Linger Contest! Win an ARC of Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Crack the Shutters by Snow Patrol.

Hello everyone! I've got some exciting news for you. If you didn't guess from Feature Fun Friday's clue, I have a copy of the not-yet-released Linger by Maggie Stiefvater to give away (which I won from Jana's wonderful Milk and Cookies blog. You should really check it out. And she has like 30 followers, which is a crime against humanity because it is way good. Go help a girl out). Now this is going to be a quick contest since I want to mail it off as soon as possible so you can read it before its release date.

This is a hot item, but I am going to make it as simple as possible. Follow (and hopefully subscribe to) me, and then leave an email that I can contact you at if you win. That's it. Simple as pie (though I don't know what is "simple" about pie).

Spreading the word would help you be made of awesome, of course. Because I like to think this is a pretty cool spot on the web. I mean, I have the shag carpeting, the vampire hunting kit over there, and I have some pretty cool features going on (and you never know when a contest will pop up). Plus, you will always get to see my undercover capers as a crazy young adult and aspiring author. Always fun. So comment away!

Contest ends this Saturday, June 5th, and Midnight, PST.

(and if you want to make it more fun, in the comments, put in what kind of animal you would like to shapechange into if you could. Mine would be a fox, or something that flies. But not a flying fish. Those don't count).

Feature Fun Friday - Linger Trailer

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Sally's Song by Amy Lee.

As most know by now, Maggie Stiefvater's trailers need no introduction. So this is merely a clue of what is to come on Monday (as if that doesn't give it away already). Keep your eyes peeled, because this next contest will go fast. But until then, enjoy this amazing work of art (honestly, I thought her others were stunning, but this blows them out of the water). And, as always, have a great weekend everyone!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Come and See by Young Galaxy.

Do you remember when I said here and here that it isn't all that unusual for it to snow in spring or even near-summer weather in Utah? Well, my words turned out to be prophetic. It snowed again on Monday, May 24th (it was 70 degrees the next day, by the way). I was driving when it happened. Big, HUGE flakes the size of State-Puff marshmallows came down everywhere. I had to turn on the heater! It snowed over an inch and started to cover the streets. I only wish I had a picture to show you. Yes, I live in a very freaky place. Please, enter with me into the Twilight Zone. Or Hoth.

Strange Bookshelves

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Flora's Secret by Enya.

Unique, wonderful, and bizzare bookshelves are a strange addiction of mine. I love looking at them, I love finding them. Here is a series of bizarre and cool book-related devices, holding devices, and other extravagances that people have created in the name and love of, books.

(Oh, and here is the link I found these at).

Monday's Muse, 16th edition.

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): My Girl's Ex-Boyfriend by Relient K.

This was originally an idea from Au Courant started in March, an idea she has graciously let me run with.

The idea is to introduce you to unknown, forgotten, or overlooked fiction that has been lost from regular radar. I am WriterGirl. I am in the business of saving lives, one book at a time.

What I do is go to amazon, narrow it down to a YA field and type in a random word, any word that comes to mind. I then take a sampling of some I have never heard of before, or only vaguely heard of (and hopefully you as well). No infringement is intended for any description I take for the books. It's purely for promotional reasons. I will try and cover as many genres as possible that are fitting for the random word. Simple but it really uncovers some incredible gems. I will be doing this every other Monday. If there are any words you want to prompt me with, go ahead and fire away.

Today's random word:

The White Darkness by Geraldine Mccaughrean.

Symone, 14, narrates McCaughrean's (Peter Pan in Scarlet) tale about the trip of a lifetime gone horribly wrong. Hearing-impaired and unpopular, Sym appreciates the attentions of "Uncle" Victor, her dead father's business partner and the family's seeming benefactor. Victor, an eccentric genius obsessed with proving the discredited Hollow Earth theories of John Symmes, has fostered in Sym a lifelong fascination with Antarctica. Indeed, Sym's only companion is an imaginary friend, Lawrence "Titus" Oates, who perished in 1912 during Captain Robert Scott's ill-fated expedition to the South Pole. Sym is thrilled when Victor spirits her off for an impromptu trip to Paris, which morphs—incredibly—into a trek to Antarctica, as the two join a crowd of rich tourists for a guided look at "The Ice's" astounding landscape. Victor aligns with Manfred Bruch, a purported Norwegian filmmaker, and his son. Guests and guides alike become mysteriously ill, and the tour is cut short, but the plane intended to return the group to safety explodes. After Victor's "nice cup of tea" induces sleep in everyone else, the four abscond on Victor's mad quest for Symmes's Hole. The heroine's relentless self-deprecation, a necessary element of her unconditional acceptance of Victor, is nonetheless somewhat overplayed. But the ratcheting terror, thrilling double-crosses and gorgeously articulated star character—Antarctica itself—combine for a girl's adventure yarn of the first order. --Publisher's Weekly.

