Saturday, July 31, 2010

Currently Reading

I am currently reading Falcon Quinn and the Black Mirror by Jennifer Finney Boylan and....
Just thought I'd let you know...LOL.
So what are you reading? Any good books on your list? Post your replies in the comments below!

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Sorta Like A Rock Star

Amber Appleton is a terrific leader who struggles through being homeless very well. But when her mother dies, her world falls apart. Not even 18 yet, she wonders how God could be so cruel. But time and wonderful friends help her overcome that. When her dog, and her best friend, Bobby Big Boy, has cancer and needs an operation done, the entire communtity comes together to pull off raising MORE than enough money for the opperation, and lots for her to go to college with.
A great story about a good soul, Matthew Quick did not disappoint. Teen and pre-teen girls everywhere will find this a heartwarming story of a true fighter. A true Rockstar of Hope.

Friday, July 30, 2010

New Room

I really, really need a new bedroom, so any sites that's giving away free room stuff, any sites that has a new room contest, or any donations (items or money) you are willing to send me would be greatly appreciated! Just leave a comment below and I'll get back to you. Thank you!

Degrassi: The Boiling Point

The hottest show this summer is definatly Degrassi: The Boiling Point. Things are heating up all over Degrassi. For previous Degrassi-lovers, The Boiling Point will not dissappoint, and for new Degrassi fans, you'll be hooked from the first minute of it. KC's mom is back from jail, ready to take KC in as her own, Riley and Drew both want to be QB1, Ali likes Drew, Clare likes Eli (who is like OMG! To die for! LOL), Sav and Holley J both want to be president, Fiona's new boyfriend, Bobby, is hurting her, Declan is cheating on Holly J, Holly J, Anya, and Sav are saying Anya is pregnaunt, The Dot gets burned down, Emma and Spinner get married, and much, much, more drama!
New episodes every weeknight at 9p on Teen Nick!

What I Like About You

 (Total of 4 seasons)

What I Like About You is a popular TV sitcom, about two sisters, Valerie "Val" Tyler (Jennie Garth) and Holly Tyler (Amanda Bynes), that was originally featured on the WB television channel, but now can be seen on ABC Family and Teen Nick. Holly always gets into a bit of trouble, but her loving sister gets her out of it - most times.
For people who like the classic Amanda Bynes-style comedy, Full House, and other shows like it, I'd suggest you check out What I Like About You if you are over the age of 12.
Watch What I Like About You:
Weekdays at 9a/8c on ABC Family
Weeknights at 8p/7c on Teen Nick and Weeknights at 10p on Teen Nick

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Matthew Quick Interview

 How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I’ve completed eight novels, abandoned dozens, and have sold three thus far. Hard to pick a favorite. Each novel is special to me for different reasons. I imagine it’s like trying to pick your favorite child or student. If you do have a favorite, you probably shouldn’t admit it.


Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer?
Write a lot. Read even more. Know who you are and write accordingly. Listen when people give you writing rules, but ultimately you will have to make your own rules. A lot of young writers will try to write what they think others want them to write or in imitation of the novelists they admire. You can learn a lot from other writers and we all have influences, but you have to find your own voice. I’ve been telling young people to write about what they love. Don’t be afraid to be emotionally vulnerable. Be human. Be you.

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I receive reader e-mails from all sorts of people who have enjoyed my work. I’m always delighted and honored. I haven’t received any hate mail yet. (Knock on wood.) Writing is challenging and so it’s always nice to get some encouragement. If you like a book—especially a book written by an author whose e-mail address is listed—PLEASE take the time to let the author know. They may not be able to e-mail you a personal response, but your encouragement will always mean a lot to them. Trust me. It’s important to keep people writing.

Do you like to create books for adults?
Yes, very much. I write for teens and adults, and I don’t change my approach all that much. A good story is a good story.

