I'm excited to have author Tracy Marchini here today for a fun chat about her middle-grade book...
by Tracy Marchini
May 16, 2011
Juliet Robinson is the only sixth grader in John Jay Jr. High who hasn't received a "hot ticket" from the mysterious ticket dispenser. When one of the dorkiest kids in school - Crammit Gibson - receives a ticket before she does, Juliet decides that the ticketing system has to stop. With the help of her best friend Lucy, a Daria-esque Madeline and her almost-crush Crammit, Juliet is determined to climb a few rungs on the middle school social ladder and catch the ticket dispenser once and for all! HOT TICKET is the first book in the Hot Ticket Trilogy.
HOT TICKET will be available as a free ebook on Amazon from January 10 – January 14, 2016, and is also available in print at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
What three words best describe Hot Ticket?
Hot Ticket is fun, funny and mysterious!
Can you give us your best one sentence pitch to convince readers, especially reluctant readers, to give Hot Ticket?
Hot Ticket is a mystery that will keep you guessing – and laughing – to the end!
Grab a copy of Hot Ticket and answer the following:
One of my favorite chapters would be the one in which Juliet goes on an accidental sort-of date to the movies with Crammit Gibson. I never went on a movie date in sixth grade, but Juliet’s disastrous movie experience is probably how that would have gone for me too.
Hmm, one of my favorite pages would be the one where Juliet fantasizes about what it will be like to reveal who the ticket dispenser is. She sees herself being carried through the hallways of John Jay Junior High, complete with cheering. I think I like this because it shows just how much Juliet wants to be part of the social scene at Triple J – and just how important the hot tickets are – in a way that’s silly and a bit over-the-top.
A lot of the action takes place at Juliet’s junior high school, but I also really love Dino Dave’s. It’s an arcade/pizza place with one of Juliet’s favorite games – Duck Disaster.
-flip to a random page and give us a 1-2 sentences teaser
I sat through the whole boring yearbook meeting without making Henry Watts cry. (Again, should be hot ticket worthy.) I was on my way back to my locker to grab my Bailey Bean notebook when I saw a poster for the Worst. Invention. Since. Detention.
A Hot Ticket Club.
What inspired Hot Ticket? How did the story come to be?
Hot Ticket is inspired by a conversation I had at lunch with some of my former work colleagues. We had all moved to New York City from different places in the US, and were talking about the ‘point system’ that everybody had in middle school. Like, when I was in school, someone might say “cool points” for something that someone did well or “negative points” if somebody did something uncool. But Amelia was from the Chicago-area, and at her school they said “hot ticket” and “shame ticket.”
After lunch, I started to think about what would happen if these hot and shame tickets were physical things. And what if there was one, mysterious ticket dispenser handing them out? How would the school change? What would it mean for the social hierarchy if cool points could be attached to your backpack?
I started drafting a chapter that day and sent it around to my lunch group. They urged me to finish it, and so I kept going!
Hot Ticket is also inspired by my love of Nancy Drew. When I was in sixth grade, I read as many of the Nancy Drew Case Files as I possibly could. Juliet is a little bit like Nancy Drew, except that she has worse luck and no Mustang.
Can you tell us a bit about your character Juliet? What makes her special and what do you love about her?
I love Juliet’s tenacity. When she wants something, she is hyper-focused on that goal. Sometimes, this does get her into trouble with her friends and family. But I think in the long run, this tenacity is also what endears her to those around her – even to the Principal (who she sees pretty often, usually not for something good). She is constantly running into trouble, but she always means well.
She’s also clever. So even though she has a habit of accidentally ruining school functions, she also usually figures out a way to get herself back on track.
Juliet wants to receive a “hot ticket” from the mystery ticket giver...what kind of “tickets” would you love to receive? (I wouldn’t mind getting the “Most Awesome At Reading Books & Eating Cupcakes” ticket!)
Hmm. I’d like to receive “Best ice skater who never went to the Olympics,” but that’s not very likely! If you asked my friends, they’d probably say my Hot Ticket would be “Most loves ducks even though she doesn’t have one (yet).”
What’s next for Juliet and the Hot Ticket Trilogy?
In Shame Ticket, John Jay Junior High will have just started an amateur school news station. However, a shadowy figure keeps interrupting the broadcasts to share unflattering secrets about the other seventh graders on-air. Juliet and her friends have to stop the mysterious on-air gossip before Principal Kim shuts down the station for good.
For more updates about Shame Ticket and the rest of the Hot Ticket trilogy, you can sign up to join The Quacktory – my monthly newsletter full of book news and giveaways!
What’s the BEST thing about being an author?
There are so many great things about being an author. Definitely up there is the ability to ask those weird ‘what if’ questions (e.g., What if cool points were physical things?) and then build a whole world to answer that question. Also, I can write in my pajama pants.
Fill in the blanks:
I’m really awesome at _making Halloween costumes. I started sewing my own (with help) at the age of eight or nine. As an adult, I’ve been Darkwing Duck, Kermit the Frog (as a reporter), and a host of other things.
I’m really embarrassed to admit _I cannot do jazz hands with my left hand. Only my right.
The last great book I read was _Overwhelmed: How to Work, Love and Play When No One Has Time. It talks about the importance of play as an adult, and how so many of us put it to the side in favor of other priorities.
If you were to create and bake a cupcake inspired by Hot Ticket, what would it look and taste like, and what would you call it?
It’d be the Hot Choco-Ticket, and it’d be chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and a mystery center.
Thank you so much for stopping by, Tracy!
Tracy went to parochial school and was picked last in kickball for all eight years. Before she graduated with her B.A. in English, she got into a prank war over Jane Austen quotes and was out-pranked by the third or fourth day. She ran the NYC marathon to make up for her years of terrible kickball playing, but has yet to redeem her sub-par pranking abilities. She is now a freelance editor who specializes in children’s and young adult literature, and holds an M.F.A. in Writing for Children. Her next book, Rock, is a YA anthology of stories inspired by her favorite songs, and will be published on September 6, 2016.