WBEZ | Young Adult http://www.wbez.org/tags/young-adult Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Q&A with Julie Klausner, author of 'Art Girls Are Easy' http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-05/qa-julie-klausner-author-art-girls-are-easy-107004 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Julie-Klausner-1844.jpg" style="float: right; height: 200px; width: 300px;" title="Julie Klausner (Photo by Mindy Tucker)" />You <em>probably </em>know Julie Klausner from <a href="http://www.zulkey.com/2010/08/the_julie_klausner_interview.php">my 2010 interview with her</a>. If not for that, maybe her memoir <em>I Don&#39;t Care About Her Band</em> or her personable podcast <a href="http://howwasyourweek.libsyn.com/">How Was Your Week</a>. Starting Tuesday, you will also know her for her role as Young Adult author, as her new book <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Art-Girls-Easy-Julie-Klausner/dp/0316243620">Art Girls Are Easy</a>, </em>a funny and romantic summer camp romp with an artsy twist, will be released May 7. I asked Julie what it&#39;s like wearing a new YA hat, and below that, check out an excerpt from the book.</p><p><strong>How hard or easy was it to switch gears into YA writing? What challenges did it pose?</strong><br />It&#39;s completely tough to write a book, period. But switching gears into fiction was absolutely challenging, if only because I had to make sure I wasn&#39;t using my own voice the whole time when I was writing&mdash;whether it was in the description or in the dialogue. I don&#39;t have a lot of experience writing fiction. Part of that is because I have such a loud nonfiction voice. I am who I am. Another element of the challenge of having to sit down and make sh*t up is imagination. As I grow older, I become more and more fearful that I have little to no imagination. The kind of abilities I had as a little kid to just play and make things up as you went along. So, I had to get past that fear to crack the story, and then to write in the voices of the kids I invented. But as far as it being a challenge from a YA perspective, I honestly have to say that I just tried to be true to the material, and I didn&#39;t think of the audience as being below or necessarily less sophisticated than somebody I would usually write for. I didn&#39;t dumb down my prose&mdash;or, I tried not to.</p><p><strong>You don&#39;t have to give us details (but feel free to), but how much of the book was inspired by your own young adulthood?</strong><br />I absolutely relate to the main character in the book. I was a very emotionally intense adolescent, very interior. I was eaten alive by my own passions, which were equal parts artistic drive and sexual madness. That&#39;s where I drew the inspiration for Indigo&#39;s tumult. Her conflict is more internal than it is a concrete struggle with her best friend. She does have some love affair gone sour stuff with her best friend Lucy, but the main plot exists within Indigo, I think. As far as the setting, I did go to a Fine and Performing Arts sleepaway camp, but it wasn&#39;t like Silver Springs at all, insomuch as the counselors were NOT sleazy and I will go on record as saying nobody ever tried to make out with me at the time. Which is still disappointing.</p><p><strong>What YA books have inspired you, either when you were a young adult or now in your general adulthood?</strong><br />The first Gossip Girl novel, by Cecily Von Ziegesar, was a huge inspiration, in terms of when I was first researching the genre and my agent suggested I see what was out there. I was so impressed by its satire and humor and its references, as well as by its structure. It read like a television show in how it was laid out; each scene introduced a couple of characters and they all converged in the middle and at the end. I mean this as a huge compliment. So, that absolutely encouraged me to write one of my own. AS far as growing up, like everybody else I was shaped by Judy Blume&#39;s opus, but I also want to give a shout-out to <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Paula-Danziger/e/B000APCI5K">Paula Danziger</a>. She wrote some steamy&mdash;for me, at the time&mdash;novels about teenage girls making out with dudes and coming of age, and I plowed through every one of her novels. Also, if you Google her, you&#39;ll find some pretty incredible photos of her <a href="https://www.google.com/search?q=Paula+Danziger&amp;oe=utf-8&amp;aq=t&amp;rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&amp;client=firefox-a&amp;um=1&amp;ie=UTF-8&amp;hl=en&amp;tbm=isch&amp;source=og&amp;sa=N&amp;tab=wi&amp;ei=FiCEUZG-CM20qQGYzoDwCA&amp;biw=1920&amp;bih=952&amp;sei=GSCEUd60Eo2yrgGmpIDADA">wearing a jaunty headband</a>, which I guess, along with her purple glasses, was a trademark. She&#39;s dead now, which is very sad. A fellow redhead, too! Redhead Hall of Fame for her, no doubt.