About the Book:
Title: THE WAY TO BEA
Author: Kat Yeh
Pub. Date: September 19, 2017
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
Find it: Amazon, B&N, iBooks, TBD, Goodreads
With a charming voice, winning characters, and a perfectly-woven plot, Kat Yeh delivers a powerful story of friendship and finding a path towards embracing yourself.
Everything in Bea’s world has changed. She’s starting seventh grade newly friendless and facing big changes at home, where she is about to go from only child to big sister. Feeling alone and adrift, and like her words don’t deserve to be seen, Bea takes solace in writing haiku in invisible ink and hiding them in a secret spot.
But then something incredible happens–someone writes back. And Bea begins to connect with new friends, including a classmate obsessed with a nearby labyrinth and determined to get inside. As she decides where her next path will lead, she just might discover that her words–and herself–have found a new way to belong.
Kat grew up reading, doodling, and scribbling in Westtown. She worked for many years in advertising and sports marketing, while writing children’s books in the wee hours of the night. She currently lives on Long Island where she can see water every day and explore all the bay and harbor beaches with her family.
First: Close your eyes.
(or pretend to because you kind of have to keep reading this)
I live in a 1920 gardener’s cottage – which basically means we live in the Servants’ Quarters of an old estate here on Long Island. We are surrounded by seasonal flowers, beautiful hedges, and lovely woodland, hidden away from the street at the end of a rough gravel driveway. There is a lonely beach down the road. When we moved here, the detached garage was a big draw for me, because it has a beautiful room connected to it with towering ceilings and a wall of windows. I have a gorgeous stack of flat files for my art and two desks. My father’s old mid-century steel desk and a vintage drafting table that faces the windows. This is my office and studio. Can you picture it? Lovely, isn’t it?
Now open your eyes.
This is the reality.
The truth is that my desk (and this whole space really) is an awful lot like the inside of my head when I start a novel. It’s like a rough draft. The very roughest of rough drafts. You writers know what I’m talking about. My office is like the ugly rough draft you are too embarrassed to ever show anyone. Your only hope is that it will soon become a faded memory, as you carefully craft it into what you know it can be.
Though for now, there is simply too much there. It’s just a mess.
But like any rough draft, within that mess, there are tiny glimmers of hope.
At the start of a new novel (which is actually where I am right now!), I begin with way too many ideas — too many subplots and symbols and what not. But I need all those things — every single one of them— to get to my final story. They are all important in that they are all part of leading me to where I’m going to go.
There is a piece of art that my daughter did on the top left side of my table. Underneath it, barely peeking out, is a vintage typewriter in a case with a leather handle. I love that typewriter. It was my dad’s and seeing it there led me to give it a small role in my new middle grade novel, THE WAY TO BEA. In the plastic box filled with pencils, there are a half dozen dip pens that I experimented with trying to decide which one would be perfect to use with homemade invisible ink, so that when I wrote about my main character, Bea, scribbling her invisible haiku, I could really know how it feels. And in three of the flat files to the left, there are stacks and stacks of blue nudes, floating in space. Images I couldn’t stop drawing for years. When I realized that Bea’s mom was an artist, I knew that she would do blue nudes, too.
THE WAY TO BEA is the story of 12 year old Beatrix Lee, formerly a joyous and jubilant artist and poet who find herself in a jumbled mess at the beginning of her 7th grade year. Her outwardly expressive ways are no longer appreciated by her best friend and she is unceremoniously dumped after being told that she is simply “too much.” She loses her friend group. Her parents are busy creating their art and being madly in love and expecting a new baby. She reluctantly takes a position as poetry editor for the middle school paper and tries to keep to herself as she joins the staff. She just doesn’t know how to navigate all the changes going on.
Bea and my office have a lot in common. Things seem pretty overwhelming. But I have hope.
There are many more things tucked and hidden away in this jumbled rough draft of an office and desk. The answers to what will help Bea find her way are all hidden in there somewhere. And others will go into the new one I’m writing.
As I feel myself become more and more excited about writing my next novel, I realize that, once again, like the others, I will be writing it from the clean and lovely pristine tables at my public library. The desk will have to stay as is for now.
After all, it’s clear to me that I can only handle one rough draft at a time.
3 winners will receive a finished copy of THE WAY TO BEA, US Only.
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