Out of Hibernation

The last few months have been a bit of a blur, as I've been trying to make progress on a new book at the same time as I'm welcoming a new human into our house. My daughter--second child, first little girl--was born three months ago, and that definitely added some spice into the "will he or won't he make his deadline" debate, the results of which are still not known.

Nevertheless, it looks like I'll be able to get the new novel out the door on time. It's tentatively called "The Artist," kind of a satire that takes place in a hard-charging prep school in Northern California.

Go Panthers!

Thanks to everyone at Pinewood for making my visit so fantastic. From the students who still laugh at my dumb jokes, to Mr. Eivers, who graciously agreed to let me use his theater, to Mr. Morrill, who had to pick me up from the airport at midnight because I couldn't rent a car after losing my ID. It was nice to be back on campus. At one point I was hanging out in the faculty lounge, preparing for the presentation, when I looked around; Burnside to my left, Eivers and Cristiani to my right, Ms. Wilson yelling at Mr. Gardner in the other room. It was as though I'd never left. The best part, of course, was reading the book to the students I taught while I was writing it.

And finally, I want to wish the girl's varsity basketball team good luck in the State Finals tomorrow in Sacramento. GO PANTHERS!

Best Venn Diagram Ever

This comes from Ms. Holt's class at California Middle School, where they're doing a unit on the themes of honor, loyalty, and betrayal using Julius Caesar and The Brothers Torres. I'll write more about my visit as soon as I get some other pictures, but suffice it to say that reading the final chapters to her classes, and listening in on the discussion afterward, was one of the high points of this whole journey.

Below are more pictures from the trip:

California, Here I Come

I'm taking a trip to California next week for a few events.

Monday, March 16:

I'm going back to Pinewood School, where I taught for 6 years. I'm excited to read and talk about the book with all the students, but especially the sophomores, juniors, and seniors I taught when they were in 7th grade- when In fact, I was in the middle of class back in December of 2005 when I received a text message from my agent that the book had sold. (Texting being, of course, forbidden in class. Oops).

Tuesday, March 17

I'll be presenting to seventh and eighth graders at the “reading lounge" of Sacramento's California Middle School. I will also be signing students’ books at the school, where the GATE students are reading “The Brothers Torres” as part of a comparison/contrast unit with Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” on the theme of betrayal vs. loyalty.

Also, I'll be reading at the Avid Reader at the Tower, on 1600 Broadway in Sacramento, at 7:00pm. If you know anybody from Sacramento, please encourage them to come on down!

Career Day, again

Here I am doing my part to encourage these smart kids not to pursue a steady job with insurance and benefits. I'm here to help! I love how my page-a-day calendar is featured so prominently in this picture, but TBT is nowhere to be found. I also want to thank Mr. Brown (who was my eighth grade teacher) Ms. Dolan, and Ms. Elliston for letting me talk to their eighth grade classes. It was awesome.

Career Day!

I'll be back in the Q this week for my high school's Career Day, which sounds even more absurd to me than it possibly could to anyone else. How could I have said no? I'll also be visiting classrooms on Thursday and Friday. Oh, and don't think I won't be taking down a stuffed sopaipilla or two while I'm home.

Some housekeeping

Call it a resolution--and we all know how those tend to go--but I'm hoping to do a better job with the blog this year.

Here's a link to an essay I wrote about some of the ways I use research. The book I'm working on now features a handful of scenes in a chicken processing plant, so the essay focuses on my experience conning my way onto a tour of a local plant. Needless to say, there are just some things you have to see with your own eyes (to say nothing of the other senses) if you're going to write about them.

Thanks to David Yoo for sending this photo of the Young Adult shelf in the Border's in the Boston Airport. It's hard to see because the bookstore was closed when he took the picture. But seriously, if you squint just right, you might be able to make out The Brothers Torres down near the bottom left. An airport bookstore appearing to carry the book is good enough for me.

Thank you, West Mesa Mustangs

I've been a bit slow in posting these pictures (Slow is an understatement, I know. At least I got them up within a calendar year). This was my first school visit, with about 150 of Mrs. Sanchez's ESL students at West Mesa. I read for about fifteen minutes, then answered questions for another thirty. One of my favorite parts of the visit was the sound of pages turning as the students followed along with what I read. I was impressed by how closely the students had read the book and how emotionally invested they seemed to be in the outcome. After the Q & A, we hung out a bit, and I found myself engaging in a bit of smack talk about el fútbol mexicano. Despite Daniel's best efforts, I remain unconvinced about the virtues of switching my alliegances to Cruz Azul.

Thanks again to Mrs. Sanchez and all her fantastic students!


@ Coert Voorhees 2015