</p><p><strong>What are your plans for celebrating your first YA book&#39;s release?</strong><br />None as of yet! But I will probably overeat that night.</p><p><strong>Who is currently your favorite animal? (Neither your nor my pets qualify.) </strong><br />Well, that is unfair to disqualify <a href="https://www.google.com/search?q=zulkey+briscoe&amp;oe=utf-8&amp;aq=t&amp;rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&amp;client=firefox-a&amp;um=1&amp;ie=UTF-8&amp;hl=en&amp;tbm=isch&amp;source=og&amp;sa=N&amp;tab=wi&amp;ei=UyCEUcTVOYjMqQG03IDQDw&amp;biw=1920&amp;bih=952&amp;sei=YyCEUYrUJJHNqAHN4IGYBA">Briscoe</a> and <a href="https://www.google.com/search?q=klausner+jimmy+jazz&amp;oe=utf-8&amp;aq=t&amp;rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&amp;client=firefox-a&amp;um=1&amp;ie=UTF-8&amp;hl=en&amp;tbm=isch&amp;source=og&amp;sa=N&amp;tab=wi&amp;ei=mCCEUY6UG4qhrgGjq4CADw&amp;biw=1920&amp;bih=952&amp;sei=miCEUej0GsfXrAGxt4HoBg">Jimmy Jazz</a>, but I&#39;ll play along. I&#39;ll go with most recently adored instead of utmost overall pet. Yesterday I met Marc Spitz&#39;s two basset hounds, <a href="http://nypress.com/downtown-then-and-now-with-marc-spitz/">Jerry and Joni</a>. Jerry dazzled me, with his vocal displays of neediness and alpha-tude, but Joni ultimately won me over with her nuzzles and her plaintive, God-like eyes. I love them both. They are good hounds.</p><p>[Editor&#39;s note: Both Marc Spitz&#39;s and my dogs are named after Jerry Orbach.]</p><p>Now please enjoy an excerpt from <em>Art Girls are Easy:</em></p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;Wake up!&rdquo; Eleanor hissed. Sure enough, the bus was pulling up to campus, and the sign welcoming motorists to Silver Springs elicited cheers and general rabble from the peanut gallery of young campers at the front.</p><p>Indigo felt disoriented and groggy. She rubbed her eyes carefully so as not to smudge her mascara and looked out the window.They were just pulling up to the front of the camp.Indy could make out the lush lawn and blue buildings with sloping gray roofs in the near distance. Massive shady trees were spaced evenly throughout the campus, and the Silver Springs camp flag, which bore a feminized coat of arms that represented each discipline taught at camp above the Latin phrase<em> ArsGratiaArtis</em> (&ldquo;Art is the reward of art&rdquo;), danced lightly in the breeze. The overall effect was quite ethereal. Indigo began to imagine which colors she would mix to achieve the specific shades of the scene if she were to paint a landscape right now. Chartreuse and goldenrod. Maybe some cerulean.</p><p>&ldquo;You were snoring.&rdquo;Eleanor smirked, her thin lips a line graph of contempt under her LancĂ´me burgundy matte stick. &ldquo;It was&nbsp;pretty annoying.&rdquo;That was rich, coming from her. Indy gathered her things: she couldn&rsquo;t wait to get off this bus and avoid Eleanor for the rest of&nbsp;the summer.</p><p>As the girls lined up like elegant, talented cattle down the bus&nbsp; aisle, the camp director, Lillian Meehan, greeted each camper as she exited with a lei made from organic peonies tied together&nbsp;with red kabbalah string. Lillian was tall and amiable, and thin enough to look great in clothes, though not necessarily pretty. Basically, she was Glenn Close with dark hair and a whistle around her neck.</p><p>Lucy looked back at a still-sleepy, rumpled Indigo before getting off the bus. As the two girls made eye contact for the first time since their light dish session about Tyler or Taylor or whoever, Lucy smiled and winked at her friend, and Indy felt the&nbsp;warm rush of camaraderie wash over her. She smiled back and soon enough emerged from the bus into the warm kiss of sunlight on the grassy patch, where Lillian greeted her with a lei. And&nbsp;when she lifted her face to take in the familiar postcard of the sprawling green campus before her, Indigo found something&nbsp;small and sublime in its composition.