All I Need: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

All I Need by Susane ColasantiSkye has great parents, good friends, and even a summer friend near her family’s summer house on the Jersey Shore. Still, Skye knows something is missing. She’s still waiting to find the right guy–the one that will make her feel complete and be the icing on the proverbial cake. That’s all Skye needs for her life to really be perfect.

Every summer Skye and her friend Adrienne joke that the summer will be different; something exciting will finally happen. Usually that isn’t the case. Then Skye sees him at the party and she knows, at last, that something big really is going to happen.

Seth didn’t want to join his friend at the beach party. His family doesn’t rent a house on the shore–his dad owns a roller rink there. Totally not the same. But then Seth sees her and he knows he was wrong and coming to the party was the exactly right thing to do.

After one magical night Skye and Seth know they’re meant to be. But before they get to a happy future they’ll have to deal with a present filled with missed connections, worried parents, troublesome friends, and the difficult realities of college (and long distances) in All I Need (2013) by Susane Colasanti.

All I Need is Colasanti’s sixth novel. Like her other books it is a standalone (though attentive readers might spot a cameo or two).

All I Need is written in the first person with dual narrations by Skye and Seth. Between the two narrators, Colasanti offers a nuanced story about the starts and stops of Skye and Seth’s fledgling relationship. Although the novel spans a wide space of time, this story is very grounded in the distinctive sense of possibility that summer brings. Colasanti expertly opens up both Skye and Seth’s futures as together (and apart) they realize the world has a lot to offer.

With a frothy blend of romance and fate Colasanti plays with the ideas of serendipity and inevitability as Seth and Skye work to find each other after their first fateful meeting. The two narratives cleverly overlap and intertwine throughout All I Need to create a delightfully romantic and thoughtful story.

Possible Pairings:Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley, What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen, Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg, Just One Day by Gayle Forman, Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins, The Statistical Probability of True Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

You can also read my exclusive interview with Susane Colasanti.

Top Ten Tuesday: (Freebie) Favorite Quotes

Fellow blogger Andi of Andi’s ABCs inspired me to finally take part in Top Ten Tuesday–something I have been wanting to do for a while.

As luck would have it today is a freebie day so I am also stealing Andi’s genius idea of ten favorite quotes because quotes are awesome and I collect them and use them all the time on message boards as part of my signatures.

  1. “Sometimes perfection reveals the lie.” from Pivot Point by Kasie West
  2. “Truly, we are the gods’ own children, forged in the fire of our tortured pasts, but also blessed with unimaginable gifts.” from Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers.
  3. “We were all monsters and bastards, and we were all beautiful.” from Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
  4. “Some things you can never leave behind. They don’t belong to the past. They belong to you.” from The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
  5. “I wasn’t used to looking ahead. Not like Jack. Maybe that was why he had that ready grin. I could see through the dust, but he could see through time, and he didn’t even need magic to do it.” from Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel
  6. “We’ll just have to try to make better mistakes tomorrow.” from The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
  7. “Maybe she’d always been there. Maybe strangers enter your heart first and then you spent the rest of your life searching for them.” from The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta
  8. “There is no road home.” from Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch
  9. “The easiest lies to tell are the ones you want to be true.” from White Cat by Holly Black
  10. “Everything I am familiar with is gone.” from Prodigy by Marie Lu

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. (Image also from the lovely The Broke and the Bookish until I make my own.)

Black City: A Review

Black City by Elizabeth RichardsAlthough the war is over, things are far from peaceful in Black City. The city’s cinder block buildings still burn. Tensions are high between the Sentry rulers and the workboot commoners. The boundary wall still stands, separating the humans from the Legion ghetto where the Darklings live.

Ash Fisher is the only twin-blood Darkling left in Black City–a dubious honor when his survival hinges on blending in. Unfortunately blending in is hard when you’re a foot taller than everyone with the addition of fangs and the lack of a beating heart. Not to mention the necessity of dealing Haze to stay afloat.

Natalie Buchanan would much prefer to be in the metropolitan capital city of Centrum where she could forget about her father’s murder and the rest of her family’s troubles. Unfortunately her mother had other plans and now Natalie is struggling to fit into a city she isn’t even sure she likes.