Moriboto: Guardian of the Spirit by Nahoko Uehashi.

This newly translated 1996 Japanese fantasy has spawned nine sequels, a radio drama, a manga comic book and an anime television series in Japan. In New Yogo, a magical land that vaguely resembles medieval Japan (as a typical Western fantasy vaguely resembles medieval Europe), children and adults work together to save the nation from ravenous demons. The wandering spear-fighting heroine Balsa is hired as a bodyguard for the Mikado's 11-year-old son. Prince Chagum is possessed by a water demon, and his mother is afraid that the Mikado will have the boy killed. Balsa spirits the boy into the woods where she spends a winter teaching him independence and martial skills. Balsa, 25, with her tragic past and love story, is the real protagonist here, with Chagum's coming-of-age playing second fiddle to her heroic adventure. While the disparate ages of the protagonists might seem unusual to Western fantasy fans, seasoned manga readers should be less surprised. Jam-packed with monstrous combat, ethnic conflicts and complex mythologies, Balsa and Chagum's story will win many new fans for this series. (Fantasy. 10-12) --Kirkus.

An Acquainance With Darkness by Ann Rinaldi.

The chaos in Washington, D.C., after the Civil War is reflected in this story of fourteen-year-old Emily Pigbush. But the chaos and trouble surrounding Emily are nothing compared to her personal problems. Her father has perished in the war, and her mother has just died of a long and debilitating illness. Emily's plans to live with her best friend Annie Surratt are ruined when Annie's mother is arrested and jailed for taking part in the assassination of President Lincoln. Emily has no choice but to move in with her Uncle Valentine, a respected doctor in Washington but a man her mother despised. Emily is immediately suspicious of her uncle when she hears rumors that he is involved in body snatching, stealing dead bodies for local medical schools. In an attempt to shield her from this nasty business, Uncle Valentine keeps the true nature of his research a secret. Confused and feeling betrayed, Emily nearly betrays him to the authorities and learns that right and wrong are sometimes not easily defined. Rinaldi has effectively mingled fact and fiction in this story about the growth of the medical profession after the Civil War. The setting of this easy read is authentically described and skillfully intertwined with the story. For those interested in the history behind the story, an author's note and bibliography are included. -- VOYA.

Darkness Creeping: Twenty Twisted Tales by Neal Shusterman.

To borrow a phrase from this collection, Shusterman's writing can "scare a gargoyle right off its foundation." And that is precisely why fans of the author, particularly followers of his popular short story series that includes Mindquakes (1996), will reach hungrily for this title, which includes tales both new and newly available (in the case of entries culled from earlier, hard-to-find collections). The best entry, published here for the first time, depicts a teen referee who gradually realizes that "the fate of the world is about to be decided by a suburban peewee soccer game." Another features a character who receives his own skull—postmarked from the future—as a birthday gift. All will further Shusterman's reputation for penning reluctant-reader–friendly stories in which Twilight Zone twists, creepy poetic justice, and normality turned inside-out are the order of the day. New introductions explaining each story's inspiration will fascinate readers and perhaps prompt their own tales in which mundane reality bumps against the scary and the strange. --Mattson, Jennifer.

Darkness Under the Water by Beth Kanell.

