Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Contest Extended

Ok, I was a bad bad blogger. I was so tired when I got home from work last night that I neglected to do any proper promo for the wonderful interview with author Sydney Salter. So to give everyone a chance to win the signed copy of My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters, I'm extending the comment contest until noon central time on April 1st. I will announce the winner sometime Thursday April 2nd.

Make sure you comment on the interview post, not on this post.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Interview: Sydney Salter - Author of the Soon-to-be-Released My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters

Hey there blog readers! Well it's Monday and you know what that means....it's INTERVIEW TIME! Woohooo! This week our guest is the author of the almost-but-not-quite-yet-out book My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters. Let me tell after reading her responses, I know I'll be awaiting this title's release at my bookstore. And since I'm usually the one unpacking the books that gives me a bit of a step up. :)

Without further ado, here's Sydney Salter:

Tell us a little about yourself.

I love writing more than chocolate—and I really love chocolate. Sometimes I even send myself chocolates. Oh, you want me to talk about something besides chocolate? Okay. I live in Utah with my husband, two daughters, two dogs, two cats, and a pair of really cute tortoises. I’m lucky to be able to write full-time. If I were really lucky, I would be able to eat chocolate full-time (but I don’t have that kind of metabolism).

What got you started writing? What brought you to YA?

I started by keeping a daily diary in high school. Although it wasn’t particularly literary writing (way too much about boys), I do think it helped me develop my writing voice. I also learned to write without censoring myself.

I resisted writing for children at first because I wanted to be a “real” writer. Yet, the stories that my teachers and classmates enjoyed the most involved younger characters. I also continued to read YA and middle-grade fiction as an adult. I didn’t start writing for children until I had children. My first manuscript started as a way to teach my daughters about Mayan culture before our vacation to Mexico. I ended up writing, Jungle Crossing, a novel they weren’t old enough to read (it will be published by HM Harcourt in September 2009). After that I wrote another middle-grade manuscript, but soon switched to YA. I found that I gravitated toward YA novels in my own reading. And I had all those diaries full of inspiration for teen stories. My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters is my fourth manuscript.

Tell us about your most recent/ upcoming release?

Seventeen-year-old Jory Michaels wakes up on the first day of summer vacation with her same old big nose, no passion in her life (in the creative sense of the word), and all signs still pointing to her dying a virgin. In spite of her driving record (it was an accident!), Jory gets a job delivering flowers and cakes to Reno’s casinos and wedding chapels. She also comes up with a new summer goal: saving for a life-altering nose job. She and her new nose will attract a fabulous boyfriend. Jory survives various summer disasters like doing yoga after sampling Mom’s Cabbage Soup Diet, enforced-mother-bonding-with-crazy-nose-obsessed-daughter night, and discovering Tyler’s big secret. But will she learn to accept herself and maybe even find her passion, in the creative (AND romantic!) sense of the word?

Do you plot out in advance, or just start writing and see where things go from there?

I do some plotting in advance—it makes diving into those empty pages feel a little less scary. I have outlines that look like colorful rainbows, charts, and intertwining circles, but I used a calendar for My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters. I like to create a general sense of direction, but I always leave room for the characters to do what they want. When I started My Big Nose, for example, I was sure she would fall for an entirely different guy. Jory was, like, uh, no. That’s not happening.

Many authors have told me their characters talk to them, and sometimes even have different ideas of where the story should go than the author. Do you hear your characters?

Okay, I have to admit that my characters will sometimes talk while I’m in the shower or wake me in the middle of the night. While I’m writing, I just kind of become my characters and lose myself in their voices and actions. I like to write in caf├ęs, and sometimes I worry that people think I’m crazy while I’m gesturing and making funny facial expressions as I really get into my characters. And, yes, my characters are stubborn like me. They tend to do what they want!

Who is your favorite character (of your own)?

Well, I do have a special fondness for Jory since I, too, spent my high school years hating my nose. Oh, and we both have driving issues, especially when it comes to delivery vans.

What hobbies do you have when you're not writing?

I love to read of course! I also enjoy hiking, skiing, cooking, baking, going to movies and rock concerts, and traveling. And when I’m traveling, I try to find excellent local chocolate!

If you had not become a writer what would you have done instead?

