Monday, April 13, 2015

Virtual Author Books Tours, Interview, & Excerpt: Lucky Strike (Bobbie Pyron) Arthur A. Levine Books (February 24, 2015) ISBN: 978-0545592178 
Category: Children's Fiction, Middle Grade, Fantasy, Magic, Friendship 
Bullies Tour Date: April 1-May29, 2015
Available in: Print & ebook, 272 Pages

By the award winning author of 'The Dogs of Winter', Bobbie Pyron. A rich, southern voice tells the unforgettable story of two vulnerable outsiders, the lightning strike that turns their world upside down and the true meaning of lucky. Nate Harlow has never had a lucky day in his life. He's never won a prize, he's never been picked first, he's never even won a coin toss. His best friend, Genesis Beam (aka Gen), believes in science and logic, and she doesn't think for one second that there's such a thing as luck, good or bad. But only an extremely unlucky person could be struck by lightning on his birthday... and that person is Nate Harlow. By some miracle, though, Nate survives, and the strike seems to have changed his luck. Suddenly, Nate's grandpa is the busiest fisherman in their small, beachside town. And Nate finds himself the center of attention, the most popular kid at school, the one who hits a game-winning home run! This lucky streak can't last forever, though, and as a hurricane draws close to the shores of Paradise Beach, Nate and Gen may need more than just good luck to save their friendship and their town: They need a miracle.

Praise for Lucky Strike by Bobbie Pyron:

"This well-told story of growth, friendship, and small-town life hits all the right notes. The quirkiness of the characters and the town never goes too far, and there is an overall cozy feeling to the book. Genesis’s dad is the preacher at The Church of the One True Redeemer and Everlasting Light, but she is a scientist through and through, which adds complexity to the text, including musings on destiny, fate, probability, and weather. Fans of Susan Patron’s Higher Power of Lucky (S. & S., 2006), Sheila Turnage’s Three Times Lucky (Dial, 2012), and Ingrid Law’s Savvy (2008; both, Dial) will find something new for their to-read shelves."- School Library Journal starred review "Even lightly sketched characters leap off the pages, adding rich depth to an already satisfying tale. In the slightly fantastical Gulf Coast world that Bobbie Pyron (The Dogs of Winter, 2012) has imagined, people can change in unexpected ways. With just a spark of magic, bullies can become true friends, those without humor can learn to giggle, and perennial victims can emerge victorious. Amusing, endearing and sometimes even electrifying."- Kirkus starred review "Bobbie Pyron offers a gentler take on survival and friendship than in her gritty novel The Dogs of Winter. A dramatic and sweetly poignant story, enlivened by a dash of magical realism."- Publisher Weekly

Praise for The Dogs of Winter:

Junior Library Guild Selection Kirkus Best Books of the Year! Packs plenty of punch.” The New York Times "This story is amazing. I read it in one sitting, I couldn't put it down. The writing is captivating and the story is heartbreaking. The characters are wonderful, both the good and the bad. The writing is descriptive and filled with emotion. An absolute MUST read."-Bev Sharp, The Wormhole "An amazing story that was emotional and realistic? The book is written in first person, and I think this is a perfect story for young adults and older adults alike. The tenacity of the dogs and the boy will enthrall you. There were no boring portions of the story, and I believe that the author captured the emotions of the characters perfectly. I look forward to reading more by this author in the future."-Ruth A. Hill, My Devotional Thoughts " I loved this book. I loved the writing. I loved the characters. The book is adventurous, engaging, happy, sad, and an overall emotional roller coaster all rolled into one."-BookAngel, As I Turn the Pages "Bobbie Pyron has a gift for creating characters that live in my heart. She did it with A Dog's Way Homeand she's done it with this one, The Dogs of Winter. I wanted to dive into the story, take Mishka in my arms and just love him. Bobbie Pyron has created an emotionally powerful story about survival, love, and healing. This is not a story I will ever forget. It is a truly thought-provoking and unforgettable read."-Heidi, GEO Librarian

