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“It is possible, if not entirely uncommon, to write a young adult novel without any romantic aspects to it at all. So to all of the writers out there, next time you’re sitting down to write a romantic scene, ask yourself, “Do I have a story without this romance?” If the answer is yes, take the romance out! You may be surprised by just how powerful a story you will have written.”—Does YA Need Romance? by Public Relations and Editorial Intern Stephanie (that’s me!)
OUR SONG GIVEAWAY!
Hey all! Today I am VERY HAPPY to host my lovely friend and fellow writer Jordanna Fraiberg on the blog to talk about her second novel, OUR SONG. Her first novel, IN YOUR ROOM, was one of my favorites from my days as a baby editor at Penguin/Razorbill, and I’m so happy that she is gracing the reading world with another thoughtful and lovely contemporary romance.
Jordanna was kind enough to answer a few of my questions about OUR SONG, which tells the story of a girl named Olive who begins to hear a mysterious melody after surviving a near-death experience. Then she meets the darkly handsome Nick and…OMG SO ROMANTIC. Just read it.
We’re giving away a SIGNED copy of OUR SONG to ONE LUCKY READER so make sure you enter here. Points will be given for tweeting or re-blogging this entry!
1) First of all, where did you come up with this idea?
I was interested in what happens when someone comes to the end of her identity, when she is no longer able to live the way she has been until that point. The literal fact of Olive’s death becomes a metaphor, in a way, for the idea that she’s been figuratively dead her whole life, and that something drastic had to happen to wake her up. I’m fascinated with the idea that we are all constantly changing and evolving, often in ways that we aren’t fully aware of until we’re forced to. But when it happens for the first time, when we first become fully conscious of our interior life, it’s both a painful and powerful experience, and that’s what I tried to explore with Olive.
2) I love the different kinds of families you portray in the book! Would you say your family growing up was more like Olive’s, Annie’s or Nicks?
That’s a great question and one I hadn’t contemplated until now! My family growing up was probably most like Annie’s. Her open-minded and non-judgmental mother, and her home’s artsy Bohemian style were definitely influenced by my upbringing.
3) A lot of the book is about second chances. Do you believe in them?
Yes, I absolutely do! But I don’t believe that second chances always come neatly wrapped with a bow. In fact, they rarely do. The best ones come about because of our own action and our own hard work. They can be messy and painful, but those are the second chances that help us grow and thrive the most.
4) Are there really support groups for people who have died? Are they really filled with people talking about their journeys on the astral plane?? How did you research this?
Yes, such support groups really do exist! Once you tap into this community, it’s amazing just how many people have had near death or transcendental, out of body experiences. A quick internet search will yield thousands of stories, and I read many of them while researching the topic. But the best research I got was from actually attending a meeting of the Los Angeles International Association for Near-Death Studies. I based the Near Death Society in the book on this group, as one of the things I was most surprised to discover was that, like in the book, not a single participant had actually ever died.
5) Did you have any kind of teenage rebellion like the one Olive goes through?
I think I probably went through a much quieter, more internal form of rebellion. I never really felt comfortable in my own skin as a teenager, or like I could relate to most kids in my school. So my rebellion was playing squash, a sport that pretty much no one had ever heard of, and I spent my afternoons, weekends and days off from school training with other players practically the same age as may parents at the time.
6) Annie is so awesome. Was she inspired by anyone you know?
She’s not modeled after any one person, but I think she’s the voice of reason and compassion that I look for and find in most of my friends. And now that I think about it, her boldness and empathy are two of the traits I admire most in my husband. The thing about Annie that compelled me is that she’s awesome, but isn’t perfect. She’s not always able to be honest with herself in the way she demands of Olive, which I think is true for most of us. And what makes them so close is that they’re able to tell each other the hard stuff without imploding their friendship.
7. In both OUR SONG and your first book, IN YOUR ROOM, music is incredibly integral to the plot. Can you discuss why? Are you a big music fan? Who are some of your faces?
