Both Charlie, the narrator of Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and I grew up during the 90's. I'm a few years younger than he is, but we speak the same language of shared cultural experiences. The highs and lows of Charlie's first year in high school, those moments that shape his friendship with Sam and Patrick, remain relatable to both teens and adult years after the novel was first published. This is one of the best books I've read. (Like, ever.) There are great truths in it.
The film adaptation of The Perks of Being a Wallflower had its first public screening at TIFF over the weekend. We're on pins and needles here at Indigo, as we're all super excited for this movie. (Charlie has friends beyond Team Teen wishing him well.)
When Simon & Schuster Canada asked us if we'd like to interview the author/director, all of Team Teen collaborated on the questions. Welcome Stephen Chbosky to the blog!
Indigo Teen Blog (ITB): It has been roughly 12 years since The Perks of Being a Wallflower was written. What do you hope this new generation of readers will gleam from this story?
Stephen Chbosky (SC): I want young people to find validation of and respect for what they go through every day. I wanted to show the great times and infinite times as well as the tougher things that people rarely talk about. All of those things are part of growing up, and I want young people to see the movie and read the book and know they are not alone.
ITB: The letters/diary format is so personal and intrinsic to the novel. How does this form work into the film?
SC: Charlie's letters proved to be as intrinsic to the movie as they were to the novel. Of course, the novel is highly subjective since it's all written in Charlie's voice. So, I needed to find the right cinematic language to tell the same story and characters objectively. But his letters are still the cornerstone of the story. And they still remain the most personal writing I've ever done. I loved writing new letter passages for the movie. It's been awhile since I wrote in Charlie's voice.
ITB: The Perks of Being a Wallflower is so closely tied to the music of its time-setting. Are there songs today that Charlie could connect with as strongly?
SC: Charlie would love The Swell Season, Mumford & Sons, Phoenix, Coldplay, The Strokes, Bon Iver, Landon Pigg, Brandi Carlile, Regina Spektor (especially "Samson"), Fun., Stars (especially "Your Ex-Lover Is Dead"), Imagine Dragons (especially "It's Time"), and so many other great artists. I would break your server answering this question if I did not stop myself now. But I have to add that he would have discovered The Tragically Hip's "Ahead by a Century" by now, and his life would be better for it.
ITB: You’re both a screenwriter and a prose writer. When you wrote the novel, did you find yourself envisioning parts of it as they would adapt to screen, or are prose writing and screenwriting two very separate processes for you?
SC: My dream was always to write the book and then make the movie. So, when I wrote the moment when all the kids run after the sunset after the last day of school, I hoped someday I would get to film it. The same goes for the moment when Charlie holds his hands up in the tunnel. Filming that was a dream come true. As for prose writing and screenwriting, they are completely different processes. Writing a novel is closer to the process of directing for me. It's about creating a world and a tone and an intimate connection with the reader (or viewer). The process of writing a screenplay is more difficult because you don't have 213 pages, but you have just as much story to tell. So, you have to constantly focus the story and when you can, find the picture that's worth the thousand words.
ITB: One of my favourite parts of the novel is when Charlie describes feeling infinite. Would you share with us a time that you felt that way?
SC: I felt infinite the day my daughter was born. And the day I married my wife. But since those are very private to me, I will share another story about Perks. We were shooting the first tunnel scene. I was in the camera car. Emma Watson was in the truck. And on the last run of the night, something magical happened. For whatever reason, Emma let go in that moment, and as she put her arms in the air, I realized that I had never seen more joy on a young person's face. My young friend was completely free and happy and alive. I felt infinite in that moment just witnessing it. I will never forget that moment as long as I live.
ITB: This is more of a comment that maybe you can speak to. Throughout our lives we develop many coping mechanisms to protect ourselves. When we become teens, it is the first time that we really begin to see the world in a new way and find that our coping mechanisms no longer work. As well, we tend to ponder our place within the world and novels, such as yours, are a way for readers to safely tap into these questions.
