Sunday, March 3, 2013

On The Road Again...

It's a travel day for me, so I won't have time to do a "real post" today. But if you have time to leave me a comment, I would love to know any or all of the following:

A) What you wish I'd /would like me to write a post about
B) Who your favorite Sammy Keyes World character is (aside from Sammy)
C) Which book in the series is your favorite to date. (Why would be interesting, but is optional. Sometimes we just have a favorite.)

Looking forward to what you have to say (and to returning home!).

See you in the comments!


Kylie said...

A. I would love to see a post about how you were able to create a post about how you are able to come up with a mystery different from all the rest for each book.

B. There are so many that I love, so I will say each I love and why. Billy- He is so funny and really sweet and he reminds me of one of my friends. But what I really low about Billy is from what I have gathered he has a hard home life but he doesn't let that stop him from trying to brighten everyone days even if his day is terrible. Hudson- What I love a about Hudson is that he is the only adult that will let Sammy explain all her problems to and not interrupt her. He also is always there when Sammy needs her to matter what time it is. Holly- Holly reminds me a lot of myself in her love of animals. It is really hard for me to pin-point what I love about her because there is so much. Casey- I love how Casey is willing to risk everything for Sammy. He doesn't care what is going to happens to him as long as he can help her. Grams- In my opinion Grams is a better mom to Sammy than Lana. Grams has helped Sammy through some really tough times and when Sammy gets in trouble at school she lets Sammy explain what really happened before she gives punishment, if she gives punishment.

C. A few that are my favorites are Search for Snake Eyes, Wedding Crashers, and Showdown in Sin City, and Psycho Kitty Queen. I love Search for Snake Eyes because I feel like it was the mystery where Sammy was in the most danger. She was dealing with a gangster in this one who had killed people before and was planning on killing her anthe other two girls. I also loved how they captured him in the end, that was the best. I love Wedding Crashers because Lana actually helps Sammy. She did a lot for Sammy with the matter of Casey. This book started my change of opinion of Lana. Seeing as not everyone has read Sin City I won't talk about it much, just that I love everything that happened in it. My reason for Psycho Kitty Queen is that it brought Officer Borsch and Sammy a lot closer and the fight between Sammy and Heather. That is one of my favorite scenes in the series.

Well that was a lot of typing. Hope you have fun wherever your traveling!


Anonymous said...

1. I'm curious about how you came up with / developed certain characters and plots.

2. I really like Billy, he's hilarious! But many of the characters are so well-developed and colorful that it's hard to pick just one.

3. Sisters of Mercy, Snake Eyes, Art of Deception and Psycho Kitty Queen are my favorite in the series. Sisters of Mercy is one of my favorites because I think the mystery/plot was exciting and the culprit[s] end up being a surprise. I really like Search for Snake Eyes because it was the most suspenseful and it felt like a lot was at stake in that book. And I have a soft spot for the part in Dead Giveaway where everyone is in the car on the way to and from the dance - made me want to be a part of their group!

Renita said...

I would love for you to do a post about how you got sammy keyes published and how long it took you to come up with the story. I know you mentioned that it took a long time for you to get published but in the mean time were you tweaking the Hotel Theif? Was Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Theif the same as you turned it in the first time until when it got published? Did you have the first couple of books written? When you finally got published did you decide the time is right I'm going to be a full time writer or did you wait until the 3rd or fourth book.

Its so hard to pick a favorite character thats not Sammy. Probably Casey. But I'm super interested in Hudson. When do we find out what he did before retirement? Sammy speculated FBI previously.

My favorite book it sammy keyes and the case of mustache mary. I started reading the book when i was like 12 and been reading them ever since. I was so stoked when sammy got a love interest even though she didnt want one. Thats how these things work sometimes. It kinda fit my life around then. I was also one of those kids that read the hollywood mummy and was like where's Casey?

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

Hello from SkyHarbor (Phoenix airport) and thank you for these comments which are interesting and heartwarming and will give me lots (more) to share with you. They're also good to read because I'm in the process of writing the last last chance to address some things! Bye for now. I'll check in again later!

Unknown said...

