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 cafĂ©, 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


Summer said...

Funny. I just saw this book on display at B&N for the first time. Now there's an interview! cool.

Readingjunky said...

Thanks for the great interview. Many years ago my students loved Marilyn's Replica series. I'm glad to hear she has a new series. I'll be heading out to look for it.