Two of them:

I woke up this morning (Saturday in Sydney) to an email from my S&S publicist telling me to immediately call a reporter for the NY Times. They wanted to interview me for an essay about cosmetic surgery, pegged to the recent face transplant in France. Apparently thanks to Uglies, I am the man to call when someone’s face gets eaten by a dog.

But luckily for my breakfast, the piece was about cosmetic surgery in the future. The questions were smart, and despite the fact that I hadn’t had any coffee yet, I think I said some intelligent stuff. I’ll let you know when (and if, always if) the article appears.

Announcement 2:

The book that has been optioned is So Yesterday! I can’t tell you the producers yet, but one of you has got it right! Which Justine and I didn’t think would happen, because it’s kind of out of left field.

But let’s say for now that I have met with them and am thrilled with their ideas. I’ll be able to reveal all before the end of the year, or so my agent says.

Let the serious casting begin! Here are the parts:

Hunter Bracque: a 17-yo trend-spotter with an ambiguous relationship to “cool.”
Jen James: his innovator love interest. A cross between Kim Possible and . . . well, pretty much just Kim Possible.
Mandy Jenkins: Hunter’s smart alecky boss at a certain athletic shoe company. I get dibs on Sarah Silverman.
Lexa Legault: Technogeek and visual effects artist.
Tina Catalina: Hello Kitty geek supreme.
Antoine: Bronx God of athletic shoes.
Hiro Wakata: Lord of All Things With Wheels: bikes, inlines, skateboards, etc.
Hillary Winston-Smith: escapee from Gossip Girl world.
Mwadi Wickersham: anarchist of cool, and the Missing Black Woman not in all those Nike ads.
Futura Garamond: ace designer and anarchist sidekick. Dresses like a “gay body-builder doing an ironic take on NASCAR fandom.”
Hunter’s Mom and Dad: perfume designer and epidemiologist, respectively. Hmm.

Those of you who haven’t read the book, feel free to bone up with the recently released paperback edition.

Victoria Rocks!

The good news is, I just won the Victoria Premier’s Award for Young Adult Fiction!

The (relatively minor) bad news is, on the day of the award I was in Philadelphia, USA instead of Melbourne, Australia. I really would have loved to go, but it’s Teen Reads Week here in America. We’ve had many manic appearances this week, all of them scheduled before the award nominations were announced. Argh.

Fortunately, the wonderful Lili Wilkinson sent me an email this morning describing the affair:

The awards dinner was at Zinc at Federation Square, which is Very Fancy. The food was fabulous and the wine was bountiful. The YA award was the very first one, announced by MC William McInnes, who was very charming and attractive. Then we did a live cross to the country town of Sale, where some SLV staff were on hand with six fabulous Young People. The first three announced the three shortlisted books. The fourth said a few sentences about The Running Man, and the fifth spoke about So Yesterday, saying “This is a book about being cool, which is something I can really relate to”. He got cheers from the audience. Then the sixth Young Person announced the winner (you), and Bob [Sessions] came up, said a few words about how sensible you were to marry an Australian so you can be part of all this, and read your speech. Then we all clapped and cheered, bade farewell to the Young People in Sale, and ate some very nice seared tuna.

Here’s the Melbourne Herald Sun article about it.

There are many thanks to give, but I included most of them in my acceptance speech (read on my behalf by Bob Sessions):

“New” is another word for perilous. When I moved to Australia in 2001, I’d been married for less than a month and had just signed a contract for my first young adult books. This was a new country, a new marriage, and a new career. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the first scene of the first book I wrote here was set on the first day of school, that most terrifying commencement in any young person’s life.

But fresh chapters in our lives can also inspire, at least when there are new friends and allies to be made. In Australia, I have found them in abundance. Let me name three:

The Australian science fiction community has welcomed me unreservedly, even though my American upbringing means I can name only a single Dr. Who out of seven. (Or is it eight now? Nine?)

Penguin Australia has given my books a home here, marketing them skillfully and ameliorating my spelling without complaint.

The Centre for Youth Literature here in Melbourne have championed my work with tremendous enthusiasm, and have also given me the benefit of their wide reading and wonderful conversation. Special thanks to Agnes Nieuwenhuizen for building the Centre into such a wonderful resource.

It is to these friends and allies that I owe any success in my new career. This generous award is simply the icing on a cake with many layers.

Thanks to you all.

So Yesterday in Paperback

Still in Mexico, with 8,400 words of the sequel to Peeps already written. To those of you who think in pages instead of words, that’s about 35. More than 10% of a book!

Watch here for the title, which I suspect I will know soon . . .

Forgot to mention that So Yesterday (again, just short-listed for the Victorian Premier’s Award) just came out in paperback. It can now be acquired for $7.99 in bookstores or on Amazon.

