Tuesday, September 28, 2010
As you may already know, Nightshade is one of five books Penguin selected as Breathless Reads. I've already featured two of these books, The Eternal Ones and The Replacement, on this blog and I can't wait to tell you all about Ally Condie's Matched (I'm waiting until a bit closer to the book's release date).
Now MTV is premiering the Breathless Reads trailer on their web site this Friday, October 1. You'll have to wait until Friday to see the video, but to give you a sense of what's to come here's a still from Nightshade's portion of the trailer:Isn't it cool?!!
To check out the other stills from The Eternal Ones, The Replacement, and Matched visit author's web sites.
-Kirsten Miller: http://theeternalones.wordpress.com/
-Ally Condie: http://www.allysoncondie.com/
-Brenna Yovanoff: http://brennayovanoff.livejournal.com/
And you can find links to all the blogs on the Breathless Reads Tumblr: http://thepenguinfive.tumblr.com
Excerpts of all Breathless Reads titles (The Eternal Ones, The Replacement, Nightshade, Matched and Sapphique) are available for download on the Breathless Reads website (www.breathlessreads.com).
Don't forget to visit again on Friday when I'll post the link to the video!
Monday, September 27, 2010
Banned Books Weeks is, in my opinion, one of the most important weeks of the year. The suppression of ideas and discussion runs counter to the growth and compassion that human society desperately needs.
Given how pivotal I think this week of anti-censorship awareness is I'm giving away some big prizes. Winners will be randomly drawn at the end of the week and details of how to enter will follow - but first: the prizes! These books constitute challenged and banned books that have had a profound impact on me as both reader and writer.
One winner will receive: The full box set of Harry Potter (the most challenged books of the decade!)
One winner will receive: Ellen Hopkins' Crank, Glass, and Fallout
One winner will receive: Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak, Wintergirls, and Twisted
Here's how to enter:
Spread the word about Banned Books Week by mentioned a challenged or banned book you love (you can find lists of challenged books here) and link back to this post (don't worry if you don't have a blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc. are all fine). Share your link in the comments below. I'll draw the winners on Saturday!
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Remember a few days ago, when I posted about censorship in support of Laurie Halse Anderson?
In that post I mentioned a guest post I'd written for Page Turners Blog about book banning and how I expect Nightshade to be challenged at some point.
The past few days I've been in Naperville, Illinois for Anderson's YA conference. I had the best time ever - the Anderson's staff are phenomenal! It was amazing and I'll be posting more about that soon. Prior to the conference, I had the great pleasure and honor to visit local school and talk about writing.
Before my very first presentation, however, I was taken to the principal's office (I'm 32 and that was my first time being sent to the principal's office!) and told that a parent had objected to my being there because of the content of my book.
Now I realize I had very recently written that I expected this to happen, but I have to say, I wasn't prepared for an objection to come on my very first school visit. Being a school visit n00b I was already nervous and getting this news was a bit like a punch in the gut. Fortunately as soon as I got on stage and started talking about how much I love writing, all that ugly noise faded away. The students were phenomenal. They asked fantastic questions and were so enthusiastic. It reminded me of why I love talking to young readers and why no matter who objects I will always continue to SPEAK LOUDLY about the issues I believe in.
It's officially Banned Books Week now and to celebrate I'll be giving away a handful of banned or challenged books by authors who are heroes of mine. Stay tuned!
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
I couldn't imagine living in a part of the world where the seasons didn't change. There's an energy to the shift that never fails to fill me with wonder. One of my favorite characteristics of autumn is the way light changes.
Spring's light sparkles, like dew on newly sprouted leaves. It's full of promise and makes me giddy. Summer's light is pure power - it warms you up and exhausts you at the same time. But autumn's light is subtle. It slides through leaves, rolling over them, seeming to almost paint them with the waning sun's very shades of gold and rust. It gleams and lingers. Walking in my neighborhood, surrounded by autumn's glow I experience profound contentment. I hardly know how to describe it, only that it makes me feel a rightness with the world unlike any other.
Today is Mabon, the autumnal equinox. The light will slip slowly into darkness from now until the Winter Solstice, reminding us of life's mysteries and the hidden workings of the spirit world. May the magic of this season bring you wisdom and joy.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Next week, September 25 - October 2, 2010, is Banned Books Week. Book censorship is an issue about which I have strong opinions. You can find a guest post on this subject I did for Page Turners Blog (they're doing an entire month of features devoted to BBW) and today I have another Banned Books topic to bring to your attention.
