So this is a meme that made its way around to me a couple months ago, courtesy of award-winning Code Name Verity author Elizabeth Wein tagging Erin Bow (author of the gorgeous, funny, heartbreaking Plain Kate) and Erin tagging me in return. (I was also tagged by Zoë Marriott, whose sumptuous and refreshingly diverse secondary-world fantasies I adore. But I could not tag Zoë in return because Erin had already tagged her as well *pout*). 

So I am mentioning (not tagging, because that implies obligation, and that can be burdensome) two long-time favorite authors whose books deserve more attention than they've been getting, and one soon-to-be published author whose manuscript I adored and am excited about seeing in print:

Deva Fagan is the author of the delightful MG fantasy romps Fortune's Folly and The Magical Misadventures of Prunella Bogthistle, as well as the sparkling YA science fiction adventure Circus Galacticus (oh, that Ringmaster!). She is clever, versatile, imaginative, and a lovely person to know.

Actor/Author Adrienne Kress has published two charming, witty, everything-but-the-kitchen sink MG novels, Alex and the Ironic Gentleman and Timothy and the Dragon's Gate, both of which my 10-year-old son loves and has read multiple times. Her just-released first YA novel The Friday Society has a fabulous one-line pitch (a "steampunk Charlie's Angels without Charlie") and I thoroughly enjoyed it; I hope a lot of other readers do too.

Emily Kate Johnston never ceases to astound me with her ability to write terrific stories and novels in a dizzyingly short period of time. (Okay, let's be honest: I'm jealous.) Her contemporary southwestern Ontario high school novel, set in an alternate history where dragons are a real and pernicious threat (no cutesy "taming the dragon" storyline here!) won my heart and, I'm glad to say, charmed my agent and US editor as well. You can look forward to seeing her debut in 2014, by which time it will hopefully have a title!

And now I'll answer some questions about my own most recent book...

What’s the title?

It's called Quicksilver. I chose the title as it seemed like a good fit with Ultraviolet, its sister novel. Then I spent the next few months racking my brain to figure out what it meant -- and I didn't really know the answer until I was well into the first draft of the book. First drafts are mysterious like that sometimes.

A short synopsis?

Quicksilver is the story of Tori, a 17-year-old girl who flees her hometown, changes her identity and goes into hiding when a ruthless policeman and a DNA specialist start asking dangerous questions about her strange biology and mysterious past. But protecting herself from the people who want to control her will take every ounce of Tori’s incredible electronics and engineering skills—and even then, she may need to sacrifice more than she could possibly imagine if she wants to be free.

Where did the idea for this book come from?

It was totally Tori's idea. She's stubborn like that, and I knew as soon as I started writing her character in Ultraviolet that she was going to demand a sequel of her very own. Some characters take time for me to get to know properly, but Tori came alive for me the instant I named her, and she's held a place at centre stage in my imagination ever since.

What genre does your book fall under?

I'd call it a contemporary psychological thriller on the rocks with a science fiction twist. Hopefully it will leave the reader both shaken and stirred. (Although if Tori ever met James Bond, she would probably whack him upside the head with her toolbelt.)

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

All the K-Pop fans are going to laugh at me now, but I swear I had no idea who Siwon was when I found an old photo of him wearing glasses and decided he looked like my mental image of Milo. He's too old for the part nowadays, but if we're fantasy casting I don't see why we can't use a time machine. So here, have a picture:

Read more... )

As for Tori, I've never found an actress who matched my mental image of her, but I did find this jaw-droppingly fabulous piece of artwork by Charlie Bowater:

Read more... )

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Since 2009 I've been represented by the excellent team of Josh Adams at Adams Literary in the US and Caroline Walsh of David Higham Associates in the UK. Quicksilver will be published by Carolrhoda Lab / Lerner Books in North America and by Orchard Books in UK/Aus/NZ.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Six months, and I thought it was going to kill me. It wasn't even that the book was so demanding (though it was: I had to do a LOT of research into areas I'm not at all familiar with, like math and engineering) but that my elderly parents were going through a succession of health crises at the time, and juggling their needs with my publishing commitments was a challenge I'd not faced before on that kind of scale. So I had to beg for an extension on my deadline, and I felt horrible about it, but I knew that rushing the book would be the worst thing I could do in the end. I always want my books to be the best I can possibly make them before I send them out into the world.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Uh… Ultraviolet? That's really all I can think of, honest! Either my reading habits are woefully limited, or else my imagination is just that weird. (Probably both.)