What do you think makes a good story?
Depends on the story you are trying to tell. There are many different types of stories. With SORTA LIKE A ROCK STAR I tried to offer the reader a powerful emotional experience. My favorite stories always stir up all sorts of emotions and make me feel intensely human. There are many ways to accomplish this.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I thought I might play in the NBA, but then I stopped growing, was benched at the beginning of my sophomore year, and never started another game. I wanted to be a writer back then too, but I became a high school English teacher instead. When I turned thirty, I quit teaching and started writing full-time.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Believing that there really would be appreciative readers. It takes a lot of faith to write a novel and see it through the acquisition and editorial process. Your faith gets tested many times along the way. You have to believe in the story you are trying to tell or no one else will. Sometimes it’s hard to believe.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
SORTA LIKE A ROCK STAR is fiction, but real-life events and people I admire tremendously inspired the creation of many characters and scenes. Like I said above, write what you love. Allow yourself to be emotionally vulnerable. Be human. Be you.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Be kind to yourself. Be kind to other writers. Encourage other people and surround yourself with people who will keep you going during the tough periods. My wife is also a novelist, so she understands the ups and downs of the writing life. She is also my best friend and fiercest supporter. She believes in me more than I do. So when it’s time to make a romantic commitment, make sure you yoke yourself to the right person. Essential advice for the writing life. Wrong life partner and you are sunk. Same goes for best friends and confidants. If they aren’t encouraging you, you are in trouble.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for reading my work, all you kind and beautiful people!

Search for Matthew Quick

Peter Howe Interview


 1. how have your personal experiences affected your writing?

Since the book is based upon a puppy my wife and I rescued from Central

Park my experiences are central to the Waggit books.

> 2. what genre of books do you like to read? do you limit yourself to only

> the genre that you write yourself?

No, I like lots of different novel, middle grade, YA and adult. I like

Neil Gaiman very much. I also like to read history especially military

history (I'm a boy after all!)

> 3. were you always good at writing?

I always liked writing. I'll leave it up to the judgement of my readers as

to whether or not I'm good at it.

> 4. how do you get started with writing a story (as in, how do you start

> developing the story, how do you get inspired for it)

Waggit started out based on real life events. The ones I'm working on now

come straight out of that weird place called imagination, but you have to

know what you want to write about before you start.

> 5. what advice would you give to people who "run out of creativity" when

> writing?

I always take a walk by myself but with my dogs or I exercise, like

swimming or on the elliptical machine. Eating seems to help as well!


Sally Warner Interview

1. What is it like being an artist?

I am not active in the visual arts (drawing) any longer, even though my drawings are on my site. My optic nerves were damaged due to a serious illness some years back, and while I'm fine, really, I can't do that kind of work now. It is a sadness to me, and it was a privilege being able to do the drawings, and I hope to find another kind of art I can do some day, maybe collage, when I'm not as busy with writing as I am now. My writing career came along just in time! I am grateful for that.

2. What is it like being an author?
I love being an author for many reasons. But honestly, you have to like working alone without any feedback, you have to be able to revise, revise, revise, and you have to be able to stand being rejected--sometimes a lot. But you also get to tell stories. One of the things I like best about writing is that I can think as long as I want to about something, and then say everything I want without being interrupted. (There are lots of interruptions in life today.)

3. Which do you like better?
I liked drawing then, and I like writing now. I try to love whatever I'm doing.

4. How old were you when you had your first book published?
42. Old, to be starting out! But I'm not sure I had as much to say before then, and anyway, I was busy drawing, teaching, exhibiting my work around the country, and being a mom

5. How many schools have you visited?
I don't visit many schools, even though I would love to, because for me, it takes too much time and energy away from my work. Instead, I sometimes teach workshops and speak at writers' conferences for adults.

6. When did you start to take art seriously?
I started to take art seriously when I was very young, but certainly by the time I was 16 or so. Probably younger.

7. If you could live in your own world, what would it be like? What would it be called?
I like this world, but if I could live in this world the way I would like to (at least for a while) I would travel more, and comfortably: Rome at least once a year, NYC maybe twice a year, Pittsburgh (to see one of my sons) twice a year, Santa Fe at least once a year, and Finland every couple of years. And I'd have lots of money to give away to my favorite causes, most of which involve children. I'd even set up a foundation! But I'd keep who was giving the money away a secret...

8. What's your favorite color?
Gray, because it's so beautiful with other colors, and because I love clouds so much. (I also love coral and teal, but gray is my favorite.) (Maybe that's why I loved drawing with charcoal!)

9. What inspires you? Both for your art pieces and writings.
Art: I was always inspired by nature. Writing: Human behavior, and loving people, and how funny and sad they can be. Also, caring about kids.

10. Is there anything else you would like to say or have put on my blog?
No, except that I think blogs are great, and I wish they'd been around when I was your age! I would definitely have had one!
Search for Sally Warner

Carol Weston Interview

 1. What is needed for a story to be good?

A good story has to have a plot but really it needs a voice. The reader must feel that she knows and cares about the characters. My four Melanie Martin novels were all set in different countries (Italy, Holland, Spain, U.S.) but it was Melanie's plucky personality that made them vivid.

