Thursday, September 29, 2011

100 Followers Giveaway (The Space Between and Lola and the Boy Next Door) and Author Interview


This is our first giveway! Yay for 100 followers!

Up for grabs is Alexandra Sokoloff's The Space Between, which she will so kindly provide to one lucky winner. It's full of fast-paced suspense. Check out my review of her book here.

When 50 people enter this giveaway, I'll throw in another prize: Stephanie Perkins' hotly anticipated Lola and the Boy Next Door. Just think: Anna and the French Kiss was a romance that some bloggers have called their favorite book of the year, so this will be amazing.

  • The giveaway ends at midnight on Oct. 14th. Should 50 people happen to enter, the winner will get his or her choice of one of the two books. A runner-up will get the other.
  • The competition is open internationally.
  • Make sure to leave a comment about the following author interview and Sonia Gensler's interview here. In the comment, include your e-mail address and total number of entries with links to your blog post about the giveaway, status, and/or tweet. 

All About the Author (#1): Alexandra Sokoloff
I had the wonderful privelege of interviewing Alexandra Sokoloff, the very down-to-earth author of The Space Between.

Questions about you:

1.  You’ve acted, directed, written movie scripts and adult fiction. What made you want to write young adult fiction?

"It was more that I wanted to write this particular story. But I've always been drawn to write about teenagers and the issues of that age. I was a high school teacher and I've also worked with incarcerated teenagers in the Los Angeles County lockup camps; it's a magical and also troubled age. I read young adult all the time, myself; I think some of the best writing around these days is in YA - there's just not all that much out there that's on the darker side of thrillers, the kinds of stories I was always looking for as a teenager. I was always a little on the dark side...!"

2.  You adapted this story from your award-winning story “The Edge of 17.” How closely are the two related?

"The setup is exactly the same, but of course with a book I had much more opportunity to develop and explore the actual world that Anna is encountering in her dreams. The ending changed because I realized there was a way out that I hadn't considered when I was writing the story. And that made me realize I had to write a sequel, too, at least one, because there's a lot more going on than I ever guessed."

Questions about your book The Space Between:

3.  Was it hard to write Anna as a character with no friends?

"The hard part technically was that she doesn't have a friend to talk to, so she's inside her own head a lot. But I wanted to portray a girl who really is that isolated; when I was teaching high school I knew students like that. High school can be a truly lonely place when home is as crazy as Anna's is. It's just reality."

4.  Mandy is an interesting character, and readers don’t see many little people in novels. What was your inspiration for her character?

"That’s a complicated question. I didn’t plan her, she just appeared in the story, which really startled me. She scared me and fascinated me. Obviously she has ties to archetype all cultures have of a magical dwarf, a guide from another dimension. She was such a fascinating character to me that she was one of the main reasons I wanted to expand the short story into a book, and now that I’ve done that I still want to know more – I will be focusing the sequel more on her: where she comes from, who she really is. But the reality of her is also based a little on Billy Barty, the famous little person actor. I performed with him in the first professional show I ever did on stage. I was just eight and had never met a little person before, much less a film star little person, and he had an amazing power, charisma and mysteriousness that obviously left a huge impression on me."

5.  Tyler and Anna are connected because they share the same dream. Because Tyler is from the popular crowd and Anna is not, would they have ever been friends if it weren’t for the dream?

"No, I don't think so. I don't think Anna would have had the courage to talk to him if it hadn't been a life-and-death situation. Her concern for him - and for the rest of the school - is what makes her able to put her shyness aside. And Tyler is so caught up in what he's dealing with, himself - I just don't think he would have noticed her."

6.  This novel shed light on the plight of veterans post-war, especially Gulf War Syndrome. Did you have to do a lot of research on this topic for the book?

"I was aware of GWS from the news and because of a friend whose father had symptoms; then I did research to see what the history and politics of it are."

7.  School shootings have increased in number over the last few decades. How did you decide that would be one of the focuses of the novel?

"I've always wanted to do a story about a school shooting - again, it's part of my longtime fascination with the dark side of the teenage years. It's what can happen when a teenager slips through the cracks."

8.  There are several mathematical and scientific formulas in this story. How hard were those to figure out and create or adapt for the story?

"Brutal! I'm not a math/science person. But that's a lot because I had a predatory teacher like the one who sexually harasses Anna in the book. But there are concepts in quantum physics, like the many-worlds theory, that are just way too cool not to write about. I hope I made it simple enough for people to grasp the general idea, and imagine the possibilities."

On writing:

9.  What advice would you give a first-time suspense writer?

"You know, I teach and write and blog about this; it's hard for me to say just one thing about suspense writing! But the bottom line is - write the book that you would want to read, and look to your favorite writers to see how they create the effects that work for you in the books you love."

I have two blog posts about it that sum up some of my best tips about writing suspense:

Creating Suspense:
Creating Suspense, part 2:

10.  What genre would you never consider touching with a ten-foot pole and why?

"Hah, great question. I can't see myself ever writing a "sweet romance". As you've probably guessed, I'm not a "happily ever after" kind of person. I don't believe there's any real happy ending for anyone until we actually take a hard look at the problems all around us, especially the problems of children and teenagers, and DO something about those issues."

For more information about Alex and her other works, please visit


Sherre said...

Great Interview. I love how she knows that YS is some of the best writing out there. Nice.

Congrats on your 100 Follower giveaway!!! (Head's up, mine will be beginning's so exciting!!!) Its so great how we both got here so fast and had fun while doing it! the first person to comment, I would like to enter in your giveaway ;) I will be posting your button in my blog sidebar!

oh an my email is smleach5400[at]yahoo[dot]com

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for the inteview and for the giveaway and congrats on your 100 followers!

Nicole Mainardi said...

Congrats on 100!! And thanks so much for the giveaway :)

+3 I think is my number :)

hernameisavril said...

This books sounds really good I hope I get to read it :)

Gabi said...

Thanks for the giveaway! :]

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