For the love of Young Adult fiction: A confession and a comeback.

Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I blogged. I mean, I know, the date of my previous post is up there—some 5(00) years ago—but that doesn’t mean anything.

I know I wrote at least a dozen posts after that and never published them because somewhere along the line, I lost the plot. I was studying for a Masters degree in English Literature and blogging about Young Adult fiction. The two didn’t seem to go along. Or at least, that’s what my classmates indicated.

You can’t be studying serious literature and gushing Young Adult.

And I’m embarrassed to say, I listened. For a while.

It’s not that I stopped reading YA (How could I? Have you read YA? Those books are unputdownable, soul-fulfilling.) but I would read in secret and I wouldn’t talk about what I was reading. If anyone asked me what my favorite books were, I would quote the classics or something taken more seriously that wouldn’t make anyone frown or look at me with an expression that basically said why are you even doing a Masters in English Literature?

I let that get to me for a couple of years. Then once I graduated, instead of getting into further academics like most of my classmates, I worked as an editor for one of the big publishing houses.

Anyway, YA never let go of me, even though I tried to, you know, play grown up <insert eye roll>. On a side note, if playing grown up is pretending to like things you don’t, it’s incredibly boring.

I read and I secretly wrote YA, although I never got around to blogging about it, because life came in the way—a full time job, adult duties, and the default state of being perpetually tired.

Till, the pandemic.

I know, I know, the pandemic hasn’t exactly been the time to get creative (aside from the 500 baking challenges that took off early on). Heck, I couldn’t even get any writing down for three whole months.

I woke up one day incredibly bummed about the direction (or lack thereof) my life was taking, especially now that I was on self-inflicted house arrest since (yep, you guessed it) MARCH! I needed to do something, but not just anything. I needed those words back. I needed to not only fall into the magic of stories but find ways to talk about my immense love for them.

I decided to log on to my old Netgalley account and wow! The lists of all these books coming out in the next few months and in the next year bowled me over. These were incredible books by incredible authors.

YA publishing is currently having a renaissance moment, with diverse and own voices stories finding their own space and getting into the hands of readers who’ve never seen themselves represented on the page. Like, me. If you go through my review index from my old blog, you’ll notice there are hardly books by authors of color. Because there were hardly YA books by authors of color. Or even if there were, they weren’t promoted enough to be accessible to someone outside of the United States like me.

Angie Thomas‘ 2015 debut THE HATE U GIVE (that I could get my hands on in 2016) showed publishers that if given the chance, books by BIPOC authors sell, and how! It’s been on the NYT bestsellers list for every week since it came out.

For the first time, in 2020 (of all years!), in the history of fiction, a book featuring trans (that too, trans Latinx) characters written by a trans author has made it to the New York Times Bestseller list (2 weeks and counting). That book, CEMETERY BOYS by Aidan Thomas, happens to be YA too.

There are SO many books. SO MANY to read and talk about.

I wanted in on that.

Reading is the only thing that has kept me sane this year. Reading is the only thing that helped me get anything written this year, made me want to write more, and better.

And by reading, I mean reading YA.

I love how it’s a time of firsts, a balance of both innocence and darkness, how emotions are heightened, and how, at the end of the day, there’s still hope.

I started blogging the first time around because I wanted to tell the world about my favorite books so everyone could read them, because honestly, if you’re here I’m sure you’ll agree—what better thing exists than reading?

This second time around, I’m going back to the basics. I want to talk about these wonderful books and hope that you’ll want to pick them up and somewhere along the line you’ll find something that speaks directly to you, because that’s the incredible power of stories.

So here I am. With a brand new blog (although should you go looking, you’ll find my old posts from my previous blog imported here) and a lot of hope.

I have a lot of exciting things planned for the next few months that I cannot wait to share with you. I hope you’ll stay.

Pick up that book. Pour in some chai.

I’m Bidisha. Welcome to Chai and Chapters.

