If there's one tour I had to do for 2016, it was this one. Booki Vivat is known to a lot of us in the blogger world for being a kick ass publicist, but now she's adding kick ass author to her resume. FRAZZLED took me by storm - this is the book I needed before I walked through those middle school doors. I still maintain that I want to be Abbie Wu when I grow up.
Booki recently sat down to answer some questions about her new book and how being a publicist and an author are very different things.
1. CONGRATS on your first book, Booki! Now I know it happened, but can you tell everyone how FRAZZLED came to be a book?
Frazzled has a pretty unconventional origin story. It didn’t start with a traditional pitch or a query or a manuscript. It started with a doodle—or rather, a whole bunch of them. I began keeping a planner a few years ago to try and get my life in order, but it ended up becoming more of a creative outlet to channel all my feelings. Doodles literally took over the pages of my life!
Through an unexpected combination of supportive friends, word-of-mouth, and pure luck, this set of planners landed in the hands of my future editor. As she flipped through the pages, one specific image stood out to her. It was a particularly dramatic drawing of me in a moment of crisis, a doodle that read: I live my life in a constant state of impending doom. That’s when it clicked. She pointed to it and told me, "There's a story here. That's our girl.”
2. Why do you think young readers will connect with Abbie Wu?
Even though Abbie reacts to and deals with her circumstances in a very specific way, the actual problems she faces in the book are universal. Everyone has felt the uncertainty of entering a new school or new season of life and not feeling quite ready for it. In the same way, I think every kid will be able to see something familiar in Abbie—whether it’s feeling like the family misfit or navigating lunchroom politics or thinking all the teachers at school are just plain weird. At its core, Frazzled is about trying to figure out who you are, where you belong, and realizing that sometimes it’s okay not to know. I think that idea is appealing to all of us!
Honestly, I don’t know if anything can really prepare you for being a published author! In some ways, working in publishing threw some complications into the process of writing Frazzled. The thing about marketing and publicity is that it happens after the book is already done! When I would see these amazing finished books come across my desk, it was hard to then go back to my unfinished manuscript (and all those blank pages…) without feeling a little discouraged. It felt like Frazzled would never get to that point! I really had to force myself to push all those thoughts aside and just try to make the best book I could.
At the same time, I think that working as a publicist taught me about the importance of perspective. As an author, so much of the publishing process is out of your control—and that’s terrifying! There are so many things that need to happen to get a book published and so many factors that influence the life of that book. Working in the industry kind of kept me in check and reminded me that I could only control was what was on the page. At some point, I knew I just had to focus on that and trust that it would find the right readers.
4. What has been your favorite moment since finding out your book would become a real thing that would sit on bookshelves in bookstores?
One of the first thoughts that went through my head when I saw my finished book was, “Did I really make this?” It’s so surreal to think of people reading this thing that I made, this thing that is so much a part of me. Above all, the best part about Frazzled becoming a real book has been all the support and positive affirmation I’ve received about it—not only from my close friends and family, but from colleagues and peers, acquaintances from my past, even strangers who haven’t actually met me. I think, as an author, you always hope your story will resonate with people, but the response I’ve gotten so far has been beyond anything I could’ve imagined. I’m so lucky!
5. Will we be seeing more of Abbie Wu?
Of course! There are so many different situations and emotions to explore that happen in middle school. I have a lot of material to work with and am chipping away at book 2 right now. This is definitely not the last you’ll see of Abbie Wu. She still has a long way to go before she makes it out of middle school!
6. And lastly, because the people want to know – is your name really Booki?
Yes! It may be hard to believe, but I’ve had the name Booki since before I could even hold a book! I swear I am not making this up. When I was younger, people used to say that I was destined to be a librarian or work in publishing or write a novel. I figured that most of them were joking, but now I’m starting to wonder if it was true. I guess, considering everything that’s happened, it kind of fits!
ABOUT FRAZZLED:Meet Abbie Wu! She’s about to start middle school and she’s totally in crisis.
Abbie Wu is in crisis—and not just because she’s stuck in a family that doesn’t quite get her or because the lunch ladies at school are totally corrupt or because everyone seems to have a “Thing” except her. Abbie Wu is in crisis always.
Heavily illustrated and embarrassingly honest, Frazzled dives right into the mind of this hilariously neurotic middle school girl as she tries to figure out who she is, where she belongs, and how to survive the everyday disasters of growing up. With Abbie’s flair for the dramatic and natural tendency to freak out, middle school has never seemed so nerve-racking!
Packed with hilarious black-and-white illustrations and doodles throughout, Frazzled takes readers through Abbie Wu’s hysterical middle school adventures.
ABOUT BOOKI VIVAT:
Booki Vivat has been doodling somewhat seriously since 2011 and not-so-seriously since childhood. She grew up in Southern California and graduated from the University of California, San Diego. She currently works in publishing and lives in Brooklyn, New York. This is her first novel. Follow her on Twitter @thebookiv and on Instagram @bookibookibooki.
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3 Finished Copies of FRAZZLED (US Only)