Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Forest of Hands and Teeth Paperback Cover

I was randomly browsing around when I came across the cover for the paperback version (right) of The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. And let me say, I'm loving it. I think it beats the heck out of the hardback one. What's your opinion? Let me know in the comments!

You can read my review of FHT here and watch the book trailer here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

YA Radio Dates

I thought this might interest some of you:

Following the realy entertaining show chatting with The Story Siren... Julia Hoban author of WILLOW was so impressed with the comments about her and her book from the YA bloggers and readers that dialed in or asked questions that she has agreed to be a guest on "A Book and a Chat" also Cindy from Cindys Love of Books is going to be a guest on Thursdays show.

So two dates:


SEPTEMBER 17th 6:30pm (EST) "Book and a Chat with Cindy" when YA Blogger Cindy from “Cindys Love of Books” (30min show)

OCTOBER 9th - 7pm (EST) a "Book and a Chat with JULIA HOBAN" when Julia auhtor of WILLOW is my guest (45min show)

DIal in to chat Number is 347- 237-5398 or just visit and join in the question and chat

I am now taking booking for guests to appear on my show in December and January while some dates have already been taken, I'd love to have a couple of YA bloggers/writers amongst the show guests so please contact me if interested.

Thank you

Barry Eva (Storyheart)
Author of "Across the Pond"
Book Site:http://across-
Follow my daily blog at: http://acrossthepon d-storyheart. blogspot. com
Follow my Blog Talk Radio Show at :
Amazon Reviews:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Waiting On Wednesday (17)

I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked It by Adam Selzer
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Pub. Date: January 26, 2010

Algonquin “Ali” Rhodes, the high school newspaper’s music critic, meets an intriguing singer, Doug, while reviewing a gig. He’s a weird-looking guy—goth, but he seems sincere about it, like maybe he was into it back before it was cool. She introduces herself after the set, asking if he lives in Cornersville, and he replies, in his slow, quiet murmur, “Well, I don’t really live there, exactly. . . .”

When Ali and Doug start dating, Ali is falling so hard she doesn’t notice a few odd signs: he never changes clothes, his head is a funny shape, and he says practically nothing out loud. Finally Marie, the school paper’s fashion editor, points out the obvious: Doug isn’t just a really sincere goth. He’s a zombie. Horrified that her feelings could have allowed her to overlook such a flaw, Ali breaks up with Doug, but learns that zombies are awfully hard to get rid of—at the same time she learns that vampires, a group as tightly-knit as the mafia, don’t think much of music critics who make fun of vampires in reviews. . . .
Zombies? Yes, please. This looks fun and original. I can't wait to read it in January!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Far From You by Lisa Schroeder

Lost and alone...down the rabbit hole.

Years have passed since Alice lost her mother to cancer, but time hasn't quite healed the wound. Alice copes the best she can by writing her music, losing herself in her love for her boyfriend, and distancing herself from her father and his new wife.

But when a deadly snowstorm traps Alice with her stepmother and newborn half sister, she'll face issues she's been avoiding for too long. As Alice looks to the heavens for guidance, she discovers something wonderful.

Perhaps she's not so alone after all....
I wasn't sure if I'd like reading a novel in verse (I thought it'd be like poetry, which I can't seem to understand at all) but I discovered that it's fun and easy to read. It gets all the points across that regular novels do, but in a shorter and more lyrical form. It is perhaps a type of writing you'd have to be in the mood to read, but once you get into it it's hard to stop.

I was very impressed by Far From You. After all, it's hard enough to get words down on paper or computer screen and get them to make sense and create a story but to get them into a certain pattern and still do all that? Doesn't sound like an easy task to me..

Do not be deceived by the size or number of pages of this book. It is an insanely quick read.

The story itself was very touching. I enjoyed seeing the characters and their relationships grow and develop. It was nice to see Alice get closer to her stepmother and realize that she isn't such a bad person after all. I found it easy to relate to her.

There was minimal physical description of the characters. This lets you choose exactly how you want to picture them in your minds eye.

Overall, this was a great read. I count it among my favorites. I highly recommend it.

5 out of 5 stars

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Last Day to Enter All BTWS Contests!

Today is the last day to enter all my Back to School Week contests. You can find the links to the right in the sidebar. Remember - you can earn extra entries by commenting on any (+1 for each comment) BTSW interview or guest blog.

