Friday, April 15, 2016

The Gift of THYME

In January of 2013, when I was a total newbie writer, I met a few writers through Twitter. Since we lived in the same geographic area, we thought it would be nice to have a "writer's retreat." We had visions of renting a house with a fireplace, on a lake, relatively close to where we all reside... when it occurred to me. I live in a house with a fireplace, on a lake, relatively close to where we all reside. So I invited these then complete strangers (Jen Malone, Melanie Conklin, and Alison Cherry) over for the weekend.

My friends thought I was crazy. You can imagine the conversations:

Friends:  You invited a group of people you don't know to your house for the weekend?

Me:  I know them. From Twitter.

Friends:  (blank stare)

Me:  I checked them out.

Friends:  Did you do a background check? Through the FBI?

Me:  No. I googled them.

Friends:  (blank stare)

Me:  They seem really nice.

Friends:  (blank stare)

But, I trusted my gut (after all, I met my husband online, and he turned out to be pretty awesome). So, Jen, Melanie, and Alison came over one foggy weekend in January. And it was incredible. Not only was I thrilled and humbled to be among such incredible writers, these women became my friends.

Mel and me

At the time, Melanie was revising a manuscript. I’ll never forget how she sat on my living room floor with colorful post-it notes, piles of notebooks, and creative doodles. Her process was pure genius.

That manuscript was COUNTING THYME, which was published on Tuesday. Watching a book being born is like watching a child grow up. I was there when COUNTING THYME walked across my living room floor. I celebrated when the book deal was announced. I read the first version and I read the final version. I've cheered for COUNTING THYME at all these milestones, because it has everything I love in a middle grade novel… an authentic voice and a story with a whole lot of heart.

And I’m not the only one who thinks so.

“Debut author Conklin writes with a pitch-perfect middle-grade voice… A nice choice for middle-grade readers who enjoy heartfelt and emotional novels.”—Booklist

“Thyme’s remarkable perseverance and resilience will inspire readers of Conklin’s compassionate tale.”—Kirkus Reviews

“[A] sweet book that will strum the heartstrings of readers.”—School Library Journal

“Conklin successfully weaves together the shifting dynamics of a loving family under crisis with the less dramatic but equally heartfelt turmoil of coming of age in a new environment.”—Publishers Weekly

And now, COUNTING THYME is out there for all of us, so go. Go get the gift of THYME. You'll be glad you did.


When eleven-year-old Thyme Owens’ little brother, Val, is accepted into a new cancer drug trial, it’s just the second chance that he needs. But it also means the Owens family has to move to New York, thousands of miles away from Thyme’s best friend and everything she knows and loves. The island of Manhattan doesn’t exactly inspire new beginnings, but Thyme tries to embrace the change for what it is: temporary.

After Val’s treatment shows real promise and Mr. Owens accepts a full-time position in the city, Thyme has to face the frightening possibility that the move to New York is permanent. Thyme loves her brother, and knows the trial could save his life—she’d give anything for him to be well—but she still wants to go home, although the guilt of not wanting to stay is agonizing. She finds herself even more mixed up when her heart feels the tug of new friends, a first crush, and even a crotchety neighbor and his sweet whistling bird. All Thyme can do is count the minutes, the hours, and days, and hope time can bring both a miracle for Val and a way back home.

To order your copy of Counting Thyme:

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