When Ash and Natalie meet it’s intense dislike at first sight. But then why does Natalie keep thinking about Ash? And why does Ash feel so strange when Natalie is near him?

Black City is dangerous at the best of times. With rising political unrest and threats of arrest at every turn, things are only getting worse. There couldn’t be a worse time to take a stand, let alone fall in love in Black City (2012) by Elizabeth Richards.

Black City is Richards’ first novel as well as the first book in The Black City Chronicles.

Richards dives right into the action leaving little room for explanations or background information. The opening pages are somewhat confusing with a lot of new terms thrown around and many characters introduced. While some explanations are offered as the story progresses, the pacing of the story remains uneven. In an effort to build suspense, Richards plays some plot elements close to the vest. Unfortunately instead of raising curiosity most of these secrets only led to anti-climactic reveals or underwhelming or predictable elements.

Black City alternates between Ash and Natalie’s first person narrations. While the change in viewpoint is effective in terms of plot development, the two voices are impossible to distinguish save to for Ash’s use of swear words and Natalie’s sheltered view of Black City politics.

Black City itself was evocative enough to be a character in the story. It felt like a supernatural version of Gotham City come to life and was marvelously described. Sadly the characters populating it were not as compelling. Having noticed the similarities, it’s impossible to think of this book as anything but a mash-up of Twilight and The Hunger Games. That said, readers who are fans of both titles are sure to find Black City immensely entertaining.

Possible Pairings: The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Legend by Marie Lu, Twiligth by Stephenie Meyer, Misfit by Jon Skovron, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

*This book was acquired for review from the publisher at BEA 2012*

Linktastic! Disney Princess Edition

Since I reviewed a princess-y book this week for Chick Lit Wednesday it seemed like high time to share the Disney Princess links I’ve been hoarding.

This installment of Linktastic! is brought to you by my undying love of Disney (yes even with the weird stuff they do sometimes) and my conviction that Phillip is the best Disney Prince ever. (I can’t give a definitive princess answer because while Belle has my heart, I apparently spent my toddler-hood watching Sleeping Beauty Every. Single. Day. So I’m obviously fond of Aurora as well.

Onto the links!

Then thanks to Leila at Bookshelves of Doom I have some sad posts about everyone’s favorite archer: Merida from Brave. Merida is being inducted as Disney’s 11th princess. Which is awesome. Less awesome is her makeover for the induction ceremony where Merida has become curvier, lost her bow and arrows, and gotten a lot of makeup.

Lest you lose all faith in humanity here are some Disney links that are just for fun:

Enchanted: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

Enchanted by Alethea KontisSunday Woodcutter is the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter. She is not destined for greatness like her oldest brother, Jack Jr. She is not hardworking like her sister Saturday, or unfailingly kind like her sister Friday.

It is also almost impossible for Sunday to live up to her own name. Blithe and bonny and good and gay? That’s a lot to live up to.

Still, Sunday is happy with her life. She loves her family. She has her notebook to fill with stories (that have a slightly disturbing tendency to come true). All is well in their crowded hope near the enchanted forest.

In a land as ripe with magic as Sunday’s, it isn’t particularly surprising to meet a talking frog. The real surprise comes when he shows an interest in Sunday’s stories and quickly becomes her dear friend.

Until he disappears.

Rumbold is more than happy to be human again thanks to Sunday’s love. Even if it does mean he is once again Prince Rumbold–a man Sunday’s family has long hated.

But love and magic can be complicated things. And Rumbold isn’t one to give up easily. Rumbold will have to try to win Sunday’s heart all over again amidst a whirlwind of balls, fairy godmothers and true danger for himself, Sunday and the entire kingdom in Enchanted (2012) by Alethea Kontis.

Find it on Bookshop.

Enchanted is Kontis’ first novel. The second book in the Woodcutter Sisters series, Hero, is due out later in 2013.

Enchanted is part retelling and part fractured fairy tale as Kontis works in every fairy tale trope, convention and character imaginable into this volume. (Half the fun is catching all of her references.)