2. Till now how many books have you written?

I have written twelve published books and I'm working on two right now. Six of my books are advice for girls; four are novels for kids; two are for adults (How to Honeymoon and From Here to Maternity). I also write the "Dear Carol" column of Girls' Life Magazine and have been the advice columnist since GL's start in 1994.

3. How much time do you take to finish a book?

I write fairly fast. I edit very slowly. For a while, I was writing one book a year. But I'm also a mom and wife and friend, and I like to spend time away from my desk too.

4. Where do you get ideas for your writing?

Everywhere. The last book began after I'd been the judge of a short story contest for kids at the New York Society Library in New York City. All those young writers were having so much fun writing whereas I had been thinking of writing as work. The kids got me re-energized, and my new character, Ava Wren, was born. She's a word nerd...

5. Tell about your first book?

GIRLTALK, All the Stuff Your Sister Never Told You has been out for over 25 years and came out in over ten languages. I wrote it when I was in my mid-twenties. I'd majored in French and Spanish Literature at Yale and I wanted to be a Writer with a capital W, but what did I know about? Well, I knew about surviving adolescence. I wrote Girltalk as if I'd suddenly noticed that I had a younger sister, and I wanted to tell her EVERYTHING I knew. I'm proud of that book and of how it has helped people.

6. What is the hardest part of writing?

Getting started and then selling the work. Writing, when you are in the zone, is great. It's how most people feel when they are in the middle of reading a good book-- they want to get back to it. I'm also lucky in that I'm not a shy retiring writer. I like talking at schools, being on TV, and answering female email -- when it isn't too overwhelming.

7. Is there anything else you'd like to say or have me put on my blog?

I hope girls age 8 to 12 will travel with Melanie Martin and her brother Matt the Brat, and I hope older girls will look for Girltalk. Also, general advice to girls, be as smart and kind as you can. Don't just give your heart away or be in a mad rush to grow up. Enjoy these years!

And please join my page at

Check her out at these other sites, too!



Adriana Trigiani Interview

 1. What were some interesting exercises that you did to develop your characters? Well, Tasha, I have, for many years

now (since I was 13) kept notebooks- with names- and snippets of stories- newspaper clippings- whatever I come across- these notebooks expand to become files- and then, I gather objects of interest- When I was working on the Valentine series, I had all manners of swatches and tools to make shoes on my desk. The collection varies from subject to subject.

2. Why did you choose writing as a career? I loved to read as a girl, and eventually the love of reading took root in me so

deeply that it compelled me to become a writer.

3. If you could switch places with one person in your book, who would it be? I'd like to be Bartolomeo De Crespi in Rococo for one day!

4. Do you actually take the time to read your fan mail? Yes, Every single letter- and now Facebook. And I respond to each letter!

5. If your house was on fire, what are the first things that you would grab as you ran out the door? First my daughter and husband- and then- a little bank, a small iron house- which I promised my grandmother I would grab in a fire- it belonged to her mother, and she cherished it.

6.How did you get through it all? Sleep- eating well and running. And lots of times- I just relax entirely- and put my feet up.

7.How many times were you rejected before someone decided to publish your book? In my career, I have had a lot of rejection- and I still deal with criticism and rejection- it is part of the job. Having said that, there isn't any criticism that I have ever received that tops the joy I have from my work. So you see, like all things in life, you persevere beyond the obvious, and that's where the treasure lies.

8.Did you want to publish a book and write one, or did you write the book and decide to get it published? Big Stone Gap was my first novel- and it began as a screenplay. Since then, the books have been rooted in the novel form. I was lucky- I worked on Big Stone Gap many years before it was published. I look back on the time spent and I'm very grateful for it.

9.Why did you dedicate it to the person you did? I dedicate my books to people who have made me see the world in wonder and joy.

In every instance, it's a big thank you.

10.Did you doubt your book? I never doubt my work. I doubt myself sometimes, and the world, but it's best to work from a place of joy, openess, receptivity and kindness. I remember to be good to myself- and to finish the job- and to enjoy every aspect of writing. It is work, but it is also so gratifying that it makes up for the toil!


Carl Deuker Interview

 Where are you from? I was born in San Francisco, raised in Redwood City, CA, but have lived for more than 30 years in Seattle. I consider Seattle my home.