I really love music, but I didn’t specifically set out to have it be such a big part of each book. When I write, I tend to listen to music that matches up with the characters or the tone I’m going for, and from there, the music organically finds its way into the pages. My mother is a concert pianist so I grew up with live classical music wafting through the house every day. It became integrated into my life in an almost subconscious way, which is why I think I like to listen to it to set the mood for a writing session. I’ve become a much bigger music fan as an adult, mainly because my husband is constantly playing and discovering new music, so he’s like my own personal DJ. He’s introduced me to a lot of the bands and artists I listened to while writing Our Song, like Death Cab for Cutie, Ra Ra Riot, and Lana Del Rey.
8) If any song could describe your future what song would you want it to be?
So many songs I love represent a specific time or moment from my past, and then the newer, current faves definitely feel very of this moment for me, so it’s tough for me to think of a song in that way! I guess (and not to sound too corny!) it’s that a I feel the future is so fluid. It’s like that Natasha Beddingfield song — “the rest is still unwritten.”
How about right now?
It’s here! The Con, a novella about friendship, love, and wizard rock, is now available for purchase as an ebook at your favourite online book retailers. A print edition is forthcoming, but for now you can own the unconventional story of Ren Coffey and her movie star not-quite-boyfriend for your Kindle, Kobo, iPad, and other eReader devices – all for under a dollar!
As a special bonus, ebook readers will have the chance to read an exclusive sneak peek of my upcoming full-length novel, Bent – coming in 2013!
(Have I bombarded you with enough exclamation marks yet?)
A sincere thank you to all who’ve supported this endeavor, from first readers to book trailer editors to those who have simply shared in my excitement along the way—I hope you enjoy this little tryst into the fandom world of love, creativity, and wonderful insanity.
“Authors, please stop being afraid that teens won’t buy your books if there isn’t romance in them! We don’t need romance. We need characters that we can’t get out of our heads. We need fast-paced plots that keep us turning those pages. We need settings that make us feel like we are in the world of the book. But romance—with all its drama and insecurity, its insta-love or heartbreak? We can live without that sometimes.”—
Does YA Need Romance? by Public Relations and Editorial Intern Stephanie
(I finally wrote another blog, which means I get to quote myself again!)
I don't get why Harry Potter fans bash on Twilight so much.
I love Twilight and Harry Potter. This isn’t a competition. They’re both about two completely different things, so comparing them makes no sense. Saying “Harry Potter is better than Twilight!1!!!11” And starting fights for no reason is stupid. You like Harry Potter more? That’s great, but they’re two completely different things so comparing them to each other is stupid. It’s geared towards two totally different audiences/genre’s.
random post of procrastination and boredom
Braden and Trey from Witch Eyes have the most believable relationship in YA fantasy, in my opinion. I mean, they actually act like teenagers—the physical attraction, getting annoyed at each other’s personalities, the banter…and for once the forbidden love thing isn’t because they’re both guys, it’s because of their families hate each other…it could’ve been like Romeo and Juliet, except it’s not because while they love each other (not “in love” yet, which makes their development as a couple ten times longer that other YA couples, where they’re hopelessly in love within the first few pages), they aren’t pining or angsty about it. Trey didn’t betray his family for Braden…he might yet, but it’s SO good to find a guy whose loyalty won’t be broken so easily by a romantic relationship, and the same goes with Braden.
I dunno…even though the book is definitely not centered around their romance, I like how the romance isn’t separate from the plot. It’s not just fluff or random steamy make-out sessions.
Maybe it’s just that I’ve been SO annoyed with female characters, but I really, really do think that Witch Eyes has the most believable, likable romance that I’ve seen in a long time.
Liked Gamer Girl? Give Skater Boy a Try!
