Wednesday, September 29, 2010

TEEN INTERVIEW SERIES: Meet Alex, Age 14

Today's interview is a little different than all the rest. Not that every interview is the same, because they totally aren't. But this interview we're going to use a real name instead of an alias. The name is owned by a 14 year old blogger. Alex. Not only does he blog, but he blogs about YA books. How much cooler can you get? Not much.

When you are done reading this interview, scroll back up to check out Alex's blog: Electrifying Reviews.



Meet Alex Q&A style.

Q: What grade are you in?

A: 9th

Q: What are some of your major accomplishments?

A: I do great in school, have a great blog, and do tons of extra-curricular activities.

Q: Do you participate in any recreational activities / extra curricular activities outside of school or at school?

A: I play tons of sports, do drama, I'm in choir, student council, and do tons of other stuff.

Q: What kind of issues are you most worried about dealing with at school?

A: I go to a really good school. There aren't really any problems or issues that I am worried about.

Q: Are you aware of any drug problems at school?

A: Some kids do drugs. But it's not that big of a problem at my school. We don't have gangs or anything like that.

Q: What kind of drugs are prevalent?

A: Weed

Q: Has substance abuse touched your life/do you know someone who is an addict?

A: I know people at my school who smoke, but I wouldn't call them addicts. Substance abuse doesn't really affect my life.

Q: Do you know what you want to do after high school?

A: No idea.

Q: Take a few moments to tell us about your awesome blog.

A: Well it's called Electrifying Reviews. I started it in December of 2009. Since then, it has gained a few followers and I've posted tons of content.

Q: What made you decide to start blogging?

A: I saw a few book blogs and decided to give it a shot.

Q: Do you have any awesome stories or events that have occurred because of your blog?

A: I've been quoted on the back of some books, design book covers for some authors, and blogging has pushed me to work on my own writing.

Q: What is the best book you've ever read?

A: For real? There are SO many good books. But Harry Potter will always be the closest to my heart.

Q: What is your favorite movie?

A: HOOT!!!

Q: Favorite food?

A: Any type of pasta.

Q: Favorite pass time?

A: Reading or just surfing the net.

Q: If you could be an object or animal, what would you be and why?

A: A bird. So I could fly!

Q: Is there anything else you would like to talk about?

A: Just how awesome you were to invite me here! Thanks so much, Angela!

**blush**

Thank YOU for participating in the Teen Interview Series. I'm exhausted thinking about everything you are involved with. Maybe someday we can trade book reviews when our books are published:)

Peace out.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

I bought LIFE AS WE KNEW IT on a night when all I wanted to do was wander through stores looking at pretty things, like books. Some days, breathing feels like a chore. I've usually let my armor down on those days, when the heavy weight of rejection letters restrict the diaphragm from contracting. Those are the days that book stores beg to be wandered more so than any other time.

I plucked LIFE AS WE KNEW IT from the shelf. The beautiful cover of the moon caught my attention first. And then, I opened the book. I didn't want to put it down. It stayed glued to my finger tips until the very end. It remained with me weeks after.

That's how I know a book is great. It tosses a veil over my head that I can't remove, no matter how hard I try. Sometimes the veil is rose colored. Other times, it is gray. This time, it was charcoal.

This novel pulled at my tears and tore my heart many times. It made me think about important stuff and I almost stocked my cupboards full of food. Once the charcoal veil wore off, I rebuilt my armor and realized that getting published won't friggin' matter if a meteor knocks the moon closer to the earth. Dude, if that happens, you can find me at the grocery store.

I will never review a book that I don't like. It is rare for me to rate a book a "Why don't you marry it?" This book, however, is a rare find indeed.

The first book in a trilogy and a must read.

Rating: WHY DON'T YOU MARRY IT?

LIFE AS WE KNEW IT
By Susan Beth Pfeffer
Hardcover: October, 2006
Paperback: May, 2008
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books

SYNOPSIS FROM THE PUBLISHER:

"Miranda's disbelief turns to fear in a split second when a meteor knocks the moon closer to the earth. How should a family prepare for a future when worldwide tsunamis wipe out the coasts, earthquakes rock the continents, and volcanic ash blocks out the sun? As summer turns to Arctic winter, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove.

Told in journal-entries, this is the heart-pounding story of Miranda's struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all--hope--in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world."





