I was nervous, but they are so friendly that they put me at ease. They had incredible ideas that I never even imagined and they seem so excited and determined.
It’s still surreal that Graffiti Girl was optioned. It’s a big IF it will ever make it to a screen, but its a surreal dream that I’m experiencing step-by-step and it makes me smile.
Their love for movies really hooked me because of my own love for them. So it was fun to talk movies, directors, writers, and actors as a wish list. Lucy and Shelley’s vision for Graffiti Girl is awesome.
We’ll be chatting once a month and if things start to happen I’ll definitely keep you posted. Right now it’s just fun to dream.
About two months ago, I was contacted by a Professor of Liberal Studies in the Liberal Studies Department at CSU Monterey Bay about 25 miles from my neck of the woods. He taught a Latina Reading group! Yes, a group he put together himself to encourage and support some CSUMB Latino students as undergrads who want to become teachers. As part of this process they were reading a series of picture books and YA novels. One of their proposed novels was Graffiti Girl. He had recently had a visit by another local author, Ann Jaramillo, author of La Linea.
Of course, I was flattered! And truthfully, I was a little nervous and not sure what to expect. These wouldn’t be middle grade students, but adults reading my book, and I’m just a newbie author, who never attended a university…what could I bring to these students?
Well, I could bring chocolate! *grin* But this time I knew I wouldn’t be throwing around candy to get the group to open up. But there was no need, once I arrived Professor Miguel was so welcoming. He joked that Miguel in Graffiti Girl was him! And the group was so friendly, it really was like they were a family of cousins with mostly woman and two men.
The only part that made me nervous was the video camera. *grin* But the professor assured me it was for studying purposes so they might revisit the meeting. We went around the table and introduced ourselves, and the students each told me of parts of the story that they related to, what scenes touched a personal cord with them, and the themes that they felt were important.
I had never been to a group where the readers had each taken time to read my book and them discussed it with me. I tried to share my feelings about each scene and character and what made me write them. It was a very honest, and enlightening, and humbling experience. I was incredibly honored.
Near the end, they each described what their “tag” name would be and how it would look painted. That was very fun and creative! I followed up by signing a few books and taking pics. One of the students baked cupcakes and I took some home. *grin*
Professor Miguel has since sent me photos, a writing prompt from one of his students about what it means to be Latino, and mentioned they have now changed their name to the Latina Reading Crew! I wish the best to this wonderful group of Latinos. And like I mentioned, it was an awesome experience I won’t forget.
I know its been a long time no blog.
I hope everyone has been doing well! I just finished my latest proposal and turned it into my agent. I’m hoping there will only be minor edits this time around, but time will tell.
And I just had a fun experience yesterday….
I signed my film option agreement for Graffiti Girl!
Wow, I think the negotiating began in October of last year. My agent enlisted a co-agent who specializes in film contracts. Every detail you could imagine was discussed. If Graffiti Girl was adapted for television, cable or film. If it never gets adapted. If it goes to screen and plays so many times. It was indeed a whole experience for me and very exciting.
Now, it’s rare for a book to be optioned, even more rare for a book to make it to TV or a movie stage, but I’m wowed by the option no matter what happens. It is an accomplishment I never dared to imagine.
So at the moment I’m reading and picked up Rachel Vincent’s PRIDE. I heard so many great things about her series and I’m happily enthralled in her world. I will definitely be picking up the rest of the series. I also have a list of interviews and guest blogs I will be tackling this week.
What’s everyone else reading these days?
I feel like I need to sit back and take a breather.
Its been an incredibly busy week and with a book signing this weekend for Invisible Touch. I have to say I love being writer. Of course, it has its ups and downs and its hard not to worry about sales and numbers, but its a dream job for me. To be able to make up stories and characters in my head is a wonderful dream.
Something surreal and wonderful is happening lately…a number of California teachers are adding GRAFFITI GIRL to their classroom curriculum. Now, I don’t know if the entire class reads it at once or they have it listed as an option, but I’ve heard this a few times in the last month. A teacher spoke with a family member (without knowing I was a family member) that GRAFFITI GIRL was under discussing at a San Francisco teacher conference as being added to classroom middle grade/high school required reading. Then a local high school teacher said they just read GRAFFITI GIRL as a class assignment and discussed the book.
I was honored to discover GRAFFITI GIRL was being used for the BookUpNYC program, but I never thought GRAFFITI GIRL would be used in a classroom. When I wrote GG, there were so many things running through my head…art, having an interesting topic for kids to relate to, kids following their dreams.
Really, if I sit back and really take this news in, I am incredibly humbled. I wish I could thank every teacher for recommending my book.
Its been a year and a half since Graffiti was first published and only now is word slowly spreading through the education system. Yes, it takes this long for a small book to get noticed little by little.
Also, today my agent blogged over at Romancing the Blog about GG and what a RITA nom could do for a book. Check it out if you have a moment.
I hope everyone has a great weekend and I’ll hopefully have some pics to post from the signing!
So I chatted about this just a day earlier!
As announced on Publisher’s Marketplace:
Kelly Parra’s GRAFFITI GIRL, a struggling young Latina artist looking for acceptance is torn between two Latino boys — one with a beautiful eye for detail and an upscale street address and the other who lives in her neighborhood and who uses the streets as his canvas, optioned to Lucy Mukerjee of After Dark Films, by Michael Cendejas at the Lynn Pleshette Agency, on behalf of Kristin Nelson at Nelson Literary Agency.
It’s pretty great. I’ll likely share how this all came about once I touch base with Lucy Mukerjee, but I must get ready for the Secret Fates Extravaganza tomorrow!!
I’ve had some great Graffiti Girl news as of late but I’m always in the position of wondering if it is okay to share…how long should it be kept quiet…yada, yada, yada? I wish there was a rule book to this sort of stuff. For now I have to bug my agent to let me know.
1) Graffiti Girl has been selected by the California Readers for the 2009 High School Reading Collection. GG on a recommended reading list–hooray!! Thank you, California Readers!! I think when you write for kids this is one of the great ways to reach out to young readers. I’m really honored to be added to the list.
2) Last week, the publicist for MTV Books sent an email that Graffiti Girl is being considered for the Tomas Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award. Wow! I’m so excited! There is no official announcement for nominees but I’m very humbled to be considered for this wonderful award even if they do not choose GG as the recipient. Its just wows and humbles me to be considered.
Texas State University College of Education developed the Tomas Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award to honor authors and illustrators who create literature that depicts the Mexican American experience. The award was established in 1995 and was named in honor of Dr. Tomas Rivera, a distinguished alumnus of Texas State University.
3) And the last surprising and great news…I just accepted a film option deal for Graffiti Girl. *gulp* Yes, this is amazing news and I’m kind of nervous to share about it without the official announcement. haha. I’m not sure when the announcement will be made but I’m very honored and excited. I got the okay to chat about it on my blog and hope to share more when I can. This is not a guarantee GG will be made into something for the screen, but I never dreamed someone might believe it a possibility.
Thanks for reading.
A few weeks ago, YA author Shelley Adina, author of the All About Us series, asked me to join her book signing at Borders in San Jose, CA. You don’t have to ask me twice! I agreed and we had a fun two hours attempting to gather customer attention. haha! We had some laughs as you might be able to tell from Shelley’s photo. I tend to draw out the giggles from my author friends.
And since Shelley was so cool to hang out with I’m giving away a signed copy of Shelley’s first book in the series, IT’S ALL ABOUT US over at YA Fresh this weekend. Check it out if you’re interested!