Happily, Enchanted is a fine addition to the world of fairy tale novels. Sunday is a winsome heroine who is steadfast, brave, and just the right amount of stubborn. Rumbold is as charming as one would expect a fairy tale prince to be. With a sprawling cast, this novel is filled with characters that are as amusing as  they are endearing.

Working with so many different pieces of source material, you might expect a story like this one to feel forced. It doesn’t. Kontis’ writing is seamless as she effortlessly brings together many beloved fairy tale elements to create a story that is both sentimental and exciting. The heavy focus on the importance of family–especially the obvious affection the Woodcutters have for each other–was a delightful part of the story.

With adventure and magic and not one but three royal balls, Enchanted is guaranteed to have something for everyone. This story even has a perfect ending to Sunday’s tale (and a perfect beginning for the next Woodcutter Sisters book).

Possible Pairings: The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo, Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, The Selection by Kiera Cass, Wicked As You Wish by Rin Chupeco, Entwined by Heather Dixon, Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George, Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix, Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale, Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon Hale, Dean Hale and Chris Hale, The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy, Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay, Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones,Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier, The Accidental Highwayman by Ben Tripp, A Well-Timed Enchantment by Vivian Vande Velde

I flipped the cover of this book earlier in May. You can see the results in my CoverFlip post.

Wild Awake: A Review

Wild Awake by Hilary T. SmithSeventeen-year-old Kiri Byrd has the entire house to herself while her parents are on a six-week cruise. Kiri expects to have a tame but Serious summer spent Focusing on Her Art. She has a rigorous practice schedule for her piano repertoire for the Student Showcase. She has important things to discuss with her bandmate Lukas as they prepare for Battle of the Bands (like all of the reasons they can be Serious about the music AND date!).

Kiri’s quiet and Serious summer is completely derailed with one phone call.

Kiri expects retrieving her sister Sukey’s things will be simple. How can it be anything else? But nothing involving her older sister is simple. As Kiri retrieves her possessions and learns more about Sukey and her past, Kiri’s carefully constructed world starts to fall apart in ways that are as devastating as they are beautiful in Wild Awake (2013) by Hilary T. Smith.

Wild Awake is Smith’s first novel. She was also previously the anonymous publishing blogger INTERN. You can find out more about Hilary T. Smith and INTERN’s advice on her website.

Wild Awake is simultaneously effervescent and heart-wrenching as Kiri struggles to make sense of her lingering grief and her own life in relation to it and her family. Filled with twists and turns, Smith weaves an exciting and surprising story about a girl trying to find her way without even realizing she was lost.

While the story is lovely and ultimately quite satisfying, there is a lot of drinking and casual drug use as Kiri works through her conflicted feelings about Sukey and her life. This is apparent from the first page and it makes sense in the story even if it might not make sense for some readers. Because of that and the fact that Kiri reads (in some ways) as older than seventeen, this is definitely a book that skews older with potential for adult crossover (rather than younger with middle grade crossover potential).

Smith’s writing is luminous; Kiri is a heroine who burns brightly with wit and surprising insights. At the same time, the book is erratic and frightening as it shines a light on the dark places in Kiri’s own psyche and her family’s troubled history. Much like Kiri herself Wild Awake ricochets between moments of beauty and ugliness to create a book filled with excellent prose and memorable characters.

Possible Pairings: The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life by Tara Altebrando, Shift by Jennifer Bradbury, Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley, The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison, Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach, The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour, When We Collided by Emery Lord, Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta, Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez, I am Princess X by Cherie Priest, Wherever Nina Lies by Lynn Weingarten, Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff

Linktastic! Goodreads and Google Reader Alternatives Edition

So, if you use social media as a reader, you’ve probably hear about Goodreads being bought by Amazon. I grant that Amazon’s monopoly is worrisome but I’m staying optimistic and sticking with goodreads.

If, however, you do want to jump ship, here are some alternatives I’ve heard about via Twitter or my own searching about:

  • Appnewser has five suggested alternatives:
  • Another alternative is BookLikes which does require an invitation (you request it right on the site) but I also heard it has a feature to import books from goodreads which is a plus.
  • There’s also Riffle which is a very pretty site with lots of nice cover images. It’s in beta but you can sign up with your twitter or facebook accounts (yay no new passwords). Its big feature seems to be posting book lists. The only problem is it doesn’t have an option to post reviews or mark when a book was read which are two of the main reasons I use goodreads.