I might have stayed in school forever. I have a degree in English with a minor in Biology from Whitman College. I took writing classes at the University of Washington, women’s studies classes at North Seattle Community College, history and language classes at the University of Utah.... I love writing because I can satisfy my curiosity by researching novels, instead of collecting college credits.

Where can readers find you online?

Website: www.sydneysalter.com
Blogs: www.mybignose.blogspot.com and http://sydney-salter.livejournal.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/sydneysalter
Facebook: http://www.new.facebook.com/profile.php?id=691550885&ref=profile
Twitter: www.twitter.com/sydney_salter

I love making new friends!

Your turn. What question do you have for readers of Want My YA?

What do you think about your own nose? Oh, and for extra credit: where is the best chocolate in your hometown?

Thanks again so much Sydney! I had a lot of fun with your responses. :) Now for those of you reading this. It's time to get commenting. Sydney is offering up an autographed copy of My Big Nose to one lucky commentor.

Be sure to get your comments in by midnight central time and I'll hopefully be announcing the winner sometime tomorrow. Be sure to check back Tuesday for the winner announcement.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Lori Devoti's Full Moon of Werewolves

Hey everyone! Be sure to stop by Lori Devoti's blog today. :) She's doing a Full Moon of Werewolves, so for 30 days guest bloggers will stop by and discuss everything we love about werewolves.

Today it's my turn. Stop by to see what I had to say about werewolves in YA.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Interview: Jenny Moss - Author of Winnie's War

Hey there readers! Got another fun interview for ya today. So without delay here's Jenny Moss.

Tell us a little about yourself.

As far back as I can remember, I wanted to be a writer. I took detours: one long road to and through aerospace engineering. Now I live in Houston and write. :)

What got you started writing? What brought you to YA?

My first published book is middle grade. But my 2010 release is a YA fantasy. I started writing that one first. I love writing for teens - it's such an amazing time of life. It's fun to go back and explore it again, looking through the eyes of my protagonists.

Tell us about your most recent/ upcoming release?

My debut, WINNIE'S WAR, was released by Walker Books for Young Readers in February. It follows the fears of a twelve-year-old girl living in a small town during the 1918 influenza epidemic.

Do you plot out in advance, or just start writing and see where things go from there?

Both. Once I begin writing that first scene, though, I start working out the plot in my head even when I'm not writing.

Many authors have told me their characters talk to them, and sometimes even have different ideas of where the story should go than the author. Do you hear your characters?

I'm always reluctant to admit my characters talk to me. :) But they do.

Who is your favorite character (of your own)?

Oh, wow, great question! It changes. From WW, I'm very fond of Miranda and Mr. Levy.

What hobbies do you have when you're not writing?

Reading, walking, watching movies. I love to travel. Love. It.

If you had not become a writer what would you have done instead?

I was an engineer for a long time. Writing is what I want to do.

Where can readers find you online?

Several places:
I'm also on Twitter & Facebook.

Your turn. What question do you have for readers of Want My YA?

What types of YA books do you enjoy the most and want to see more of on the shelves?

Thanks so much Jenny for the great answers! :) And thanks to all the wonderful readers who make this blog so fun.

If you're a YA author and you're interested in being interviewed for Want My YA's Monday interview feature be sure to send an email to wantmyya at yahoo dot com.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

You Recommend Wednesday - Nintendo DS Edition

Hey all! Thanks to everyone who stopped by to read the interview with Cyn Balog. Thanks to Cyn for visiting with us! :) Can't wait for that book of hers.

Sorry I didn't get the eyecatchers up yesterday. I had intended to do a special blog yesterday, but I dont' yet have the pics. As soon as the pictures get loaded onto my comptuer I'll be posting a very special blog about a very cool booksigning that I attended this past Monday (on my birthday - how cool is that?).

Onto today's blog. As you can see from the title today I'm looking for recommendation to go with the new DS I'm getting for my birthday. My Mama has ordered me a very cool Onyx Black DS Lite for my 25th birthday (yeah YA, DS, I really am regressing - did I mention the Ninja Turtles T-shirt I'm wearing?).

