Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Chatting with Tera Lynn Childs

Welcome Tera! Thanks for stopping by to chat with us about your newest book Goddess Boot Camp. It's fabulous and she's clearly a

So let's get started...

What made you choose to write? And why YA specifically? After I got my Masters degree (in Historic Preservation, of all things) I moved back home and basically house-sat while my parents were on the road. That left me with a lot of free time in which I did a lot of reading. The more I read the more I started thinking, “That character should have said XYZ,” or, “Wouldn't it be cool if they'd done ABC instead?” From there, I decided to try writing a book in which the character said XYZ and they did ABC. I started off writing romance, but I kind of fell (happily) into YA. I came up with a title/premise that could only be a teen story (Oh. My. Gods.) and wrote the first draft in record time (six weeks, I think). It just came so easily to me, probably because I'm still a seventeen-year-old girl at heart. I love the complete and total freedom you have in writing for teens, there are no rules, no Do/Don't lists, because teens are ready for anything you can throw at them. We adults aren't usually that open-minded.

I love that you happily fell into YA. And I can't believe it only took six weeks to write Oh. My. Gods. - that's crazy! I must say, I'm glad that you did, because that book ROCKS!

Where do you write best? In a coffee shop. At home, there are too many distractions (email, laundry, television, refrigerator). At a coffee shop, I get a steady stream of caffeinated beverages, a comfy chair (usually), and all the people-watching I could want. I just pop in my headphones, tune out the world, and get to work.

Is there a topic you’ve always wanted to write about? I have a number of ideas tickling at the back of my brain (the ones that might take a few years to settle into an actual book). The one that stands out the most is an unsolved mystery/missing persons case that's based on something that happened at my high school. It's not exactly the fun, fast-paced fantasies I'm writing right now, but it's a story that I'll tell some day.

What was the last book you’ve read that you’ve been recommending to everyone? Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. (Last year it was Fly on the Wall by E. Lockhart.) I am dying to be able to talk about this book with someone who has actually read it. It took me a while to get fully sucked into the story, but by the end I was completely emotionally attached. I have never cried so hard over a book before, and in a different way than books usually make me cry.

Loved this book - and I'm pretty sure I cried too.

5. How do you get your ideas? Do you use real events in your novels and if so, can you describe one? My ideas usually come randomly. The idea for Oh. My. Gods. came from the working title, Growing Up Godly, which was a twist on the reality TV title, Growing Up Gotti. The idea from Goddess Boot Camp started with the opening line(s), I. Am. A. Goddess. I do, occasionally, use real experiences in my novels. Like in Oh. My. Gods. when Phoebe is talking about the race through the Paris airport for their connecting flight, getting misdirected twice, and barely skating back through security before the door closed... that really happened to me.

How do you come up with your titles? I don't know that I have any specific methods, especially since I often come up with the title before the premise of the book. I like to play around with sounds and twist well-known words or phrases into something unique. My editor came up with the title for Oh. My. Gods. (because we thought that Growing Up Godly my come across as inspirational fiction).

Good Call!

Are there any authors you’d love to meet? Jaclyn Moriarty! She's my hero/author crush. I adore absolutely everything she writes—including her rarely-posted blog. But she lives in Australia, so I'll have to save up for that long flight.

I LOVED The Year of Secret Assignments.

How did you become a BUZZ girl? Stephanie Hale, who had already been asked to join the initial group (that included Heather Davis, Dona Sarkar, and Simone Elkeles), suggested/nominated me.

That's so sweet!

Can you tell us a little bit about Goddess Boot Camp? The story takes place the summer after Oh. My. Gods., just a few months after (Warning: OMG Spoiler!) Phoebe learns that she's a descendant of Nike. She's got these awesome new superpowers ... but she's having a little trouble (of the palm tree in the living room variety) controlling them. Her stepdad Damian enrolls her in Goddess Boot Camp, a special summer training program for girls who haven't quite got a handle on their powers yet. In addition to that, she's left alone with stepsister Stella while her mom and Damian are on their honeymoon, she's having a bit of a rocky time with Griffin, she's trying to train for the marathon-length race in the Pythian Games, and someone's sending her anonymous messages about her dad's death. Is it any wonder she can't keep things under control?

