When It Happens: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

When It Happens by Susane ColasantiAt the start of senior year Sara knows exactly what she wants, especially when it comes to who she wants to be with. Dave is her perfect boyfriend: cute, popular, and he seems to like her. And he’s cute and popular. Maybe they haven’t actually talked that much. And true they don’t actually have a lot in common. But that doesn’t mean they can’t work, right? Who can argue with true love? Right?

Turns out Tobey would like to argue. A lot. Because while Sara is busy visualizing her future with Dave, well, Tobey is visualizing Sara. A lot. Before Tobey can make his move, Dave steps in. Game over, right?


Tobey knows Sara is it. He knows they have a connection even if she doesn’t think they have anything in common. With a lot of work and a little bit of luck, Tobey is prepared to show Sara that he could be her perfect boyfriend even if she is super smart and out of his league and all she sees right now is a slacker guy who plays guitar.

At the beginning of the year Sara and Tobey don’t really know each other. By the end, Sara and Tobey might have a whole new beginning together in When It Happens (2006) by Susane Colasanti.

Find it on Bookshop.

When It Happens is the first of many delightful books by this author.

Written in chapters alternating between Sara and Tobey’s narrations, Colasanti creates a layered story with overlapping events seen from different angles. Although the plot is straightforward the story is complex and filled with characters with depth and a lot of charisma.

Love stories come up a lot in YA stories but Colasanti’s snappy writing and authentic voices make this book something different. Aside from being a gratifying story, When It Happens is an authentic snapshot of Tobey and Sara’s senior year with everything from college panic to wacky teachers and, yes, first love.

Possible Pairings: Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen, The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg, If I Stay by Gayle Forman, Unearthly by Cynthia Hand, Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta, Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins, Say Anything

An unusual request: Name my iPod

I have had an iPod steadily since I got my first beautiful pink iPod mini in high school. Most recently I got a 6th gen pink Nano for Christmas. I named it Mae after the pink-haired character in Sarah Rees Brennan’s Demon Lexicon series. Mae served me well until . . . she didn’t.

Mae broke earlier this summer and luckily was still in warranty so I could get a replacement. All was well except for having to reimport every single song onto the new iPod. I named the new iPod Mavis which is what Nick calls Mae in the series when she is being difficult.

Today Mavis also broke so I now have a totally impractically sized paperweight instead of a music player. Luckily the warranty is still in effect.

Anyway, having gone through two iPods with similar names I think it’s time to start fresh. But I have no naming ideas. So, I’m opening this one up for suggestions in the comments. Won’t you suggest a name for my replacement iPod (preferably with some book related name) and make me a very happy blogger?

Ingenue: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

Ingenue by Jillian LarkinGloria Carmody had to leave Chicago in a hurry after killing a mobster. She hoped to find a new start in New York City with Jerome Johnson. But a white woman loving a black man is just as hard in New York as it was in Chicago. Love aside, living in New York is much harder without the Carmody money supporting her.

Vera Johnson knows Gloria and her brother Jerome left Chicago for good reason. But when trouble threatens to follow them to New York will Vera be able to warn them both before it’s too late?

Lorraine Dyer is reader for a fresh start of her own in New York. One short summer is all that stands between her and a clean slate at Barnard. But before she can forget about her less than glamorous departure from Chicago society, Lorraine needs to mete out some justice. Gloria was supposed to be her best friend. Instead she abandoned Lorraine and let her be humiliated. In public. It’s only fair that Lorraine help give Gloria what she has coming to her.

Following her boyfriend Marcus Eastman to New York seemed like the perfect idea. Clara Knowles was sure it would help cement her new life leaving her flapper days far behind. But when a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity draws her back to glittering world of booze and flappers, Clara isn’t sure she can walk away again.

A new city. A new life. Everyone is trying to get away from their past. But sometimes life won’t let you forget a thing in Ingenue (2011) by Jillian Larkin.

