Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Ex Games: a time line and weather report

May 2008. Where I live in Alabama, it is sunny and 90 degrees. My editor asks me to write a Simon Pulse Romantic Comedy about snowboarding.

I learned to water ski when I was 5 years old, and I’ve also snow skied quite a few times. So the physical act of snowboarding doesn’t seem foreign to me. But when you do most of your writing outside in the gorgeous summer weather, barefoot, it IS a little hard to picture.

October 2008. It is sunny and 75 degrees. I turn in the snowboarding book to my editor.

January 2009. It is rainy and 55 degrees. My editor asks me to revise the snowboarding book. Luckily The X-Games are on TV for inspiration. So THAT’S what snow looks like! I had forgotten. And Kelly Clarkson’s “My Life Would Suck Without You” is on the radio, the perfect theme song for the stars of this book, Hayden and Nick.

February 27, 2009. It is sunny and 65 degrees. My editor asks me for a bio to print in the back of the snowboarding book. I say, “Jennifer Echols lives in Birmingham with her family, no snow, and a vivid imagination.” I crack myself up.

March 1, 2009. It snows.

Snow on magnolias! At 5 inches, it is the biggest snow Birmingham has seen since “The Blizzard of ’93.”

Personally, I am an old hand at the snow. I have taken the aforementioned ski trips to Vail and Beaver Creek and Winter Park. I also spent several years in graduate school in Kentucky, where it snowed two feet every Martin Luther King Day. Unfortunately, when it snowed, it also tended to be 20 below, not very inviting for outdoor frolic. Somehow I moved away from Kentucky without learning to build a snowman. So when my family and I spent the morning outdoors in our glorious 5 inches of snow, this is what we ended up with:

I’m glad I took pictures. Everything melted by the afternoon.

March 3, 2009. It is sunny and 75 degrees. I take my kid to the playground and compare snowman-building notes with another chick.

Chick: No, you’re not supposed to fill buckets and garbage can lids with snow and dump them out on the snowman, packing it into a stalagmite. You’re supposed to ROLL the snowman, ROLL a big bottom ball and then put smaller balls on top.

Me: I thought that only worked in cartoons.

Chick: No, that’s really how you build a snowman.

Me: How do you know this? Are you from Up North?

Chick: I grew up here. [She lifts her chin, obviously proud of her worldliness and vast experience.] I was here during The Blizzard of ’93, you know.

Perhaps wisely, there are no snowmen in my book. I stuck with what I know: ski slopes, and adorable ski resort towns, and trudging through two feet of snow when the university refuses to cancel class.

March 10, 2009. It is sunny and 82 degrees. The Ex Games won’t be published until October 6, but it’s already available for pre-sale on Amazon!

Or, if you’re interested in something a bit more seasonal, you can order my spring break book Going Too Far right now from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.com. Look for it in stores on March 17, then sign my guestbook and tell me what you think!


Wendy Toliver said...

I can't wait to read it! I've been boarding a lot this season. It's a blast!

Jennifer Echols said...

Thanks Wendy!

Erika Powell said...

This time line is great and a small step toward holding me over until The Ex Games comes out!
And yes you start with a little snow ball and you roll it until it is as big as you want. And if you decide to make a snowman that is 8 feet tall like I did with my sisters in December then you get huge pieces of plywood to use as ramps and roll the big balls up them and on onto the other balls.

Jennifer Echols said...

Oh, cool! Your snowman sounds ginormous! When it snows here again in 2025, we will have to try this.

Alea said...

Hehe, love your timeline. We are easing our way into Spring here, just a few snowstorms left :P

I will definitely be getting your new book! I just finished Going Too Far today and I can't stop thinking about it! :D

Jennifer Echols said...

Stay warm Alea! And thanks for your kind words about Going Too Far! That is great to hear.

Anonymous said...

Hey! I can't wait for it. And Going Too Far, of course! BTW, when's my prize coming in the mail, if you don't mind me asking? Thanks!

Jennifer Echols said...

Fiel! It's on the way. :)

Debbie Rigaud said...

Fun post! Looking back, I was all about making snow angels rather than a snowman. A lot less demanding of technique, of which I had none. Looking forward to reading THE EX GAMES. :-)

Jennifer Echols said...

Thanks Debbie!