Molly and her Abenaki family get caught up in a government eugenics project set to rid Vermont of "weak links" in the genetic code. Although the teen and her family are largely accepted in their small 1920s community, outsiders come to enforce the governor's decree that Vermont is only for "real" Yankees. Amid this turmoil, Molly must also cross into womanhood, leaving school to help her pregnant mother with the washing and having her first experiences with boys. Throughout the story, the river rages in the background, and Molly hears the voice of her dead sister, Gratia. The day her mother gives birth, two nurses from the project show up at her house, and Molly believes they purposely kill the baby and cut her mother to prevent her from having more children. Kanell infuses her story with imagery and metaphors. Although the true history of the Vermont Eugenics Project looms in the background, the story really centers around Molly's coming-of-age. The author has created many disparate threads, most of which she has woven together into a subtle, richly drawn historical novel, though some elements, like the voice of Gratia, fail to reach a satisfying conclusion. However, fully drawn characters, beautiful use of language, and an interesting topic will be enough to draw in many readers.—School Library Journal, Kim Ventrella, Ralph Ellison Library, Oklahoma City, OK.

Feature Fun Friday - The Ghostbusters are back!

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): New Tail by John Powell [How To Train Your Dragon soundtrack].

First, this takes place in a library, so it's totally legit for Feature Fun Friday. :) If you haven't heard of Improv Everywhere, that's about to be rectified now. They are a group plot, organize and carry out random acts that shake up the status quo, and then record everyone's reaction to it. (One of their best ones still has to be their freeze of Grand Central Station). But there is even a bigger reason to include this video on Feature Fun Friday. They were approached to do this video by the New York Public Library, who is facing $37 million in budget cuts. It is funny, but was also made for a very good cause. I hope you enjoy it. Have a great weekend, everyone! :D

Rare Stephenie Meyer reading

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Face Down by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus.

Here is a little gem I dug up. Have you ever wanted to hear Stephenie Meyer herself read aloud from the Twilight saga? Now you can. Here is small clip of her reading from the prologue of Breaking Dawn. Enjoy. :)

The Most Neglected Character

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Feugo by Bond.

Often, as authors, we neglect the character who needs our love more than anyone. It’s not our protagonist (certainly not!), it’s not our antagonist (who can’t help but fall in love with them and all their dark mystery?), it’s not our sidekick (who seriously does not get enough love, but – that’s another post). Can you guess who?

It’s setting. Setting is a character, and must be given that same amount of attention as any "real" character, and not just act as the backdrop to everything else. Think of of it like the cardboard scenery from your elementary school days. It's there, but has no substance. A bad setting will feel the same way. Take a look at Twilight. That rainy place plays a serious role on the entire story, as well as giving it a powerful atmosphere. Think of Avatar! What would that movie be without Pandora? Your setting appears in every single scene, even when your main characters do not. Why, it's positively a Prima Donna! :)

How would it have been different if Sam and Frodo crossed through a dark and infested jungle as their final steps to Mordor, instead of a barren wasteland, riddled with fire and ash? What about the sleepy little town in Maycomb county where Scout learns some of the most important lessons in her life in To Kill a Mockingbird? Where would Howl be without his moving castle? Where would The Hunger Games have been without everything from the Seam to the Capital, the fancy, ornamented world to the brutality of the Hunger Games? Hamlet without Elsinore? Jane Eyre without the attic? Stanley Yelnats without Camp Green Lake? Anne Frank without the annex?

Everything a character does is in response to their world. They cannot respond to a vacuum.

From Wikipedia: "In fiction, setting includes the time, location, and everything in which a story takes place, and initiates the main backdrop and mood for a story."

Is it a library or a dining room? Desert or highlands? This will greatly affect climate and what type of clothing is worn, food is eaten, dialogue spoken, style/dress/traditions/mythology/stories, all of it. Everything affects everything.

For example, if two people are fighting in a library and not in a dining room, how will that change the argument? Everything affects everything.

Most often we put some slap-dash idea together of what our setting is, but the details become crucial. It takes place in the intercity Bronx? Which street? What do the houses look like? How long has it been this way? What time of year is it? A Europe-like setting? What part? There are several countries to choose from, each with their own distinct culture, language, traditions, history, and ways of thinking.

But this part can be so much fun because the more that is understood about the setting, the more like a character it becomes. It takes a prominent place on stage with your other characters and begins to interact with them on a much more real and visceral level. The setting can take on a life of its own, and it should.

Because when your world comes alive, so do your characters.

And everyone benefits, even the baby woolly mammoth in the tutu under the pink tree on the hill you never saw over there.

Love Dystopian? You're Gonna Love This...

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Palladio by Silent Nick.

