Thursday, February 09, 2012

Guest Post & Giveaway: Kelly Milner Halls on Girl Meets Boy

By Kelly Milner Halls
for Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations

Relationships are fragile, fickle things. They can start like rose petals softly falling to earth, then end like the blast from a live grenade -- or vice versa. Perception is everything, when it comes to the life and death of that dangerous thing called love.

That explosive quality is what inspired Girl Meets Boy, a collection of short stories by eleven of the best know writers in YA, and me.

Spark for this creative endeavor came when my eldest daughter broke up with her volatile boyfriend for the first (but not the last) time more than seven years ago. She worked at a bookstore and agreed to watch a movie with her friend and fellow employee after work. Unhappy with her choice, my daughter's boyfriend kicked down the door and accused her of being "a whore." She went to watch a video. He came to break up a tryst.

I tried to mediate the misunderstanding, I could not budge either camp. In time, their story ended, as was best, but it got me thinking. How can two people see the very same moment so differently?

I invited eleven other writers to consider that question with me, in short story pairs. The only direction I gave them -- and this was long before we had a publisher -- was to write two different views of the same chain of events, one from a female point of view and the other from the male point of view, and to tell any story they'd always wanted to tell, unbound -- no holds barred.

Cynthia Leitich Smith and Joseph Bruchac, Ellen Wittlinger and James Howe, Terry Trueman and Rita Williams-Garcia, Sara Ryan and Randy Powell, Terry Davis and Rebecca Fjelland Davis joined me and Chris Crutcher to create six powerful scenarios, from he-said, she-said points of view.

Girl Meets Boy was born.

The first draft was finished on spec -- no editor or payment in sight. Twice, we came close -- prominent editors at big league houses were eager to publish the book -- but both times, the contracts were revoked due to a change in publishing leadership. I never lost faith in the project, but I had to take a break to lick the wounds disappointment.

Then I met agent Jill Corcoran when we both spoke at the same SCBWI regional conference. As we sat at the airport, she asked me what I had ready to sell, and I mentioned this anthology. I emailed it to her when my plane landed, and she had it out to a whole list of editors almost immediately.

Chronicle Books fell in love with the project, and finally brought it to life.

Every author in the book crafted original, deeply moving stories of people aching to be seen and loved for exactly who they were. Chronicle recognized the tender thread of truth that tied the stories together. It was the same golden threat that kept me from giving up on the stories, all along. Now that it's hit bookstore shelves, I'm really glad I didn't.


Enter to win a copy of Girl Meets Boy, edited by Kelly Milner Halls (Chronicle, 2012) signed by all of the contributing authors! To enter, comment on this post and include an email address (formatted like: cynthia at cynthialeitichsmith dot com) or a link to an email address. Or email Cynthia directly with "Girl Meets Boy" in the subject line. Publisher sponsored. Eligibility: North America. Deadline: midnight CST Feb. 14. 

Cynsational Notes

Don't miss the Girl Meets Boy discussion guide from Chronicle Books.

See Kelly Milner Halls YA author site and, for information about her highly recommended books for young children, Kelly Milner Halls and the Wonders of Weird.


Gilly said...

This anthology is such a great idea! I see this in practice with my husband all the time - we just don't see the world in the same way.

gillysegal at gmail dot com

Carl said...

I love the concept of this book and I really like the cover too. A copy signed by all the authors would be fabulous!

Candace @ Lovey Dovey Books said...

Interesting, sounds like a fun read!

lovemibooks at aol dot com

Thanks for the giveaway :)

Liana said...

I really enjoyed this book. I think my favorite was the first story pair. It was surprising. And the story with the gay guy & the girl. And all of them! Wheeeeeeeeeeee!


Gaby said...


Would very much love to win this book it has been in my to read list for forever :)


Susan Light said...

I cannot wait to read this one. I always enjoy books from the guy's POV.

books4susie at aol dot com

Vivien said...

This sounds like a lovely anthology! It's definitely on my wishlist :)

deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

♡♥♬ Louis ♬♥♡ said...

this is a wonderful idea to write a story from 2 different perspectives
Thank you for hosting this giveaway

pumuckler {at} gmail {dot} com

marybelle said...

GIRL MEETS BOY looks like a wonderful anthology.


Elizabeth O. Dulemba said...

Sounds like a brilliant book! :) e elizabeth at dulemba dot com

Annie said...

Love the sound of this anthology! And I'm all for more story collections in YA. Thanks for hosting the giveaway!
anniemcgough at gmail dot com

Joyce Shor Johnson said...

I would to win this copy. All of these authors are on my list of Brilliant Writers!


ColleenFL said...

I love to find "new to me" authors in anthologies as well as read stories by favorite authors.

colleenFL3 at gmail dot com

Eliza said...

I'm excited about this book. Great writers and one of my favorite publishers.

trampolinepress at gmail dot com

Anne Stuart said...

I love the cover, it tells a lot. I've been through a very destructive relationship and it is often because of the inability to communicate because we stood in different planes and believed different things. I think this book will help people like me and be enlightened on relationships.