I'll be picking winners sometime in the next week using
Good luck!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf--her wolf--is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again. Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human--or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.
Shiver was the type of novel that you just can't put down. Once I started reading I was sucked into the story and simply had to keep reading to find out how the story played out.

The chapters alternated between Sam and Grace's points of view. I think that let you get to know the characters better and made them more real. What can I say about Sam? He was just adorable. YA lit needs more characters like him.

Even if the characters had sucked (which they most definitely did not) the plot would have been enough to keep me reading. I was very interested in how Grace was going to pursue any kind of relationship with a werewolf. There was enough mystery to keep the intrigue factor high.

Paranormal as well as romance fans will be satisfied by Shiver. Maggie Stiefvater's beautiful writing will appeal to readers of all ages.

Overall, I was very impressed by Shiver. It far exceeded all my expectations. I will most certainly be picking up the sequel, Linger, when it is released in fall 2010.

5 out of 5 stars

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Coming Soon: CSN Office Furniture Review

In the near future I will be reviewing a bookshelf from CSN Office Furniture. The one bookshelf I have now is crammed full and the shelves are starting to bow so I'm looking forward to transferring some of my books over to the new shelf.

I'm planning to review the Ameriwood - SystemBuild 36" H Three Shelf Bookcase in white. However, this is subject to change. I think this one will fit in with my bedroom furniture nicely.

Be sure to check out CSN's other division that sells office chairs. They have a huge range of products - from quality affordable price to high end chairs. CSN has something for everyone!

Captivating Covers (3)

For Keeps by Natasha Friend
Pub. Date: April 6, 2010
Publisher: Viking Juvenile

I love how the background is blurry so the only thing that's really clear is their hands.

Tempted by P.C Cast & Kristin Cast
Pub. Date: October 27, 2009
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

I really like the intricate patterns on this series' covers. The green stands out against the darker blacks and blues with an eye-catching effect.

For readers: Do you like the darker, eerier Tempted or the cute, bright For Keeps? Tell us which one you like better and why. Purely based on the covers, which one are you more likely to pick up in a store?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Willow by Julia Hoban

Seven months ago, on a rainy March night, sixteen year- old Willow's parents died in a horrible car accident. Willow was driving. Now her older brother barely speaks to her, her new classmates know her as the killer orphan girl, and Willow is blocking the pain by secretly cutting herself. But when one boy —one sensitive, soulful boy—discovers Willow's secret, it sparks an intense relationship that turns the "safe" world Willow has created for herself upside down.

Told in an extraordinary fresh voice, Willow is an unforgettable novel about one girl's struggle to cope with tragedy, and one boy's refusal to give up on her.


This was one of the saddest books I've ever read. Willow was permanently in a foul mood (which is understandable, considering) which made me in a sad mood just reading it. You really feel Willow's emotions.

It's such a tragedy that Willow turned to cutting to help her deal with the loss of her parents. However, it does help you understand the cutters' reasoning for doing what they do. It also educates you on signs and things to look for in someone you suspect of cutting.

I grew to care about Willow so much that I wanted to scream at her "Hey! It wasn't your fault! It could've happened to anyone!" She was a very memorable character.

Willow was very well-written and I can see myself rereading this again later. I recommend this if you are a cutter, know someone who is, want to read about characters who cut themselves, or just want to read a highly emotional novel. I think it was a very intense debut for Julia Hoban. I'll make sure to pick up her future works.

4.5 out of 5 stars

Monday, September 14, 2009

Back to School for Real

I know I had Back to School Week last week but today is my first official day of school. I'm only sixteen (seventeen next month!) but I'm starting college which is both scary and exciting. Studying will take priority over reading and reviewing so there will be a marked difference in the volume of posts here. I do have some scheduled posts for this week, though. Well, I'm off to class! Wish me luck!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Justine Larbalestier LIAR Tour Schedule

I've read quite a few good reviews of LIAR around the blogosphere lately, so I thought the tour schedule might be of interest to you. Check it out:

US Liar Tour

Thursday, 8 October, 7:00 pm:
Joseph Beth Bookstore
387 Perkins Ext

Memphis, TN

Saturday, 10 October, 2:00-3:00 pm
Southern Festival of Books
Talk in Room 16
Legislative Plaza
Nashville, TN
Followed by signing
3-4 pm
War Memorial Plaza
Between 6th & 7th Avenues.
Nashville, TN