Something thrilling is going down right now. Here's the setup: four up and coming debut authors who write dystopian band together to write about all things cool in the dystopian verse, whether it be books, movies, tv, music, reviews, interviews, you name it. They're gonna have the gamut going on. I love dystopian so this rocks my world.

It's called the League of Extraordinary Writers (after Michael Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen), and it looks like it is going to be a super hit. For example, just this month alone they are offering signed swag of current great dystopians. They just opened shop today. Go take a peek. This way you too can say you knew them before they become the next Suzanne Collins.

Feature Fun Friday - V for Vendetta kinetic typography

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Sounds of the Seen, Part 1 by Erik Wollo.

Because of my jaunt in Hollywood yesterday, I thought it would be fun to show a little something I know about. It's called kinetic typography, which plays very well into Feature Fun Friday in many ways. Kinetic typography is moving text, but created in such a way as to evoke a particular emotion. It's very cool. It's an animation technique, usually done in Communication Design or Interactive design classes. The one I was going to show you was the 8 Rules from Fight Club, but then I decided to show you one of my favorites - V's introduction of himself from V for Vendetta (no worries; only G-rated language here). Not only is it an amazing display of kinetic typography, but the speech itself is an incredible play on the letter "v" which is something I love. Words, books, and movies, the perfect combination for an excellent Feature Fun Friday. Have a great weekend everyone!

I go to Hollywood.

Current Theme Song (aka what's currently playing on my ipod right now): Kiss From a Rose by Seal.

Yep, you heard me right, and it was awesome. Okay, well it wasn't Hollywood Hollywood in the sense of California and all that, but I did get to go behind the scenes and on set to see a short film production being made. They were redoing a scene from Fight Club (yes, with Brad Pitt) for a directing project for their film school class. It was the famous "kiss"/lye scene where they were making soap. My "Guess My Adventure" photo of what looked like a rock party gone horribly wrong came from that scene.

It was very cool, and as Shannon Messenger can attest on many occasions (she originally was studying to be a screenwriter in a top movie program), the movies aren't everything you expect. Here now, I get to give you the inside scoop (a very small scoop, at least).

First of all, in the movies, there is a lot of waiting. I mean, the filming of the scene itself takes a relatively short time in comparison. This photo you saw yesterday? They wanted me to take it as a reference shot of everything that was on the counter, since there would be thrashing and twitching and all sorts of movement around, and they had to be able to line up all the pieces again in a psycho jigsaw puzzle for the next take. Continuity is vital, and takes so much more prep-work than you'd think. One poor girl had to sweep up the "lye" (baking soda) after every take and put it back in the jar. Low budget can mean a lot of work.

Some Movie Magic tricks:

Gross, slightly disturbing meat locker door? = covered in Pero and hot chocolate powder.

Tallow? = generic bar soap cut up beyond distinction.

Other misc. props? = raided from everyone's apartments. That means free. :)

Also, it is really funny to see just what is beyond the camera lens, just out of sight.

Electrician's tape to hold up the creepy, flickering single light bulb they brought in. (they even had a machine that made it flicker. Very cool).

Creepy "mood" lighting.

A $5000 camera that they treated like a baby, and for good reason. Oh, and by the way, all that trash and props to make the place look dingy? Yeah, from all sorts of sources you don't want to know about. One kid even went dumpster diving for an old pizza box that never made it into the shot. Ah, the life of Hollywood.

Speaking of stars, the actors were really good, like really good. I was impressed. I'm not sure if it is this way with all cast and crew relationships, but there was a lot of easy and open conversation between them. It was a really fun environment to be in (but hot. That is something that doesn't translate to the final film. Stuffy too).

The back room you never see with all sorts of cords. Lots and lots of cords. They had color-coded tape too for different aspects of the production.

I got up close and personal behind a lens camera. I even got to be a boom operator!

The ever elusive and amazing director. :)

His name is Matt Knect and he is working to be a movie producer. I don't have the final video of the night I was there with them , but here is a demo reel of what he is capable of. There really isn't anything he can't do. If you can think of it, almost guaratneed he can do it, and do it with a crazy amount of skill (just look at that lighting! These aren't any cheesy,backyard productions). Right now he's in school, but keep an eye out for his name in a few years. I know you'll be seeing it. So if you or someone else is thinking of doing a book trailer or any kind of video, I wouldn't rule him out.