Ingenue is the second book in The Flappers series which started last year with Vixen. (The series will conclude in 2012 with Diva.)

Much like the blase parties Clara observes upon her return to New York City, the latest installment in this series has lost some of its luster.

While the plot moved logically here building on the events of the first book, the characters did not. A lot of their behaviors felt contrived, especially Clara who went abruptly  from reading a lot to fervently wanting to a writer. And then became kind of selfish about it besides. It was also disappointing to see Lorraine once again being so sorely abused. (She is either a much abused heroine or the most sympathetic villain in the entire world–which one she is will hopefully be determined once and for all in Diva.)

With none of the characters actually seeing each other until the last hundred or so pages of the novel, the alternating chapters following each heroine just feel choppy and disjointed. Combined with the numerous missed connections between Vera and Gloria the book started to feel very forced.

Ingenue is a decent installment and a fine bridge to the conclusion of the trilogy. It just was not, sadly, quite as brilliant as the first book in the series.

Possible Pairings: Strings Attached by Judy Blundell, Flappers and Philosophers by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ten Cents a Dance by Christine Fletcher, Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen, The Luxe by Anna Godbersen, The Sheik by Edith Hull, Bowery Girl by Kim Taylor

Exclusive Bonus Content: The titles of these books are annoying me. I really think they should have been reversed and the first book should have been called Ingenue since Gloria really was new to the flapper world and everything in the first book. Vixen, to me, is a much more fitting title for this second volume. At least the third title (Diva) sounds like it will be appropriate.

Fury: A Review

Fury by Elizabeth MilesWinters in Ascension, Maine are supposed to be peaceful–surrounded by pristine snow banks and pretty Maine landscapes.

This winter break is different as soon as news spreads about Sasha Bowlder trying to kill herself.

No one else seems to notice, but Emily Winters and Chase Singer can feel it in the air.

Too bad Em was so busy obsessing over her best friend Gabby’s boyfriend and that whole week they’d have together when Gabby was away. Too bad Chase was too busy making sure the perfect, preppy mask he wears around his friends stayed in place.

If either of them had been paying attention, they might have noticed the three strange girls sooner. They might have wondered about the timing of their arrival. If Em or Chase had been paying attention, maybe they would have seen the signs before it was too late for anything but apologies.

Too bad they didn’t because someone needs to pay and, sometimes, sorry isn’t anywhere near enough in Fury (2011) by Elizabeth Miles.

Fury is Miles’ first novel. It is also the first book in a trilogy.

Fury is an interesting blend of suspense, fantasy, and almost a bit of a morality play in that much of the story is necessarily spent looking at what right and wrong. Miles also tackles the grey areas between the moral right and wrong in a clever and realistic way.

Although a bit slow to start as Miles introduces a wide cast of characters, the story picks up after the first quarter as the tension and suspense build. The story alternates between chapters following Em and Chase on their misadventures during winter break (and the latter consequences).

In a book about right and wrong and doling out justice, Miles takes a risk with not one but two characters who are not always sympathetic. Chase is a bit of a jerk and maybe even worse. Em is painfully misguided about a lot of things to the point of being clueless.

Being so flawed it does take a while to connect with the characters enough to care about their stories and the consequences of their actions. However, as the story gains momentum it really is easy to become invested in the characters and the strange events plaguing the town of Ascension.

Miles’ writing is haunting and eerie, making Fury an ideal book for fans of horror and suspense.

Possible Pairings: White Cat by Holly Black, Truth or Dare by Jacqueline Green, Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins, Lost Voices by Sarah Porter, The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott, The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

Just another working weekend

Now, maybe this is just my place of employ but a lot of weird things happen at the libraries where I have worked. So this weekend when I walked to the library and saw a hamster Habitrail sitting outside the front doors, I didn’t think too much of it. Parts of the tubular system seemed to be stuffed with paper towels but once again it didn’t register high on my radar. I chalked it up to another weekend at work with the usual odd trappings.