Friday, 16 October, 7:00 pm:
Voracious Reader
1997 Palmer Ave

Larchmont, NY

Monday, 19 October, 4:00 pm
Seattle Public Library
4675 Harbour Pointe Blvd.
Mukilteo, WA

7:00 pm
UWash Bookstore
4326 University Way N.E.
Seattle, Washington

Tuesday, 20 October, 7:00 pm
Third Place Books
17171 Bothell Way NE
Lake Forest Park, WA

Wednesday, 21 October, 7:00 pm
Barnes & Noble
19401 Alderwood Mall Parkway

Lynnwood, WA

Thursday, 22 October, 4:00 pm
A Children’s Place
4807 NE Fremont St

Portland, OR

7:00 pm
Barnes & Noble
12000 SE 82nd Avenue

Portland, OR 97266

Saturday, 24 October, 10:00 am -5:00 pm
Austin Teen Book Festival
Westlake High School
4100 Westbank Drive
Austin, TX

Thursday, 29 October, TBD
Children’s Book World
17 Haverford Station Rd
Haverford, PA

7:00 pm
Blue Marble
551 Carpenter Ln

Philadelphia, PA

Wednesday, 4 November, TBD
Anderson’s Bookshop
123 W Jefferson Ave
Naperville, IL

Thursday, 5 November, 7:00 pm
B&N Skokie
55 Old Orchard Center

Skokie, IL

Tuesday, 10 November, 5:00-7:00 pm
Books of Wonder
18 W. 18th St.

New York, NY

Once again, there are, sadly, no tour stops near me. Somebody please come to Ohio!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Book Trailer: So Punk Rock (And Other Ways To Disappoint Your Mother) by Micol & David Ostow

I've read and enjoyed a few of Micol's other novels so I definitely want to pick up her latest. I think it's cool that she collaborated with her brother on this one. I haven't read many graphic novels, but it's never to late to start, right? Plus, I really like books that have to do with music. Until you get your copy, check out the trailer:

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Adriana Trigiani Viola in Reel Life Tour Schedule

Bestselling author Adriana Trigiani is going on a 6 city VIOLA IN REEL LIFE tour. If any of you life near any of these locations, I suggest checking it out!

Tuesday, September 1 - LAKE GROVE, NY - Barnes & Noble – 600 Smith Haven Mall – 7pm

Thursday, September 3 - LOS ANGELES , CA - Barnes & Noble – 189 Grove Drive – 7pm

Wednesday, September 16 - ATLANTA, GA - Barnes & Noble – 7660 North Point Parkway ( Alpharetta , GA ) – 7pm

Thursday, September 17 - DALLAS, TX - Borders – 10720 Preston Road, Suite 1018 – 7pm

Friday, September 18 - RALEIGH, NC - Quail Ridge Books & Music – 3522 Wade Ave. – 7:30pm

Tuesday, September 22 - CHICAGO, IL - Off-site event hosted by Anderson ’s Bookshop – Pfeiffer Hall at North Central College , 310 E. Benton Ave. ( Naperville IL ) – 7pm

Thursday, September 24 - WASHINGTON , DC - Borders 5871 Crossroads Center Way (Baileys Crossroads, VA) – 7:30pm

I so wish I could go! None of the tour stops are anywhere near where I live. =[

Troy High by Shana Norris

Homer’s Iliad, the classic tale of love and revenge, is shrewdly retold for teens in Troy High.
Narrated by Cassie, a shy outsider who fears that an epic high school rivalry is about to go up in flames, the story follows the Trojans and Spartans as they declare war on the football field. After the beautiful Elena—who used to be the captain of the Spartan cheerleaders—transfers to Troy High and falls madly in love with Cassie’s brother Perry, the Spartans vow that the annual homecoming game will never be forgotten. The Trojans and Spartans pull wicked pranks on each other as homecoming approaches. And the Spartans’ wildcard football star, Ackley, promises to take down the Trojans’ offensive line. But the stakes are raised when Cassie is forced to choose between the boy she loves (a Spartan) and loyalty to her family and school. Troy High will seduce readers with its incendiary cast of mythic proportions.
Troy High was such a fun read. It was based on Homer's Iliad, but even if you are unfamiliar with it you can still follow and enjoy the story. Readers who have already read the classic will still be able to have fun reading this funny, dramatic retelling.

