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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

After the Teen Author Carnival in New York, I thought it would be fun to interview the people behind it. So I'll be running a series of guest posts for the next few weeks, all by the teen bloggers who created and ran the Teen Author Carnival (which was no small feat!)

Today's guest blogger is Genevieve. She's part of Five Awesome YA Fans (they can also be found on YouTube) and runs the blog Something Bookish. She also found time to answer five questions about publishing, authors, and fave books...

I asked: If you could get publishers to do one thing, what would that be?

Genevieve said: As a blogger/vlogger, I would like publishers to put more faith into the teens and young adults that review books for fun. Devyn, who is on Five Awesome YA Fans with me, wrote a fantastic blog post about publishers and podcasts. He points out to the reader that some of the various YA book related podcasts out on the market are ran by 'suits' rather than teens. Just because many of us are teens, it doesn't mean that we cannot be as responsible or as insightful as an older crowd. Some of my favorite bloggers have turned out to be under 18 and even as young as 13 years old. Also, as Devyn pointed out, many bloggers would be willing to read/review books for podcasts (or other forms of book reviewing) if they have the incentive of a free book or two each month to discuss.

I asked: What do you wish authors would do more of online?

Genevieve said: When I read a book that I like, I go online to see what kind of presence the author may have on the internet. If an author is as engaging online as their books, then I will follow them on a regular basis. If not, I'll be lucky to remember their name. I'm terrible with remembering author names or book titles, I'm a visual person who remembers covers. (At the Teen Author Carnival I felt so embarrassed a few times because I didn't recognize names of the authors and I had read/loved their books! Many times I had to see the cover to know what they wrote.) Most of the authors that I really like are pretty active online. I am always pleased when they have interactive websites, a blog, facebook, or twitter (or all of the above!). In some cases, such as with Melissa Walker, I find the author blog before I read the books. I fell in love with Melissa Walker's fun blog that mixes all things YA and fashion. Because her blog is awesome, I bought (and loved!) her books. I know that many authors have busy lives but it is exciting when they reach out to their readers. I don't expect every author to have a blog, facebook, AND a twitter but I do like it when an author at least has a blog. However, the worst is when an author has a blog but rarely updates it or only has generic news about signings or their stats on the bestseller list. As a reader, it's so disappointing to go on an author blog, hoping to obtain some insight on the author's daily life, and end up with boring news.

More recently, video has become the newest media that authors are exploring. We all know of John Green and his YouTube success and the many YouTube groups that have spawn in his wake. Vlogs can be so fun to watch! I know of many authors that have made a few videos and it is even better than blogging because we get to actually SEE the people behind the wonderful books! Maureen Johnson has a handful of quirky vlogs that detail her going around doing some the most random things, and they are awesome! I saw her vlogs before I ever ended up on her website or read her books. Although, it is more than annoying when an author only makes vlogs to talk about their books. If I am going to spend 5 min with headphones on, watching a video, then I want to see authors being themselves and having fun. I can read on their website about the book, I don't need to hear/see them talk about it in a video for 5 minutes repeating the same information.

I asked: What is your favorite book of all time? (I know, I can never answer the question, but I wanted to see if other people could!)

Genevieve said: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle is my all time favorite book. I read it for the first time when I was in fourth grade, probably about nine years old. I love Madeleine L'Engle's books and I never get tired of reading them. As a nine year old, I was able to get lost in the sci-fi and fantasy themes of her books. Now that I am twenty years old, I see other themes that cause me to both enjoy and admire in the quality of writing. I've probably read A Wrinkle in Time more than thirty times, and I will read it at least another thirty.

I said: Best young adult novel you've read recently?

Genevieve said: Ooooh. Hard question! I'm going to rebel and not choose one book because I hate have to choose one book when I've read so many amazing ones over the past few months. Here are the books that I've read this year that I love:

Looking For Alaska by John Green
The Dust of 100 Dogs by A. S. King
Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Wake by Lisa McMann (and Fade)

And also:
Willow by Julia Hoban.
Since Willow was the book I read most recently from that list, I'll tell you a bit about it and why I LOVED it. Willow is about a teenage girl who cuts herself because she thinks that she killed her parents. As you learn in the first few pages, Willow's parents had drank too much wine at dinner and asked her to drive when they went home. Because of bad weather, she lost control of the car and her parents died in the accident. Now, all of this information is told within the first few pages. It is an amazing book. I rarely cry when reading books but Willow (and Looking For Alaska) had me so engaged that I was far more than teary. I am not terribly into novels that focus on subjects like self-mutilation, but Willow was done so perfectly. When I finished the book, I wasn't thinking about the cutting, I was thinking about the relationships that Julia Hoban wove between the various characters. And by relationships, I don't simply mean romantic relationships... I mean every relationship Willow had with each of the characters in the book. It was a perfectly crafted novel, 5 out of 5 stars! (Note: You can see Genevieve's video review of Willow here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTBgIG_D-Zo)

I said: What's one question you wish people would ask authors?

