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Monday, September 17, 2012

Interview with Kat Rosenfield + Giveaway

So I got to interview the extremely talented Kat Rosenfield, author of Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone, which is definitely one of my 2012 favorites so far. Read on to find out more about Kat and her novel... like her favorite word, her hiding spot (it's a favorite of mine too!), and her myriad of past jobs!

Did you have trouble writing any of your characters or specific scenes within the novel? Or, were any characters or scenes particularly easy to write? 
With the possible exception of Amelia, I can't think of a character who didn't give me trouble (and that's probably just because she was already dead when the story began and it's hard for a corpse to misbehave). It was bound to happen -- I knew I was going to write a story about decent people doing terrible things, that's one of the central themes in the novel— but it was really difficult to actually bring the characters to a crossroads and then watch them make the worst decision available. I had to struggle against the urge to have them redeem themselves. 
Has the title changed or stayed relatively the same as your novel journeyed towards publication? 
It hasn't changed at all, which is especially weird because I'd procrastinated on choosing a title for ages, and I didn't feel strongly about this one at all. I just picked it as a placeholder until it came time to choose the "real" title. (I actually thought I was being smart by not getting too attached to it, since the author often doesn't get final say on this stuff.) The fact that it stuck all the way through to publication was totally unexpected. 
What book or author has most influenced you as a writer or in general? 
Haha, you might as well ask me to name the one thing I've ever eaten that's most influenced me as a writer. Different tastes fill different needs; different books hit different notes. There are authors whose language I adore, authors whose plotlines I envy, even authors I can't stand and use as an example of what I don't want to do — but there's not really one I can point to and say, "That guy! He's EVERYTHING." 
What jobs did you have on your way to becoming a writer/published author? Is there a certain work experience that has shaped your writing? 
I've had many, many jobs — waitress, receptionist, artist's model, substitute teacher, janitor, nanny, publicist, copywriter... I even once worked as the dessert girl at a high-end Chinese restaurant. (In related news, my work history makes me look like an actual crazy person.) Having done so many different things has definitely helped with the "write what you know" bit, and certain settings or characters or experiences have found their way into my work for sure. The restaurant setting where Becca (the protagonist) works, for instance, is based on a real place in my hometown where I waited tables during the summer. 
If you had to pick a favorite word, what would it be and why? 
LUGUBRIOUS. It's such a nice, chewy word... even if I know, intellectually, that it doesn't actually have anything to do with goo. 
My blog is dedicated to my personal hiding spot, books. Who, what, or where can be credited as your personal escape from reality? 
Ordinarily I'd have said "books", but since that's your hiding spot, I guess I'll have to go with my backup escape: binge-watching Downton Abbey on Netflix Instant.

More about Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone:

Becca has always longed to break free from her small, backwater hometown. But the discovery of an unidentified dead girl on the side of a dirt road sends the town--and Becca--into a tailspin. Unable to make sense of the violence of the outside world creeping into her backyard, Becca finds herself retreating inward, paralyzed from moving forward for the first time in her life.  Short chapters detailing the last days of Amelia Anne Richardson's life are intercut with Becca's own summer as the parallel stories of two young women struggling with self-identity and relationships on the edge twist the reader closer and closer to the truth about Amelia's death.
Check out my review here.
*Please note that the giveaway on the review is now closed. The giveaway below is new and for a finished copy! :)

Win a copy!
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Monday, September 10, 2012

Back to School & Judy Blume's Forever

Hi everyone!

So, as I'm sure is the case with many of you, I'm back in university right now... which, unfortunately, means spending time that I'd rather be spending reading and blogging reading essays and doing homework. 

That said, I'm working (as always) on being more organized so I can still post at least a couple times a week. I plan on continuing my new feature, Reasons to Read, and reviewing at least one title a week. I'm trying not to set myself up for failure by aiming low, but, of course, I'd like to post more than that!

In addition, in an effort to not end up with the crazy amounts of books I usually have in my apartment, I'm going to be holding regular giveaways to spread the wealth on to YOU. 

Luckily, I have some great classes this semester, including Shakespeare, Literary Theory and Critique, and Adolescent Literature... so don't be surprised if some of the things I've been learning and discussing in class find their way onto the blog. In a fun, non-boring way of course. 

For example, I've just finished reading Judy Blume's Forever, which was, in a word, interesting. This iconic young adult text was considered quite risque when it was first released, but how does it compare to today's popular YA titles? Does it really promote sexuality and sexual liberation or is there another message hidden deeper within the dialogue and events of the novel? 

Maybe I'm just a nerd, but I think these questions are super interesting. And next we've been assigned to read Powell's Swallow Me Whole, which will be my first experience reading a graphic novel in full. Wish me luck.

I hope everyone you're all enjoying your classes or enjoying your kids being back in school or simply enjoying the beginnings of autumn! 

And I'd love to hear how the rest of you students are faring... How are your classes? Is there a class you're particularly excited about (or not so excited about)? Are you just as bad about making time to blog regularly as I am? I'd love to tips in becoming more organized in this aspect of my life! :)