I LOVED this book, you can read my review here

Which is why I made a book trailer for it:

How many books will there be in the series? Right now, just the two. I have ideas for more stories, but the sales need to improve before my publisher is going to want more. Anyone who wants to know what really happened to Phoebe's dad, what happens in Level 13, and (finally!) who Nicole's ancestor god is, needs to tell everyone and every library they know to buy the first two books!

We NEED more. Start spreading the news about these fabulous books!

You create collages for each of your characters, and their are super cool – when did you start making those and what inspired them? Thanks! A friend of mine did a workshop at our local writing group about making book collages. The idea of a single collage representing the whole book didn't work for me, but once I started making them for individual characters then everything clicked. I'm a very visual person, so seeing that character and his/her possessions in photo format kind of fleshes them out in me head. When I get about thirty pages into a book I usually stall for a bit. That's when I make the collages, and they get me right back on track.

I love that idea. Check them out here.

Any news about the option (for a TV series) from Ashley Tisdale camp? Sigh. No news yet. The option is up in July, so they'll have to decide at that point if they want to: a) buy the rights, b) renew the option, or c) drop it altogether. You can bet that as soon as there's news I'll post in on my blog!

I hope there's some news soon, I'd love to watch these books turn into a TV series! *fingers crossed*

What's up next for you?

I'm excited to tell you that FORGIVE MY FINS, the story of a half-mermaid princess attending high school on the mainland, will be a Summer 2010 release from Katherine Tegen Books at HarperCollins!

How fun! Looking forward to reading it.

You move around a lot – is there a place you’ve always wanted to live? Oh, everywhere! I've been in Houston for two years now and I'm starting to get antsy. I'm looking at New York or Denver (I've lived both places before) or maybe even L.A. (one of my dream locales). Or I might just pack everything into storage and travel for a while. There's a lot more of the world that I'd like to see.

And finally, a listing if your favorite things:

Candy – I'm not a huge candy person, but I'm not particularly picky when I am

Pizza topping – pepperoni (sometimes with pineapple or jalapenos)

Genre of books – YA, duh! (okay, maybe that's not specifically a genre, so I'll say fantasy/paranormal)

Singer and/or Song – at the moment, it's The Climb by Miley Cyrus (I know, I know, but it's a great message)

Restaurant – Does Starbucks count?

TV show /Movie – it's a toss-up between Psych and Leverage and Deadliest Catch

Color – turquoise

Shoe – flip-flops

Video Game – I love the Nancy Drew mystery games!
Store – Target!

Want more? Check out this fun interview our Goddess did with Linda Gerber

Monday, June 29, 2009

Sorceress (www.teensreadtoo.com)

Sophie and Josh are still on their whirlwind adventure. They’ve moved from Paris, leaving confusion and disaster in their midst, and are traveling to London. When they arrive in London, they’ve been noticed and are being tailed.Dr. Dee is still after the twins. However, the stakes have been raised. With them both awakened, he doesn’t need Nicholas Flamel alive. He also needs to find the twins fast without letting them slip away again or his master will inflict terrible consequences upon him. Meanwhile, his partner in crime, Machiavelli, heads to the island of Alcatraz to finish off the Sorceress. His master’s also concerned about the number of failures in regards to capturing the twins and the Flamels.
Time is of the essence to seize both the twins and to open the doors between worlds. Plus, every hour the Flamels grow weaker and older. Can they hold together and combine their strength to fight off the evil beings?

Michael Scott blends mystery, fantasy, and history perfectly together into an adrenaline-filled, action-packed, fast-paced, addicting novel in THE SECRETS OF THE IMMORTAL NICHOLAS FLAMEL series.
I LOVE this series!