Peace out, yo.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

My Experience at the 2010 SLEDGEHAMMER 36-HOUR WRITING CONTEST

36 hours. That's how long they give you to find four prompts via a scavenger hunt through the beautiful city of Portland (sigh--I heart P-town, yo), and then write a story using all of the prompts. Easy peasy, right? Not so much.






First of all, I may love Portland, but I am HORE-EE-BL at scavenger hunts. I totally got stuck on the clue to the third prompt and almost gave up! But thanks to the blessings of Powell's Book Store (I will never reveal exactly what I mean here), I finally figured out the location of the third prompt. I'm not quite positive, but I may have been the last person to get there. Most likely, you'll read the clue and think I'm missing brain cells, which I may be, but still.

Clue to Third Prompt
Sledgehammer Contest 2010:

"They say that little girls are made of particular things;
They say little boys are, too.
But what about people who play Sledgehammer--
What about you and you and you?

This week's rain reminds you of that Evening in Missoula...
It shouldn't be raining here in Portland, yet.
Start in on your indoor projects: Darn your socks with
Organic Silver Needles, over an Irish Breakfast. Restring
your grandma's old necklace with fragrant Dragon Pearls.

Living in our fair city, you must believe in the Magic of Roses,
And we bet this present turn of season makes you positively
Organic Avongrove Autumnal Flush."

Say what?!?! Exactly.

Any-h0o. I finally found all four prompts and then rewarded my self with shopping at Powell's (yay me!) and awesome pizza! Did I tell you that I heart Portland?

Second of all, oh yes there's more, I've only written like, three short stories in my entire life. (That's because I spend so much time writing my novels. Don't fret, I'm working on rectifying the lack of short story file) My main objective was to create a story about compassion. Hmm. What to write about, indeed. Think, think, think. I came up with my idea when I could think no longer. And then I wrote around the prompts:

Prop: Sunscreen
Dialogue: "What you need is a nice..."
Character: Delivery Person
Action: Climbing a Tree

I wrote and wrote and wrote and edited and cut and slashed.

My second objective was to write it lean, meaning, no unnecessary words and zero passive writing. Hopefully, I accomplished at least some of that. I finished Sunday morning around 3 am. Sunday was a day full of grocery shopping, house cleaning, napping, re-reading and figuring out how to burn the story to a disc. Yes, I'm that lame.

I arrived at the drop-off location around 9:30 pm. The warm summer air felt wonderful. The city streets still held mega amounts of people, and music echoed off the buildings. I love Portland. I wore my sweats as I had been writing and cleaning and doing no-work-day-stuff all day and it was Sunday and I wear sweats most of the time because I'm into comfort like that. A giant pimple graced the center of my face because I'm cursed that way. My hair looked like Medusa's when she has visitors.

When they opened the doors to the covert-story-drop building, a man with a camera snapped photos non-stop. I probably didn't smile.

The end result of my story, HUMAN, along with fifteen other stories can be found here:

2010 Sledgehammer 36-Hour Writing Contest Entries

Check them out and vote for your favorite three!

Two days after the deadline, the contestants gathered at Black Bird Wine and Atomic Cheese to read 5 minute excerpts of their stories and drink wine. It was rad!

Here are some photos that I took along my journey. Note, I am in none of them.

The journey started here:
MULTNOMAH COUNTY LIBRARY





Lovely Buildings












AWESOME BIKERS
(Because we're green like that here in the Northwest)



RAD ART
(I totally want this chandelier. Can you even see it?)





AND THE BEST PART OF ALL!!!




+



=
Awesomeness




I had a blast and am looking forward to next year. You should join me!

Peace out!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

TEEN INTERVIEW SERIES: Rodeo Girl, age 18

Hello Peeps!

The Teen Interview Series hasn't been as frequent as I hoped. It seems it is weird for an adult to chat with teens whom they don't know. Almost creepy. **sigh** Keep your heads up, folks. I will not give up and continue my search for teens to interview. I understand the creepy factor, it's just a sad reality of this day and I'm thankful people are cautious.


What is the teen interview series? Find out here

Today, we'll meet an 18 year old girl. We'll call her Rodeo Girl. She kindly filled out a survey and answered our questions about life as Rodeo Girl, who graduated high school this year.

Question: Are you excited about starting college this year? What are you most looking forward to at school?

Rodeo Girl: I am not excited about starting college, I have never really wanted to go so I am not very motivated by it, what makes it even better is I have to pay for it myself. But my parents have gave me some slack and told me I don't have to start right away. So who knows when I will start.

