Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Girl Meets Boy Blog Tour: Author Interview and Giveaway

 What do guys and girls really think? Twelve of the most dynamic and engaging YA authors writing today team up for this one-of-a-kind collection of he said/she said stories he tells it from the guy s point of view, she tells it from the girl s. These are stories of love and heartbreak. There s the good-looking jock who falls for a dangerous girl, and the flipside, the toxic girl who never learned to be loved; the basketball star and the artistic (and shorter) boy she never knew she wanted; the gay boy looking for love online and the girl who could help make it happen. Each story in this unforgettable collection teaches us that relationships are complicated because there are two sides to every story.

Joining me today for the Girl Meets Boy Blog Tour is contributing author and editor Kelly Milner Halls. Kelly visited my blog a few months ago to share her favorite independent bookstore for my Love My Indie feature. I'm so happy to host her here again today to talk about Girl Meets Boy, writing, and some of her favorite books.

Welcome Kelly!

About the book:

I love books that are told from alternating perspective AND when authors collaborate to tell a story. This is what immediately drew me to Girl Meets Boy. Please tell me how this concept came about.

I heard one young couple’s break up story.  In brief, she went to watch TV with a male work friend, he was convinced she’d been unfaithful.  The “truth” each one told was completely different.  That sparked my imagination.  What if the best writers in YA tackled this experiment in human perception?  What if pairs of authors wrote the same story from two different points of view?  That’s how the concept was born.

If you could write your own cover blurb for
Girl Meets Boy, what would it be?

The authors featured in Girl Meets Boy brilliantly answer the question, “What in the world were they thinking,” from a series of male and female points of view.  Can understanding be far behind?   

On writing:

How does your role as an editor play into your role as a writer?

When you’re editing authors as brilliant as those featured in Girl Meets Boy, you job isn’t as taxing as you might imagine.  What I think I did do especially well was pairing the contributing writers.  I had a strong sense of who I wanted together, and I think that helped make magic.  

What is your favorite writing environment? Is it also your most productive?

I write well with noise.  Silence doesn’t work for me.  I need the TV or Internet radio (go Pandora) to back me up.  I get distracted by quiet, as strange as that sounds.  But when I’m in the zone, my (grown) kids know better than to trust any response I give.  They leave me notes, so I actually absorb whatever it is they need me to remember, because when I’m deep in the work, I answer but I don’t remember what’s been said.  Guess we all have our quirks. 

Girl Meets Boy is your first young adult project. How was writing for this audience different from your "weird-nonfiction" audience?

It’s very different, and such an exciting new challenge.  I had my first YA reading Saturday with my friend Chris Crutcher at a local bookstore here in Spokane.  I was a little nervous for the first time in ten years.  But it was sensational.  Granted, presenting with Chris is never a bad thing, and we’ve been friends so long there’s a fun energy because we know each other so well.  But it was interesting to address questions from older readers.  I am thrilled to have the chance to experience both, now.

About books and reading:
Searching for new books to read is a small part of my love for books. What are some factors when you selecting new books to read? Any current favorites?

I tend to love realistic YA fiction when I read for pleasure.   But I’ll confess to loving anything that feels fresh and original in the genre.  My recent favorite is probably Exposed by Kimberly Marcus and I’m reading (and loving) Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor.   I’m dying to read John Green’s new book, The Fault in our Stars after watching him read the first two chapters on YouTube.  Yes, I too am a proud Nerdfighter.

Do you judge a book by its cover?

Doesn’t everyone?  The cover determines whether we pick that book up or not.  The publishers have a huge gamble to take every time they make that crucial selection.   I usually read the first ten pages, because I’m also a writer and I now we have no control over our covers.  But they are so important.  Luckily, Chronicle Books created a wonderful cover for Girl Meets Boy.

Do you have a book that you like to read over and over again (what I would call a comfort read) because you know that it will make you feel good after reading it? Is it a book that you turn to because you know that it will make you laugh or does it remind you of how you felt when you first read it (a sense of nostalgia)?

When I was young, that was Charlotte’s Web.  That was the first book that convinced me fiction could be real – could open up imaginary worlds and people who would matter to me.  Still love Fern and Wilbur.  Now, it’s probably a book called Illusions by Robert Bach.  It’s utterly impossible, the scenario he’s constructed, but he makes me suspend my disbelief every time I read it.  And I dearly love Deadline by Chris Crutcher.  It reminds me not to waste so much time.   

As an editor and book reviewer, it is safe to assume you read a lot of books for work (and for pleasure). But is there one book or author that you wish you would have read and can't believe that you haven't yet?

I am dying to curl up with every book ever written by the very brilliant Libba Bray.  Can’t wait.

Can you tell me about any works currently in-progress?

I am working on two YA novels – one about a tattoo artist who accidentally links the living with the dead.  And one about a high school journalist who is tested – how fiercely will she defend the first amendment when the whole world seems to disagree?   I’m also working on a new anthology, more about that as soon as possible.  : ) 

Thanks Kelly for sharing! And you definitely should read some Libba Bray soon. Might I suggest Beauty Queens - it is the only book by Libba that I've read so far, but I thought it was fantastic and so smart!

Tomorrows Blog Tour Stop: Stiletto Storytime www.stilettostorytime.wordpress.com
And now for the giveaway:
The Prize
a copy of Girl Meets Boy
signed by all 12 contributing authors
donated by ChronicleBooks
Giveaway Rules:
Must be at least 13 yrs or older
Open to US and Canada addresses only
Following is NOT required
To Enter fill out the form below

Earn extra entries by:
(+1) Reading Kelly's Love My Indie post
(+1) Tweet: "I want to win Girl Meets Boy by @KellyMilnerH from @ActinUpwb"

Contest ends February 14th 2012 11:59 EST
One Winner will be selected using random.org

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