SC: Books, songs, and movies are more than entertainment when we're young. They help all of us discover who we are, what we believe, and what we hope our life can be. When I was growing up, movies like Dead Poets Society and The Breakfast Club helped me. Classic films like The Graduate and Rebel Without a Cause did the same. Of course, a lot of what is sold to young people is just entertainment, but every now and then, a great band like The Smiths or a classic book like The Catcher in the Rye comes along and changes how we look at youth.
ITB: What’s your favourite part of The Rocky Horror Picture Show? If you’ve ever gone to a show, who did you dress up as?
SC: My favorite part of Rocky is the beginning of "Time Warp" to the end of "Sweet Transvestite." As far as I'm concerned, that 10 minute sequence is one of the greatest in musical history. Of course, I have gone to dozens of shows, and I always dress as the same person. The shy writer in the audience who worships the performers. My wife likes the look, so I'm sticking with it.
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Thank you again to Stephen Chbosky for taking the time to answer our questions and to our friends at Simon & Schuster Canada for facilitating this Q & A. The Perks of Being A Wallflower opens on September 21st.
Best-selling author of the Wicked Lovely series, Melissa Marr, returns with Carnival of Souls. This new novel is the first of a duology set in a world full of violence, magic, and pacts. Populated with intriguing characters who are fighting to make their lives better, Carnival of Souls is an exploration of the bonds between family and reluctant allies.
Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong will be joined by many other fabulous authors for the three Smart Chicks Kick It 3.0 tour stops across Canada at Chapters Westside in Edmonton (9/13), Chapters Pointe-Claire in Montreal (9/15), and Chapters Dartmouth in Dartmouth (9/16). Please see our events page for more details! If you have an opportunity, you have to go as this will be the last of the Smart Chicks tours. (We met with many of these authors during their first tour, and have this great Indigo Minute from the second tour.)
Welcome, Melissa, to the blog!
Indigo Teen Blog (ITB): Family—mostly adoptive or created family—is a huge theme in Carnival of Souls. (Like with Adam and Mallory or Kaleb and Zevi.) Is blood thicker than water? Or is pack more who you make it to be?
Melissa Marr (MM): I think there are people who get hung up on biology, but I’ve never understood that notion. Love and family are choices. My daughter isn’t of my blood; my son-to-be-born infant won’t be either. I chose to be their mother, just as I chose to be the mother of the son I grew inside my body. I feel no difference between the love I hold for each of them, so I have to conclude that “choice before blood” is the answer.
ITB: One of the things that impressed upon me about Aya was her firm resolve not to have children and the lengths she went to preserve her choice. Since your novels are often about choices, can you tell us more about this one? Did Aya evolve from her world or did the restrictions of her world evolve from her?
MM: I think it was both. In a society decimated by war, for a species fighting for survival, children would be vital. So, in The City, the restrictions on women make sense from a world-building stance. However, women’s rights are limited in so many countries, so gender equity concerns tend to be on my mind a lot. In particular, the legislation stripping away reproductive rights in the past year in the US currently serves as a reminder that we have to remain vigilant even once we get progressive laws—because, as we’re seeing, those rights can be taken away again. So, it’s probably safe to say that Aya’s thread evolved from both the post-war society of the text and my own interests.
ITB: From “The Goblin Market” to Something Wicked This Way Comes to The Night Circus, readers have a fascination with circuses and carnivals. Did you have any historical or literary influences for Carnival of Souls?
MM: I’ve never read The Night Circus, and it’s been years since I read Something Wicked This Way Comes, but “Goblin Market” is one of my most beloved pieces of literature. Rossetti’s writing was what led to my initial “I want to study literature” epiphany, so her “Goblin Market” is undoubtedly an influence. I see more from the non-text influences, though: I attend FaerieCon and FaerieWorlds, and I had been in Italy right before writing this. The FaerieWorlds events are filled with costumed and masked people, artists, food, and music. In Italy were street vendors, the Coliseum, and open-air markets. I think those experiences swirled together to create the carnival in my book, but I won’t ever dismiss the influence of classic lit! Teaching those texts was my career for over a decade.
ITB: I loved Graveminder so much, and I’m eager to see another adult book from you. Can you share anything about The Arrivals?