Genevieve said: People generally ask the typical questions about advice to aspiring authors, road to publication, and 'why YA?'. I love hearing the answers but after a bit, you start to see that a lot of people have the same advice or similar stories about how they became published. One of my favorite questions to ask is “What have you done in the name of 'research'?” because Janni Lee Simner, author of Bones of Faerie, said that for her next book, she went to Iceland in the name of 'research'. I love hearing about things that authors do or buy in order to make sure that their description is accurate. It's like method acting for the books!

I think what amazes me most about the Teen Carnival organizers--besides the fact that they organized and ran an entire event that would have left some people (like, say, me!) running around flapping their hands like a chicken--is how passionate and articulate they are about books. And so I'd like to give away one copy of Genevieve's favorite book, A Wrinkle in Time, and her most recent favorite, Willow.

For your chance to win, just leave a comment by midnight EST this Friday, June 19th telling me what YOU would like to see authors do on their websites/blogs, and you could win a copy of A Wrinkle in Time and Willow! I'll pick the winner at random and yes, you can enter this contest if you live overseas.

Rounding out today's entry (and thank you again, Genevieve, for answering my questions!) are some links:

Susane Colasanti mentioned this site yesterday: Teens Writing For Teens. It's exactly what it says it is, and if you're a teen writer, be sure to drop by!

Laurie Anne Gilman on how you find--and stick--with an idea--It wasn't the answer the person who asked the question was looking for, but it's a dead honest one. "People, just as there is no secret handshake that will get you published, there is no secret push that will get your book written. It's AiC all the way down. Pick your shot, follow through, start at the beginning and end at the end, and that's how you write a book. No other damned way. If you get distracted by a shinier idea, over and over again, then you're not a writer, because You're. Not. Writing."

Allison Brennan points out that authors don't usually have control over the publication of their book series (that is, if your series doesn't sell well, the publisher can (and usually will) cancel it, that release dates are set by publishers, and that sometimes writers have real-life problems that may prevent them from getting out books as fast as they--and you--want

And finally, although my husband isn't a vegan (I don't think he could live without cheese), he is a vegetarian and so I was intrigued when I read about this vegan ice cream book--if I end up getting it and trying some of the recipes, I'll let you know how they turn out!


Blogger Summer said...

Wow, what a thoughtful and thorough interview. I really admire Genevieve for helping to put that Carnival together. It looks like it was a really good time with so many fun authors. I can't even imagine what it was like to do it. I've gotta check out her blog because she obviously has a lot to say and a lot of good ideas.

I just like to see authors blog about their work and their lives and their books. They don't have to try to be super funny or anything. Just be themselves. Contests are fun too. ;)

June 16, 2009 1:22 PM  
Blogger iamliterate said...

Ah, I love the FiveAwesomeYAFans. I was really impressed when I heard about the carnival they organized. And I'm crazy jealous that I couldn't make it - you know, it being on the other side of the country and all.

I really love it when authors I like review books. If I like what they write, there's a good chance I'll like what they read.


Also, I'm getting the B&N to ship a signed copy of Stealing Heaven. My roommate's birthday is coming up.

June 16, 2009 9:34 PM  
Blogger robby said...

FiveAwesomeYAFans are so cool.
i'd just like authors to be themselves.
in books, i like to see pieces of the author in the characters.
i'd like to see pieces of the author in the interview questions.


June 17, 2009 7:22 AM  
Blogger Llehn said...

I love to see authors doing video blogs because I'm the type of person who likes to know what an author looks and sounds instead of picturing them as this mystic-like entity who writes books. It humanizes them and makes me able to identify with them more. And if I like them, I will buy their books.

June 17, 2009 9:25 AM  
Blogger So Many Books, So Little Time said...

Great interview! I'd love to see inside info, deleted scenes and the background to an authors books. It's a really great way of seeing how a great book became great!


June 17, 2009 11:46 AM  
Blogger Pissenlit said...

Oh, I have a friend or two who might be interested in that vegan ice cream book! I'm neither vegan nor vegetarian but I've tried vegan vanilla ice cream before at a restaurant. I think the brand was Rice Dream.

June 17, 2009 12:12 PM  
Blogger H said...

Lisa Shearin did this fun thing a while back where she answered questions from readers as her characters. Like, she'd make them tell a tiny scene from the story in their pov instead of the main characters as in the books. It helped me understand the characters way more and was fun. I think more authos should do interesting, slightly unique stuff like that.

June 18, 2009 5:35 AM  
OpenID violetcrush said...

Nice and thoughtful interview. I agree authors should try and have a good Web presence. Like Genevieve, I follow Melissa Walker's blog too. It makes the author more visible.

Where as I don't expect too much from author blogs/sites, the very basic requirement would be to please check whether all your links are working. I've been put off by author's who have not nothered to hcek even the major links on their sites, like "Books I've written".

Other than that, just normal everyday stuff along with book updates obviously :)

elizascott2005 at yahoo dot co in

June 19, 2009 9:27 AM  
Blogger plb8156 said...

Great interview,,,keep up the good work...very interesting

June 20, 2009 1:29 PM  

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