PS. If you’re looking for mini book reviews and some book aesthetics, you can also follow me on my brand new bookstagram. 🙂

My Invented Life

With Roz and Eva everything becomes a contest—who can snag the best role in the school play, have the cutest boyfriend, pull off the craziest prank. Still, they’re as close as sisters can be. Until Eva deletes Roz from her life like so much junk e-mail for no reason that Roz understands. Now Eva hangs out with the annoyingly petite cheerleaders, and Roz fantasizes about slipping bovine growth hormone into their Gatorade.
Roz has a suspicion about Eva. In turn, Eva taunts Roz with a dare, which leads to an act of total insanity. Drama geeks clamor for attention, Shakespearean insults fly, and Roz steals the show in Lauren Bjorkman’s hilarious debut novel.

 

 Oh didn’t I just adore this novel. It has to be one of the most open-minded novels written. And I’m not saying so because of the issues embraced and talked about. There are a lot of issue based books out there but what the open-mined aspect of it really comes through because of the characters, I loved them. Every one of them. Even the mean girl. Yes, can you believe that? I didn’t start out loving her. I mean, she was a meanie and a bully of sorts but Lauren Bjorkman does such an amazing job with all the characters, they all have rich backstories to them and it worked out oh-so-well for me as a reader.

Roz is a most endearing protagonist – fickle, impulsive, overtly imaginative with an odd tendency to insult in Shakespearean slangs (!) Don’t you just love her already? She is out and ready to pretend to be gay to help her sister come out of the closet – who she believes is really gay after finding a book about lesbian lovers in her possession. It starts as a trifle dare spurred on by impulsiveness that sets off a a random set of events that make up this book. And it’s a hell of a ride.

The thing about My Invented Life, is that the atmosphere of the book is light and pleasant in spite of the difficult things the characters have to face up to. It doesn’t bog you down. Yet keeps you hooked so you can’t stop reading and then makes you wish it didn’t end  so you could keep reading it. As soon as I finished it, I wanted to read it all over again.

The writing is utterly delightful. You know the author’s done a fine job when the writing, the story, the characters are all handled skillfully. And really, Ms. Bjorkman’s characters are indeed ones to be boasted about. Roz, Eva, Jonathan, Bryan, Nico all had distinct personalities and the collison of them all in the school production of As You Like It is insanely amusing. And Andie. Eyeliner Andie has to be one of the most dynamic characters ever created in YA fiction. Oh, how I loved her. She may only be a supporting character but she is a genius in creation. It shows a lot of responsibilty on the author’s part to create someone like her. Because books and what you portray in them send you signals, and they may be wrong ones or right ones. And authors have such great influence over readers it is important to portray things in the right light. And Lauren Bjorkman’s handling of Andie’s sexuality…wow, just wow.

Way back last year, I interviewed Lauren Bjorkman but I didn’t get to read her book till now. And, for me, this is a book to hold on to. My Invented Life is clever, outrageously hilarious, big-hearted and has that funky vibe which just makes it very, very cool. I adored it to bits. And I had a lot of Shakespearean fun doing that 🙂

To give you an idea, have a look at the book trailer:

What’s the most fun book you’ve read recently?

Art of The Craft: from Kirstin Cronn-Mills

Art of The Craft is an interview series featuring published authors and their lets-shake-it-up books. Yo.
 
You know, sometimes you read that little, quirky book that in spite of it’s size shakes things up a bit? That happened to me with The Sky Always Hears Me And The Hills Don’t Mind. Unlike most up and coming YAs, nothing earth-shattering happened in the book and yet it had a little something to shake it up for me. 
And you know what? I loved it.
And I’m super-psyched I got the opportunity to probe into what writing the book was for Kirstin Cronn-Mills, who, as you can tell, is the superpsychnessinducing author.
  
Morgan is one of the spunkiest heroines I’ve read this year. When
did you first meet her?
 
I met her in 2002, but in some ways I’ve known her all along, because she’s got some of my traits.  Her word-nerd viewpoints? Those are all me, and I received the “you walking dictionary” note, just like Morgan
did (I still have it somewhere, because it was so hurtful at the time).  As I said before, the incident that created this book was sparked by my classmate’s confession, so I also had to put myself in my shoes/the real Tessa’s shoes to write some of those scenes. However, Morgan’s got a HECK of a lot more sass than I had as a
teenager.  I love that about her! : )
 
Hell, yeah, Morgan’s super-sassy and super-awesome. The voice is pitched perfect, which is not always that easy. Did Morgan’s voice stay the same from your first draft till the finished draft..or did it change with the progression of the book?
 
