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Entries in High School (7)


On the road again

As I'm winding down the new book, I'm winding up a bit of book travel, including a panel on diversity at Emerald City Comic Con, the latest stage adaptation of HOTEL at the CATS theater in Nevada City (directed by Annie Lareau), and even a high school commencement speech

(God help us all).

See you soon!


Literary Lions Gala
Hyatt Regency
Bellvue, WA
Black Tie Optional

6:00 pm



Emerald City ComicCon
Washington Convention Ctr
Seattle, WA

10:30 am
Panel Disc.



Southern KY Book Fest
Knicely Conf. Center
Bowling Green, KY

10:00 am
Panel Disc.



Nevada Theatre
Nevada City, CA

7:00 pm
Stage Prod.



IHC Humanities Lecture
Turf Club
Twin Falls, ID

6:00 pm
Talk & Signing



Great Falls High
Great Falls, ID




Somehow I grew up and became somebody's homework

Well, it's official, I've become homework.

I knew this was happening as each summer I'd get bombarded with a bevy of emails from high school students around the country all saying something like: "Um...Mr. Ford? Your book, Motel on the Corner of Sweet and Sour? Um...well, it's my favorite book of ALL TIME. And if you could just answer these twelve questions, I'd really appreciate it."

Well now I've been told that a group of intrepid social studies teachers have made HOTEL required reading in Washington State (for 9th graders). And as I was on tour last week I wandered into a local B&N and lo and behold what do I see but my book and this sign--right next to Sylvia Plath! (I'm not worthy...)

And in related news, I found a bunch of amusing and heartfelt tweets from high school students who are reading HOTEL:

@MoriahCobb - Nobody read Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. It will slowly tear out your heart, and your will cry your eyes out. #StupidEnglishClass

@catchmeifyaKEN - Hotel on the corner of bitter and sweet is actually so depressing...i can't read this. #thisiswhyidontread

@youroldpalnick - WHO HAS A STUDY GUIDE SITE THAT HAS "Hotel on the corner of bitter and sweet". Sparknotes didn't have it. This is an emergency! #PLZ

(That one kinda get's your "right there" doesn't it.)

@whats_GACCI - Anyone wanna give me a good summary of hotel on the corner of bitter and sweet!?... (willing to pay in cash)

@bananaalannah - I would rather read Animal Farm everyday of my whole life than fucking read Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.

@ex0hEmma - More like hotel on the corner of (this book sucks boulevard) bitter and sweet.

That last one is my personal favorite. I love it. Little do they know that I'm fueled creatively by the angst of teenagers. Happy reading, kids!


Let's make a book deal

It’s oh-fish-ul; I have a new book deal with Random House (Or Penguin Random, or Random Penguin, whatever the new name is post-merger). The hopeful release date for this unnamed novel is 2015, so gods willing, there won’t be such a wait between books.

Speaking of waiting, we’re getting close to nailing down a cover for SONGS OF WILLOW FROST. When we finally have the art in hand I’ll post the cover along with my roughs, like I did last time for HOTEL. I didn’t want to be another cook in the design kitchen, but they asked what ideas I might have, so as a former art director I booted up Photoshop and went to town. Nice to flex those creative muscles once in a while, if only to see that they haven’t completely atrophied.

In other news, HOTEL continues to find it’s way into colleges, high schools, or in this case HOTEL was being read by a precocious bunch of eighth graders. Their feedback was most enjoyable, especially the part about Henry turning into a zombie.


Dear Jamie,
It was such an amazing experience getting to Skype you this morning! I loved getting to hear about the book from your perspective and about the process of writing this book. The way you write your books was very interesting to me. I have never thought of planning the ending of the book before I start it to let that guide me. It seems so logical and simple, yet I have never tried that.  Not only did I enjoy learning about the book and the writing process, but I enjoyed learning about your life as well. All I have to say is that you did not seem like Chaz. Thanks again for taking time to answer our questions.