Bobbie Pyron Outside
Bobbie Pyron was born in Hollywood, Florida and spent her growing up years up in the panhandle, swimming in the Gulf of Mexico and dreaming of being a mermaid. She has degrees in Psychology and Anthropology, and a Masters degree in Library Science, and has worked as a librarian for over twenty-five years. Her first book, a novel for teens titled The Ring (WestSide Books), was published in October of 2009. Her second book, A Dog’s Way Home (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books), was published to starred reviews in March of 2011. The Dog Writers Association of America recently awarded Bobbie the Maxwell Medal of Excellence and the Merial Human-Animal Bond Award. It was also named a Banks Street Best Books of the Year. Bobbie Pyron's book, The Dogs of Winter (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic), came out October of 2012. The Dogs of Winter is a Junior Library Guild Selection and a Kirkus Best 100 Children’s Books of the Year. Bobbie lives in Park City, Utah with her husband, two dogs, and two cats. 

 Bobbie Pyron's Website

Buy 'Lucky Strike':

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Anyone in Paradise Beach would tell you if one of their three hundred thirteen residents was going to be struck by lightning—struck out of the clear blue sky on their birthday— that person would be Nathaniel Harlow.

Because wasn’t it Nate whose hound dog was snatched up by a tornado, dog house and all, never to be seen again? And wasn't it Nate who never, ever in the history of his eleven years on God’s green earth won a coin toss, or found a prize in the bottom of his Cracker Jacks box? 

Bad luck seemed to dog Nate Harlow’s heels like his long-lost hound. Scrawnier than most, hunch-shouldered against the bad luck that rained down upon him, that boy was pure unlucky.

Nate awoke that spring morning of his eleventh birthday with an unaccountably light and fluttery feeling in his chest. He lay beneath his covers and listened. He heard his grandpa snoring on the couch in the living room of their tiny trailer. He heard the mockingbird singing its heart out in the magnolia tree outside his bedroom window. He heard the hum of the refrigerator and the steady thump thump thump in his chest. He did not hear anything that might account for the tiny flicker of hope fluttering like a moth in his heart.

“But it is my eleventh birthday,” Nate declared to the mockingbird. “It’s the eleventh of May on my eleventh birthday. That must mean something.” 

Nate did three things every morning after listening to the mockingbird.

First he slipped his lucky rabbit’s foot from beneath his pillow. His grandpa had given it to him on his fifth birthday, not long after Nate came to live with him. The foot, which had once been blue as the sky and covered with fur, was now brown and nearly rubbed bald. 

Next, he touched the photo of his mother and father on his nightstand and said, “Good morning. I still miss you.” When Nate was four, his parents, who’d never, ever had a drop of alcohol, were struck head on by a drunk driver and killed. That was the first time Nathaniel Harlow would learn that life can change in a flash.

And lastly, Nate slipped the camera his grandpa had given him for his ninth birthday into his pocket. 

Was the unluckiest boy in Paradise Beach a budding photographer, headed for fame and glory? Not exactly. Nate took pictures—lots of pictures—but of only one thing: single shoes mysteriously separated from their mate. One flip flop in the middle of state road 102, a workboot laying lonely and forlorn on the side of highway 98, a tennis shoe—just one—washed up underneath Henderson Pier. He used to pick up these orphaned shoes and bring them home with the hope that, somehow, the lucky day would come that he would miraculously find the long-lost shoe, reuniting the pair. That is until their little trailer was overflowing with shoes. 

Nate pulled on his shorts and padded into the living room. His grandpa sighed and snorted in his sleep.

He started a pot of coffee on the stove for grandpa and fixed toast and a glass of milk for himself. The light, fluttery feeling in his chest held firm even though the milk had soured and the toaster burnt his toast. Again.