A. I really want to know about the nap nazi so maybe it'd be cool if there was a post just explaining the story you know, since the last time the nap nazi was mentioned was wild things but it was in dead giveaway to.=)
B. Billy! =) and Holly and Madame Nashira and basically everyone, but those are my top 3 which was hard figuring out.
C. Skeleton Man, the FIRST ONE I read for a thing called battle of the books . . . awww memories;)
I actually didn't want to read it, but I ended up loving it so much so I kept on reading the series!=)
Hotel Thief, Hollywood Mummy, Search for Snake Eyes, Psycho Kitty Queen, Wild Things, Wedding Crasher, Showdown in Sin City=)

Jessica said...

A) More posts about the writing process. A specific one: transitioning from scene to scene. Your books are really tight; they pack a lot in without being too long. How do you do that? (I've written 7 pages about the first day of school in my book, and the first bell hasn't even rung yet...) And more about how you weave all your 50 plot lines together, while carefully hiding mystery clues and red herrings. But I love all your posts, whether they're about your feelings about SK ending, or random plane adventures, or rescuing dandelion seeds.

B) Roughly in order from absolute most favorite to "really like them": Casey (he's funny, self-confident, independent, a good friend and listener, willing to stand up for what's right or call you out when you mess up -- but also accepting that people do mess up, and forgiving them), Hudson (come on, he's the coolest, nicest, smartest, most understanding old guy ever, with awesome style), Holly (she's gritty, willing to dig through garbage or break into an underground gambling ring, but also vulnerable and soft-hearted), her dad (he's just so... Sammy -- no spoilers!), Grams (she's a rock, but very human, too -- her donning hightops in PKQ sealed it), Dusty Mike (he's philosophical, kind, and makes you think), Mrs. Ambler and Ms. Rothhammer (they represent good teachers in how they're willing to go to bat for their students and help them grow); oh, and I can't leave out Elvis (because he's funny), Dorito (because face-naps), or Billy (because marshmallow)

C) Best mysteries (roughly in order from most awesome to pretty awesome): Wedding Crasher, Hotel Thief, Psycho Kitty Queen, Night of Skulls, Moustache Mary, Art of Deception -- These stand out as having complex mysteries well-integrated into the overall plot, with clues so masterfully scattered that if you didn't solve it before (or with) Sammy, you'd be kicking yourself. (Wedding Crasher especially stands out for me as being the most enjoyable to solve because there were so many suspects with good motives and opportunity, but only one that fit all the puzzle pieces.)

Best overall stories (make me want to reread), not in any particular order*: Sin City, Dead Giveaway, Psycho Kitty Queen, Moustache Mary, Sisters of Mercy

*Technically in reverse chronological order because I went through the list on Random House's website, but not in any meaningful order regarding how much I like them.

Jessica said...

I know you said "character" and "book," but you can't really expect any of us to pick just one, can you?

Yusa said...

Holly has always been my favorite character and even more so after I read Runaway. I don't know she is just as spunky as Sammy and I feel like she's like her second best friend. And of course how can you not like Billy? Or Casey? Dream guys... Funny & sweet. Like seriously. Heather is really interesting especially after the latest book. All the characters are really great in there own ways!
My favorite Sammy book before Sin City may have been Wild things or Dead Giveaway... Art of Deception was good and Moustache Mary... And Cold Hard Cash... And Sin City like topped them all. I basically love all of them... My favorites are mostly Moustache Mary until cold hard cash and then Sin City...
Hmmmm you should post about YOUR favorite Sammy book, writing and reading...
Or about where th ideas for the characters came from....

RowAn said...

A. I'd like a post about what parts of the series differed from how you'd planned it. I know that Casey wasn't originally in it, but what else was or wasn't there? How did the series begin to take on a life of its own (if you think it did)?

B. I really love Billy, because he's the comic relief and I have a soft spot for comic characters. He's so funny! And I will always be grateful to Holly, because reading Runaway got me started on Sammy Keyes. Marissa is awesome because she's a great friend to Sammy and I enjoy reading about her...especially when she's doing stupid things or her family's going to pieces. I like that she has flaws. It makes her really relatable.
I don't like Lana as a person, but as a character she is so much fun to read about! She makes you wince and laugh at the same time because she's so bratty and self-centered.
I love all the other characters too, of course.