Confessions of a First Daughter (www.teensreadtoo.com)

Morgan, aka the Tornado, has a unique talent for messing up and getting into trouble. Normal teens might get away with some of her mishaps, but not the President’s daughter. Since she’s in the limelight, some of her escapades actually become news. She’s just lost her school’s presidential race. She’s trying to juggle her boyfriend, schoolwork, and a best friend all while under intense security scrutiny. When her security detail switches, she finds herself developing feelings for her Secret Service bodyguard. Morgan’s also having a hard time communicating with her mother. Their talks are always interrupted with special meetings and phone calls. It seems like her mother has time for everyone in the world, except her only daughter. When her mother needs to address a vital situation, Morgan fills in as the President of the United States.While Morgan simply wants to live a normal life, is it possible to have average experiences given that she lives in the White House? Or will she adjust and learn to like the advantages that come with her mother’s station?

Cassidy Calloway writes an expo
se of a first daughter’s life filled with hilarious moments, a little romance, and saving the world one meeting at a time. Morgan’s adventures are not to be missed.
I have to admit that I don't like the cover of this book - it just doesn't speak to me. But the story was super cute and funny.

It reminded me of these titles:

Royal Blood (from www.teensreadtoo.com)

Raven and her vampire boyfriend, Alexander, have had the perfect summer. With fall comes the beginning of school and the ending of their nights together.
The arrival of Alexander’s parents makes things worse. While they’re seen all over town, Alexander waits to introduce Raven to his parents, making her feel both neglected and hurt. However, once they meet, she adores his parents and they seem to like her. Before long, Raven’s family and Alexander’s family start socializing – with Raven and Alexander on hand to make sure Raven’s parents don’t discover the truth. But Alexander’s parents didn’t come to town to visit, they came to sell the mansion and take their son back to Europe with them. When the devastating news hits the couple, they vow to stop the sale.

ROYAL BLOOD continues with the romantic vampire saga of Raven and Alexander in a Gothic tale of love, loss, and friendship.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Sarah Dessen

Last night, I got to meet Sarah Dessen! She was at RJ Julia's in CT - which is fabulous independent bookstore with books filling up every nook and cranny. They also have black and white photos hanging on the wall of all the authors who have visited the bookstore.

She read from her new book, did a Q and A, and then signed books.

In the Q and A, I was lucky enough to be called on. I asked the question I ask most authors - because I always want to know. What was the last book you read that you loved. She mentioned a memoir and also If I Stay. She also mentioned that she looks at writing as a party every day. Also when she's in the process of writing, she tends to think of her characters staying where she left them. "When I went on tour of Lock and Key, I remember just leaving Auden in the hallway and not being able to get back to her and thinking, Oh no, she's been stuck in that hallway for six weeks. She's probably really bored."

Luckily I was able to sneak in early for the signing line. While there, eavesdropping on people talking about books (Ally Carter mentioned), a woman behind me was talking about her writing. And it turned out, it was Natasha Friend. We're friends on facebook, so I ease my into that conversation. Before I know it, it's my turn. And Yes, I did squeal with glee. I met Sarah Dessen after all. And she was super nice. She posed for pictures, signed three books (one for a friend, one for the library, and of course one for me), and then it was sadly over. But I'll always have this:

I had already read the book as I couldn't wait a week!

I LOVED it, Here are my thoughts:
Auden's parents divorced and since then, she's become an insomniac. When she decides to visit her father, his new wife, and their new baby for the summer, she surprises everyone including herself. At first, she doesn't know what to do with herself. She hangs out during the day reading her textbooks, getting a head start of her college courses and at night she drives around the neighborhood. Then she offers to help Heidi (her step-mom) with her book keeping for the store. When she enters the pink shop, she almost dies. She can't imagine herself working here. She keeps to herself at first, but slowly starts answering questions from the girls who run the store. Auden meets Eli several times, but soon discovers that he has the same problem sleeping. So the two of them meet up and he shows her the real town. They start talking about Auden's lack of a childhood and he comes up with an idea to go on a quest and fulfill all the things she's never done - like ride a bike, have a food fight, and go bowling. Soon, they hang out every night. One night, Eli comes too close to Auden and her secrets and she bolts. Can she recover or has she lost the one friendship that matters most of all?