What gave you the inspiration to write this book? 
 Well, I guess I would have to say my agent! After we had sold The Dogs Of Winter, she asked what I planned to work on next. When I hemmed and hawed, she said, “A lot of editors are looking for middle grade with magical realism. Do you think you could do that?” I pondered that idea for a while…it was something I’d never tried before! I had always been fascinated by stories of people surviving a lightning strike and changing in some way—not being particularly musical and all of a sudden being able to compose symphonies, or having a facility for foreign languages after the lightning strike. I thought that could make a fun story, but I needed to make the change more universal. When I talked the idea over with my husband (which I often do), he said, “What if he went from being unlucky to lucky?” The rest, as they say, is history…

Who is your favorite character in the book? 
 Hmmm…that’s a tough question! There are bits of me in Genesis Beam, and a lot of me in Nate, but I think Chum Bailey is probably my favorite character. I love his innocence and his open heart. All he wants is for people to be kind to each other, and I feel that way too. Of course, I also love the mayor of the little town of Paradise Beach. What’s not to love about a mayor that’s an old Labrador retriever!

Which came first, the novel or the title? 
 Oddly, in this case, the title came first. When my husband came up with the suggestion of luck and I paired it with a lightning strike, the title seemed like a given! My editor thought so too, because he kept the original title!

Which scene in the book are you most proud of and why? 
 It’s hard for me to pick out just one scene. Because I’ve never written a book with a smattering of magical realism before, I had to work hard on those scenes that were just a bit magical to, at the same time, make them believable. For instance, there’s a scene after Nate goes back to school after being struck by lightening and plays baseball during P.E. Nate is sent to the far, far outfield because he’s SO unlucky when he plays. But this time (and for the first time ever), he catches a fly ball. I wanted that scene to have a sparkle of magic to it, but to also be believable enough that the reader might think it possible Nate could catch a fly ball on his own—not because the lightning strike changed his luck. 

Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer? 
 Boy, there’s a lot of things I’ve learned and I’m still learning! After four books though, I’d have to say the most important thing I’ve learned is this: I have so very, very little control over this business of being an author. All I have control over, really, is writing the best book I can.

What do you like most about the cover of the book?
 I really like the images in the background of the little town it takes place in. I also think the colors are dynamic and eye-grabbing!

What new release book are you looking forward to in 2016?
 I haven’t heard much about books for 2016, but I’m looking forward to Rebecca Stead’s new middle grade novel, Goodbye Stranger. I’m also excited to get my hands on The Little Snowplow, by Lora Koehler, and How To Catch a Santa, by Jean Reagan. 

What was your favorite book of 2015? 
Can I name more than one? I loved Rain Reign, by Anne M. Martin, and also, Brown Girl Dreaming.

What’s up next for you? 
I’ve got lots of irons in the fire but nothing sold yet. I’m determined to learn how to write picture book biographies because I love them so much and there’s so many fascinating people to write about! My agent is reading a YA manuscript of mine right now, and an editor is reading an early chapter book (the first in a series) she asked that I submit. I’m always working, always writing, but I want to stretch myself too, try new things! It’s important to me to challenge myself.

Is there anything you’d like to add? 
 I often get asked by kids who read my books if the story/characters is based on me, or things that happened to me. I’d have to say of all my books, this one has the most echoes of my childhood in it—right down to the Tyranasourus Rex on the Goofy Golf course and the hound dog being picked up, dog house and all, by a tornado!

Follow the Tour:

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Apr 2 Spotlight & Giveaway
Rockin' Book Reviews Apr 7 Interview & Giveaway
Hott Books Apr 8 Review
Always Reiding Apr 9 Review & Excerpt 
Geo Librarian Apr 10 Review 
Curling Up With A Good Book Apr, 13 Interview & Excerpt
fuonlyknew Apr 14 Review & Giveaway 
Once Upon A Story Apr 15 Review & Excerpt
Indie Review Behind the Scenes Apr 17 Live I 6 pm cst 
Cassandra M's Place Apr 20 Review & Giveaway 
The Crypto-Caper Review Apr 21 Review 
In Bed With Books Apr 22 Review,Interview & Excerpt
Allison's Book Bag May 24 Review & Interview 
Mary's Cup of Tea Apr 27 Review 
Deal Sharing Aunt Apr 28 Review, Excerpt & Giveaway
Bound for Escape Apr 30 Review 
Lisa's Writopia May 4 Review 
Books, Books, and More Books May 5 Review & Excerpt
Beth's Book-Nook Blog May 8 Review 
Sweet Southern Home May 11 Review 
One Frugal Girl May 15 Review

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