C. Wedding Crasher has been my favorite for a while now. I need to reread some of the other ones, but that one has it all: a truly puzzling mystery--I love how there's only one explanation that works, but it's so unexpected that you don't think of it--, school drama, and Lana. My only problem is that it doesn't have enough Casey (although the ending makes up for that). I also adore Wild Things, PKQ, Dead Giveaway, CHC, and more recently Justice Jack and Sin City for various reasons. But I really love them all; those are just the ones that I check out of the library the most.

(First time commenting on your blog, by the way.)

Gabrielle said...

A. i've always wanted to know h why you wanted to name the series, and main character Sammy Keyes,Now it may sound kind of silly to ask that but i was just wondering.
B.Casey~ he's for one not an obnoxious 14/15 year old guy like a lot of guys that age are. And he'd do anything for Sammy, and he's just really sweet and cool.

Hudson~he's really cool and wise, and is always giving Sammy advice. And he's bot a crabby old man like some old men are, he dosen't hate kids. And that man knows and has everything!

Grams~ she is the best and coolest grandmother ever! And she's always there for Sammy, no matter what.

Holly~ she reminds me of Sammy in a lot of ways. And she seems really cool and easygoing. And she's a very strong person, she went through a lot.

Billy~ he's such a goofball, but he's also really sweet and nice, and he wants everybody to get a long.
Marissa~ well, Marissa reminds me of me in some ways, and she's always there for Sammy, and goes with Sammy on whatever adventure Sammy's on.

C. my favorite books would have to be moustache mary, that was the first book I ever read in the series, and wedding crasher because, well, Sammy and Casey kiss! And sin city, because it had such a happy ending, and everything fell into place and dead giveaway aslo, there was just something about that i liked, like how Casey asked hSanny to the dance.
by the way my best friend loves search for snake eyes. :)


Unknown said...

Hmm… I would love a post telling all about your upcoming books! Just kidding. :)

I randomly like Lucinda Huntley and Dot's little sisters, Annie and Beppie, right? I love little kids, unlike Sammy! (Poopy Pepe. Hehe). I also loved Cricket! She was so cute.

I have no idea. It changes daily.

Spencer Fields said...

1. I have no opinion to what you write your blog about they are always wonderful posts.

2. Hudson and Grams.I like Hudson because he always understands Sammy no matter what predicament she is in. I love Grams because she is exactly what a grandmother should be, steadfast and loyal to Sammy. I really loved it when Grams went into detective mode in Art of Deception which brings me to...

3. Art of Deception. I loved the renaissance fair and the final conclusion which was amazing! I have read the book over 10 times because I love it so much!

Yusa said...

Oooh yes I love Hudson!!! I wish I had a Hudson.... And I was just thinking I think us Sammy Keyes fans should be called something... Or is that a bad idea... What do you guys think? Troublemakers? ;)

Yusa said...

Oooh yes I love Hudson!!! I wish I had a Hudson.... And I was just thinking I think us Sammy Keyes fans should be called something... Or is that a bad idea... What do you guys think? Troublemakers? ;)

Jessica said...

Dr. Who fans are Whovians. Star Trek fans are Trekkies. Star Wars fans are... I have no idea (and I have 3 siblings who are rabid fans).

How about... Sammy Keyesters? Or SKaters? No, that last one sounds like it could be short for SK-haters, which is the exact opposite of what we mean! Oh! What about playing off "Sidetrack"? Sidetrackers? Ugh, I'm bad at this. How about "Sammy Keyes fan"?

Yusa said...

ummm what about 'Troublemakers' like i said...? I dont even know if this is a good idea... just a suggestion.

Jessica said...

Well, it wouldn't really reveal who you're a fan of within the name. If you went around saying you were a Troublemaker, people would just keep an eye on you, not ask you about SK books. Within the fandom, it would be fine:

"I looooove Sammy Keyes!"
"Wow, I'm a Troublemaker, too! What was your favorite book?"


"I'm a Troublemaker!"
"Okaaaaaay. And you're proud of that?"
"Yeah, Sammy Keyes is awesome!"
"What? So you want to get in trouble like her?"
"No, I'm just a fan. That's what SK fans are called."

