Q&A With David Arnold, Author of Mosquitoland & Kids of Appetite

kids-of-appetite

 

I’m so, so delighted to have David Arnold on the blog again (you can check out our first chat here). I loved his debut novel Mosquitoland and recently devoured (in the midst of a major reading rut) his latest Kids of Appetite which I cannot wait to write about in more detail. It was FANTASTIC truly. I fell in love with this group of characters and totally was engaged by the structure of the novel and how things unfolded.

So, grab a cuppa something and get to know David Arnold a bit more as we talk about his book Kids of Appetite, music and more!

 

 

1. If books used pick-up lines when readers stood by the shelves trying to choose which book to pick up, what would Kids of Appetite’s pick-up line be?

I imagine KOA trying to woo readers with a song, something like Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get it On.

 
2. I always love knowing the spark (a character’s voice, seeing something in the news, a line of dialogue) that led to the writing of a book. What was the spark of inspiration that produced Kids of Appetite?

I’d recently finished rereading S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, and I adore the band Arcade Fire, and I realized that the feeling I got while reading that book was similar to the feeling I got when listening to that band. If you’ve never heard Arcade Fire perform, it feels like at any minute they might hurl their instruments into the audience then run down the street for an ice cream cone, and The Outsiders captures this same sort of youthful recklessness. I wanted to try and write a book from that place.

 

3. One of my favorite things ever in books/tv shows/movies are ragtag groups of misfits who maybe wouldn’t otherwise become friends and I fell in LOVE with the group of individuals that made up the Kids of Appetite. Tell me one or two of your favorite bands of misfits from another novel/show/movie.

 
Well, The Outsiders is one of those, obviously. Off the top of my head, two others would be Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom and Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go.

 
4. I loved the idea behind the Super Racehorse that comes out throughout the novel. What does the idea of “Super Racehorse” mean to you and 1) tell us someone in your life who you think is a Super Racehorse and 2) someone maybe in the public eye whom you don’t know but exudes the qualities of a Super Racehorse.

 
Well, you can be a Super Racehorse on a micro level (say you fix the garbage disposal, or you ace a test), but you can also be one on a macro level, which is a lot harder to define. I dedicated KOA to both of my grandfathers, who passed in the last few years, and I think for me, they’re the ultimate Super Racehorses. As far as someone in the public eye who I don’t know, but who exudes the qualities of a Super Racehorse, I’m going with Mindy Kaling.

 
5. I’ve loved watching your career blossom from when you were awaiting your debut novel, Mosquitoland, being published and now as Kids of Appetite is on the verge of being out in the world. What is the biggest lesson you think you’ve learned along the way?

 
Enjoy the process. Enjoy the people. Do your work, and don’t get hung up on what other people are doing or getting. Just be you—in person, and on the page.

 
6. I always love imagining who characters I love would be friends with from different books! Tell me another character from any book that you think Vic and Mad (individually) would be friends with and why.

 
This is a shipping question, isn’t it? It’s a shipping question in disguise. I’m old, Jamie. I barely understand the concept, but I will try: I think maybe Vic would like to be friends with Theo Decker (as a kid) from The Goldfinch. They could talk art and family, and I think they have similar philosophies on a few things. And I think Mad would be friends with Cassie O’Malley from Kerry Kletter’s The First Time She Drowned.

 
7. One of the things I loved about Mad was her unadulterated passion for The Outsiders and her Hinton Vortex theory — what’s that one book for you?

 
When I was in middle school, I just read Jurassic Park over and over again until the cover literally fell off. Other books I reread are J.D. Salinger’s Glass family novellas, Harry Potter, and The Lord of the Rings.

 
8. I always love the little tidbits of music (especially the Elliott Smith) in your books and I loved that both Vic and Mad had favorite songs that were really did mean a lot to them. SO, what is your all time favorite song AND a current favorite song that you’ve been playing on repeat a lot lately?

 
If I had to pick one all time favorite song, I guess it would have to be Jeff Buckley’s rendition of Hallelujah (written by Leonard Cohen). Or Debussy’s Clair de lune. Or maybe Elliott Smith’s Speed Trials. (Sorry! I gave you three.) As far as what I’m listening to now, it’s been a lot of The Antler’s Familiars and Daughter’s Not to Disappear. Oh, and I recently got Sufjan Steven’s 10th Anniversary Blue Marvel Edition of Illinois on vinyl, so I’ve been rediscovering that too.

 

 

ABOUT KIDS OF APPETITE

Kids of Appetite

Victor Benucci and Madeline Falco have a story to tell.
It begins with the death of Vic’s father.
It ends with the murder of Mad’s uncle.
The Hackensack Police Department would very much like to hear it.
But in order to tell their story, Vic and Mad must focus on all the chapters in between.

This is a story about:

1. A coded mission to scatter ashes across New Jersey.
2. The momentous nature of the Palisades in winter.
3. One dormant submarine.
4. Two songs about flowers.
5. Being cool in the traditional sense.
6. Sunsets & ice cream & orchards & graveyards.
7. Simultaneous extreme opposites.
8. A narrow escape from a war-torn country.
9. A story collector.
10. How to listen to someone who does not talk.
11. Falling in love with a painting.
12. Falling in love with a song.
13. Falling in love.

Interview With Sarah Dessen + Giveaway

Oh man, guys. I’m so excited about this interview!! I am so grateful to have gotten a chance to sit down with Sarah Dessen before her event here at Children’s Book World in Haverford, PA (my favorite indie in the area) and chat for a bit about writing and how YA has changed and more! She is SO SO lovely and I really enjoyed talking to her. The event itself was LOVELY and there was quite the crowd. One of the biggest I’ve scene there and I loved watching teens and adults alike fangirling over Sarah and telling her how much her books have meant to them. She’s a great speaker and is so engaging with her audience so it was just a great event all around!

 

Sarah Dessen

Question: There’s been a lot of discussion recently about “books for boys” and “books for girls”, and I’m sure you probably get pigeon-holed as the latter sometimes. What are your thoughts and experiences with that?

Sarah: I think what I’ve seen more of than necessarily books for girl or boys is, in the bigger chain bookstores (not the independents), they have teen fiction and teen romance and they have me shelved into teen romance.

Me: And your books are so much more than just a romance!

Sarah: I know! And not that I’m bashing romance, I think romance is great, but I feel like if I only had romance in my books than I’d be okay with that but I feel like, especially in Saint Anything, there’s so much else going on.

Me: *agrees furiously with specifics from Saint Anything*

Sarah: And I’ve talked to YA writer friends of mine who are like, “it stinks because I have that I’ve one book I’ve written in YA romance and one put in YA fiction and people can’t find them.” It’s like, if you love a book you go to the bookstore you go to find a book by that person. So it’s really frustrating. I just wish people would give them a chance. I understand when you have a cover like this with the beach and everything (Jamie note: she pointed to a copy of Someone Like You I believe) but I was really happy with this cover (Saint Anything). When they came back with it I thought, “Okay it’s a little bit darker and it’s a little bit deeper and so is the book so maybe it has a chance. It looks more adult even so it has the crossover potential. I am the first to say I don’t have a ton of boy fans but I do have some, ya know, and they come through and I don’t think books are male or female anything. Books are just universal. Books are for everybody. I understand the sales technique in these bigger bookstores trying to compartmentalize but I think it works against it and it’s frustrating.

QUESTION: So, along with this, what I love about your books is that are ALWAYS about more than just one thing. There are complicated relationships and dynamics of all types. I just love how you balance the friendships, the romance, the family and the individual journey. How do you balance all that in your books, especially because in YA the romance angle seems to be the big seller.

