Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Welcome Kim Baccellia: Muse MG/YA Blog-A-Thon
Kim is not only a writer and an author, but she home schools her children. She manages to balance home schooling with writing and finds the time to visit blogs and participate in our Blog-A-Thon as well.
Today she will tell us more about herself. If you listened to my radio show this is a repeat of a few of the things I asked her, but if you didn't you will find out much about Kim you didn't know. Also we have an excerpt from her recent novel, Crossed Out, which is another YA novel. Her new novel, The Earrings of Ixtumea will be published next year by MuseItUp Publishing.
When did you know you wanted to write? When did you start writing seriously?
I think I always wanted to write. My biggest memory was putting together a project in fifth grade. I was a reporter following Nixon on his historical trip to China. I knew then that I really wanted to write.
I think when I decided to take writing seriously had to have been the day I was running my first grader’s writer’s workshop. This part of the day was my favorite. Students were encouraged to write their own stories. I’d then type them up and put them into book format. They’d go and share in front of the class and then I’d open it up for class discussions. I remember thinking, ‘why don’t I follow my own advice, and write my own novel?’
Plus, at the time I was a bilingual teacher and couldn’t find enough stories with multicultural themes or main characters. So I decided to do something about it. Hence Lupe’s journey came about.
Did your finding out about your Mexican heritage influence your writing in any way?
Yes! I found out so much about my culture/heritage while a grad student at CSUFullerton. My Chicano Studies classes were my favorite. Professor Ortega helped me see the other side of history. He told us that it’s the victor’s who write the history. I found out such things as segregation during World War 2, how children were denied to go to ‘white’ schools right here in So. Ca and the Mendez vs. Westminster case: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mendez_v._Westminster
Also how Cesar Chavez fought for the rights of migrant works. My own great-grandmother’s family were migrant workers from Mexico.
Plus the rich background, history of Mexico that isn’t taught in most public school textbooks. I wanted to share what I found with others, especially other Latino students. I feel it’s important to know about your raices-roots.
Please tell us how you came to write and publish Earrings of Ixtumea?
It came as a dream at first. I saw myself following this very hot Mayan warrior through a thick jungle. He then stopped and pushed aside a huge leave and said, “Here it is.”
Then I just started writing. I was taking a writing class at UCI writing extension program and met the fab Lou Nelson there. I started with a writing the novel class then she mentored me and helped me with plotting and also was there from first draft, revisions, edits and finally the final project. SCBWI also helped with feedback I received from editors and others in critique sessions.
And also the phone call I got from one traditional published editor who told me how excited he was about my story. He also spent over 30 minutes of his time to help me with suggestions and feedback.
What would be a typical writing day for you? Are you a “pantser or do you use an outline before you write?
I’m totally into using outlines. I use the screenwriter’s paradigm when writing. By this I mean I break down my story into acts. I also use the hero’s journey by Chris Voight.
Here’s a paradigm that is similar to what I use:
My typical day is kind of crazy. Since I homeschool, I try to squeeze in time to write. I also get up earlier too. Plus this year son is going to a satellite school so this gives me half of day to just write. It’s wonderful. One of my YA writer friends, Marlene Perez, once gave me this advice-- “Don’t wait but seize any opportunities that come your way.” I try to do this.
Kim Baccellia has always been a sucker for the paranormal. She blames it on her families' love for such things such as having picnics at cemeteries, visiting psychics, and reading her mother's copies of the daily horoscope. She even had her own horoscope column in middle school, which was a big hit!
Kim's YA multicultural fantasy, Earrings of Ixtumea, will be re-released with Muse It Up publishing March 2012. Her YA fantasy No Goddesses Allowed will be out early 2012.
A member of SCBWI and YALITCHAT, Kim is currently writing the sequel to CROSSED OUT. She's also putting the finishing touches on a multicultural dystopia. She lives in Southern California with her husband and son.
Chapter One of CROSSED OUT:
I couldn’t deal with Mom and her holier-than-thou attitude about decorating crosses. If she had any clue why I needed to do this, maybe she’d back off. I pushed my hair aside and looked down at the wooden beams. My box of paints and Sharpie pens lay close to my side. I had to get the design just right. Roses, or something plainer? It didn’t help that it was so cold in the garage.
Why was it so hard to help the dead go to the other side? It’d be a whole lot easier if they told me what they wanted on their crosses. Dead girl comes, asks for help, and tells me she’s into pink roses. Yes, that would make my job a lot easier.