On my way in I asked my coworkers if they were aware of the hamsters sitting out front because OF COURSE the abandoned Habitrail would have three hamsters inside. Why wouldn’t it?

My coworkers said they did know. A patron had tried to bring the hamsters into the library with him but upon hearing that was a no go he decided to leave them outside. I guess in the equivalent of leaving a dog tied to a lamppost. Who really knows?

Anyway, I didn’t think much of it and got on with my day. Things proceeded normally for about fifteen minutes before two patrons ran–literally ran–out of the library shouting to check on the hamsters. I might add one of the men was accompanied by his mother who ran after them shouting at her son to come back and stop being loud and running around.

Security arrived soon after. Instead of inquiring about the hamsters, we later learned he took them to the basement without consulting anyone–not even the manager–so that he might inquire as to who owned the hamsters later. (Or steal them. Whichever.) This, perhaps understandably, upset the owner of the hamster who once again ran out and proceeded to scream bloody murder about his hamsters.

Things got fuzzy at this point. A cop car showed up. The man was reunited with the hamsters. But at some point he also hijacked another patrons computer session. When the patron asked him to give her back her computer appointment the man started to slap at her. The woman ran behind the counter. The cops were called again. Everyone left. Another patron said the hamster/assaulter was down the street. He wasn’t. The patron’s report was filed. The cops left. The patrons involved/observing left. Quiet was restored.

All of that happened in the course of an hour and a half.

While it was upsetting and bizarre and totally inappropriate library behavior–it didn’t come even close to my top three horrifying work moments.

Anyway, if you work in a library–remember to keep your sense of humor. If you utilize a library–well, let’s just say the staff doesn’t just hang out talking about books all day.

Misfit: A Review

Misfit by Jon SkovronGoing to Catholic school and living with your super strict dad (who, by the way, is totally a teacher at your school) is hard enough at the best of times. Even more so for Jael Thompson because, in addition to the usual problems you might be able to imagine, she’s a demon. More accurately a half-demon.

For the last fifteen years that has meant Jael and her dad move around a lot trying to stay one step ahead of the demon’s working for one of Hell’s dukes who wants to kill Jael. It’s also meant being completely in the dark about her mother, her powers, and a lot of her family’s past.

Everything changes when Jael receives a strangely beautiful necklace on her sixteenth birthday. Her mother wanted her to have it. Her father has forbidden Jael from wearing it. Jael knows the necklace is the key and that her choice will change everything. The only problem is, Jael isn’t sure what to choose. Does she venture into her demonic side or stay true to her human life by going to high school and flirting with Rob–the cute skater boy in all of her classes? Jael is half-demon and half-mortal, but if she can live long enough maybe she can have the best of both in Misfit (2011) by Jon Skovron.

Misfit is Skovron’s second novel and his first venture into the fantasy genre.

Misfit has a really interesting premise. Skovron artfully combines conventional ideas about Hell with mythology and his own take on things. While the story is heavy on religious references (unsurprisingly since Jael’s father was a priest and she is in Catholic school) Skovron manages to present a surprisingly secular and refreshing take on demonology.

Written in the third person present tense, some of the prose here felt distancing and often pulled me out of the action of the story. Jael’s narrative alternates with anecdotes about her mother (written in the traditional third person past tense) and often the flashback segments felt more engrossing.

While Skovron did a wonderful job introducing Jael and her family and explaining her origins, the story felt rushed and ended abruptly. Misfit is a great setup for what will likely become a popular series but on its own the ending of this one felt a bit too open-ended. At times gory (but not too gory) and often surprising, Misfit is a great pick for horror and fantasy fans alike.