What else about the book might pique a reader’s interest?

I guess it depends on how much they like any or all of the following: DNA analysis, cutting-edge technology, secret identities, mass transit, heroic rescues, dramatic text messages, unexpected visitors, pancakes, soldering, miniature dachshunds, makerspaces, excellent biceps, asexuality, Korean home cooking, road trips, radio telescopes, outrageous lies, tragic romances, not-so-tragic romances, and/or power tools…
My first audio interview! If you want to hear all about how Knife's story came to be, my road to publication, some Q & A's about characters and events in the book, and a few tidbits about what's coming up next for Knife and the Oakenfolk, all you have to do is listen to this podcast:

KiscoCast 11. A conversation with R.J. Anderson

Thanks to the lovely librarians at the Mount Kisco Public Library for asking such wonderful questions and inviting me to take part in their podcast.
This week I'm featured in the Author Spotlight on AuthorsNow!, and I'm giving away a signed hardcover copy of Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter as part of the deal. If you want to throw your name in the hat, check out the interview here and leave a comment!

I'll also be doing another giveaway here on the LJ some time next week, so if you don't win over there, you can always stay tuned for that one.

***

On a related note, recently I've been hearing from folks who've tried to find my book in their local Big Bookstore and were surprised/disappointed not to see it there. There's a simple explanation for that: for their own mysterious reasons, the two major US chains have opted out of carrying Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter in their stores. That doesn't make it impossible to find, but it does make it a bit harder, as it's only being physically stocked by independent booksellers.*

Still, if you're not in the habit of visiting your local indie, why not give them a try? I used to think I could get a better deal by shopping elsewhere, so it's only in the last year or so that I started visiting my local indies on a regular basis. But now I've come to see what a great bunch of people independent booksellers can be, and how well they know and love the books they sell. So if you're thinking of picking up a copy of Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter, please consider looking it up on IndieBound first. You can even order the book online through the IndieBound site if you prefer.

***

And speaking of book-buying, I should also mention that [livejournal.com profile] sarahcross's fabulous, funny, action-packed, utterly charming teen superhero novel Dull Boy just released today. Don't be misled by the title, because it's definitely tongue-in-cheek: Avery Pirzwick's story is anything but dull. You can visit Sarah's website to learn more about her and the book. Or you could just go ahead and buy it!

--
* Canadians don't have the same problem, though -- Chapters/Indigo/Coles are giving the book some great support up here, bless 'em.
Today's [livejournal.com profile] debut2009 author interview (and I have to tell you, this will be the last one for a while -- I'm totally swamped with revisions right now!) is with the delightful, multi-talented, and incredibly hard-working Saundra Mitchell, author of Shadowed Summer.

This was the very first book I read by a fellow Deb, and I have to say, it blew me away. I don't normally read ghost stories -- I'm a total wimp for anything horrific, plus the whole ghost thing grates on my theology. But I was really impressed by the way Saundra drew me into her story and skillfully suspended my disbelief right to the very end. Plus, her prose is just beautiful, and she has a deft knack for vivid characterization that I really envy like whoa admire.

But enough about me! On to the book!


ABOUT SHADOWED SUMMER

Nothing ever happened in Ondine, Louisiana, not even the summer Elijah Landry disappeared. His mother knew he ascended to heaven, the police believed he ran away, and his girlfriend thought he was murdered.

Decades later, certain she saw his ghost in the town cemetery, fourteen-year-old Iris Rhame is determined to find out the truth behind "The Incident With the Landry Boy."

Enlisting the help of her best friend Collette, and forced to endure the company of Collette's latest crush, Ben, Iris spends a summer digging into the past and stirring old ghosts, in search of a boy she never knew.

What she doesn't realize is that in a town as small as Ondine, every secret is a family secret.

ABOUT SAUNDRA MITCHELL

A screenwriter and author, Saundra Mitchell penned the screenplays for the Fresh Films and Girls in the Director's Chair short film series. Her short story "Ready to Wear" was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and her first feature film, Revenge Ends, debuted on the festival circuit in 2008. In her free time, she enjoys ghost hunting, papermaking, and spending time with her husband and her two children.