One of the most talented and courageous writers I know is Laurie Halse Anderson. Not only does she write amazing historical literature (Chains, Forge) but she also addresses critical topics for young adults and particularly for young adult women.
This morning Laurie's blog alerted readers to an attempted to ban her book, Speak, from class reading lists in a Missouri school. The person attempting to have her book pulled described speak as 'soft porn.'
Okay. I'm taking a deep breath here so my head doesn't explode.
Speak is the story of a girl who has been traumatized by rape. She stops talking as a result of the attack and mutilates her own body because she is suffering.
And this is pornography?
As with book banning I have very strong opinions about sexuality in young adult literature. You can read my posts about sexual double standards and sex in YA for more on that. Even with those opinions in mind, describing a novel about rape and recovery from sexual assault as 'soft porn' is precisely a reflection of what happens when sexuality is closeted and not treated as a part of the human experience. It also reinforces the idea that women's bodies exist only as sexual objects and that violence against women can be viewed as sexual edification for male consumption.
It's troubling enough that a book like Speak, which offers a safe space for victims of sexual violence to process their experience, is being derided. But the protests themselves against the book are just as disturbing. Sadly, we still live in a society that blames victims of sexual assault and too often treats rape as a 'normal' risk for women in society.
In last week's Mad Men episode, a young man said to Joan Holloway, "you walk around here waiting to be raped." Joan is overtly sexual and stunningly beautiful. She's also powerful, but the man's attitude was that she existed only as a sexual object. And she suffers for it. In an earlier episode she was raped by her fiance. While it's difficult to witness, I applaud Mad Men for portraying this issue so starkly. While women gain political and social autonomy, gain economic independence, sexual violence remains as a shadow threat. When all other channels of repression have been closed, women's bodies continue to be portrayed as 'rapable.'
These episodes introduced early ideas about sexual harassment in the workplace and sexual violence at large. That was the 1960s. We obviously still have a long way to go. Banning literature that speaks to these issues with insight and compassion is not going to get us there.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Who's he gonna call? (Hint: The Ghostbusters are unavailable)
You might have noticed around the interwebz that in the six weeks leading up to NIGHTSHADE's release Shay has joined us in the world. He's just moved to his uncle's mansion, Rowan Estate, and things are getting a little strange there.
You can check out his blog posts and talk with him on Facebook. You can also watch his web series on You Tube.
Yesterday, with the help of online friends, Shay solved a puzzle that was keeping him out of the locked library. He hasn't yet gone in - his uncle told him to stay out of that room - but he's thinking about it.
As Shay learns more about Rowan Estate and its history, there will be many more puzzles for him to solve. And you can help him do that.
If you're interested in being part of the story (and yes, that means the official prequel!) send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and you might receive a very special present in the mail. Please note: the mailings are limited in number, so sending an email does not guarantee you'll receive the present, but it gets you in the running.
Even if you don't receive one of the limited edition mailings you can still be part of the mystery by helping Shay out online.
The secrets of Shay Doran's Shadow Days are becoming more and more sinister. Can you help him solve the puzzles before it's too late?
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Let's start with the most recent and work back in time. (Hooray for blog time travel!)
Yesterday I was delighted to host a contest for Lisa Desrochers' debut PERSONAL DEMONS. It's in stores today - go get it :) Don't forget to stop by Lisa's blog today for more chances to win.
The winner of the PERSONAL DEMONS prize back is:
I also was able to spend some time talking with Brenna Yovanoff about her debut THE REPLACEMENT (in stores September 21). I love having awesome authors visit the blog. What fun!
Winners of THE REPLACEMENT are:
Casey (A Bookish Type)
And finally - for announcing the appearance of Shay Doran in our world, the winner of NIGHTSHADE is:
Jessica from A Great Read!
Congrats to all the winners :) If your name was selected please email your mailing address to andreacremerwrites (at) gmail (dot) com
Thanks so much to everyone for entering. It's a great fall for books. And if you haven't stopped by to meet Shay yet, please check out his Facebook page and blog. Believe me, he's really going to need your help in the next few weeks. Don't leave him alone in that big mansion!
Monday, September 13, 2010
I've got a special treat for you today. My oh-so-fabulous critique partner, Lisa Desrochers, has a big day tomorrow - her debut novel PERSONAL DEMONS hits bookstores. It is sizzling!!
While Lisa had already created her own fantastic playlist for PERSONAL DEMONS, as someone who always conjures music to accompany reading I think that INXS could do a pretty great job of soundtracking this addictive and original story.