MM: The Arrivals was such fun to write, but I have no idea what genre it is. My typical explanation is Wild West meets wormhole meets monster-hunters. The protagonists are an 1870s saloon girl, a 2012 recovering alcoholic, a 1930s triggerman, and assorted other killers and misfits. There are monsters and boomtowns, corruption and romance, and a lot of violence.
ITB: This is your third year of the Smart Chicks Kick It tour. What’s one of your favourite memories so far from Smart Chicks?
MM: I’m not sure that’s a fair question! I organize the tour with a good friend, Kelley Armstrong; all the authors are people whose books I enjoy; and I’ve met thousands of readers in the US and Canada. I have pretty much only favourite memories. I’m sad that this is the last year; it’s been a lot of fun.
ITB: We’re all thrilled that you and Kelley Armstrong are writing THE BLACKWELL PAGES. It sounds like it’s going to be fantastic. Did anything surprise you during your co-writing process?
MM: Writing with Kelley is such a kick! Our processes are so different that we were worried, but it turns out that the differences are assets. I write till about 4 or 5am—which is when she wakes up. Since we only write the initial drafts when we’re in the same building, we write 24hour/day in a shared file. It creates a pressure to Not Slow Down. If I don’t get my chapter done, she can’t do hers (and the inverse). So it’s this crazy process that we sort of stumbled into at the beginning, but it works for us. We’re already in revision on book 2 in the trilogy (Odin’s Ravens), and the first one (Loki’s Wolves) isn’t out until May 2013.
ITB: As you’re one of the authors whom I trust when I’m looking for my next great read, are there any amazing titles coming out this fall that I should put on my TBR list?
MM: I read several books a week, but at best I only finish 1 out of every 8 books I start. These are the ones that have wowed me of late. I don’t know release dates, so these may be Fall or Winter.
- Splintered – A.G. Howard (companion to Alice in Wonderland; simply delicious and polished writing)
- The Darkest Minds-- Alexandra Bracken (dystopian future; teens held in detainment camps and on the run; very thought-provoking and well crafted)
- The Madman’s Daughter—Meghan Shepherd (inspired by The Island of Doctor Moreau; polished writing, historical setting, unsettling plot)
- Unspoken—Sarah Rees Brennan (Gothic meets funny; if you’ve ever seen Sarah at an event, this is the book you’ve been waiting to read. I laughed out loud on a plane while reading)
- Time Between Us—Tamara Ireland Stone (contemporary romance/time travel; I smiled a lot while reading this.)
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Thanks to Melissa Marr for answering our questions and to our friends at HarperCollins Canada for arranging this interview. Carnival of Souls is available now.
Grab your foil, and get ready! Lesley Livingston’s Starling is packed with mythology, fencing, and fun. Returning to the Faerie-adjacent New York City she created with her Wondrous Strange trilogy, Livingston expertly brings in new characters to expand her fictional world.
In this first book, a mysterious young man crashes into Mason “Mase” Starling’s life during a freak storm. Armed with a sword and a smile, he saves the day and then disappears—but not before revealing that all he remembers is he’s called The Fennrys Wolf. Suddenly Mase is avoiding draugr (Norse zombies), finding sirens in the river, and wrapped up in solving the mystery of Fenn’s past.
Mase’s family has secrets of their own. As a student of the Gosforth Academy, Mase and her classmates are more connected to the mythical side of NYC than she realizes. The founding families of the Gosforth Academy serve different gods—and Mase may be the only one not in on the secret. Despite this, none of her friends have been adequately prepared for what’s coming: The walls between worlds are thin and someone wants to kick start Ragnarok.
Through her trademark blend of wit, romance, and action Livingston is sure to score points with paranormal fans. Mase and Fenn are a dynamic duo, and the fencing scenes are written so a reader can watch them play out in her head. I particularly like the character of Heather, who Mase believes to be a rival but comes to see as a friend. More books with positive female friendships!
Think of Starling as like the first episode of Doctor Who with a new Doctor. For a while, there’s this sense that whole lot of history has happened before—but then you’re neck-deep in adventure so what’s happening now becomes far more important. Similarly, Starling creates an easy entry point into Livingston’s entertaining and magical world. (You can always read the Wondrous Strange books while waiting for the next Starling instalment.)