</p><p>There, on the lawn of the main sprawl of Silver Springs, right near the office, stood Nick Estep, holding a blowtorch to a life-size rectangular metal sculpture. Goggles rested over his longish hair, which trickled onto the collar of his Nirvana T-shirt in the Berkshires sunlight.Indigo&rsquo;s heart rocketed to every point on the surface of her skin. He was here after all.</p></blockquote><p><em>Follow Claire Zulkey <a href="https://twitter.com/Zulkey">@Zulkey</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 06 May 2013 08:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-05/qa-julie-klausner-author-art-girls-are-easy-107004 The DC Pierson Interview http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-10/dc-pierson-interview-103245 <p><p>Today&rsquo;s interviewee wears many hats: Some may know&nbsp;DC Pierson for the popular stylings of his sketch comedy group <a href="http://www.youtube.com/user/derrickcomedy">DERRICK</a>, the crew behind the movie <em><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMxEe2gnaQY">Mystery Team</a>;</em>&nbsp;others know him for his novel <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Couldnt-Sleep-Never-Vintage-Contemporaries/dp/0307474615/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top">The Boy Who Couldn&rsquo;t Sleep And Never Had To (</a></em>or <a href="http://digitallife.today.com/_news/2012/08/13/13260115-student-asks-internet-for-help-avoiding-book-gets-schooled-by-its-author?lite">the awesome response he posted online</a> to the youngster who didn&rsquo;t feel like reading the book). Lately he has been <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2272628/">acting</a> and writing <a href="http://dcpierson.tumblr.com/post/32244387256/ive-posted-the-latest-crap-kingdom-custom-rap-for">customized rap songs</a> for the pre-orderers of his <a href="http://amzn.to/OnJO53">newest book</a>. You can learn a whole lot more about him <a href="http://dcpierson.tumblr.com/">here</a>.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/DCPierson_fullres_ZXW-2.jpg" style="float: left; height: 450px; width: 300px; " title="(Photo courtesy DC Pierson)" /><strong>Your first book was about young adults but not technically classified YA. Your second book is being released as YA. Was there a difference writing the two, style and tone-wise?</strong><br />Even though both books are about the friendship between two teenage boys, there&#39;s absolutely a difference in tone. The first book was written from a first-person perspective, whereas the new one is written from a sort of wry third-person perspective, because I felt that was more in keeping with the genre of fantasy literature, a genre the book both belongs to and (gently) mocks.</p><p>The first [book], <em>The Boy Who Couldn&#39;t Sleep And Never Had To, </em>is&nbsp;the more &quot;adult&quot; of the two, though that term always makes me feel like I&#39;m saying the book should be sold in a brown paper wrapper in 1970s Times Square. It was often mistakenly classified as &quot;young adult&quot; despite the fact that it features, among other things, boobs, drug use, and swearing &mdash; three things I had varying degrees of experience with as a teenager myself, one very little, one not at all and one a TON (see if you can guess which is which, given the fact that I grew up to be a comedian instead of a globetrotting Lothario, or a . . . &nbsp;drug guy). It&#39;s a relief for people to say about this one &quot;It&#39;s about young adults &mdash; it must be young adult!&quot; because it is.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>The new book is called <em>Crap Kingdom.</em>&nbsp;Did you get any &quot;crap&quot; from your publisher or publicists on whether the title might hinder sales in more conservative markets? If so, what were some other titles that were considered?</strong><br />I wouldn&#39;t say I got crap, per se, but there was definitely a lot of internal debate at my publisher as to whether librarians would be comfortable pushing a book called <em>Crap Kingdom </em>on children. To her immense credit, my editor, Kendra Levin, was a big advocate for the title of the book and I think we&#39;re now all on the same page that. While there may be the occasional conservative (I like to imagine, old-fashioned Shaker) parent who has a problem with the title, there will be just as many kids who are attracted to the book because the title features a relatively mild sort-of swear.&nbsp;In the darkest hours of the title discussion, I threw out the idea of calling it <em>Epic Fail</em>. It&#39;s cute but I&#39;m really glad Kendra fought for the original title and her bosses backed her up.