Tell us your latest news? Payback Time, my most recent book, comes out in September. I'm hard at work on a new story now as well.

When and why did you begin writing? I started writing in high school. A friend of mine wrote "songs" and shared them. I've been hooked ever since. I have no other creative talents whatsoever. Can't sing, can't play music, can't draw--so writing is my only possible outlet.

When did you first consider yourself a writer? That feeling comes and goes. Sometimes, when I'm struggling with a story, I wonder if I am one. At other times, when things are going well, I think "I know how to do this."

What inspired you to write your first book? I had started many books and had failed to finish them. I got the (for me) great idea of stealing the plot of Dr. Faustus and changing the setting to a high school basketball team. Sounds strange, but that's what Damn Yankees did as well.

Do you have a specific writing style? I try to be invisible. I'd like the reader never to think of the author as he/she reads. I use first person narratives and hope that it sounds like a real person recounting real events.

How did you come up with the title? The title was definitely a joint effort among Houghton Mifflin editors, publicity people, and me. Now that it's set, I like it, but I'd be hard pressed to tell you where it came from.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? Oh, I suppose the message is that life is very complicated and that it's important not to be too quick to judge or too certain of first impressions.

How much of the book is realistic? The "mystery" part is based on events that did take place. I read about some gang problems in Philly, and that's what got the plot going. Nothing is beyond the realm . . . I hope!

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? Payback Time is definitely based on gang events that took place in Philadelphia in the early 2000's.

What books have most influenced your life most? A book called Jason's Women gave me the idea to try Young Adult fiction, a field I hadn't considered. I don't think I'd have ever published anything if I hadn't made the switch. I love to read Moby Dick every few years. Basically, though, I'm a classic English major. I read all the time and admire many, many writers.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? John Tunis moves his stories along, and I try to do the same. He also makes sure his "sports" novels do indeed have sports action in them.

What book are you reading now? I am just finishing Vanity Fair. I've been on a long book run--Les Miserables, Hunchback of Notre Dame. I'm planning on Bleak House next.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Arthur Phillips is new to me. He writes involved mysteries from multiple perspectives for adults. I'm in awe of his talent.

What are your current projects? I'm working on a basketball book with a charismatic coach who also has dubious morals as the focal point.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members. Definitely Ann Rider, who has edited all my books. She has been wonderful.

Do you see writing as a career? For me, making writing a full-time career has always seemed beyond my ability. I don't write quickly; I don't have thousands of ideas; I don't like to travel and do school visits very often. So, I've been very content to write an hour or so a day, publish a book every 2-3 years, and continue to teach as I write.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? I'm sure there is something I'd like to change on every single page, but as for the overall structure -- I'm pleased with that.

Carl Deuker

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

To Fetch A Thief

I'd give To Fetch a Thief by Spencer Quinn two thumbs up. I loved Chet, the dog/narrarator/detective, and Peanut, the elephant. The espanol (Spanish) in the book was also well thought out and helped me with my Spanish, as it will for you.
It's sort of sad that - never mind. I don't want to spoil it for you. Let's just say someone(s) die.
About a circus elephant, her trainer, her captors, and the Little Detective Agency, To Fetch A Thief hits stores September 28th, 2010.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Search for Shakira 

 Shakira is one of my favorite singers. Her Latin style gives all her songs a good rhythm which is great to dance to, sing to, or just to have fun to! Also a talented actress (She guest stared on Wizards [of Waverly Place] on Disney Channel with other pop sensation/actress, Selena [Gomez]), Shakira is extremely talented. Waka Waka (Time for Africa) was the 2010 FIFA World Cup Soccer Tournament's theme song, a major accomplishment for Shakira, being how the FIFA World Cup is THE MOST WATCHED SPORT TOURNAMENT IN THE WORLD!!!!! So, Congratulations, Shakira!!!!! :)
She has also been featured on many "mixed" CDs, like Now That's What I Call Music and Kids Bop. I suggest all people wanting to have fun, party, and dance get her CDs.

Lady GaGa

Search for lady gaga 
  What do you think of Lady GaGa? Tell me below!!

Most people think Lady Gaga is a girl and a guy, who likes girls and guys. SHE IS 100% Female! Her mom said! And she was born a girl, just thought I'd clear that up.