Having not read the Iliad, I can't say how accurate or true to the original Troy High is. However, I don't think it really matters. Shana Norris did get the idea for the main storyline from the Iliad, but she took it and made it into something entirely her own which, in my opinion, is awesome. I think that Troy High will appeal more to teens because of its modern language and setting.

If you're a fan of remakes, you'll be sure to love Troy High.

Teens will be able to relate to all the high school drama and rivalries. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for an interesting, fun read.

3.5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Waiting On Wednesday (16)

Something Like Fate by Susane Colasanti
Pub. Date: May 13, 2010
Publisher: Viking Juvenile

Sorry, no synopsis. But from the cover, I think you can gather the basics.

I absolutely LOVE the cover. I think that alone would be enough to make me want to pick up this book. I've solidly liked all of Susane Colasanti's previous novels so if that's any indication of how this one will go over, I think it's safe to say that this will be something I'll want to pick up as soon as it's out.

The Waiting On Wednesday feature was created by Jill at Breaking The Spine

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Thanks + Giveaway Extension

First off, I want to thank everyone for making Back to School Week a success. Anyone who comments on any of the guest posts or interviews will get an extra entry for the BTSW giveaway of their choice. Please specify which one you'd like the entry to go to in your comment.

Speaking of giveaways, I'm going to be nice and give you an extra week to enter.
All BTSW giveaways will end on September 19.

Links to all the giveaways can be found to the right on the sidebar.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Giveaway: Give Up The Ghost Swag Pack

To Enter: Leave a comment on this post including your email address. If you fail to leave a way to reach you, your entry will not count.

Open to:
US or Canada only.

You win: Give Up The Ghost swag pack (including a ghost scent, bookmark, button, sticker set, friendship bracelet, and paper lantern)

For Extra Entries: Please put each thing in a SEPARATE comment!

+1 Follow this blog
+1 Visit Megan Crewe's site and tell me one thing you liked (Bonus +1 if you comment on her blog!)
+2 Link to this contest (sidebars are fine, just tell me what/where you did.)
+3 If you POST about Back to School Week

Author Guest Blog: Megan Crewe

Five great books I read because of school

Time for school! Sure, that means less free time and more work, but it also means a chance to discover some awesome books. While I didn't love every book I read for school, my teachers introduced me to a whole lot of excellent ones. Here are five of my faves (in chronological order):

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl -- This isn't actually my favorite Dahl book (that would be The Witches, followed closely by Danny the Champion of the World and The BFG), but I have to give props to my third grade teacher for reading this book to my class and introducing us to this amazing author.

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt -- Both beautiful writing and an intense and moving story, this is one of my favorite books of all time. And who knows if I'd have found it if it wasn't on the grade six reading list?

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee -- A slice of history, a totally authentic voice, and powerful themes of prejudice and judgement. Love it just as much now as when we studied it in high school!

Lord of the Flies by William Golding -- I can still remember the heated classroom debates about the meaning of various symbols and character motivations in this book. Creepy and disturbing but oh so believable.

The Wars by Timothy Findlay -- Reading this book in senior year was, I think, the first time I felt I understood what it was like being in a war. Brutal and vivid and heart-wrenching. I actually studied it twice (in university as well) and never got tired of it.

Author Interview: Heather Davis

1. Tell us a little about your high school experience overall.

High school was ok -- for most of my time there, I was a girl who straddled
various social groups. I was in drama and art classes,but I also turned out for
swimming and diving one year. I did student governmentstuff, but I also was into
going out to underage clubs and hanging with that crowd, too. I was a National Merit
Letter of Commendation winner (the only girl who was in my school that year.) I guess I
was kind of a smarty pants with artsy tendencies. I don't think I ever really fit into
any group all the way, and maybe that, in itself, was kind of hard.
Also, I worked at a fast-food place my junior and senior years and let me tell you,
there is nothing as humiliating as serving a cheeseburger through a drive-thru window
to the boy youhad been crushing on all year. Yikes.

2. What was the best book you've ever read that was assigned reading?

Wow, that's a hard one. I think it may be Moby Dick. That one I had to read twice - once in
school, where I read just enough to write the assigned paper, and once as an adult, when out of guilt I made a point to actually re-read the whole thing. I loved it.