Greenlight Reel from Mystery Box on Vimeo.

So overall, a total blast and a crazy awesome experience. :)

Guess My Adventure

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Be Human by Yoko Kanno.

This one isn't of me, but that was because I was so busy taking pictures. Something of a once-in-a-lifetime type experience. This one is very obscure (but that is also what makes it more fun). :) So guess away. Believe me, it's interesting. Answers come tomorrow.

A very BIG contest that you should not enter...

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): The Fortunate by Cartel.

Because honestly? I want to win it. :) But that wouldn't be fair to Frankie Diane Mallis, because she has made a huge step on her way to publication, winning the hand of an amazing agent at Andrea Brown Literary Agency - Laura Rennert (they are a pretty big literary agency, for my readers who don't know). So congrats, Frankie! :D And she is having a gi-normo contest to celebrate. She's uh, offering signed copies of The Hunger Games and Catching Fire (and a free pre-order of Mockingjay).

Oh. You didn't see that?



She's offering signed copies of The Hunger Games and Catching Fire (and a free pre-order of Mockingjay)!!!

So if that interests you at all (and if it doesn't, we are not on speaking terms for at least 45 seconds), then head over to her blog, follow her, and follow all those pretty instructions. Good luck!

How NOT to Raise a Reader

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Heart Heart Heartbreak by Boys Like Girls.

Monday's Muse, 15th edition.

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): My Girl's Ex-Boyfriend by Relient K.

This was originally an idea from Au Courant started in March, an idea she has graciously let me run with.

The idea is to introduce you to unknown, forgotten, or overlooked fiction that has been lost from regular radar. I am WriterGirl. I am in the business of saving lives, one book at a time.

What I do is go to amazon, narrow it down to a YA field and type in a random word, any word that comes to mind. I then take a sampling of some I have never heard of before, or only vaguely heard of (and hopefully you as well). No infringement is intended for any description I take for the books. It's purely for promotional reasons. I will try and cover as many genres as possible that are fitting for the random word. Simple but it really uncovers some incredible gems. I will be doing this every other Monday. If there are any words you want to prompt me with, go ahead and fire away.

Today's random word:

The Truth-Teller's Tale by Sharon Shinn.

Teen readers will be captivated by this medieval tale. Eleda and Adele, mirror twins, discover that they are a Truth-Teller and a Safe-Keeper, respectively. Truth-Tellers are incapable of telling lies and recognize when others are lying, so society relies on their unwavering trustworthiness. Safe-Keepers cannot reveal what is told to them in confidence, and they bear the burden of people's confessions. The sisters do not realize the ramifications of their gifts until their teen years, when romantic and political intrigue abounds, and situations become more adult. Their friend Roelynn, whose wealthy merchant father intends to marry her off to the prince, sows plenty of wild oats behind her father's back. She often drags the sisters into the fray, and the summer they are all 17, a chain of events is set into motion that changes their lives. Astute readers may predict the ending, but they will enjoy it nonetheless. Though at its base the story is in some ways a stereotypical teen romance, the author's use of language and her writing style elevate this novel. Shinn has a beautiful turn of phrase and a knack for writing a sentence that will stop readers in their tracks. The plot is episodic-incidents generally revolve around the town celebrations of either Wintermoon or Summermoon-but these festivals provide a reason for various characters to come and go from the inn that the girls' parents run. Fans of romances or mystical stories will revel in this offering.-Cheri Dobbs, Detroit Country Day Middle School, Beverly Hills, MI

Where the Truth Lies by Lucy Cullyford Babbitt.