It's the story of a girl who's a perfectionist and has little time for anything else. A story the relates to everyone. A story you can feel. A story you can see perfectly in your mind. A story to share during the summer. It could very well be her best novel yet (though I'm still partial to Truth About Forever).

Check out the READ poster I made:

Check out my book trailer:

Thursday, June 25, 2009

confessions of a shopaholic

We saw the movie here at the library on Tuesday. It was super cute - even though it changed from the book. Major plot differences: New York instead of England, Bex's dating scenes missing, her boss's girlfriend - and the suitcase scene. I know that the movie can't capture everything from the book. The letters from Rebecca Bloomwood to her creditors were hysterical to read, and mildly amusing in the movie. Be sure to check out this series of highly entertaining books. This movie captured the entire feel of the book - the sweet moments and the amusing moments.

Academy 7

Aerin's father just died, leaving her alone in the world. She tries to steer his airship to his final destination, but the ship is hurting. It might not survive. When she's rescued and brought into the republic, she's given a test to take. This test will place her into the school system. With her brains, she's been placed in the very best school. She feels out of place and desperate to hide her true self for fear of being expelled. On the first day, she figures out how to bypass the security codes and lets a boy in on the process. Dane's used that knowledge in a secret attempt to get himself expelled so his father can't force him to leave unjustly. Instead, his plan backfires and both of them get hauled in for questioning. Their punishment: manual labor. At first, Aerin's so angry at Dane, she doesn't talk to him. Each day they debate each other in class and for the best class rank. Finally, after weeks of working together in silence, she begins to crack. Soon, they've become friends, studying together and sharing bits and pieces of their life stories. But neither is willing to let the other in on the secrets from their past. Could their secrets tear them apart or bring them closer together?

Osterlund strikes again with a highly entertaining and heavy sci-fi book. The uncovering of both secrets engages the reader as does the blossoming friendship and romance between the two characters. I also liked how both Aerin's and Dane's perspectives. While I love the cover, in no way does it have a connection to the book - mainly because there's nothing to suggest the science fiction aspect of the story. Anne Osterlund captures me with her writing. I simply adore her books.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Chatting with Aimee Friedman

Welcome Aimee! It's awesome to have you here. Let's CHAT!

What made you choose to write? And why YA specifically?

I’ve written my whole life—since I could write. Writing was my blissful escape, my favorite hobby, better even than daydreaming because I could use words to spin stories out of my head. I wrote all through school, and through college, and when I graduated college, I had it in my mind that I wanted to write very serious literary fiction. But at the same time I had started working as an editor in children’s publishing, and I fell in love with YA fiction. There was so much fantastic commercial YA just starting to explode at that time: Louise Rennison, Meg Cabot, Cecily von Ziegasar, and so many other fantastic writers who were doing great things in the genre. It was inspiring, and I realized that YA was, in a sense, what I’d been writing all along: the stories I scribbled when I was growing up were always about teenagers fighting and falling in love and making discoveries. So I went back to my roots in some ways, and it was very freeing, and so much fun. It still is.

Awesome! I think YA Lit is wicked fun!

Where do you write best?

There’s a perfect little coffee shop right by my apartment. It has squishy leather seats, sublime iced vanilla lattes, free WiFi (slightly dangerous), cupcakes (very dangerous), and most importantly, lots of other people, all click-clacking away on their laptops. Being surrounded by other working, thinking people is very motivating, and the great coffee doesn’t hurt.

Is there a topic you’ve always wanted to write about?

I’ve always wanted to write about my family— my maternal grandmother in particular, and I still plan to. She had an amazing, difficult, complicated life in Europe, and then started a new life here in the States. It’s a project that’s very close to my heart, though, so I don’t want to plunge in until I feel ready.

What was the last book you’ve read that you’ve been recommending to everyone?

