EAST LONGMEADOW — Center grade novel writer Christina Uss admits that a part of her by no means grew out of being 10 years previous.
So when she determined to jot down a guide, there was no query in her thoughts it will be a guide for 8-12-year-old readers.
“I’ve cherished a variety of books in my life, however nothing compares to the surprise and happiness impressed by the quirky tales I learn as a child from Norton Juster, Daniel Pinkwater and Tove Jansson, amongst others,” stated the East Longmeadow resident. “I knew I wished to offer younger readers those self same emotions that the world is magical, unusual and filled with potential adventures.”
Her newest guide, “Erik vs. Every little thing” is due out Aug. 3, and follows her award-winning debut novel, “The Adventures of a Woman Known as Bicycle,” which got here out in 2018 and is at the moment being translated into Chinese language, and “The Colossus of Roads,” which got here out in hardcover and audiobook codecs through the pandemic in 2020.
“Erik vs. Every little thing” will likely be revealed by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (now Clarion Books); it tells the story of a boy whose life motto is “Keep away from Stuff,” whereas his household appears decided to deliver out his inside Viking.
Erik’s summer time in Minnesota is certain to be his scariest but, as his rough-and-tumble cousins and older sister, Brunhilde, are decided to assist Erik conquer all his fears. Bursting with humor, coronary heart and Viking lore, Erik’s story provides introverts the go-ahead to be themselves, gently encourages all readers to face their fears and solutions the query: “Can a worrier change into a warrior?”
However can a worrier change into a warrior? “Of this I’ve little question,” Uss stated. “Nevertheless, the Worrier Warriors have to struggle no battle past this one: Discover the issues they take pleasure in doing and do them. Go away the worrisome stuff behind.”
All of her books have one underlying theme: Folks can discover locations the place they’re completely satisfied and accepted being precisely who they’re. “I hope my readers understand it’s OK to say you deeply don’t need to do issues others count on you to do, so you might have time and house to determine what you really do need to do,” she stated.
Within the guide, she pairs an anxious antihero with Viking heritage and her personal expertise as a Extremely Delicate Particular person. “Erik and I are peas in a pod — we each take into consideration issues deeply and really feel issues deeply in methods folks not often comprehend,” Uss stated. “I drew immediately by myself experiences once I wrote about Erik’s terror over sure conditions — like ready for the door to open to sign the beginning of a weekly piano lesson. Each our hearts hammer when that occurs like Thor himself is making an attempt to tunnel out of our ribcages. Nevertheless, I had a household that allow me keep away from most issues, the place Erik’s household retains pushing him in direction of issues. I additionally don’t have an issue with squirrels like Erik does.”
Uss realized about being a Extremely Delicate Particular person as an grownup. It’s an idea developed and written about by medical analysis psychologist Elaine Aron. “In a nutshell, Extremely Delicate Persons are deeply affected and stimulated by the knowledge coming in by way of their senses. This implies we will profoundly recognize sure issues like music, artwork, nature and meals and revel in quite simple pleasures. It additionally means we have now quite a bit happening inside us at any given second — ideas, feelings, sensations and bodily reactions to stimuli,” she defined.
She ceaselessly reminds herself of the advantages of being delicate — relishing each crunch in a bowl of contemporary scorching buttered popcorn or the subtleties of an excellent tune. She practices gratitude every day for being a grown-up — youngsters have a lot much less management over how and the place they need to spend their time. “I can now gleefully make selections to fill my life with actions I like and keep away from stuff that fuels fear or drives me bananas. For instance, I work in a library once I’m not writing — libraries are havens for HSP of us — and I don’t take piano classes anymore,” she stated.
Uss usually is impressed by titles, and the title of the Erik guide started as “Erik the Viking Goes Mountain Biking.” She conceived of Erik as a modern-day boy who didn’t know the that means of the phrase worry as a result of he was being raised by a household of Vikings, so he saved getting damage mountain biking taking dumb dangers. “Then I sat down to consider Erik, and the character whispered in my ear that I used to be proper in regards to the raised-by-Vikings half, however that he knew the that means of the phrase worry all too nicely,” Uss stated. “I abruptly knew Erik was similar to me at age 9 — terrified by driving the bus, going to high school, becoming a member of actions, taking piano classes, enjoying sports activities. I wished to inform Erik’s story of being pressured to face the each day challenges of being a child who needs greater than something to remain house and browse comics below the mattress.”
The germ of incorporating mountain biking into the guide got here from the unique title, “Erik the Viking Goes Mountain Biking.” Uss used to steer biking and climbing excursions for a Colorado firm, and one in all her fellow tour leaders was “a mountain-biking Valkyrie of a girl.” She tried to show Uss some fundamentals of downhill racing, however Uss is extra snug slow-road driving.
“Nevertheless, it actually caught with me when she talked in regards to the sturdy camaraderie amongst mountain bikers. Even when racing, they appear out for one another. It’s a neighborhood based mostly in acceptance and at all times making an attempt to have enjoyable, which is one thing I wished Erik to search out,” she stated.
Uss has ridden throughout the USA twice, as soon as widthwise and as soon as lengthwise, and he or she has labored as an journey biking tour information all over the place from California to Cape Cod. She wrote an all-things-bicycing column for the Republican, “Wheel World,” from 2003-2008.
Now she rides her bright-orange electrical cargo bike to work on the Storrs Library in Longmeadow.
The opposite of 14-year-old twins, Uss graduated from Longmeadow Excessive College and has levels in music historical past from the College of Pennsylvania and Harvard College.
She is engaged on a sequel to her first guide, “The Adventures of a Woman Known as Bicycle,” entitled “A Few Bicycles Extra.” She additionally has an image guide popping out in 2023 about walruses who don’t know easy methods to say the phrase “no.”
There will likely be a reside guide launch get together for “Erik vs. Every little thing” Aug. 7 at Excessive 5 Books within the Florence part of Northampton. Contributors should buy a signed copy of the guide and get a Viking rune non permanent tattoo and a Norwegian snack referred to as smash.
The hardcover guide has 290 pages and will likely be accessible all over the place books are offered together with at bookshop.org to purchase on-line and help one’s chosen unbiased bookstore. The retail value is $16.99.
For extra data, go to christinauss.com.