Morgan’s voice actually softened a great deal.  When I first wrote her, she was spiteful, almost hateful.  I mellowed her out when someone I respect read the book and said “Wow, I don’t like her.” That was the first time anyone had said it, so I paid attention.  When I took another look at her, I thought, “wow, I don’t like her either!” So she got toned down–less mouthy, more compassionate, less hostile and closed.  Once SKY was published, I had another early-draft reader tell me, “You know, I didn’t like that original Morgan.  I like this
one much better.”  I was relieved to hear it.
 
Next to Morgan, I think the setting’s one of the best things about the book. Beyond the hills and the sky, Morgan clearly hates Central Nebraska, while Rob who’s been to places, returns to it..whose story do you share?
 
I am with Rob–I love the place.  LOVE.  IT.  I’ve lived in Minnesota for 18 years now (with some living in Iowa on the side), and I miss Central (and Eastern) Nowhere almost every day.  It’s much more open and spacious there–more space between towns and people, more open space with nothing in it.  Even though Minnesota, Nebraska, and Iowa are all Midwestern states, they’re all *very* different from each other, and I am a Nebraskan at heart.  Hands down.  I’d live there again if I could, and may when I retire.  My husband is a Minnesotan, our jobs are here, plus we’re raising a son in this wonderful state,
so it’s not in the cards.  But someday . . .
 
Ha, I love how Morgan keeps calling it Central Nowhere throughout the book. Also, SKY is written in minimalistic style. Whose personal style is it – Morgan’s or yours?
 
That style belongs to both of us.  When I’m casual (talking with you, for instance), I’m rather wordy, but my formal writing tends to be tight.  I think it comes (in part) from being a poet as well as a fiction writer.  Poets are concerned with the economy of language, and that idea seems to follow into my prose.  I also think it has to do with mood.  When Morgan’s more casual or weird, or even angry, she can be a little wordy.  When she really wants to get her point across, she gets very minimal.  Same with me.
 
The fact that you’re a poet writing prose makes your style original. On the other hand, Morgan seems to write fortunes all the time, all over the place. I thought it was very unique. Where did the idea come from?
 
That one came straight from the ether, which is to say–I have no idea!  I consider that particular character trait a gift from the Universe, because I didn’t plan it.  All of a sudden, she was just doing it, and it was perfect.  I looked back at it and thought, “where the heck did that come from?”  But you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth (a very American Midwestern expression), and it worked, so I kept it.  I think it fits her–in an alcoholic family, you keep a lot of secrets, and keep a lot of anger inside, so the “sideways” communication of leaving fortunes around allowed her to communicate some of her feelings.
 
You mentioned in your guest post that a particular high school mate’s confession sparked off SKY. How much of your personal experiences do you take back to your fiction?
 
I think every writer takes parts of his/her life into their work. Because SKY is set in my home town, I had to be careful that it wasn’t *my* story, but it wasn’t because I had never had an encounter with the real Tessa (though, as it turns out, she wishes we would have). But there are definite things in the novel that came from my life. Elsie is much like my real-life grandmother, who decided against becoming a concert pianist so she could raise a family.  My grandmother was also *my* grandmother–we are/were birthday twins, and I thought she belonged only to me.  : )  She always claimed my first words were “read a book!” (said to her, of course), so somewhere in the Universe, I think she’s cheering me on.  Maybe she’s the one who
sent me Morgan’s fortune-writing idea!
 
‘Read a book’ – how cool is that! Is this the first novel you’ve written? What’s coming next?
 
It’s rather surprising, because SKY truly is my first novel–it doesn’t always happen that a first book gets sold.  I have another book on submission–an Elvis-loving guy who wants to be a radio DJ–and I just finished a draft of a book that’s packed with ghosts. The next one after that is four boys, a laundromat, graffiti, and general random destruction.  There are two other ideas floating around out there, but they’re more nebulous.  I’ve always got ideas!
 
You’re keeping me on edge here. Those books sound oh-my-god-i-want-Elvis-guy-and-graffiti-destruction-and-ghosts, yeah. On that note, what are some of your favourite YA novels?
 
