It is my privilege to present the extremely talented Augusta Scattergood. Her debut middle grade novel, GLORY BE was published by Scholastic Press in 2012. It has received rave reviews and has been named to six state reading lists, including Florida’s Sunshine State, was one of Amazon’s Top Middle Grade Novels of 2012, and has just received the SCBWI Southeast region’s Crystal Kite Award.
A bit about GLORY BE:
As much as Gloriana June Hemphill, or Glory as everyone knows her, wants to turn twelve, there are times when she wishes she could turn back the clock a year. Jesslyn, her sister and former confidante, no longer has the time of day for her now that she’ll be entering high school. Then there’s her best friend, Frankie. Things have always been so easy with Frankie, and now suddenly they aren’t. Maybe it’s the new girl from the North that’s got everyone out of sorts. Or maybe it’s the debate about whether or not the town should keep the segregated public pool open.
Scattergood’s writing, to me, is in the same style as Richard Peck, author of “Here Lies the Librarian” among others. She has created a compelling Civil Rights era story through the eyes of a young girl who learns that the world around her is changing. The characters are so real that I swear I know them, and find myself wondering what they’re up to long after the close of the last page. This is an easy read with a fabulous life lesson, applicable to all elementary aged children.
Check out the following interview to learn more about the author, and which Muppet she feels she most resembles:
ENGLE: Congratulations on the attention your book has received. What do you think it is about “Glory Be” that has attracted this attention?
SCATTERGOOD: Sometimes I think the stars were aligned for this book. Magic? Karma? I wish I knew! I especially appreciate that so many teachers have been drawn to it and have shared it with their students. It seems to be a popular choice for Book Club discussions. GLORY BE is fairly short and easy to read, but the subject matter makes it suitable for a wide range of readers. And that subject is something young readers are surprised and intrigued to read about, a swimming pool closing during Freedom Summer for reasons that kids—then and now— find hard to understand.
ENGLE: The characters are so vivid and real to me. Can you explain your technique for characterization and how you balance the dynamics of your story’s relationships?
SCATTERGOOD: Oh, dear. Do I have a technique?
For this book, the characters were occasionally based on actual people, or conglomerates of people, especially the unlikable ones I remembered! Except for Laura the Yankee, I heard their strong voices from my childhood.
But the characters were the easy part. Finding their story and tying it all together was hard. That’s probably why the rejections kept coming over the years. When I finally figured out the relationships and how to weave the bits and pieces of their stories together into a strong plot, then the novel began to take off.
A number of years ago I spent a weekend at a fabulous Highlights Founders workshop with Carolyn Coman. She stressed the importance of the primary relationship in our manuscripts. Who is it? How does that follow through the entire plot?
In Glory Be, the primary relationship is between Glory and Jesslyn. I had to keep asking myself, scene by scene (because I write in scenes) “How is this propelling my story?”
I did a whole lot of revising to make it all come together.
Hard work, this writing thing, no?
ENGLE: I hear you! Thanks for breaking down. You make it sound so easy. For those who have not had the pleasure yet, where can they pick up their own copy of GLORY BE and how can readers be in touch with you?
SCATTERGOOD: I have a website and receive email there:
I have a blog with pages linking my schedule, if (true confessions) I remember to update it.
I’m also on Facebook and Twitter. Too often.
Glory Be is available on all the online ordering sites. But I’m a big supporter of our independent and free-standing bookstores. If they don’t have the book, they will order it.
I haven’t heard when the trade paperback will be issued, but if you know somebody hosting a Scholastic Book Fair, they often carry the paperback edition.
Next January I’ll be back at Miami SCBWI and hope to sign and sell a few books via one of my favorite bookstores, Books&Books!
ENGLE: Awesome. Finally, If you could be any Muppet who would you be and why?
SCATTERGOOD: I’m Old School with the Muppets.
Hands down, Miss Piggy. I covet both her attitude and her wardrobe.
I can’t wait to read what’s next from this author. I hope you’ll come back and comment after you’ve had a chance to read GLORY BE for yourself. Thanks, Augusta!