Monday, April 27, 2009

Welcome, Kay Cassidy!

I'm so happy to introduce you to author Kay Cassidy who is not only my doppelganger but also the creator of the Great Scavenger Hunt Contest, which I and a whole TON of other YA and MG authors are participating in. Her debut novel, THE CINDERELLA SOCIETY, will be out next April from Egmont USA. In the meantime, check out her website for more fun stuff.

First of all, a little about Kay:

2008 Golden Heart winner Kay Cassidy is the author of teen fiction she wishes was based on her real life. Kay is a former college cheerleader and sorority girl, an M.B.A. and a member of Mensa. She thinks it's comical when people are surprised to discover those things aren't mutually exclusive. Kay is a seasoned professional trainer and former leadership development specialist who enjoys teaching motivational workshops around the country. She is also the founder and host of The Great Scavenger Hunt Contest, a national library outreach program that provides year-round free programming for teen and youth librarians. THE CINDERELLA SOCIETY is her first novel. Visit Kay on the web at

And now, some insight into the inner workings of Kay's mind:

Q: What made you decide to create The Great Scavenger Hunt Contest?

A: As a YA author and proud owner of a well-worn library card, I wanted to give something back to all the librarians whose book recommendations helped me grow as a writer and fed my imagination over th
e years. With the economy in turmoil, funding for public libraries is taking a major hit. School libraries are struggling as well. So I set out to create a totally free program that teen and youth librarians could use to keep kids excited about reading.

Plus, I’m a huge fan of trivia, scavenger hunts, mysteries... so The Great Scavenger Hunt Contest was a natural fit. I would’ve been all over this when I was younger. Trivia fans... unite!

Q: What exactly is The Hunt?

A: The Hunt is a brand-new, super easy, totally FREE library outreach program for teen and youth librarians. The program is open to librarians in the U.S. and Canada, in public libraries and school libraries alike. It offers year-round free programming that’ll keep readers coming back to the library for more.

Over 120 YA and middle grades authors have created a 10-question scavenger hunt (i.e. super fun trivia quiz) for one or more of their books. Scavenger hunts include questions like “What was the color of Moe’s hideous car?” or “What is Gemma’s favorite comfort food?” Every scavenger hunt also has a special note from the author to give it a personal touch.

Q: How does The Hunt work?

A: Once librarians register their library, their readers (called hunters) are eligible to participate. Hunters can check out the list of more than 200 titles in The Hunt, read the book of their choice, complete the scavenger hunt, and turn it in to their librarian. The librarian checks the answers against the quick answer key. If the hunter gets at least 8 out of 10 answers correct, the librarian can enter the hunter in the monthly contest. (NOTE: All scavenger hunts must be submitted to a participating librarian in order to be eligible for the contest. Participating librarians may enter hunters via the official contest entry form.)

Q: And thus, the prizes! What kinds of prizes do you have and how can people win?

A: Every month, I’ll choose one lucky hunter as the winner. The winning hunter will receive a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card (good in stores or online) to use for whatever their heart desires. Even better? When a hunter wins, the host library wins too… a library prize tote filled with more terrific scavenger hunt books for the library’s collection. It’s a win-win!

Q: Definitely a win! So, tell me more about your upcoming YA debut. When will hunters see a scavenger hunt for it in The Great Scavenger Hunt Contest?

A: My debut novel, The Cinderella Society, is the first in a new YA series. The series takes readers behind the veil of a secret society of extraordinary girls where ultimate life makeovers are the main attraction. Lifelong outsider Jess Parker thinks life on the inside is her ultimate fantasy until she discovers the real force behind her exclusive society. It’s a battle of good vs. evil played out on the high school battlefield, and the Cindys in power need Jess on special assignment. When the mission threatens to destroy her dream life come true, Jess is forced to choose between living a fairy tale and honoring the Sisterhood… and herself.

The Cinderella Society will be an April 2010 release from Egmont USA with book two in the series to follow in Spring 2011. I’m very excited about sharing a scavenger hunt of my own in The Hunt. Come on, next April!

Kay wouldn't let me off the hook without asking me a few questions of my own, so now it's my turn:

Q: What made you take time out of your busy schedule to participate in The Hunt?

Me: I LOVE scavenger hunts! I used to make them up when I was a kid, hiding things and making my younger brother try to figure out where they were based on little clues. It's very Nancy Drew-ish to me (and I adored Nancy Drew!).

Q: How did you decide which books to create a scavenger hunt for?

Me: I chose both books, LOVE, MEG and ALL ABOUT VEE because it was too much fun to limit myself to only one. And I did have a terrific time, as I mentioned in an earlier post when Kay launched the contest. I was only supposed to do 10 questions for each but I could have done twice that easily! I hope readers have as much fun answering the questions as I did writing them.

Q: Do you think you would’ve wanted to be a hunter when you were younger?

Me: If there had been contests like this when I was a kid, you bet! I would have read even more books than I did.

If anyone has any questions for Kay about her books, her contest, or her wonderful self, please leave them in the comments section below and she'll stop by to answer them.

Thanks so much, Kay! I can't wait to read your book next spring!