By now many of you have already heard about the wonderful picture book, In a Blue Room, by Jim Averbeck, illustrated by Tricia Tusa. (Harcourt, 2008)

It is being hailed as the “perfect bedtime book” in many a review. And rightly so. In a Blue Room is a lovely, lyrical story with visual surprises on every page and absolute sense of “rightness” at the end. If you are looking for a gift for a new baby, put this at the top of your list. I am not book reviewer so I won’t even try to do the book justice but you can read some of the great reviews here: ShelfElf , Well Read Child , 7-Imp , Paper Doll and Book Loons.

Now Jim and I go way back. Okay, maybe not SO way back but I do know him personally because he was the SCBWI Regional Advisor for my area for a few years and in charge of our wonderful conference held at Asilomar every February. When I first met Jim my thought was that he must already be a multi-published author/illustrator because up on the stage he just oozed the kind of confidence and humor that I felt sure had to come from many years of experience. But no, come to find out, although he was already an accomplished artist, he was just (at that time) beginning his journey toward becoming a published author.

Jim is the kind of person that you just want to get to know better. Trust me on this. He’s not blogging (yet) but I hope we can soon convince him to do so because his is the kind of attitude that should be shared across the kidlitosphere. I decided I wanted to do an interview with Jim to help spread the word about his wonderful book but also to help bloggers get to know Jim. Then I went and read the few interviews that are already out there and was hit with the proverbial writer’s block that comes as a result of reading the words of other talented writers.

So I figured the best thing I could do would be to pass the buck, errr, get some help, uhmmm, hold a contest. And because I am overachiever and believe in perpetuating my overachieverness, I am giving you not one, not two, but three, yes THREE chances to win an autographed copy of In a Blue Room.

Chance #1 – Be the best
Here’s the deal – when you are promoting a new book there are often a lot of opportunities for interviews but after a while there are only so many ways you can answer the question “Where did you get the idea for your book?” You begin to long for that great/unique/offbeat/ or just plain weird question that will give something different to say. Send in a question for Jim to answer and the very best interview question will win. Best is a relative term as judged by, well, Jim himself.

Chance #2 – Take the quiz
So far there are five posted interviews about Jim and his new book. Read the interviews (they might give you some good ideas on chance #1) and send in your answers to following five questions. One answer can be found (oddly enough) in each of the five interviews. 

The interviews: 
Seven Impossible Things , The Well Read Child , Charlotte’s Library , Lynn Hazen , Tales From Mount Rushmore

The questions:
#1- The main character’s name in the book is Alice. Where did the name come from?
#2 – Where was Jim when he observed the total solar eclipse in March of 2006?
#3 – What is Jim’s favorite dessert?
#4 – What are the names of the two teachers Jim credits getting him interested in reading and art?
#5 – Where is Jim’s blue room studio located?

All entries with the correct answers will go into a hat and one winner will be drawn.

Chance #3 – Get lucky.
Post about this contest in your blog, on myspace, etc and then comment back here with where the link is. Everyone who posts a link about the contest will be entered in a drawing for an autographed copy of Jim’s book.

The rules:

All entries must be received by June 1st. That’s pretty much it. Send all entries to: susantaylorbrown AT gmail DOT com 

Put BLOG CONTEST in the subject line, please. Good luck!

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