Question: Why don't you want to go to college? What do you want to do instead?

Rodeo Girl: I have never wanted to go to college in my whole life. Obviously a dream, but I used to dream when I was a little girl that I would get married and never have to work lol. But this is reality. My back up plan is that if I HAD to get a job I wanted to be a Admin Assistant in some kind of office. Well a week before high school ended I got my dream job, I became exactly that. Which makes me even more not want to go to school, because why? Most kids don't get their dream job so early in life, and they have to go to college to choose what they want to be. My job doesn't require college so whats the point? Another negative is I have to pay for my own schooling. But making minimum wage at your dream job doesn't give you a lot to work with. My parents have gave me a break and are paying for my gas, cell phone, insurance, and anything necessary when example my car breaks down. If I were to be paying for this all on my own, I would be owing my parents money because I don't make that much in one month. Even if I broke even at the end of the month, I won't have any spending money to go to lunch with a friend, or buy someone a birthday present, or save any money towards my own car.

Question: So, you live with your parents?

Rodeo Girl: I do still live with my parents. I don't think I will move out until one day I get married. My parents wouldn't care how long I lived at home. Both my older brothers still live at home and I am sure will until one day they get married.

Question: What are some of you major accomplishments?

Rodeo Girl: Training My horse.

Question: Do (or did) you participate in any recreational activities / extra curricular activities outside of school or even at school? (Sports, drama, dance, music, art, etc.)

Rodeo Girl: I was involved in High School Equestrian team where I traveled all over to compete on my horse.

Question: Tell us about training your horse. When did you become interested in horses and what do you love about them?

Rodeo Girl: I was scared to death of horses about 8 years ago before I moved to where I am now. About a week after I moved in the neighbor girl loved to come ride in our field. So she came up to the house on a horse and asked my parents if she could. Of course they said yes. While she asked them that she had another horse that needed rode because it had been like 2 years since lost rode. She asked me if I wanted to come ride with her. Scared to death and out of my mind I said "yes". About a year later they horses moved away and I was horse less. So I got my own.

When I got my horse she knew just the basics of being rode. I taught her everything she knows besides knowing there is a saddle on her back and she must go forward. She knows her leads, how to side pass, how to back up, how to stop on a dime, how to get in the trailer, how to be roped off of, how to do all Gaming events. Gaming Events are just like barrel racing, but with 4 other fast events. We have traveled all over our state competing in High School Equestrian team, we are apart of 4-H and are #1 in our country and will be leaving in a couple days for State Fair. I am an adrenaline Junky on my horse, I LOVE to go fast!!!

Question: What kind of issues are you most worried about dealing with?

Rodeo Girl: What my future has in store for me.

Question: Were you aware of any drug problems at your high school?

Rodeo Girl: Oh yes! It was crazy on how many kids would show up to school high. It seemed like once I hit my sophomore year there was SO many kids who were smoking black and milds (which aren't drugs but tobacco) but there was also so many kids smoking hard, hard drugs!! Kids would go off campus during lunch and go smoke behind the local bowling alley and come back to school higher than a kit.

Question: If yes, what kind of drugs were prevalent?

Rodeo Girl: I am not really sure.

Question: Has substance abuse touched your life/do you know someone who is/was an addict?

Rodeo Girl: Don't think I know anyone.

Question: Do you read books? If yes, what is the last one you read? What did or didn't you like about it?

Rodeo Girl: If I ever read books its at night to make me more tired. Since I have been out of school, life has happened and I have had not problem going to sleep at night.

Question: What is your favorite movie?

Rodeo Girl: "How to lose a guy in Ten Days"

Question: Favorite food?

Rodeo Girl: I have a few favorites, just like any other American teen I love pizza. Lasagna and fettuccine Alfredo are two runner ups but they are all pretty much the same.

Question: Favorite pass time?

Rodeo Girl: Me and my best friend used to take the inner part of a innertube for a boat, and put our feet in the hole and sit on the edge and rock the thing back and forth. We used to call it Big Red. We took that thing anywhere there was water just so we could play on it.

Question: If you could be an object or animal, what would you be and why?

Rodeo Girl: I would be a horse because they get to eat all day and maybe an hour a day they must work out.

Question: Is there anything else you would like to talk about?