Born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, on March 20, 1986, the 24-year-old, now better known as Lady GaGa, has wowed crowds with her spectacular preformances and stellar costumes. I, myself, have not yet been to one of her concerts, but have tickets for her 2011 Monster Ball Tour in Feburary when it comes to Baltimore, MD (or am I going to the one in DC? hmm...) I love her songs, the beat especially, though the lyrics are a bit "mature", so I would not reccommend her for young kids. People 14 and up, have my permisson to listen to her (LOL).

To stay in the GaGa loop, you can follow her on Twitter ( @LadyGaGa ) or on Facebook, or on any of her fan sites, or her site.

Now That's What I Call Music

Search for Now That's What I Call Music

     (For CDs below Now 24, search on Amazon
A great
blend of all types of music, for most ages, Now That's What I Call Music is a terrific CD. I only own 2 copies (Now 32 and 31) and I LOVE them! I would totally recommend them! They have a variety of genres, so everyone likes something!

Marijane Meaker/Vin Packer/ M.E. Kerr/ Mary James/ Ann Aldrich Interview

Search for vin packer Search for marijane meaker 

Search for ann aldrich
Search for mary james 

Search for m.e. kerr
1.Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

My father was a prolific reader and my mother was a world class gossip. I think the two made me a writer.

2.Can you share a little of your current work with us?

I am working on a book about sorority life in the 1950's in a

midwestern university.

3.Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Every new book is challenging. How will I tell this story? How will I begin it? What is my agenda? How will it end? What will my characters be like. All of that.

4.Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

I have many favorites. Barbara Vine, Christopher Hitchens, Robert Cormier,Allegra Goodman etc.etc.

5.Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

I have already traveled quite a lot with my family and as an adult.

But I do not write anything that depends on travel.

6.Who designed the covers?

The art department. I have an o.k. and I use it a lot.

7.What was the hardest part of writing your book?

It depends on the book. Books that require research are hard. My present book requires a knowledge of Poe. I am rereading many of

his stories and poems.

8.Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I have learned from every book and I have written 60. The one thing I've learned is the value of rewrite.

9.Do you have any advice for other writers?

Read, read, read. And learn the value of rewrite.

10.Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Thanks for reading me.

Marijane Meaker/Vin Packer/ M.E. Kerr/ Mary James/ Ann Aldrich.


Simone Elkeles Interview

 1. What's your favorite color? Hmmm. . . my favorite color to wear is black (because it's slimming), but my favorite color is probably blue.

2. What's your favorite food? Just like my character Amy in the How to Ruin series, my favorite food is SUSHI!! Really, I could eat it every day.

3. What's your favorite book? I could never choose. I didn't like reading as a teen, but as an adult, I've fallen in love with reading, especially romance novels.

4. What's your favorite movie? I have several favorites: The Cutting Edge, She’s the Man, and Sixteen Candles.

5. What's your favorite band/singer? I have a lot of favorites! I put quite a few of them on the playlist I made for Perfect Chemistry which you can find on

6. How old were you when you published your first book? I was in my early 30s.

7. What would your dream house be like? I don't mean to sound like a boring grown-up, but my favorite house would be one that's completely paid for! Mortgages are not fun!

8. How old are you? I turned 40 this year! I'm SO OLD! Although, I got one of the best birthday presents ever this year. My book, Rules of Attraction, hit the New York Times and USA Today Bestseller lists!

9. What's your favorite store? Any place that sells books.

10. Is there anything else you would like to say or have me put on my blog for you? My next book, Return to Paradise, the sequel to Leaving Paradise, will be out in mid September. Caleb and Maggie thought they had said goodbye to each other for good, but they were wrong!


    Check out Simone at her website at:

Monday, July 26, 2010

Michael Spradlin Interview

1. What's your favorite color? Chartreuse


> 2. Did you take Art in middle school? Yes, we had a mandatory art class. I was

never any good at

anything artistically speaking, but I did learn the primary colors.


> 3. Did you ever get in trouble in art class? The easier question to answer

would be: What class

didn't you get in trouble in? Hmmm. I'll get back to you.


> 4. Do you prefer to write books or draw books? Well since I can't draw a lick,

I'll go with write.


> 5. Which of your books is your favorite? That's an impossible question for any

author to answer. It

would be like asking to choose my favorite child. Since I try to improve with

each book, I always

answer that my favorite is the one I'm currently writing.


> 6. How many books have you published? Lucky thirteen so far with three more

coming out this fall.
Search for michael spradlin


> 7. Does it take more time to write or draw a book? I would think it depends.

In a picture book,

undoubtedly it takes longer for the art.


