Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Not-So-Usual Debs' Interview: SYDNEY SALTER

Like the title states, this is not your typical Debs’ Interview. Yes, Sydney Salter is a Deb. But we met her before, back in April when her novel MY BIG NOSE AND OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS debuted. Which means that JUNGLE CROSSING is *not* Sydney’s debut novel. So, in light of her second release, we’re doing a second interview, with a second set of questions. *cue confetti* That’s right, folks, buckle up, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride. No, seriously, it’s just new questions…

Sydney’s latest book JUNGLE CROSSING is the reason we’re here:

Thirteen-year-old Kat can think of dozens of good reasons not to go on a boring family vacation to hot, grungy Mexico. Number one: missing her friend Fiona's minicamp. If she's not there, she'll begin eighth grade as a social reject. And it looks like she's the odd girl out on vacation, too. When Kat's parents arrange for her and her younger sister, Barb, to go on a teen adventure tour, Barb makes more friends than she does. The only person who will talk to Kat is Nando, a young Mayan guide (who happens to be quite a cutie). Each day as they travel to different Mayan ruins, Nando tells Kat and Barb another installment in the original legend of Muluc, a girl who lived in the time of the Ancient Maya. The dangerous, dramatic world in which Muluc lives is as full of rivalry, betrayal, jealousy, and sacrifice as Kat's world at school. And as she makes new friends and discovers new treasures in Mexico, Kat begins to wonder: Is she willing to keep sacrificing herself in exchange for popularity?

Ready, set, INTERVIEW:

1) So, Sydney, your second book, JUNGLE CROSSING, is geared toward a slightly younger audience, how has that changed how you’ve gone about preparing for your launch?

I'm planning to target teachers and librarians this time around--especially with the Mayan theme in the novel. I'm also working on a school presentation aimed at upper elementary school age children. Plus, I ordered scads of those cute little bobble head turtles for giveaways and drawings (kids love them--okay, so do I!).

2) Other than the age range, how much different is this book from your first book?

Jungle Crossing is a hybrid contemporary/historical coming of age story with two main characters, 13-year-old Kat and an ancient Mayan teenager. The ancient story has a lot of action and adventure. My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters is a humorous contemporary YA so, yeah, they're pretty different.

3) What made you decide to write for a younger audience?

Jungle Crossing is actually the first novel I ever wrote, but my fourth manuscript (My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters) sold first. I've always enjoyed writing and reading in both genres.

4) Have you found it harder or easier to connect with middle-graders online? How has that affected your marketing strategies?

Marketing is quite different because middle-grade readers mainly go online to play games--not read blogs. And they're not even allowed on social networking sites. In some ways, I'm starting from scratch when it comes to marketing!

5) After going through your debut with MY BIG NOSE AND OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS, what has been the biggest difference in preparing to launch your second book? What things are you doing exactly the same this time around?

I'm not as stressed since the process is more familiar. And I've decided NOT to worry about the things I cannot control--like reviews. I'm going to schedule several book signings again and I'm kind of excited that I don't have to worry about "questionable content" this time around. Anyone can read Jungle Crossing!

I’d like to thank Sydney for stopping by; I’m fascinated by the whole second-book-process compared to the first, so I appreciate her sharing. Plus, I got to meet Sydney in LA and she was lovely and funny and awesome!!!

If you want to find out more about Sydney (and her books), check out her website at!


PJ Hoover said...

What a fun cover! And as always, a great interview!

Kimberly Derting said...

Most of this second-book stuff applies to you too, PJ! I hope you're feeling more comfortable about everything too!!!

Heidi Willis said...

I love reading these interviews, and these new questions were really good!

I taught Mayan history for a brief span of my teaching career, and I would have LOVED something like this!

Sydney Salter said...

Thank you so much for hosting me, Kimberly! loved the questions too, Heidi. And I sure hope teachers love my book.

Kimberly Derting said...

Heidi - SO COOL that you taught Mayan get more fascinating by the day! ;)

And, Sydney, we were thrilled to have you!!!