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Saturday, June 24, 2017

COVER REVEAL: Granted by John David Anderson (Walden Pond Press, 2/18)

I've professed my love for John David Anderson's books before, so is it any surprise that I'm beyond excited to reveal the cover of Anderson's 2018 novel, Granted? Read on for a description of the story, a note from Anderson, and the cover!

About the Book

Everyone who wishes upon a star, or a candle, or a penny thrown into a fountain knows that you’re not allowed to tell anyone what you’ve wished for. But even so, rest assured: There is someone out there who hears it.

Ophelia Delphinium Fidgets is no ordinary fairy—she is a Granter: one of the select few whose job it is to venture beyond the boundaries of the Haven and grant the wishes of unsuspecting humans every day. It’s the work of the Granters that generates the magic that allows the fairies to do what they do and to keep the Haven hidden and safe. But with worldwide magic levels at an all-time low, this is not as easy as it sounds. On a typical day, only a small fraction of the millions of wishes made get granted. And even granting those promised few means navigating a human world fraught with danger.

Today, however, is anything but typical. Because today, Ophelia is going out on her first assignment. And she’s about to discover that getting what you truly want takes much more than a handful of fairy dust.

A Note From the Author

“The world of imagination is boundless.” Jean-Jacques Rousseau 

I joke sometimes with young readers that publishers spend more time debating cover art than they do editing a manuscript, but I understand. I get it. I have been arrested by an image on an endcap at a bookstore, a cover that lures you with its luster. Like that one aunt whose Christmas packages all look immaculate, with curlicue ribbons and the folds perfectly aligned (as opposed to my wrapping, which often consists of last-minute crinkled aluminum foil held together with electrical tape). They are works of art. But they are so much more. There’s good stuff inside. (Or, in the case of that Aunt, there’s an ugly shirt and—hopefully—a gift receipt.)

A book cover is a wrapping, but that wrapping contains a wish. Every book I set out to read carries with it expectations and entreaties. Take me away. Tell me something I don’t know. Make me laugh. Make me cry. Teach me. Comfort me. Entertain me. Surprise me. I suppose I ask a lot of the books I read, but that’s okay: they usually deliver.  They’re cool like that.

A book cover is also a promise. Or maybe just a tease. The famously sad eyes looming over the explosively bright skyline of Gatsby promising tragedy and excess. The endless forests and mountain ranges of Tolkien’s The Hobbit promising an arduous, adventure-filled journey (designed by the author himself, no less—some people get all the gifts). Or from my adolescence: the menacing hand of a monster gripping a sewer grate, making its own macabre promise…we all float down here. Maybe I shouldn’t have read It at such a young age, but it definitely delivered.

A book cover can be a puzzle, too. A mystery. Granted? What’s granted? Is that a fairy? What’s wrong with her wing? Why is she riding a dog? Fairies don’t usually ride dogs, do they? Where are they going? And what’s up with that single gold leaf floating down from the top? Of course to solve it, you have to read it. You have to follow the hobbits into the forest. You have to follow the killer clown into the sewer. You have to hop on the back of the dog and see where he takes you. Hopefully somewhere exciting. Somewhere magical. Somewhere that you’ve never been before but is strangely familiar. The possibilities are endless, after all. 

And that’s what I love most about writing. Those possibilities. That you can write a book about three kids skipping school to visit their teacher in a hospital one day and about a headstrong fairy who breaks the rules in her quest to grant a meaningful wish the next. Though the books be bound and wrapped, the world of imagination is boundless indeed.

A cover is a door. Crack it open and you discover a portal to a whole new world. A fantasy world ruled over by an icy queen. A chocolate factory filled with Oompa Loompas. A school where the lunch lady is a superhero. In the case of Granted, it’s a world where magic is on the wane and wishes are a dime a dozen. A world where granting one such wish isn’t as easy as it sounds and carries potentially catastrophic consequences. A world were fairies do ride on the backs of dogs, but only if they feed those dogs donuts. A world focused on family, friendship, and the difficulty that often comes with following your heart.

The doors to these worlds aren’t locked. They’re open to anyone with an imagination. Just find one you like and jump right in.

