In Martha Brockenbrough's debut novel, Devine Intervention (Arthur A. Levine Books), there are nine levels of hell. Level 1 is Everlasting Standardized Testing for the Ungrateful. Level 2, Ballroom Dancing with the Elderly, which is especially designed for Jerks. Trust me, you don't even want to know what the 9th Level is. Let's just say it's not pretty. Or funny.
Jerome Hancock is trying very hard not to go to hell. Oh, he was no angel during his seventeen years on earth. Now, newly dead, he finds himself in heaven's soul rehab program for wayward teens. Part of that rehabilitation process is being assigned a person on earth to watch over. A guardian angel, as it were. But Jerome is not the brightest bulb in the celestial kingdom. As a result, many things go awry, including the death of his charge, Heidi. How is Jerome going to ever evade hell now?
I loved this book! It's funny and wise and compassionate. Just like Martha. One of the things I always tell writers (when I'm teaching workshops) is you have to create complex characters. One of the ways to do that is by showing their "soft underbelly"-- the thing that makes them the most vulnerable. Martha is a genius at doing this. All her characters are fully, wonderfully formed. And there's the sweetest little dog in the story too named Jiminy. I know Martha's particularly excited because the film option rights have been sold for the book! Yay Martha!
Martha also has a picture book coming out in 2013 titled The Dinosaur Tooth Fairy. This book is also with Arthur A. Levine Books, which just happens to be the publisher of my book coming out in October!
Martha founded National Grammar Day, wrote game questions for Cranium and Trivial Pursuit, has taught high school students, and edited MSN.com. She lives in Seattle with her husband, two daughters, and their two dogs, Graham and Rosie. Let's meet the pack in today's Fido and Friend in Five!
1. How did you and your dogs find each other?
2. What makes Rosie and Grahams's tails wag?
They do not understand why I need to wipe their paws when they come inside. If the floors got muddy enough, it would be like being at the park all the time. And what could be better than that?