Possible Pairings: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, Unearthly by Cynthia Hand, Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey, Fury by Elizabeth Miles, Mister Monday by Garth Nix, Paranormalcy by Kirsten White

The Demon’s Surrender: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

The Demon's Surrender by Sarah Rees BrennanJust one year ago Cynthia Davies thought her place at the Goblin Market was assured. The darling of Market’s leader, a talented dancer, Sin Davies is Market royalty in every possible way. Sin had thought that made her the obvious choice as the heir to the Goblin Market. Sin actually thought it made her the only choice.

Then Mae Crawford showed up and usurped Sin’s rightful place, forcing Sin to fight desperately for her place as the Market’s heir.

Good thing Sin is used to fighting for what she wants. Every day she struggles to keep her younger siblings Lydie and Toby safe. Lately she has also had to wrangle her feelings for the infuriating Alan Ryves. Once little more than a tall, irritatingly smart, thorn in her side Sin now owes Alan a debt that can never be repaid. And Sin doesn’t like owing anything to anyone.

As time runs out for Sin to stake her claim to the Market, outside threats are also closing in. Mae’s own brother has joined the magician’s that want to kill them all and destroy the market. While the loyalties of Alan’s brother remain perilously uncertain. Nick, Sin’s favorite dance partner and a dangerous demon, might still have an allegiance to his brother Alan. Or he might destroy them all.

Victory will come at a cost for all of them. Will the price be more than Sin can pay in The Demon’s Surrender (2011) by Sarah Rees Brennan.

Find it on Bookshop.

The Demon’s Surrender is the conclusion of Rees Brennan’s Demon’s Lexicon Trilogy. It is preceeded by The Demon’s Lexicon and The Demon’s Covenant–the first and second books respectively.

In the first book readers met Nick Ryves and learned the startling truth of his past. In book two readers learned more about Mae, her brother Jamie, and the dangers of dealing with magicians. Throughout both books Sin appeared as an attractive, athletic and integral part of the Goblin Market.

Readers did not learn much more about this often aloof heroine until this final book which is told from Sin’s point of view. Lacking a frame of reference for Sin’s personality–it was a little worrisome to know an entire book, not to mention the conclusion of the trilogy, would be told from her point of view.

Turns out there was absolutely nothing to worry about.

Reading about Sin in The Demon’s Surrender was a revelation as Rees Brennan reveals more and more facets of Sin’s personality. An athletic dancer, Sin plays many roles. Some things don’t come easily to her and often she struggles with her responsibilities. She is multi-layered, tough and so much fun to follow throughout the story. As events unfold it is soon obvious that Sin really is the perfect character to wrap up this stunning trilogy.

While Mae and Jamie take a back seat in this installment (after featuring heavily in books one and two), Nick and Alan remain major characters. In fact, having a Sin book turned out to be the next best thing to an actual Alan book.

It’s hard to review the conclusion of a trilogy without revealing too much or explaining too much of the first books. All you really need to know is Rees Brennan’s writing remains taut and seamless as she works out twists, turns and lots of action.

The Demon’s Surrender is a perfect conclusion to a beloved trilogy wrapping up events appropriately and giving the characters some kind of closure while showing that Rees Brennan still has a lot of tricks up her sleeve. I can’t wait to see what she has in store for readers in her next series.

Possible Pairings: White Cat by Holly Black, Caster by Elsie Chapman, City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, Chasing Power by Sarah Beth Durst, Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey, Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins, The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga, Shadowshaper by  Daniel José Older, The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud, The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, Peeps by Scott Westerfeld, The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

The Game of Triumphs: A Review

The Game of Triumphs by Laura PowellFifteen-year-old Cat is well acquainted with London’s seamy underside–one perk of living across from a casino and on the same block as a strip joint. The tawdry Soho neighborhood doesn’t bother her. Cat is used to moving around with her aunt/guardian Bel. She’s used to blending into the background and being invisible. Neighborhoods don’t change that.

But a mysterious game played out on the streets of London and in a strange world called the Arcanum can change everything. A chance encounter on the Tube draws Cat in the dangerous but alluring world of the Game of Triumphs where players use Tarot cards imbued with powers to compete for the ultimate triumph–fame, fortune, justice or something else entirely–it can all be yours with the turn of a card.