Sarah: Well, because high school’s never about one thing. Life isn’t about one thing to me. Even now, at my age, my daily life is my family, my friends, my work. I’m as tied up with my mom as I am with my daughter. And when I was in high school it was the same thing. It was never just about the boy I was involved with or just my friends. It was like my friends, my boyfriend, my work, school. It’s like, you are are cheating yourself if you aren’t giving yourself the opportunity to show the whole picture. Every day was never about just one thing. Nobody’s life was like that.

Me: I think that’s what makes your books so relatable. I was never just dealing with my crush. It was like trying to balance going out with my crush while trying to keep my grades up and deal with my overprotective, strict mom who I had to beg to let me go out with my friends let alone my crush My parents and home life were a huge part of my daily struggles outside boys and friends.

Sarah: Right! Exactly! I think also in YA, and this is something I’ve said before, I think a lot of times the parents are not there. And I know some YA writers just don’t really want to write adults. They just want to write the teens and the parents are like the Charlie Brown adults where they are just like MWA MWA MWA (Jamie note: her Charlie Brown adult impression is on point). For me, my parents were never one note characters in my life. My mom was just as complicated as I was if not more so. So for me I never felt like I could write about being a teen without bringing in the whole family and all that dynamic because it IS where you learn everything and then you kind of take what you learn dealing with your family into the rest of your life. And, for better or for worse, it shapes who you are.

*interlude where I gush all about Jamie & Cora in Lock & Key because I’m currently audiobooking that one and how Sarah, just in general writes amazing adult characters and how there is a lack of great adult characters in a lot of YA*

[Keep Reading]

I Interviewed Leila Sales! OH AND THERE IS A GIVEAWAY I WISH I COULD WIN!

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HI GUYS. I’m waaaaay more excited than I normally am on a Wednesday. Why you ask (even if you didn’t…I’M TELLING YOUUU)? Because Leila Sales is on the blog today answering some of my questions and I couldn’t be more delighted. I ADORE Leila — both as a person and a writer and I sang HIGH HIGH praises for her book This Song Will Save Your Life back when I read it. A peek at what I said about it from my review: Its spirit pulses from the pages, right through to your veins and reverberates in your soul — a feeling reminiscent of any great concert or night out dancing where your ears are still buzzing and the music still pounds within you.” Read my full review!

I’d invite Leila on the blog any day ending with a Y just because but she’s here today to celebrate This Song Will Save Your Life coming out in paperback YESTERDAY! I’ve been DYING for it to come out ever since I had the honor of revealing the paperback redesign for it.

This Song Will Save Your Life Leila Sales paperback

So, let’s have a chat with Leila and then you can check out the AWESOME giveaway (no seriously, I’m dying for her new book and one of you lucky little book nerds is going to win it).

 

1. If books used pick-up lines when readers stood by the shelves trying to choose which book to pick up, what would This Song Will Save Your Life’s pick-up line be?

“Hey, what are you doing tonight? There’s a club if you’d like to go. You could meet somebody who really loves you.”

2. Since music is such a HUGE part of This Song Will Save Your Life obviously (and a huge passion of mine), I’m wondering what are 5 songs that have topped your playlists lately!
LOVE this question. When I wrote THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE I wanted to include only those songs that had already stood the test of time, so I don’t get a lot of opportunities to talk about newer songs that I’m digging right at this very moment.

Here are some of them:
“I Wanna Get Better,” by Bleachers
“Shut Up and Dance,” by Walk the Moon
“Sex,” by 1975
“My Friend Has a Swimming Pool,” by Mausi
“Palisades Park,” by the Counting Crows

 

Jamie note: AH Leila…I love Bleachers as well and same with Walk the Moon whom the husband and I just got to see in concert and they were so fun!

 

3. One of the things that Elise struggles with is making friends until she meets Vicky, Char and Pippa. Two part question, what other YA character do you think Elise would be good friends with? And what do you think is the difference between making friends as a teenager vs. making friends as an adult? (if there is a difference to you)
I could see Elise hanging out with Audrey from Robin Benway’s AUDREY, WAIT! They could go to shows together and have a blast. (Jamie note: LOVE THIS CHOICE. )

Difference between making friends as a teen versus as an adult: So, first of all, adults aren’t out to make you look and feel stupid all the time. Adults who make snide remarks about what you’re wearing, or about how excited you get about the “wrong” things, are universally understood to be huge jerks and wildly immature. Unfortunately, those behaviors are commonplace in high school. Because in high school there is ONE hierarchy of “cool” versus “not cool,” whereas in adulthood there’s no one set of rules that we are all “supposed” to be trying to follow.

Also: being a kid or teen is bizarre because you are divided up by age. You are for some reason expected to have things in common with some randomer just because you are fourteen and she is also fourteen. In adulthood, you can choose a career doing something that you care about, and through that career you get to meet other people who care about that specific thing. You get to choose what city to live in, and meet other people who chose to live in that same city. And even if those people are a decade younger or older than you, you still can be friends with them, and they will have actual things in common with you.

4. One thing that I loved about TSWSYL is how Elise learns that you don’t necessarily have to CHANGE to find yourself but you just have to see those perceived weaknesses/quirks as your strength and learn to be comfortable in your skin and be who you REALLY are — not who other people think you are or even who they’ve made you think you are.  If you could go back and give teenage Leila advice about this topic, what would it be?
Pretty much just that: know who you are, don’t listen to the people who tell you that what you are is “wrong.” And don’t be ashamed of being yourself, because the things that make you special (or, in high school, “weird”) are the things that make you MATTER—a lot more than whether some popular girl tells you that you matter. This is easier said than done, but it’s all true.

5. I remember being a liiiiiittle nervous about the teenage DJ aspect of this novel before I read it because it totally COULD have turned out corny but instead you made it so believable and fitting. What kind of research did you do to make it feel authentic and fit with the story?
I went out dancing a lot! I’ve always done that, but while I was writing this book I would dance and try to describe what I was seeing and experiencing (in my head, of course). Over the years I’ve also been friends with a number of DJs (and I’ve dated at least three of them), so I’ve learned a fair bit about what’s involved.

Now let’s go for some rapid fire questions:

Song that you always want to dance to: “Beat Control,” by Tilly and the Wall.

Book that saved your life: LIBBY ON WEDNESDAY, by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

Song that you STILL know every word to from your teen years: “One Week,” by the Barenaked Ladies. (This is my party trick. I’ll pull it out if you give even the slightest indication that you want to hear it. Or even, frankly, if you give no indication.)

Song that you’d be most likely to pick for karaoke: Well, “One Week.” Or “I Liked You So Much Better When You’re Naked,” by Ida Maria. Or “None of Your Business,” by Salt ‘n’ Pepa. Basically, if we go to do karaoke, we are going to be there for a while.

Song that you associate with high school: Ohh there are a lot. Let’s say… anything off the Lifehouse album “No Name Face,” and “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World.

Book that you’ve loved recently: FAMOUS IN LOVE, by Rebecca Serle! Also everything that I’ve edited, naturally. (If you’re interested, I keep a Pinterest board of all of them: https://www.pinterest.com/prettytothink/books-i-edited/ Okay, end self-promotion.)

Current favorite album: A new album just came out from the Go! Team, so I’m really enjoying that, but it’s too early to call it my FAVORITE. I’d need to listen to it about a million times more. So let’s stick with “Strangers,” by RAC. They just write such good pop songs, it’s unbelievable.

 

Thanks for answering all my questions, Leila!! I feel like we are music soulmates (Tilly and the Wall <33 I feel like nobody I talk to knows them) and also I think we would have a damn good time doing karaoke together!

 

GIVEAWAYS

That’s right. TWO giveaways. Two winners. (US/Canada mailing addresses only).

GIVEAWAY #1: Up for grabs is an ARC of Leila’s upcoming release — Tonight The Streets Are Ours — which is one of my most anticipated books for this year! It sounds SO EXCELLENT. You can read more about it here.