3. Why did you pick werewolves to write about as opposed to, say, vampires or witches?

At the time I wrote the book, there was only one other werewolf book out there that I knew of - Blood and Chocolate, from the 1990's. I really wanted to write another paranormal (I'd just written a ghost manuscript) so werewolves seemed a natural choice. Plus, I love that they are not undead - they are very much alive and human most of the time.

4. Is there a particular teacher you had in school that inspired you?

I had so many, but, I guess I really loved my art teacher Susan Aurand in college. She told me not to be afraid of creating junk, just to create! You can always refine a first draft, afterall. I still live by those words in my life.

5. What's your favorite thing about the fall season?

I love cold, crisp mornings and sunny afternoons. I love the idea of fireplaces and
soup simmering on the stove and curling up with a good book. I love wearing lots of layers
and really great boots. Can't wait!

6. What are you reading right now?

I'm reading a book by Eric Maisel called Creativity for Life. It's about sustaining your
energy as an artist/writer. I just finished Beating Heart by A.M. Jenkins a few weeks
ago -- that was amazing, spare, beautiful writing.

7. What YA fall/winter release are you most looking forward to?

So many, again! Can't wait to read my friend Diana Peterfreund's book Rampant, about killer unicorns.

8. Where is your favorite place to read/write?

This is cliche, but I love my favorite Seattle coffee shop for first drafts. It's
really comfortable for me to use my home office for revisions, but the hard thinking I
do "off-site" with a tall latte. ;)

9. Pick 3 songs you think readers should listen to while reading your novel Never Cry Werewolf.

I will Possess Your Heart by Death Cab for Cutie
The Killing Moon by Echo and The Bunnymen
My Moon My Man by Feist

10. The book you've been dying to read is out in paperback and hardback.Which one do you buy?
If I'm dying to read it - I'm buying it in hardback right when it comes out!
Hope you guys will stop by my blog at for release week, and go
to HarperTeen's site to read an excerpt of the book!!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Giveaway: Never Cry Werewolf by Heather Davis

Heather Davis has generously donated a signed copy of her YA debut for giveaway!

To Enter: Leave a comment on this post including your email address. If you fail to leave a way to reach you, your entry will not count.

Open to:
US or Canada only.

You win: A signed copy of Never Cry Werewolf

For Extra Entries: Please put each thing in a SEPARATE comment!

+1 Follow this blog
+1 Comment on my interview with Heather Davis
+2 Link to this contest (sidebars are fine, just tell me what/where you did.)
+3 If you POST about Back to School Week

Blogger Guest Blog: Kristi of The Story Siren

First off I want to thank Katie for asking me to participate! Hopefully I won't bore you too much with my back to school tale! Hope everyone has a great school year! Good Luck!

Today the theme is Back to School. I, for one, can't believe that it's that time of year again. Where did our summer go, it seems that this year has just flew by. Time always flies, whether you're having fun or not. Luckily I've been having fun, but back to the topic at hand. Back to School.

I loved going back to school every year. Fall is one of my favorite times of year, with the leaves crunching under your feet and warm apple cider. Ah, it's making me nostalgic just thinking about it. Not the mention the smell of all the new school supplies, shopping for new clothes, and the allure of the unknown. What would this school year hold!?

Every year I hoped that “this year” would be different. That this year, that boy would notice me, that this year those girls would want to be my friends. I was sure that my meticulously planned outfit and my brand new shoes, would propel me from a nobody to a somebody. That my new hair cut and zit medication would work their magical wonders, and I'd go from plain Jane to a mesmerizing Molly. And guess what, it never happen, my new shoes didn't propel me to instant popularity. Not even once. Finally I excepted reality, that this wasn't a fairy tale and things that just don't happen. And yet, even though I knew that it would never happen, I secretly never stopped wishing it would.

I think I was so worried about being accepted and noticed that I forget to look at the big picture. I was to busy focusing on things I thought I wanted, instead of seeing the great things I did have. Like my friends, my family, the awesome person I really was.

If I have any advice to give you back to schoolers, it would be this. Take this new school year as an opportunity to discover who you really are and how great you really are. Don't limit yourself! And don't forget to take the time to crunch in the leaves.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Author Guest Blog: Lindsay Eland

Every year at the end of August when the days were getting cooler and a crisp chill hung in the evenings, a package would arrive at our house on Storch Road. It was addressed to my sisters and me and written with a black permanent marker that smelled like it had just been written. I remember following behind my mom as she took the large brown box from the UPS man, smiled, and then brought it into the living room and placed it on the floor.