Cat doesn’t play games and she doesn’t believe in any of the Game’s magic nonsense. But as Cat learns more about the Game she realizes this isn’t the first time she encountered the Game. Playing can be deadly but with stakes so high surely the rewards are worth the risk in The Game of Triumps (2011)* by Laura Powell.

The Game of Triumphs draws heavily from Tarot cards for the symbolism behind the Game’s cards and the nuances of their play within the Game. As someone with a passing interest Tarot and card games, I was immediately drawn to this book (the intriguing cover didn’t hurt either). Unfortunately, the book did not live up to my expectations.

Cat is a surly heroine, determined to go it alone even if that might be to her own detriment. Her reluctance to accept help or any kind of support got old very fast. Similarly her dismissive tones about Tarot and role playing games were irritating–particularly as her attitude persisted even as she drew deeper into the game. While Powell went to great pains to explain Cat’s past and her motivations, none of it ever felt truly authentic.

Her companions in the novel felt similarly one dimensional, partly because they were introduced so late in the story and partly because I never connected with any of them. Worse, the characters never seemed to connect with each other instead merely falling in together for lack of better options.

The world Powell has created as well as the Game itself are very complex and well-realized. While readers will start the book as confused about things as Cat Powell quickly explains everything readers need to know. Sadly, with so much setup for the background of the story, the actual plot felt rushed with most of the action being packed into the last hundred pages of the novel.

On one hand, that makes The Game of Triumphs a book that moves rather slowly with an abrupt ending. On the other hand, there is now the potential that the sequel The Master of Misrule** will be a much stronger, much more exciting book. Only time will tell.

*This book was originally published in the UK in 2009.

**The Lord of Misrule was published in the UK in 2010. Since the first book was picked up for US publication by Knopf it stands to reason that the sequel will eventually make its way here as well.

Possible Pairings: Rise of the Darklings by Paul Crilley, Incarceron by Catherine Fisher, The Card Turner by Louis Sachar, Misfit by Jon Skovron

Blog Fourth Birthday

As of this posting, missprint.wordpress.com is four years old. It feels like just yesterday I was sitting in front of the computer saying, gee I should start a blog. And here we are four years later! I’m not even going to mention what this blog started as because it has grown to be so much more thanks to my wonderful dear readers. While there are several “i”s in Miss Print, there is no “i” in blog. While I write the posts, this blog wouldn’t be anything without you, dear readers. Thanks for sticking with me and being awesome.

Here’s to another great year!

I’ll leave you with some end of year statistics (cumulative):

Total Pages: 5 (Hopefully these help you with navigation?)

Total Posts: 797 (+196)

Categories: 12 (once again up two from last year thanks to the addition of Author Interview and From Our Gift Cottage)

Author Interview (5)     Book Lists (11)     Book Reviews (312)     Chit Chat (244)     From our Gift Cottage (18)     Graphic Novel/Comic Book Reviews (6)     Linktastic! (45)     Non-Fiction Book Reviews (20)     Picture Book Reviews (19)     Quotes (125)     Random Polls (7)     Words of Wisdom (36)

Tags: 0 (I probably will never have tags–I just . . . they make my brain hurt)

Total Comments: 717 (about three hundred comments over the year, you guys rock!)

Widgets: 14

Total views: 64,987

Busiest day: 308 (June 2, 2010)

Total Spam Comments: 10,251 (almost double eek)

Author Interview: Susane Colasanti on So Much Closer

Susane Colasanti author photoToday I’m very excited to share an interview with Susane Colasanti about her most recent book So Much Closer which came out May 3, 2011. (I was lucky enough to see Susane read from it twice earlier this summer and let me tell you, she is a great reader.) I loved the book and all of its New York details and I’m thrilled she was able to take some time to talk to me about the book and her writing.