Now I need recs for games to play on this thing. I haven't actually received it yet, but even still I already have a case, screen protectors, and 4 games. The games are: Nintendogs Lab & Friends, Inkheart, Cross Words, and some mystery game I can never remember the name of. lol

Anyone have any great game recs for me?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Interview: Cyn Balog - Author of the upcoming Fairy Tale

Hello all! I've got another great interview for you this week. Please welcome Cyn Balog. Her release Fairy Tale comes out in June. I'm looking forward to it, I hope you are too.

Tell us a little about yourself.
Let's see... I live in Bucks County PA with my family. I also work full-time for a series of fitness magazines. Fairy Tale may be my first published novel but I've written dozens of trunk novels, ever since I was in grade school. I'm one of those people who likes to hide in a room, scribbling away, more than anything else!

What got you started writing? What brought you to YA?

The first novel I ever wrote was a young adult novel--why? because I was a young adult! I've wanted to be a writer ever since I can remember. And I guess you can say I never grew up, because I tried writing adult books and they bored me. When, as an adult, I decided to try writing for teens, something just clicked for me. The emotions and issues that teens deal with are far more interesting to me.

Tell us about your most recent/ upcoming release?

Fairy Tale is about a teenage girl who learns her boyfriend is a fairy, and that he's due to leave her and return to Otherworld on his 16th birthday. She decides to fool the fairies and fight to keep him with her.

Do you plot out in advance, or just start writing and see where things go from there?

I just start writing, but somewhere, maybe halfway through, I learn where I want things to end up. And then I'll start to briefly sketch out the scenes that will take me there. I am not much of a planner. I know people who have giant wipe boards or thousands of index cards and that's not me.

Many authors have told me their characters talk to them, and sometimes even have different ideas of where the story should go than the author. Do you hear your characters?
Nope. I have a hard enough time hearing myself. Most of the time my mind is completely devoid of anything other than what kind of lunch or dinner or dessert I want to have. I like to eat. Mention anything with chocolate and caramel and I lose consciousness for a few moments.

Who is your favorite character (of your own)?
I love Pip. I always root for the underdog. And he's just sweet and naive and humble. He proves that guys don't need brawn or good looks or lots of flash or ego to make girls swoon.

What hobbies do you have when you're not writing?
I guess it goes without saying that I'm a big reader. I'm a bit of a runner, which is necessary in my line of work, since I work for a running magazine. Other than that, I am one of those people who can do a crossword puzzle, though I don't really ever have time for them! I get that from my dad, who is a crossword puzzle master. I've also had to make changing diapers my hobby, since I have young kids. Yep, I know how to party.

If you had not become a writer what would you have done instead?

Well, I am in marketing, which is what I went into when everybody told me I couldn't succeed as a writer! But I think if money wasn't an object I would own my own bookstore, since I always get a thrill whenever I walk into one. Or a company that makes things out of chocolate and caramel.

Where can readers find you online?

Your turn. What question do you have for readers of Want My YA?

What has been your favorite book of 2009 so far?

Thanks so much Cyn! It was great interviewing you.

Thanks to all the readers for stopping by, be sure to pre-order your copy of Fairy Tale today. :)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

You Recommend Wednesday

Hey all! It's You Recommend Wednesday, and since I just woke up, I'm too tired to pick out my own topic today. :) So I'm leaving it up to you. Recommend whatever you'd like. Especially books. I can always use more book recommendations (my family would disagree, but just ignore them).

So go on start recommending.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

It's Eyecatcher Time!

Hey everyone! Wow thanks everybody for stopping by for yesterday's interview with Saundra Mitchell. Yesterday's post brought in a flood of email into WMY's inbox. Yay! So I'm going to have some great interviews coming up for you. :)

I've got even more wonderful eyecatchers for you this week. Check 'em out.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth

by Carrie Ryan

from the author's site:

In Mary's world, there are simple truths.

The Sisterhood always knows best.

The Guardians will protect and serve.

The Unconsecrated will never relent.

And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village. The fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

But slowly, Mary's truths are failing her. She's learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power. And, when the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness.

Now she must choose between her village and her future, between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded by so much death?


by Rachel Hawthorne

from the author's site:

I see him and know what this turmoil inside of me means: He's the one. My forever.

Kayla is the nature love who can't understand why she's drawn to dark, brooding Lucas. Adopted as a child she has no way of knowing that she's inherited a terrifying--and thrilling--gene that will change her life forever.

