you can put like one with some language, and a revised edition? I know that your editors and publishers (which by the way look like the nicest people ever) will probably say no because of extra publishing and stuff, but it’s just a thought. I’ve always loved that extra bit of attitude that they had because it showed charcter. It also defines the actual way that adults and even middle school-aged kids say things in a crisis. So I hope you can consider this and make your books in future way better.

    Your Huge Fan,
    P.S.- Can you reveal anything to me about Belly Up #3
    P.P.S- Poached was AWESOME!!!!!!!

  3. Justin –

    I think it’d be hard to have two different versions of the book. I think my publishers originally encouraged me to use whatever language I did for exactly the reason you liked it: to show attitude and character. I was really trying to write the way I’ve heard people talk and make them feel real (not offensive). But to do, say, a PG and G rated version of the book might be very hard from a publishing perspective.

  4. Okay, that’s fine, it was just an idea and it was just something i’d like to say to you. I have another question, could you maybe in stead of putting tons of language, could you put some here and there? I know that you shouldn’t because of people complaining, but i really love your first books because they showed great character. Also, can you tell me anything about Belly up #3? Well, i hope you can continue your amazing career with such nice people.

    Your Huge Fan,

  5. Justin –

    We will see about the language. I think I’m going to just do what feels right about it.

    As for Belly Up 3, stay tuned. I will be posting about it, though it may take me a while because I’ve been really busy with book tour.

  6. Ok, that’s cool, i just wanted to know what you’d think about it. I’ve always really liked your use of the language , and i hope you can bring it back. One more question, Can you do a “answers to your burning questions” for at least Space case soon? I have tons of questions that i’d like to post on there. You don’t have to reply, just make one if you can , and i’ll know. And, as I’ve said before, expect to see me again on almost every blog post.

    Your Huge Fan,
    P.S.-When is said a few blog posts back that i wanted it for state testing, i actually got it in time! So Your book alone helped me have something to look forward to after the test. I literally read the whole book in the 1-and- a- half hour timespan it was that good. So thanks so much for that. And for being a great writer.

  7. Justin –

    Glad to hear you got the book and enjoyed it. I’ll do a burning questions for Space Case too, when I have the time.

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