Tonight The STreets are OUrs book

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

 

 

Giveaway #2: A This Song Will Save Your Life mix cd curated by the participants on the blog tour — fun surprise and a chance to discover new music perhaps?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Want More?

Full Blog Tour Schedule:

http://www.paperiot.com/                                                        April 2, 2015

http://theirishbanana.blogspot.com/                                     April 3, 2015

http://www.rainydayramblings.com                                       April 4, 2015

http://lilisreflections.blogspot.com/                                       April 5, 2015

http://www.thecompulsivereader.com/                              April 6, 2015

http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/                                April 7, 2015

http://www.thebookcellarx.com/                                           April 8, 2015

http://www.greatimaginations.com/                                     April 9, 2015

http://thebevybibliotheque.net/                                             April 10, 2015

http://jenuinecupcakes.blogspot.com/                                 April 11, 2015

http://www.tickettoanywhere.net/                                       April 12, 2015

http://www.bookaddictsguide.com                                        April 13, 2015

http://macteenbooks.com                                                          April 14, 2015

http://www.perpetualpageturner.com                                 April 15, 2015

A Little Chat With David Arnold + A Giveaway of Mosquitoland

You guys! YOU GUYS! I’m so, so super excited for David Arnold to be on my blog today. WHY might you ask? Because David Arnold is awesome and I loved his debut novel, Mosquitoland, which is out TODAY (I’ll be talking about it later this week!!). It was delightfully unique and Mim is somebody you NEED to meet. Also? He’s just really a cool dude who has EXCELLENT taste in music and other things.

I’m so happy to have him here chatting about Mim, music, road trips and mental illness in fiction. I loved all his answers and had SO MUCH FUN with this one! Check out for info about Mosquitoland and David after the interview!

 

Mosquitoland David Arnold interview

 

1. Describe Mosquitoland in 5 words or less.

Home.

2. One thing I really loved was the vibrant cast of characters Mim meets on her trip — no matter how brief their encounter. If you wrote a spin-off novel from the perspective of any other character, who would it be and why?

I actually wrote a novella from Walt’s point of view. It follows him from Chicago right up to the moment he meets Mim under the bridge. I’m still revising it, and at this point, there are no plans for publication. But I’d love to get it out there one day.

(My response to that: OMG YES PLEASE).

 



3. I ADORE MIM SO MUCH. If Mim and I were to be friends and had a girl’s day to 1) visit the bookstore, 2) the record shop and 3) rent a movie, tell me a book or two she’d point out as favorites, the record she’d make me buy because she loves it and the movie she’d pick because she’s been dying to see it!

 

THANK YOU! And wow, this is a fun one. I’m going to go ahead and negate the ones she mentions in the book, because that would just be lazy. So… being that Mim is a self-diagnosed anomaly, I feel like she might be the kind of person to point out a couple books on opposite ends of the spectrum. So let’s say Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions and Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. For the movie, let’s pretend like it’s June already, and Jurassic World is out, because GAH. As for records, I think she would be the girl walking out of the store with a stack under her arms, but if she only recommends one, it would most likely be… Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys.

 



4. I’m always a sucker for a road trip novel so I was eager to go on this journey with Mim. Tell us your favorite road trip memory + a song that is a MUST on any road trip playlist.

 

Well, I did take a trip on a Greyhound as research for this book, but that is FAR from my favorite road trip memory. I think I’d have to pick the trip I took with my wife and son a couple years ago. He was 18 months at the time, but a good traveler. We drove from Nashville to D.C., then to Boston, then up to Maine for a family wedding. It was so fun! And I’m going to pick two songs for this road trip, a good pick-me-up song, and a good stare-out-the-window-at-the-passing-trees-and-contemplate-life song: Kids by MGMT, and Shelter From the Storm by Bob Dylan.

 



5. Mental illness is a big part of Mosquitoland. It’s such a complex topic to delve into and to really “get right”. What was your approach to handling it in Mosquitoland?

 

I never sat down to write a book about mental illness, but once I really dove into Mim’s character—specifically her relationship with her parents—it became evident that this was part of her story. Mental illness can manifest itself in a number of different ways, so I felt it was important to make sure Mim’s experience was plausible, and her responses were realistic. In addition to quite a bit of research on the front end, I recruited the help of three top-notch professionals: a clinical psychologist, a licensed clinical social worker, and a licensed social worker who specializes in mental health. All three of them read the manuscript and offered valuable insight. You’re absolutely correct in noting the importance of getting it right—I did everything I could to do this, and only hope it was enough.

 

6. If Mosquitoland were a movie and you got to be in charge of the music/soundtrack, tell me which 5 songs would definitely make an appearance in Mosquitoland: The Movie. (I’d love to know any particular scenes matched up with songs if they aren’t on the spoiler side!)

 

Oh man. Best question ever. Um. Okay. I actually made a chapter-by-chapter playlist. But in an effort not to overwhelm/bore everyone, I’ll only pick five: opening scene would be Don’t Think I’m Ever Gonna Figure It Out by Elliott Smith, which would then fade into David Byrne’s Glass, Concrete and Stone. The scene where Mim, Beck, and Walt are all getting burgers in the drive through, I would use something like Extraordinary Machine by Fiona Apple. And then in Chapter 28, I actually wrote that they’re listening to a song on the radio about an undertaker, which is Undertaker by M. Ward. And then without spoilers, I always imagined the ending being cut together to either Blood by The Middle East, or Transatlanticism by Death Cab for Cutie. (Know what’s better than five good songs? Six. Boom. You’re welcome.)

 

Thank you so much for indulging me, David!! You are even more awesome in my book for the fact you made a chapter by chapter playlist…but this actually doesn’t surprise me. And omg CHILLS right now thinking about the ending with EITHER of those songs. I will be the first to petition for you to be in charge of music for Mosquitoland should it ever become a film (I can really really see it as an awesome indie flick with kickass music).

If you haven’t heard of Mosquitoland, check it out:

 

Mosquitoland David Arnold After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the “wastelands” of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland.
So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane.
Told in an unforgettable, kaleidoscopic voice, “Mosquitoland” is a modern American odyssey, as hilarious as it is heartbreaking.

 

David Arnold is a stay-at-home dad who wrote Mosquitoland while his son napped and watched Sesame Street. This is his first novel. The family lives in Lexington, KY and readers can find David Arnold online on Twitter @roofbeam and visit him at www.davidarnoldbooks.com.

Check it out on: Goodreads // Amazon

GIVEAWAY

And because I really enjoyed this book I really want to give away a copy to one of my lovely readers! So let’s do that:

Mosquitoland David Arnold

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*US ONLY.
* Ends 3/10

Q&A with Heather Demetrios + Giveaway Of I’ll Meet You There!

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I’m SO SO excited to have Heather Demetrios here on the blog today answering some of my questions! If you read my review of I’ll Meet You There recently, you know that it was one of the BEST books I’ve read in a while. If you haven’t read my review of it, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? It’s a must read book so check it out!

I loved the answers to my questions so definitely make sure to read this!

Hi Heather!

Heather Demetrios author photo

1. Describe I’ll Meet You There in 5 words or less!
The journey of a lifetime.
(I need to clarify that while I hope this is the case for readers, I’m talking about myself. Writing this book has been a wild ride and the most satisfying writing experience I’ve ever had).

 

2. When I was reading I’ll Meet You There I was so struck with how well you portrayed this small, run down sort of impoverished town (something we don’t see a lot in YA) and it reminded me so much of where I spent much of my childhood that my mom, like Skylar and Josh, wanted to get so far away from. But I also loved how you showed how wonderful HOME is despite that. How did you strike that balance to show just why they longed to get away and wanted but more but also show the charm that lies in the place you call home? What was your inspiration for the setting?