That’s a hard question–like really hard.  I loved BEFORE I DIE by Jenny Downham (an import from England), I loved STRUTS AND FRETS by Jon Skovron, I loved BEAUTIFUL, by Amy Reed, all for different reasons.  At the moment, I’m listening to WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON, by John Green and David Levithan–and an audio book is an *amazingly* different experience than reading a book.  Since WILL GRAYSON is a dual-narrator novels, there are 2 readers, and each reader adds an incredible depth to the story.  And that one is hilarious, so I look a little crazy when I’m out walking and laughing to myself.  I recommend audio books to *everyone*–they create such a different experience of the book.
 
(I think you might also be my book-twin). How has being a published author changed you as a writer?
 
Hmm . . . great question.  I’ve written lots of academic stuff in my life, and that was perfect prep for writing a novel, because I already knew how to write on deadline, edit, and follow editor directions.  I suppose, more than anything, I enjoy writing more now.  It was great fun in the beginning, but it’s even better now, because I know folks are enjoying it (I am very honored by the compliments I’ve been paid about SKY).  I am happy happy happy that there may be more published books after SKY.  I am happy someone pays me to do a task I adore.  I would do it for free (sssh!  don’t tell anyone!).
 
Rob’s cute ass. Which actor/model do you think can carry that off?
 
Yeesh . . . hmm . . . the first person who comes to mind is Taylor Lautner, but just because he has a great bod.  Alex Pettyfar is all right–maybe too bad boy–and Tom Welling and Chris Pine are too old, but they have the right vibe.  This is a tough question!!  I think I’d pick Tom Welling, even though he’s 33.  He’s got the right look and the right “homegrown” feel about him.    Who do *you* like?  You tell me!  Or did you have someone else in mind?
 
(OMG, I don’t know. I think I’d have to look at their asses particularly to decide..hot men make it hard).
 
Great talking to you, Kirstin (and getting to know your story secrets). Thanks for being here 🙂
 
Find Kirstin here or here.
And in case you missed her book, take a good look here:
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
(Doncha just love the way it looks?)

LIFTED by Wendy Toliver

Being bad never felt so good. Poppy Browne never stole anything in her life before moving to Pleasant Acres and meeting Mary Jane and Whitney. But when Poppy walks out of the mall with her two new friends and her first pair of stolen jeans, she’s hooked.
Before long, Poppy is lifting whenever she gets the urge–it’s never about the merchandise, it’s always about the thrill. But when her secret gets out, Poppy’s clique turns on each other. As she watches her life collapse around her, Poppy must decide where her loyalties lie…and how far she’ll go to protect herself.
 
When I interviewed Wendy Toliver, this is what she said about writing Lifted:
I really wanted to challenge myself. I felt like I had a very powerful story within me and wanted to try my hand at writing it. It wasn’t easy, and you wouldn’t believe how many drafts I wrote to get it to the final stage. But it was worth it for me, and although it is a very different type of book from my first two, which are romantic comedies, I hope my readers come along for the ride.
 
And she rose up to that.
 
Shoplifting is a seldom explored subject in YA fiction, which is why I was extremely curious about Lifted. And once I picked up Lifted, it was hard to put it down.  It was addictive, like Poppy’s shoplifting habit and I breezed through this book. I say ‘breezed through’ because inspite of tackling  an criminal addiction, the book doesn’t bear your down. Both light and dark elements thread in and out and make Lifted a very enjoyable read.
 
Three particular things that worked for Lifted:
–Poppy ~ Smart, flawed and easily likable. Girl with the good grades and the nose-stud and a sense of humour which asserts itself especially in moments of crisis. The girl in the middle of it all.
— The Shoplifting Sequences ~ Oh, man. I loved these. They were my favourite parts from the book. And my only regret is there wasn’t more of them. Toliver does a great job of portraying the way an addiction catches up to you. It’s never for the the goods, always for the rush. And with lifting, Poppy goes through the sequence of emotions every addict experiences – first, excitement, then depression.
— David ~ The quirky, smart, preacher’s son who made the non-shoplifting parts exceptionally delicious.
 
Wendy Toliver scores with other things too. Like:
–Mary Jane and Whitney ~ The popular girls, who step out of the popular girl cliches gradually as the book progresses.
— Poppy’s mother ~ Perhaps, overbearing in some respects, but a very real parent. Which was refreshing after continuously reading about absent parents.
— Calvary High ~ The Baptist School setting? Pretty original. And the background score of ‘Amazing Grace’ which seems to play out over the school speakers every time Poppy faces a moment of crisis? Win. 
— The way it ended.
 