Similarly, for reasons that remain unclear to its legions of users, Google has decided to discontinue Google Reader. I’ve been hobbling along with WordPress’ reader feature which works for me since I don’t even have a Google account. BUT if you don’t have the wordpress option, here are some alternatives I’ve seen mentioned on Twitter and what not:

On Judging Books by (Gendered) covers and Maureen Johnson’s CoverFlip

Last week Maureen Johnson made a fairly casual statement on twitter about books written by women (and sometimes marketed toward women) getting very different cover treatment as compared to books written by men.

So, being Maureen Johnson, she issued a challenge to Twitter: re-imagine some covers as if they were written by author of the opposite gender.

The results were posted on the Huffington Post website and, I’ve got to say, it’s interesting to see how tightly opinions are tied to covers on a subconscious level. I know covers play a role but it’s really interesting seeing how my opinions on a subconscious level reacted to the different covers.

You can see some of the flipped covers here:

You can also read Maureen Johnson’s essay about the problem here:

And thanks to book blogger Liz B I can also point you to this companion article from The Washington Post:

And then, because it sounded fun. I flipped a couple of covers (originals on the left):

Enchanted by Alethea Kontis

Enchanted by Alethea Kontisenchantedflipped

Timepiece by Myra McEntire

Timepiece by Myra McEntiretimepieceflipped

I’m not quite a graphics wizard but I’m pretty pleased with the results and I think you get the point of the challenge. Both of the books above feature male POVs (half of Enchanted and all of Timepiece). Guess which part the marketers thought was more viable? THAT SAID I really love both original covers and I really really love that the publishers are keeping consistent covers for both of series of books.

Reunited: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

Reunited by Hilary Weisman GrahamAlice, Summer and Tiernan used to be best friends and the self-proclaimed biggest fans of the band Level 3. But that was a long time ago. Before high school. Before Level 3 broke up and the girls’ friendship imploded.

Alice is okay with that. She’s moved on. Really. Except her post-graduation plans fall apart and, seemingly like magic, Level 3 is getting together for a one-night-only reunion show in Texas. When Alice manages to score three coveted tickets, she knows it must be a sign. If Level 3 can have a reunion, why not the girls who used to be their biggest fans?

Summer parted ways with Tiernan and Alice four years ago and never looked back. That disastrous homecoming dance is nothing but a (slightly painful) memory when Alice invites Summer on the road trip. Summer would rather be anywhere else. Until she realizes joining this one trip might be her chance to finally make some choices of her own.

Tiernan has cooler friends now and parties way harder. So hard, in fact, that Alice’s road trip might be the one and only chance for Tiernan to get out of the house this summer.

One VW van, two-thousand miles and a whole lot of problems are the only things standing between these three ex-best friends and the concert of a lifetime in Reunited (2012) by Hilary Weisman Graham.

Reunited is Graham’s first novel.

Written in the third person, Graham alternates perspectives throughout the novel between Alice, Summer and Tiernan. Graham expertly differentiates between the girls’ voices, giving them distinct personalities complete with strengths and flaws. Graham’s narrative is urbane and bright with loads of humor and moments of contemplative realizations for all three ex-best friends.

Reunited is a quintessential road trip book from the quirky vehicle down to the travelers with their own emotional baggage. With three winning heroines and great writing, this story stands out as an original addition to the road trip sub-genre. Graham even starts each chapter with song lyrics from Level 3’s discography. (The only downside being that I am now very, very sad the band is fictional.)

While the number of things that can (and do) go wrong for these three travelers verges on hyperbolic, all of the mayhem and disaster makes for an excellent and very funny read. Graham also amps up the tension near the end as more obstacles are thrown in their way. I won’t spoil the ending, but after all of the false starts and near misses Reunited ends on what musicians and music lovers might call a satisfying major chord (which non-musicians will be happy to hear is the “happier” sounding chord).