Tantalizing, no? Let's find out more about Saundra and her book under the cut... )

You can learn more about Shadowed Summer by visiting the dedicated site, where you can read an excerpt from the first chapter, see more interviews with Saundra, and download a bunch of neat extras related to the book.

Shadowed Summer can also be ordered from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or support your local independent bookseller.

Visit Saundra on the web at www.saundramitchell.com.

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Today I'm happy to introduce fellow [livejournal.com profile] debut2009 member Erin Dionne, the author of the delightful tween novel Models Don't Eat Chocolate Cookies!

ABOUT THE BOOK
Thirteen-year-old Celeste Harris is no string bean, but comfy sweatpants and a daily chocolate cookie suit her just fine. Her under-the-radar lifestyle could have continued too, if her aunt hadn’t entered her in the HuskyPeach Modeling Challenge. To get out of it, she’s forced to launch Operation Skinny Celeste—because, after all, a thin girl can’t be a fat model! What Celeste never imagined was that losing weight would help her gain a backbone . . . or that all she needed to shine was a spotlight.

ABOUT ERIN DIONNE
Erin Dionne has lived on two coasts and in four states. Her debut novel, MODELS DON’T EAT CHOCOLATE COOKIES, was inspired by events that occurred in seventh grade, when she wore a scary peach bridesmaid dress in her cousin’s wedding and threw up on her gym teacher’s shoes (not at the same event). Although humiliating at the time, these experiences are working for her now.

Erin lives outside of Boston with her husband and daughter, and a very insistent dog named Grafton. She roots for the Red Sox, teaches English at an art college, and sometimes eats chocolate cookies.

Click here for more with Erin Dionne! )

As a parting note, I read Models a few months ago and would readily recommend it to readers aged ten and up who would enjoy a witty, charming novel with a great first-person narrative voice. I loved and sympathized with Celeste right away and I'm sure that many readers will, too! You can order the book from Amazon or find it through IndieBound.
Today I'm excited to be hosting the talented and versatile [livejournal.com profile] debut2009 author Cynthea Liu, who just celebrated her release date for her first book The Great Call of China yesterday with an exciting online party! Congratulations, Cynthea!

About the Book:

Chinese-born Cece was adopted when she was two years old by her American parents. Living in Texas, she's bored of her ho-hum high school and dull job. So when she learns about the S.A.S.S. program to Xi'an, China, she jumps at the chance. She'll be able to learn about her passion--anthropology--and it will give her the opportunity to explore her roots. But when she arrives, she receives quite a culture shock. And the closer she comes to finding out about her birth parents, the more apprehensive she gets. Enter Will, the cute guy she first meets on the plane. He and Cece really connect during the program. But can he help her get accustomed to a culture she should already know about, or will she leave China without the answers she's been looking for?

About the Author:

Cynthea spent her formative years in Oklahoma and Texas where she was a Whiz Quiz member, an Academic Decathloner, and a spelling bee champion. (Yes, she was very popular.) After attending college on the East Coast, she worked at a corporate job where she mastered PowerPoint and racked up thousands of frequent flyer miles. Eventually, she traded in her suit for sweats to do the fun stuff--writing for children. In addition to The Great Call of China (Puffin, February '09) and her middle-grade novel Paris Pan Takes The Dare (Putnam, June '09) Cynthea's nonfiction book Writing for Children and Teens: A Crash Course (how to write, revise, and publish your kid's or teen book with children's book publishers) is available in paperback.

Click here for a fun Q&A session with Cynthea! )

Hee. I definitely know that feeling! Thanks for dropping by, Cynthea!



Finally, Cynthea's also put together a great little YouTube video describing how she came to write The Great Call of China and telling a little more about the book itself. Check it out:
This week's featured [livejournal.com profile] debut2009 author is the delightful Jenny Moss, who's here to tell us all about her excellent middle-grade historical novel Winnie's War.

