Friday, May 29, 2009

Setting the Record Straight: Where Truth and Fiction Collide

It's no secret that my new book is based on an actual camp, the camp I went to as a child and the one my daughter attends now: Camp Birch Knoll in Phelps, Wisconsin. And it's also true that the story was inspired by some real life events. But the story is fiction. And the characters are fiction. Really and truly!

Which is why it surprises me when I hear that people are trying to figure out who they are in the book. I've heard from campers and staff, friends of mine and friends of my daughter. Everyone has a theory as to who's who in the book.

It's kind of funny. I guess if someone wants to see themselves in my book, there's nothing wrong with that. But I figure I should set the record straight. So here I go...

1. The friendship triangle of Jemma, Tammy, and Brooke was inspired by a friendship triangle my daughter was in her first summer at camp, but it was also inspired by several different friendship and love triangles I experienced in my own life. The actual characters of Jemma, Tammy, and Brooke sprung from my own imagination.

2. The Darby-Todd relationship wasn't based on anyone at all. But Darby looks a little like one of my counselors at camp, Julie Goldsmith. And Todd, the hunky ski-boat driver, is a combination of all the cute ski-boat drivers I've ever had crushes on.

3. Just like Jemma, I once got to ride in the boat with the cute ski-boat driver, and I was totally embarrassed due to a booger hanging out of my nose.

4. Also, like Jemma, I had to learn the difference between "winning" and "earning" the Firelighter award. (I was Firelighter my third summer of camp.)

5. Eddie, the camp director, is a little bit like Gary, the current Birch Knoll director, and a little bit like Ed, Gary's dad, who directed camp when I went there. But Eddie is really just Eddie. And Maureen is Maureen. I make stuff up. That's why I'm a fiction writer.

6. Delaney isn't based on anyone in particular. But I really like her.

7. Kat and Annie look a lot like my best camp friend, Debby Lebold.

8. There is no such thing as the Star Lake Cup. I made that up. But I did compete in a sailing race on a blustery day, and Debby and I did capsize and almost sink our boat. Her sister, Jenny, came to our rescue.

9. I tried to name as many characters as I could after my daughter's and my camp friends. I even gave Firelighter to one of my friends who totally deserved it but never got it: Jennie Cohen. That was fun.

10. One thing that Jemma Hartman and I have 100% in common is how much we love camp. Best place on earth.
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posted by Brenda Ferber at 9:25 PM 0 comments

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Happy! Happy! Happy!

1. My son's Bar Mitzvah is this weekend!
2. My daughter is coming home today!
3. I'm drinking a yummy cup of Island Coconut coffee.
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posted by Brenda Ferber at 7:46 AM 2 comments

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Book Launch Parties

So far I've had two terrific book launch parties for JEMMA HARTMAN, CAMPER EXTRAORDINAIRE. I have to tell you the truth... I get terrible jitters before these events. I worry that nobody will show up or if they do show up that I'll have nothing interesting to say. So far neither one of these things have occurred. :-D

It makes me realize, yet again, that I have married the best man on earth. Alan totally knows how to handle all my author insecurities and worries and excitement. He never gets rattled or sucked into my emotions, but he listens to me and assures me in his loving and humorous way. Thanks Bud!

Here are some pix from the first party* at the Barnes & Noble in West Bloomfield, Michigan:


A terrific turnout!


Meeting a reader from Ann Arbor

And here are some from the second party* at The Book Stall in Winnetka, Illinois:


Check out this awesome crowd. I'm showing a picture of the camp that
inspired Camp Star Lake in JEMMA HARTMAN.


Signing books!


Some of the yummy treats I baked for the party.

Big thanks to everyone who came out to these events and asked such good questions and applauded and laughed at all the right times! I still have one more book launch party* coming. It will by May 31 at 2 pm at the Deerfield, Illinois Barnes & Noble. Hope to see you there!

*My sons say these are not parties. They are book signings. But I disagree. We have a crowd of people. And fresh baked cookies. And laughter and love. Sounds like a party to me.
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posted by Brenda Ferber at 10:18 AM 0 comments

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Do You Know Bridget Zinn?

All of my books stem from a question. For JEMMA HARTMAN, the question was, "What happens when you find out BFF doesn't always mean forever?" And although that's a good question, and I should probably be thinking all about JEMMA because it is brand-spanking new, today I'm thinking about the question that sparked JULIA'S KITCHEN. That question was, "Why does God let bad things happen?"

And the reason I'm thinking of that is because I just found out about Bridget Zinn. Have you heard about Bridget?

She is a non-drinking, non-smoking, carcinogen-avoiding, young vegetarian who wears sunscreen every day. In the month of February, three things happened to Bridget:
1. She landed a fantastic agent for her young adult novel.
2. She got married.
3. She found out she had Stage Four colon cancer.

Can you imagine?

In JULIA'S KITCHEN, Cara decides that sometimes bad things just happen, and that God is crying right alongside us. I have no idea if that's what Bridget thinks, but I kind of hope so. I hope she is surrounded by friends and family who are lending their support and humor and love. I hope she finds strength and courage to battle her illness. And I hope she doesn't go broke in the meantime.

Like many Americans, Bridget has insurance, but it doesn't cover everything. So a group of authors who were impressed with Bridget's friendliness and radiant joy (even now) got together and organized an online auction to help Bridget cover some of her out-of-pocket medical costs. Now you can help. You can bid on signed books, manuscript critiques, original artwork, etc. Check out some of the great items. I think you'll be impressed. Please bid if you can. It's a simple way to make a difference in someone's life.
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posted by Brenda Ferber at 10:17 PM 0 comments