John David Anderson is the author of several middle-grade novels including Ms. Bixby’s Last Day, Posted, Sidekicked, and the forthcoming Granted. He would like to thank Julie McLaughlin for the cover design of that book. He would also like to thank Sara for hosting him again (because she’s just that awesome). You can find out more about all of his books by visiting



 Scroll down to see the cover of Granted!







Publisher: Walden Pond Press
 Release Date: 02/13/2018

I am so charmed by that jaunty pup and curiously torn fairy wing! Share your thoughts in the comments and be sure to add Granted to your Goodreads and upcoming reads list!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

COVER REVEAL: Maggie and Abby's Neverending Pillow Fort by Will Taylor (HarperCollins, 04/18)

I'm absolutely thrilled to share the official cover of Will Taylor's upcoming middle grade novel, Maggie and Abby's Neverending Pillow Fort, at The Hiding Spot today. I've long been a fan of Will's wit and charm via social media, so the idea of finally jumping into this novel of magical pillow forts is incredibly exciting. The countdown to the novel's release on April 3rd, 2018 is on!

About the Book
Six. Weeks. That’s how long Maggie’s been waiting for her best friend and partner in crime, Abby, to come home from Camp Cantaloupe. Half of summer break may have been lost, but Abby is finally heading back! 

Only when Abby arrives, she’s. . . different. She doesn’t want to play any of their usual epic spy games. All New Abby wants to do is talk about camp things and plan campy activities—she even has the nerve to call Maggie’s massive, award-worthy pillow fort a “cabin.” 

But at least Abby’s excited to build a “cabin” of her own. And when Maggie discovers that a pillow in the back of her fort mysteriously leads right into Abby’s new one, the two friends are suddenly just an arm’s length away. Soon they’re adding links and building more forts, until Maggie looks behind one pillow too many and finders herself face-to-face with. . . the authorities. 

Turns out their little pillow fort network isn’t the first to exist. It’s not even the second, or third, or hundredth. A massive network of linked-up pillow and sofa forts already spans the globe, and the kids who run it are not happy with Maggie and Abby. And they are not fooling around. 

With just three days to pass the North American Founding and Allied Forts Alliance’s outrageous entrance tests or lose the links forever, Maggie and Abby pull out all the stops to try to save their network. But the kids on NAFAFA’s Council have their own agenda, and it just so happens Maggie’s fort might actually hold the key to a mystery that’s gone unanswered for generations. 

 There’s only a little bit of summer left to burn, and Maggie and Abby are determined to win back their pillow fort freedom. But can their mission—and their scrappy homemade network—survive the mission?


What was the cover design process like? Were you very involved in the process? 
[My editor] Elizabeth's first email about cover ideas reached me in a chilly dorm-turned-hotel room in the tiny town of Bifrost, Iceland. I was there on a bucket-list trip with my dear best friend Alex Kahler, and I'm pretty sure I danced around the room for a good ten minutes at the very idea of my own cover. In my cut-off dinosaur tee shirt and gym shorts, because laundry day. Once I calmed down I sent back a rambly email of hopes and wishes, along with some comp images. I mostly chose "Magic Schoolbus" covers, because they are awesome and always show Ms. Frizzle and the kids in action, already lost in the adventure, which is where I love to be. After that it was just a long, quiet wait, until I snuck a peek at my phone during work one day and there it was: the cover of my wildest, most there's-no-harm-in-wishing-but-don't-get-your-hopes-up dreams. There was dancing then, too, but it had to be more subdued because there were also customers. Plus I wasn't wearing my dinosaur shirt. 
What's your favorite part of the cover treatment? 
Will claims he now wears less denim.
AM I ALLOWED TO SAY EVERYTHING? I AM SAYING EVERYTHING. I cried when I saw it, and I cried the next morning when I woke up and it was the background on my phone as I turned off my alarm. Having someone who you've never met create an image to represent your book is an alarmingly intimate experience, and [the artist] Monique did such a brilliant job I honestly still can't believe it. There are at least three inside jokes from the book buried in there, and Samson the cat looks so much like Jacob the cat (see author photo), who he was based on, that I'm still not entirely convinced Monique hasn't been going through my photo albums. I love the colors, the framing, the characters, the font...I love everything about it. Everything. 