About the Book:

Life in Winnie's sleepy town of Coward Creek, Texas, is just fine for her. Although her troubled mother's distant behavior has always worried Winnie, she's plenty busy caring for her younger sisters, going to school, playing chess with Mr. Levy, and avoiding her testy grandmother. Plus, her sweetheart Nolan is always there to make her smile when she's feeling low. But when the Spanish Influenza claims its first victim, lives are suddenly at stake, and Winnie has never felt so helpless. She must find a way to save the people she loves most, even if doing so means putting her own life at risk.

About the Author:

Jenny Moss is a former NASA engineer. She earned a master's degree in literature and taught writing as an adjunct at University of Houston-Clear Lake. She lives with her two teenagers in Houston, Texas. Welcome to the Oakenwyld, Jenny!

Click here for the interview and more with Jenny! )

And now for a personal recommendation -- I had the privilege of reading Winnie's War a few months ago. It's a beautifully written, moving and engrossing book with real and engaging characters, and I would gladly recommend it to any young reader who is interested in the time period or just enjoys historical novels in general.
I'm happy to announce that over the course of this coming year I'll be participating in the Moveable Feast of Awesome, a.k.a. the 2009 Debs' Blog Tour! Every week or so I'll post an interview with one of my fellow [livejournal.com profile] debut2009 authors as their books hit the shelves, so you can find out more about them and their writing.




And my first interviewee is the lovely and multitalented Stacey Jay! Her YA paranormal novel You Are So Undead To Me has been out since January 22nd, and it's published in the US by Razorbill Books. Here's a little bit about the book:

Megan Berry's social life is so dead. Literally. Fifteen-year-old Megan Berry is a Zombie Settler by birth, which means she's part-time shrink to a bunch of dead people. All Megan wants is to be normal--and go to homecoming. But someone in school is using black magic to turn average, angsty Undead into flesh-eating Zombies, and it's looking like homecoming will turn out to be a very different kind of party--the bloody kind.

Stacey Jay describes herself as a workaholic with three pen names, four kids, and a decidedly macabre sense of humor. She loves zombies, creepies, crawlies, blood, guts, gore, and of course, romance.

Click here for the interview and more with Stacey Jay! )



Congratulations on your debut, Stacey, and thanks for telling us a little more about yourself and your book! The next Debs interview will be with Jenny Moss on Feb. 15, when I'll be talking to her about her MG historical novel Winnie's War.
From now on I want all author interviews to be as hilariously brilliant as Shannon Hale interviewing M.T. Anderson. I don't care if the interview gives me no practical information whatsoever: silly, random things make me happy, so there.
I am starting to feel like a cee-leb-ri-tee with all these interviews going up at once! But the very lovely [livejournal.com profile] cynthea has posted her interview with me as part of her "Authors on the Verge" series.

I did the actual interview some months ago, so you may notice that the info about where I am in the writing process with both SPELL HUNTER and its sequel WAYFARER is somewhat outdated. But it's definitely a good snapshot of the ups and downs along the creative journey.

I also got snotty and defensive about Narnia at the end. As I am wont to do, being a bit mental that way.
Here I've been burbling excitedly about all these other author interviews, but now I have one of my own!

Chandler Craig kindly interviewed me for her blog Fumbling With Fiction today, and you can check out the interview right here.
Thank you all so much for contributing questions to my interview pile! As soon as I stop barfing (yes, really -- there's a nasty stomach bug going through our house, and I seem to be its latest victim) I will start compiling and answering.

Lying on your back with nothing to do but think for hours on end is a good way to brainstorm, but it also shows you all kinds of logistical flaws in your plot that you hadn't noticed before. I am trying to regard this as an interesting mental challenge, instead of a cue to lie down in the ashes and scrape myself with a potsherd.

Now I think I shall stagger back to bed...
As I'm struggling through the opening chapters of First Draft in 30 Days I find myself more and more drawn to the idea of interleaving Karen Wiesner's method with Randy Ingermanson's snowflake method, especially as the former seems highly plot-driven and I like the more character-centric approach of the latter.

Anyway, one of the exercises I'd like to try is that of interviewing my characters. But in order to get them "talking" and find out more about them, I need to think of some good questions to ask them -- and to avoid "leading the witness" by asking them questions which I already know relate directly to the plot. So that's where you come in...

Give me one question to ask my characters in an interview that you think will help me really get to know them better.

Those of you with a bit of background knowledge on Thea and Leith Faraday may be able to come up with questions that are personalized rather than general, but even standard questions like "What's your favorite color and why?" would be fine. I can use the more generic questions for some of the secondary characters as well.

