This book was sooooo much fun to write. In previous books, I went a little deeper into the family life of Trevor and Libby. But this time readers get to see what life is like for Molly at home. The interaction between her and Decker (her father and dress-code-obsessed-vice-principal) was hands-down my favorite scene to write.
Kristen Pettit at HarperCollins has bought, at auction, Lindsey Leavitt and Robin Mellom’s THE PAGES BETWEEN US, in a two-book deal. Two best friends separated by conflicting middle school class schedules vow to keep their every-moment closeness alive through the pages of a notebook, pages which become a lifeline both hilarious and heartbreaking, with the power either to bring them together or tear them apart. The first book will publish in 2016. The deal for North American rights was done by Sarah Davies at the Greenhouse Literary Agency for Leavitt, and Jill Corcoran at Jill Corcoran Literary Agency for Mellom.
I met Lindsey Leavitt years ago at the national SCBWI conference in LA. We bonded instantly because we’re both tall and that automatically enrolls us in the Tall Girls Club, which is a very exclusive club and it usually involves much ranting about how hard it is to find a good pair of pants.
Lindsey and I always stayed in touch and I am thankful that she became my go-to girl for discussing school visits (and also ModCloth).
So here’s what happened:
Last October, I had an idea for a book…two girls who share a notebook and help each other get through life in a new middle school. I wanted it to be funny and heartfelt, but I didn’t want to do it alone. I felt it needed two authors in order to bring out the spontaneity and unique voices.
So when I think “funny” and “girl,” Lindsey is the first person who comes to mind. (Those of you who know Lindsey know exactly what I’m talking about.) We spoke on the phone and we immediately started brainstorming. We were writing letters back and forth within a week. We kept telling ourselves, “No pressure. If this project takes YEARS to write, then fine. We’re doing this for fun!”
It wasn’t long after we started that we both fell head over heels with these characters and this project. So we JAMMED. And a zillion emails and texts later, Lindsey and I now have a two-book deal with the brilliant Kristen Pettit at HarperCollins.
I am so incredibly proud of this project. Lindsey and I wanted to show a strong friendship that could withstand all the ups and downs in life.
And I’m so glad I get to experience all the ups and downs of book writing with my dear, dear friend by my side. Thank you, SCBWI, for bringing us together.
Not too long ago, I met up with my friend, Lindsey Leavitt, for a writing retreat near her home in Las Vegas. I happened to notice she had an ARC of THE CHAPEL WARS sitting in her bookshelf. The book happened to land in my suitcase. And it happened to fly all the way home with me.
I typically don’t read books quickly because I usually read for about 8.5 minutes before I doze off at night. But every once in a while, I come across a book that I love so much, I put off cleaning/working/paying attention to my family just so that I can finish it in one big gulp. That’s exactly what happened with this book.
Y’all. Oh my gosh.
First of all, the set up. Two competing wedding chapels in Las Vegas and the family dynamics that cause their “war.” Brilliant.
Then the family relationships…awesome. And the banter between our two not-supposed-to-be-together lovebirds? So. Flipping. Cute.
The writing is amazing with so many darling phrases that I had to re-read most of it just to mentally hug so many of the sentences. I LOL’d. Which I think should be LLOL’d (LITERALLY laughed out loud). And then at the end, I LCOL’d (yep, LITERALLY cried out loud). I was a hot mess.
But I’m now going to pass along this experience to one of you…leave a comment and I will give away my ARC (with Lindsey’s permission) to one lucky reader! If you mention this giveaway elsewhere (tweet, retweet, FB, re-FB?) I’ll put your name in a hat twice. (Note: it’s not a real hat.)
THE CHAPEL WARS comes out next month. Pull out your Elvis costumes and celebrate!!
I’m so excited to share my news! Here’s the Publisher’s Weekly announcement…
Nancy Inteli of HarperCollins has acquired the first three books inRobin Mellom‘s Hannah Sparkles series, about a happy little girl who helps her down-in-the-dumps neighbor find her inner sparkle. Mellom is the author of the middle-grade series The Classroom and a YA novel,Ditched; these are her debut picture books. Jill Corcoran of the Jill Corcoran Literary Agency did the deal for world rights.
The idea for this picture book came from my son. He’s a happy little guy. He was born happy, actually. He didn’t cry AT ALL when he was born and the nurses whisked him away to do testing because they thought something was wrong. But there wasn’t anything wrong…he just didn’t have anything to complain about. Life was good. Why cry?
And so I had this idea to write a story about a girl who was also born happy. That’s actually the first line in the book…”The story goes…I was born happy.” She uses her unique world view (which includes pom-poms) (of course) to cheer up her not-so-happy neighbor.
Soon we’ll hear who will be illustrating and I also plan to share this “creating a picture book” process with you. It fascinates me how the collaboration works, so I hope to share the details with you as we go along…
My editor, the wonderful Nancy Inteli, has been a dream to work with and I feel this project fell into the perfect hands.
There are only six weeks left in 2013. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN??!! I have no idea. Other than that whole Earth revolving around the sun thing.
The rest of this year includes a few school visits and lots and lots of writing. My writing “To-Do” list includes:
Other side project
I am ridiculous. But I can’t help but work on multiple things at once because I am so excited about all of them. News on this sometime soon. Speaking of news I can’t talk about yet…I’ve hinted at a picture book that will be coming and yeah…just more hints for a WEE BIT longer. We’ll announce it soon and I can’t wait to talk about the details of this project.
But my “Work In Project” is THE CLASSROOM book 4. And when I outlined the whole book, I cried at the ending. CRIED!!! I didn’t realize how much I’ve loved these little fictional characters as if they were real. *sniff. But book 3 comes out next June and it’s titled TRICK OUT MY SCHOOL. Cover coming very soon! I’m in love with book 3. I hope you guys will be too.