Last week we revealed the trailer for Kenneth Oppel’s Such Wicked Intent, the follow-up to This Dark Endeavour. It’s no secret I love The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein because Oppel has reimagined the teen years of the “mad” doctor and created a young anti-hero as engaging as Damon Salvatore or Cassel Sharp.
At the end of This Dark Endeavour, Victor had just lost his twin brother, Konrad. As Such Wicked Intent opens, the books of the Dark Library lay smoldering in the courtyard of Chateau Frankenstein, and Victor swears off the forbidden sciences he blames for giving him such hope then failing to save his brother. But a single volume remains unburned—a strange metal book with contents claiming to help communicate with the spirit world.
Imagine you’ve just lost the person closest to you. What would you do? Victor’s grief and innate scientific curiosity compels him to use the book. Despite his freshly learned lessons, and Elizabeth’s warnings of damnation, he forges ahead. Certain an entrance to the realm of the dead can be found within Chateau Frankenstein, Victor races toward a reunion—but more than just Konrad may wait within this shifting spirit version of their ancestral home.
Such Wicked Intent is devilishly good—creepy, enthralling, and entertaining. In many trilogies, the second book succumbs to being little more than a bridge—an entire book of Middle—but Such Wicked Intent contains a completely developed story of its own. Think of it as episode two of The Apprenticeship of Young Victor Frankenstein.
I felt this book was quietly about Henry, in the way that a narrator as arrogant as Victor can’t help but not notice the subtle development of his friends. We as readers can look beyond just what Victor sees and read between the lines. Oppel trusts us to be smart enough to do this, and part of what makes Such Wicked Intent so much fun to read is knowing Victor is going to get himself in trouble. He knows he’s going to get in trouble, but he’s doing it anyway.
You’ll get a kick out of watching Victor make poor life decisions, but beneath it all is an intelligent and well-crafted story about the things we do to try to escape pain and the difficulties of dealing with loss. This series set out to illuminate what causes Doctor Frankenstein to embark on his most dark and dangerous endeavor. After going deeper and getting darker with this book, I have to wonder… how close will the final instalment get to the man who builds the monster? Or will Oppel rewrite the story of literature’s most famous mad scientist to end a little less tragically?
Either way, I’ll still be #TeamVictor.
Last year Indigo teamed up with HarperCollins Canada to host the The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein: This Dark Endeavour AR bookshelf display in our stores. I'm a fan of Kenneth Oppel's reimagining of Victor Frankenstein's teen years, as This Dark Endeavour was one of the best books I read last year. Having read an ARC of the sequel, Such Wicked Intent, I can assure you that it is even better than the first book.
So when HarperCollins Canada asked if we'd like to host the book trailer reveal for Such Wicked Intent, Team Teen was all for it. Feast your eyes on the creepy visuals and get a taste of what awaits you in the pages of This Dark Endeavour's sequel.
What the trailer doesn't reveal is how much fun you'll have reading Such Wicked Intent. Creepy fun. With butterflies and caves and trips into the spiritworld. I'm so excited for you to read it, because I'm dying to talk to you all about it.
Imagine the city of London, circa 18XX, techno-magically transported to the land of Faerie. Ladies with corsets and gentlemen in dashing hats clinging to a religion of Reason and Science to defend themselves argainst the unrational and magical creatures pressing in from the wild. Imagine this land needs these creatures to survive, and it's asking two unlikely heroes to risk safety of social station and limbs to save it. Do you like steampunk? Did you think Princess Mononoke was amazing? Well, then you need to read this book.
Please welcome Tiffany Trent to the blog to tell us more about this hidden gem!
Indigo Teen Blog (ITB): Did creating the setting of The Unnaturalists come easy to you, or did you find yourself doing extensive research about the Victorian age?
Tiffany Trent (TT): Funny you should ask. The Unnaturalists came about as the result of another book I was trying to write. It was mostly set in Victorian London and relied on historical characters. I found that the historical timeline kept tripping me up, as well as the fact that a young witch kept elbowing her way into the picture. Eventually, I mashed together a few concepts that I’d been playing with—a Museum of Unnatural History, Victorian London, and Vespa. I had already had plenty of experience writing about Victorian Scotland and London when writing the Hallowmere series, so the aesthetic was familiar. But I also felt that there was much about the Baroque period in this world, too, encouraged by a mad emperor who was obsessed with Enlightenment-era science. I was fortunate enough to be awarded a work-in-progress grant from SCBWI that allowed me to do research in London. While there, it definitely helped me develop The Unnaturalists and to consider what New London would be like, even as I was also researching the previous book.
