Oct 31, 2011

Children's Tuesday: With A Name Like Love

(Amazon link)

      Saturday, Oct. 8th, I had the pleasure of meeting LDS, debut author Tess Hilmo (here's her blog). The occasion was the launch of her middle-grade book With a Name Like Love.
(From Goodreads)
     When Ollie’s daddy, the Reverend Everlasting Love, pulls their travel trailer into Binder to lead a three-day revival, Ollie knows that this town will be like all the others they visit— it is exactly the kind of nothing Ollie has come to expect. But on their first day in town, Ollie meets Jimmy Koppel, whose mother is in jail for murdering his father. Jimmy insists that his mother is innocent, and Ollie believes him. Still, even if Ollie convinces her daddy to stay in town, how can two kids free a grown woman who has signed a confession? Ollie’s longing for a friend and her daddy’s penchant for searching out lost souls prove to be a formidable force in this tiny town where everyone seems bent on judging and jailing without a trial.
     The event took place at the American Fork Library. I went with my friend and fellow book blogger, Jenni (check out her blog), and wouldn't have made it there without her (Ack! Interstate! Ack! Construction!).
     We arrived a little bit late and the room was PACKED! We caught the tale end of the American Fork Children's Choir (yes, there was even music -and ukuleles too!) who sang gospel music including Tess' very own composition "Lead Me On" (which was the inspiration for this book. Watch the trailer below to hear it).

     After the musical intro, Tess shared some of her writing-road experience:

     She explained that from the time she attended her first writing conference, nine years passed until her first book was published. She even brought her tall stack of revision papers as proof of the long process (see slideshow below).

"Nine years are going to pass anyway, so you might as well do what you want to do. 
It's okay to follow your dreams as long as you know it will take time. 
It's a journey and it's so worth it."

Q: Did you have any say in the cover?
A: You don't get a say when your book is published on a national level. I saw some of the sketches (by Matt Mahurin) and I was (and am) very pleased.
(Tess had a display board up featuring the evolution of the book cover design. Please see the slideshow below for details.)

Q: Do you have any other books in the works?
A: Yes, a Western story called Cowboy Up.

Q: Did you come up with the title?
A: Yes. I patterned it after the book Because of Winn-Dixie (by Kate DiCamillo). I wanted a different title that would be more memorable.

     Tess concluded her presentation by saying, With a Name Like Love is "drenched in Southern Gospel music and family and humanity. It's a clean, heartfelt, family story."

     Then we were all let loose to get in the signing line, buy books, spin a prize wheel, get free candy, and make beaded bookmarks. Wow. Tess sure knows how to throw a launch party! And there were frogs (plushy ones). (Here's an article about the event.)

And here's the With a Name Like Love book trailer
featuring Tess' original song "Lead Me On" which was her inspiration for the book!

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