When I was in junior high, my mom re-married and moved us to central California. I hated it with a passion. Part of it was because I was so isolated and far from my family and the life I had in LA. It’s also very different: suburban, agricultural, land-locked. Not the most fashionable place in the world. I longed for the beaches of my childhood, the shopping, the palm trees, and my grandparents. I couldn’t wait to get out. Much like Sky, during the summer before my freshman year of college, I was convinced something terrible would keep me there. I’d get pregnant or develop a brain tumor or I’d die trapped under a building after a horrible earthquake. Luckily, I did get out. I spent years thinking of that region with nothing but scorn, in part because I’d experienced so much unhappiness there. But over the years, I’ve gradually softened and come to feel something like a bittersweet affection for the place. The thing is, when you spend your teen years somewhere, that place takes up residence inside you. It’ll have a hold over you no matter how far you run away. I wanted to show that the places we love and hate and grow in embed themselves in our hearts, whether we want them to or not. For Sky, Creek View is a place where she had amazing friendships and movie nights with her mom and where her dad swam with her in the Creek. You can take the girl out of Creek View, but you can never take the Creek View out of the girl.
Highway 99 runs between LA and Fresno and when I was growing up, we did that drive countless times. I based Creek View on the tiny towns we’d stop in for gas or passed by because, like Creek View, they didn’t even have a gas station. I wondered what it would be like to grow up there, only four hours away from one of the biggest and most important cities in the world, to have a life where four hours might as well be four hundred.

 

3. Josh’s character just felt so ALIVE to me with all the emotion and detail that came together about his time in the Marines. He was so complex and was dealing with a lot — PTSD, grief, his memories and the fact that he lost leg — and I appreciated the depth and the fact these things never felt contrived. You can tell that great care went into portraying his PTSD and being an amputee, can you talk about the research and the people you talked to understand Josh more? Was there anything that surprised you or really stuck with you?

Josh is why I stuck with the book, even when it felt impossible. I had to tell his story, I had to give him a fighting chance to overcome his demons and I could only do that by finishing the book. The bulk of my research went into Josh. The most helpful research were the actual interviews I did with Soldiers and Marines who had served in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as talking to my dad, a Marine with PTSD who served in the Gulf War. Hearing their firsthand experiences of the military culture, reintegrating back into society when they came home, and experiences they had with PTSD were enormously helpful. I think I was most surprised by how poetic they could be in their descriptions of their service or of their feelings. There is so much honor and quiet dignity there—you can’t help but be moved by it, regardless of your politics. I also spoke with my aunt, who worked as a civilian with both the Marines and Army as a family readiness officer. Basically, her job was to help with deployments and service members returning home, so she was really helpful with the logistics of what happened to Josh after the bomb. Of course, I read a lot and watched YouTube videos of boot camp and such. I watched documentaries, like Restrepo or fictional stuff like HBO’s Generation Kill, which one of my Marines has mixed feelings about, but I enjoyed. The weirdest research I had to do was related to Josh being an amputee. I’ve been in touch with Wesley Hughes, who has great videos of amputee life on his channel Amp4Life. A lot of the research I did for this book was heartbreaking, but it was all very, very worth it.

 

4. I found myself just so smitten with Paradise — the motel that Skylar and Josh work at. What was your inspiration for this quirky motel?

I suppose my inspiration is a combination of all the motels I stayed at during road trips, as well as the motels we’d pass on the 99 driving to and from Los Angeles. Originally, it wasn’t quirky. Just run-down and seedy. This is where the beauty of writer’s groups come in. One of my critique partners suggested the place could have themed rooms and I loved the idea. I totally went to town. The Tom Cruise room is my favorite, of course. I wanted this to be a haven for both Sky and Josh, a safe place away from the hard times at home and the drama in the town. They can both let down their guard here, which is what allows their friendship to grow.

 

5. Most of the novel is told through Skylar’s POV but you did have shorter, very distinct chapters from Josh’s. What made you choose to do a dual POV in I’ll Meet You There? (I really liked it and loved getting in Josh’s head).

I wasn’t interested in writing the book without those Josh sections. And I had to fight for them. My earliest readers weren’t convinced they belonged in the narrative. I knew it was just a matter of getting them right and I’m glad my mentors and beta readers pushed me to fine-tune them. To me, they’re almost like prose poems. I just didn’t want Josh to be a set piece, only functioning as the love interest. This is his book as much as Sky’s. I wanted to do justice to his experience and I didn’t feel I could do that without going to his dark places. These were really hard to get right, but the writing I’m most proud of. His headspace is scary, but we need to be there. We need to get in the trenches with him.

 

6. I loved how there was so much diversity in I’ll Meet You There specifically seeing disabilities and poverty in such a real way. The YA community has been vocal about wanting to see more diversity and so I’d love hearing about some of your favorite books that celebrate diverse characters.

Oh, this is fun! Well, I adore Tyrell by Coe Booth. It will absolutely gut you. My good friend Lisa Papademetriou has an awesome middle grade coming out next year that features a girl in Pakistan. Eleanor and Park is probably my absolute favorite because not only is there racial diversity, but there is class diversity. Eleanor and Sky would totally get what it feels like to be dirt poor. There’s a lot of really natural diversity in Sarah McCarry’s books—she just portrays Cali like it is, and I love that. Her books are GORGEOUS. I also think we get lots of diversity in fantasy worlds, such as Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone or Marissa Meyer’s Cinder. I think fantasy is the most diverse genre—so many different cultures co-exist together!

 

Thanks Heather for your thoughtful answers and these AMAZING CHARACTERS!!!

There is a really awesome campaign they are doing so check this out!

illmeetyouthere_pre-orderforletter

-Get an exclusive hand-written letter from Josh when you order I’ll Meet You There before Valentine’s Day! Details on Heather’s blog!

Also check out:

-Follow Heather on Twitter!
-Check out Heather’s Pinterest boards!
-Become a fan on Facebook!

GIVEAWAY

I'll Meet You There Heather Demetrios1 winner will received a hardcover copy of I’ll Meet You There!

*US/Canada Only.
* No purchase necessary.
* Prize will be fulfilled by Macmillan.

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Fierce Reads INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY

The Fierce Reads tour stop came here to the Philadelphia area and did a great event at Towne Book Center with Marie Rutkoski, Ann Aguirre and Caragh O’Brien. These 3 ladies were HILARIOUS together and I had the privilege of being able to sit down and chat with them before the event started and it was so lovely and inspiring! I recorded the interview so I could better transcribe it later at home and, I have to say, I was laughing out loud A LOT while playing back the whole conversation.

The event itself was entertaining and lively and it was recorded if you want to check it out! They talked about favorite childhood books, if they were plotters or pantsers, how they balance romance & story, which Harry Potter House they would be sorted into, if they could see their books as tv shows or movies (Ann said movie and she’s actually turned down 2 options because they weren’t right; Caragh & Marie think tv show for theirs). It was a lot of fun and very good conversation. I’d definitely recommend watching the recording!

 

Fierce reads tourAnn, myself, Marie and Caragh

 

1. I ask this to every author I interview — describe your book in 6 words or less!

Marie: I’m going to use Ann’s description of my book: Young girl buys hot boy.
Ann: Marie’s answer for Ann’s since she did hers — Suicidal girl makes bad bargain.
Caragh: Dreams and danger collide.

 

2. How do you plan for your series? Do you know the end game when you start?

Marie: I didn’t intend for The Winner’s Curse to be a part of a series. I was about 1/3 through and I realized the ending I was trying to write toward I couldn’t visualize in the way that I usually visualize my endings. I usually see them from fairly far away and in fairly good detail. So I was having problems progressing — I was actually blocked. I asked myself some careful questions — Am I going towards the wrong ending? What would the right ending look like? What would the ending that is true to my book and true to my characters be? Once I realized that, I wrote the ending that now exists in the book and I realized what THAT ending would be that, “I’m good if I stop there. It feels to me like a story but I thought probably my readers would want a little bit more than that.” So I wondered whether I would want to continue that story and I did. I wanted to continue the story of Kestral and Arin so I plotted out how it would be in the next two books. I couldn’t have done it in only two; it had to be done in 3. Once I was 2/3 through Winner’s Curse I plotted out loose details of the following 2 books.