Lucas is dangerous, gorgeous...and a werewolf. As leader of the Dark Guardians, shape-shifters who gather deep in the national forest, he has sworn to protect his pack. But when Lucas finds his true soul mate, his love could put them all in harm's way.

As Lucas and Kayla struggle with their feelings for each other, a greater danger lurks. Humans have discovered the Dark Guardians and are planning their destruction. Kayla must choose between the life she knows and the love she feels certain is her destiny.

That's what I've got for this week. :) Let me know what's catching your eye.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Interview: Saundra Mitchell - author of Shadowed Summer

Well I promised you a new Monday feature and here it is. Each Monday I will post an interview with a different YA author. For Want My YA's very first interview we are chatting with the fabulous Saundra Mitchell.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I'm a screenwriter and an author- I've been screenwriting for 15 years, but my debut novel just came out this year. (I wrote it in 2003!) Fascinated by the supernatural, I definitely lean toward the dark when I read, watch or write- but not too dark. I prefer elegance over splatter, every time.

What got you started writing? What brought you to YA?

Since grade school, I've been a writer. I even wrote our fourth grade play. I still feel bad for how many times the poor kid playing Mitchell (I know, creative, right?) got whacked for my art.

I think I've always been YA, though. Even my screenwriting is YA- I wrote for the biggest teen filmmaking program in the US, Fresh Films, and all the ideas were submitted by our teen crews. I just think YA is more interesting- it's about exploring and exploding; books for adults tend to be about getting it together and keeping it together. That just doesn't excite me as much as a good explosion.

Tell us about your most recent/ upcoming release?

“Shadowed Summer” is my debut novel- it came out on February 10th, 2009. It's about Iris Rhame, who hears a ghost in the town cemetery, and goes off in search of a boy who disappeared years before she was born. She and her best friend Collette, along with Collette's crush, Ben, dig into the past and end up discovering that in a town as small as theirs, every secret is a family secret.

Do you plot out in advance, or just start writing and see where things go from there?

I think about things. It's nothing organized like plotting or outlining, but I think about things. Usually, for me, characters show up first in my head, so it's an act of playing with these new toys. Finding out who they are, what interests them, what secrets they have... Once I feel like I know them, I start playing with them on paper, and that's how I write my books.

Many authors have told me their characters talk to them, and sometimes even have different ideas of where the story should go than the author. Do you hear your characters?

Yes, I hear them. I don't actually talk about this a lot, because it offends some people, and other people just think you're froot loops with crazymilk, but I totally hear my characters. They talk to each other, they talk to me- and yes, a lot of times, they do what they want.

They're such a real presence in my head, that they can both wake me up, and make me laugh unexpectedly. Once, I started laughing in the middle of the night and my husband rolled over, shook my shoulder, and said right in my ear, “She has to go to sleep now. Shut up in there.”

That's one of the things that makes it so bittersweet for me to finish a book. When I'm done- they go away. Even when I re-read and revise, they never come back.

Who is your favorite character (of your own)?

That's really hard to say, because I have a lot of characters, and a lot of them who haven't made it to page or screen yet. But right now, my favorites are Brandon Beauchamp and Nathaniel Witherspoon. Hopefully, you'll get to meet Nate in my next book.

What hobbies do you have when you're not writing?

I collect things, in tiny batches, so I guess I collect collections. I have ten or fifteen t-shirts from various police Homicide units around the US. Thirty specialty Barbies lounge in their boxes in my attic. My canvas bag contains thirteen cross-stitch samplers I made.

The only ongoing collection I have is photographs of cemetery statuary, probably because that combines my enjoyment of visiting and exploring cemeteries with photography (and doesn't take up much room.) And I don't have so much time to do it as I used to, but I really enjoy reading and writing fan fiction.

If you had not become a writer what would you have done instead?

Whatever I had to. I've been in car sales, I've been a layout waxer for a newspaper (a job which no longer exists, thanks to desktop publishing and computers!) I've worked at cafeterias, processing checks at night for a monthly music club- I was even a phone psychic. Writing is my calling; everything else is a job.

Where can readers find you online?

You can always find me on my blog, Making Stuff Up for a Living, at www.saundramitchell.com/blog, but you can always Twitter me http://twitter.com/saundramitchell, or catch up with me on Myspace http://www.myspace.com/saundramitchell. But just so you know- you have to allow filmmakers to friend you on Myspace to add me!