Rodeo Girl: For me its always been best to have a couple amazing good friends that I can trust, then a bunch of party goers that are fake friends. I have a really hard time with fake people. I have got through my high school year with two best friends and that's all I needed, yes I had a lot of other friends, but no one I could fully trust. So I kept to the couple I trusted. Throughout the years I have grown apart from these two and gained a new best friend. But this is someone who could take me somewhere in life. My boyfriend. Through my loses and gains I have learned to find my true self. I have made it through my whole life without doing any drugs or taking one sip of Alcohol.


Thank you, Rodeo Girl, for participating in The Teen Series. It's very rare when I meet a teen who knows exactly what she does and what she doesn't want to do. I wish you the best of luck.

Peace out.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Someday Famous YA Author -- SHERRY SOULE


I met Sherry on AgentQuery about about six months or maybe more ago. We exchanged critiques for a bleep in time and decided our critique styles didn't mesh, but I still enjoyed her story. She has agreed to an interview for your reading pleasure.

I'm pleased to introduce you to a someday famous YA author called Sherry Soule.

**Applauds** **Cheers**

Thank you for taking the time to answer some very important questions, Sherry. We know you are busy writing and appreciate that you took a break just for us:)

So, how long have you been writing?

Off and on since I was seven and fell in love with Judy Blume books. Once you catch the writing bug--there's no greater love in your life. I wrote my first chapter book with illustrations in 6th grade. The teacher read it to the class, I was so proud. Actually, all of my teachers throughout school encouraged me to write.

Then I found Lois Duncan and V.C. Andrews in my teens before discovering Anne Rice. But I didn't pursue writing professionally until about 10 years ago. God, if I only knew then what I know now. *sigh*

I noticed from your blog that you have three complete novels waiting to be published. Is there one in particular you would like to discuss or that you are seeking an agent for?

I actually have seven.

My YA, Beautifully Broken, is my baby. I know they say paranormal is dying out, but I don't believe it. Not with shows like the Vampire Diaries and True Blood airing. Besides, the supernatural genre has its own loyal fan base, so I believe it will NEVER really die. I've loved horror since I was a teen and never stopped. I'll read and watch anything with a paranormal premise.

What is Beautifully Broken about?

Ahhh, tough question. My gothic tale mixes elements of ghosts, murder, mystery, demons, romance, and the paranormal bringing a fresh new twist to the young adult novel.

It's about a sixteen-year-old impetuous, ghost-whisperer named Serenity Broussard, who has seen 'shadows' for as long as she can remember, and they always turn up when something bad is about to happen. She's terrified of the ghosts, demons and shadowfolk stalking her. But eventually we all have to face what we fear most--our own inner demons.

For women born into the Broussard family, it's their destiny and their curse. Unfortunately, for Serenity, not all ghosts want help crossing over. Some want vengeance.

Yet the finale gives Serenity the knowledge and strength to realize that while she does not have all the answers, she does know that she can overcome any obstacle that might darken her path.

What prompted you to write this novel? Why for YA?

Maybe I want to relive my adolescence! LOL

The idea for the novel was born after touring the Winchester Mystery House as a child. Supposedly, it's haunted. I became fascinated by this rambling hundred-room Victorian mansion. I wrote a similar story many years ago (very V.C. Andrews inspired) with family saga and dark secrets. I knew the storyline was good, but was lacking something. I decided to rewrite it with more suspense and add a darker, edgy mood. I removed the family saga and added demons, ghosts, and goblins, oh my!

And I have written three sequels. They need a lot of work, but if I land an agent, I've got an entire series ready to go!

Have you always written YA?

Mostly. I have two completed adult novels, too. One is a vampire-romance (very steamy!) and an adult paranormal (semi-steamy).

How long have you been looking for your forever-agent?

This time around, for over a year. But in hindsight (ain't it a bitch?) I can see where my query and hook wasn't strong enough. After joining AgentQuery and YALITCHAT and revising my query (about fifty times), I found my perfect pitch. So, much so that in the last two weeks, I've had requests for 4 fulls and 5 partials. The most requests I've had since I've started pursuing this insane journey--I mean, dream.

Sometimes, I want to give up. After 50 or so rejects, I figure it's not going to happen. Or I find an agent who I feel is so wonderful and loves the same genre as me, but then I get rejected. Now, I'm getting numb. But I'm NOT giving up. It's my passion, my love, the one thing that keeps me sane and happy, when everything else in my life is falling apart.

I can totally relate. Congrats on the requests! That's awesome news for you

What do you do to keep yourself busy until your forever-agent crosses your path
?