Possible Pairings: Never, Always, Sometimes by Adi Alsaid, The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life by Tara Altebrando, Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, City Love by Susane Colasanti, A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley, An Abundance of Katherines by John Green, Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein, The View From Saturday  by E. L. Konigsburg, Open Road Summer by Emery Lord, The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta, Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson, After the Kiss by Terra Elan McVoy, The Miles Between by Mary E. Pearson, Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales, Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith

You can read my exclusive interview with Hilary Graham!

Also don’t forget to enter my giveaway for the Reunited Road Trip mix CD!

You can also find more about Level 3 (and two free song downloads) here:

Author Interview: Hilary Weisman Graham on Reunited

Hilary Weisman Graham author photoToday I have a really special author interview. As some of you know, I worked briefly as a bookseller at a children’s bookstore. Last year, shortly after Book Expo America, the store was having a signing with a lot of great authors. (One even had the same color nail polish as me.) One author attending the signing was celebrating her book’s recent release and we started talking. That author was Hilary Graham and the book was Reunited. We talked about the release and my book blog and I ran out and bought a copy of Reunited the very next day. Fast forward to March when I attended another signing–one where Hilary Graham was signing. I was really happy to meet her again and completely flattered that she remembered our earlier encounter. We started setting up details then and now I’m happy to share our interview here on the blog.

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

Hilary Weisman Graham (HG): I started off my career as a filmmaker and TV producer, but writing was always a big part of my job. Even in my free time, I’d find myself participating in poetry slams or composing humorous essays to share with my friends.  But for many years, I considered myself a “filmmaker who writes” as opposed to a writer.

Then, in the summer of 2007, I was selected to be a contestant on the Mark Burnett/Steven Spielberg-produced reality show On the Lot, which, if you never saw it, was like American Idol for filmmakers, and aired on Fox for only one season.  The goal of the show was to find “America’s next great director,” and I was handpicked out of a pool of 12,000 applicants.

It was during that summer in Los Angeles, in the midst of an intense filmmaking competition, that it suddenly became very clear to me that it was the writing part of filmmaking that I’d always most enjoyed (and was best at) only I’d never realized it before. Needless to say, it was a huge epiphany for me.  After that, I made it my goal to become a working screenwriter and novelist—and I’m happy to report that with the help of my amazing manager and agent, that dream has now come true!

MP: What was the inspiration for Reunited?

HG: The idea for REUNITED actually came from my editor at Simon & Schuster who came up with a two-sentence concept about ex-best friends getting together to see a band they once loved. Since I’d experienced a friendship break-up of my own freshman year of high school, I really connected with those feelings, even though my story is very different than Alice, Summer, and Tiernan’s. For most 14-year-old girls, their best friends are the most meaningful relationship they’ve had at that point in their lives, apart from their family, so I thought the idea of ex-best friends reuniting at the end of high school, when they’re older and wiser, would make for an interesting story.

MP: Alice, Summer and Tiernan all have a chance to tell their part of the story as you shift the perspective (in third person) to voice each girl’s motivations for going on the road trip. As a reader I loved getting to see the story from all sides, but how was it as a writer? Going in did you know the story would shift perspective (or have a plan who would “tell” which parts)?

HG: My agent warned me that I was making my job a lot harder by writing my first novel in three alternating perspectives and he was definitely right! But I think my background as a screenwriter made it a bit easier for me. Plus, it helped that I’d made a detailed outline, including a breakdown for which chapters would be in which character’s perspective. But I the decision to write REUNITED in the three characters’ alternating perspectives was essential to the telling of this particular story.

MP: Was one character more fun to write than the others? Was anyone harder to write?

HG: Alice, Summer, & Tiernan were all fun to write, but if I had to choose, I’d say my favorite character to write was probably Tiernan because she’s so snarky.

MP: Reunited is as much about the three ex-best friends as it is about, Level3, the band they’re traveling to see. In fact, it’s almost impossible to talk about this book without mentioning Level3 thanks to the book’s awesome launch and Level3’s web presence. Can you tell us how you went about making Level3 a reality?

HG: The funny part about Level3 was that each time I found myself writing the lyrics to one of their songs—an event that happened frequently, since lyrical excerpts open each chapter—I became aware of the fact that I was also composing the melodies to these songs in my head.

