I went on the MSNBC show “American Voices with Alicia Menendez” to talk about the diversity crisis at the Golden Globes awards show.
Award show ratings have been falling, but they’re still an important part of marketing and promoting a movie. Winning a Golden Globe can boost a movie’s box office by millions of dollars. So when shows like the Golden Globes fail to promote diversity among their member voters, or in the awards they hand out, it hits people in the pocketbook.
Interestingly, one of the award shows that’s on the upswing in terms of ratings is the NAACP Image Awards–a show that’s all about promoting diversity. My novel “Around Harvard Square” won an NAACP Image Award and it really helped raise awareness about the book.
Speaking of books, on “American Voices,” host Alicia Menendez put in a word for my upcoming YA novel “Zero O’Clock,” due out September 7, 2021 and available for preorder now.
My new book “Zero O’Clock“ (Akashic) is coming out September 7, 2021! It’s YA novel about Geth Montego, a Jamaican-American teen living in New Rochelle, N.Y., whose world is turned upside down by the Covid-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020.
There’s also a lot in the book about the K-pop group BTS–Geth is one of the band’s biggest fans, and that’s saying a lot.
Here’s some of the pre-publication praise that “Zero O’Clock” has gotten so far:
“An insightful, eye-opening, and inventive story. C.J. Farley has penned a novel that sheds an important light on real issues facing young people today.”
–Angie Thomas, author of The Hate U Give
“Zero O’Clock is a beautiful and timely YA novel that is both heartbreaking and whip smart, a glimpse into the world of virtual friendship, classrooms, and pop stardom.”
–Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg, author of The Nine
“Thoughtful, provocative, and pounding with the fast-paced beat of a sharp-witted adolescent mind, Zero O’Clock is the story of a Jamaican-American teen girl at the early epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in New Rochelle, New York. C.J. Farley has created an irresistible heroine in Geth Montego. Simmering with justifiable anger at everything from the cancellation of her senior prom to racial injustices and police brutality, Geth manages to overcome grief, anxiety, and confusion to discover a new sense of herself and her ability to create change.”
–Karen Dukess, author of The Last Book Party
“Zero O’Clock seems to have a direct line into the mindset of a modern teenager. I enjoyed it immensely!”
–Alex Wheatle, author of Cane Warriors
I’ve been following the show since before it began, interviewing Martin himself several times as well as cast members like Kit Harington and Sophie Turner. I have some thoughts about the turn that Emilia Clarke’s Daenerys Targaryen character took in the penultimate episode, but I’m going to wait until the whole show ends before I weigh in.
The Largehearted Boy blog does this cool series called “book notes” where they ask authors–like Jesmyn Ward and Hari Kunzru–to submit playlists of music that could go along with their books.
This feature fit perfectly with my new novel “Around Harvard Square” so I was psyched when they asked me to submit a playlist. See, my book is set in the 1990s and back then I was the music critic for Time magazine. I used to spend my days and nights interviewing folks like Lauryn Hill, Beyonce, the Smashing Pumpkins, Liz Phair, Jay-Z, and other stars of pop, rock, rap and alternative music.
Each of the chapters in “Around Harvard Square” was named after a song from the 1990s, so there’s kind of a built-in playlist. Anyway, I tell more of the story about the connection between my book and the music of the 1990s on the Largehearted Boy blog.
I did a q. and a. about my new novel “Around Harvard Square” with Deborah Kalb, who writes a literary blog. I love the fact that there are people out there like Deborah fighting to bring some arts and culture to the internet.
She asked me a lot of great questions about the book, including how I came up with the ending, and how important the setting is to a novel.
Jeff Pearlman is a former neighbor of mine whom I’ve worked with on various stories and projects over the years. He’s also a critically-acclaimed sportswriter who has launched a half-dozen books up the bestseller lists. He has this interview series called The Quaz that’s kind of like a cooler, less formulaic version of Vanity Fair’s Proust Questionnaire and he recently interviewed me for it. We talked about “Coneheads,” that time I interviewed Amy Winehouse, my five favorite films…actually you should read the interview yourself, it’s worth your time. You can check out the installment of the Quaz featuring me talking about my new novel “Around Harvard Square” here.
I stopped by Harvard Book Store in Cambridge MA on April 30th to read from my new novel “Around Harvard Square.” The turnout was great and there were lots of questions about how I came to write the book, how I managed to anticipate the college cheating scandal, and the lack of diversity in YA fiction.
WCVB-TV came by to do an interview with me and I’ll update you when that piece airs later this month.
I’ll be reading and discussing my new novel “Around Harvard Square” at Harvard Book Store, 1256 Mass Ave, Cambridge MA tonight, April 30th at 7pm! Please share this post and let your friends know!
I’ll be holding a q. and a. at the event and discussing all kinds of related topics, from the lack of representation in YA novels to the recent college admissions cheating scandal to my career as a pop music critic for Time, a senior editor at the Wall Street Journal and an executive editor at Amazon Inc.’s Audible. I’ll also talk about co-producing a Peabody-award-winning documentary for HBO, and having Lifetime turn one of my books into a top-rated TV movie.
In his classic novel “The Book of Laughter and Forgetting,” the Czech-born French writer Milan Kundera wrote that “The struggle of people against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.” Now it appears that may also be the ultimate theme of HBO’s series “Game of Thrones.”
It will also be the theme of this series of posts, which I’m calling “Taking the Black.” I’ve been interviewing the cast, crew and creators of “Game of Thrones” from the start of the series. I interviewed George R.R. Martin when he released “A Dance With Dragons” and I’ve also talked to Kit Harington, Sophie Turner and other members of the cast. As the series heads towards the finale of its final season, I’m going to post my thoughts on the new episodes, some reflections on past shows, and some throwback photos of me with “GoT” personnel.
The first two episodes of the eighth season were beautiful throat clearing, renewing our bonds with the characters, and the characters’ bonds with each other. Characters on the show pretty much revealed most of their outstanding secrets to each other. Now it’s time for action, and the much-anticipated Battle for Winterfell.
I’ll be reading from my new novel “Around Harvard Square” at Harvard Book Store, 1256 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA on April 30 at 7 p.m. If you’re in the Boston area, please stop by!
I’ve got relatives who live in Canada, so it was a pleasure and an honor for my new novel “Around Harvard Square” to be featured on Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio. The CBC is basically the NPR of Canada, which means that a lot of people tune in.