Meanwhile, I just got back from the Vegas Valley Book Festival. My publicist sent some pictures…here I am working and…um…not working.
I’m not sure how to explain this picture. It happened.
As a former middle school teacher, talking to students about writing is my favorite part of the job. It’s why I pursued this dream of becoming a children’s book author. I mean, I get to talk about my biggest passion ALL THE TIME. Pinch me!!
I am available to speak to classrooms, large audiences, and small breakout groups (i.e. lunch with teachers, or the school newspaper staff, etc.). My presentations address several Common Core Curriculum standards and a teacher discussion guide for THE CLASSROOM is available online. Full day events include 3 presentations (of any size) as well as 1 break-out session. Half day events include 2 presentations (of any size). Pre-orders can be handled through a local book seller or through my publisher, Disney-Hyperion. For information on my pricing and availability, email me at robinmellombooks[at]gmail.com
AVAILABLE PRESENTATIONS: (30-40 minutes, plus time for Q&A; available for grades 3-8)
Books and Quirky Characters
Enjoy readings, humorous stories, and illustrations from THE CLASSROOM series. I share my writing process and students will come away with specific writing techniques to make their writing better immediately.
(RL3, RL6, RL7, RI6, W3, W4, W5)*
From Idea to Publication
I share my journey from secret childhood writer to classroom teacher to full time published author. Students will learn about my writing process, specific writing techniques, and will hopefully come away feeling inspired to write their own stories.
( W4, W5, W6, W10)*
Plot your story like a screenplay. Think movie magic and learn to write cinematically.
(RL3, RL6,RL7, W3, W4)*
Writing Contemporary Humor
Infuse humor into any genre of writing through unique phrasing, snappy dialog, surprise for the reader and much more.
(RL6, RI6, W3, W4)*
* The Common Core State Standards (CCSS)
And check out this fabulous video put together by the students of Glynn Middle School:
“We had great feedback from students and teachers about how much they enjoyed your presentations. I received emails from parents who heard all about you and your books from their children! Our teachers were thrilled that your writing tips exactly matched what they were currently teaching their students. Thanks for a most memorable day!” ~Elementary school media specialist
“Today I sent an e-mail to a lot of my media specialists friends telling them about how much my students enjoyed Robin’s books, and they should have her come to their school. I can’t tell you how fast her books are flying off the shelf. Robin is a very talented writer. I love that she writes books that are funny that all children can relate to!” ~Elementary school media specialist
“I don’t remember the last time I read a book, but after I read The Classroom I remembered how much I love to read!” ~Fourth grade student
“You have inspired me to write my own books!!!! The book (The Classroom) taught me a great lesson which is do what is the right thing and to help your friends when they need it. As long as you keep writing, I’ll keep reading!” ~Fifth grade student
My book tour through Georgia, South Carolina and California was FANTASTIC. I saw over 2,000 students and the inside of many, many Hampton Inns. I toured around with my parents (adorable, right?) and they made this magnetic door sign for the car…
Before we hit the road though, I had to hit up DragonCon in Atlanta. Here is my new friend… (don’t judge)
My son LOVED this picture though he had no idea what a “Charlie’s Angels pose” was.
I visited my own middle school, Crabapple Middle School.
I also met with several groups of teachers to share the teacher’s discussion guide that Disney made for THE CLASSROOM. It was awesome to get back in the schools and work with teachers again.
The group in the picture above was my largest group…360 sixth graders. Gulp! But they were awesome.
I only hit up the WH once. ONCE. Which means I’m going to have to plan a trip back to the south very soon.
The second book in THE CLASSROOM series releases today! This book was crazy fun to write. It involves an election and, of course, everything falls apart–it even includes a visit from dudes in HAZMAT suits:
And CLICK HERE to read the first chapter…hope you enjoy! Thanks for your support of this series!!
I started teaching fifth grade back in 1992. (Oh sheesh, that was a long time ago. Richard Marx and Bryan Adams were popular. What were you thinking, 1992?)
Anyway. After lunch each day, I would read out loud to my students and their most common request was for me to read a funny book. At the time, they were hard to come by. So I ended up reading SIDEWAYS STORIES FROM WAYSIDE SCHOOL over and over and over. They couldn’t get enough!
That was when I decided to take my childhood dream of writing and turn it into something REAL. I decided to write funny books for middle schoolers. It took many years for that dream to be realized, but I am so grateful that I get to do this thing I love. I pinch myself daily.
While I was teaching, I tried hard to get my students to not just read, but to ENJOY reading. So I had my own library of books in my classroom with books I thought they would adore. In order to do this, I would spend many weekends at the Oxford Bookstore in Atlanta, hunting for my favorites.
I still have many of those books. See some familiar titles?
I spent lots of money to keep my bookshelf full. So that’s why I’d like to give one of my books from THE CLASSROOM series to a teacher building a library. If you are a teacher–or if you know of a teacher who would love to have a copy–then leave me a comment. Let me know your grade level and if you’d like book 1 or book 2 (or both). I will select three winners!!!
Thank you to all the teachers who give our kids the most important gift: the love of reading.
The first book in my middle grade series, THE CLASSROOM: The Epic Documentary of a Not-Yet Epic Kid, is now available from Disney-Hyperion. It's a mockumentary of life in seventh grade...oh, the awkwardness.
And my teen novel, DITCHED: A Love Story, is about a 16-year old girl who has one of those nights she'll always remember (and a prom she wants to forget). Check out the Teen Books section for an excerpt!