I keep writing. I have unfinished novels I need to get to. The problem is, I get an idea and jot it down. 50 to 100 pages later, I've abandoned whatever it was I was previously working on.

Also, blogging and reading, of course. I love to edit/critique for other writers, too.

What can you tell me about your experience with small press publishers? I noticed that you have been published before through small press.

In truth, my experiences have not been very good. Absolutely no support whatsoever. I'd rather self-publish.

What is your blog about?

I have a blog devoted to helping other struggling writers. It's nice to know you're not alone and get to network. I started interviewing agents and authors to get some real insight into the world of publishing. And to showcase my work. I mean, someone has to be forced to read my drivel! (hehe) You can visit me here: http://www.darkangelwritingandreviews.com

What is your writing routine?

For the past 2 years, I write every day. Before that, mostly I wrote on the weekends.

Is there anything you want to add? Any personal information you'd like to discuss?

Like I said, I critique a lot of manuscripts and I hate to say this but I think some writers are just plain lazy. Research your genre! Read everything you can get your hands on. Study the craft. Join writer's groups, critique groups, find beta readers. Hone your skills

ANALYZE dialogue by your favorite writers. Read your own dialogue out loud. Dialogue is the hardest thing to write. Examine how a published author broke up the dialogue or inserted a descriptive or action tag to convey who's talking with using "said" or "asked" tags.

While readers tend to read over these phrases, obvious efforts to insert variety, through words such as "interjected," "shouted," or "teased," pull the reader out of the action. If the writer is doing his or her work, the reader is already aware that the speaker is interjecting, shouting, or teasing. The writer won't have to say it again in the tag. One benefit of dialogue tags that does not get much attention is their usefulness in controlling the rhythm and pace of dialogue.

Do you have any advice for teenagers or a story you would like to share of how you may have struggled during your teen years?

Like most teens, I had a rough time during those years. Picked on, beat up once, and hated school. I was a rebel without a clue. Had a huge chip on my shoulder and gave my parents hell. LOL Thankfully, all is forgiven and I survived. Remember, if you can survive high school, you can survive anything. :)

What are you currently reading?

"A Great and Terrible Beauty" by Libba Bray (so loving it! She's an amazing writer) and the "Sookie Stackhouse" series.

What is your all time favorite YA novel and why?

I have to say it's still "Flowers in the Attic." Just love the prose, the suspense, the emotional ties that pull you into the story and don't let you go. And recently, the "House of Night" series by P.C. Cast and Kristen Cast is incredible. Love, love, love it!

What's your all time favorite movie?

"Gone With The Wind" and "Pride and Prejudice"

If you could be an object or another species, what would you be and why?

A vampire, of course. It;s all glamorous, erotic and formidable. Who wouldn't want that kind of power and agelessness? Yum

What is your favorite food?

BBQ Chicken Pizza, double yum.

Thanks again, Sherry. I'm looking forward to seeing your books on the shelves of book stores:)

Monday, September 6, 2010

"PARTY" by Tom Leveen

Party! Woop woop! Who doesn't like to have a good time and get funky? What teen hasn't gone to at least one party where naughty things happened? Well, besides ultra introverted teens like I was. That's right. I did not go to a single fabulous party when I was a teen. What I did do, however, was go dancing at clubs on a regular basis. Usually, unfortunately, by myself. I was pretty much a loner. Shhhh.

If I had gone to a party during my high school years, I imagine it would have been exactly like the one described in the novel "PARTY" by Tom Leveen.

The novel isn't really about the party, though. It's about the complicated lives of eleven individual teenagers. Each character struggles with his/her own troubles and has an opportunity to tell a small portion of the tale in his/her view point. What? The point of view of eleven characters in one YA novel!!!! As a writer, that is exactly why I read this book. I am so glad I did.

Tom Leveen did a masterful job at creating these voices, real life struggles and realistic situations. I enjoyed reading every page and so will you.

Rating: CHECK IT OUT

From : Tom Leveen's website

"It’s saturday night in Santa Barbara and school is done for the year. Everyone is headed to the same party. Or at least it seems that way. The place is packed. The beer is flowing. Simple, right? But for 11 different people the motives are way more complicated. As each character takes a turn and tells his or her story – one character per chapter – the eleven individuals intersect, and reconnect, collide, and combine in ways that none of them ever saw coming.