And now, taken from our very own balcony, the envy-provoking sunset photo of the day:

Victorian Award

Some quick notes from Mexico:

1. Mexico is celebrating Independence Week, and there were rockets whizzing past our balcony this morning. Total rockets!
2. Mexican waiters are so cool. They urge on my halting Spanish, saying Muy Bien and Perfecto! like I’m James Bond ordering in perfect French.
3. Humming birds are everywhere, and when one gets caught in your house and beats its little wings against the resonating heavy lead-glass Mexican windows, it’s like a helicopter in your living room! If hummingbirds were our size, they’d totally crush us like bugs! (And I, for one, would welcome out hummingbird overlords.)
4. So Yesterday just got short-listed for the Victorian Premier’s Award! This is a huge deal, and as always it’s nice to have my work recognized in Australia, my adopted home.

This is my new writing space, until it gets too sunny. Note the astonishing number of hummingbird-attracting flowers.

So Yesterday in Swedish!

Breaking news from World Headquarters: So Yesterday was just bought by Bonnier Carlsen, a publishing house in Sweden. Big props to Whitney Lee at Fielding Agency for selling that book all over the globe.

I always suspected that So Yesterday might sell well internationally. As a consumer satire, I figured that it should appeal to foreign folks who find us inch-using, doctor-paying, soccer-not-playing ‘Mericans to be inherently funny. I’m glad to see that I was right.

I didn’t think of this when the French rights sold, but I’m very curious as to how the Spoonerisms in the book will work. (For you who are too lazy to click: a Spoonerism is a humorous reversal of word beginnings, like “May I sew you to your sheets?”)

Spoonerisms form a key plot point in So Yesterday, and are supposed to generate a lot of laughs. But does Swedish even have them? I mean, William Archibald Spooner himself was a don at Oxford (the place where they make that cattle-stunning dictionary of English) so there’s no guarantee that speakers of other languages even know what Spoonerisms are . . .

Sounds like a tough ask for the translator. I just hope he or she is a shining wit.

Now, I’m a self-confessed language geek. (My sophomore novel, Fine Prey, is about a xenolinguist, and you can’t get much geekier than that.) But I know next to nothing about Swedish. So I have no guesses as to the Swedish title, or whether the character-name puns (like “Hunter”) will translate well, or how those all-important Spoonerisms will fair.

My only tidbit to share comes from my Swedish-Aussie pal Kim Selling, who once explained to me during a long car ride in the Outback that the Swedes are to farting as the Inuit supposedly are to snow. That is, they have a lot of words for it. This is probably the result of spending a lot of time in saunas together, a natural environment for the linguistic dissection of flatulence.

So a brief and probably inaccurate primer on Swedish gas-passing:

• Fjärt–a fart (the English root-word)
• Pruttar–a sputtering fart (very onomotopoetic, that one)
• Äggmök–a smelly fart
• Göra en stinkare–literally, to make a stink
• Mört-a silent but deadly one (bringing new meaning to the title Morte, d’Arthur)

I’m sure there were more. I’m waiting for Kim and any other Swedaphones to weigh in on this important issue.

And if you object to this post, just remember that Spamalot just won a butt-load of Tonys. Don’t make me pruttar in your general direction, yo.

So Yesterday in French! (with contest)

Just heard this morning that the new French publisher Panama has made an offer on So Yesterday.

The French have been very, very good to me. This is the fourth of my books to be published there, after Evolution’s Darling and Risen Empire/Killing of Worlds. I’ve gotten great reviews in mainstream papers like L’Express and Le Monde, and one of my translators won an award for his work on ED. Much more of this, and I will become the Mickey Rourke of science fiction. But you can’t argue with excellent Google-translated reviews like this.

Interestingly, the title of Evolution’s Darling was translated as L’I.A. et son double, or The A.I and Its Twin. This has historical precedents in a whole sub-theme of French titling, most famously The Theatre and Its Twin, by Atonin Artaud.

This whole weird title-transaltion thing reminds me of when I first got to college. I was on the same floor as a woman from Italy. Whenever we talked about American films, she would crack us up with the literal translations of the Italian release titles. All I remember is that Airplane was called “The Craziest Airplane in the World.”

After learning this, my friends and I spent the next four years refering to all movies this way.
The Godfather became “The Craziest Family in the World.”
Jaws: “The Craziest Fish in the World.”
Terminator: “The Craziest Cyborg in the World.”
All the President’s Men: “The Craziest Quaker in the World.”

So here’s a contest for you all: The first commentor to correctly guess the name of So Yesterday in French will win:
a) A signed copy of the trade paperback edition of So Yesterday, or;
b) If you already own SY, you can have whatever else you want (that’s on my author’s copy shelf).

Only one guess per commentor!

My guess is “The Craziest Cool-Hunter in the World.”

Note: I don’t know what the title will be yet. So the contest will end when the translator and publishers make up their mind.

Bon chance!