Whole Lot of Lucky Giveaway

Danette Hayworth, author of the popular Me & Jack and Violet Raines Almost Got Struck by Lightning, is back! Her new novel, A Whole Lot of Lucky, is sure to hit that  middle grade sweet spot. 

From Indiebound: Hailee Richardson never realized how much she hated her Salvation Army life and Goodwill accessories until the night her family wins the lottery. All of a sudden she’s no longer the only girl at school without a cell phone or a brand-new bike! And the newfound popularity that comes with being a lottery winner is just what she’s always dreamed of. But the glow of her smartphone and fancy new clothes wears off when Hailee is transferred to Magnolia Academy, a private school. All of a sudden, her best friend and parents seem shabby compared to the beautiful Magnolia moms and the popular bad-girl Nikki, who seems to want to be her friend. Now, Hailee wants nothing more than to grow up-and away-from her old life. It’ll take one very busy social networking page, a stolen first kiss, and a whole carton of eggs for Hailee to realize that not all luck is good, not all change is bad, and a best friend who’s just a call away will always be more valuable than a phone.

Danette stopped by to talk about her writing process, share the secrets of a writer’s purse, and give away an ARC of the new book. Take it away, Danette!

For me, the writing of a story almost always begins with voice, a voice so strong that it carries with it the gender, age, location, and disposition of the character. All I have to do then is think of what could be the worst thing that could happen to that character. If the voice is strong enough, I can drop the character into any situation and know how she’ll react. That’s where the real work begins: finding the right situation to exploit the voice in my head.

While I was in line edits for Me & Jack, I got hit by this image of two girls and a bike. Not just a snapshot image, it was like a short video of an old memory. The girls were in a driveway. I saw lots of trees, and it was that kind of warm/chilly day you get in spring. The main character had just convinced her reluctant best friend to let her ride her new bike (a new bike, and it wasn’t even her birthday!) by agreeing to pay a dollar and a pack of Smarties. As the MC rides away from her friend’s shouted instructions and warnings, she feels as free as the honeysuckle air wafting under her nose, yet she can’t help but compare her friend’s flashy new bike to her own embarrassing old red boy bike, bought for three dollars at a garage sale last year.

The image of these two girls was so strong, I picked up a scrap of paper and wrote down the main character’s viewpoint of that scene, dialogue and all. The words flowed like water from the tap. Other thoughts popped up over the next few days and I wrote them all down. Later, I nixed some of them and expanded others, but what remained were those first words spoken by twelve-year-old Hailee Richardson, owner of the red boy bike. She didn’t know it then, but her whole life was about to change.

The first three chapters are available on my website. If you compare them to the scrap below—and if you can decipher my scratchy writing!—you’ll see that the first few published pages don’t differ much from the first scrappy words spoken by my then-nameless main character.

Parts of this book were written on the backs of old grocery receipts, a must-have for every writer’s purse.

Now that you know the inside story, why not try your own luck. Leave a comment below and you may win an advanced reader’s copy of the novel, due on shelves Sept. 4.

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Tricia Springstubb
Tricia is the author of many books for middle grade, most recently "Every Single Second" (HarperCollins) and the third book in the Cody series, "Cody and the Rules of Life" (Candlewick Press). A frequent speaker at schools, libraries, and conferences, she lives in Cleveland OH. You can find out more about her and her work at www.triciaspringstubb.com
  1. I’m always looking for great new middle grade books! Thanks for introducing me to Lucky!

  2. I love this. I really really am impressed with how she developed this story: it reveals her true passion and love of writing.
    It kind of makes me reflect on how I often find snatches of “scenes” and character’s voices in my head…it’s like I have the character and a few significant moments in my head…but no plot !! BUT, I’m inspired by the author’s observation that she thinks about ‘what’s the worse thing I can throw at that voice”…that really gets me thinking…hmmm.

    Anyway, would love love to read this. Thanks for offering a giveaway and lots of luck to the potential winner (including me 😉

  3. Oh, oh, oh!!! I love her books! Violet Raines is one of my favorites! I would love to win!!

  4. This sounds like a lovely story.

  5. This sounds like a wonderful story, and I loved the peek into the author’s writing process!

  6. A great author and I love hearing the insights as well. Thanks for the opportunity to win an ARC to talk up to my students!

  7. Nice insight into the ideation process and how being open to inspiration (where ever it hits) is key. I would love to win an ARC of this book.

  8. Sounds like a fun book. I’ve definitely written on the backs of old receipts too!

  9. Sounds great and perfect for my students!!!

  10. Sounds like such a fabulous book! I love the receipt writing. 🙂

  11. I love the writing. Sounds like a very interesting book. I’d love to win it and be able to read the rest. Thanks

  12. Great post! I love the picture of some of the book being written on the back of a grocery list!

  13. This sounds like an interesting read. Money sadly enough does have a profound effect on all of our lives.

  14. I was lucky enough to snag an ARC of this last month. I really love how Hayworth resisted the urge to have this book become a flight of fancy, but really showed how money can affect relationships.

  15. What a great concept! Hope I am lucky enough to win!