Your turn. What question do you have for readers of Want My YA?

Who do you think would win in a fight- Edward Cullen or Batman?

I just want to give a big, big thank you to Saundra Mitchell for all her answers. I had a lot of fun reading her responses and I hope you did too. :)

If you are a YA author and you'd like to be next week's featured interview, send me an email at wantmyya at yahoo dot com. I'll get the questions out to you right away. And be sure to spread the word.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Jenny Green's Killer Junior Year by Amy Belasen and Jacob Osborn

Alright, so this book was featured last week with the Tuesday Eyecatchers. It just so happened that I did get a chance to read it in the past week.
Jenny Green's Killer Junior Year
by Amy Belasen and Jacob Osborn

As a reminder here's a brief description from the publisher's site:

Hell hath no fury...

Jenny Green is a spoiled teen "princess" and the newest junior at Montreal's Molson Academy. Jenny wants a fresh start in her new school, and she's curious to see what Montreal has to offer, most especially in the boy department. Beautiful, charming, and sharp-witted, Jenny has no trouble getting the boys to fall for her.

But when she discovers just how despicable the male gender can be -- with the lying, the cheating, and the utter disrespect -- she decides to make them pay...with their lives.

This book can only be described as interesting. Well, maybe guilty pleasure fits in there too. I'd never understood that phrase before because I've never understood why anyone should feel guilty about what they're reading. However, as you follow Jenny through the murders, there is a bit of a guilty glee in watching her get away with it.

It's also really interesting to see what happens to Jenny as a result of these murders. I'll tell you now, the first one truly was an accident and self defense. However, the turning point comes when she chooses not to report it and manages to get away with it. As Jenny keeps on getting away with it, the murders start to eat away at her. From the beginning to the end, Jenny is a very different person, which I guess is the goal of any story. So check it out and tell me, do you think she's better off at the end?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

You Recommend Wednesay - It's TV Time!

As usual I was playing on twitter.com yesterday. While watching 6teen on Cartoon Network, I got a conversation started on the show. Aside from the fact that I just plain enjoy watching it, I figure if I'm going to be a YA writer someday it's a good idea to stay somewhat in touch with the teenage world. :)

So my question for everyone today...What teen-related show, whether live-action or animated, do you recommend?

My two personal favorites are 6teen and Total Drama Island on Cartoon Network. They're from the same people and feature many of the same voice actors. And hey what can I say? At nearly 25 (less than 2 weeks away), I'm starting to regress. lol

So go on, tell all about what you like to watch.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Even More Eyecatchers

Hey all, welcome back. I've got even more great books to tell you about this week. This first one I've already ordered for myself. :)

The Dust of 100 Dogs

by AS King

from the author's site:

In the late 17th century, famed pirate Emer Morrisey was on the cusp of escaping pirate life with her one true love and unfathomable riches when she was slain and cursed with the dust of 100 dogs, dooming her to one hundred lives as a dog before returning to a human body—with her memories intact. Now she's a contemporary American teenager, and all she needs is a shovel and a ride to Jamaica.

This next one just plain has an awesome cover. :)


by Allison Van Diepen

from the author's site:

Zin dances with fire in every step, speaks with a honey-sweet voice, and sees with eyes that can peer into your soul. It's no wonder Nicole is madly in love with him. Their friendship is the only thing that saves her from the boredom of school and the turmoil of her family life. But she cannot understand why he keeps her at a distance, even though she can feel his soul reaching out for hers. Zin carries a very old secret. When Nicole uncovers the truth, her love may be the only thing that can save him from it.

Well that's what I've got for ya this week! Be on the lookout later this week for a more in depth feature on one of last week's eyecatchers. :)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

YA Edge has a new YA Book Club

I'm all about passing info along, especially when it's as fun as this. You've heard me mention the blog YA Edge before. Aside from my own (lol) they are probably my favorite YA blog. They have now created a Book Club blog where readers can discuss a new book each month.

Check it out: http://www.yaedgebookclub.blogspot.com/

The book for March is Evermore by Alyson Noel. I'm really excited about this because I've been wanting to read Evermore for a while now. So I will definitely be in on the discussions over there. Join us!