What qualities will the ideal reader of your book have? 
Oh! Oh, I know this one! The answer is a sincere, actual, not-even-slightly-kidding belief that it's a true story. That linked-up pillow forts, and NAFAFA and ghost mooses and all the rest of it, are real. REALLY real. Really. When I was nine I bought a little old-fashioned key at a flea market for fifty cents, and I've carried it every day since. It smiled up at me from that tray of dingy, forgotten keys, and I've carried it around in the firm belief that someday, somewhere, I'll find a locked cupboard, a strange knot in an oak tree, or a gap in an otherwise normal brick wall that will be waiting for it. And I refuse to be unprepared when that day comes. There is so much room for magic in the world, and I think middle grade is the best genre to bring that possibility to life. And I hope people who read this book will build pillow forts of their own and crawl inside and stare at a pillow and believe, even if just for a moment, that it leads to another pillow fort somewhere else and they can go there. And get into all sorts of trouble.


 And now for the much-anticipated cover reveal of Maggie and Abby's Neverending Pillow Fort!







Publisher: HarperCollins
 Release Date: 04/03/2018
Cover Artist: Monique Dong
Designer: Jessie Gang
Editor: Elizabeth Lynch

How much do you love this cover!? Share your thoughts in the comments and be sure to add Maggie and Abby's Neverending Pillow Fort to your Goodreads and upcoming reads list!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

An Interview with Cindy Pon, author of Want

I've been a long-time fan of Cindy Pon - as an author, artist, and genuinely awesome person - so I'm thrilled to welcome her to The Hiding Spot today! Below Cindy talks about the futuristic setting of her novel (which feels all to relevant), setting the novel in Taipei, and so much more!

The premise of Want is terrifying, partially because of the concept, but also because the rift between socioeconomic classes already feels so wide right now. Can you speak about your inspiration for this premise? 
I joke that I needed to rename Want a retro near-future thriller soon. Inspiration wise, I took headlines directly from what's happening in China as far as pollution and how much it affects health (the Chinese in the north have their life expectancies cut by 5+ years due to pollution), and the disparity in wealth is something I see here in our own country, but replicated in other countries as well. Want has the most politically heavy themes of any novel I had written, but I started it back in 2011. So it's been a long time coming, and scary when many readers, including Veronica Roth who kindly blurbed the book, call it "timely".
Want is set in a near-future Taipei. Did you conduct any research to create the setting? 

I did! I took a big mother and daughter trip there (with my mom) in 2013. I'm naturally a very sensory reader, and there's nothing more sensory than going to the place you want to write about. I really wanted to bring Taipei, my birth city, to life for the reader. Many of the places I visited and things I experienced made their way into this book. 
Tell me a little bit about your writing process: Do you outline? Start at the beginning? The middle? The end? 
I've been a pretty linear writer with my last few novels. I am not a true pantser (write by the seat of your pants) in the sense that I go into a novel not knowing anything, but I don't do much planning either. Before I start a novel, I'd like to have at least six or so scenes in my mind, not fully fleshed, but perhaps dialogue or a place, some moment in time. These serve as markers while I write the story. 
Inspiration comes in many forms. Share three people, places, or things that inspire your creativity. 
I draw inspiration from my art. I've been a student of Chinese brush painting for almost two decades. I also draw inspiration from the beauty in nature. Spring is one of my favorite seasons for all the flowers in bloom, despite my allergies. I also draw inspiration from travel!
My blog is dedicated to my personal hiding spot, books. Name a notable book that provided you with a hiding spot. 
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett 
What can readers look forward to next? 
I'm currently working on a sequel to Want! I also have a short story in Ameriie's villains anthology Because You Love to Hate Me, which releases on July 11th!

More About the Book
Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits, protecting them from the pollution and viruses that plague the city, while those without suffer illness and early deaths. Frustrated by his city’s corruption and still grieving the loss of his mother who died as a result of it, Zhou is determined to change things, no matter the cost.

With the help of his friends, Zhou infiltrates the lives of the wealthy in hopes of destroying the international Jin Corporation from within. Jin Corp not only manufactures the special suits the rich rely on, but they may also be manufacturing the pollution that makes them necessary.

Yet the deeper Zhou delves into this new world of excess and wealth, the more muddled his plans become. And against his better judgment, Zhou finds himself falling for Daiyu, the daughter of Jin Corp’s CEO. Can Zhou save his city without compromising who he is, or destroying his own heart?
Follow the links below to purchase a copy of Want!