</p><p><strong>In another interview you said that the experience your comedy partner <a href="https://twitter.com/DonaldGlover">Donald Glover </a>had writing for <em>30 Rock </em>helped you write <em>Mystery Team.</em>&nbsp;What specific lessons did you apply to the movie?</strong><br />Donald&#39;s co-workers were obsessed with making every joke as funny as it could possibly be on the page, as opposed to writing down the first relatively funny thing that came to mind and relying on the actors to &quot;sell&quot; it in performance. This point of view, which led to many tedious midnight-oil-burning hours rocking back and forth in computer chairs trying to think if there was a funnier specific than &quot;vomit-shark&quot; on our part, really benefited us in a number of ways. We were making a movie completely independently, with very little time and very little money. On the production end, we were all wearing a number of hats. If we&#39;d had to do all of the things we had to do every day to move the rock of the production up the hill in addition to being there, on set, in the moment, trying to figure out a way to make the jokes decent, we would&#39;ve ended up with a very mediocre movie, in all likelihood, instead of one that we&#39;re all extremely proud of.</p><p><strong>What are some of your personal favorite Derrick Comedy &quot;deep cuts&quot;&nbsp;</strong><strong>&mdash;</strong><strong>&nbsp; videos that might have flown a bit under the radar?&nbsp;</strong><br /><a href="http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=wqxr+the+wolf&amp;source=web&amp;cd=4&amp;ved=0CDAQtwIwAw&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DOMrdAr7fNjo&amp;ei=I5N_UKjDKqn5igLIuoCwAg&amp;usg=AFQjCNHvdIJ8JKI3dgJmurU_fnZUlWhqOA">WQXR The Cool Breeze</a>. Donald and I play morning radio DJs trapped in our station by a hyper-intelligent wolf. We slowly come to grasp the scope of the wolf&#39;s demonic designs, all while playing the hits of the &#39;70s, &#39;80s, &#39;90s and today. Donald&#39;s read on &quot;I was flippin&#39; through the Necronomicon&quot; is tremendous.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Including <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9EBcNEKkcY">commercials</a>, what have been some of your favorite non-comedy roles?</strong><br />I&#39;d say almost all of the roles I&#39;ve played have been in some way comedic. But I was recently in an indie movie called <em><a href="http://www.grassrootsthefilm.com/">Grassroots</a></em>, which I think is coming to Netflix soon. In addition to playing a stoned goofball, I got to play a stoned goofball REACTING TO THE EVENTS OF 9/11. I made a choice to be shell-shocked and teary-eyed, a departure from what I did on the actual morning of 9/11, which was to be shell-shocked, teary-eyed and go down to the drama room to be with &quot;my people&quot; (I was a sophomore in high school). I&#39;m proud of what I got to do in the movie and I&#39;m excited for people to see it.</p><p><strong>What program or old-timey materials do you write on when it comes to fiction, scripts and blogging?</strong><br />I write ideas, stand-up set-lists and puns down in a Moleskine I have on me at all times. I KNOW. For fiction, previously I used Microsoft Word but have skipped to Pages for Mac. For screenwriting, [I use] Final Draft, the best bad screenwriting software there is. Recently I began using Scrivener for outlining a screenwriting project, and will probably use it to outline my next book &mdash; it&#39;s worth every penny.</p><p><strong>How do you divide your writing time? Do you give each genre its own time per day or do you devote a day to writing books, a day to scripts and so on?</strong><br />Right now I pretty much stick to one writing project at a time. A bunch of things will sometimes intercede on that writing time, including auditions for acting stuff. I&#39;ve also written for a lot of award shows in the past few years, so that will sometimes place a month-long hiatus in an otherwise relatively forward-moving writing project.&nbsp;</p><p>For the past few years I&#39;ve been working with Dan [Eckman] and Meggie [McFadden] from DERRICK on adapting my first book into a feature film script. We&#39;ll hopefully complete our latest draft by the end of the year. When we&#39;re done, God willing, I&#39;ll start the next (grown-up) novel.