I’m excited to announce the first ever digital release of my young adult novel SKATER BOY. Originally published back in 2005 (as Sk8er Boy) it was my very first teen book and probably my most autobiographical. (Yes, I loved those skateboarders!!) It’s a contemporary romance - think “Romeo and Juliet with text messaging” - and perfect for readers who loved GAMER GIRL.
The print version of the book has been out-of-print for a while and can be hard to find. But now, for the first time ever, I’ve been able to make the book available as an eBook. Right now on Kindle and Nook, but other formats will follow in the new year.
And best of all? It’s only $3.99. So if you’re still looking for a holiday gift for the Kindle or Nook reader in your life—or just need something to spend that B&N gift card your aunt sent you for Christmas on—I hope you will check out SKATER BOY!!
Here’s what it’s about!
Dawn Miller is sick of being good. Her parents have scheduled her to an inch of her life and her popular friends are boring her to tears. And the rich boy everyone wants her to date is more obnoxious then a five year old on a sugar high.
But then she meets Starr, the headmaster’s punk rock daughter who refuses to play by the rules. Starr introduces Dawn to a whole new world of indy record stores, all night raves, and cute skateboarders who practice underneath a parking deck downtown.
Skateboarders like Sean, who’s sweet and smart and utterly hot—everything Dawn’s ever wanted in a boyfriend—and soon she finds herself head over heels. But deep down she knows her parents will never approve of this boy from the wrong side of town…and the lies she’s been telling are starting to catch up to her. Will Dawn be forced to leave her newfound life behind…and lose her skater boy forever?
BUY FOR KINDLE
BUY FOR NOOK
Literary Bad Boys Part Two: The Bad Hat
Last week’s post about Jane Austen’s gentlemen promised that this week’s post would provide a list of my Top Literary Bad Boys. I shouldn’t have made such a rash promise. Because, honestly, I’ve never been all that crazy about bad boys. When I think of the lines in the theme to Cops “Bad boys, bad boys/Whatcha gonna do?/Whatcha gonna do when they’re coming for you”, with a few, much regretted exceptions, my answer has always been “Run in the other direction.”
But there is ONE Byronic hero that I have always loved.
He’s not just a bad boy. He’s a BAD HAT, from Ludwig Bemelmans’ children’s book Madeline and the Bad Hat.
In the tradition of bad boys dating at least back as far as Ann Radclyffe’s gothics, Pepito, the son of the Spanish ambassador to France, is tall, dark, and handsome, an exotic Other, and all the girls in two straight lines at Miss Clavell’s school think Pepito is pretty awesome.
All the girls except Madeline, who recognizes that he is spoiled, entitled, and pretty sadistic as he hurts animals and sets off firecrackers.
But in the classic romance tradition, this bad boy is tamed by the influence of a good woman, Madeline and her friends, who are not going to put up with his macho crap.
He becomes polite, considerate, compassionate, and kind to animals. He even becomes a vegetarian.
I like to imagine that he and Madeline grow up and open a funky vegetarian café/bookstore in Paris (and one in Madrid, maybe). He paints and she dabbles in photography and performance art. They rescue animals (as Madeline was rescued by Genevieve, the dog),reside in a gorgeous pied a terre with great flea market furniture and live (com)passionate lives in the city of lights.
So you can keep your Edward Cullens, your Heathcliffs, your Stanley Kowalskis.
I’ve got Pepito.
my thoughts on teen romance novels
Okay so i have nothing against any specific genre like, hey you wrote a book? Someone wants to read it? Great! I really couldn’t care less what it is actually about
the problem i am encountering is that say genres are foods and teen romance (especially the paranormal kind) is macaroni and cheese.
Now you might really really like macaroni and cheese you might be able to be happy on nothing but macaroni and cheese for years,
But lately i feel like im walking into the grocery store and they have nothing but macaroni and cheese lining the shelves and it looks super tasty but its also taken over the peanut butter shelf and even though the mac and cheese is delicious I miss the peanut butter like, hey guys I know mac and cheese is super popular but you don’t have to stop stocking peanut butter you know do you feel me?