Saturday, September 17, 2016

LOLA Art Crawl

Faithful Readers (and those who don't know me but love stories):

The Longfellow League of Artists (LOLA) Art Crawl is today and tomorrow, from 10-5. If you get a chance, come say hi to me at Mother Earth Gardens. I'm stationed between a dessert artist and a jewelry artist, so you'll leave not only with a story kicking around your head but with sated tastebuds and a sparkly head.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Next Book

So people frequently ask me if I have a new book coming out. Granted, I'm not talking about hordes of people beating down my door needing an answer--I ain't no J.K. Rowling, as you likely well know--but those of all ages who have read my books do ask this question a lot.

There are two answers:

1. I did put a book out in November. It's a basketball book for young adults (the book's titled Slingers), and I humbly think it's pretty great. Look at the sidebar for more on this book. Unless you've been paying attention to my blog or Facebook posts, however, you likely don't know much about this book, as I self-published it. Basketball season was on the way, I was teaching a vignette unit at school and wanted the book available to provide examples to my students, and so I made the book happen.

2. I have in the last several months finished another book. It's called Life in Increments. It took me years to write this book, and I have to tell you, I think it's absolutely the best and most meaningful story I've ever told.

Life in Increments is a junior-high love story. Ah, but it's more than that. It's my attempt, every step of the way, to tell the truest junior-high love story I could. Sometimes it's funny. Sometimes it's tragic. Sometimes it's fantastical. Sometimes it's grounded very much in day-to-day reality.

Anyway, the book's out with some publishers now, and I hope you get a chance to see it at some point.

Cheers,
Andy

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Thanks, Plymouth Creek Elementary!

A week ago, I visited Plymouth Creek Elementary in Wayzata. The wonderful Sharon Lepensky, PCE's media specialist, set it all up, and so I had the opportunity to share my stories and writing strategies, plus laugh a lot, during three presentations--one for 5th graders, another for 4th graders, and another for 3rd graders. We were packed in tight, and each presentation was an hour, but the time careened by we were all having such fun.

Thanks, Plymouth Creek!

On the Radio

Hey--cool news: I was interviewed in early January on a radio program ("Voices in the Valley") on KLBB 1220 AM out of Stillwater. The episode aired originally a couple days ago. Now it's available as a podcast here.
I show up officially at the 8:00 mark.
I was asked about my books and how I develop conflict in a story. Oh, and I worked in a memory of Stonebridge Elementary's Cube City, too. If you get a chance, take a listen.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Slingers!

BREAKING NEWS:
Just in time for the holidays...
Just in time for the basketball season...

My fourth novel!

It's a YA novel (but, as with the best YA, hopefully anyone can enjoy it).

It's a basketball novel (but, as with the best basketball novels, hopefully you don't need to be a basketball fan to enjoy it).

It's affordable. $10 online--and even better, $5 at Friedman's Department Stores. Or, free at Friedman's with a minimum purchase of $50. So, if you're in the market for a new pair of shoes, boots, or a jacket, you can find reading material (or the perfect holiday book for basketball lovers of all ages?) all in one place!

This one's not available through traditional means--think of it as the literary equivalent of your favorite local musical artist's boutique new album.

Enjoy!
Andy

I encourage the trip to Friedman's, but you can buy or learn more about it here: http://www.lulu.com/…/sling…/paperback/product-22458438.html


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Like the Coolest. Just the Coolest.

Today I visited rehearsal for the play Dizzy Fantastic and Her Flying Bicycle. This is the play I wrote the script for, adapting my book by the same title. It will be the first show at St. Paul Academy and Summit School's stunning new performing arts center.

I hope you'll attend. Shows are 7:00 on Friday, October 23rd and 4:00 on Saturday, October 24th. Admission will be free; seats, first come, first served.

You may be thinking, A school play? Could that be any good?

If you're thinking that, you've never seen a play put on at SPA. I'm lucky enough to teach English at a school whose theater program regularly produces remarkable shows. The actors are talented and dedicated; the directors are experienced and visionary.

So, anyway, I was at rehearsal today. And my goodness, is this thing shaping up. It was one of the coolest experiences of my life to sit with actors (students at our school!) and talk about where the characters in the show come from. This is my most personal book. Most of the characters are inspired by people in my life, and so I could get very specific as actors asked questions.

And then I got to watch them rehearse the first two-thirds or so of the show. To have actors speaking my words! Inhabiting characters I put on the page! Like the coolest. Just the coolest. I felt for one day like a big-time writer.

I hope the play makes you laugh. Maybe your heart will soar.

If it sounds like I myself am soaring tonight--if I'm brimming over (annoyingly) with self-congratulations--don't worry. My dog will eat one of my shoes or something tonight, I'm sure. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Writing is hard, and yet it's doable. And rewarding. And important.

So, as many of you know, I'm a teacher. More specifically, I teach English to middle- and high-school students. That means guiding young people as they learn to read and discuss with greater awareness and confidence. It also means guiding young writers. If you're visiting this website, there's a good chance you know that, in addition to being a teacher, I'm a writer. Perhaps  you've read one or more of my books.

Being these two things at once, a teacher and a writer, is just about the best professional life I can imagine. It's a life of trial and error. Of invention. Of telling stories and appreciating the stories of others.

Anyway, I just read a really wonderful piece by another teacher, Jessica Keigan, whom I've never met. In the piece, she champions the idea of teachers as writers. This means students should watch their teachers write at every stage of the process--not just when something's finished but at the beginning and in the middle of the process, when everything's messy and difficult. I encourage you to read Keigan's article, which you'll find here. Keigan argues that when teachers show students how writing works--how it's hard but rewarding, how it's never perfect--students don't feel so alone in their own writing struggles.

Keigan's article also reminds me of a book manuscript I finished writing in the past year--a book that my publisher is considering at the moment. It's a novel-in-vignettes, sharing a genre (I believe) with Sandra Cisneros's The House on Mango Street. Anyway, I've also written an essay that I hope will be published in the back of this book. The essay does what Keigan talks about--it demystifies how writing happens. Actually, it lays out a formula readers can follow as they write their own novels-in-vignettes. I explain, in the essay, how writers of any ability can write a meaningful novel in a matter of months. If and when this book (Slingers, about an eighth-grade girl who's a basketball phenom and battles jealousies all around her) is published, I hope to tour with it and, as I talk at schools and camps and other places, encourage as many young people as possible to write books of their own.

So there's my spiel. If this sounds interesting to you, let me  know at thunderstrikebike@yahoo.com. I'd love to visit your school or other youth group to deliver just this message.

My brother (the author Patrick Hueller) and I have recently talked about touring together, sharing our books and (what we think is) witty banter--but all so that the writing of stories looks to young people like the fun it really can be, even if it is hard work.

Cheers,
Andy