ITB: The book features diverse creatures from a sphinx to a wyvern to werewolves. How did you choose which creatures to put in?
TT: For the most part, I wanted to choose creatures whose traditional myths were perhaps less than spotless. It would have been too easy for Vespa to be surrounded by beings who were all good. It’s much more difficult to deal with creatures you aren’t sure you can trust, whose motives are their own, but who nevertheless the world needs to survive. I also chose perhaps less well-known creatures because I wanted the freedom to reinterpret some of the myths a bit rather than feel hampered by them.
ITB: I felt so bad for Syrus at the end of this book. Can you share anything about what happens in the second book?
TT: Syrus will do some really surprising things. In fact, although the second book includes all the familiar characters, it really focuses on Syrus’s journey. There might even be…no, I’d better not say for fear of too much spoilering. Anyway, I hope you’ll be pleased.
ITB: I fell in love with this world in your story featured in the Corsets and Clockwork anthology. Which idea came to you first—that story or Vespa’s?
TT: Vespa’s story came first, but Athena has become just as important. I remember the first time I wrote about the Architects of Athena. I wondered who Athena was; I knew immediately she wasn’t the Greek goddess of myth. As I began writing her story, the depth of her importance to this world startled me. I’d really love to go back and write her story as a novel at some point.
ITB: How awesome is Nikola Tesla?
TT: So awesome that words can’t describe. I sometimes try to imagine what the world would be like if he had been given full rein to develop whatever he wanted. I think it could have been equally beautiful and terrible. Wireless electricity. The power to destroy a building with resonance. Robot slaves. All sorts of alternative energy sources we still can’t even imagine now. He was a very complicated man. He didn’t tolerate slovenly or unattractive people in his employ, but yet he wanted to invent things to help the poorest people in the world. He couldn’t give his love to any of the women who chased him, but he fell helplessly in love with a white dove. (I am not making this up). No wonder some people speculated he was an alien in human form!
ITB: If someone arrived at your home with a time and space machine, where/when would you go first?
TT: Probably wherever he wanted to go, since I assume that someone would be Dr. Who! :)
ITB: Finally, I know from Twitter that you're a beekeeper, which is a pretty cool hobby. How did you get into beekeeping?
TT: It’s long been one of those little ambitions of mine to keep bees. They fascinate me. I hadn’t been able to commit the time or resources and was always making excuses as to why I couldn’t learn. Last year, I really had no good reason not to learn, and am fortunate to have a very strong beekeeping association where I live. It’s a much more complex hobby than I ever imagined, but it’s rewarding when one sees one’s bees thriving. And since bees really need our help, I’m glad to be of service.
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Thank you to Tiffany Trent for answering our questions, and to Simon & Schuster Canada for facilitating this Q & A. If you think The Unnaturalists could be you next great read, please order a copy through an in-store kiosk or our site.
While it may seem like summer has just started, it's almost back to school time. August kicks off the fall release schedule. What have we got for you at Indigo? Take a look below. If no release date is noted then the book is available:
Nevermore by James Patterson. Final book in the Maximum Ride series. Eight books and seven years later, it's the end of the series that made Patterson a name in YA and introduced readers to Max and her flock.
Iron Legends by Julie Kagawa. (8/28) A collection of three Iron Fey novellas: Winter's Passage, Summer's Crossing, Iron's Prophecy. Also included is The Guide to the Iron Fey. A must for all Iron Fey fans!
Defiance by C.J. Redwine. (8/28) In an intriguing fantasy world, two teens face assassins and a monster that can't be killed.
Plain Kate by Erin Bow. The best book I read in 2010 has come to paperback!
Bound to You by Christopher Pike. A bind-up of Spellbound and See You Later, two suspenseful Christopher Pike novels that may be new to you.
