Willa Snap Wins an IPPY!

Idiot Genius: Willa Snap and the Clockwerk Boy just won Independent Publisher Book Award for Juvenile Fiction!

I can’t believe it! I couldn’t more proud!

WSCBIPPY

“With its strong female protagonist, steampunk influence, myriad gadgets, descriptions of real life inventors and inventions, and quality writing, I can’t recommend this book enough. Did I mention clockpunk cats?” —B. Evans

What’s it about? Here’s Willa (she’s eleven):

Ever wonder why some crazy scientist hasn’t blown up the world? I used to wonder about it all the time. Actually, I was pretty sure my mom would be the one to do it.
But now I know better. It turns out there’s a force working hard to keep the world from going KABLOOEY.
Who are these people? Wait for it:
Idiots. Yep, you heard me right.
How do I know? Well, apparently, I’m an Idiot. At least, according to the Geniuses I am. Confused? I’m not surprised. You’re probably an Idiot too.

It all began on a Thursday at precisely 8 a.m. I was standing in the family room of our lovely two-story house, directly across the street from Squirrel Brand Park in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The same family room that, in a few minutes, I would never ever, ever see again—ever.

Bringing Willa Snap’s Clockwerk Dress to Life

Once we decided to attend Balticon 52, it was a pretty short jump to: Let’s make Willa’s Clockwerk dress!

But how?*

Well, as luck would have it, we have a costume designer in the family. In fact, Meredith was there from the beginning. After reading an early draft, and after pincushioning me with questions, she dashed off—within minutes—the first design sketch of the dress. She then sat at my side, answering my questions, as I converted her sketch back into words. (Meredith was 14 at the time she drew this sketch. She’s now in her second year at Rutger’s University, pursing a BFA in costume design.)

DithSketch

(please pardon the refrigerator magnets)

Years later, working from a newer draft, Carolyn Arcabascio created a quick napkin sketch, in color, to see if she was on the right track. (She was.)

NapkinSketch

The dress appears twice in Carolyn’s many illustrations for the book. Once in black and white:

CoultureDressFitting

Chapter Twenty-One: Villa da Vinci

And once in color, on the cover:

CoverDetail

(detail from the cover)

At this exact second, Meredith is ordering all manner of supplies for the dress, which will be modeled at Balticon this May by two Willa Snap impersonators.

My plan over the next few months is to document Meredith’s progress as she brings Willa Snap’s Clockwerk dress to life. Consider this installment #1. Watch this space.

*All of the above is, of course, complete nonsense. The simple truth is that CeeCee da Vinci swiped the original dress pattern from Clockwerk Couture in the Clockwerk burg, Nimet relayed the pattern to me, and I delivered it to Meredith. There’s a longer version (as you might imagine), involving a midnight burgling, a dozen of Aunt Mila’s Clockwerk cats, a defective Smith & Blazooski mini stun cannon, and the careful deployment of ten balls of yarn (work with what you have). And if Willa ever figures out what we’ve all been up to . . . well, as Nimet would say, “Tanrı yardımcımız olsun” (Heaven help us).

Jaja Toosk

Jaja_final

This is Jaja Toosk, bio-engineered pigmy elefantkin and short order cook at the Jolly Rajah Man-o’-War o’ Pancakes. (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner; open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week).

Willa Snap and the Clockwerk Boy, by Richard Due, illustrated by Carolyn Arcabascio. Coming Dec 2017.

The Magnificent Lady Grayson of the Silky White Underbelly, or Just Grayson for Short

Chapter01_Grayson

The Magnificent Lady Grayson of the Silky White 
Underbelly, or Just Grayson for Short

We were due at the hall in less than an hour, and my cat, The Magnificent Lady Grayson of the Silky White Underbelly, or Just Grayson for Short, was mixing up my mother’s speaking notes by employing her claws to simulate a Cuisinart. Shredded papers were flying everywhere.

Excerpt from Willa Snap and the Clockwerk Boy, by Richard Due, illustrations by Carolyn Arcabascio Illustration. (Coming Dec 2017.)