The Hacker's Key Goes International

Somehow summer is nearly over despite the fact that the boys and I did none of the things we normally do during summer.

It also means that the release of my debut Middle Grade novel, The Hacker’s Key, is just around the corner. It comes out in the US on Sept 1st from Scholastic Books. It will also be supported by Scholastic’s formidable school channel and appear in the Scholastic Book Fair. That will no doubt be hampered this year by the fact that schools are still trying how to figure out how to teach students during a global pandemic. But it’s still thrilling to have a book so accessible to so many kids.

And it won’t just be kids in the US who get to read it. The Hacker’s Key is a globe-trotting spy thriller with a very international feel, so I’m thrilled that Dragonfly in Germany and Bayard in France will also be translating and publishing in their respective countries.

This is the German cover. They used the same model from the Scholastic cover, which makes sense because she is uncannily perfect. If my Google Translate is correct, they are calling it “Super Spy With One Foot In Disaster.” I find this to be a hilariously precise description of protagonist Ada Genet.

I’m curious to see how Bayard packages the book as well. I really enjoyed seeing how publishers in other countries emphasized various aspects of Hope and Red. If you put the US, Dutch, Brazilian, German, French, Portuguese, and Chinese covers side by side, they look like completely different books. I haven’t actually seen the Italian or Turkish covers yet, so I can’t speak to those.

Hope and Red The Podcast

Speaking of Hope and Red, episode eight just released on Friday. Last I checked, it’s currently rated 4.9 out of 5 stars on Apple Podcasts, which is very gratifying. If you haven’t had a chance to listen yet, it’s free wherever you get your podcasts. Just search “Hope and Red” and it will come up. If you have listened, please rate and/or review it. This might encourage my publisher to consider making a “Season 2” out of Bane and Shadow.

Music Catch-Up

One of the problems with not sending out this newsletter more frequently is that there’s always so much music being released that I want to highlight. Protomartyr’s new low fi rock album Ultimate Success Today, Birthh’s sophomore soothing pop medicine WHOA, new glitch madness from Amnesia Scanner called Tearless, sweeping lush symphonic metal from Unreqvited called Empathica, and mellow grooves from Mordechai called Khruangbin. There’s some gritty chill hip hop beats on Eastern Medicine, Western Illness , which is Preservation’s first album in six years and well worth the wait. I also recently discovered Robin Schlochtermeier, who I believe usually composes soundtracks but just released a truly haunting classical album called Specter. Plus there have been some great new debuts like Unashamed by Glorious, F****ing Hell by No Home, and The Exile Parlour by Eyesore and the Jinx. Oh, and a surprise single called “Pa Que” from Latinx rapper Ana Tijoux that hopefully heralds a new album in the near future.

So much good stuff, and such different flavors! Truly something for everyone, right?

But okay, if I had to pick one, it would be this bananas-good three part session from blues, folk, and bluegrass master Valerie June recorded at WTMD in Baltimore. Guh. So good. I was driving when I tuned in on the radio and had to pull the car over to collect myself.

Anyway, now I need to get back to drafting The Wizard of Eventide, which is the title for book three of The Goddess War while I wait for copyedits on book two, The Queen of Izmoroz. And I think I might finally soon be able to announce my precious little side project with Saga Press. I hope.

Please take care of yourselves, and remember that no matter how it might seem, we’re all pretty much making it up as we go along.

_j