Then there were anxious squeals because the tape could never be cut through or ripped off fast enough.

“Hurry, Hurry, Mom!”

And then, I held my breath as the brown flaps were pulled away revealing: school supplies. Heavenly, glorious school supplies!

Ah, the scent, and the sight, and the feel of them were like a piece of heaven in a box!

I still remember the sight. And even though I always got new school clothes that I’d gaze at as they hung expectantly on hangers in my closet, and even though I always got new school shoes that I wore out before that first day by clicking up and down the sidewalks watching my feet.

But the school supplies were the best of all!

The white lined paper wrapped in cellophane that I could peel off with a small tear. The unsharpened pencils that smelled like falling leaves and warm sweaters and clean desks. Shiny, smooth folders with animals on them, a new pencil box that clicked shut, a small metal box of colored pencils, and erasers shaped like puppies and kitties and horses.

And still, I find myself getting really, really, really excited over a trip to Office Max. The smell of the inside is like the smell of that box back in our living room on Storch Road. And then I walk the isle’s gazing at the supplies hanging off the metal pegs like treasures for the taking.

And sometimes I just want to take that smell home with me, and so I’ll buy myself some new white paper, pencils waiting to be sharpened, and a brand new pencil box that makes the perfect “click” sound when it’s shut.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Giveaway: Prize Pack

Thanks to Becca Fitzpatrick for donating this awesome prize pack!

To Enter: Leave a comment on this post including your email address. If you fail to leave a way to reach you, your entry will not count.

Open to:
US or Canada only.

You win:
1 ARC of ICE by Sarah Beth Durst
1 ARC of The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey
1 $10 iTunes giftcard
1 HUSH, HUSH locker poster

For Extra Entries:

+1 Follow this blog
+2 Link to this contest (sidebars are fine, just tell me what/where you did.)
+3 If you POST about Back to School Week

Ends: September 12, 2009

Author Interview: Nina LaCour

1. Tell us a little about your high school experience overall.

I went to a big, suburban high school, much like Caitlin's school in Hold Still. I was very shy in school and never spoke in my classes. I was good at English and bad at math, and my best friend and I were constantly together. We wrote each other long notes when we were in our classes, full of code names and embellished with little drawings and song lyrics. We had so much fun together, and this made everything else okay.

2. What was the best book you've ever read that was assigned reading?

There are so many, but I'm going to have to go with Catcher in the Rye. I know that it's a very typical answer, but I can so clearly remember reading that book in ninth grade and worrying for Holden in a way that I had never worried for a character in a book before.
3. Why did you decide to be a teacher?

Both of my parents are teachers, so it runs in the family. But I had no idea that I would become a high school teacher when I was a teenager. I knew I wanted to be a writer, and I thought that I would also be a professor. I tutored and taught in many places when I was in college and grad school: a private college, a city college, an Oakland elementary school, a juvenile hall. . . . Then I decided that I wanted to teach high school. And as soon as I started, it felt right.

4. Is there a particular teacher you had in school that inspired you?

I had so many amazing teachers. I was really lucky. The teacher I'll mention here is George Hegarty. I took his class in my senior year of high school. He made me talk in front of people, which I was terrified of doing, and he was incredibly supportive of my creative writing. I remember that he wrote, "The gift exists in you," on the back of a short story I wrote for his class. To receive feedback like that from a teacher I admired so much was thrilling.
5. What's your favorite thing about the fall season?

My birthday is the first day of fall, so I feel a special connection to the season. For me fall is a time of change and new beginnings. The school year starts; I meet new people; everything seems full of promise.

6. What are you reading right now?

I am reading The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. It's our school's summer reading book this year.

7. What YA fall/winter release are you most looking forward to?

I am really looking forward to reading How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford. Gayle Forman recommended it to me, and I trust Gayle's judgment. The cover is excellent, too.

8. Where is your favorite place to read/write?

Anywhere with good coffee and lots of other people who are also reading or writing.

9. Pick 3 songs you think readers should listen to while reading your novel, Hold Still.

Close to Me by The Cure, because Caitlin falls in love with it in the book.
I Feel It All by Feist, because it's my favorite upbeat song about hope and uncertainty.
Call it Off by Tegan and Sara, because it's just so pretty and sad.