Shelter by Harlan Coben. (8/21) This is the first YA book from Harlan Coben, who is an adult mystery author. This one has all the thrills and plots twists he's known for.
My picks for the month
The Dead I Know by Scott Gardner. A can't-put-it-down contemporary read with a mystery subplot. Aaron's work at a funeral parlour illustrates how working with the dead can help us deal with the living. Recommended for fans of Lisa McMann's Dead to You.
Fans of James Dashner’s The Maze Runner trilogy who have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of The Kill Order since finishing The Death Cure won’t be disappointed. Dashner’s prequel to his action-packed dystopian trilogy about Thomas and the Gladers tells the origin story of the mind-ravishing Flare virus.
The Kill Order begins a year after deadly solar flares devastated the Earth, and focuses on a small group of survivors in the Appalachian Mountains. Mark and Trina lost everything they knew when the solar flares baked NYC, but they’re rebuilding their lives when a Berg appears over their settlement and rains mysterious darts on their friends. Cue headaches, hallucinations, and violent tendencies as what will become known as the Flare begins to mutate and spread all across the American East Coast.
Seeking answers and vengeance, Mark sets out to learn who is responsible. I’ll keep it spoiler-free, but his journey contains situations that make the dangers of the Maze look like a cake walk.While Mark and Trina were interesting, I found that Mark and Alec were the more intriguing character dynamic. Alec isn’t quite a surrogate father—he’s written more like an older friend than a parental figure, but I still commend Dashner for including an adult playing a positive and active role in a dystopian novel.
Like Dashner's trilogy, The Kill Order is a page-turner with tons of action. I enjoyed how the prologue and epilogue tie this novel to The Maze Runner, but I’d advise to read the trilogy first. (If you read The Kill Order first, you’ll lose a lot of the suspense that makes the other three books so compelling.) Also, dark times await you in this book so it's good to go in knowing that this isn't where it all ends; it's just how it all begins.
One of the books that has made me tremendously happy this year is the delightful Team Human by Justine Larbalesetier and Sarah Rees Brennan. Like a Buffy and Willow, or Spike and Angel, these two authors have combined their talents to create a hilarious novel for everyone who loves or loathes vampires.
We're very excited to welcome Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan to the blog!
Indigo Teen Blog (ITB): Who is your favourite vampire OR who is your favourite human?
Justine Larbalestier (JL): I can't name my favourite living human because, honestly, there are so many wonderful people in the world. Hmmm, though the same is true of fictional people. Er, can I just say who my favourite is today? How about Rory Deveaux from Maureen Johnson's The Name of the Star? She's smart, funny and very very determined.
Sarah Rees Brennan (SRB): My favourite vampire in all the world? At different times in my life, I'd have said Lestat de Lioncourt (blond naughty rock star vampire, what's not to like?), Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (blond naughty... it's possible I have a type), Eric from True Blood season two (blond na... you know the drill) and Damon Salvatore and Caroline Forbes of The Vampire Diaries. (He's a brunette, but in the immortal words of Some Like It Hot, nobody's perfect.)
Favourite human... Jane Austen! I love her, she's so funny, and she is a genius: every social situation is so skilfully set up, and her world seems so real even today: they are really the only comedy of manners that... Dear God, what am I saying. I mean, my mother. Totally my mother. Love you, Mum! Don't change the locks when I come home to visit!
To follow in Justine's footsteps and pick a favourite fictional human, oh good lord, the choices are overwhelming. I can't pick a favourite for today, or for the last five minutes. Elizabeth Bennet, because she is the most delightful creature ever to appear in print. Cassandra Clare's Tessa, the heroine of The Infernal Devices, because she is the most convincing fictional reader I've ever come across. Fire from Kristin Cashore's Fire, the most beautiful woman in the world who finds it a real pain. Min from Jenny Crusie's Bet Me, because she's smart, hilarious and we have the same taste in shoes. Somebody take this keyboard away from me.
... As you can see, I have a real problem making choices.
ITB: Why do you think people love monsters (in books)?
JL: Because monsters are SO cool!