Caragh: I knew from the beginning it was a 3 book arc and I had a general idea of what was going to be happening in all 3 books. Once I finished the first book and started writing the second book I realized that my plan for the 2nd book does not work at all so I threw that out the window and now that I’m writing book 2 I had to start back at the beginning. Fortunately I left myself enough room from the first book and the world is big enough that I have some unsolved threads to play with. But now that I’m coming up with a totally new plan for book 2, my plan for book 3 has to be different.

Ann: YES. I do know my end game when I started.

3. Let’s say you were writing a spinoff series. Which minor/non-main character would it be about?

Marie: I would write about a character named Roshar that you will meet in book 2 but I’m not going to say why because you haven’t met him yet!

Caragh: I would write about Otis! I love Otis! (Ann interjects: but he’s an adult!) I know but he still really intrigues me! He’s got this interesting family and he’s an interesting person and I wonder why he’s there. (Marie wants her to write about Burnam!)

Ann: I would write about the Harbinger from book 2. He’s mentioned in book 1 but you don’t actually know that you’ve met him! But in fact you HAVE met him, you just didn’t know it was the Harbinger. I planted one fairly significant clue toward the end of the book. I’ll be curious if any readers actually figure it out. The reason I want to write about the Harbinger is because he is essentially Loki. So, if you like Loki from the Avengers it may be relevant to your interests.

 

Jaime-350x262Photo credit: Caragh O’Brien

4. What’s one or two skills or things that you possess that would help you to survive in your character’s world or predicament?

Caragh: I would have a camera. A filming camera.

Ann: I would say money and common sense.

Marie: Once I took a fencing class and I thought I would discover I was naturally gifted and I would be able to fight so gracefully. I was terrible awkward and really bad at it. So I like Kestral I would not be able to survive this world with any physical skills so I guess I would have to fall back on strategical skills. I think that maybe like Arin I can bide my time in order to execute my plans. Although Arin is sometimes not good at keeping his mouth shut while he is biding his time. Maybe I AM like Arin because I can’t keep my mouth shut.

5. What’s the coolest/most interesting/funniest/most memorable thing that’s happened on this tour?

Caragh (and this was also Ann’s answer but Caragh stole it first): They are SECRETS. We can’t tell the stories. But there was this taxi driver. He was telling us supernatural stories about celebrities and houses in the area. And he had so many details. He would NOT stop.  We’d try to say, “okay that’s really cool” and turn the conversation to something else unrelated  but before we could talk about it he’d be like, “well let’s talk about the munchkins some more.”  Then he added in these spooky weird stories. He was all, ” did you know Regis Philbin had a haunting? And that Christopher McDonald had an out of body experience?” And I think if we wouldn’t have been so tired it would had been fine.

Marie: A reader (@born_bookish) made a Winner’s Curse game — a Bite & Sting game from the book. It was really beautifully done and thoughtfully presented. She even made a box that had quotes on the outside from when they were playing and bits of dialogue that had while playing. It was really special. (Ann interjects — it was REALLY cool…very polished). Another special moment was the Downer’s Grove stop because that’s near where I grew up and lots of friends from high school came. And I got to spend time with my dad.

Bite & Sting gamePhoto credit: @fiercereads

6. In the spirit of Mortal Danger, if you were given 3 wishes what would you wish for (no strings attached!)

Marie: That all of my family members have a long and happy life. That sounds cheesy but it’s true. More hours in the day for ME (nobody else)…even 4 to 6 hours just for me. I want a painting — one of my favorite paintings and would be millions and millions of dollars. I’d have to choose one and that would be hard but I could do it.

Ann: I want to learn to teleport.  Then time travel. For my 3rd wish I want a Tardis.

Caragh: Peace on earth, wish that I could fly and wish that they would stop standardized testings in high school.  (Marie interjects and says “mine were so selfish. Ann says peace on earth is actually a really bad idea. Didn’t you see the Simpsons episode..they wish for it and then the aliens come and subjugate us. Marie — but if there were peace on earth the aliens shouldn’t be able to come.)

 

Check out the other Fierce Reads bloggers for more recaps, interviews and giveaways!

Downers Grove, IL: YA Bibliophile | @HMZ1505

Exeter, NH: Love is Not a Triangle | @LaurayJames

Cambridge, MA: Ticket to Anywhere | @Irisheyz77

New York, NY: Queen Ella Bee Reads | @GabySalpeter

Charleston, SC: Reading Underground | @andriaamaral

 

GIVEAWAY

fierce-reads-titles

One lucky winner will receive a copy of The Winner’s Curse, The Vault of Dreamers & Mortal Danger!

Rules & Other Things:
* US only.
* You must be 13 years or older to enter (for legal-y) reasons. Have a parent or guardian or sister or brother do it for you if not!
* Prize will be fulfilled by Macmillan.
* Giveaway ends October 4th 11:59 EST

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This leg of the tour is over but leg 2 is starting up soon with all new authors and more shenanigans! Selfishly I wish another tour stop was coming to meeee!

Fierce reads tour stops

Giveaway & Interview With Katherine Longshore (You need this book!)

So if you caught my post on Monday it was a review of Brazen by Katherine Longshore. OH MY GOODNESS. Please tell me it’s on your TBR. If you like fun historical novels or the show Reign…get on this. And if you are not NORMALLY into historical fiction…I vote giving this one a chance. Given my love for history and this book, you can imagine how excited I am for this interview with Katherine Longshore ALL about Brazen, her research and more!

Brazen by Katherine Longshore

1. Describe Brazen in 6 words or less.

I think the tagline does it well in three: Duty. Loss. Rebellion. Though I’d have to add two more: Love and Friendship.

2. In Gilt and Tarnish you wrote about a bit more well known figures in King Henry VIII’s court, what drew you to Mary Howard to write from her POV in Brazen?

One of the first things that drew me to Mary was that she never remarried. This was something almost unheard of in the Tudor court, and definitely frowned upon by the men in her family who were looking to capitalize on her gender, looks and status in any way possible. I wanted to know why. I could only figure that out for myself by getting inside her head for a while.

But probably the most compelling thing that inspired me to write about Mary was the Devonshire Manuscript. I came across a reference to it when I was researching Anne Boleyn and Thomas Wyatt’s relationship, and found the idea utterly compelling. It is a real leatherbound volume in which many different people (including Thomas Wyatt, and some say, Anne Boleyn) wrote poetry, comments and cryptic notes. It was apparently passed around the court for several years. Two of the most consistent hands were those of Madge Shelton and Margaret Douglas, and the initials stamped on the cover were M.F.—Mary (Howard) FitzRoy. I latched onto the idea of this literary brat pack roaming the galleries of Hampton Court and Henry’s other palaces, and took off from there.

3. How do you balance the historical facts and the fictional liberties when writing? How do you choose what remains completely accurate and what doesn’t?

I have always felt that when it comes to the Tudor court, truth is stranger than fiction. The raw material (the tyrannical king, the manipulative advisors, the six very different wives) is irresistible. Because of this, I try to be as accurate as I possibly can with the facts: who, what, where, when. If my characters birthdays were noted, I cannot make them older or younger. If there wasn’t solid evidence that Henry VIII had an affair with someone, I don’t include it. If Anne Boleyn was at Hampton Court on such and such a date, that’s where I keep her—even if it might suit my story better to have her somewhere else. Thus the long stretches in BRAZEN when Mary and Fitz are separated—he wasn’t at court. Period.

