Remember Dippy by Shirley Reva Vernick

Remember Dippy by Shirley Reva Vernick

Published Date:?May 2013

Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press

Genre: YA

The Story: Johnny’s plans fly out the window when he finds out his single mother is leaving town for the summer. She has a breakthough job in upstate New York. He can live with his Aunt Collette but only on the condition that he “help out with” his autistic older cousin, Remember. Yup, you heard it right: Remember Dippy. That’s his cousin’s name—and Remember is a gawky awkward kid with some pretty strange habits, like repeating back almost everything Johnny says and spending hours glued to the weather channel. Johnny’s premonitions of disaster appear at first to come to cringeworthy fruition, but when the two boys save a bully from drowning, salvage the pizzeria guy’s romance, and share girl troubles, Johnny ends up having the summer of his life.


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About the Author:

Shirley Reva Vernick’s debut novel The Blood Lie was named on the 2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults list from the American Library Association. It also received the Simon Wiesenthal Once Upon a World Children’s Award and Sydney Taylor Honor Book Award. Shirley lives with her husband, two daughters, and two frisky dogs in western Massachusetts. In addition to running a popular storytelling website—storybee.org—Shirley has written for Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Ladies’ Home Journal, national newspapers, and the publications of Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and Boston universities.

GoodReads?/ Website



If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose?

I’ve thought about this one a lot recently. I’d invite my parents when they were my age, my two daughters when they are my age, and, for comic relief (and eye candy), Jim Carrey.

If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you?

This question was on one of my college applications! My answer has changed since then. I’d bring my laptop (especially if I could get internet access), my dog Twinkles, and a very comfortable couch.
If you were a superhero what would your name be?
If? You mean, I’m not one? Please don’t tell my kids. I think my name would be Pantherella. Definitely something catlike.
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?



Any other books in the works?

I have two books in the works right now: a young adult ghost story and a children’s chapter book about a most unusual school.


If you could jump into a book and live in that world, which would it be?

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson, no contest. Imagine being able to put yourself into, and pull yourself out of, any adventure you wish simply by drawing it!


What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?
That’s a tough call, but if I could pick only one, it would have to be The Red Pony by John Steinbeck.


What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Keep writing, keep submitting, and in between, keep editing.


When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?
I always knew I wanted to be a writer, even before I learned how to write. When I was a preschooler, I’d scribble on a piece of paper and hand it to my mother. Genius that she was, she would read it out as lovely prose. I couldn’t wait to learn to “really write”!


How did you know you should become an author?

I couldn’t not write. It has always been my way of creating, my way of engaging with the world, my way of understanding myself.


Hidden talent?
I can write backwards in cursive.


Favorite Food?

Ice cream!
Favorite Candy?

Most people can’t relate to this, but I adore black licorice.

What movie and/or book are you looking forward to this year?
My local cinema is doing a Hayao Miyazaki animation festival next month. I want to see them all, especially From Up On Poppy Hill and Princess Mononoke.


If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be?
This Makes Sense HOW?

What’s your favorite season/weather?
Early fall—it’s still warm and sunny and colorful, but the bugs and intense heat are gone. It would be the perfect season if only it weren’t followed by winter.
How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?
I started writing my second book.


What is your guilty pleasure?

Ice cream!


Finish the sentence- one book I wish I had written is….
Bed Knob and Broomstick. So cleverly conceived and written—exciting, whimsical, a little frightening, warm.


Favorite places to travel?

All the places I’ve lived before: my hometown in Northern New York, Chicago and Boston.


Favorite music?

Folk rock. Give my Carly Simon, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Mumford & Sons, and everyone in between.
Favorite smell?

Tollhouse cookies in the oven!

In your wildest dreams, which author would you love to co-author a book with?

Neil Gaiman. I love his books and stories, and I love his story-reading voice. I would be his coffee-gopher all day if it meant being able to hear him read his stories.


Do you prefer to write in silence or with music?
I not only prefer, but I need ambient sound. Music, people talking, my dog sniffing around, anything that places me in the world.


What do you think of book trailers?
They’re a blast to make! And I think they can really help viewers get a feel for a book they’re considering reading or giving.


What’s your favorite word?
Funny you should ask, because I actually have one. It’s nestle. I’ve always loved the sound of it, the feel of saying it, and the meaning.


Do you write as you go or do you have the book all planned out from page 1?

I write as I go. I start with the characters and the setting, and I let them all duke it out on the page. I’m just the scribe, really.



