Here is the schedule for Summer Blog Blast Tour starting on Monday, May 19th. I will update this post each day with direct urls and quotes from the interviews.
Let me know if you have any questions!
Adam Rex at Fuse Number 8:"The big news is that Frankenstein is getting married, and anyone who's been through a wedding knows it takes a full quarter of a picture book to plan properly, so there are a number of nuptially-themed poems. They have to find a caterer who can deal with all the different monsters' food allergies and dietary restrictions, for example. Frankenstein has to meet his future in-laws, the Bride has to tell them she's not entirely dead anymore. That sort of thing."
David Almond at 7 Impossible Things Before Breakfast: "I guess it comes from having a Catholic childhood. I struggled against the Catholicism for a long time, but there came a moment when I recognized that it would never go away, and when I also recognized that it was a kind of treasure house of language, imagery, ritual. So I just allowed it to influence my fiction."
R.L. Lafevers at Finding Wonderland: "When I was a kid, I could always tell if someone had been in my room while I was gone, even if nothing had been disturbed. I could walk into a room where everyone was cheerful and pleasant and would KNOW that there was deep animosity between them. I can feel when someone is looking at me, and 90% of the time I know who is on the phone when it rings."
Dave Schwartz at Shaken & Stirred: "Another pet peeve of mine is the "billionaire fights crime" thing. Seriously, how impressed are we supposed to be that people with unlimited resources are able to do good? Maybe if, say, Tony Stark was to put his money into job training and education for juvenile offenders he'd actually have less crime to fight in his shiny suit. It goes back to me not being able to relate. Maybe the money is part of the power fantasy, and that's why people want to be Bruce Wayne despite the murdered parents and the all-consuming obsession with punishing the criminally insane. WHO ARE YOU REALLY PUNISHING, BRUCE?!?"
Elizabeth Scott at Bookshelves of Doom: "Really, if young adult novels from now had been available when I was a teen--oh, I get all dreamy-eyed just thinking about it."
Laurie Halse Anderson at Writing & Ruminating: "The turning point for me was when I working on the early (dreadful) drafts of Thank You, Sarah. I was struggling to figure out how to combine the history of Thanksgiving with the significant details of Sarah Hale's life. The early drafts were written in that dry, dull, old-fashioned tone. I hated it. I hated every word that I pinned to the page. I felt like I had killed my story before anyone got the chance to read it."
Susan Beth Pfeffer at Interactive Reader: "All right- when I read fiction, I favor suspense novels. I have a real fondness for American or British suspense novels from approximately 1946-1960, standalones where the wife is planning on murdering her husband or the husband is planning on murdering his wife. They're mostly by people I've never heard of and aren't that easy to find anymore."
Ben Towle at Chasing Ray: "I'm loathe to site the dopey "Titanic" film from the '90s here, but I will; that movie works similarly to the way Midnight Sun does. You've got some entirely fictional characters operating against a backdrop of an actual historical eventâ€”albeit one that the filmmakers have taken some real liberties withâ€”yet, I don't think it was generally assumed by the audience to be 100% true simply because of its historical underpinnings."
Sean Qualls at Fuse Number 8: "When I first started listening to jazz, "A Love Supremeâ€� from John Coltrane was one of the first albums I bought. His version of "My Favorite Thingsâ€� I think, is one of the greatest songs ever! I also love the music of the musicians that were in his band like Eric Dolphy, McCoy Tyner and his wife Alice. Plus, Dizzy Gillespie is one of the greatest real life characters ever."
Susane Colasanti at Bildungsroman: "Even though we all share universal characteristics as part of the human experience, girls and boys are different on some fundamental levels. When I write boy dialogue, it tends to be choppier and less emotional than girl dialogue. When they're speaking, girls tend to analyze and obsess more over issues that boys might not naturally talk about. So one benefit of writing also from a boy's perspective is that you wouldn't necessarily know how he actually feels just from what he says, but once we know what he's really thinking we understand the depth of his character."
