Children’s Book Week and ask Valerie Hobbs contest

Manuscript update: Current word count is 10,791. Wrote 1,247 words since Thursday. It’s going … slowly, but going. Coming up to an exciting part in the story, so that’s fun.

Childrens Book Week posterToday is the start of Children’s Book Week. Yay! It’s so awesome that there’s a special week celebrating children’s books. Books are amazing for so many reasons. They tell stories of our history, our present, our possibilities. They take us to new places, real and imagined.

But for children, books are so important, because they help them understand themselves and their world and help them to grow.

Formed in 1919, Children’s Book Week is celebrated by schools, libraries, bookstores and clubs around the nation — not to mention blogs. It’s run by the Children’s Book Council. And there are a number of events going on to celebrate children’s books this week.

Valerie Hobbs headshot and The Best Last Days of Summer book  coverI’m celebrating Children’s Book Week with a contest for a copy of the new middle-grade children’s book The Best Last Days of Summer by Valerie Hobbs. I interviewed the editor of the book, Frances Foster, on Friday. And in two weeks, you can interview Valerie by submitting your questions here.

Valerie is the award-winning author of a number of novels, including children’s books Sonny’s War, Defiance and Sheep, as well as the young adult book Letting Go of Bobby James, or How I Found My Self of Steam.

To enter to win a copy of The Best Last Days of Summer, leave a comment on this post with a question for Valerie before midnight, Friday, May 14. Valerie will answer all your questions here on DayByDayWriter on Friday, May 21, and whoever submits her favorite question, will win the book. So make them good!

Write On!

24 Responses

  1. Doris Fisher says:

    As a published author myself, I would like to know what you think about the Kindle and it’s affect on young readers.

  2. Erin says:

    Okay, so here’s my questions:

    How do you develop your characters? How do you create a character that seems real? How do you connect with them and know how they would think and act and effectively convey that on the page?

    Also, just for fun–how do you decide what your character will look like, what their name will be, what they’re house looks like, etc.?

  3. Rosi Hollinbeck says:

    My question for Valerie: What do you do to overcome a missing muse and get your writing going again when you become stuck?

    • Great question for which there are many answers. In short, I don’t always know (!) Toby in Defiance just “came to me” out of the blue, but many of my characters (well, all of them really) are me in various guises. They become more and more “real” as themselves as I write. If they don’t, I’m “outa there”!

      I try to “see” them in my mind (I think I could actually do a better job of that) and I look in a character naming source book for names.

    • Hardest thing in the world! I go for a long walk. And pray.

  4. Great questions! Thanks

  5. Gillian Foster says:

    Do you find that the best and very private qualities of yourself go into your characters? I’m thinking of those qualities of fine feeling level which don’t necessarily find their way easily into public interactions. Thanks.

    • Absolutely. Although the characters don’t usually start out with the best values, for example, that’s where they end up. So, yes, the characters get the best and the worst of me.

  6. liz maxwell says:

    Valerie, When have you rewritten enough and how many times would you say you rewrite your book before you send it out to publishers/agents?

    • I just rewrote a book three times that got rejected three times. How’s that?

      I feel like I’m finished when the end comes together and gives me chills. It takes a while!

  7. Hi, Val –

    What do you see as the piece of the puzzle that keeps The Last Best Days of Summer from getting “lovely but too quiet” comments? If this had been your first book, would it have made a difference?

  8. Are all of your stories come from real life events and people? Or, have some come from your imagination alone?


  9. Hi Val,

    Can you share a magical moment of the writing of ‘The Best Last Days of Summer’… perhaps when a character did something completely unexpected/unplanned, and it was just wonderful for the story?

  10. Thanks for all that you shared. This is twice in two days that I’ve looked at middle school and YA readers. What subjects are most appealing to middle graders right now?

    Author of You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers

  11. Joannie Villegas says:

    The title of your book, The Last Best Days of Summer, is so intriguing. What inspired the title? Was this always the title of the book?

    • The title originally was Lucy In The Sky, which, I guess, was not good because of the drug connection (!) So then my editor and I went crazy trying to come up with titles. I like this one now.

  12. Farida Mirza says:

    My question to Valerie is this: There may be many authors who have a completed manuscript but lack the financial resources, the personality required for self-marketing and/or the knowledge about publishers/publishing/agencies that will help them get their work considered. Do you think it is possible to have a platform where first time writers post/send their work (without copyright concerns)to be looked at by publishers and agents?

    • I don’t think there is a free one, but there are several who will do this for a fee. I’m sorry but I don’t know much more than that. You might check with for more information.

What do you think?