Saturday, May 23, 2015

Blog Tour & Spotlight: Bride of Slug Man (Kate Walden)

Hardcover, 288 pages
Expected publication: May 26th 2015 by Disney-Hyperion

After her huge success with her first feature-length movie, seventh-grader Kate Walden is eager to start on her next film, a sci-fi romance called Bride of Slug Man. When a new kid comes to town from New York City, Kate thinks she might have a new found film buddy-someone to share her interest with. And it doesn't hurt that he's pretty cute. But it turns out that Tristan is making his own movie, and now the classmates Kate thought were eager to join her cast and crew are divided.
With rumors spreading in school and between sets, Kate finds herself juggling more than just call times and rewrites. And judging from the whispers Kate hears about Tristan Kingsley,she suspects that he isn't interested in having a fellow film-buff friend; he just wants to prove himself as the best filmmaker in school by winning the Big Picture Film Festival. Kate vows to enter too, and tries to focus on just making the best movie she can.
But between the cutthroat popularity contest, a bully situation that goes from bad to worse, and several on-set mishaps, Kate is going to need all the movie magic she can get to make sure Bride of Slug Man hits the big-screen.

Julie Mata grew up outside Chicago and currently lives in Wisconsin, where she owns a video production business with her husband.. She loves movies and once wrote and directed her own short film. She also loves traveling, gardening, and reading a really good book. Her first book was Kate Walden Directs: Night of the Zombie Chickens. For more information, including a downloadable curriculum guide and a filmmaking tip of the month, visit her website:

Twitter: @juliehmata

Film, Fiction, and Fowl: How to Write What You Know

By Julie Mata

Sometimes, story ideas come out of the blue, like getting thwacked in the head by a stray golf ball when you least expect it. But in the case of my two Kate Walden Directs books—Night of the Zombie Chickens and Bride of Slug Man—I took the old adage to heart, write what you know. My first thought was that I didn’t know anything at all interesting enough to write about. Then I reviewed the reruns from my life. . . . 

The story starts with me, somewhat fresh out of college, working as a TV reporter in such a small market that I had to shoot, write and edit my own stories. This is when I first learned about combining video images with words to tell a story. I married a photographer and eventually we opened a video production business. Along the way I developed an interest in writing screenplays. I took a couple scriptwriting classes and even worked with an L.A. script doctor (really just an editor, but script doctor sounds way more cool). Unfortunately, Hollywood movie producers did not knock down my door begging for my script.

Unfazed, I eventually wrote and directed my own short film, Bus Driver, shot by my husband. It played in numerous film festivals across the country, won a local Best Drama award, and is still hanging around on the outer fringes of YouTube. 

As I was evaluating my experiences in video and film production, the energy-saving LED bulb popped on over my head and I had an Aha! moment. Kids love to make movies with their friends. Why not write about a girl who dreams about becoming a Hollywood director?

Even the subjects of Kate’s movies sprang from my life experiences. We owned ten hens at one time and I decided Kate’s first movie would include chickens. And what kid doesn’t want to have zombies in his or her movie? The hen roles quickly morphed into zombie chicken roles. Okay, I admit I never met any slug men, but I think I’ve had a few nightmares about them. . . .

I suspect other writers may also feel that write what you know is advice meant for people with exciting, dramatic lives. It’s easy to downplay your own life history. At one time or another, most of us deal with families, jobs, coworkers, crises, health issues, hobbies, and bills to pay. In other words, we all have life experiences we can mine for story ideas. I’m convinced that, with a little deeper digging and some creative morphing, anyone’s life can yield an Aha!, golfball-to-the-head inspiration. And I should know because my life’s pretty ordinary, and I don’t even play golf.

Follow along on the blog tour!

Monday, May 18 - GreenBeanTeenQueen

Wed. May 20 - Once Upon a Story

Thurs, May 21 - Read Now, Sleep Later

Wed, May 28 - BookHounds YA

Thurs, May 29 - The Brain Lair

Fri, May 30 - Kid Lit Frenzy

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