Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Guest Blogger: Lauren Baratz-Losted

My guest today is author Lauren Baratz-Logsted, a multi-talented writer who has authored books in a variety of styles. Her latest, which looks like great fun, is The Sisters Eight a children's series about eight strong girls (sisters, no less) who find themselves and solve a mystery... with the help of their cats. (Here's a link to the first book.) Take it away, Lauren!

We all know the world can be divided into two groups. No, I’m not talking about Democrats and Republicans. I’m talking about Cat People and Dog People; and, since I’m here, I think we all know where my party allegiance lies. In fact, that allegiance is so strong, when I set out to write my first (unsold) book back in 1994, I had my heroine comment on the preference for feline help when solving mysteries, “Ever here that phrase ‘you sly dog’? As if!”

Twelve years later, in December 2006, having been stranded in Colorado by a blizzard, my family embarked on an exciting project: We decided to write a series of books together that would be suitable to the youngest of we three, “we three” meaning me, my husband Greg Logsted (whose YA debut, Something Happened, comes out in November) and our now eight-year-old daughter Jackie. The series, titled The Sisters Eight, would be about octuplets, born on 8/8/2000, whose lives change forever on New Year’s Eve 2007 when Mom goes out to the kitchen for eggnog, Dad goes out to the woodshed for firewood…and neither come back. Now the Eights, as they are known, must endeavor to solve the mystery of what happened to their parents while keeping the wider world from realizing that eight little girls are living home alone.

Jackie named the sisters: Annie, Durinda, Georgia, Jackie, Marcia, Petal, Rebecca, and Zinnia. Even if it’s her mom saying so, I think there are some pretty original names in there and I really like the metafictional hubris of naming a character after herself – the nicest character, of course.

Me, I got to name the eight gray-and-white puffball cats that play an important role in the series: Anthrax, Dandruff, Greatorex, Jaguar, Minx, Precious, Rambunctious, and Zither. I think I did a pretty good job of naming too.

As I say, the cats do have an important role. In order to solve the mystery, each sister must discover her own power, and as the sisters receive their powers, the cats do as well. So that when Annie learns she can _____, Anthrax similarly learns she can…

Well, I guess you’ll just have to start reading the series when it pubs on December 29 in order to find out. Oh, and series publisher Houghton Mifflin has kindly created a website for people to keep up with the Eights.

No comments: