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Here's the way things look next week - keep in mind that I will be updating this post each day with exact urls and quotes from the interviews. Check back here or at any of the participating sites (plus a few other cool places) to see what is happening each day. (And don't forget to read all about the Holiday Book Recommendations Event for the week after Thanksgiving.)


Lewis Buzbee at Chasing Ray: "The other part of the question: because I was so formed, in some way, by Steinbeck, I have always had an urge to write about him, but non-fiction never felt the right venue for me. His letters are so good, there are several fine biographies, not to mention Benson's brilliant epic biography, and I know that I am no biographer. When I first started writing this book, I thought it was all about the libraries, but for me it was all about Steinbeck, in the end, trying to pay tribute to the power of his words. That part of it kind of snuck up on me."

Louis Sachar at Fuse Number 8: "When Stanley first sees some of the other boys, their race is part of their initial description, but after digging all day, they were all the color of dirt."

Laurel Snyder at Miss Erin: "I think somehow "old fashioned" is easier for me, because I don't have to try to sound young and authentic. There's no temptation to be like, "Yo, wassup?" in a fairy tale. Nothing is worse than grownups doing bad impressions of teens. Gag."

Courtney Summers at Bildungsroman: "Maintaining an online presence takes a certain level of time and commitment, true, but I'm down with it . . . and yes, I'm totally guilty of using them as a means to procrastinate sometimes. But if it wasn't them, it'd be something else. Not to brag, but I'm a FANTASTIC procrastinator."

Elizabeth Wein at Finding Wonderland: "The symbolism of bells are wonderful, though—they ward off thunder and the devil, they warn of fire and flood and invasion. They're always female (a bell is a "she," not an "it") and they all have individual names. Some of them are also very old. I used to thrill to ring a certain bell in Magdalen College, Oxford, because it predated Columbus's discovery of America. Most musical instruments that old are in museums, not in public use."

Susan Kuklin at The YA YA YAs: "The bias probably comes from my choice of subject matter. I choose such issues as prejudice, human rights, pregnant teenagers, and so forth. These are subjects that concern me. On one hand, once the subject is chosen I try to not let my bias govern the content of the book. On the other hand, not all my books try to look at a subject from all points of view. For example, I didn't give human rights violators a voice or, more recently, those who favor capital punishment. Perhaps that's where my bias comes in overtly."


Ellen Dalow at Chasing Ray: "With regard to collections, I think that many YA authors don't write much short fiction. Those that do, have perhaps only recently been hitting the public consciousness and might not yet have enough stories for a collection. I assume it's also a marketing issue. If librarians asked publishers for anthologies and collections, perhaps publishers would listen."

Tony DiTerlizzi at Miss Erin: "My favorite thing for both roles is that I get to make a living doing essentially what I did as a kid. Coming up with imaginative, far out tales and drawing pictures for them. Seriously, I have been making up stories and creating little books since I was in grade school. I love a good story: whether someone tells it to me, or read it in a book, watch it on a movie or even play it in a cool video game"

Melissa Walker at Hip Writer Mama: "When I'm on a deadline for a book, I eat breakfast, then write. I don't allow myself to have lunch until I have 1,000 words on the page. They don't have to be good words, but they have to be there. I do that five days a week; afternoons are spent working on magazine stories. At that rate, you can get your 60,000 words in just 12 weeks."

Luisa Plaja at Bildungsroman: "But I could see that the line between 'popular' and 'not' was arbitrary. It was about a lot more than how you looked, dressed and behaved, and the same qualities that landed one person in the in-crowd could lead another to be an outcast. Having said that, I will freely admit that I was a misfit at school, although I rebelled in a quiet, obedient way, so as not to disturb anyone."

DM Cornish at Finding Wonderland: "Deeper still, it all began with Star Wars at age 5, with The Lord of the Rings at age 12, Narnia, H.P. Lovecraft, Fighting Fantasy books, the illustrations of Ian Miller and Angus McBride and Rodney Matthews, the Iliad, Frankenstein, Dune, Steinbeck, building with Lego[TM] and inventing worlds and stories to go with the models, the dinosaur and ghost books I read as a child, that really really cool Galactic Aliens book in my primary school's library (looking out for it still)...and all those things that boiled and bubbled until Mervyn Peake's Titus Alone finally burst the lid."

LJ Smith at The YA YA YAs: "Finally, there is simply something attractive about self-aware evil, if it is packaged rightly. Any girl or woman who can listen to Laurence Olivier do the opening speech of Shakespeare's Richard III, especially such lines as

"I am determined to prove a Villaine,

And hate the idle pleasures of these dayes.