SRB: Monsters are often supernaturally chiseled, and that is a real plus. But there is more to it than that--we've all felt like we shouldn't want what we want, or that our bodies are betraying us by transforming. One reason we love monsters because we all feel monstrous, I think, and seeing that expressed through fantasy is fascinating.
ITB: Sarah, you started livetweeting The Vampire Diaries and you’re now livetweeting Teen Wolf. Can you tell us more about why you did this and how people have responded?
JL: I know this question is directed at Sarah but Scott Westerfeld and I livetweeted as we watched the first few seasons of TVD (over a weekend) and it was a wonderful experience. It's such a big fanbase and they're so loyal yet they also have a wonderful sense of humour about the show. I became a fan of the show, of the fans, and of the show's producers over that weekend. I always follow Sarah's TVD tweets because they're hilarious.
SRB: I am that awful person talking in your movie theatre. I get very engaged with fiction, which is I suppose natural in a writer, and I'm very chatty. Somehow this always translates to me yelling at the screen--'Don't go in there' and 'Kiss her. KISS HER!' and 'Loki, you poor genocidal sweetheart.'
I love The Vampire Diaries, because funny, fast-paced vampire show, what's not to love? and I started tweeting it on a whim when I sat a bunch of my friends down to watch the first season, and those on twitter seemed to like it! So I kept going, because... like I said, chatty. If I can talk about something fictional I love to someone, that person is my friend. This is just my way of befriending all of twitter.
I blush at Justine's kind words. I mostly just crack terrible jokes, as follows:
sarahreesbrennaMRS ARGENT: PS Allison, if you go to prom with a werewolf, Carrie will be looking at your night and going 'That was ROUGH.' #teenwolf
sarahreesbrennaSHERIFF: If you love something set it free. Give it cash & tell it to leave town with its werewolf lover. #vampirediaries
sarahreesbrenna ELENA: I'm so alone! STEFAN: That's silly. You have TWO vampire boyfriends. Way more vampire boyfriends than most people. #vampirediaries
sarahreesbrenna ALARIC: What's the plan, Brain? DAMON: The same plan it is every night, Pinky. Kill everybody and have a drink. #vampirediaries
ITB: If you were to write a sequel, would it have werewolves? Or would this be too familiar for you, Justine, after writing the brilliant Liar?JL: I'm confused by the question. There are no werewolves in Liar.
As for the first half of your question, I feel strongly that if you want werewolves or leprechauns or bunyips in your book series then you have to establish a world in the first book where a variety of creatures is possible. Otherwise you're cheating. We did not do this with Team Human. Ours is a world in which vampires (and zombies) are the only supernatural creatures.
SRB: As Justine says, a Team Human sequel would've been werewolf-free. ;) But this does not mean I have anything against werewolves. I love a werewolf, and one day I'd like to write a book about them: the idea of having your body utterly transform and animal urges take over is a very interesting one, especially for ladies, I think.
I was chatting to Anne Hoppe, the wonderful editor of Team Human, about this and that, and I mentioned that I love werewolves. She said 'Oh, I don't like werewolves' and I was just baffled. 'As Plato said,' I informed her sternly, 'she who is tired of werewolves is tired of life.'
So both our editor and Justine would have stopped me if I'd tried to sneak in any werewolves. Rats! (Wererats?)
ITB: Will either of you make the jump to writing for adults like Stephenie Meyer and JK Rowling have done?
JL: All those categories are really about marketing. My books are read by people as young as 8 (that's the youngest fan I've had a letter from) and as old as 90 (again I have the fan letter to prove it). I write the books I write and they're marketed as YA so that's where I feel comfortable and happy. If at some point I write a book that can't be happily marketed as YA then (I hope) my agent will find another marketing category for it. Outside those kind of considerations I really like the YA community. The adult fiction world seems much meaner. I don't think I'd be happy there. I say that even though some of my best friends write for adults. Other than that they're really nice people.
SRB: Oh, I think I might! I love young adult with all my heart (such a high octane time in your life emotionally! Such a fantastic, fun and exciting lot of books in the genre!) but there are other genres that I love. I love romance novels, and middle grade. And of course if the opportunity to cowrite with zombie Jane Austen ever comes up, I'm going to take it. (Even if we end up writing 'Sense and Sensibraaaaaains.') If I think of a story that's another genre, I would definitely write it, and then I would bring it to my agent and look at her with happy expectation, like a cat bringing its owner a mouse. 'Argh! Ewwww. Oh Fluffy, why...? Um, I mean, it's lovely.'