10. The book you've been dying to read is out in paperback and hardback.Which one do you buy?


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Giveaway: Susan McBride's Books

The lovely Susan McBride has generously donated three books for giveaway!

To Enter: Leave a comment on this post including your email address. If you fail to leave a way to reach you, your entry will not count.

Open to:
US or Canada only.

You win:
1 winner will receive signed copies of The Debs AND Love, Lies, & Texas Dips
1 winner will receive a signed copy of Blue Blood

For Extra Entries:

+1 Follow this blog
+2 Link to this contest (sidebars are fine, just tell me what/where you did.)
+3 If you POST about Back to School Week and leave a link

Ends: September 12, 2009

Author Guest Blog: Susan McBride

I Heart Books

by Susan McBride

I’ve always been a bookworm.

We moved around a lot when I was growing up so every few years we picked up stakes and went to a new place, wherever my dad’s job sent him. By the time I was thirteen, I’d lived in five different cities (four different states), and I’d been enrolled in four different schools. It made it hard to keep friendships when we never stayed anywhere for very long. The only thing I could count on in those days was books.

The first thing I did whenever we got settled was to visit the nearest library and get a library card. I’d check out a stack of books, as many as they’d let me take, and I’d read them in my room in our new house. The stories took me away from all my worries and fears about starting classes mid-term with people I didn’t know and trying to find friends in our new neighborhood.

I loved books so much that I built my own library, putting pockets with cards inside the front cover. I got a date stamp, and I made my brother and sister check books out. To this day, they’re not big readers. Hmm, wonder if I had anything to do with that?

When I was in fifth grade, I tried my hand at writing novels. I have three from back then saved in a box in my closet. One was about two friends who solved crimes on their street, another was an illustrated tale about two nice monsters from Monsterville, and the third was a mystery, like a Nancy Drew, called THE SECRET OF THE FORBIDDEN TEMPLE. I even made a paper cover for it with artwork on the front and spine. Inside the back flap, I noted “Other Books by Susan McBride” and made up a bunch of titles. I loved the thrill of conjuring up characters and putting them in situations I could only dream about. It was the perfect escape, and I let my imagination fly.

I should have realized back then that I was destined to be a writer. But it took awhile longer for me to figure that out. I didn’t seriously consider becoming a novelist until I was 19 and between transferring colleges. My family was road-tripping to my grandparents’ house for Christmas, and I had an epiphany. “I will write a book!” a little voice inside my head announced as I sat in the back seat, trying to keep a safe distance from my irritating little brother. I dug out a tiny notepad and pen from my purse, and I started scribbling then and there. What I ended up writing—a 600-page historical romance called THE THORN OF THE ROSE—was never published. But I did send it out to various editors and agents who encouraged me to keep at it.

Every year after I graduated college, I penned a new novel. I had 10 of them written before I ever signed a book contract after winning a writing contest. A small press published AND THEN SHE WAS GONE and OVERKILL, before a New York agent took me on. She got me a three-book deal with Avon for my Debutante Dropout Mysteries, starting with BLUE BLOOD in 2004 (and ending with TOO PRETTY TO DIE in 2008). About the time my third mystery came out in 2006, my agent was approached by an editor looking for an author to write about debutantes in the South, kind of like GOSSIP GIRL with a drawl. That’s when I devised THE DEBS, the debut of my young adult series that features four Houston prep school seniors during their debutante season. (And, yes, debutantes still exist! Even though I’ve gotten emails asking, “Didn’t debs go the way of the dinosaur?”)

I’ve had a blast devising tall Texas tales about best friends Laura, Ginger, and Mac and their arch-enemy Jo Lynn. Since I went to junior high and high school in Houston where the series is set, I’ve had the chance to revisit my roots there and put old memories to good use. Everything really is bigger in Texas—like hair, personalities, and drama!—so it’s been a hoot using the Lone Star State as the backdrop for THE DEBS novels as well as for my Debutante Dropout books.

Although it was never much fun moving around when I was growing up, in a way I’m grateful for the challenges I had to face early on. I don’t think I’d be the person I am now without those experiences. Because of them, I learned to use my imagination, both as a reader and a writer. Isn’t it amazing, how words can transport us to other worlds, especially when we need to escape from our own? I love that!

No matter what, no matter where, it’s always home if books are there. J