Booktalk Nation Preview #2: Judy Blume with Rachel Vail Tonight in Live, National Phone-In Event

Test of Affiliate Program Targeted to Traditional Bookstores

Our second Booktalk Nation event features Judy Blume, who will answer questions about her life and work from Justin Case author Rachel Vail at 7 p.m. EST tonight. The 30-minute national, phone-in event is hosted by R.J. Julia Booksellers of Madison, Connecticut. Readers can sign up for the call at booktalknation.com/author/blume.

Frequently targeted by censors and always loved by readers, Blume’s books are among the most enduring and controversial written for young people. In 2004, Blume, the author of 28 titles that range from picture books to bestselling novels, was awarded the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

Through booktalknation.com, readers from across the country can order personally-inscribed copies of Blume’s classic, Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret?, as well as three more of her best-known works: Friend or Fiend With the Pain and the Great One, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, and Tiger Eyes. R.J. Julia Bookstore will fulfill the orders after Blume inscribes the books a few days after the phone-in event.

As for what she and Vail will talk about, “Tiger Eyes is very, very dear to my heart because we just filmed a movie based on Tiger Eyes, it was like working on the book all over again.” Blume co-wrote the screenplay for the 30-year-old book with her son, Lawrence, the film’s director.  She’s also eager to discuss her novel-in-progress, which is set in the 1950s in her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey. “You’re always more excited about the book you’re working on now,” she said.

But for readers, Blume’s older books continue to be thrilling discoveries. “I read Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing when I was in third grade,” said Vail. “I remember that feeling to this day, that ‘she knows me.’” Rachel Vail’s novel for kids, Justin Case, won a 2011 Kiddo Award and was named a Best Book of 2011 by Bank Street Bookstore. Her novels for teens include Brilliant, Lucky, and Gorgeous; her books for kids include Righty & Lefty and Jibberwillies at Night.

Testing the Affiliate Program for Booksellers

Booktalk Nation is a new series of phone-in author interviews that the Authors Guild is previewing this month. The program, which seeks to support traditional, physical booksellers, will formally launch in January. Each talk in the series will be hosted by a local bookstore with ties to the featured author.

Booktalk Nation’s affiliate program, which pays 20% of the retail price of books sold, is targeted to brick-and-mortar booksellers.  The program allows readers to back their local booksellers while buying personally inscribed books being sold and delivered by other traditional booksellers across the country. The affiliate program, available exclusively to traditional booksellers, is being tested through tonight’s event.  Booksellers interested in participating in upcoming events are encouraged to visit booktalknation.com/infobooksellers.html.

Regarding traditional booksellers, Judy Blume is succinct: “they just should be cherished and celebrated.”

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