Emily Giffin’s Something Borrowed is a terrific summer read. I have some issues with the term “chick lit,” but, putting that aside, this book is truly transcendent chick-lit. Giffin’s writing is warm, lively, funny, and wise, all while being utterly accessible. It’s a juicy story that compels you with each scene — no small feat for a writer.

Sounds like I need to put this book in my TBR pile!

How do you get your ideas? Do you use real events in your novels and if so, can you describe one?

Probably every novel I’ve written has at least a moment or a scene that comes from my own life. Often the seed of an idea will sprout from an experience I’ve had, and from there I’ll ask a “what if?” and invent a full-grown story. One example of this is my book The Year My Sister Got Lucky. The book grew out of the experiences I’d had taking ballet with my older sister. Like the sisters in the book, we were both born-and-bred New York City girls. Then I wondered, “What if we had been uprooted and moved to a rural small town?” That what if? became the crux of the book.

How do you come up with your titles?

I’m bad at coming with titles! I’ll often have to brainstorm a lot with my editor, bounce ideas back and forth. Sea Change was an easier-than-usual title to come up with, because I took it from a line in the Shakespeare play, The Tempest (which is mentioned in the book!)

Are there any authors you’d love to meet?

Like many book people, I suspect, authors are celebrities to me. I remember I once saw Paul Auster in Brooklyn and had a small freak-out. My friend was like, "What? Did you see Johnny Depp or something?" and I said, "No, BETTER!" (That experience actually inspired my book A NOVEL IDEA!). Because of the tight-knit and fantastic teen author community, I've been fortunate to meet so many amazing writers, such as David Levithan, Lisa Ann Sandell, Maureen Johnson, Meg Cabot, Libba Bray, and countless others. One author I'd love to meet is Sophie Kinsella, author of the SHOPAHOLIC books--I bet she'd be really sweet and hilarious. Another author I think I'd have interesting conversations with would be Philip Roth. Clearly, my tastes in books and writers are very broad-ranging!

Yes, authors are celebrities to me too! I've had a chance to meet so many fabulous authors! (Check the picture at the top of the page). I'd love to meet her too!

I know that you work in the publishing world, is it hard to switching back when you write?

It is definitely a challenge to switch between my editor and author hats. It can be exhausting, and forces me to make a lot of sacrifices, whether it’s time with my friends, time at the gym, sleep, sanity etc. J I do think being a writer has made me a more sensitive editor; many of my authors tell me how grateful they are that I know what it’s like to be “on the other side.” But being an editor can sometimes throw up road blocks in my own writing, because I tend to self-edit myself too much as I go. Overall, though, the juggling act is so rewarding, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

You wrote an awesome graphic novel – Breaking Up. Can you describe the differences in the process between novels and graphic novels?

I’m so glad you liked Breaking Up! Writing it was a wonderful experience. I was a little bit daunted at first, so I threw myself into reading graphic novels. I had LOVED comics growing up, especially Archies (I have a mountainous stack of them at my parents’ house), so it made sense that I fell in love with graphic novels, too. There are so many sublime graphic novels out there, from Maus to Blankets to Ghost World. I also read a great book called Understanding Comics, by Scott McCloud, which really helped me get a sense of the structure of comics. I wrote Breaking Up panel by panel, really envisioning each scene and describing what I wanted to have happen in it (for instance, I’d say “Cafeteria, daytime,” etc.). Then I’d write the dialogue for each panel, and go from there. It was a very exciting, different, visual process, very different from novel-writing, and, I’d imagine, a bit more similar to writing a screenplay.

Would you write another graphic novel?

In a heartbeat. I have a sequel to Breaking Up in mind, and Christine Norrie and I have even talked about it.

I hope you write it, I'd love to see what happens next.

Can you tell us a little bit about Sea Change?