A sobering allegory that explores the destructive power of bigotry. Kyra, 17, lives in Sanctuary, a sterile urban fortress governed on rational principles. ``Outside'' are the self- righteous ``Godslanders,'' dogmatic conservatives whose every move is ruled by their monotheism--and whose ideal of purity has a corollary of guilt; and the ``Four Tribes,'' whose reverence for the earth is coupled with passionate belief in their several gods. Fueled by mutual intolerance, the Outsiders' bitter religious wars are unceasing, while the residents of Sanctuary, abhorring both groups, proclaim their atheism. In hopes of ending the strife, it's arranged that Kyra--with Eli, a feisty boy from the Tribes, and the virginal Godslander Lillen--will journey to a sacred cave that each group believes contains the truth about its god, or gods: If they perceive, together, the same thing, it will resolve the conflict forever. Most of the book concerns Kyra's view of their journey, during which she learns how vicious, but also kind, the Godslanders can be and moves from armed truce to close if uneasy friendship with Eli. That Eli and Lillen, in the grim denouement, find only what they expect in the cave leads inevitably to tragedy; but Kyra has an unexpected vision and returns to Sanctuary with the courage to confront her father with his own bigotry. Characters and setting aren't as well developed as the ideas are here; still, a well-written novel that explores the intransigence of rigid doctrine with thought-provoking subtlety.--Kirkus.

Truth is a Bright Star: A Hopi Adventure by Joan Price.

Based on the true story of the abduction of Hopi children from their village by Spanish soldiers in the mid-nineteenth century, Truth is a Bright Star tells the story of the friendship that develops between 12-year-old Loma and the fur trapper who becomes his master. Traveling through one harsh New Mexican winter in search of beaver pelts, Loma sets his faith in the Hopi Way against the beliefs and values of a vastly different and powerful culture.

The Unresolved by T.K. Welsh (J.G. Sandom).

Grade 7 Up–On the day of her first kiss, June 15, 1904, Mallory Meer, 15, dies in the General Slocum steamship disaster. That historical blaze killed more than 1000 people from the part of New York City known as Kleindeutschland. Dustin Brauer, her Jewish boyfriend, had snuck aboard to be with her. Now, he is accused of setting the fire by the son of his fathers employer, a leader in the German neighborhood. As the official coroners inquest occurs, a secondary one takes place in the community with Dustin on trial. Mallory, now insubstantial, sees everything and helps the truth to emerge. While historically no conclusive proof was found of how the fire started, Welsh does a creditable job of imagining how it spread, including disturbing images of those trapped on the burning vessel. He uses Mallorys ghostly presence to bring the coroners inquest, and those from the boat company and the safety inspectors office, to life. Unresolved tells a remarkable story in a remarkable way. Give this engrossing novel to fans of Kathryn Reiss or Vivian Vande Veldes Being Dead (Harcourt, 2001), and to those who like a supernatural flair with their historical fiction. Without explaining anti-Semitism or corruption, Welsh shows readers the neighborhoods vibrancy and prejudices and helps them to understand how justice worked in early-20th-century New York.–Lisa Prolman, Greenfield Public Library, MA (School Library Journal).

Resurrection Men by T.K. Welsh (J.G Sandom).

London, 1830s. Twelve-year-old Victor, an orphan, knows that life is dangerous, and death by disease or accident is common. But to Mr. Tipple and Mr. Biggs, these are streets teeming with possibility, where a child, once dead, is a commodity, and a "fresh subject" can fetch as much as nine guineas. In this dark underworld, Victor must uncover the identity of the ghoulish murderer who is at the heart of London’s furtive trade in human corpses.

Feature Fun Friday - The Karma Club book trailer.

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing in my ipod right now): Into the West by Annie Lennox [Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King soundtrack].

This is not Saturday. This is still Friday *does jedi mind trick* Seriously, I had no idea digging in a new garden would take all day. Who knew? But today's Feature Fun Friday is another book trailer that is so professionally done, you could almost pitch it as a movie. This may be the first book that I first heard of from the trailer. It looks great. And it's out now. Rock on, Jessica Brody and Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Interview - LJ Adlington, author of The Diary of Pelly D.

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): In Too Far by Acceptance.

You horrible people. You leave me to decide what to name a teen room on my own. But I won't hold it against you. Because I'm nice like that. Today is a treat. Today we get to hear from the talented LJ Adlington, author of The Diary of Pelly D, which I reviewed a little while back (it is a great dystopian people, if you are needing a fix until Mockingjay comes out). So away we go!

I noticed your biography in the back said that you have a keen interest in war diaries, which inspired Pelly D. So is Pelly D based off of a real person?