It’s the how and why that I get to play with, and this is where the fictional liberties come in. Why did Mary never remarry? How did she and Fitz feel, being married at fourteen and not allowed to consummate? I also get to do my inventing around the gaps in the historical record. There aren’t any complete lists of the ladies at the court during Anne Boleyn’s time as queen. There is no record of Mary Howard being at court, but then again there is no record of her being anywhere else. It suited the purpose of my story to have her be close to Anne, and there is mention of it in the historical record, so I followed my instincts to the (possibly) fictional conclusion.

My biggest departure from known facts again revolves around the Devonshire Manuscript. I wanted the book to be the touchstone I imagined it to be, but couldn’t find enough evidence in the book itself to suit my needs. So I invented extra pages where the three girls (Mary, Madge and Margaret) wrote lists of attributes of the men they might fall in love with. These lists don’t exist, but it made the story so much richer to include them.

4. It’s obvious from reading Brazen how much research you did…what was the most interesting or mind-blowing things that you came across in your research about King Henry VIII’s reign or life in general then?

One of my favorites is something I came across very early on, when I was just reading history out of interest rather than researching for a book. The Tudors drank wine and beer almost exclusively—never water. They thought water was poisonous to humans and, of course, at the time, it was because the rivers were both garbage dumps and sewers. The boiling and fermenting process in brewing beer killed the bacteria, making it potable. In their defense, however, the Tudors didn’t spend their entire lives inebriated, as they often drank what they called “small beer”, which contained very little alcohol. However, unappetizingly, it sometimes had the consistency of porridge.

5. There were so many compelling figures that were just brought to life in Brazen. Mary Howard aside, who was your favorite to research and to write?

I’m fascinated by Margaret Douglas. She is such an enigma. Daughter of the dowager Queen of Scotland and the Earl of Angus, niece to the King of England, royal and yet she had little political power. She was raised in part with Mary Tudor, who became Mary I, and I can’t help thinking that some of Margaret’s opinions and feelings would have been colored by that association. Margaret appeared on the outside to be the perfect courtier, and the obedient niece to Henry VIII, except for these (excuse the pun) royally imprudent love affairs that got her thrown in prison more than once. She spent her later years in and out of court (and sometimes as a thorn in the side of her cousin, Queen Elizabeth), finagling to get herself and her progeny closer to the throne—and succeeded when her grandson became James I. How’s that for tenacious?

6. If you were transported back into the reign of King Henry VIII, what 3 attributes do you think you’d have to survive King Henry’s court?

Discretion—I know when to keep my mouth shut.
Education—If I got transported back with all my faculties intact, I’d have the heads up on things like reading and writing, as well as basic hygiene. Not to mention the foreknowledge of what happens next and to whom.
Imagination—I’ve had some experience telling stories and making them seem absolutely true.

7. Kiss, Marry, Kill Brazen style — Henry Fitzroy, Thomas Wyatt, Henry Howard?

I’d kiss Thomas Wyatt (I imagine he’s pretty good at it!), marry Henry FitzRoy (hello! Son of the king) and regrettably I’d have to kill Henry Howard (who historically made things difficult for himself—Henry VIII agreed with me and had him executed in 1547).

 

Thanks for such thoughtful answers, Katherine! After reading and loving Brazen, your answers were SOOO interesting to me! Especially the fact that the notebook passed around was real!!

 

GIVEAWAY TIME!

So, I’m really jealous of what Penguin Teen is offering up for giveaway for you guys because I WANT IT FOR MYSELF. I am dying to read Gilt and Tarnish after reading Brazen (two other books set in King Henry VIII’s court — seriously a young Anne Boleyn is the MC is one!!) and Courted is the paperback bind-up of those two. I’m also going to personally throw in Brazen (which will be fulfilled by myself) because I LOVED it so much and want you to read it!

Brazen by Katherine Longshore9780147513687_large_Courted

So what you will win:
* A copy of Courted (bind-up of Gilt & Tarnish) —-> prize fulfilled by Penguin Teen
* A hardcover of Brazen —–> prize fulfilled by me!

US Only.
Ends 7/17 11:59pm

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About The Author

Katherine_Longshore_1589_CL_57_W

Katherine Longshore (www.katherinelongshore.com) is the author of Gilt, Tarnish, and Brazen. She lives in California with her husband, two children and a sun-worshipping dog. Follow her on Twitter!

Check out COURTED (paperback compilation of Gilt and Tarnish) // Check out BRAZEN

 

 

Be sure to follow along with the rest of the blog tour to find out more about Katherine Longshore, her books, and some of her favorite historical hotties!

Midsummer Romance Blog Tour Schedule:

Tuesday, July 8 – Good Books & Good Wine

Thursday, July 10Perpetual Page Turner

Tuesday, July 15Alice Marvels

Thursday, July 17 I am a Reader

Tuesday, July 22 Novel Sounds

Thursday, July 24 Starry-Eyed Revue

Tuesday, July 29 The Midnight Garden

Thursday, July 31 Novel Thoughts

That Time I Got To Interview John Green About TFIOS Movie & Made A Fool Out Of Myself

 

TFIOS-banner

OKAY, so if you follow me on the Twitter (you should because then we can talk ALWAYS) you know I got the opportunity to be a part of a phone interview with about 8-10 other bloggers from around the interwebs and JOHN GREEN about The Fault In Our Stars movie. I love his books, FINALLY just read The Fault In Our Stars, enjoy his videos and I thought he was super nice the time I got to meet him 2 years ago! SO I WAS A WEE BIT EXCITED. It was an opportunity I was grateful for and definitely is one of the coolest things I’ve been asked to do and I’m super excited for The Fault In Our Stars movie (out June 6 from Twentieth Century Fox!) so I couldn’t wait to hear what he had to say regarding the movie and of the buzz. Seriously, who else is ready to bawl their eyes out??

But you know me, readers, and you know somehow I have a knack for THINGS to happen that make an ordinary story into a Jamie Story. I don’t know how these things happen to me (my family members and friends had messages of “omg only YOU” when I told them) but they do. So I’m going to share the interview highlights with you and then leave my story at the end! THE SUSPENSE. (I’m trusting you not to scroll down, friends!)

I wish I could just show you guys the WHOLE interview because there was so much GOOD said but it would be very long. I loved the questions and his answers were so thoughtful and genuine. It was a great conversation and made me very optimistic about the movie. I’m going to share the parts of the conversation that were most interesting to ME and I hope you’ll find them to be interesting as well!

JOhn Green

1. We shall start with my question first because why not!

My question: I know you were nervous to ever give up rights for TFIOS to be a movie because it was so personal to you…what was your biggest fear in doing so?

John Green: “Well, I think it’s really hard to make a movie that’s serious or about serious topics without sentimentalizing it. And so, I guess my fear was that it would become a sentimental story, which is what I most didn’t want. I was trying really hard to write as unsentimental and straightforward a story as I could. I was also worried that the characters would be defined by heir disability, instead of having disability be part of their lives but not the defining feature of their lives. But, the people who ended up getting the rights at Fox 2000 and the producers, Wyck Godfrey and Isaac Klausner, they just promised me that they wouldn’t do that. That was the first thing they said to me when we met, and I believed them. I took it seriously, and they kept every promise. They really did.”

 

egg throwing scene TFIOS

—> I loved what he had to say about this because I am always afraid, especially in the case of TFIOS, that when a book goes to movie that they will miss the spirit of the story. And TFIOS was most definitely not a sentimental story and it was NOT about them having cancer. I HAVE HOPE THEY WILL GET IT RIGHT.