Sea Change is the story of Miranda Merchant, a sixteen-year-old girl who is very level-headed, very rational. She loves science, and believes there’s a logical explanation for everything. But all that changes when she spends her summer on a small, mysterious island off the coast of Georgia, and meets Leo, a handsome local boy who challenges everything Miranda thought she knew about reality. In the meantime, Miranda unlocks a family secret and struggles with the class tensions on the island. Sea Change is a love story about transformation, in every sense of the word.

My thoughts:

Miranda thinks she's going to be spending two weeks with her mother alone on an island - talk about a boring summer vacation. She was supposed to be starting an internship at the Museum of Natural History, but then her grandmother died. Now she's helping her mother fix up and pack up the house to get it ready to sell. Things change on the ferry ride when she hears about a local legend of mermaids and mermen. She begins to understand there are two types of island people: summer people, heirs and heiress, and islanders. Her mother introduces her to her friend's daughters. Immediately, Miranda feels out of place. Her new friends make it their mission to find her a suitable boyfriend for the summer. But she has her eye on another boy, an islander. While kissing the suitable boy, a book of island legends falls to the floor. The islander, Leo, makes her feels alive. But in between reading the book of legends and seeing Leo in his natural habitat, Miranda's beginning to question all she knows. Could the legend be true? Could she be falling in love with a merman?

Sea Change takes an ordinary summer and transforms it into something magical. The dreaminess of the cover conveys the feel of the whole story - romantic.

Check out Melissa Walker's cover story.

It ends with loose ends and I’ve heard people talking about a sequel, will there be one or are we readers left to imagine what happens next?

Originally, I hadn’t intended to leave Sea Change open-ended, but as I was writing the characters and their story, it naturally came to me as the right ending for the book. I do want to leave a lot open to readers’ interpretations and imaginations… BUT, at the same time, I do have a sequel in mind!

Oh, fun! I can't wait! I do like how it ends...but I'd never say "No" to a sequel

Is there another project in the works? Can you tell us more about it?

Right now, I’m working on a spooky book for slightly younger readers. It’s great fun! After that, I have an idea for a YA book about travel and romance.

Listing if your favorites:

Candy: Starbursts. I’m addicted. Not. Healthy. At. All.

Pizza topping: I actually love my pizza plain and unadorned so I can enjoy its pure perfection. If coerced, though, I like black olives.

Genre of books: Absolutely anything and everything—fiction, memoir, supernatural, urban fantasy, you name it— with the (possible) exception of sci-fi.

Singer and/or Song: Aimee Mann is my favorite singer, and not just because we have the same first name. Her lyrics are super-smart and her melodies lovely.

Restaurant: Café de Flore in Paris. I love to sit outside, sip a cup of coffee, and watch the world go by.

TV show /Movie: Right now, I’m loving the show Mad Men on AMC, and Curb Your Enthusiasm always makes me laugh. It’s practically impossible for me to pick a favorite movie, but for now, I’ll have to say Adventures in Baby-Sitting. If it’s on TV, I have to watch it.

Color: Ocean-blue (of course!)

Shoe: My Jeffrey Campbell black patent leather flats; they’re insanely comfortable and go with nearly everything, so of course I’ve already worn them to death.

Video Game: I haven’t played video games since I was maybe 11 years old. I really want a Wii!

Show the love and add these facebook flair:

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday Flair: Vermont

We're going home this weekend, so here's a few Vermonty items to start off the weekend right:

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading Blog Tour: Guest Blog by Darcy and Charity

Can We Talk?

No really, can we? Or maybe the better question is…should we? There’s been some drama in the book blog world lately. It started at BEA with a panel discussion of bloggers regarding their relationships with publishers, publicists and authors. Later, someone blogged about it (of course) and (this is the internet, so) someone else misconstrued the comments. You can probably guess where things went after that. (Handbasket, meet Hell.)

There were some pretty fiery opinions thrown down and some flaming comments to go with them. In the midst of the heat storm, a lot of really interesting questions came up. One of the topics that grabbed our attention was:

Should authors try to establish relationships with bloggers?

Here’s the Geek Girls’ take on that question: We. Don’t. Know.