A very cool protagonist.
Some well-drawn out characters.
A fast paced plot.
An unique premise.
I thoroughly enjoyed Lifted.
 

Have you read Lifted? Or any other book that deals with shoplifting?

CHATTERBUZZ: *Interview + Angela Morrison Month*

CHATTERBUZZ features interviews, writer tips and the usual chatter from writers far and wide, published, upcoming and soon-to-be-published (well, I’m getting there!)

I have some great news.

*Drumrolls*

All right, so this month gets the official title of Angela Morrison Month, ‘cos – you guessed it – it’s gonna feature an interview, blog tour and a guest post..all from the immensely talented ANGELA MORRISON, author of TAKEN BY STORM (hardcover out now, paperback coming out in Feb ’10) and SING ME TO SLEEP (coming in March ’10).
You can tell I’m super-excited to have her here. First up, the interview! Hold your breath (on second thought, don’t -I don’t want you guys turning blue)..here goes.

Time you reveal your identity *big grin*…

No, no, please don’t make me. . . . I’m a mother of four–three boys and my perfect daughter. My oldest son is married and he and his wife have the cutest baby boy in the world. Being a grandma is great. You get all the fun and no poopy diapers. I was a full-time hands on cookie baking super mom for about two decades. When my youngest son, went to school, I did, too. I enrolled in Vermont College’s fabulous Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults low residency program.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but I realized I needed to qualify myself. Learn from professionals. I tell high school kids I speak to that the arts are the same as any endeavor. You can’t expect to be a professional without some darn good coaching. At Vermont College, you attend two residencies a year and then work with a mentor via mail or email–like you would an editor. I learned from some of the best–Ron Koertge, Sharon Darrow, Louise Hawes, and Susan Fletcher. They set me on my way. It took three and half years of rejection and revision post graduation to land a contract, but it finally happened! And now I get to share my books with readers all over the world. It’s pretty fantastic.

Bee tells me that a lot of you readers are up and coming writers. Don’t give up. Keep writing and revising. Qualify yourself every way you can. When opportunities come up, don’t be afraid to push through the door and grow from them.

 

The cover of SING ME TO SLEEP looks so tempting, what’s it got inside to tempt us to read? (This is for cynical readers, I’m gonna read it anyway ‘cos I’m so in love with with your writing already)
SING is Beth’s journey from the ugly, harassed girl at school–the Beast–to someone who is truly beautiful. Her physical transformation takes place early on. All of the sudden she’s hot, and she doesn’t trust herself or anyone. But by the end of the novel, what she has learned through love and pain transforms her. She is truly stunning–inside. A beauty anyone would love.

So SING ME was inspired by The Phantom Of The Opera?
You are writers . . . so I’ll let you in a huge secret. Editors, agents, publishers, marketers are always looking for a high concept (ie. commercial) hook that they can hang a story on to sell it. I’m not that great at thinking like that.

SING was inspired by a dear friend of my daughter’s who sang with the Amabile Young Men’s Ensemble. My editor suggested the Phantom hook. I rebelled at first, but as I wrote the novel, it worked perfectly. My editor is a genius. One of my favorite scenes is the Phantom spoof Beth dreams.

Music plays an important part of Beth’s life in SING ME..How important is music to your writing?
I work best in silence, but I listen to music to get myself to the emotional place I need to be to create. I play the piano and sing in the choir at church. Music helps center me so I can tune in to what is important. And it gives me ideas for ways to express my characters emotions.

I have a playlist of the most romantic songs in the world that I listened to when I wrote STORM. No matter how far away from the manuscript I’ve been, listening to those songs takes me right back to Michael and Leesie. Maybe that’s why I feel compelled to keep writing about them.

I did the same thing with SING, but added a lot of other songs of all types because I had to write lyrics. I actually dissected many, many songs–wrote out their skeletons on a big piece of paper–and then filled it up with my words. Remember writing haiku or sonnets? It was kind of like that.

TAKEN BY STORM spoke about the Mormon faith –did you set out specifically to become a Mormon writer or did it just happen along the way?
I set out specifically NOT to become a Mormon writer. I discovered that was impossible. It was kind of like my French. I know enough to say basic things, but it sounds dumb. What I wrote sanitized of my faith was dumb.

