Saturday, May 7, 2011

Super Post #1: Melissa Kantor, Would You Rather, and Pink Hair

Hello Readers!

Six days, 12 hours, and 29 minutes! Ah! And I still have SO much stuff to share with you guys.  Therefore, I am beginning a series of super posts on the blog.  From now until the day before the festival, I will be posting interviews, pertinent TBF info, and goodies!  Are you ready?!?! I’m SO ready!

Part 1 of today’s super post is my interview with Melissa Kantor …

CR: You write realistic fiction with very sincere and relatable protagonists.  How do you get into the head’s of your protagonists and where do you draw your inspiration for these characters?
MK: The emotional lives of my characters are very much connected to my own feelings and experiences, especially the feelings I had when I was growing up.   It's not that my characters ARE me, but they have a lot of the emotional responses I would have.  One of the major challenges of writing “The Darlings Are Forever” was writing a novel with three characters who had some of my emotional makeup but who weren't identical--to me or to each other.  I think what ended up happening (though I wasn't conscious of doing this) is that each of the characters in the book has some of my qualities.  Jane, for example, blurts out things she then regrets saying.  And Natalya (who's a really good student and gets a scholarship to a fancy private school) feels confident in a classroom but not necessarily at a party.  Victoria avoids confrontations.  Those are definitely all qualities I have.   

CR: My favorite part of “The Breakup Bible” was Jennifer’s younger brother and their relationship. I have a 13-year-old brother so I could certainly relate to their relationship.  Do you have siblings? And if so, did you draw on your relationship with your sibling(s) when writing about Jennifer’s relationship with her brother?
MK: I have siblings who are much, much younger than I am, and I definitely drew on some of my experiences with them when I was writing Jennifer's relationship with her brother.  We tease each other a lot even now that we're adults.  When my siblings were younger, I was really careful not to hurt their feelings, though, because they were still kids (or teenagers) when I was already in my twenties.  Jennifer isn't quite as nice as I was.    

CR: I know that “The Darlings Are Forever” was just published, but are you working on anything new at the moment? (Can you tell that I’m waiting anxiously?)
MK: “The Darlings in Love” (book two in the series) is finished!!!  And it comes out in January.  And now I'm working on the third book.  It's so much fun to have all this time with these characters instead of having to say goodbye after one book.  

CR: What was the last book that you read for pleasure?
MK: Oh my god, I am obsessed with the Hex Hall series.  I just finished both “Hex Hall” and “Demonglass” in about two nights.  I'm dying for book three.  I also read a dark but beautiful book called “Never let Me Go” by a writer named  Kazuo Ishaguro.  I think he might be one of the world's most brilliant living writers.  

CR: What author are you most looking forward to meeting and/or seeing at the Sixth Annual TBF?
MK: I've been emailing with the writers I'm doing a panel with (Julie Halpern and Garret Freymann-Weyr) and I can't wait to meet them!  

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer these interview questions for us, Melissa.  We can’t wait to meet you in person in … 6 days, 12 hours, and 24 minutes!

But wait, readers! This super post isn’t over yet … remember all the way back to last year. I asked all of the TBF authors “This or That” questions and posted their answers on the blog.  This year, I decided to go a slightly different route and ask the authors “Would You Rather” questions. I’m going to share some of the results with you, but I also want to drop a little hint for all of you loyal readers.  I’ll say only this, if you enjoy this post, then you’re definitely not going to want to miss the Opening Panel at TBF 2011.  So readers, be there or be square.  May 14 at 10 a.m.!

Would you rather read or write?

Blue = read
Red = write

Would you rather climb a mountain or lay on a beach?

Dark purple = climb a mountain
Light purple = lay on a beach

Would you rather read a hardcover or a paperback?

Dark orange = read a hardcover
Light orange = read a paperback

There’s still more, readers! (This may be a bit extreme, but I have so much stuff to tell you guys!)  All of you teen readers who took part in any of our TBF fundraisers know that if teens raised $6,666 in honor of the 6th Annual Teen Book Festival then the TBF committee members would be dying their hair.  Well, the teen readers did it!  And so, on Tuesday morning (bright and early!) the TBF committee will be at Lari James Salon in Webster having their hair dyed on Channel 13 News.  Be sure to tune into the morning news to see Stephanie go pink! (At least I THINK she’s going pink …)

Alright readers, that’s it for the first super post. Come back tomorrow for another one!

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