As new authors, it’s really exciting to find our book mentioned on a blog. It’s a natural reaction (we think) to want to interact with the blogger, to thank them for acknowledging our existence and, when they’ve given us a great review, to thank them.


Does contacting a blogger (to offer an ARC, comment on a book mention – or on another blog post of theirs) put unfair pressure on the blogger to produce a positive review?


If the review is already up, do comments by the author(s) crush any further discussion of the book? (Because, like an example given at another blog, you might think a baby is ugly -- but would you say that if you knew his mama could hear?)

The Geek Girls know that bloggers are important. They can help make or break a book – especially a book like ours that didn’t receive much attention from traditional book review outlets. We need bloggers to spread the word about The Geek Girl’s Guide to Cheerleading, but we want to play fair – we want to treat you ethically and with respect. So, if you bloggers and blog readers are ready to talk, the Geek Girls are poised to listen.

You can read about a couple of other blogger panels here: http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA6661691.html and here: http://freneticreader.blogspot.com/2009/05/ya-book-blogger-panel-sort-of.html

~ Darcy and Charity

I think that it's awesome when an author comments on a review I've written or really anywhere on my blog. I like the fact that they read my blog first of all, but second of all, that they want to talk. I think authors rock and I confess I do get all fangirlish at times when meeting authors or just chatting online with authors. In terms of the reviews, I try to be fair if I didn't like the book, because I know that my tastes are not everyone's taste. There are some books I read, but don't mention because I've forgotten that I've never mentioned them, or their more adult books that aren't particularly cross over books to YA lit, or that I didn't know what to say. And that happens sometimes- rarely, but it does. I don't know if authors NEED to establish relationships with bloggers, I just know that it makes me feel nice when they notice something cool (booktrailers made, flair made, or an awesome review).

~ yabooknerd

Speaking of awesome reviews: Read my review

Read more about the Geek Girl tour

Read Melissa Walker's cover story

Monday, June 15, 2009

Chatting with Marilyn Kaye

We're chatting this morning with Marilyn, author of dozens of books, but most recently the Gifted series. Welcome Marilyn!

What made you choose to write?

As a young child, I was always making up stories and telling them to anyone who would listen. When I was able to write, it just seemed natural to put those stories down on paper.

Where do you write best?

At home, in my tiny studio, with music playing. Although sometimes, when the weather is particularly nice, I’ll bring my pc to a café, where I can write while watching people go by.

I love people watching, though I think I would be greatly distracted from doing anything productive.

How did you make the transition from teacher and librarian to writer?

Literature for children and teens has always been a great interest of mine. That’s what drove me into librarianship. And the desire to know more about the subject sent me to graduate school for a Ph.D., so that I could teach at a university. Preparing the courses to teach, I read a lot of books for young people, and decided to try my hand at it.

You’ve written an amazing amount of books, is there a topic you’ve always wanted to write about but haven’t yet?

Yes, I would like to write a book set in the South of my youth, during the Civil Rights Movement.

What was the last book you’ve read that you’ve been recommending to everyone?

I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith – a novel about a teen that was first published in 1948. The protagonist is so appealing, I’m sure she’d appeal to readers today.

6. How do you get your ideas? Do you use real events in your novels and if so, can you describe one?

Sometimes I’ll hear a snippet of conversation, or read an article in a newspaper or magazine, and it will kick off an idea. I might use a real event, but I won’t write it as it actually happened. For example, my book The Atonement of Mindy Wise contains some of my own experiences, but what happens to Mindy is much more interesting than what happened to me.

H How do you come up with your titles?

I play with words that relate to the subject, twist them around and mix them up until I’ve got something memorable. In the case of the ‘Gifted’ series, I took ordinary and traditional sayings that would apply to the extraordinary events of the novels.

I like how that happened plus it works quite well.

8. Are there any authors you’d love to meet?

I don’t think I’d want to meet any of the writers I really admire, because I wouldn’t know what to say!

I understand about that, I turn into a wicked fangirl! It's almost like meeting a rockstar in some cases.

