Larkin’s Book Bloggers is pleased to be a part of author Karen Pokras Toz’s blog tour for her new novel, Millicent Marie Is Not My Name! This book is getting amazing reviews on Goodreads – and it’s no wonder why! The story is hysterical and the character of Millie is so authentic and real – you won’t want to stop reading her story! There were so many real issues here that everyone will love reading about – middle school drama, Millie’s crush on Jordan, trying out for the school play, “Doogle” and the infamous journal-turned-blog, the list goes on! Definitely go out and pick up a copy of this book!
Twelve-year-old Millicent Marie does not like her name. After all, she was named for a woman who died more than fifty years ago and was not the most loveable member of the Harris family. Her friends call her Millie, but when she writes in her diary she refers to herself as Amanda – the name she always wished she had.
When Millie’s younger brother finds her diary on her computer, he decides to publish it as a blog for the entire world to see, including the boy Millie has a crush on. In the midst of all the mayhem, Millie/Amanda discovers she is suddenly Springside Elementary’s most sought after sixth-grade mystery gossip and advice columnist.
But not all is fun and games, as Millie quickly learns, once she realizes feelings are at stake. Nobody, least of all Millie, expects things to turn out as they do in this tale of friendship and respect.
And now here’s Karen to share with us her experiences about writing – specifically changing your voice when writing for new characters…
One of the best pieces of writing advice I have received came from the editor I used for my first Nate Rocks book. After the book was completed, she said, “Take a day or two off, but then get right back into writing.”
I have to admit, it wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I had just spent every second of my free time for the past year working on this book, and I was looking forward to a break. So I decided to ignore her… sorry, Lynn. But a funny thing happened. I missed writing, and after about two weeks, I decided it was time to get back into it. I knew I wanted to do another Nate Rocks story. After all – I had just spent the last year getting to know Nate. I felt like he were another one of my kids (in fact, I may have spent more time with him on some days than my own children – sorry kids). I definitely knew his personality inside and out. In other words, I knew his voice. People laugh when I tell them he spoke to me, but he honestly did. So, this second story came pretty easily to me. I had been immersed in Nate’s world for so long that it was really just like writing an extension of the first book.
When it came time to start thinking about book three, I wondered if I could actually write something other than Nate Rocks. I think this is a huge fear for writers. Especially for those authors who write books in series. Is it possible to turn off that voice and switch gears? I had to find out.
Some of my readers had asked me if I had anything for girls in the works. So, as soon as the second Nate Rocks book was off to the printer, I opened up my laptop and began creating my newest leading young lady – Millicent Marie, a twelve-year-old girl who would have to deal with issues such as bullies, gossip, and respect.
Only there was a problem … a big problem. Everything I wrote sounded like Nate. It was as if he were jealous that I was creating this new character and had to push his way back in. Surely my brain was able to think outside of being a ten-year-old boy! I began to panic. Maybe coming up with Nate Rocks was a fluke. Maybe I wasn’t meant to be a writer after all.
No – I wasn’t going to accept that answer, and I forged on. Changing my voice was not easy. It took many re-writes and a lot of focus, to ease Nate out and welcome Millicent Marie in. Eventually, the self-doubt waned and the writing flowed.
I never imagined changing voice would be as difficult as it turned out to be. I also never imagined it would be as fulfilling either. I can still remember the moment during the writing process when I really started feeling a connection to Millie … that moment when I was able to put Nate completely out of my head (don’t worry – he’s back already.) I remember posting on Facebook that I was falling in love with Millie. Readers probably thought I was losing it, but writers knew exactly what I meant. Being able to finally find Millie’s voice and developher into the character that I had envisioned, for me, was a huge accomplishment and a definite turning point in my writing journey.
First – post a comment here about Millicent Marie or author Karen Pokras Toz and you could win a SWAG pack full of goodies -book marks, notepads, and more!
The rafflecopter is for the grand prize giveaway that Karen is running – tote bag, Amazon gift card, and more! Use the rafflecopter to enter her giveaway – and good luck!