I Grew Up in Birdie’s Neighborhood

I set my book, Open if You Dare, in the neighborhood where I grew up in Atlanta. We moved from that neighborhood, called Gainsborough, when I was twelve. While writing this book, I realized how much loss and fear I must have felt upon leaving the only neighborhood I had ever known. This was my childhood home, where everything had happened. I guess I had placed my sadness in an unmarked drawer which flew open when I started writing about it.

Gainsborough was a close-knit neighborhood with a swim club, creek with rope swing and fourth of July parade. We used to run free in the summers. The summer evenings in Atlanta were filled with the magic of lightning bugs and the sound of playful children’s voices that rang out until dark.

So in this magical neighborhood of my youth, I set Birdie, Rose and Ally. The island is made-up, but the creek is not. It flooded our home several times and when I returned recently, this is where my house was:

A whole street of homes along the flood plain had been removed and yes, one of them was mine. Luckily, my goddaughter, Sierra, was there with me to ease the pain.

Across the street was a Gainsborough sign in the yard of the neighbor who used to call my mom whenever us kids were up to no good.

And here was the pool club. It’s much grander in my memory but that’s how memories work.

This was the swim club back in the day. There’s me with my sisters, Lisa and Sally.

Some of the incidents in Open If You Dare happened in real life. For instance, Zora’s accident was based on a real life accident that happened to Lisa when I wasn’t paying proper attention. The hill where the accident took place looked less steep than I remembered and I found myself very grateful that I had written the book before returning to the scene of the crime. I’ll be forever grateful to have had those years in Gainsborough and happy to share an echo of that in Open If You Dare.

Goodreads Giveaway!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Open If You Dare by Dana Middleton

Open If You Dare

by Dana Middleton

Giveaway ends October 29, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Come to my Book Launch Party!

I’m very excited to announce that the book launch party for OPEN IF YOU DARE will be at Once Upon a Time Bookstore in Montrose, CA on Saturday, October 21st at 4pm. This is great for many reasons (it’s a fabulous children’s bookstore and the oldest of its kind in the U.S.) but also, Maureen and the gang hosted the launch for THE INFINITY YEAR OF AVALON JAMES last October and it was one of my favorite days ever!

So, I’ll hope you come by. There will be an oh so brief reading, amazing cookies, a fun raffle, cool people and if you want, I’ll sign a book for you. Sometimes I have to pinch myself because this is happening again. Looking forward to Birdie, Rose and Ally’s debut into the world.

Open If You Dare

While I’m updating my website (which tends to take me forever!), I wanted to be sure you guys got a look at the new book — Open If You Dare. I’m really excited about this! Comes out October 17, 2017. Promise to have more info here soon 🙂

open if you dare - book cover

Cover Reveal – Open If You Dare

Hiya Gang –

Today was a really fun day! Fabulous book blogger Jen at Pop Goes the Reader hosted the exclusive cover reveal for my next book. She tweeted, “Past and present collide as three friends discover a mysterious box in ‘s Open If You Dare!” Wish I had come up with that excellent one-liner!  Thanks to Jen for the awesome reveal and for putting together the ARC giveaway. You can still win a copy. Dare to click here now:

Cover Reveal: Open If You Dare by Dana Middleton

Also, humongous thanks to the cover designer of Open If You Dare, Liz Dresner, and everyone at Feiwel and Friends for their tremendous support!!

P.S. Open If You Dare is available for pre-order now and will appear in bookstores on October 17, 2017.

Avalon Goes Home

Spent time In my hometown of Dahlonega, Georgia, in January. Had a great time at schools there. Teachers Margaret Bennett, Ashley Boegner and my mom (former teacher) created a book club with The Infinity Year of Avalon James as their first read. Here are the students with the author’s mother. I heard from Mrs. Bennett today that the book club lives on!!

Plus, hometown signing at Giggle Monkey Toys was a blast! These amazing girls came by to get their books. They (along with the book club students) are my Avalon Ambassadors! You’re invited to be one, too.

P.S. If I’m missing a photo with you from the visit, please send it to me so I can include it here. You can reach me at dana@danamiddletonbooks.com.


Southern Book Launch

In January, I had my Southern Launch for The Infinity Year of Avalon James at FoxTale Book Shoppe in Woodstock, Georgia. Since I’m from Georgia, it was one of those hometown gal makes good moments and being signing-sandwiched in between Chris Bohjalian and Veronica Roth was pretty surreal! It was a great day at a wonderful indie bookstore. Thanks to Jackie, Karen, Gary and Hyphen for having me. You’re the best! And, special thanks to Chris Hamilton for these photos, making me ever thankful that I’m friends with a world-class, professional photographer. Can you come with me everywhere?

Avalon Book Launch

The official launch of The Infinity Year of Avalon James was last month and our launch party happened at Once Upon a Time Bookstore in Montrose, CA — the oldest children’s bookstore in the country. It was fabulous! Lots of fun, friends and the best cookies that the law allows. And thanks so much to Rachel Stander for the wonderful photos!