> 8. Pirates or ninjas? Pinjas


> 9. What's your favorite food? Anything that tastes like chicken


> 10. Thank you! Is there anything else you'd like to say/have me put

> on my blog? Just I hope your readers will try and enjoy one of my books.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Barabra Quick Interview

 -Which of your books was the easiest/hardest to write?

NORTHERN EDGE, my first novel, was by far the hardest to write. It took me 10 years and 13 complete drafts! As I've learned more about the craft of writing and storytelling, each successive book has become a little--I won't say "easier," because novels are a lot of work and take a lot of planning and/or research. But each successive book has become more of a joy for me--and joy, I guess, gives the illusion of ease.

Northern Edge: A Novel of Survival in Alaska's Arctic

- Which of your books is your favourite?

That's like asking a mother which is her favorite child! Hmm. I love A GOLDEN WEB. But VIVALDI'S VIRGINS holds a very special place in my heart. Each of my books, both the fiction and the nonfiction, has taught me something tremendously important--something I needed to bring with me to the next stage of my writing career.

- Which of your characters is your favourite?

I love Alessandra in A GOLDEN WEB. And I really adore Otto, her fiance, who turned out to be so much like the man I later met and fell in love with--my fiance now... Alessandra's brother Nicco is someone I would like to have in my court--I really loved creating him.

I love Anna Maria in VIVALDI'S VIRGINS. I also love Anna Maria's friend Silvio, and the Jewish seamstress, Rebekkah. And Sister Laura. And Vivaldi, of course! I love the villain, too: La Befana.

You know, a writer has to love all her characters, or else they won't come to life. Did you ever read the kids' book, "The Velveteen Rabbit"? It's kind of like that: make-believe friends become real when you love them.

- Which of your characters is most/least like you, and in what way(s)?

Oh, I put a lot of myself into both Anna Maria and Alessandra. I felt lonely and abandoned as a child. And I also felt like an adult trapped in a child's body until I managed to move away from home, at the age of 17, and started college at UC Santa Cruz. Anna Maria's yearning is mine. And Alessandra's pluckiness is mine, too. I think life is too short not to be brave every single day. That's what it takes to be the best version of yourself you can be. Every day requires courage.

- Which of your characters would you most/least to invite to dinner, and why?

Interesting question! When I'm writing a novel, I'm basically living with my characters morning, noon, and night. I might like to have Mondino de' Luzzi, Alessandra's mentor and the father of modern anatomy, over for dinner--although I bet you anything he'd be very smelly. Europeans didn't do much in the way of washing in the 14th century. But it would be fascinating not only to talk to him about Medieval science, such as it was, but to see his face as I told him about how far science and technology have come in the past 700 years. Can you imagine someone like that confronted with Skype, or Google, or even a dishwasher? Even an aspirin and its medicinal powers would amaze him--to say nothing of antibiotics or automobiles or electric lights...

- What would your ideal career be, if you couldn't be an author?

I've always been interested in biomedical research--and I often wake up in the morning with some theory or another about how to cure some terrible disease. Maybe that's why I was so drawn to Alessandra's story--and lived out my fantasy a little bit through her career in medicine.

I think I have a pretty good ear for music (even though the only instrument I play is the fountain pen!). I could imagine being a classical musician, which is what allowed me to enter into Anna Maria's heart and soul.

I guess I'll write about a dancer someday, because I've had a lot of dance training and I absolutely love to dance--any kind of dance! I like acting, too. The truth is that being a fiction writer allows me to be whatever I want to be, far beyond the limits of my ability, training, and limited time on this earth.

- If you were to do your career as an author again, what would you do differently, and why?

Did you just hear me sigh? I would have had an easier time if I had gone to graduate school, either in literature or (ugh!) creative writing. I did it the hard way--and it's still a bit hard, in terms of actually making a decent living as a novelist.

VIVALDI'S VIRGINS has been translated into 14 languages--but my income is a joke. If I hadn't quit my day job so soon... If I'd been less exuberant and optimistic and saved more... If I didn't love traveling quite so much... But, then again, I would be someone else, in that case. So I have to say, I wouldn't do anything differently--but I wish that everything hadn't been quite such a struggle.

- Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?

Oh, yes--of course I read them! I get Google Alerts anytime my name or the name of one of my novels appears on the Internet. I'm wildly grateful for the good reviews--and feel terribly injured if someone is less than complimentary about my work, or misunderstands it. Of course, it's ridiculous to take reviews personally--but it's almost impossible not to do so.