But one thing I’ve learned is, life isn’t easy. Cliché, but true.
Figures, this was how I’d spend my time on a Saturday – sitting cross-legged on the floor in our garage, worrying about finishing a cross for some dead girl. In a few hours, Mom would drag me to Mrs. Swanson’s house for a sleepover. I didn’t really have time to decorate a cross.
And each time I tried to sketch, thoughts of the meeting drove any thought of the design out of my mind. I mean, how could I even think of helping others – albeit dead ones – when my own life was such a disaster?
I didn’t want to go. But Mom was using the whole sleepover as a way to get me to be around Hillary, whom she thought would be such a good example for me. But I couldn’t tell my mother the truth – I hated Hillary. Yes, we’d once been close, but it wasn’t as if we were BFF anymore. No, Hillary made sure of that when I’d been stupid enough to trust her with my secret. A secret that was better left hidden. No one believed the dead could talk to you.
According to my last counselor, the only way that could happen is through serious Steven Spielberg special effects.
When I admitted to seeing one of my dead friends, he didn’t freak. No, he did something worse. He ended up suggesting to my parents that I needed to see a counselor – for serious psychological help. I mean, only crazy people see the dead.
And, I hate to say this, but his anti-anxiety and antidepressants don’t keep them away. Sometimes I wished the drug cocktail could just erase them. It sure would make my life a lot easier.
Sighing, I decided to go with pink roses. What girl didn’t like pink?
A sudden coldness permeated the garage. Jeez, did Dad forget to close the back door again?
I pulled my hoodie tighter. Working in near darkness was bad enough without the drop in temperature.
Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh.
I dropped my black Sharpie.
Over in the corner of the garage loose papers and dust whirled around – a funnel growing larger and larger.
A light shone next to Mom’s holiday plastic boxes, illuminating some Christmas ornaments, tinsel, and wrapping paper.
The childish voice grew louder. A chill went up my back. I know that voice!
I blinked once and when I opened my eyes I saw the girl. Her long dirty blond hair was clumped into two pigtails, and her bikini top and cut-off Levis brought back memories of the YMCA pool three years ago where I’d spent my summers.
Omigod! I pushed the wooden cross aside. A tingling sensation burned through my whole body. Once I helped a dead person cross over, that was supposed to end the whole rescue scenario. The bright light appeared and poof! Well, not this time.
I scooted away, over the rough, cold pavement. This didn’t make sense. Though I was used to visits from the “other” side, having Allison reappear scared me. I didn’t know what to do.
“Allison, why are you here?” My voice broke.
She took a step toward me. Her lips trembled.
Danger? Did that mean her murderer was out of prison? Just the thought of that perv touching or killing someone else made me want to hurl.
“Allison, what are you trying to tell me?” I slowly got up off the ground. “Is the guy who killed you, out?”
Allison shook her head. It still freaked me out how much the dead looked like us, not fuzzy or semi-transparent like they show on TV. The ones I helped still looked the way they had when they’d been killed, complete with all the blood and stuff.
Yet here was Allison. She should be in Heaven singing in one of those heavenly choirs Mom always talked about.
I bit my hangnail, ripping it off. I couldn’t deal with this. Not now.
The wind picked up, tossing loose papers everywhere. None of this affected Allison.
I had so many questions to ask her. I missed her. I knew she’d understand me, even when others – including my mom – were clueless.
“Allison, what’s it like to be...?”
The wind howled drowning out her answer.
And just as quickly, Allison left.
I felt as if something had punched me in the stomach. I pushed back the sickness threatening to escape. What was going on? But even worse, I didn’t know what to do. One thing had been made perfectly clear. The rules had all changed and no one bothered to give me the new players’ guide.
Until the next time, I hope you will check out all the awesome MG/YA authors in the Blog-A-Thon. Keep checking, Kim hasn't decided if she is giving away a free book or not. Check the comments and please leave a comment. On all of the blogs participating in the Blog-A-Thon you can win prizes and there is a grand prize. The more you comment the more your chances are of winning.
If you have been checking the Countdown Clock on the sidebar you know there are only 7 days left until my YA novel, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor is released by MuseItUp Publishing as an e-book. You can find out more about it by clicking the title. Please check my scheduled appearances to learn more about it too.
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