Can you tell us a little bit about Gifted??

The series is about nine students who seem very ordinary on the surface, but each of them has acquired a strange ability. Unfortunately, the abilities didn’t come with a manual or guide, so each of them has to learn how to use the ‘gift’ in the best possible way – which isn’t easy.

Will there be nine books – one for each of the gifted?

Yes, with the other gifted students taking part in each story as well.

Awesome - glad to hear it.

I heard a rumor that you’re living in Paris… How is that? Have you played tourist and gone to all the museums? Do you have a favorite spot in Paris?

Yes, I live in Paris, which I think is the most beautiful city in the world. I’d been visiting Paris on vacations for years before I moved here, and of course I tried to see all the important and interesting sights. I have many favorite spots – the Luxembourg Gardens, the view from the top of the Pompidou Center, or just standing on one of the bridges that connects the Right Bank with the Left Bank.

I'm jealous, it sounds wonderful. I've been there once and would love to go back. A favorite picture we took is actually the view from the Pompidou Center (which my sister tricked me into going to)

Plus, you’ve traveled tons too. Do you have a favorite place?

I have too many favorite places to name! I’ve loved walking along the canals of Amsterdam, seeing a herd of roaming elephants in Kenya, bathing in the thermal waters of Budapest – practically every place I visit becomes a favorite place.

Wow, that sounds amazing! There are so many places I'd love to see.

Is there a place you’ve always wanted to visit…but haven’t yet?

Again, so many! China, Japan, Australia, Israel – actually, I can’t think of any place I wouldn’t want to see!


Candy – Hershey bar with almonds

Pizza topping -- anchovies

Genre of books – mysteries

Singer and/or Song – Bruce Springsteen

Restaurant – Carson’s, the place for ribs in Chicago

TV show /Movie – Lost/Casablanca

Color -- red

Shoe – Converse

Video Game – sorry, I never play video games!

Gifted: Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Amanda is the queen bee of her middle school, but she has a dark secret that would ruin her if the truth came out. She's cut herself off from feeling any sort of sympathy for anyone. Not only has that shot her to the top of the popularity but it helps keep her safe from discovery. Amanda can swap bodies with anyone - much to her dismay. She wakes up one morning to find herself in the body of Tracey Devon - a girl who can't stand up for herself and isn't noticed at all. Amanda must assume Tracey's life as she's stuck. At first, she tries to behave as Tracey might, but then gets tired of having no one notice her. She doesn't understand why Tracey's in a class for gifted students - it's not like she's smart or anything. But then Amanda/Tracey begins to understand that gifted has more than one meaning. Soon she starts to make changes in Tracey's life, hoping that if she makes Tracey's life a little better, she'll be able to return to her normal life. Can she help Tracey without softening her heart? Will she ever get back to her own body? Will her place as the queen bee be waiting for her upon return or will someone catch on to her secret?

Gifted: Better Late Than Never

More than anything, Jenna wants to normal life. She'd love to be able to relax and not have to worry about her mother: her drinking habits, making sure there's food in the house, or just getting by. When Jenna's mom goes to rehab to try and fight her addictions, Jenna hopes that things might change. She has no idea how much. A man shows up out of the blue, announcing that he's her father. While she's staying at Tracey's house during her mother's stint in rehab - she's also starting to meet the father she's never known. Her gift isn't helping matters either. Jenna can read minds - while she tries to exercise self control over invading minds, it's not easy. There are some minds that she simply can't read like her mother's or her teacher for the Gifted class. When she notices that she can't read her father's mind too, she's happy. Tracey doesn't like her father - not because she's jealous, but because she doesn't trust him. Is he too good to be true or is he just happy he's found her after all this time?

The Gifted series is a wonderful new series that mixes the cliques of middle school with paranormal abilities done to perfection. The results is a very satisfying read with hints of romance, mystery, and intrigue. Be sure NOT to miss this series.

To learn more about these books check out the new website

Books 1 and 2 are out now, and book three Here Today, Gone Tomorrow will be out in October