Release Date: April 7, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
About the Author:
From Weston's website: That's a tough one. I'm a grown-up girl, a mom-wife-daughter-sister-friend, a New York Upper West Sider, a guest on Today and Oprah, "the reigning advice columnist at GL magazine" (so says Newsweek), a novelist/author of 12 books who enjoys skiing and art museums, a Yalie who wrote for Seventeen at age 19, a speaker of French and a mumbler of Italian with an M.A. in Spanish from Middlebury, a guest at schools from Alaska to Florida (not on the same day), and hmmm, what else? My parents were writers, and my birthday is September 11th. Oh, and I've had 37 letters in The New York Times. (Who knew? The Times knew. They keep track!)
Who is Ava Wren?
Ava is a good kid who often gets herself in trouble. She's 11 in AVA AND TACO CAT (she was 10 in AVA AND PIP), and is desperate to have a cat. She and her sister Pip sneak into a rescue center and come up with a creative way to convince their parents that they should adopt a poor little injured orange kittycat. But things don't go well when Taco Cat joins the family....
It's fun that Ava herself wants to grow up and write children's books.
Yes, I like that the first book ends with Ava musing that she might want to write a book for kids someday. Are we reading a fifth grader's diary? Or are we reading the book that Author Ava aspires to write? It's like an inside joke with the reader.
Do you have advice for young writers?
I was a young writer myself--my first byline was in Seventeen when I was 19. Since then I've taught writing at Middlebury College and at the New York Society Library in Manhattan, where I live. I gave my best tips to my character Jerry Valentino, and I stand by them. They're on page 150:
1. Write from the heart: write about what you care about.
2. Use your head: think about beginning, middle, and end.
3. Show, don’t just tell: it’s better to reveal than to explain.
4. Use your senses: sight, smell, sound, taste, touch.
5. Provide details: paint pictures with words.
6. Read your work aloud: listen to the rhythm and music of words.
What's with all the palindromes?
The Wrens are all word nerds -- in the best way. And their names are all the same backward and forward: AVA, PIP, ANNA, BOB. (SIS, MOM, DAD) and even TACO CAT. My parents were both writers and editors, so word play is in the blood. We didn't go around saying "A TOYOTA'S A TOYOTA!" but we did talk about words at dinner. My mom was the garden editor of House & Garden Magazine. And my dad worked for television and did not let me get away with peppering my speech with "you know" and "like." I was thrilled when The New York Times gave AVA AND PIP a two-column review and called it "a love letter to language." Good books need strong characters and twisty plots but the words themselves count too. Maybe that's why I do so many revisions. So many many many revisions!