Free event – Tickets at Eventbrite
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Presented by Pasadena Public Library and Bridge to Books
Mon April 7 – What a Nerd Girl Says – Spotlight on Andrew Smith
SS: In this YA mystery, a heartbroken, hard-drinking teenage soccer player fights to clear his name after being dumped, framed, and blackmailed.
NL: What inspired you to write HIGH & DRY?
SS: I love mysteries and really wanted to push myself to write a different kind of story from my debut. BRUISED was a more “internal conflict” type of book, albeit with martial arts woven in, and it takes place over many months. HIGH & DRY is fast paced and spans a single week, and, unlike BRUISED, it’s written from a teenage boy’s POV. I loved the challenge of each aspect. I’m also a big fan of “Veronica Mars,” Raymond Chandler stories, and Humphrey Bogart films. This was a fun way for me to pay homage to those styles.
NL: In BRUISED, you used your past experience as a student of martial arts to help you write about a girl who is a black belt. Did you have any past experience or knowledge to draw from for HIGH & DRY or did you other research for it?
SS: I went through a big soccer phase after the 2010 World Cup, when I realized that several of the U.S. teammates played for L.A. Galaxy (plus of course, *cough*, Beckham). I liked watching matches, and appreciated the possibility of their instant, dramatic reversals of fortune, so much so that I decided to include the sport in the book. It wasn’t research in the traditional sense, but I did put my hours on the couch to good use, haha. I don’t have experience with any other aspects of the book, so I read a lot of mysteries to get in the right mindset, and I Wikipedia’d a lot.
NL: HIGH & DRY is told from a male point of view. Did you find it difficult or different to write from a male POV?
SS: Not especially. I asked my husband to vet the first draft and he offered a few suggestions, but otherwise it came fairly naturally to me. What matters more to me in terms of voice isn’t so much gender but other factors, such as family background, interests, intelligence, and personality.
NL: Since HIGH & DRY is about someone being framed, we’d like to ask have you ever been framed or falsely accused of something in your life? How did you handle it?
SS: Luckily, no. I’ve done things I’m not proud of, but I don’t believe I’ve ever been falsely accused. So, if I was accused of it, it was probably true!
NL: You are a (somewhat) new mother (with a freakin’ adorable baby). How has motherhood changed how you write? (I can’t imagine there’s much time for writing with a baby in the house)
SS: Thank you!! The first year of motherhood I gave myself permission to not write. It didn’t last very long, but I liked the idea of focusing on one thing at a time. The second year of motherhood, I got up at 4:45am while everyone else slept so I could write. It was effective in the short-term but not sustainable, at least not for me. The balance can be tough. I’m not sure it’s even fair to use the term “balance” because certain parts of life SHOULD come first at different times, in my opinion. But I’m working on it!
NL: Your husband is a magician (which sounds really fun). What’s the craziest trick you’ve ever assisted with?
SS: He is amazingly talented! However, he doesn’t work with assistants so I’ve not had the pleasure of assisting (yet) :)
NL: HIGH & DRY will be released in April but what are you currently working on?
SS: I’ve got two more contemporary YA ideas brewing, and one adult idea I’m excited about.
NL: Favorite snack or beverage while writing?
SS: Coffee or Guinness.
NL: Do you have any strange writing habits?
SS: Sometimes if I’m super-psyched about a scene, I get up and dance and like, slap my hands on my knees while I dance. Please don’t try to picture this.
NL: Salty or sweet?
NL: What’s on your night stand?
SS: My wrist braces (for tendonitis) and a leopard-print sleep mask. Sexy!
NL: Cake or pie and what kind?
SS: Pie, apple crumble, specifically my mother-in-law’s.
NL: Thank you so much, Sarah! We can’t wait to see you in April for the Pasadena Teen Book Festival!
SS: Thank YOU for the great questions. I had lots of fun answering these, and I really appreciate it.
#3: $50 Gift Card to Vroman’s BookstoreOpen to attendees of the Pasadena Book Festival only! – ends 4/21/2014
To enter, suggest a new, unique/clever/fun name for the Pasadena Teen Book Festival. Examples of other cool names for teen book fests include (already taken, unfortunately)Teen Author Carnival, YALLFest, and YABFest. What should we call our event from now on? Email your top 3 best name suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org OR fill out this form! A panel of judges will choose the best name from all of the submissions. The winner will be announced at the Festival!