First there's Frannie, who's struggling with both literal and metaphorical PERSONAL DEMONS might relate to this:
Of course Luc, the hotter than hell demon complicating her life make you feel like this:
And then there's Gabe, equally hot but brings heaven's lightness to counter Luc's darkness.
Congratulations to Lisa - I'm so excited that the world can get their hands on this fantastic book.
Bonus: Prizes!!! Leave a comment here and you can win this fabulous prize pack.
AND if you read the Amazing Race posts from the past we and can create the correct phrase from linking all the highlighted words in the posts, you can win big on Lisa's page tomorrow. Details here!! To collect the words, start with Elana Johnson's post!! You can follow the race through the other blog posts from there. Good luck!
Thursday, September 9, 2010
I hope you enjoyed all the fun hearing about Brenna Yovanoff's awesome debut The Replacement!
Now that it's September, we're in the final countdown to Nightshade's arrival. Eek!! And woo-hoo! I cannot wait 'til October 19.
I'd be worried that I won't be able to handle the waiting - patience is not a virtue I can claim. Fortunately I'm really, really busy until the release date. If you're looking for something to do and want to say hey I'll be at Anderson's YA Conference in Naperville, Illinois, the Great Lakes Independent Book Sellers Association Conference in Dearborn, Michigan, and the Texas Book Festival in Austin!
It all leads up to the Nightshade release party on October 29. I can't begin to tell you how excited I am that we're having the party Halloween weekend. Halloween is my favorite holiday and has incredible significance to Nightshade's plot.
The party is at the Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul and of course you're all invited. We'll have cake and libations AND a literary costume contest.
Plus, there's a special guest of honor: Shay!
That's right. If you haven't heard yet. Shay Doran has stepped out of Nightshade's pages and is spending some time with us in the real world. And he's coming to my party. Hooray!
If you can't make it to St. Paul, you can still meet Shay, comment on his blog, send him Facebook messages, and even text him. Check out www.shaydoran.com for details.
Shay's trying to adjust to life in his new home, Rowan Estate, and it's not going very well. Too many things that go bump in the night aren't letting him get settled in. He's going to need your help figuring out how to deal with the weirdness. And if you help him, you have a chance to become part of Nightshade's world. Shay's adventures over the next six weeks will become part of the official Nightshade prequel I'm writing: Shadow Days. Stay tuned for more details and be sure to keep Shay company!
Welcome again to my new followers, thanks for being here - exciting times ahead!
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
1. Mackie is such a unique and wonderful protagonist. What inspired you to write about a changeling who has been raised in the human world and wants to be part of it?
First, I have to say, I'm always so jealous of those people who get lightning-bolt story ideas, because I have to hang onto ideas for years before I do anything with them—it's like they need to cure or something. Basically, I had an English class where we read a lot of Colonial poetry and one of the poems was about a changeling. I was not the most focused student (very prone to daydreaming), and I started thinking about how that would play out in a contemporary setting. I carried the premise around with me for a long time before I actually sat down and tried to write about it. Discovering Mackie was another proposition altogether. I had to go through several complete drafts with him before I really started to know him. His default setting is to be extremely guarded and I kind of had to break that open.
2. Gentry haunted me – how did you create your novel’s striking setting?
The words: “The Lottery.” I read Shirley Jackson for the first time in high school, and she totally creeped me out. That story has stayed with me for years and I knew I wanted to do something with the idea of town loyalty and turning a blind eye. I wanted to use that same sense of absolute disregard for the sacrifices people are making in order to ensure that the town has prosperity. I think that was always the thing that upset me the most about “The Lottery”—you protect the town by sacrificing the town.
3. I LOVE Shirley Jackson!!! But moving on...in many ways your book is about family and loyalty. Was it important to you to explore the role of family in a paranormal setting?
Idon't think I initially set out to tell a story about family. I just knew that I wanted to write a changeling story, and I was pretty surprised when I realized that Mackie's family actually did love him. It hadn't occurred to me that that kind of acceptance was a possibility for him, and once it became clear that they were in it for the long haul, I had to figure out what that meant, because it changed a lot of what the story was about.
4. The myriad creatures of The Replacement are amazing. What kind of research did you do to create the slag heap and its inhabitants?
In order to populate the slag heap, I drew heavily on Celtic mythology, but I'll be the first to admit, my version of a lot of it is pretty unrecognizable. I wanted to show some kind of adaptation. Over time, things really don't stay the same—cultures evolve or falter based on their environment and the other civilizations they come in contact with. I wanted to look at the kind of effect that would have on people who are defined not by their own customs or geography, but by the way they interact with the human population around them.