Examining friendship, dating, racism, sex, loss, and parents who truly don’t get it, PARTY invites you to join in the fun and drama of the biggest event of the year. Everyone’s invited. See you there!"


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

TEEN INTERVIEW SERIES: Meet Bree, age 13.

Welcome to week one of the Teen Interview Series. Today we have the privilege of meeting a 13 year old girl. We will call her Bree.

This interview was conducted via chat and copied here verbatim (mostly). Some things have been omitted, such as greetings and names, and some grammar (very little) has been altered in order to understand the dialogue.

Enjoy!

Me: First, the basics. How old are you and what grade will you be starting this year?

Bree: I am 13. Will be attending 8th grade this year:)

Me: Are you excited to get back to school?

Bree: Yes very! :)

Me: That's cool. You're the first to respond so positively! haha:)

Bree: Hahaha. Well i miss going to school and having fun with friends! haha

Me: Cool. What do you enjoy most about school?

Bree: Umm. Getting to hang out with my friends and meeting new people and teachers.

Me: Do you have any major accomplishments that you would like to discuss?

Bree: Umm. Not that I can think of.

Me: What about your grades? That's a major accomplishment. Didn't you make the honor roll?

Bree: Um. I have made the honor roll since the 6th grade:)

Me: That's huge! Great job! Was it easy?

Bree: Thank you. And as long as I pay attention and do what I am supposed to it makes it way easier.

Me: Do you participate in any extra curricular activities?

Bree: For school?

Me: Either at school or outside of school. Sports, drama, or whatever.

Bree: I play soccer volleyball and used to play basketball. I enjoy singing and dancing if that counts.

Me: Yes, it counts! Sports are great. Singing and dancing sounds like fun. Do you plan on pursuing singing and dancing further? Dance team or choir?

Bree: Nope I might be doing dance though. But just for fun. I mostly do them becuz its fun:)

Me: Fun is important. So now the meat of the interview. What type of things worry you the most and how do you cope with the worries?

Bree: (What) I worry most about is mine and my brothers relationship. And how its going to go later on when him and I grow up.

Me: How is your relationship now? Are you very close?

Bree: Its okay. We used to be very close but now that we dont live with each other and dont see each other as much its kind of grown apart.

Me: How often do you see each other?

Bree: Not very often at all.

Me: How old is he now? Is he able to express his feelings very well with you when you see him?

Bree: 11. And no not really. We don't talk about our feelings.

Me: Is it weird when you see him or does everything go back to normal when he comes around?

Bree: Its different. I feel sad but happy when I see him.

Me: Do you want to go into specifics of why you live apart or shall we move on to the next question?

Bree: We can talk about it.

Me: Okay. Go for it:)

Bree: We live apart because when (name omitted) my aunt got pregnant, it was too much stress having him. She had me, (name omitted)my cousin and (name omitted) my other cousin in her belly and we had a baby bulldog that was always going to the bathroom in the house. So she was real stressed out and couldn't handle all of us. So she desided it was best that he went and lived with our aunt (name omitted). And they have offically adopted him. So he is theres and he is doing very well. Especially in school.

Me: That's great that he is doing well. May I ask about your parents and how you came to live with your aunt and uncle?

Bree: Yes. Have add it.

Me: Okay. How did you come to live with your aunt and uncle? Did something happen to your parents?

Bree: Well. From what I know. When I was a little kidd, my mom wasnt in the picture after the age of 1 or 1 and a half. So my dad or step dad had been taking care of me. But the house was always nasty. But (names omitted) my aunt and uncle would always come over and help my dad out. She would grocery shop for us and at that time my brother lived with him too, so she would take both of us to her house during most days. And since (name omitted) new he may not be my real dad, it was almost like he favored my brother. So one day (aunt) asked (dad) if she could have me and take good care of me and he agreed.

Me: You have a wonderful aunt. I'm sure she loves you dearly. Are you aware of any drug problems at your school?

Bree: She does and I am very greatful. Ummm. No not that I am aware of.

Me: That's great!

Bree: Yes.

Me: So, has addiction touched your life in any way? Do you have any friends or family members who are or have been addicted to substances?

Bree: Ummmm. No. Not that I know of.

Me: Do you know what you want to do after high school?

Bree: Umm. Either a doctor for babys. Or a loyer. Maybe. Thats what I am thinkin of doing.

Me: Both are very good occupations. Do you enjoy helping others?

Bree: Yes.

Me: Do you read books? What is the last book you've read?