Miss Print (MP): Can you tell us a bit about your path as a writer? How did you get to this point?

Susane Colasanti (SC): My story is an unusual one. I was a high school science teacher (Earth Science and Physics) for 10 years before I became a full-time author. I knew I wanted to be a science teacher when I was 12. When I was about 16, I started thinking about writing children’s books. But then I was like, Wait, I’m already going to be a teacher. I didn’t get the memo that you could do more than one thing.

When It Happens was inspired by my own experiences during senior year of high school. That book was burning to be written. I remember asking a creative writing professor in college about the YA genre (but I’ve never taken a creative writing class). He said it was an expanding area, which motivated me. So I began writing the first draft of When It Happens in grad school. The book was published ten years later. I was still teaching when it came out. I really loved teaching. Teens are my people and I loved working with them.

But teaching and writing at the same time was beyond exhausting. I resigned from teaching four years ago to become a full-time author – a dream that I wasn’t expecting to become reality. That’s the power of creative visualization. The fact that I was able to switch careers from one job I loved to another that I love even more proves that you don’t have to limit yourself creatively. You can be everything you are.

MP: When you introduce yourself at signings you mention that you write about soul mates. Did you always know you wanted to write these kinds of books? What attracted you to this niche?

SC: I absolutely knew I would be writing about soul mates. Soul mates have always fascinated me! That instant connection you can have with someone, feeling like you’ve known them forever instead of five minutes, immediately understanding that you’re both on the same wavelength…it’s a powerful phenomenon. Soul mates are real. And I think we all have more than one. I’ve met two so far. Since the definition of “soul mate” tends to vary, I should clarify mine. A soul mate is someone who inspires you to be a better version of yourself. They get you in a way no one else does. They support you and love you for who you are, flaws and all. I believe that we’re all looking for a soul mate. Writing about this dynamic is my way of reaching out to everyone who is still searching.

MP: What was the inspiration for So Much Closer?

SC: Several readers have told me that So Much Closer feels like a love letter to New York City.  I totally agree.  The second I moved to New York 15 years ago, I knew I was home.  The energy here is so amazing.  Writing this book was my way of sharing that energy with my readers.  I had so much fun including my fave New York places and things in the book.  The relationship between Brooke and Scott was inspired by similar feelings I had for a boy (okay, a few boys) back in high school.  Even though this one boy didn’t know me at all, I felt an overwhelming connection to him.  It wasn’t just about physical desire.  It was like I could see the potential of us.  I could see how amazing we’d be together if he only knew I existed.  But I was too shy to tell him how I felt.  Brooke telling Scott how she feels was my way of creating the confidence I wish I’d had.  While my books are inspired by my own experiences, they’re also inspired by the experiences I didn’t have.

MP: New York City has a lot going on and you include many wonderful details in So Much Closer as Brooke explores her neighborhood. How did you decide what to include in your story? How did you decide where to move Brooke once she got to New York?

Deciding which details to include was easy.  I basically found a way to incorporate some of the things I love most about this city.  The High Line, water towers, Big Gay Ice Cream Truck, Joe the Art of Coffee, rooftops, Crumbs, sweet apartments, Hudson River Park and the Zen garden are all real parts of this city that I adore.  And I loved having Brooke move to the West Village.  I’m very fortunate that I get to live in my dream neighborhood and I wanted to share the magic of the West Village with my readers.

There’s a motto I have about New York City:  big city, small world.  I cannot even tell you the number of times serendipity has turned what seems completely impossible into typical occurrences.  Stuff like running into someone I haven’t seen since third grade who doesn’t even live here.  One day I was taking the subway at a time I normally never do and an old friend I hadn’t seen in years walked right into my car.  The Physics TA I was crushing on in college lives like two blocks from me now.  So many of these non-coincidences happen all the time.  It’s like the energy somehow brings people together.  It’s amazing what you notice when you look up.