So even though I don’t have a musical bone in my body, I thought it would be fun to bring my fictional band to life. Luckily, I have some very talented musician friends who helped me do this.  And winning the 2011 SCBWI Book Launch Award didn’t hurt, since the cash prize enabled me to get a bit creative with REUNITED’s marketing.

While Level3’s songs were being recorded, I got to work creating a robust online presence for the band.  Today, is a place where fans can read blog posts by the band members, download two free Level3 songs, peruse photos, watch a Level3 music video and a behind-the-scenes “pop-up” documentary, and follow Level3 on Facebook and Twitter. Whew. And Level3 even went on tour last summer at libraries from Boston to Austin!

[MP: You can also read about Reunited’s clever launch promotion with Level 3 in the Publisher’s Weekly article: “Fictional Band Rocks Promotion for ‘Reunited‘”]

MP: Working off the last question: I loved the inclusion of Level3 song lyrics throughout the novel. Which came first—the lyrics or the story? How did you decide which songs to quote? How did you decide which songs to actually record for fans/readers?

HG: I came up with the idea of Level3 right away, but I wrote their lyrics as I wrote the chapters. When it came to recording their songs, I picked the two songs that played the biggest role in the book.

MP: There are a lot of twists and turns as Alice, Summer and Tiernan make their way to Texas. Things go wrong. Things go right. Mayhem ensues. Were any parts harder to write than others? Are there any parts that were extra fun to write?

HG: I can’t think of any scenes that were harder to write than others, but my favorite scene to write was the kissing scene!  But I don’t want to include any spoilers here, so I won’t tell you which one of the girls gets kissed.

MP: Before writing Reunited you had a (very impressive) background as a filmmaker. Did your experience making films influence how you approached writing this story?

HG: I think my background as a filmmaker helps me to create scenes that are inherently visual and easy for the reader to “see” in their mind’s eye. As a write, I think I’m really lucky to be able to go back and forth between fiction and screenplays because I’m constantly discovering ways each medium informs the other.

MP: Speaking of past experience, did your own travels influence the route and final destination of the road trip?

HG: Yes! I’ve had to good fortune of having been on many road trips in my life—backpacking through Portugal and Spain with my sister and a friend during college, wandering around the Irish countryside with four of my best girlfriends in a very small rental car, and driving from Boston to Juarez, Mexico (on a route similar to REUNITED) with a group of friends while shooting a documentary. Though thankfully, I’ve never been stuck in a van with any of my ex-best friends. ;)

MP: There was a lot to love to Reunited but is there anything you particularly hope readers will take away from the book? Is there any scene you were especially excited for readers to see for the first time?

HG: Hopefully, readers will connect with the characters on an emotional level, which, I guess, is what reading’s pretty much all about.  But also, I think the concept of ex-best friends getting back together could be a useful jumping off point for girls and women to look at their past and present friendships, and to reflect on what it takes to be a good friend and keep a friendship strong.

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

HG: I’m working on a few different things right now in books and TV, so I’m not sure which one will end up being next—either a very heavy TV drama, a contemporary YA novel currently titled GIRLS LIKE ME, or a brand new comedic middle grade book. How’s that for a diverse slate of projects?

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

HG: Probably the best piece of writing advice I’ve gotten came from Robert McKee, the author of “Story,” a popular (almost cultish) book on screenwriting.  And I have the audiobook, so it feels like McKee’s talking directly to me (which, if you’ve ever heard McKee speak, comes off more like a reprimand, but that’s part of his charm).  Anyway, Robert McKee insists that you not write dialogue or scenes prior to having worked out the structure of your story first, because if you do, you’re in danger of falling in love with your own words and keeping a wonderful bit of dialogue that ultimately, doesn’t belong in your story.  I think I fell victim to this a lot when I was first starting out as a writer.  But sadly, we all must learn to kill our darlings.  There’s really no other way.

Thanks again to Hilary Graham for a great interview! You can also read my review of Reunited here on the blog and visit Hilary Graham’s website for more info about her and her books.

Also don’t forget to enter my giveaway for the Reunited Road Trip mix CD!