5. Do you think of your novel as fitting within the ‘horror’ genre?
You know, when I wrote The Replacement, I really didn't think I was writing horror. I assumed that what I had on my hands was a contemporary fantasy that just happened to be pretty dark. When the editorial team at Razorbill first mentioned that it might fall under the category of horror, I was surprised. Then I started making a list of all the various creatures and the things that happen and I thought, “Well, of course it is!”
6. Will we see more of Mackie in the future?
Never say never (she says with a mysterious smile). The book I'm currently working on is another standalone, this time about demons, but that doesn't mean I'll never come back to the story of Mackie and Tate and Roswell. The world of Gentry has a lot of history and plenty of terrain to explore (aboveground as well as under), so while there's nothing planned for the immediate future, don't rule it out!
I'll keep my fingers crossed, Brenna! Thanks so much for answering all my questions :)
Don't forget, The Replacement hits stores September 21!!
To celebrate the upcoming release Penguin is giving away two signed copies of The Replacement! (U.S. only, apologies to international fans!) Just leave your name in the comments below and you could win!!!
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
I'm Brenna Yovanoff and my book The Replacement comes out September 21st. I'm so excited to be a guest on Andrea's blog today, and can't wait to host her on my own blog when Nightshade comes out next month!
Before I start admitting to embarrassing phobias—which I'll be doing in a paragraph or two—I'm going to tell you a little bit about The Replacement. In the most basic terms, it's the story of a boy named Mackie Doyle (who isn't human)(this is not a spoiler, because you find out in like the first two pages), and a town plagued by baby-thieves. It's also a story about fear, because I think fear is very interesting, and people stealing babies is scary, though not one of my phobias mentioned above.
I've always loved horror movies, and while I don't personally think that The Replacement is nail-bitingly, intolerably scary (mileage may vary—when I was eight, my favorite movie was Aliens), I was definitely trying to capture that certain horror movie atmosphere. You know the one—the creepy, ominous music and the blue filter. Yes, basically, it's a very blue-filter book.
Also, it rains a lot, which relates directly to one of my most prevalent and ridiculous fears. If there's anyone here who reads my short fiction over at merryfates.com, you've probably already figured out that I hate water. It's not one of those angry, righteous hatreds—I don't hate water like I hate rush-hour traffic and zucchini. I realize that water is delicious to drink and also necessary to the survival of our planet, and it's important to be hygienic. But my subconscious is having none of it and insists that water wants to kill me. Rain is especially bad, because it gets on you. Water is scary. Also, it makes you cold, which I do not like.
Now, at the risk of sounding totally defensive, there are lots of things I'm not scared of—dogs, spiders, heights, public speaking, thunderstorms, snakes, elevators, and buttons* are some of the things I'm not scared of. My catalogue of irrational fears is short. It's tidy, and almost manageable. It is as follows:
-Water you can't see the bottom of
So, in honor of fear, The Replacement features both kinds of water. Also, underground parties, dead things, music, kissing, and something on fire. But no clear plastic.
Thanks so much for having me, Andrea—I'll be seeing you on my blog in October!
Monday, September 6, 2010
I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on Brenna Yovanoff’s The Replacement, the second release of Penguin’s 2010 Breathless Reads (in stores September 21!).
This book is extraordinary – a word I don’t use lightly. What’s fascinating about Yovanoff’s novel is its originality and compelling juxtaposition of chilling moments with incredibly poignant scenes. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a horror novel with a sweet side, but The Replacement manages to be both frightening and moving.
Mackie Doyle is a unique and sympathetic protagonist – a changeling who is struggling to suppress his fey origins so that he can survive in the human world. Just like Mackie, the town of Gentry is hiding its own secrets. The setting is wonderfully mysterious and spine-shiveringly wrought. I was fascinated by Mackie’s dark hometown at the same time I was repelled by its horrors.
The Replacement’s gruesome creatures have their own stories and journeys, each of which adds more layers of complexity to the world Yovanoff has built. Within these pages you won’t find clear cut boundaries between good and evil, but instead a world shaded in greys – some silvery, others thick as fog – this ambiguity rings true, making the choices, struggles, and triumphs of the novel’s characters all the more real.
Should you pick up The Replacement, and I hope you will, you’ll be entranced by a strange, sublime world and a story that stays with you long after you turn the final page.