Jane Yolen, in TAKE JOY, says that if we leave our inner truth out of our stories, they are rags on a stick masquerading as story. That is so true. As I followed Michael to my home town where I so cruelly stranded him and introduced him to the only Mormon girl in town, I realized I had to involve my faith in a very open and realistic way. I had no idea how to do it without making it awful–boring, preachy or unintelligible. I had lots of helpful critiques at Vermont College, great mentors to guide me, and even ended up writing my critical thesis on how a person of faith can create great fiction. I studied Katherine Paterson. She says to let our faith be the “bones and sinews” of our work–not the outer dress. STORM has my faith written all over the outside. SING uses it as the bones and sinews.

 

Speaking of STORM, when are we getting more of Leesie and Michael?
You can read the first chapter of UNBROKEN CONNECTION, book two in Leesie and Michael’s saga, on my website. It’s in my editor’s hands now. I have no idea if Razorbill will buy it or not. I’m going crazy waiting for news. I’ll let you know as soon as I do.

Did you have an ‘Eureka’ moment or did you always know you were gonna become a writer?
As soon as I learned how to write in first grade, I knew that was what I wanted to do.

What inspires you to keep writing?
I’m incredibly grumpy when I don’t write. I’m blissful when I do. I don’t want to spend the rest of life miserable, so I write. And I have been blessed with loads of novel ideas that I want to develop. More than I can ever complete. Give me ten years, and maybe I’ll be ready to slow down. Right now it’s full steam ahead.

Why YA? (You have grown out of teendom, haven’t you?)
Actually, I don’t think I have grown out of teendom. My teen years are still so vivid to me. Especially the painful stuff. And I was a scribbler even then, so I have journals full of stuff that I can’t bear look at. When I began writing full-time, my house was full of teen age boys. That’s what came out of my pen.

My historical work is borderline adult fiction, but what will keep me forever technically YA is my fascination with the coming of age journey. That’s a deep well that I can explore artistically forever. And if you want to be serious and literary, coming of age is the true definition of young adult literature–even if it’s coming of age with vampires.

‘Write what you know’ or ‘Write what you want to know’– which school do you belong to?
“Write what you know” gave me writer’s block for years. When I finally did it, I learned what that truly means. When I write a novel, everything I’ve ever done, seen, learned, known, imagined, read, watched, etc., gets broken into tiny pieces and spread out all over the ground. Then I have to pick up the pieces and try to fashion them into something with a beginning, middle, and end. That entertains and has meaning. What I want to know plugs the holes. I research a lot for every project. I never know enough.

I tell writers to write what they know, they love, they are curious about, they have just learned and are excited about, what they imagine–use it all. You’ll need it.

Rewind to teenhood. If there was a classification of high school stereotypes, which would you fall into?
Believe it or not, I started out a cheerleader. My big sister was Varsity. I was Junior Varsity. This was back before cheering had become a sport in and of itself. Dark ages. You did routines and yelled the whole game. I am very loud and loved to dance. So I was good at that. What I stunk at was the social expectations of being a cheerleader. My sister managed to be a good Mormon girl and popular. I think I alienated the entire football team. I didn’t get voted in again. My sister’s coat tails–or glorious long hair–weren’t long enough for that.

So I became the artistic nerd. Miss Writer. A loner. Very much like Leesie. Sat on the stage and read books. Escaped to wonderful writing workshops across the state where I fell in love with beautiful boys who were writers, too. Wrote long, long, letters to them. Haunted the mailbox. Ah, the internet would have changed my life back then! See, I still haven’t outgrown it. That’s why I write YA.

Time for five random things about yourself in the next 5 seconds.
Wow. Times up. I don’t do anything in five seconds. I guess that’s one. I’m left handed. I wear pink ballet shoes instead of slippers. I could eat Mexican food every day of my life. Arizona style Mexican food. I’ve been in coal mines in three countries. Phew. Five.

If you had a time machine that you could use only once, where would you go– past or future?
To write my historical novel, MY ONLY LOVE (work in progress), I invested so much time and capital in trying to recreate the lives of my ancestors who emigrated to North America from Scotland in the early nineteenth century. I’d love to go back there with a video camera so I could get it all right!