Observing these non-coincidences over the years inspired me to have Brooke and Scott live in the same neighborhood. It’s not surprising at all that Scott’s family moved close to where Brooke’s dad was already living. Given the way this small world works, I’m surprised they’re not so much closer (corny alert!).

MP: Before becoming a writer you worked as a teacher. Did that experience factor into writing So Much Closer?

SC: My teacher life influences all of my books.  Certain details I remember from school are used to create more realistic scenes.  Realistic fiction is my thing.  I want my books to feel as real as possible.  Using parts of the real world in my fictional world is one way I try to achieve that.

MP: This book includes a few references to Office Space and The Office prompting Brooke to wonder about boys and their fascination with office-based humor?

SC: Dude.  The Office is my show.  Whenever I feel sad, all I have to do is watch an ep of The Office and I’m smiling again.  Two words:  Jam forever.  Office Space is one of my fave movies.  There is no limit to how many times I can watch it.  My workspace is filled with accessories from The Office and Office Space.  I have a Dunder Mifflin mousepad, a Dunder Mifflin stress ball, The Office door sign from the opening credits, the daily desk calendar, and Pam’s drawing of the building as a magnet.  I am so hardcore that I even have the vintage red Swingline stapler from Office Space on my desk.  Plus, I have a World’s Best Boss keychain and mug.  The whole World’s Best Boss thing is an inside joke I have with myself.  The joke is that I’m my boss.  So I get a kick out of talking about my boss like, “My boss is being so strict right now.  She’s making me pull a 16-hour day.” Or, “My boss is awesome!  She’s totally letting me leave early.”  I find this World’s Best Boss joke to be hilarious.  No one else does.

MP: John has a lot of amazing graphic tees. Do you have your own collection of tees? If so, do you have a favorite one?

SC: Hi, I’m Susane and I’m addicted to graphic tees. Seriously. I have over 100 of them. My preferred ensemble consists of Rocket Dog sneakers, flared jeans, and a fitted, soft graphic tee. My fave ones are old-school. I have one with this 80s game called Simon. There’s one with an empty school desk that says, “Bueller. Bueller. Bueller.” My Reading Rainbow one is pretty hot. Some of my most cherished tees are the weirdest, like this one with giraffes that says, “Giraffes do exist.” And one with a drawing of a girl peering above a steering wheel that says, “I can’t drive.” Both cute and true.

MP: Brooke is an accomplished origami artist. I love origami so I have to ask: do you make origami yourself? How did you know this would be Brooke’s thing?

SC: Brooke tells us that she first learned origami when her 7th grade science teacher taught her how to make an origami cup. That’s exactly what happened to me. I even gave my teacher a shout-out (although her name has since changed) because she was one of those incredible teachers who inspired others to become teachers. I’m still in touch with her, which is incredible. But it’s weird to call her by her first name. Now I totally get why my old students have such a hard time calling me Susane! Anyway – ramble much? – as I was developing Brooke’s character, her fascination with origami just came to me. I find that when I’m working on character development, the characters take on a life of their own at some point and tell me who they are. Brooke told me she was into origami. We have that in common. I’m not as good as Brooke, but I can rock a crane something fierce.

MP: Can you tell us anything about your next project?

SC: Right now I’m polishing my sixth novel, which will be out in 2012. I’m still waiting to hear the exact pub date, so please stay tuned! I should also be able to share the cover soon.

MP: Do you have any advice to offer aspiring authors?

SC: Read. Read all the time. The more you read, the better your writing will become. I learned how to write by reading. There’s so much you absorb as you read that you’re not even aware of – sentence structure, grammatical nuances, and larger aspects like the craft of designing a story arc. Books are like musical compositions. Each one has its own rhythm, a unique sound resulting from its structure. I’ve learned so much about pacing, word flow, and technique just by reading thousands of books. And I’m learning more every day.


Thanks again to Susane for a great interview! You can also read my review of So Much Closer here on the blog and visit Susane’s website for more info about her and her other books.