Friday, August 29, 2008

More cover love

An interview with Emily Wing Smith

The Way He LivedWhen a book design is finished and we find we've got extra pages in the last signature, Production Editor Sandy, Designer Steff, Marketing People, and I talk about how we can fill them. More often then not, we end up doing an interview or perhaps discussion questions, and more often than not, I get to do the interviewing. Most recently, Steff finished the design for The Way He Lived, and I sent Emily six questions. Her answers are, as I expected, very thoughtful, but I thought her answer to my last question was particularly worth sharing early.

AK: The young adult genre has gotten a lot of attention lately, and there's a lot of discussion about what makes a book "YA," as opposed to "adult." In your mind, what makes this book YA?

EWS: I didn’t give any thought to whether or not my book would be young adult. I’ve wanted to write young adult fiction since the time I was a young adult myself. I read YA literature in junior high and high school, studied YA literature in college, and specialized in YA literature in graduate school. I feel the same way a lot of YA authors feel: that in my heart, I will forever be seventeen years old.

My own feelings aside, however, I think The Way He Lived is a young adult book because of its tone. While many books for adults feature young adult characters, adult books generally have the tone of “look at what I’ve learned.” The tone in my book (and I think this is true of young adult books in general) is “learn with me.”

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

An Imprint-Wide Blush

PW Blogger Allison Morris has an absolutely awesome post at "ShelfTalker: A Children's Bookseller's Blog" about our covers, wherein she gives a gold star for "producing some designs that are a little bit different and a lot teen-friendly." She says tons of nice things about a variety of our covers, so please head on over.

Anne Spollen on Writing and Being Written To

Anne Spollen writes some of my favorite sentences (I suspect she'd never write that blog title) and then goes on to combine them into some of my favorite books. Her latest blog post talks a little about her process. This alone is interesting enough, but she also touches a little on the writing that her books begets--the fan and "other" mail. Very amusing.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Maggie Stiefvater on Seven Impossible Things

Seven Imp has a brief but wide-ranging interview with the multi-talented Maggie Stiefvater. Check it out.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Carrie Jones doubles up in SLJ

Love (and Other Uses for Duct Tape)In the magazine, there's a fine review for Love (and Other Uses for Duct Tape):
"....This is a thoughtful and often humorous read, and while there are almost too many different issues going on here (teen pregnancy, physical abuse, alcohol and drug abuse, gay bashing, life-threatening allergic reactions), Jones manages to make it all work. Her descriptions of life in a small town where everyone knows your business are spot-on, as are her depictions of high school. An occasional character is over-the-top, but Belle herself is a likable, believable character whose emotional crises will resonate with teens."
Meanwhile, over at SLJTeen, they've reviewed Girl, Hero very favorably. You must read the whole thing because it's a good, thoughtful review from an actual teen reader, but this part is particularly interesting:

Girl, HeroI was really nervous picking up this book because Carrie Jones’ previous novels, Tips on Having a Gay (ex) Boyfriend (Flux, 2007) and Love (and Other Uses for Duct Tape) (Flux, 2008) are my two favorite books in the world. I was pleasantly surprised when I started reading this book and found a fresh, new voice jumping off of the page at me. There were still some familiar elements of Carrie Jones’ other books, like the bits about sexuality, Amnesty International, and Students for Social Justice, but it was enough of a new story that those elements didn’t bug me too much. One thing that was a bit disappointing was the fact that Lili has a cat named Muffin, and so does the character Belle Philbrick from Tips … It doesn’t seem creative at all. Even though Muffin is only mentioned one time in “Girl, Hero” that I can remember, names should always be changed when you write another book that isn’t part of a series.

I for one was glad to see Muffin reappear in another book, but apparently that was less okay than I thought. Authors, be aware.

Girl, Hero also got some nice coverage in a PW article about epistolary novels:

Another fictional letter writer is the protagonist of Girl, Hero by Carrie Jones, due in August from Flux. At school, Lily is searching for a way to fit in yet still be herself, while at home she must deal with a needy mother and a traumatized older sister. Struggling to find someone to believe in, Lily pens letters to her hero, the late John Wayne, a strategy that helps her find the hero inside herself.

Librarilly Blond on Nothing

NothingCarlie Webber of Librarilly Blonde has a cool post on boy eating disorder books, featuring Robin Friedman's Nothing. In the comments, Little Willow points out the title coincidence between the two books. (Two points to anyone but Brian Farrey who can find the other packaging related coincidence associated with Robin's book.)

Early Praise for The Way He Lived

I am immodestly excited to be publishing Emily Wing Smith. Her debut novel is incredibly brave and unique--and fortunately I'm not the only one who thinks so. In addition to the excellent endorsement from Sara Zarr, award winning author Ellen Wittlinger sent this: "A compelling account of the ways in which grief weaves through and changes the lives of six teens. Compassionate and heartfelt." All true. It's an amazing book.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I'm back

I was on vacation, and now I'm not. Expect a big review round-up post soon, since there was tons of excitement while I was gone.

Meanwhile, allow me a moment of self-promotion. I'm teaching a class this fall at the wonderful Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. It's called "Revising the Young Adult Novel." If you're in the area, you can come hear more about it next Tuesday, at the open house.