Friday, November 25, 2011

Fan Club Friday - My Book Trailer!

Book trailers have become huge in the young adult world. Teens are connected, are online all the time, and are much more willing to watch a clip on YouTube than read a synopsis on a blog. And why not? Moving images paint a vivid scene and can draw you in quickly while leave you wanting more.

I knew I wanted to do a book trailer from the get go. And since the book is already an homage to my home state, I wanted to use young Kentucky talent for the job. I contacted The Kentucky Governor's School for the Arts and they hooked me up with a couple of 17 year old New Media students: Sam Stucky and Julie Willian. I mailed them advanced copies of the book so that they could get a sense of the story. Then I posted a casting on Facebook and used this social network to cast the actors. Everyone, including the actor playing Ricki Jo's dog Bandit, is from Kentucky! The students were so professional and amazing to work with. I organized the major shooting day and wrote a shooting script, we had lots of long phone calls, and I sent emails with character descriptions. But it's amazing to me that I've never personally met these kids, we did it from different states, and the outcome is this rewarding. 

So, I hope this book trailer makes you as eager to buy and read my first book as I am for its release on January 2, 2012 wherever books are sold. Of course, you can go ahead and pre-order it at B& or Amazon.

Check out more of Sam Stucky's videos here. I'm a Sam fan - a big fan.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Twitter Tuesdays - KIRKUS review!

I know advanced copies of my book are out there floating about. I know folks are forming opinions of my story, as well as me and who I am as a writer. I've gotten two wonderful blurbs from writers I admire, I've gotten praise from my family and friends, and even some of my contemporaries in the YA writing biz seem to have enjoyed the read.

But I forgot about the reviewers. You know, the people who don't know me and have a responsibility to their followers to tell the absolute truth. I survived Publisher's Weekly. And now... Kirkus! From what I hear, the folks at Kirkus don't pull punches, don't sugarcoat things, and aren't afraid to tell it like it really is. For all of those reasons, I am humbled beyond measure by their words:

The Queen of Kentucky
By Alecia Whitaker
Jaunaury 2012/ Ages 12 & Up/ $17.99
ISBN: 978-0-316-12506-2
Set in small-town Kentucky, this coming-of-age story depicts the ups and downs of 14-year-old Ricki Jo Winstead as she tries on a new identity.
High school is about to start, and Ricki Jo seizes the opportunity to reinvent herself. The first thing she does is ditch her “plain ol” name, taking on the new, more sophisticated (to her ears) moniker of Ericka. Swiftly getting the lay of the high-school land, Ricki Jo decides that she wants to move with the popular girls. She tries out for cheerleading rather than band, buys hipper clothing, and jettisons the real Bible for that subversive gospel according to Seventeen. Her new friends are a little faster than she’s used to, and she begins a rather daring (for her) flirtation with the handsome-and-he-knows-it David Wolfenbaker. All these changes displease her neighbor and best friend, Luke Foster, a grounded guy who is struggling with the more serious issue of his father’s alcoholism and abuse. In her debut, Whitaker paints a vivid, finely detailed picture of life in the sometime-hardscrabble heartland. But what draws the reader in is the chaotic precision of her characters, youngsters who are conflicted and frequently inconsistent, yet feel rounded and real.
Solid, just like its setting.

I've only read this review about twenty-five hundred times. Isn't this amazing? The last line is my favorite. Ahhhh. You must be a subscriber to see it on their website, but two weeks before the release of my book, it'll be available on their site to anyone. Of course, I'll post the link then. I can't wait til everyone can read The Queen of Kentucky. I share Ricki Jo with you all in a month and a half. Hurray! As I type, my awesome publicist from Little, Brown and I are lining up events in New York and Kentucky for January. I hope you'll all come out and celebrate with me!  xoxo

Monday, November 07, 2011

Momma Mondays - First Haircut

Well, Knox's first haircut went exactly how I'd always imagined it. He cried through the whole thing. I have to give props to Mariana at Blue Bird Salon for hanging in there and being stone cold to the tears of babes. Even as Knox swatted at her hands, she kept snipping with nary a blade nicking his little petulant fingers.

It was a weird milestone for all of us. Jerrod and I had wanted to keep Knox's long hair til his second birthday, but it was just too much. He had a thick, glorious mane. Long hair flowing over his eyes and ears, cascading down his back to his shoulder blades when wet.


A picture of him playing with one of his besties in the park shows him sporting the hair over his hood, hanging down in his face, while his gray skinny jeans started to sag. I was seeing the early makings of Justin Bieber.

And then Saturday, as Jerrod and I watched him tug at those locks as he played at the park, we realized that it was an unfair distraction. Hair gel had become too much of a hassle and bobby pins had been vetoed, so away we went to the salon.

The following pictures should pretty much sum up that day and those unforgettable twenty minutes in the chair.  Just click Read More to see them all.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Publisher's Weekly Review!

Great news! Publisher's Weekly just reviewed The Queen of Kentucky and, thankfully, we fared well. It seems that the reviewer loves Ricki Jo as much as my editor, agent, and I do. As we get closer and closer to the book launch, I get all the more antsy to share her story with you all!

The Queen of Kentucky
By Alecia Whitaker
January 2012/ Ages 12 & up/ $17.99
ISBN 978-0-316-12506-2

Fourteen-year-old Ricky Jo has lived in the same Kentucky farming town her whole life, right next door to her best friend Luke. But she’s still the new girl, of sorts, on the first day of high school, having previously attended a small Catholic school. Renaming herself Ericka and hoping to become popular, she tries to fit in with a group of cool girls from homeroom and develops a crush on cocky fellow freshman Wolf. Ericka’s honest and insecure voice, her penchant for mishaps, and her frustration with her boyish physique will easily resonate with similarly conflicted readers. Debut novelist Whitaker paints a rich picture of life in rural Kentucky, as Ericka struggles to maintain tenuous friendships as well as her moral center. The subplot of Luke’s alcoholic and abusive father rings painfully true, as does Ericka’s ongoing crush on Wolf, who is alternately cruel and flirtatious with her, putting her self-worth through the wringer again and again. This coming-of-age romance holds few surprises, but will capture readers with its honesty and heart.