Wednesday, June 20, 2012

WELCOME WEDNESDAY: Huntley Fitzpatrick is Hot for a Caring Teacher

I'm thrilled to welcome YA author Huntley Fitzpatrick to this week's Welcome Wednesday spot. Huntley's debut novel, MY LIFE NEXT DOOR is hot off the presses from Penguin - Dial for Young Readers. And one of you lucky duck commenters is going to win a copy! But before we get to all that, Huntley's got to share her Hot for Teacher moment. Take it away, Huntley...

I was amazingly lucky to have a high school I adored. One of my best memories of it is Ron Richardson, sitting at Chapel, smiling behind his hand, eyebrows raised, or perched on his desk, waiting for a raised arm or a smart answer. Always encouraging, always expecting us to come up with our best.
He was dapper and debonair and had a style I recognized even back in the eighties, when I wore clothes I shudder to think of now. He was funny and pithy, had a way of making anything interesting, even the most painful grammar exercises. He was also gay and “out” in a calm way in a time when it was still a big deal, it was very much just sort of yeah, I have blue eyes, I’m gay, I teach French, let’s move on. What I loved the most about Mr. Richardson was his fine ear for kids who needed his help, his humor, his honesty, his care. He absolutely excelled at finding kids who needed someone to lean on and sticking by them. When I heard that he had died last year I felt as though I had lost a member of my family. I went to his memorial service  and realized how many lives he had touched, so gracefully and without making any big deal about it. I thought to myself that I should write about him, and then realized that without even realizing it, I already had: he was a major character in a book I’d written. I didn’t even consciously know I’d included him.
One of my favorite stories about him was told by a teacher who came to my boarding school from a less than privileged background. She was struggling, in her early days, with how very much kids at this school had, how they didn’t seem to appreciate it. He told her that despite the fact that the students might live in wealthy households with unimaginable luck, in the end they were still just teenagers struggling, kids who needed someone to care and listen.
Mr. Richardson never failed to do that.
You can learn more about about Huntley Fitzpatrick at her website, on TwitterFacebook and Goodreads. Here's a little more about MY LIFE NEXT DOOR:

“One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all,
was that I watched the Garretts. All the time.”
The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them…until one summer evening Jase Garrett climbs her trellis and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love and stumble through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first romance, Jase’s family makes Samantha one of their own—even as she keeps him a secret from her disapproving mother and critical best friend. Then the unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha’s world. She’s suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?
A debut novel about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another.

Thanks so much, Huntley! It sounds like Mr. Richardson was a great guy. Just the kind of teacher teens need. So how about you, dear readers? Did you have a special teacher who was always there to care and listen? Tell us about him and her. 

As promised, one lucky commenter will be picked at random to win a copy of MY LIFE NEXT DOOR. Be sure to leave your name and email address so we can contact you. Contest ends on Wednesday, June 27, 2012 at 5 pm EST.


CareyCorp said...

Hi Huntley *waves*

I'm so glad you came to join us on Honestly YA. Your book sounds great! I'm a huge fan of contemporary YA. And I love the cover of your book. I can't wait to read it.

Melissa Landers said...

Welcome, Huntley!

What a sweet story! Mr Richardson sounds like an absolute prince.

Suzi said...

My French teacher was my favorite. She got me excited about French so much that I continued taking classes in college. She was a terrific teacher.

This book is on my TBR list, but I haven't gotten it yet. I'd love to be entered in the chance to win.


Lea Nolan said...

Thanks so much for visiting with us Huntley and for giving away a copy of your book! It sounds like a great read.

Unknown said...

You were very lucky to have that wonderful teacher.i had a teacher, Mrs. Smith, who had a great impact on me. She taught me great literature, grammar, and how to work the Dewey Decimel System. In between those lessons, we talked. She died a few months ago and I'm so sorry I never had the chance to tell her what an impact she had on me.
Thanks so much for the giveaway!

Loree Huebner said...

Great to learn more about you, Huntley! The book sounds good. I did have a special teacher...6th grade, Mr. D. He always listened. He understood us.

Lorie Langdon said...

Hi Huntley,
Thanks for stopping by Honestly YA today!
My Life Next Door sounds fabulous! I'm adding it to my TBR pile asap!!

Kimberly said...

Hi, Huntley!
I teared up reading the story of your teacher. He sounded like an amazing man, and I'm sure he touched many lives. Sort of like Dead Poets Society. Captain, My Captain! That scene always chokes me up. I wonder if teachers ever realize what a profound effect they have on the lives of their students.
Your book sounds awesome! I have a soft spot for a good contemporary teen romance. I will definitely read that one! I can't wait!
Thanks for a great, inspirational post!

Margie said...

Having stayed up last night to finish it, I'm recommending that everyone moved it to the top of their TBR pile. It's that wonderful!

Huntly-- Love. Love your book. Thanks for a fantastic read.

I have my copy, so please leave my name out of the drawing so one of the other commenters can have the chance to read this excellent book.

Stephanie said...

I love stories of teachers who had such an impact. Yours teared me up.

I also will definitely be adding your book to my to-read list (unless I'm lucky enough to win it!). It sounds incredible.

Jessica Love said...

What a great story! I always hope I'll be the type of teacher that kids remember. If even one kid thinks of me the way you think of Mr. Richardson then I'll consider myself successful!

Lilian said...

I smile (and then got a bit teary) at your story. He sounded like a great man, who was never afraid to be himself. I would definitely like to "Find" him in your book!

Thank you for the giveaway! I have my fingers (and toes) crossed!
Lilian @ A Novel Toybox