Thank you so much for being here, Angela! We wish you our best in your writerly journey and I, for one, can’t wait to see UNBROKEN CONNECTIONS out soon 🙂

Keep a watch out for the guest post and blog tour. I’ll be posting updates on the sidebar.
And, oh yes, the SING ME TO SLEEP review’s up next!

CHATTERBUZZ: Welcomes…*LAUREN MECHLING*

STOP RIGHT HERE.

Welcome to the very first edition of CHATTERBUZZ which will feature interviews, writer tips and the usual chatter from writers far and wide, published, upcoming and soon-to-be-published.
Today, I’m really excited to present the fab…

*Drumroll*

….*LAUREN MECHLING*

She co-wrote the 10th Grade Social Climber Series and is the author of the upcoming DREAM GIRL series. DREAM LIFE comes out in January 2010.

So, hold your breath. Lets hear it straight from Lauren.

 

The Book we so HAVE to read…
“Dream Girl” is a delicious tale about a half-French girl detective who discovers that her dreams might be worth listening to. In the sequel “Dream Life,” Claire gets tapped to join a very fabulous secret society.But it’s not just clubhouse pajama parties and inexplicable traditions–thanks to her dreams she sniffs out that she and the club are both in quite a bit of trouble. It’s all very action-packed, a la James Bond, except instead of a craggy-faced villain named Demetri or Nubius, the villains come in slightly more interesting–and slippery–forms.

 

And you are…

I am a newspaper editor by day, teen fiction writer by night. Well, early morning if you want to get technical about it.

What sparked off the inspiration for Dream Girl? 
“Dream Girl” is really a love letter to New York. I imagined what it would be like if all of my favorite places–the Waldorf hotel, the tea shops in the East Village, Green-Wood Cemetery, etc–were actually important places in somebody’s daily life. I’m so jealous of Claire!
  
What has been your ‘Eureka’ moment so far?
I wrote Dream Girl when I was a full-time writer. Now that I have a day job, it’s been fascinating to discover that I can write about half as much as I was as a “full-time writer”  in a fraction of the time. It’s all about making the most of the tiny parcels of free time you do have.
Your website says that in fifth grade you whipped up a home-made pencil costume for Halloween. Was it any different in your teens?
Did I get my sexy on, you mean? Sadly, no. My 12th grade Halloween costume involved wearing an ET nightgown and elaborately teased hair.

 

 

Why write YA? You look very much like an adult.

It’s true–I’m an old lady. I like to write YA because of all the roller coastery twists and turns it allows for. The stuff I’ve written for grown-ups tends to be slower and, well, not as good. Plus, I was a more passionate reader as a teen than I am now and I like to think I’m writing for people who love books harder than any other readers. I love love my readers.

If you were marooned on an uninhabited island and had the option of taking one book along (barring your own), which would it be?
Ooh! Can I say my Kindle, which has Edith Wharton’s “Old New York,” “Alice and Wonderland” and “Vampire Academy” on it? If not, I’d say my favorite book of all time: “Quartet in Autumn” by Barbara Pym. I should warn you, it’s very weird.

 

The Golden tip for the writers. Okay, one that you feel aspiring writers should keep in mind.
As I said above, slow and steady wins the race. You don’t have to despair if you can’t write a book in a few months–however long it takes is fine. I take yoga classes, and the teachers are always talking about “my practice,” meaning their daily commitment. I’m not sure I could handle pretzeling myself for 90 minutes every day, but I do like the idea of having “a practice” if it’s writing. It centers me, to sit at my desk every morning. I’d recommend any aspiring writer try to write for ten minutes a day, just to see what it feels like to be committed to something for the long haul.

 

Five random things about yourself in the next thirty seconds.

I nervously twiddle my hair.

I always buy too much cheese at the supermarket even though I don’t really like cheese.
I like the Twilight movies a lot more than the books.
I have dreams about people that change the way I feel about them.
I believe in wearing perfume at all times.
Okay, now spill a secret. *Grins*

 

Sometimes I go to the movies by myself and don’t tell anybody.
Thanks, Lauren!
It’s been great talking to you.
We wish you lots of bestsellers and a totally fab writing career.
To know more about Dream Girl or Lauren check out her website.
And go purchase the book on Amazon
~xoxo