 

2. John on some “behind the scenes” aspects of making the movie:

 

    • On if important dialogue in the book made it to the movie: “Almost every line of dialogue is from the book.  If anything, I was like, “Guys, don’t feel so married to the book.”  But, they were.  They were also very conscious of what lines were important to readers, thanks to the gifts of Tumblr and Twitter and everything else.  They saw what people were responding to, making art about, and it was important to them to keep it in….There were a lot of lines I wanted to preserve if we could make them sound movie-ish and, you know, normal.  But I think they did an amazing job.  I think everything that fans want to hear they’re going to hear.”

thoughts are like stars quote

  • On his role in casting and if he SAW the characters before casting: “I’m really bad at looking at faces and understanding faces, I think.  So, I don’t really see faces that clearly when I’m writing. Almost immediately, even when she was auditioning, Shailene became Hazel for me.  Hazel just looked like Shailene and talked like Shailene talks as Hazel.  In terms of casting, I had a voice.  You know, I’m not a casting director.  I didn’t direct the movie, so it wasn’t my decision, certainly. But, I definitely got to share my opinion, and I was lucky that, in the end, the cast that I dreamt of is the cast that we got.  I think Gus was the hardest role to cast for.  When Ansel was with Shailene, he just became Augustus to me. “Gus and Hazel TFIOS
  • On how often he was there during filming & his role: “I was there for almost every day.  I would say at least 80% of the time.  I usually went home on Thursday night so that I could spend a few days with my family.  But, yeah, I was there most of the time. I didn’t have a role.  But, I think it’s nice to have somebody on a movie set who’s not doing anything, because everyone else is so busy and they’re working so hard and they’re talking about, “Did we get this coverage or that coverage,” and, “Did we get it this way?  Did we get it that way?  Did the light change?”  And I could just be like, “Hey, everybody, hold on for a second.  This is awesome.  Let’s take a step back and realize how ridiculously awesome this is….I was professionally excited on the set.”

3. John on GreenLit & all the other buzz around him vs. other YA lit because of TFIOS movie

 

 I was really happy another interviewer brought up the recent GREENLIT and some of the ridiculous things that have been printed about YA and John Green as the buzz around The Fault In Our Stars movie has begun. It’s been a topic discussed all over Twitter and blogs and so I was very interested to hear what he had to say about it. 

  • On the Hollywood Reporter article saying he has done things Judy Blume never has: “Right, which is ridiculous. Blume has achieved a lot that I haven’t.”   <—  I loved this succinct response.
  • On the misconceptions that John is ushering in contemporary YA: “I can only–every time I’m asked that question, like “Oh, this is such a departure from dystopias or vampires,” I’m like, “Not really,” because really the world of contemporary realistic young adult fiction is very old and very well established.  And I am but one writer and not the best, not even near the best, I don’t think, in the world. And also that I think part of what makes YA so strong is that there’s a longstanding conversation between and within genres.  You have sci-fi books and fantasy books interacting with and responding to realistic fiction and mysteries, and one of the things I really love about YA is all that stuff sharing a shelf. I try really hard to talk about that in interviews, to talk about the way that it looks very different to us from inside the world of YA, that it isn’t about one book or one story, and that there’s hundreds and hundreds of books every year that are read by at least 10,000 teenagers.  And that, to me, is the real story about YA, is its diversity and breadth, and finding way to preserve and grow that diversity rather than celebrating single titles.  But, right now there’s going to be a lot of attention on my work in association with the movie.  And I’m trying to answer the questions as best I can, but there is a story that people want to tell.  And they’re going to tell that story, a lot of times regardless of what I say.”

 4. John on how the movie has made him look at his own book differently

 

“When I was writing the book, I saw the world through Hazel’s eyes.  I didn’t imagine the world through Gus’s eyes or the world through Hazel’s parents’ eyes as much.  I mean, I guess I connected a lot to Hazel’s dad, so maybe there was some empathy there.  But, I was trying to stay narrowly in Hazel’s mind and seeing the world as Hazel would see it. And so, seeing the movie, I thought very differently about Augustus and about Hazel’s parents, and even about Van Houten.  Each of those actors brings to their performance a realness, a sense that they are the center of their own story, just as anyone is. It helped me to think differently and I guess more broadly about Gus, the challenges that he’s been through before the story begins, how that’s given him confidence but how also that confidence is real and it’s earned because he has integrated this disability into his life.  But, it’s also a way of protecting himself.  It’s also a way of protecting himself against the things that are harder for him now, or the way that his life has been changed, physically and emotionally by his disability.”

 

A Fault In Our Stars

5. John on the final outcome of the movie:

  • “They (the producers) were absolutely 100 percent committed to making a movie that would honor the story and that fans of the story would care about and respond to.  And I believed them…And I think they did a really good job, and I think that’s why, for me, at least, it’s such a special movie, because it’s so hard to do that well.  It’s so hard to take a tone that’s in a novel and put it into a movie.  It’s such a different format.  They were just so committed to doing that that I think it worked.  I think that was their priority, and it really–at least for me, it really did work….I genuinely love the movie.  I feel so grateful to the people who made it, because it’s one of the most faithful adaptations I’ve ever seen.”
  • I wish I could tell you about all the things that I’m unhappy about (re: the movie), but I’m really not. Well, except for the sort of mainstream media coverage that The Fault in Our Stars is the only young adult novel ever published.”  <— LOLS. I’ll tell you. He had me laughing a lot during the whole interview.

A Fault In Our Stars

It was a seriously lovely and stimulating conversation to be honest with you. He made me laugh as much as he made me think (kind of like his books?) and I really appreciated the opportunity to be on this call and really appreciated how candid and friendly John was. Very down-to-earth guy! I’m even MORE pumped for the movie!

So before I leave you with my VERY memorable story that goes along with this call….go watch the trailer and cry a little bit. And then laugh at my story. 😛

Official websites – #TFIOS

Visit the official website
Like TFIOS on Facebook
Follow @TheFaultMovie on Twitter
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About the film

Hazel and Gus are two extraordinary teenagers who share an acerbic wit, a disdain for the conventional, and a love that sweeps them — and us – on an unforgettable journey. Their relationship is all the more miraculous, given that they met and fell in love at a cancer support group. THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, based upon the number-one bestselling novel by John Green, explores the funny, thrilling and tragic business of being alive and in love.

Starring Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Willem Dafoe, Nat Wolff, Laura Dern, Sam Trammell, Mike Birbiglia, and Emily Peachey
Directed by Josh Boone
Screenplay by Scott Neustadter, based on the book by John Green
Produced by Marty Bowen, Wyck Godfrey

 

Story time:

So we all get to ask a question to John and we have been told we were muted on the call when we were not speaking. So I’m sitting in my car (super professional right?) because we have crap service in our apartment and I ask my question first and then I settle in and listen to all of the questions and his really thoughtful answers. Well, Will comes out to head to the gym so I jump out of my car, thinking I AM ON MUTE, and I run over to him and I shove the phone to his ear and I’m like, “OMG OMG LISTEN JOHN GREEN.” And then I say something else and then, “Don’t worry…I’m on mute.” And THEN, to my shock and horror, John Green STOPS what he is saying, laughs and says, “HAHA you aren’t on mute.” I was then promptly put on mute. I look at Will with only the most wide eyed look one could have and slink back to the car while giggling/cursing my luck.

National-Book-Fest-John-Green

ONLY ME, FRIENDS. But I will remember it for sure! And hey, maybe if I say, “HEY JOHN I was that girl who thought I was muted” the next time I see him…maybe he will remember me haha.

 

Any thoughts on things brought up in the interview? Are you excited for the movie? What are you anticipating seeing on the big screen??

 

Oh So Epic — A Chat With The EpicReads Girls + Awesome Giveaway!


