Featuring today here in Behind the Pages is another debut middle-grade author, Jess Redman. She, just like every one of us, has this kind of childhood dream profession telling everybody what she wants to be when she grows up. And Jess will share how she became an author even when life always doesn’t go the way we planned.
If you haven’t pre-order her book yet, you still have time! Also, don’t forget to check the pre-order campaign she prepared for everyone and get the chance to win awesome, cool prizes!
by Jess Redman
Published by: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: July 30, 2019
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indiebound | Wordery
In the tradition of heartwrenching and hopeful middle grade novels such as Bridge to Terabithia comes Jess Redman’s stunning debut about a young boy who must regain his faith in miracles after a tragedy changes his world.
Eleven-year-old Wunder Ellis is a miracle-collector. In a journal he calls The Miraculous, he records stories of the inexplicable and the extraordinary. And he believes every single one. But then his newborn sister dies, at only eight days old. If that can happen, then miracles can’t exist. So Wunder gets rid of The Miraculous. He stops believing.
Then he meets Faye―a cape-wearing, outspoken girl with losses of her own. Together, they find an abandoned house by the cemetery and a mysterious old woman who just might be a witch. The old woman asks them for their help. She asks them to believe. And they go on a journey that leads to friendship, to adventure, to healing―and to miracles.
The Miraculous is Jess Redman’s sparkling debut novel about facing grief, trusting the unknown, and finding brightness in the darkest moments.
WHEN I GROW UP, I WANT TO BE AN AUTHOR
I considered trying to write something profound and moving for Tale Out Loud. But I decided instead, since this is my debut year, to write a somewhat self-indulgent post about how I have always (or for a very long time) wanted to be an author. So here goes:
I have always (or for a very long time) wanted to be an author.
When I was in first grade, we made ribbon-bound books. The covers were cardboard and contact paper, and my story was about a girl who swings upside down on the monkey bars. That was it. That was the whole story. It was not exceptionally creative or quirky or thoughtful, but I was extremely proud of it. I loved to tell stories, I loved to read, and flipping through those pages of crayon-scribbled illustrations and slanty-scrawly words, I knew that I had found the answer to, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
I wanted to be an author.
I started writing all the time. I created families with elaborate backstories and made maps of the towns I created. I checked out Teach Yourself German for my World War II story and All About Ancient Egypt for my Tutankhamun story. I asked for writing craft books for my birthdays and Christmas; I didn’t read much of them but I put them face out on my bookshelf—For Inspiration!
I was nine when I completed my First Official Novel. It was inspired by The Great Gilly Hopkins and Cheaper by the Dozen and The Pinballs and all the Disney movies where woodland creatures flock to singing girls. The main character was a 10-year-old musical prodigy in the foster care system named Corinthia Octavia. Her story was exactly 200 college-ruled pages long. There were 10 chapters, each exactly 20 pages long.
I don’t think there’s a right or a wrong way to write a book, but I probably will not use that particular method again.
But I was, again, extremely proud of that story.
And I very, very, very, very much wanted to be an author.
As a side note, the therapist in me would like to say that this, I think, is what every young person needs: to feel that they are good at something. Anything, really. I was not athletic. I was not artistic. I couldn’t play an instrument, and I was a little quirky and a little intense. But I could write. Writing was my something.
I wrote more long stories. I used up more marble-cover notebooks. I confided in my journal that I wanted to win the Newbery by age 13 (alas, not all dreams come true).
But life doesn’t always (or usually or ever) go in a straight line, and I didn’t major in creative writing or English or library sciences in college. I majored in political science, and I travelled around the world, which filled my eyes and ears and heart with stories. Then more life happened, and I became a therapist. All day, every day, I got to listen to and participate in the stories of the people who trusted me enough to tell me them.
I loved it, but I also still wanted to be an author.
So I wrote. I wrote, and I wrote, and I wrote. And a lot of it was bad. Some of it was really, really bad. But eventually, I wrote stories that I was extremely proud of.
And now one of stories will be published on July 30th. THE MIRACULOUS is my middle-grade magical contemporary debut. It’s about grief and belief, magic and memory, big questions and big hearts and all the miracles that surround us. My persistent, consistent, never-ceasing dream has come true, and I am indescribably happy and unspeakably grateful.
I have always (or for a very long time) wanted to be an author, and now I am.
About The Author:
Jess Redman has wanted to be an author for forever (or a very long time). First,she did things like survive middle school, travel around the world, become a therapist, and have two kids.
But then finally, her childhood dream came true! Her middle-grade debut, THE MIRACULOUS, will be published by FSG/Macmillan on July 30, 2019. Her second middle-grade novel, QUINTESSENCE, will be out on July 28, 2020. You can out more about Jess and her books, plus book trailers, discussion guides, pre-order gift info, and more at her website.
Pre-order / Library request and you’ll get (INT’L):
📖 One of three art cards featuring cover art by the amazing Matt Rockefeller
10 Winners will get:
📖 All three art cards
📖 Dried Flower Pendant Necklace
Grand prize winner will get:
📖 Dried flower necklace from The Pretty Pickle
📖 Miracle journal
📖 Three bookish enamel pins
📖 6 books/ARCS
📖 All three art cards
📖 Miraculous sticker
📖 Miraculous Bookmark