What I have found to be true is the old adage about any publicity being good publicity. People don't generally remember what a review says--they just remember that your book was reviewed.

- Have you ever been surprised by a controversy among fans or reviewers - for example, you created a character without thinking too much about what people would think of him, and found some readers loved him and some hated him?

There was a controversy generated in Italy when that country's highest literary prize, the Premio Strega, went to a novel that a newspaper columnist there and several others said was a direct rip-off of VIVALDI'S VIRGINS. Here I was, struggling to stay financially afloat when this novelist--who even had the nerve to say in his acknowledgments that he did his research by reading my novel!--got a great huge cash prize.


- Have you ever written anything that you thought would be controversial and found it wasn't?


- Which question are you most sick of answering in interviews?

A lot of bloggers have asked me what my inspiration was for writing a particular novel. I answer that question in some depth on my web sites--but, of course, I answer the question, anyway, for the interviews. I always try to find something new to say. But, like most writers, I pretty much love talking about my work.

I hope these answers will work well for you, Tasha. You asked really good questions! Please provide links to my web sites and blogs (see below). If you send me a link to your interview when it's posted, I'll put it up on my HarperCollins microsite. I hope you'll read both novels--and, of course, I hope you'll love them!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Blog Help - all of my blogs Hello!

My name is TashaNicole and I am the very sad owner of Land Of Magic.

I changed one of my former blogs into something I would use, but I am in way over my head now.


If you would like to help me by posting to any of my blogs (I have 9 or 10), please just reply to this or send my a PM with your e-mail, or e-mail me your e-mail. My e-mail along with my other blogs can be found on my blogger profile, which you can find by clicking the "About Me, complete profile" part of this blog.

Like I said, I really need your help! And I truly appreciate it if you do help.

So send me a message (PM, comment, or e-mail) about which blog you want to help out with (it can be more than one- I appreciate the help! Plus, PrincessReview helpers get special gifts, sorta like a paycheck) and your e-mail. Then I'll e-mail you the invitation to join. Just click the link, log in or make an account with Google, and ta-da! Start helping and posting!

Sophie Masson Interview

 1.How much of the book is realistic? Well, as far as Venice is real--and I've

visited it--the setting

is realistic. Emilia Lanier who appears at the beginning is also a real person,

as is the Doge of

Venice. Otherwise, the other characters and of course the events are fiction!


> 2.Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? No.

But inspired by

Shakespeare's plays 'The Merchant of Venice' and 'Romeo and Juliet.'


> 3.What books have most influenced your life most? I've read so many books it's

hard to say! But

basically as a reader I was very influenced by Shakespeare--by Agatha

Christie--by Alexandre

Dumas--by AA Milne--by Anya Seton--by Charlotte Bronte--by Mary Stewart--by John


Enid Blyton--really, all kinds of influences! I devoured everything as a child

and still read hugely



> 4.If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? If you could

choose anyone

at all, I'd choose to 'shadow' Shakespeare back in his own time--how wonderful

would it be to time-



> 5.What book are you reading now? Right now I'm reading 'King Solomon's ines'

by Barbara Vine-

-a very creepy suspense novel.


> 6.Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Well, I enjoyed

reading Anna

Godbersen's series of 'Luxe' books not long ago!

> 7.What are your current projects?

I'm working on three different projects at once! A novel set in World War One

about a girl whose

soldier father goes missing; a novel about the adolescence of Australia's most

famous 'bushranger'

or armed robber, Ned Kelly; and a thriller set in Russia.


> 8.Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members. My

English teacher in

high school, Mrs Leaf, was absolutely encouraging and very inspiring. Though I

was already a

great reader, she opened me to a world of wonderful literature I might not have

come across

otherwise, and I am very grateful to her. I contacted her much later when I was

a published

author and invited her to the launch of one of my books--she was thrilled!


> 9.Do you see writing as a career? Absolutely! It is a wonderful career and one

I wouldn't change

for the world!


> 10.If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your

> latest book? Not really. I'm pretty happy with it as it is!

Balkin Buddies Interview

This is an interview I was honored to have with Balkin Buddies owner Catherine Balkin.

Be sure to check out her site at !!!!