Thanks in advance to anyone kind enough to participate, and -- fire away!

Name-Dropping

Jan. 12th, 2007 09:19 am
rj_anderson: (Talk Talk - Colour of Spring)
Eeeeeeee!

I know the soundtrack composer they interviewed for this month's Infuze Magazine! He's one of my brother's best friends!

Check it out: Interview with Mychael Danna.

Now I want to hear that soundtrack he did for The Nativity Story. The Medieval and Renaissance influences he describes make it sound quite cool.
Having been tagged by Cheryl and seen both her answers and [livejournal.com profile] melissa_tlc's, I figure I might as well knuckle down and do it too...

Meme, Myself, and I )

5 people tagged to do this meme: Off the top of my head I'll say [livejournal.com profile] lizbee, [livejournal.com profile] rose_in_shadow, [livejournal.com profile] penwiper26, [livejournal.com profile] cesario, and [livejournal.com profile] lydaclunas, but really, anyone would be cool.
What did I say in comments the other day about not putting too much stock in anything JKR does or doesn't say about Snape? Here she goes again -- the left hand giveth and the right hand taketh away. In a conversation about wacky fan theories:

Spoilers from Part Two of the Leaky Cauldron/MuggleNet interview with JKR )
So back in 1998, Jo Rowling claims that as a child she would read and re-read the Narnia books and that "even now, if I was in a room with one of the Narnia books I would pick it up like a shot and re-read it." There are numerous other interviews from the early years of HP in which Rowling claims to be a fan of Lewis and makes specific references to things like the Wardrobe and Eustace as having inspired her for ideas in the HP books.

Now, within the space of two days, we have the Time interview and the interview with the cub reporters, both of which claim (and in the latter, it's said as a direct quote from JKR) that she wasn't that taken by Narnia and in fact never even finished the last book (though that apparently doesn't keep her from talking nonsense about it in Time, but I shall reserve my rant about the whole "poor Susan was banished from Narnia because she grew up and discovered sex" rubbish for another opportunity).
Dear Jo: I'm not sure I quite get this concept. Were you lying back in 1998 (and 1999, and 2001) to make antsy readers and critics feel better about your inspirations, or did Philip Pullman just hit you with Obliviate? Yours in bewilderment, RJA.
But to continue on a happier note, in the CBBC Newsround cub reporter interview Jo says this:
Another very good question. [Petunia] overheard a conversation, that is all I am going to say. She overheard conversation. The answer is in the beginning of Phoenix, she said she overheard Lily being told about them basically. ... [but] there is more to it than that. As I think you suspect. Correctly, but I don't want to say what else there is because it relates to book 7.
I KNEW IT!!! "That dreadful boy" Petunia overheard warning Lily about the Dementors etc. wasn't James, it was Snape. Ha ha! *dances*
Gacked from [livejournal.com profile] cesario, and posted in the vain hope that answering it may stir some deep-buried ember of creativity to life again, it's:

Ask me a question about my writing. Any story, or no particular story, general or specific, addressed to me or one of my characters. And then if you're a writer post this in your own journal.
I love JKR madly. I really do. Especially for this (which is not a book spoiler, so I feel no guilt about not lj-cutting it):

I have no spare time at all. [Laughter]. When I’m not writing or looking after the children, I read and sleep. To be totally honest with you, at the moment sleeping is probably my very favourite thing in the world to do. I know that is a bit of a depressing answer. I would like to say I was partying with Mick Jagger--well, I wouldn't want to be partying with Mick Jagger, that is a complete lie...
Hee. I am so with you there, Jo. On all counts.

You can read the rest of her new interview here. Lots of good stuff about the books, and plenty of new theory-fodder. Plus, I adored that cut to avoid spoiling too much of the interview for people who haven't read it yet )

Drat, where did all the time I was going to spend editing Knife go? *dashes off to try and salvage the last twenty minutes*
From a recent interview with Daniel Radcliffe in the British magazine SFX:

"As far as I know, the only person on set who knows something about their character's future--or past, as the case may be--is Alan Rickman. I think [JKR] may have told him something. I don't know what it is, but it's very striking!"

Heh.

Heh.

Heh.

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