Robin Brande at Hip Writer Mama: "Last year I LOST MY MIND. Maybe I'm not supposed to admit that, but it might be useful for some other writers to know, so I'll be honest about it. "
Susan Beth Pfeffer at The YA YA YAs: "When I was in seventh grade, I read books aimed for kids my age that I knew were terrible (and yet, I read them). I decided at age twelve that I could do better, so I was always interested in writing for that age level (and when I wrote my first book, Just Morgan, I was twenty, so I wasn't all that much older)."
Debby Garfinkle at A Chair, A Fireplace and a Tea Cozy: "As to suggestions from editors, I usually get indignant the day I read a revision letter from my editor, thinking that she doesn't know what she's talking about, that my manuscript was just fine before she got hold of it. But a few days and maybe a few glasses of wine later, I feel grateful that the editor's wise comments will help me improve my manuscript."
Jennifer Lynn Barnes at Writing and Ruminating: "
I study monkeys and kids in an effort to basically answer the question of how we, as human adults, come to be as socially competent as we are. I'm also starting to study the psychology of fiction and answer such all important questions as "why do people in pretty much every culture like stories?" and "is there an innate preference for happy endings."
Delia Sherman at Chasing Ray: "Broadway was far and away my favorite part. I LOVE Damon Runyon. I love the voice, the things he did with language, the way he stitched violence and sentimentality and comedy and tragedy into stories that are uniquely and utterly, not only American, but New York. I just giggled all the way through writing the chapters about the Producer (whose office is based on the set of the Broadway musical of that name, by the way) and Honey and Raoul and the Bram Stoker Hotel. Getting it right was less lighthearted process, but then it always is."
Ingrid Law at Fuse Number 8: "When you think of superhero stories, you often don't think of pink Bible toting buses or evil talking smiley faces. All that's about to change."
Polly Dunbar at 7 Impossible Things Before Breakfast: "I live in a top floor flat with views of rooftops all around. There are a lot of seagulls in Brighton, and I spend quite a lot of time watching them, watching me. I'm surrounded by books, pens, brushes, toys, puppets and general muddle and about a million bits of colored paper. I would like to be organized enough to color-code the paper, but I don't think it's ever going to happen."
Tera Lynn Childs at Bildungsroman: "Daydreaming = Work"
I do almost all my writing in coffee shops (shout out to Starbucks!) and spend a lot of my time daydreaming, staring out the window, or observing the rainbow parade of customers. It may not look like I'm working, but really I am. Really!"
Siena Cherson Siegel at Miss Erin: "For example, when other parts of life are confusing and chaotic, the repetition of the exercises you always do at the barre can feel like meeting an old friend. Despite the rigors of training your body in class, there is a mental focus, clarity and intensity of concentration needed that can be a relief. This is the part of the ballet training that I described as a refuge in the book. I also really enjoyed being able to express feelings through the dancing. It was a great artistic outlet for a lot of intense emotions."
Barry Lyga at A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy: "Oh, no question about it: Godless, by Pete Hautman. I am just endlessly impressed by that book. It's funny and it's serious. It's scary and it's heartfelt. It tackles a huge issue -- religion -- but it does so on a comprehensible, human scale. And it's SHORT! You can read it an afternoon, but in that afternoon, you'll laugh out loud, get choked up, and find yourself with a new understanding of organized religion. That's pretty damn impressive, especially in two hundred pages."
Elisha Cooper at Chasing Ray: "It was sort of like shopping, but with kids. Which brings me to something. Throughout the year, and the writing of the book, I tried to respect as much as possible that these were real kids living their lives (obvious, yes)."
Dar Williams at Fuse Number 8: "Usually the ten year olds ask me if I was like Amalee, while the eleven year olds ask about the editor, and the twelve year olds ask if I have a platinum record. Every group has been wonderful."
Jennifer Bradbury at Bildungsroman: "I think we're all storytellers at heart. And I think most of us use the material we've lived through to tell those stories to ourselves. So there's something about the way we remember something happening that often supersedes the event itself. And I sort of hate taking photos on vacation. My husband's gotten used to it now, but I'd almost rather not have the picture to diminish the memory. That said, I'm grateful my husband ignores my whining and manages to get some good pictures anyway."