Then again, Whovians could have the same issue until they explain what "Whovian" means. It just depends on how esoteric you want the name to be.

Yusa said...

Good point. XD but hehe what if you're both.
Maybe we should just drop it..

Kylie said...

What about Sammiacs? You know like Sammy + Maniacs.

I have been trying to think of something all day.

Kylie said...

Wait haven't we all ways been called Sammiacs?

Jessica said...

Oh, right, Sammiacs! I forgot about that. That was back when I was just a lurker (or maybe even when I read the entire archive after finding this site).

Gabrielle said...

I know,when Jessica and Yusa were talking about what we could be called I was think," aren't we called sammiacs?" But those names you guys came up with were still good. :)


Yusa said...

ooooooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhh see i didnt know that. That makes sense and is WAY better. Cool. Sammiacs. I like it.

Isabel said...

So I read all the comments. And First...Troublemaker and Sammiacs sound like awesome names!
1) What post, well...since we're talking about SK fan names...why not make a post on that. I mean it would be awesome. You could have ideas, and we could 'vote' in the comments!
2) I have to admit I have many for different reasons. Like one, Hudson for being the 'Wise One.' Casey for being the one 'Always There.' Holly for being the 'Strong One.' Dot for being the 'Good One.' Who else...Grans!!! She's done so much from the start, we should NOT leave her out! And Billy, he's SO funny!!!
3) My favorite book... that's hard! First, Curse of Mustache Mary because it's a bit spooky, funny, and...CASEY!!! My second would be... Search for Snake Eyes, that one is great...and it was published in my birthday month! Top Third would be...Wild Things...that one is adorable, traveling, drooling,lost, danger, did I say drooling? LOL....
I love the SK Fan Names!

Isabel said...

I've got an's a game, let's put down all the SK fan names, and we could see which one sounds the best.
Name That SK Fan!
1) Troublemakers
2) Sammy Keyesters
3) Sidetrackers
4) Sammiacs
5) I Don't Know about this one but... Cameys! or Camies! IDK...
6) Well Sammy has attitude so why not... Sammytudes! LOL that makes my laugh.
So I don't...lets make the list bigger!

Isabel said...

Just so you know I meant So I don't know... but then I'm terribl at this, so why not you guys add more the "Name That SK Fan" game!

Yusa said...

@Isabel : I think we're already called Sammiacs.... i just didnt know that.

Isabel said...

AHHHH...I never knew...

Stefunny said...

A. From what story angle do you begin when tackling a book in the Sammy series?
B. Heather's know, in a terrible way.
C. Snake Eyes, Moustache Mary

Isabel said...

Stefunny: WOW! B. is funny...just sayin.'

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

Stef! We've missed you.

Everyone: Love the input! See you tomorrow :-)

Isabel said...

See you tomorrow too!

Anonymous said...

A. I would love to hear how you came up with all of your ideas for books and characters. Like, I have honestly wondered about that a lot. I mean the stuff that happens is so creative and takes a genius to come up with these ideas, and make the books flow so smoothly and be so darn addicting! :)

B. I really like a lot of the characters, but especially Sammy. I like how adventurous Sammy is. She tries hard to stay out of trouble, but somehow always finds herself in it! I like how tough she is to. Like, she doesn't let people walk all over her, but at the same time she has a soft, kind, and sensitive side. I also like Dot. In Justice Jack you talked about different Dutch things in regards to Dot's family, and my family is Dutch so I found it interesting. ;) But also, who couldn't love Billy, Casey, and Hudson?!

C. My all time favorite is Night Of Skulls....I am not sure why, but that book will forever be my favorite!

KEEP WRITING YOUR BOOKS! THEY ARE MY ALL TIME FAVORITE SERIES! Also, you really need movies made about these books....

Anonymous said...

First, I would like to say, that made me very sad seeing it is the last book you are writing. The Sammy Keyes books will forever be very near and dear to my heart. :-)
You honestly need movies made based on these books!

Karen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karen said...

(This got really long, sorry. I'm glad there's another post up so I'm not taking over the active thread.)

