The Debut Dish, a Debut Author Challenge feature, is where you go for the scoop on some pretty awesome debut authors and their new books! Hopefully these interviews will inspire you to add many, many more books to your to-read list. Because, really, who doesn’t need more books in their lives?
Happy, happy book birthday to Rebecca Petruck! Rebecca’s debut middle grade novel, Steering Toward Normal, was released today and I am pleased to have Rebecca on the blog to talk about her new book and offer up a pretty fun prize!
Eighth grade is set to be a good year for Diggy Lawson: He’s chosen a great calf to compete at the Minnesota State Fair, he’ll see a lot of July, the girl he secretly likes at 4-H, and he and his dad Pop have big plans for April Fool’s Day. But everything changes when classmate Wayne Graf’s mother dies, which brings to light the secret that Pop is Wayne’s father, too. Suddenly, Diggy has a half brother, who moves in and messes up his life. Wayne threatens Diggy’s chances at the State Fair, horns in on his girl, and rattles his easy relationship with Pop.
What started out great quickly turns into the worst year ever, filled with jealousy, fighting, and several incidents involving cow poop. But as the boys care for their steers, pull pranks, and watch too many B movies, they learn what it means to be brothers and change their concept of family as they slowly steer toward a new kind of normal.
Describe your book in five words or less.
Two boys, steers, and poop.
Why should readers pick up your book?
Steering Toward Normal is about the people we choose to have in our lives, and about how to keep our hearts open to the joys and despite the pains. I think watching Diggy cope with the troubles that come his way is both inspiring and really stinking funny. (Get it? “Stinking?” Because of the poop. Comedy gold, people.)
Also, since Steering Toward Normal is about two boys who raise steers as part of a 4-H program to compete at the Minnesota State Fair, it’s set in a world that middle grade readers don’t see as frequently in novels. I think it’s as fascinating as many fantasy worlds I’ve discovered in books. Also, part two: pranks and poop.
What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
The best thing about being a debut is the fellowship with other debuts, multi-published authors, and aspiring writers. Publishing is a business with deep troughs and high crests. It is not for the faint of heart and requires a stamina of the soul I discovered I could not have maintained without the support of critique partners, mentors, and the writing community at large. Having Steering Toward Normal finally enter the world is like an acknowledgment to all the people that have encouraged me that their time, energy, and love were put to good use and with deep appreciation.
What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
Frozen Junior Mints that we smuggled in.
What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Sheesh. That’s a tough question as my desk is kind of covered with odd things. The Absinthe purifying hand gel? The steampunk anglerfish? The monster nesting dolls? The cityscape made of paper tubes? Pick one.
Rebecca has a very fun giveaway to offer you! Enter below to win a signed copy of Steering Toward Normal, a blue ribbon, a 4-H wristband that says “Head, Heart, Hands, Health”, and cow-themed candy! Good luck! I hope you win. :)