Plots have I laide, Inductions dangerous,

By drunken Prophesies, Libels, and Dreames…" and has not felt the urge to cry "I'm here! Take ME!"—well, maybe she's more of a Sweet Valley gal."

Kathleen Duey at Bookshelves of Doom: "I do keep notes on stray papers and in files on the machine. Most are things that inform or have sparked ideas. There are over 100 files in the Sacred Scars folder with labels like "Long term effects of fasting and starvation, UCLA study", "Pick mining and airflow management 1889", "Terra Cotta Warriors, mercury lake" and so on. I also use a digital recorder, with separate files for separate projects. I had 185 breathless little messages from me to me by the time I finished the first draft. As silly as it sounds, hearing my own voice, excited by some idea, a clever plot-dot-connector, or whatever, takes me right back to the spark. Jotted notes are much stiffer, less juicy."


Ellen Klages at Fuse Number 8: "'ve said before that writers are magpies -- the world is full of shiny things that I need to line my nest, many of them on eBay. In various parts of my (oh-so-cluttered) house are: an ad for the Kix Atomic Bomb Ring (from the Sunday comics); the ring itself (more than 15¢, these days....); six or seven different spinthariscopes (yes, they still work); a 1939 Royal typewriter; a hectograph; a can of Atomite; a model of a V-2 rocket; a 1948 Alamogordo High School yearbook; postcards of White Sands; and a box of old bottle caps, broken tin toys, pieces of Erector sets, marbles, paper labels, Mason jars, and cigar boxes."

Emily Jenkins at Writing and Ruminating: "In That New Animal the adult figures are insensitive to the needs of the child figures, as they are in a number of my other books (Daffodil, Daffodil Crocodile, Toy Dance Party, Skunkdog), but my primary concern is not a lesson for the grown-ups; it is the emotional experience of the child. Or dog. Or stuffed animal. Or rubber ball."

Ally Carter at Miss Erin
: "I don't think I'm brave enough to be a spy, clever enough to be a con-artist, or secure enough to be an actor, so I guess I'll just beg and plead to be allowed to just stay a writer."

Mark Peter Hughes at Hip Writer Mama: "As far as writing from the POV of a girl, I was just writing a story and a thirteen-year-old girl happened to be the main character. It wasn't until I'd written a couple of drafts that someone pointed out to me that it was unusual for a man to write from this perspective. I suppose it is, but it didn't feel that way at the time. I was just doing what authors do--writing a story about a character."

Sarah Darer Littman at Bildungsroman: "After having grown up in England during the IRA bombing campaigns of the early 1970's, I find it disturbing me that many of my fellow Americans seem to think that terrorism was invented on 9/11. I wanted to explore the idea that terrorism isn't limited to one country or one emotionally loaded date on the calendar – one person's 9/11 is another's 7/18 or 7/7 and although the language in which we express them might be different, feelings like grief and loss are universal."

MT Anderson at Finding Wonderland: "The idea for Octavian's initial predicament came from a half-remembered story about how a similar experiment was undertaken at Cambridge University in the 18th C, under the auspices of the Duke of Montagu. The anecdote captured my imagination--the whole idea of these Enlightenment scholars in that dank, murky university in the midst of the dismal fens working away by candle-glow, believing that they were illuminating the subject of darkness and light while in fact being blind to their own weird biases and ceremonial culture...It fascinated me, and I felt immediately as if I knew the boy who'd result from those experiments. (Though Octavian didn't in the end really resemble Francis Williams, the actual subject of Montagu's putative experiment, beyond a shared knowledge of Greek and Latin...)"

Mitali Perkins at Mother Reader: "Teens care about their faith. Why leave that thread out in our books? The First Daughter books are realistic, contemporary novels, and I can't imagine a teen in America today not thinking about or confronting the issue of religion."

Plus a bonus short author interview: Christine Marciniak at A Chair, A Fireplace and a Tea Cozy: "When Mike Kissed Emma is about, well... about when Mike kissed Emma. "


Martin Millar at Chasing Ray: "I like writing anything about Kalix, because I like her, and apart from that, probably the scenes between Malveria and Vex. I liked writing about Thrix and Malveria and their fashion obsessions, though that was difficult because although I sympathise with people who are very keen on fashion, I don't actually know anything about it. So really I was relying on copies of Vogue bought from the local newsagent.

As for the werewolf violence, I quite liked writing that too. (I wouldn't say it was on a very high level – I'm not fond of gore or horror) It made for a change. I've never written about fighting before but possibly, having read a lot of comics as a youth, I had a secret desire to do so."