Bree: Umm. Not all the time. Im not really into reading. The book has to hook me in it when I do, otherwise no.

Twilight.

Me: GASP!!!! Girl, that is so the wrong answer! lol

Bree: Hahaha!

Me: Did you enjoy Twilight? If yes/no, why?

Bree: Yes! I love the book. I love the movie too. Its so interesting, it makes you wanna read more and want to know whats going to happen next! Books that do that to me make me wanna keep reading and never stop!

Me: What is the best book you've ever read?

Bree: Umm. Not sure. I have read a lot of books in my life. And I am not sure what book I like the most.

Me: Fair enough. Do you have a favorite movie?

Bree: Umm. I think one of them is The Last Song. Its really sadd!!

Me: Nice. I haven't watched that one yet. So, did you read the book? hahaha!

Bree: Hahaha. Nope. I havent gotten a chance too. I want to though.

Me: What's your favorite food?

Bree: Mexican food:)

Me: What's your favorite pass time?

Bree: Sports! :) And I would like to volunteer for the mission.

Me: The Mission?

Bree: Its where you go and feed the homeless families and they get to stay in hotels for a day then have to leave the next.

Me: I'm very impressed Bree. That's so awesome. You should volunteer.

Bree: I know! Im trying!

Me: If you could be an object or another creature, what would you be and why?

Bree: I would be a Liger! Just becuz the name sounds amazing and I would be the 1st half tiger half lion! haha

Me: hahaha! That's cool. Napoleon Dynamite fan?

Bree: Yes!! i love that movie!!!!!!!!!

Me: Me too!

Bree: hahah:D

Me: Well, that's all I have as far as questions. Is there anything else you'd like to talk about?

Bree: Umm. Not that i know of. Is there anything you would like to know about me?

Me: Maybe a couple more questions: Do you have a plan in place if you are ever pressured into using drugs or drinking?

Bree: Yes. I call (names omitted) to pick me up and the i will go home. or if i cant get to them ill call a friend:)

Me: Oh good. That sounds like a good plan to me! :)

Bree: Yes, me too. I had D.A.R.E in 5th grade, and preventsion club at school.

Me: What did they cover in D.A.R.E and your club?

Bree: About how to say no. And its about how bad drugs and achohol are bad for you and how it affects you and that we should try to avoid it as much as possible.

Me: Good. Well, that's all I have for you. Thank you for taking the time to be interviewed and I wish you the best of luck in school this year!

Again, thank you Bree. You have won my heart. Anyone who strives to help others is extraordinary in my book. You are an inspiration.

Peace out.

WHY HAVE A TEEN INTERVIEW SERIES?

The Teen Interview Series starts today. It has consumed my thoughts and time for the past few weeks. Questions that I've considered are: Should I post the interviews verbatim? Should I fix grammatical errors if I do? Should I leave the Q&A out all together and write the interview as an informational blog?

I've decided to do what seems natural on an individual basis. The first interview will be posted verbatim. Next week may be different. In order to understand the teen interviewee thoroughly, it's important that we read his/her own words and thoughts directly.

With those questions answered, one remains constant. What is the purpose of interviewing teens?

This can be answered in two ways.

When I began to write my YA novel, DREAM SMASHERS, it was my intention to bring to life the consequences that methamphetamine use has on the family members of the user. We've seen in many stories the effect on the user, but what about the family? What about the children, the parents, the grandparents, the friends? They are victims caught between the love for their family member and the longing to be free of the stranger their family member has become.

Although it is extremely difficult to have an addicted parent, life still goes on. And sometimes all the family can do is let go.

My novel is a resource for teens dealing with addicted parents--no matter the addiction. In that reference, this blog, too, is a resource for teens touched not only be addiction, but also by the thousands of other issues that they must cope with on a daily basis. To show them that they aren't alone and everyone has some demon(s) to overcome.

The second reason is to create a resource for other YA writers. To be honest, my true love is writing YA Fantasy. No matter the YA genre, though, teens are involved. How better to get to know this generation of teens than to talk with them?

It is essential in writing for YA to remain current on the trends and issues that concern teenagers. Without an understanding and a compassionate disposition toward these struggles, writers take on an authoritarian voice and may come across as talking down to readers.

In order to create stories that teens can relate to, it is my intention to understand the struggles that they must overcome in this generation.

Thus, I begin the Teen Interview Series. Stay tuned for the first interview to be posted tonight.

Peace out, yo.