ITB: If the Mayans are correct about the end of the world happening this year, any survival tips for us regarding the upcoming unicorn/zombiepocalyse?
JL: Hole up somewhere with good food and wine and books and your closest friends and await the inevitable.
SRB: I've got a genius plan for that! Find a zombie who obeys the ways of Edward Cullen--he loves you so much, and your brains smell so delicious, but he won't eat them because he loves you! And he'll protect you from the other zombies. I have seen a zombie boyfriend movie (with the most excellent title Boy Eats Girl) and it actually all worked out pretty well in the end! Yeah, zombie boyfriend. That's my plan. Dating. Feel free to implement my plan... but don't mack on my zombie man. That would not be cool. Living sisters before zombie misters.
I guess my answer is the same for the unicornpocalypse, but the logistics of having a unicorn boyfriend are going to be REALLY tricky.
ITB: If the Mayans are wrong, what can we look forward to reading from you next?
JL: I'm hoping to finish my next book, Sekrit Project, by the end of this year, which means the earliest it could be published would be 2014. Sorry about that. But in the meantime Sarah has a wonderful new book, Unspoken, that comes out in September. A kind of Gothic Nancy Drew. It's her best to date. You'll all love it.
SRB: I blush again! Justine's Sekrit Project will be worth waiting for. I am always working on new things: right now I am tinkering with Retelling a Classic. (A prize for anyone who guesses which one. :) An... invisible internet prize.)
But the very next thing up is, yes, Unspoken, a Gothic romance about a schoolgirl reporter who finds out her imaginary friend is a real guy... and one of the very strange family who live in the manor up on the hill.
Thank you again to Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan for answering our questions and HarperCollins Canada for facilitating it. Team Human is available now.
Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood was one of the best books I read in 2011, so I was thrilled when I received an ARC to read the sequel, Girl of Nightmares, early. But I wanted to wait until the book released before reviewing it here on the Indigo Teen Blog.
One of the reasons why I loved Anna Dressed in Blood was that it knew all the horror and paranormal romance tropes, and it played with them. It's a smart book written for horror fans by a horror fan. From the premise of a cynical ghost-hunter, Cas Lowood, falling for a murdering ghost girl, Anna, to the Ghostbuster jokes and amazing secondary characters of Thomas and Carmel, Anna Dressed in Blood is a creepy and hilarious tale of Thunder Bay, Ontario. (That's right, Canadian setting FTW!)
Girl of Nightmares continues to prove Blake is a master of creating atmosphere while the story digs deeper into the truth of the anatheme that Cas's father left him. Also, our brave and sarcastic ghost-hunter is feeling haunted by his dead love. Not in the creepy-but-romantic way of the first book, but more of a creepy-and-possibly-he's-gone-crazy way. Admittedly, there is a point in the book where I felt frustrated with Cas for him not-getting what seemed like an obvious thing to a reader, but this is a frustration with his character and not the book. He's a little thick-skulled sometimes, our Cas.
So it's good he has friends like Thomas and Carmel. Their romance is a nice, normal counterbalance to lovely weirdness of Cas and Anna. I appreciated how Thomas serves as emotional support for Cas while Carmel is the realist of the trio; it's a great dynamic. Also, I love that Cas's mom and Thomas's grandfather are involved and consulted. The teens go off and have dangerous adventures, but they have responsible adults in their lives that they could turn to (if they weren't busy having dangerous adventures.)
The difficulty of a sequel like Girl of Nightmares is that I loved the first book so much. It's the joy of discovery versus knowing what to expect. However, I enjoyed seeing what delighted me in the first book return in the second and I liked going deeper into the world and its mythology. Most importantly, I felt that Anna and Cas were given a relationship tie-up that I found completely satisifying.
While I'd adore if Blake revisited these characters in the future with another book or possibly some novellas/short stories, I'm happily anticipating her next series. I hear it's about Greek gods.