John Green at Writing and Ruminating: "So when I started writing Paper Towns, I thought it would only be about the treacherous lie of the manic pixie dream girl.* It is about that (at least I hope it is), but it is more broadly about the relationship between the world we draw and the world that is—when it comes to manic pixie dream girls and also when it comes to Santa and cartography and nerds and user-created encyclopedias and the dead and many other things. So hopefully the story becomes more interesting (and more true) in the writing."

Beth Kephart at Hip Writer Mama: "I am the outsider-poet-skater of UNDERCOVER (who learned to skate, by the way, on a pond). I am the caretaker Rosie of HOUSE. I am the heartbroken daughter of NOTHING BUT GHOSTS. I am the anxiety-ridden, but seemingly solid Georgia of THE HEART IS NOT A SIZE. Characters are only difficult when you don't truly know them. I try to know my characters. I live with them. I am them."

Emily Ecton at Bildungsroman: "I think hamsters have the undisputed title as the funniest house pet, so when I was trying to figure out what kind of pet would be in a cursed grave, there was no competition."

John David Anderson at Finding Wonderland: "Between movies, novels, and video games, I have spent a fair number of hours slaying orcs, dragons, aliens, and other beasties in other people's worlds, and I readily admit that much of the novel has its trappings in those worlds."

Brandon Mull at The YA YA YAs:"'m a massive daydreamer. Almost to the point where it makes me dysfunctional. I get bored with reality and invent stories in my mind to entertain myself. I have done this ever since I can remember."

Lisa Papademetriou at Mother Reader


Mayra Lazara Dole at Chasing Ray: "Teen love is conflictive, but even now that things are more open for LGBT's, love can be brutal for closeted or 'coming out' young adults because they understand the prejudice, hatred, isolation and intolerance for being 'different.' LGBT teens, young adults, and adults coming out, deal with a lot of other issues that straights are free of, thus love will be more intense and mean a great deal more to us than to straight people."

Francis O'Roark Dowell at Fuse Number 8: "My older brother and I used to tell my younger brother that there was a carnival underneath our house, and that at night, after he went to bed, we'd go into the family room closet and crawl through the secret passageway and spend all night eating cotton candy and riding the Ferris wheel. I asked my younger brother a couple of years ago if he remembered us telling him about the carnival under the house, and he said, 'Remember it? I used to dream about it.'"

J Patrick Lewis at Writing and Ruminating: "No subject on earth or apart from it is immune from poetry. I am trying to write in a hundred voices and as many forms on as many subjects, to write across the curriculum, about everything under heaven. The poem is always more important than the poet. Poets biodegrade; poems, if they have any merit, stand a middling chance of living on for a little while. My advice is to stretch your mind's muscles. I set for myself the hard, well-nigh impossible task of writing great poetry every day. Do I succeed? No, but so what? Otherwise, why bother to write?"

Wendy Mass at Hip Writer Mama: "The worst advice probably came from my dad. He expended a lot of energy over the years trying to convince me to get a "real job," you know, one with dental and a retirement plan and a weekly paycheck. It took till my sixth book was published for him to stop. Although I may prefer it to his new crusade, which is to storm into bookstores demanding they stock my books. When I begged him not to do this, he said, and I quote, "Look, the only way anyone is going to know about your books is if they stumble across them on the shelves. You're not James Patterson." He means well. I think."

Lisa Ann Sandell at Bildungsroman: "And I always wanted to retell an Arthurian story from a girl's perspective; it's the women in these legends who pretty much get the shaft. They're either helpless and weak or evil and manipulative, for the most part. So, to take this story of a girl who falls in love with Lancelot only to die of a broken heart and turn it on its head and to re-imagine their whole world was great fun."

Caroline Hickey/Sara Lewis Holmes at Mother Reader : "Always have an agent! You must have an agent or you will lose rights! The publisher does not look out for you! Publishers dont want to give away film rights or audio rights or sub-rights, but agents fight for them, and they get them. You'll also get a bigger advance with an agent, and you'll have someone looking out for you if things with your publisher don't go smoothly."

A.S. King at Bookshelves of Doom

Emily Wing Smith at Interactive Reader


Yay! Winter Blog Blast Tour! Yay!!!

It looks amazing, Colleen!

This is an extraordinary line up, and I feel enormously privileged to be a part of it. I can't say enough about how careful, how thoughtful Vivian of hipwritermama was throughout her interview with me. A rare and generous lady.

Blast off, WBBT!

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