Hello Jamie,
Thank you so much for Skyping with us. I thought it was really fascinating to hear about how you wrote Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, as well as your writing life in general. I especially liked learning about how you created the characters, like Chaz being a kid who threw rocks at your father when he was a kid, and Henry, in some ways, being your father. Again, thank you so much for Skyping with us, and I am really excited to finish the book, and good luck on your next book.      

 - Mads

Dear Jamie Ford,
    Thank you so much for skyping our class! I have enjoyed every second of your eloquently crafted novel, and look forward to reading your next book. It was amazing getting to meet you and here your inspiration for the story and characters, as well as learn about your writing process. I just want to compliment you on your story. I feel like this is a very accurate representation of life because every character in every group of people is very bitter and sweet. Everyone has there own problems. It's rough all over. I really love your book. I think it's ridiculous Hollywood wants to make Henry white. This only further proves how pretentious these moviemakers are. P.S. I really hope that Henry doesn't turn into a zombie because that would mean Marty was a zombie and he ate people which would totally change my view on Henry as a person. P.P.S. My grandfather is a writer too.


Dear Jamie Ford,

It was such a pleaser to "meet" you! The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is such a fun and interesting read. I have been enjoying every page and I can't put it down. Every character seems so realistic and I feel like I now all of them personally. I learned so much and I am very inspired. One thing that I learned was that you wrote a book in three months! I was astonished that your very own father wore a "I am Chinese" pin. I can't wait to read your next book!

Thank you,

Dear Jamie,
It was super-fun Skyping with you and discussing your book Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.  I have read ahead a little and I am intrigued by the decisions that Henry makes.  I am very excited to find out if Henry ever sees Keiko again in 1942 and 1986. I loved how you made the story just like your father's life in World War Two.  Thank You for giving us the rare opportunity to talk to an author about their book.


Dear Jamie Ford,
Thank you for Skype-ing with our class and answering our questions about Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.  Thank you for answering my question about the writing process and how long it took to write the book.  I was really surprised that it took twice as long to do the research than to actually write the book.

Paul M.

Dear Jamie,
        Thank you of talking to us through Skype today about your book, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. I really enjoyed hearing about the writing process and the characters. I thought it was interesting that you would consider yourself most like Marty. I also found it intriguing that your father wore a "I am Chinese" button during the time of WWII like Henry does as a child. Thanks again for taking time out of your day to Skype with us.

Thank you,

Dear Jamie Ford,
     Thank you so much, for teaching us about your book and taking your time to Skype us and answer all of our questions. I learned so much about the process of writing books and all the challenges that you have overcome to come out with a wonderful novel. Such as having to edit your book for more than three months.
 From, Abner   

Dear Jamie,
Thank you so much for finding time to Skype with us about your novel.  It was a really interesting experience to hear what the author intended to express in the book that we are currently reading.  Something that I realized while talking to you, was that writing a book isn't just putting words on a page, it's really about letting the characters come alive and form their own personality.  This was an interesting topic that I think will help me when writing in the future.  Thanks! 



Excuse me, while I kiss the sky

The murals at Garfield totally rock. Or at least blow virtual kisses toward midtown Manhattan, in the direction of Random House, where my new book is well under way. Revisions done. Edits done. Now doing minor tweaks this week. Then I'll be staring wistfully out my window, feet up, sipping a cup of lychee tea, indulging in some full-contact daydreaming. (Have I mentioned how much I love being a writer?)

Best of all, I'm home for the holidays. No book travel for two months. I'm tempted to just burn my suitcase, but I might need it to catch a football game next month ;)

Speaking of travel, I just wrapped up a visit to Seattle's Garfield High, The Seattle 7's Holiday Book Fair, a keynote address at the convention center for the National Council for the Social Studies, and a library gig in Tacoma where I met a page with the most memorable name I've heard all year: Catalyst. Or Cate/Cat for short. Love that name. Much better than Osmosis or Photosynthesis.

In other news, I STILL don't have a title for the new book. GLORY OF MOURNING is out. Too sad, I think. SONGS OF WILLOW FROST is in the running. We'll see...

And I just sold Arabic translation rights to HOTEL. I'll have books in Hebrew and Arabic. Now if those two kids would just learn to share their toys...