Now, on with "Storm's Story!"
The next exciting news I got from Lexa was a jpg of the final hardcover jacket.
|This is how they print it --in one long sheet. I loved the inside flap blurb. And the storm cloud raining on Razorbill's Penguin on the back flap.|
Just before Christmas, Lexa forwarded me a wonderful review from the kind and gracious, Uma Krishnaswami. She writes the Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database (CLCD). I was so thankful to Uma for reading Taken by Storm, liking it and caring about it enough to give it that kind of exposure. Susan, from Bloggin' About Books, posted my first ever blog review.
About a month before Storm launched, I wrote this post. My first encounter with the Dark Side, otherwise known as Kirkus.
From "Storm's Story," Feb. 12, 2009, from my original website
I heard from my editor that Kirkus Reviews just sent Penguin their review of Taken by Storm, and it’s not good news.
I’m not too surprised. A few weeks back, while I was killing myself to get Sing Me to Sleep revised, I got an email from their children’s editor forwarded to me expressing great concern over the free diving passages and Michael’s other use of free dive breathing techniques in the book.
I portray Michael going through yoga-like, deep breathing sequences before he dives and later as an intuitive defense mechanism when he gets freaked by flashbacks.
Their reviewer, a former nurse, referred to this as “hyperventilating,” and the email cited links to Wikipedia articles proving how dangerous this practice is. They felt teens wouldn’t have a context to understand the risks.
I had the opportunity to write back and explain that I certainly agreed that hyperventilation, rapid breathing that fails to clear the lungs of carbon dioxide, is dangerous in any context. But that isn’t what Michael does.
There is a lot of misinformation out there about free, apnea, or breathhold diving. It is actually a fairly safe sport that tens of thousands across the world participate in, but it is something you need training to do, and like scuba or anything to do with water, can be dangerous if people try to do it without the proper training. So READER BEWARE! Don’t read my book and drown, okay?
I am fascinated by free divers. They are amazing athletes, but it is kind of crazy. I'd read about free diving before I wrote Taken by Storm, but never done it--give me that friendly tank of nitrox on my back, thank you. When I decided Michael would survive the accident because of his breathholding ability, I realized I needed to find out more about free diving. I talked my husband into taking a certification course in Grand Cayman at DiveTech--where they have huge freediving competitions and people break world records and crazy stuff like that.
That poor instructor. I was awful--the giant fins were just too big for me to kick up over my head, and I get nervous if I have to hold my breath. My husband, who didn't want to take the course in the first place, was great.
We did all our training and then we swam out to the reef. Our instructor dove first--effortless, a dancer in the water, he elegantly fell to the bottom, hung out a few moments, and then rejoined us on the surface. I made it down 25 feet so I passed the course. My husband, not to be outdone by the young fit instructor with impossibly long, dark eyelashes, dove all the way to the bottom, too. Fifty-five feet deep on his first real free dive. His lips were purple by the time he made it back to the surface! Ah, the things we do for love.
We spent hours in the classroom and on the water practicing the slow, deep breathing techniques. They pack your blood, brain, lungs and every available air passage with oxygen. A proper breathedown takes ten minutes and is incredibly relaxing.
If you think free diving sounds cool and want to try it--not just snorkeling, but strap weights to your waist and giant Sporasub fins to your feet and fall fifty feet through the water holding your breath diving--you need to get certified.
The certifying body is the International Association of Nitrox and Technical Divers. Check out IANTD's site: http://www.iantd.com/FreeDiving/index.html for a dive shop near you that offers the course based on the innovative training I got in Grand Cayman at Dive Tech. You’ll learn and practice proper spotting, shallow water black out rescues, and all the skills critical to participating safely in this hot, new sport.
The one thing I really liked about free diving was the deep breathing techniques. I started using them a lot. I get nasty migraines and have to fight down the panic and rapid breathing at the onset of an aura. I know tons about hyperventilation! Free dive breathe down techniques help me stay calm and in control--even alleviate some of the pain.
Wonder if it will work on nasty reviews?
My editor doesn’t think I should read it. Instead, she sent me this beautiful list of all the great things writers, bloggers, teens, and reviewers have said about TBS.
“Passion, pace, pizzazz and a perfect finish—What more can you ask for?”—Tim Wynne-Joes (Rex Zero)
“A debut novel that is satisfying on every level.”—Ron Koertge (Stoner & Spaz)
“As compelling and romantic as Twilight.”—Cathy Berner, (YA Specialist, Blue Willow Bookshop)
“There are moments of yearning and transcendence that took my breath away.”—Susan Fletcher (Alphabet of Dreams)
“An amazing story written with a clear, refreshing and creative voice.”—Jack Weyland (Charly)
“Fans of Meyer's TWILIGHT will enjoy this non-vampiric tale with similar romantic chords.”—Amber Gibson (TeensReadToo)
“RUN to the stores and get this book it is probably one of the most breathtaking and romantic-to-the-point-you-cry books I've ever read.”—The Reader
“Unflinching, honest, and sometimes sorrowful, Taken by Storm is a novel that is not only romantic and entertaining, but thoughtful and moving. Morrison is a bold and talented author to watch.”—The Compulsive Reader
“Angela's writing is stunning.”—Kathi Baron (Shattered—Westside Books, Fall ‘09)
“A beautiful, heartwrenching, romantic story. It made me laugh and cry. I couldn’t put it down!”—Chan (Always Something to Read)
“Engrossing, honest and edgy.”—Susan (Bloggin ‘Bout Books)
“Taken By Storm reads easily and showcases characters both realistic and larger than life, their fervent hopes and desperate needs heading for inevitable collision in its pages.”—Uma Krishnaswami (Writing with a Broken Tusk)
“I started reading, and I simply could not stop. A moving and poetic novel, Taken by Storm is a must read for any teenager entering the dating world—Mormon and non-Mormon alike.” –Abby (North Thurston High School, Olympia, WA)
“I would read this book and discuss it with my daughters. . . . I was blown away.”—Rachelle Lynch (Lausanne, Switzerland)
With this wealth of praise to insulate me, I guess I need to take a series of long deep breaths, and ask Lexa to send that review. At least, I can blog about my sorrows here!
I’m getting Sing me to Sleep ready to go to the copy editor and finalizing my launch tour plans, so I need all my creative energy for that, but I will update you on the Kirkus saga soon.