Monday, November 28, 2011

Teen Interview: Patrice Lyle

Anna Sattler

Our teen interviewer caught up with Patrice Lyle, the author of the upcoming Lethally Blonde.

What inspired Lethally Blonde?

I was trying to figure out what to write next and then I started thinking about what books and movies I really loved. Sweet Valley High instantly popped to mind – I loved that series when I was in high school! Then I thought about how much I loved Elle Woods in the movie Legally Blonde… and then I thought what if Elle Woods was a teen demon in high school? And it went from there. I originally titled the book Demon Valley High, but soon realized that Morgan’s story was supposed to be called Lethally Blonde.

How long has it taken you to write this story?

It took me about six months to plot and write Lethally Blonde. Then I had revisions to do for Leap Books before they agreed to publish it.

Have you become particularly attached to any characters?

Oh, yes. Morgan Skully (the main character) for sure! She is so fun to write with her obsessions with shopping, pink, and hottie Derek.

Did you ever get stuck in your plot line? If so, how did you move on?

No, but only because I wrote the first three chapters and then I outlined the rest of the book. That works best for me because I’m really a pantster at heart, but I’ve written myself into too many corners that way. So writing the first three chapters pantster-style gives me time to get to know the character and see what the central conflict is. Then I plot out the rest of the book, chapter by chapter, and write the rest of it. Sometimes things change plot-wise as I actually write the rest of the book, but I usually stick pretty close to the plot as I originally envisioned it.

Did your story change considerably during editing?

Not a lot changed plot-wise, but I added a lot of meaning and motivation during the editing phase.

When you began writing did you anticipate how the story would end or did it just evolve? 

I had no idea when I wrote the first three chapters, but once I outlined the entire book I definitely knew how it would end. And Lethally Blonde ended like I originally envisioned it in the plot outline.

How would you advise young adults who want to become published authors?

Read as much as you can and write every day! Even if you only write for a half hour a day, it’s critical to write daily to keep you in the writing zone. It can be so hard to get back into the zone once you leave so my advice is … never leave! Stay in the zone every day. After that, join a writer’s group (like SCBWI - the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), take classes (I have a Masters from Seton Hill University in Writing Popular Fiction – an excellent program!) and then submit, submit, submit! And lastly, don’t ever give up on your dream.

Thanks, Anna and Patrice!

Patrice is also an author of one of the craft articles in the award-winning writing book, Many Genres, One Craft

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Top Choice Award: Stakeout

Author Bonnie J. Doerr's eco-mystery about sea turtles has received a Top Choice Award from Flamingnet.

Comments by the teen reviewer:

"This book is the perfect mystery. Full of suspense, action, and drama, Stake Out is one of the best mysteries I have ever read."

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Spooky Story in News

The Bonneville Nouvelle recently published an article titled, "Graves' spooky story to be published in Spirited anthology," by Melissa Barr.

Photo by Melissa Barr

The story highlights Judith Graves' latest releases: "Strangeways vs. the Wraith" in the Spirited anthology and the second book in the Skinned trilogy, Second Skin.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Teen Interview: Jacqueline Horsfall

Our teen interviewer, Anna, poses a series of questions for author, Jacqueline Horsfall.

What was your inspiration For The Love of Strangers?

FLOS originally came about as a gut punch, one that wouldn’t let up. A relative told me about her single, professional, middle-aged friend who traveled to Russia to adopt a baby, but came back with a baby and an older sibling (who had adjustment problems). I couldn’t get the story out of my head, and blabbed it to everyone I knew. When an idea is that strong, it practically writes itself. I had spent time in Russia years before, so I drew on my visit for the backstory setting.

· How did you develop your characters?

Each human character is a little part of me. The animal characters are based on my observations and interactions with local wildlife. But all the characters, human and animal, are grounded in goddess mythology, specifically from the ancient Russian deer cults.

· Did you have to change the length of your story considerably during editing?

The length doubled! I’m basically a short story writer, so I always practice writing “tight.” Crafting a YA novel at 50,000 – 60,000 words gave me the freedom to expand scenes, develop characters, and add backstory – story elements lacking in the original version.

· Have you become more attached to the main character as opposed to the supporting characters?

 That’s like asking which of my children I prefer. All of the characters are my babies, and I love them equally. Unless they go off and do weird stuff I don’t approve of.

· Do you base your characters off people you know?

I mash up peculiar personal traits appearing in my characters so no one can say, “Hey, that’s me!”

· Are there aspects of your story you just don’t like?

I love the story. I highly value my editor’s suggestions. I adore the book it became, with its illustrations and cover art. I’m so pleased and proud that I could craft a contemporary story with a mythological theme because I truly believe that a society without mythology is doomed.

· How would you advise young adults who want to become published authors?

Find an enjoyable career field, one you’re passionate about. Writers can’t be hermits – they need life experience and an income. Read, read, read books by prize-winning and best-selling authors. Above all, ask yourself this important question: Do I really want to be a writer or do I only like the idea of being a writer? There’s a big difference.

Thanks, Anna and Jackie! Great interview!

Jacqueline Horsfall's book, For the Love of Strangers, is illustrated by Mary B. Kelly.

Jackie with her many published books.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Pure Speculation Festival Today

On November 19th, meet Judith Graves at the Pure Speculation Fest in Edmonton, Canada. She'll be speaking on the Young Adult Fantastic Fiction: Not Just About Boy Wizards panel with Gail Siddonie SobatMarty Chan, and Nicole Luiken.

Here's the low-down:

“Testosterone-filled fantasy continues to dominate the industry, yet there are any number of compelling narratives featuring the female protagonist and her particular strengths, trials and passions. Unfortunately, women writers of children’s/YA SF novels with female protagonists are still all-too-frequently relegated to the literary backroom. Presenters will share insights about the female writer & the protagonist of speculative fiction, and their essential roles in righting the gender imbalance & the ghetto-ization that plague the SF genre.”

A chance you won't want to miss:

As a part of Pure Spec’s fundraising efforts for a local charity via the GEEKS FOR GEEKS auction,  Judith is raffling off naming a character after one lucky winner. That’s right, a character in SKIN OF MY TEETH could be named after YOU. Although Judith warns that "said character’s life expectancy is not guaranteed and it is likely that he/she may suffer a painful death under the light of the new moon – or some such paranormal goodness."

Still it's a great way to get your name in print and help charity at the same time.

Look for Graves other books:

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Danger: Crime Scene

Author Bonnie J. Doerr appeared at Barnhills Bookstore in Winston-Salem, NC, on Saturday, November 12, 2011. The audience enjoyed her presentation about her hands-on research before she writes her mysteries about endangered animals.

Here are some photos of her presentations and booksignings after each event. Note the crime scene tape adorning the book display table and around the author's neck.
Here's the audience for the first sitting eagerly watching her slides about Key deer, sea turtles, and pelicans. To accommodate the crowds, Doerr did a second presentation.

Fans line up for autographs at the end of the first presentation.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

SPIRITED 13 ARC Giveaway Winners!

Each correct answer to our research questions was considered a new entry, winners were then selected from the correct entries via random number generator.

The winners of the SPIRITED 13 ARC giveaway contest:

Elizabeth M
Breia B
Charlotte H
Joanna W
David F
Melissa M
Amy C
Jen M
Renee V
Jolene H
Ashley D
Ashley L

Winners will be notified directly by a Leap Books representative regarding shipping details.