 1. How hard is it getting all the authors' and artists' separated?

Balkin Buddies is located in the New York City area, as are most of the large publishers. But authors and illustrators, as well as other publishers, are scattered all over the country. Schools, libraries, conferences, and other places where authors and artists give their presentations are also all over the country. So it’s not hard to separate everyone. In fact, many authors, artists, teachers, librarians, and publishers go to conferences to meet each other and communicate face-to-face. Bringing authors and artists face-to-face with children is also the goal of onsite author appearances and online author chats. Children gain insights into the processes involved in writing, illustrating, researching, and publishing that makes reading and learning a richer experience for them.

2. Is it just you that works for Balkin Buddies?

Yes, Balkin Buddies is a one-person operation. Of course, that doesn’t count the 90 authors and illustrators on the Balkin Buddies website, but without them, Balkin Buddies could not exist.

3. How could someone join Balkin Buddies to help?

Although no staff openings are available at this time, anyone who is willing to recommend Balkin Buddies or any of the Balkin Buddies authors and artists to schools, universities, libraries, educational or library conference organizers, or museums, we would greatly appreciate it.

4 & 5. About how many authors do you have? About how many artists do you have?

I work with authors and illustrators in a variety of ways. For some, I set up onsite appearances in schools, libraries, and at conferences. This means I coordinate dates, negotiate honorariums (depending on location, number of programs requested, etc.), write contracts, and occasionally do invoicing, depending on the needs of the author or artist. For this type of service, I work with 44 authors, 5 illustrators, and 12 people who are both author and illustrator.

For others, I set up online chats (usually via Skype, iChat, or whatever system a particular university has). This means, I coordinate dates (for test runs and the chat itself), write contracts, and do occasional invoicing, again depending on the needs of the author or artist. For this type of service, I currently work with 38 authors and 9 illustrators, but nearly 30 of these folks I also set up onsite appearances in schools, etc.

Furthermore, for 14 authors and 4 illustrators, I don't set up onsite appearances for them directly, but there are links to their websites on my website. For about 4 of them, I also set up online chats.

For all of my authors and illustrators in every category, I go to library and educational conferences to promote them. I also give talks about author appearances at various conferences and occasionally do mailings and online marketing.

6. How many speaking engagements do you set up daily?

There is no set number. I promote my authors to teachers, professors, school and public librarians, students going for degrees in teaching and library science, conference organizers, and other related folks who defy categorization but tend to fit into all of them. I promote my list of authors and illustrators as a whole and then wait for schools and libraries, etc. to contact me for whichever author or artist they fancy. Whenever asked, I recommend authors and artists who fit the particular needs of the school, library, etc.

I didn’t start setting up online chats until the economic crisis. When that happened, budgets suffered and traditional onsite appearances slowed down considerably. Recently, they have begun to pick up again. However, I’m continuing to set up online chats, as they are more affordable and I believe they are the wave of the future.

7. Which author are you most honored to work for?

I would have to say that I’m honored to work with all of them. The authors and artists I work with are skilled at speaking to children as well as adults. Speaking to an audience is a separate skill from writing or illustrating, so it’s an honor to work with so many multi-talented people.

8. Your site is well organized. Do you update it daily?

I have no set schedule for updating the Balkin Buddies website. Sometimes I update it daily, but sometimes it’s four or five times a day, while other times it’s weekly or monthly. It depends wholly on the information that comes into my office. Whenever an author or illustrator has a new book out, I put it on my website as soon as I learn about it. If an author or illustrator wants to change their bio, has won a new award or honor, is working with a new publisher, or has a new presentation description, I add them to my website. When you look at my site, you’ll find that I also add articles, links, and other information to various sections that I believe authors, artists, educators, and librarians will find useful. There is a good deal of information under the ‘Arrange an appearance’ bubble, for example, even about such things as obtaining grants and how to find an agent.

9. Did you ever think you would be working for so many authors and artists?

As a child, I loved books and knew I wanted a career in publishing by the age of ten. My goal was to learn about publishing and work with authors and artists. As a result, I worked in children’s book publishing for nearly 20 years (Macmillan, Hyperion/Disney, HarperCollins), and among other things, I spent a number of those years working on setting up appearances and arranging conferences. Creating Balkin Buddies was a natural offshoot of that.

10. Is there anything else you'd like to say?

It’s a privilege to work in a field that makes a difference in children’s lives. They are the future of America, and we at Balkin Buddies (the authors, the artists, and I) hope to contribute to that future in as positive a manner as possible. Furthermore, over the years, we have met countless teachers and librarians who share this goal, and we are grateful for their support and dedication.