Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Because of A Book with Suzi Katz

I am so glad to be bringing back my Because of A Book feature this year.  I love this feature because I get to meet so many wonderful people and find out what their bookish influences were as a child.  This week's guest has been on the blog before.  Please help me welcome back Suzi Katz!

As a working mother, volunteer and passionate youth advocate, Suzi Katz focuses her energy on teens and helping them build positive futures. Her commitment to young people drives her personal and professional lives, and her latest venture as an author is no exception.
With the release of her debut novel A Life Revealed, Suzi Katz launches Suzi Katz Books, a publishing house dedicated to exploring the lives of young adults and the complicated choices they face each day. Following her support of children’s causes, a portion of the proceeds from the sales of A Life Revealed will be donated to the International Child Art Foundation, a non-profit organization that integrates arts with science, sport and technology for the development of children’s creativity and empathy.
Katz earned a Masters of Science in Sports Management from Northeastern University in 1995 and a Bachelor of Science in Communications/Media from Fitchburg State College in 1992. Originally from Boston, Katz resides in Orlando, Florida with her husband Jay Slowinski and their daughter Maia.

One book was all it took. When I was a kid, I read assignments for school because I had to. But it wasn’t until I read, Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret, that my love for reading and writing blossomed. Like so many other writers, Judy Blume inspired me to do both. I loved her characters, the lessons they learned and the fun they had. I can still picture Margaret raising her eyebrow, Deenie finding out she had scoliosis, and the day that Blubber became the name of a fifth grade student, bullied by her classmates. I could see myself running away from egging a home on Halloween, to raking fall leaves with blisters on my hands. Those books have lived inside of me for years.

How do I know I love a book? When I open the cover, I feel like I am walking through a door to each character’s world. I love feeling like I’m a part of their world and what they’re doing.

Along the way, I discovered so many other great authors like Dr. Seuss, Maurice Sendak, Julie Reece Deaver, Shel Silverstein, Elie Wiesel, F. Scott Fitzgerald and many more. In school, one of my favorite things to do was sit on the carpeted rug outside my classroom and listen to my teacher read to us.

When I’m writing, I try to be as real as possible. Not every character is perfect, they don’t always make the choices I would, or speak perfectly. They are themselves and develop into people who carry the story from beginning to end. It’s what makes the story move along.

Growing up, my bedroom was filled with the little blue notebooks. The books we used in school to write our test answers in. I used each and every one to create a new story. I wish I knew what happened to them over the years. It would be interesting to read them now. While most of my books have disappeared over the years, the stories have not been forgotten.

One of the most important things I do in my life is helping in my community. It has always been a rewarding experience for me. Now it is even more rewarding, as my daughter, who is almost 8, is really involved with the work I do. I now consider it, the work we do.

While we volunteer at a women and children’s living center and can offer toys, clothes and those things needed on a daily basis, one of the most important things I can offer them are brand new books. Books, with stories that will hopefully last a lifetime in their hearts. Books that might make them love reading, or inspire them to become writers.

I feel like I’m starting over again reading for my daughter. While she is becoming a reader herself, I love reading to her, using a different voice for each character in each story. I can’t wait to introduce her to the books I loved during my childhood, and to the incredible new writers who have added to the great books since that time.

About Are You There God It's Me Margaret by Judy Blume:
No one ever told Margaret Simon that eleven-going-on- twelve would be such a hard age. When her family moves to New Jersey, she has to adjust to life in the suburbs, a different school, and a whole new group of friends. Margaret knows she needs someone to talk to about growing up-and it's not long before she's found a solution.
Are you there God? It's me, Margaret. I can't wait until two o'clock God. That's when our dance starts. Do you think I'll get Philip Leroy for a partner? It's not so much that I like him as a person God, but as a boy he's very handsome. And I'd love to dance with him... just once or twice. Thank you God.

Buy it at Amazon
Buy it at Powells
Buy it at IndieBound

About A Life Revealed by Suzi Katz:
Tragedy can strike in a split second. But what if that tragedy brings with it both heartache and mystery? After her parents are killed, seventeen-year-old Chloe Jacobs discovers that she's been part of the Witness Security Program her entire life. While enduring twenty-four hour protection from U.S. Marshals, Chloe secretly searches through her tangled family history...and realizes that in order to find the truth, she'll have to fight for her safety, dreams, love...and ultimately her life.

Buy it at Amazon
Buy it at Powells

About Hiding in the Open by Suzi Katz:  coming out soon!
The long-awaited sequel to a life revealed

When Chloe Jacobs became Caiden James, life was supposed to be perfect. However, life doesn't always go as planned...especially when it is in a directions you shouldn't be heading. How will Caiden handle the real truth, about herself and her family? And how can she keep her past from the one she loves...and keep her worst enemy from taking it all away


Lindsay N. Currie said...

This is wonderfu! I too was inspired tremendously by Judy Blume. She took risks, wrote from the heart and influenced so many of us. Excellent post!

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

What a flood of memories came back with your mention of blue books in school!

Judy Blume - yes! I would dart to the Bs in the library, reading and rereading my favorites (esp. MARGARET, a classic!)

Donna Erickson said...


Interesting post. You're such a great role model for your daughter. Maybe she'll be the next author in the family.

Anonymous said...

Suzi, you are a great inspiration to me. I can't wait for you next book.

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