This or That
Hot or Cold? I’d rather be a little too warm than a little too cold, probably from all those years I spent growing up on the frigid Canadian border. Oddly, though, I prefer my coffee iced, even in winter.
Black or White? I always gravitate toward black clothes, which I’ll accent with a little bit of bright color. White makes me look washed out; black is rich and cozy.


Night owl, or early bird?

In practice, I’m a night owl, but I think my body prefers the early bird. Sometimes I wonder if I’d be more productive if I listened to my biorhythms…
Print or eBook?

I think eBooks are great, but I personally prefer holding—dare I say caressing—paper and ink.
Chocolate or Vanilla?

Chocolate is my sin.
Coke or Pepsi?

Funny, I much prefer Diet Coke to Diet Pepsi, but I can go with either on the non-diet. I wonder why that is.
Action or Drama?

Drama, baby! As a reader and a movie viewer, I’m into the character dynamics more than the chase scenes.
Pizza or Pasta?

Can I have both? I really like all foods that start with the letter P—pizza, pasta, pie, pretzels, pistachios, you name it. But if I can only pick one, it will always be pasta.
Skittles or M&Ms?

M&Ms. Because they’re chocolate.

Sweet or Salty?

Sweet. I am an incurable sweet tooth.
Summer or Winter?

Summer. Where I live, winter is long, snowy and cold. Not great for a girl who prefers tank tops to turtlenecks, sandals to boots, and gentle breezes to howling winds.

Gum or Breath Mints?

Gum. It lasts longer and there are more flavors.
Spontaneity or Planning Ahead?

Spontaneity. Planning ahead is too much work.
PC or Mac?

I heart Mac!
Beach or Pool?

Beach. You can take walks on the beach. Get just your feet wet. Experience nature. Freak out wondering if there are sharks. Stuff like that.
Shoes or Sandals?

I don’t like my toes, so I’ll have to go with shoes.
Apples or Oranges?

Apples. Just because.
Cause or Effect?

I’d rather be the cause of my actions than the effect. However, in my reading and writing, I love to explore the effects of a watershed event on the characters.

Heads or Tails?

I always pick tails in a coin toss, especially if it’s a quarter because I like eagles.
Facebook or Twitter?

Hmmm. Facebook because it provides more info.

Truth or Dare?

Truth. I love learning people’s deepest secrets.
Text or Talk?

Talk. Talking, whether in person, by phone, or Skype, allows a real-time convo, complete with tone of voice cues.



Character Interview or Character This or That

Johnny is answering these questions:

Hot or Cold?

Hot. I like my pizza hot (not next-day cold out of the ’fridge), my shower hot (hot as I can stand it), and my electric blanket on high (November through April, anyway).


Black or White?

If you’re talking about chess pieces, I don’t play. But I’d rather have black jeans than white ones, or a black T-shirt or a black bike. Yeah, black.


Night owl, or early bird?

Night owl, of course. That’s one of the great things about summer: staying up late and sleeping in.


Chocolate or Vanilla?

Vanilla, especially with ice cream, because then you can put all kinds of toppings on it.
Coke or Pepsi?

Sorry, I’m a root beer man.
Action or Drama?

Action. Obviously.
Pizza or Pasta?

Pizza. I could eat it three times a day every day of the week.


Salty. Especially salty and crunchy. Like chips and nachos.
Summer or Winter?

Summer is the best time of year in Vermont. You can swim in the lake, take your bike into the mountains, go to an air-conditioned movie theatre, whatever you feel like.

Gum or Breath Mints?

Mints. When you chew gum, you have to go somewhere to spit it out. Or keep a Kleenex in your pocket. Or remember to save the wrapper. Who has time for that?
Spontaneity or Planning Ahead?

Spontaneity. Plans fall through too often.
PC or Mac?

I’d take any computer I could get my hands on. Do you hear that, Mom?
Beach or Pool?

Beach. Not that anyone around here has a pool anyway, but at the lake you get sand and space and even some waves. It’s the best hangout spot in town.
Shoes or Sandals?

If sneakers qualify as shoes, then shoes.
Apples or Oranges?

Apples because you don’t have to peel or slice them.
Cause or Effect?

You sound like my history teacher. Cause, I guess. There’s more power in being the cause.

Heads or Tails?

My science teacher says a coin is more likely to land facing the same side you started it on. So if the coin is heads-up on your thumb before you flip it, I’ll pick heads.
Facebook or Twitter?

I don’t have a computer, remember? I don’t have a cellphone, either, so what’s the difference?

Truth or Dare?

Truth. Life is a lot easier if you know what’s going on.


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  1. Thanks for participating in this tour!!