The best thing to happen since I was laid off from work? Discovering my new favorite thing — Tea Time with the EpicReads girls (Margot & Aubry) on Wednesdays at 3:45 (but they record it for those of you who can’t watch!). I’ll set the scene — obviously while I’m looking for a job I’m on Twitter. OBVIOUSLY. So one day I see the EpicReads team tweet about their live stream chat happening in 10 minutes. So I clicked through not knowing what it was (and Ellen was on commericial) and OH MY GOODNESS. It’s a 15-20 minute-ish chat where Margot and Aubry talk all things books and we can tweet at them/chat in the forum. Instantly I wanted to be besties with these girls — they are MY KIND OF PEOPLE. They love YA books, have some incredible dance moves and basically fangirl the way so many of us do. Their passion, enthusiasm & creativity is infectious and I’ve slowly seen Tea Time just grow and grow with more participants.  I know it’s a lot to do with the book talk and some awesome giveaways BUT I know that a lot of it is to do with the fact that Margot & Aubry are super fun and will instantly make your Wednesday afternoon a little bit better! The books are beyond great but the reason we all tune in every week is to hang out with these two!

I decided it was time we get to know this dynamic duo a little bit better and BOY was this the best interview on this blog to date. Their answers = AWESOME.

 

Tell us a little bit about yourselves — how long you have been working at HarperTeen and what your role is.

Margot: Officially? My title is Epic Reads Community Manager. Unofficially? My title is Master of the Universe and Protector of all things Soft and Fluffy. I was brought onto the HarperTeen over 6 months ago, just before the launch of Epic Reads and it is my job to keep the community updated with fun content and to connect with readers one-on-one.

My day is spent writing blog posts, tweeting, coming up with silly ideas for our Tea Time chats, sneaking in reading sessions under my desk when I should be working and entertaining Snarkles. He can be so demanding sometimes.

Aubry: I’m the Digital Marketing Manager at HarperTeen. I spend my days on the internet figuring out the best ways for people to learn about our books. So if you’re tweeting/pinning/facebooking/youtubing with @HarperTeen, I’m the face behind it pushing send J

To be honest, outside of required reading in high school, Divergent was the first ya book I read. I’m a #yalit convert. Obliviously, I got hooked pretty quickly. The energy of the all HarperTeen/Epic Reads fans is so infectious and the dystopian genre is everything in pop culture I love (aka sci-fi and hot boys). The Pringles slogan fits best here: “Once you pop, you can’t stop”

Overall: I still eat string cheese on a regular basis, cat videos make me laugh and my friends have compared me to the subject of this video.

Let’s play a little game of Fill In The Blank:

When I wake up in the morning I ______
A: hit the snooze button.
M: Pee.

I could not live without _____
A:Tea.
M: Snarkles.

I’m terribly afraid of ____
A: Komodo Dragons
M: the zombie apocalypse (we all know it’s coming)

My worst habit is ______
A:I leave my cups everywhere.
M: Ditto.

2. Describe each other in 5 words or less.

Aubry describes Margot => Nothing faux about her awesomeness.
Margot describes Aubry => Lord of the dance.

3. I am a HUGE fan of Tea Time on Wednesday. It’s super fun and really gives us a great behind the scenes look! Tell us a little about why you started Tea Time and what you hope to accomplish with it as it’s really started to take off more and more every week.

Margot: We started Tea Time because we wanted a way to peel back the curtain on Epic Reads and the publishing industry a little bit. We wanted readers to see who was behind the site and see that we love the books just as much as you do. This is our way of keeping everyone informed in a fun, silly way that gets everyone involved.

4. You guys are becoming quite popular for your shimmies! What’s your favorite dance move)?

 

 

Aubry: “Hands in the air.” It’s my own move.
Margot: Just one???? My go to move is the robot.

5. I don’t know about you guys but sometimes I have occasional brain lapses and act like I’m a crazy person when in the presence of my favorite authors. Have you ever had any embarrassing moments or entertaining stories to share about any author encounters?

Margot: When I first met Rae Carson she went to give me a hug and I got so nervous that I put my arms out in front like a T-Rex….so I ended up giving her a T-Rex hug. She went with it though and did it back. Now are bonded for life.

Aubry: I followed Veronica Roth around all day, and all I could say to her was “I like your book.”

6. Tell us one sequel you are looking forward to in 2013 and one debut that you are looking forward to in 2013?

Margot: Sequel is Requiem by Lauren Oliver
Margot: Debut is The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd

Aubry:The sequel to Defiance by CJ Redwine
Aubry: In the After by Demitirua Lunetta

7. What’s one book that you really loved that you feel is underrated?

BOTH: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson!!!!!!!! (You GUYS I SO AGREE WITH THIS!!)

8. If you could do a mashup of any two books, movies, or tv shows what would it be called and describe the premise of it?

Margot: I want a mashup of The Iron Chef where every week they have to create a meal inspired by a different young adult book. Oh and Team Epic Reads gets to be a judge and eat ALL the food.

Aubry: Agreed.

9. Give me the dish on one fictional character who makes you swoon!

Aubry: Asher from A Beautiful Dark. I’m a sucker for brazen confidence and charm.

Margot: Hector from The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson. Oh I would let that hottie smooch me in a sewer any day.

Let’s end with a  fun game of Kiss, Marry, Kill!

Warner, Adam, Kenji
Aubry: Kiss Warner, Marry Kenji, Kill Adam. (Sorry, someone’s got to go!)

Perry, Roar, Soren
Margot: Kiss Roar, Marry Perry (mostly because it rhymes) and kill Soren.

Damon, Stefan, Klaus
Margot: Kiss Klaus, Marry Damon, Kill Stefan (Love me some bad boys, sorry Stefan. You are waaaaay to whiny.)

Peeta, Gale,  Finnick
Aubry: Kiss Finnick, marry Peeta, Kill Gale (Sorry Gale, sucks to be you…like always.)

 

Thanks so much ladies for doing this! I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know you better and hope everyone else did too! Make sure you guys check out the livestream & follow them on Twitter for book updates, random giveaways & more!

 

BUT WAIT…THERE IS MORE! (Do I not sound like an infomercial?) — A Giveaway!

The prize will be a giveaway of a SURPRISE box of HarperTeen ARCs donated by myself and the very generous ladies at Epic Reads!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Few things:

– US & Canada only, sorry! It’s a big box & I am one broke girl.
–  Giveaway ends November 24!

 

In Which Lauren Morrill Stops By My Blog & My Ovaries Explode

I’m so excited to have author Lauren Morrill on my blog today for a mini interview as part of a fantastic blog tour (organized by Paper Lantern Lit) for her upcoming debut Meant To Be (out from Random House on November 13th). It’s a debut I’m super excited about and will be reading next! And I have to say this is my FAVORITE answer to an interview question EVER.

Meant To Be by Lauren Morrill

Just like Meant To Be, all good romantic comedies have a couple that just can’t get along. Who is your favorite opposites attract couple?

Lauren says:

Veronica Mars and Logan Echolls. OMG I could watch THE SCENE (you know the one…) a million times, and would probably still squeal every time. I just love their snarky banter! Logan is my favorite bad-boy-turned-sort-of-good.”

 

Oh MY GOODNESS! If I wasn’t already planning on reading Meant To Be, I’d be doing it now on the basis that Lauren Morrill answered this question the EXACT same way I would have. My love for Logan runs deep. VERY DEEP. I am seriously just giddy thinking about the amazing and complex relationship that is Veronica and Logan. SERIOUSLY. Two of my fave characters to ever grace the boob tube.  I’m ready to rewatch Veronica Mars just thinking about it. If you haven’t watched Veronica Mars ever, please rectify that. If you are a VMars fan, go spend a few moments reliving your top 5 Logan Echolls moments. #2 always makes me clap and squeal and clutch my chest and #5 just makes me giggle.

I think my other favorite opposites attracts couples are Nathan and Haley from One Tree Hill, Marissa & Ryan from The OC, Ben & Felicity from Felicity, Beauty & the Beast, and Darcy & Elizabeth from Pride & Prejudice.

What are some of your favorite “opposites attract” type couples from tv, books or movies??

 

Add Meant To Be On Goodreads | Pre-Order From Amazon | Follow Lauren Morrill On Twitter | Lauren’s Website

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