Pelly D herself is fictional, and her voice is her own. This said, there are many surviving diaries of teenagers in Europe during the war years. For me, writing Pelly D & Cherry Heaven was a chance to find a new way to bring their hopes/fears/fates to a new audience, through fiction rather than History. Many readers have drawn parallels with Anne Frank of course. I won't say Anne was far from my thoughts, but she doesn't need anyone to speak for her, she does such a marvellous job of speaking for herself.
Pelly D is just one more ghost whose voice survives in scraps of paper.

Your dating system for Pelly's diary is very interesting. Could you tell us a little of how you thought it up? What is the significance of it?

The dating system is entirely unsystematic & unscientific. I wanted the reader gradually to become aware that the weeks & months aren't following a pattern familiar to us, but one that's totally normal for Toni V & Pelly D. It's meant to be slightly disorientating but not too significant.

I loved the gills, I have to admit it. But why did you have it so that we all evolved and developed gills? :)

The gills are very slightly justified in the text, in that colonists were transported in pre-birth forms (test tubes) & that there was an unspecified glitch during the development process which meant that the gills all human embryos have weren't lost as the embryos matured. Apart from the fact that I love the idea of breathing underwater (I've been following research into the actual production of artificial gills & it seems that so far they've only be created for short-term use with small-sized canines!) it's also crucial to the culture of the colony planet. The colonists rely on water for hydration but also for pleasure. When water seems to be in short supply, profiteers can start making money, leaders can start coercing populations and prejudices are sharpened in the inevitable scramble for resources.

Just a curiosity question: how many years has it been since the first colonists arrived on their world and settled there?

By this stage you may have realised that it's the philosophy and politics of the colony world that interests me more than the science - does that make me a bad sci-fi writer?? I had a general idea that it's something like 100 odd years since the world was settled. Long enough for people to keep new ideals alive & build new cities; not so long their old planetary history is forgotten and all engineering structures are fully in place. I specifically wanted an emerging colony, otherwise I felt the cities would be better able to manage the water crisis, plus I wanted a sense that there are vast, uncolonised spaces. In particular, the so-called New Frontier, which is explored more in Cherry Heaven. this is not a fully established world, it's a community that's over-confident about it's own survival.

Did you have to cut out anything, editors or otherwise?

Editors in the US & UK were mostly interested in hearing more, to be honest; expanding the story and the characters. I believe it's quite a sparse story. I've deliberately shied away from describing the ghettoes in detail, or the actual mechanics of the genocide. I think the subtle horror is more effective. Either that, or readers can turn to history to read about the terrible mechanics of the WW2 Holocaust.

For US authors I had to modify the language a little - they weren't confident American readers would understand what 'snogging' is...!

How closely does your sequel/companion novel, Cherry Heaven, tie in with The Diary of Pelly D? Are you planning on writing any more books in this world?

Cherry Heaven is set in the same year as Toni V discovers the diary. It can be read separately, but it is closely linked in that it picks up on themes from Pelly D and develops them further. I was interested in exploring issues of what happens after a war. How do survivors react, for example. Is vengeance or justice possible/desirable?

I don't have plans to revisit the world, although the fate of Gim D during the war years does tickle my mind from time to time.

And last one. Do you have a favorite unknown or forgotten book that no one seems to know about that you would like to share with us?

I adore 'The Count of Monte Cristo' by Alexander Dumas. It's a superbly absorbing 19th Century tale of vengeance - more than a little in my mind when writing Cherry Heaven. It's not especially unknown or forgotten. Every once in a while a bad TV/film adaptation is attempted.

For a more obscure read, I rather like 'Lady Molly of Scotland Yard' by Baroness Orczy, of 'Scarlett Pimpernel' fame. Lady Molly is a terribly British Edwardian sleuth...

That is so wonderful. Thank you for the interview!

What would you name a bookstore?

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): The Middle by Jimmy Eat World.

Guess what? I won the Fire Petal Bookstore auction! I get to name the teen room!!! But now... I'm lost. What do I name a teen room? The auction said I could name it anything; after a person, a book, a world, random words together, anything.

So... I'm stuck. (Too many choices tends to do this to me).

What could I name a teen room in a bookstore than encompasses all the coolness that teens are?

What would you name a teen room?

Didn't have enough book spine poetry?

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Stiletto by Billy Joel.

Well then, clicky here because 100 Scope Notes has compiled a fantastic sampling of participants. Short but sweet post, but chock full of fun.