E. Lockhart at The YA YA YAs: "It'll come out in Fall 09! Tentative title: The Treasure Map of Boys. I can tell you this much: There are pygmy goats. There are a lot of baked goods. Jackson is still up to stuff. There's a lot of Noel. Birkenstocks figure seriously in the plot. Beyond that, my lips are sealed."
Mary Hooper at Miss Erin: "The thing that helps is the restrictions: when you're dealing with real-life people or real-life happenings (as with Anne Green in NEWES FROM THE DEAD, or the Great Plague in AT THE SIGN OF THE SUGARED PLUM) you're controlled by the truth. This, for me, makes it easier to write than purely imaginative, contemporary stuff, which could go in any direction and is thus more difficult to control."
Charles R. Smith at Writing and Ruminating: "Basically, I tried to tailor each poem's style to each player's game. For somebody like Tim Duncan, his game is based on fundamentals so his poem is written in a basic fundamental style. For somebody like Tracy McGrady, his poem moves fast the way he does on the court. I always try to challenge myself on every poem I do and the challenge was to match the style and game of each player."
Mary Pearson at A Chair, A Fireplace and a Tea Cozy: "I remember when a tree branch fell through our roof and when I went to Home Depot for supplies the sales guy took one look at me and said, "you'll never be able to fix it." Ha! That was the wrong thing to say to me. After that I think I would have fixed it myself if I had to cut each shingle with my teeth."
Varian Johnson at Finding Wonderland: "I think both class and race are still important. However, with Rhombus, I was more interested in exploring the differences in social status within an ethnicity than problems solely tied to race. Rhonda, Sarah, David, and even Gail to a degree, are products of their environment. While their race has affected them, it's their (and their parents') different social statuses within the community that really affects how they see each other."
Jincy Willett at Shaken & Stirred: "It's funnyâ€”as a reader, I have no problem relaxing into a mystery or thriller and pretending that engaging, seemingly reasonable people who give off not a whiff of madness or psychopathy can just turn on a dime and whale away on some poor soul with a blunt instrument. "
John Grandits at Writing & Ruminating: "Let's take for instance, "Skateboard" from Technically . . . In my little town we have a lot of skateboarders. It's an interesting little subculture. The town wanted to get the kids off the streets and sidewalks and parking lots. Too dangerous they said. So they gave the local YMCA money to build a skateboard park. The YMCA took the money and built a basketball court instead. The boarders got rooked. So that's the idea. I put my character in that situation and searched around my brain for a form it could take. I finally came up with the idea that the text follows the path of of his board. Idea first, shape second."
Meg Burden at Bookshelves of Doom: "I'm terrified of sharks and other Big Underwater Things, to the point that I can't even play--or watch--underwater levels of video games. I'm also freaked out by big inanimate things, like models of mammoths and dinosaurs in museums."
Gary D. Schmidt at Miss Erin: "If there was ever a time in recent history when a strong message of hope is important, it's now. Of course, hope is important for all times, but when we look around us, it's pretty clear that we live in troubled times, with a shocking cynicism in our culture's power centers. Hope for something better is not something tht just happens; it's something that needs to be cultivated."
Javaka Steptoe at Seven Impossible Things: "Rain Play was fun to work on because it reminded me of the rainy day after grocery shopping Dad decided to play with my sister and me in the rain instead of going inside and putting the food away. It reminds me of the Coke commercial with the kids playing in the rain. It reminds me of playing in the Johnny-pump, or sprinklers in the summer time, or having water fights in the pool. It starts with a thought, a spark. It's spontaneous, it's beautiful, it's an experience that we all have and it is so natural. Rain is not all gray skies, it's also refreshing nourishing growth."
Mary Hooper at Interactive Reader: "I think the most fantastical thing about prisons at that time is that, if you were rich enough, you could live the life of Riley and come and go from your furnished private prison apartment as you liked. If you were poor, however, you'd be lucky to survive a hot summer what with dysentery, gaol fever, lice and worms. (Is that grisly enough for you?)"