A) I don't know about a post here vs. in the books vs. possibly in some short stories (would that format even work for the Sammy-verse?), but I would like to know more about Billy's home life and past. His family; how he got into theatre, and got so good at makeup; why he was held back a year.

More about Sammy's dad, and, um (...phrasing for no spoilers), his history with Lana. And a long-time friend who I will say no more about.

More Grams history.

A recording of Waitin' for Rain to Fall. (Maybe Risky Whippet could do a cover?)

B) Billy Pratt, nudging out Casey by a nose. Or better yet, both of them together. :-) Comic relief is always one of my favorite parts of any book, and Billy is even better because he also has that rest-of-his-life that fits into him being class clown. (Marshmallow.) I just want to hug him. (I bet he gives awesome hugs.) Billy and Casey together is one of my favorite things, because they're both such sweethearts, and goofballs, and utterly unconcerned with being "cool." (My favorite kind of person, and not the easiest thing to be in junior high.) Everything they do and say, their tag-team punning in Night of Skulls, the little non-verbal conversation deciding to go with Sammy and Cricket in Wild Things, speaks to being good, close friends for years. And I'm really glad for that, because it means they both have at least one person who was(/is?) a safe spot when their families were falling apart, and who also likes breaking into song and practicing impressions and silly accents and generally hamming it up, and who is also not particularly athletic in a town that worships softball.

Also Holly, Grams, Hudson, Dot (and family), Ms. Rothhammer, and Sammy's dad, who is indeed so ... Sammy.

And the Gypsy, from Runaway Elf. That's kind of random, I just really like being barefoot, and I love to dance, so the minute you described this person with rose tattoos on her legs and sandals with no soles doing a tango with the pool table, I thought, I want to know this person.

C) (You didn't honestly expect us to pick just one, surely?)

Sin City, because Sammy's dad and the things we learn about Heather & family are so ... satisfying. And because that little bit with Billy tells you he and Casey talk a lot. And because I love Elvis, so having him helping Sammy is really fun.

Justice Jack, because COOKIE WARFARE! Honorary Dutch or not, I am making this happen in my house someday! And all the trips out to Pair-A-Dice with Billy and Casey.

Night of Skulls, because ... Billy and Casey. And Holly. And picnicking in the graveyard -- this book makes me want to celebrate dia de los muertos myself.

Dead Giveaway, because that entire school dance date (oh, sorry, get-together), from pirates and singing and "Landlubbers. Like I could contain you within the outside of the vehicle?" to We Will Rock You and Waitin' for Rain to Fall and dorky dancing and the dubious honor of W.R.J.H. School Clown, to the ice-blocking and Billy, Casey and Danny's crash course in Sammy solving mysteries, was fabulous.

Psycho Kitty Queen, because Casey. And Grams in jeans and red high-tops!

Art of Deception, because that school play made me laugh so hard I could hardly breathe. I was in theatre in high school, so all the acting going on is really fun. Oh, and the March wind. I love wind. (Except when I'm biking into a gale.)

(Killer Cruise, because Sammy's dad? That's not "in the series to date," but I am really looking forward to him and that old friend of his who I will say no more about having some page time!)

I agree with Jessica and RowAn on Wedding Crasher for favorite mystery. And Kylie on Snake Eyes for Best Apprehension of Bad Guy! (And Moustache Mary for Best Bicycle.)

AnnaKay said...

Hey first time commenting, but I really liked these questions, except I only have answers for two of them.

B. It's gotta be a toss up between Holly and Billy. I've read Runaway at least three times and am always wanting to hear more from her. She's such a good friend to Sammy all the time which I think is really admirable. Plus she's a lot like Sammy which is pretty awesome. Billy is HILARIOUS every time he shows up I get really excited. I aspire to be as funny as him, and wish he was real so he could be my friend and we could hang out and tell each other awesome stories.

C. My favorite book is The Dead Giveaway. I don't know what it is about it, but I read that one a number of times as well. I love that Sammy wins best style and that her and Casey start to become more than friends. I also really love the mystery in this one. It taught me about eminent domain which comes in handy on many tests. Out of all of them for some reason that one sticks out in my mind.