Today I am happy to have Gayle C. Krause as a guest on my blog.
Although RATGIRL is YA, Gayle is more than qualified to critique picture books as she has a successful, published picture book. I own Gayle’s picture book, ROCK STAR SANTA, and it is one you will want to read again and again.
I have seen more than a taste of Gayle’s creativity and talent as we are both in The Poets’ Garage, a children’s poetry critique group.
Read on to learn more about RATGIRL, and two lies and a truth about Gayle herself. Take it away Gayle.
Penny has mentioned that most of you are picture book enthusiasts and she has asked me to tailor my post to your interest. I think I can do that, as my first published book was a picture book. It’s titled ROCK STAR SANTA. A rhyming seasonal story, it was contracted as an original Scholastic Book Club selection in 2008 and has gone on to be a perennial favorite, selling over 139,000 copies to date.
I hope my second book, RATGIRL: Song of the Viper, will do as well. Here is a brief synopsis:
This urban fantasy is filled with betrayal, revenge and hope. Part thriller, part mystery, part love story, it has something for every reader.
Streetwise orphan, Jax Stone, is an expert at surviving in a dangerous city, where the rich have fled to the New Continent, and the deadly daytime sun forces the middle class to live in abandoned sewer tunnels and subway stations. But she and the other homeless must be wary of rats —the furry ones underground that steal their food and invade their shelter, and the human ones above ground, that steal their children and threaten their lives. When the tyrannical mayor kidnaps her little brother, it’s no coincidence. Jax must use every bit of her stamina and intelligence to get him back.
Since family plays a key role in this story, I thought I might concentrate on the original lullaby that Jax sings to Andy every night. It’s crucial in his rescue ,and it could also be found in a children’s picture book.
Close your sleepy eyes. Come rest your weary head.
You will be safe in your comfy, cozy bed.
I will protect you. Sleep without a care,
and know by my love that I always will be there.
These words are crucial to the story, because when Andy is kidnapped Jax was not there. She didn’t lie to him. She was doing what she always does, scavenging for trinkets or valuables to barter, or foraging for food to feed him. But she fears he might think she did.
Which leads me to Two Truths and a Lie. I’m going to list three situations, as related to RATGIRL, and you must guess which one is the lie. Those of you that get it correct will be placed in a drawing for a free picture book critique from First Peek Critique my critique service.
Okay, here goes:
#1 “The rats must know they don’t stand a chance around me. I chase any rat that crosses my path, and if they’re bold enough, or stupid enough to come back, I smash them in the street beneath cinderblocks left scattered from collapsed buildings. But this rat isn’t in the street. He’s in our home. Well, technically, we’re in his.”
— Like Jax, I have smashed rats with cinderblocks.
#2 “I look forward to the joy on Andy’s face when he sees what we have in store for him. The sweet acorn bread baked all day in Cheinstein’s oven contraption, and Astoria said the rabbit Rafe trapped is solar roasting in the rusted kettle grill I’d picked up on an abandoned apartment balcony.”
–I have eaten acorn bread and rabbit cooked in a homemade solar oven.
#3 “Even though the sun blasts the mountain outside, inside the dampness of the ancient cavern is unmistakable.The sun’s warmth must never touch this cave.
The pathway narrows, as the rock face falls off to the left. I run my fingers along the moist earthen wall to guide me.
The path runs up, and then down, sloping gently to a rock floor, where a small opening appears to be a tunnel. I remember following my mother into this tunnel. As a child, I thought nothing about crawling through a dark, narrow tunnel burrowed deep within a mountain, but as an adult, the thought of the weight of the earth above me only adds to my worry about the children and Alder.”
— I have crawled through a dark tunnel, far beneath the earth, feeling my way along a rock wall, precariously dangling on a steep cliff within a mountainside, with only my sense of touch to guide me.
Written by Gayle C. Krause
Noble Young Adult 2013
Synopsis: A dark, gritty retelling of The Pied Piper set in a dystopic future, where a girl uses her hypnotic singing voice to lure rats to their deaths and children to safety. An urban fantasy filled with betrayal, revenge and hope, it’s part thriller, part mystery, and part love story.
Leave your answer in a comment below by midnight (CST), this Monday, February 25. Correct answers will be included in the drawing for a free picture book critique from Gayle.
You can find Gayle HERE at her website, and HERE, The Storyteller’s Scroll, where she blogs. Be sure to continue on Gayle’s blog tour or even play a little catch up if you have missed the previous posts. Here is her schedule.