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>What&rsquo;s a site, comedy group, show or person that you take comfort in for its ability to make you laugh reliably?</strong><a href="http://www.avclub.com/podcasts/the-best-show-on-wfmu-with-tom-scharpling,43/"><br /><em>THE BEST SHOW ON WFMU</em></a>, hosted and masterminded by <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/claire-zulkey/2011-11-11/tom-scharpling-interview-93958">Tom Scharpling</a>&nbsp;and ably assisted by his genius comedy partner/one of the best drummers in rock, Jon Wurster, is, I think, my favorite piece of continuing entertainment on the planet. I was turned onto it my first, and most miserable, year in Los Angeles, and, as most first time listeners do, I had 90 minutes of not getting it AT ALL. Then it snapped into focus and has since provided me with countless hours of joy. It&#39;s so, so good. I can&#39;t recommend it enough, to anyone. I have limitless respect for Tom as a comedian, artist and human being. The more you listen, the more wonderful it gets, and there&#39;s so, so much of it to listen to.</p><p><strong>I read an interview with you where you said that you wrote your first novel partially out of a sense of competition when a friend of yours said that so many people claim they can write books but never do. You&rsquo;ve accomplished a lot as a writer, performer and director, so how do you keep that competitive spirit alive? Or do you rely on other means of motivation once you can say, &ldquo;OK, I wrote the book,&rdquo; or, &ldquo;OK, I put out a movie&rdquo;?</strong><br />My sense of competitive fire is, right now, kept alive in large part by plain ol&#39; trying to get by: It is really, really hard to make money in any creative endeavor. So the pure motivation of &quot;If I don&#39;t chase down all these different things all at once, I don&#39;t know if there will be rent or food or cell-phone-keeping-on money&quot; definitely helps. That said, I could have made different choices, like going after a staff writing job on a TV show, or other avenues that allow creative people to settle into relatively (and in some cases, indisputably) comfortable existences. I haven&#39;t, on purpose, because when I &quot;make it&quot; (note: none of us know exactly what &quot;making it&quot; looks like and I assume that once I achieve my current vague notion of what it is to &quot;make it&quot; the specter of &quot;making it&quot; will swirl and transmogrify into something every bit as alluring and unattainable as whatever my old idea of &quot;making it&quot; was that I finally achieved after much toil and many podcast appearances) I want to have &quot;made it&quot; as myself. I want my name to be associated with a certain kind of cultural output. That is to say, cultural output that features both cyborgs and sexual awkwardness. I feel, maybe misguidedly, that those other things that would, right now, afford me a degree of comfort and stability, would also take away time from all the other things I want to do. And that may change at some point.</p><p>Guided By Voices&#39; latest post-reunion album is called <em>Class Clown Spots A UFO</em>. This is hyper-pretentious, but I saw that album title and went, &quot;Oh, sh*t, that is the phrase I want anyone to be able to use to describe my career.&quot;</p><p>Also: I listen to a ton of rap music about waking up, getting money and being awesome. That helps a lot.</p><p><strong>As a person whose in-laws live in Phoenix and is always looking for fun stuff to do when in town, I&#39;d love to know: What do you do when you go home?</strong><br />I hang out a bunch with my family. I used to hang out with a lot of my friends that had stayed in Phoenix, but many of my closest friends now live in other places. So I guess what I&#39;m saying, Claire, is you should hang out with my family (they&#39;re great) but you can&#39;t hang out with Chuck or Trevor because they now live in New York and Colorado, respectively. Also: <a href="http://www.filibertos.com/">Filiberto&#39;s</a> has great trashy burritos.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>What&rsquo;s it like to be a IV? Do you feel pressure to keep the ball rolling with a V eventually or you prefer to break the name cycle?</strong><br />No question that if I have a firstborn son, there will be a Five. I think it&#39;s more fun to work with in a pre-existing tradition and have whatever we end up calling him be an interesting riff on what the previous four of us have been called. Also: Can you imagine being fathered by a person who thinks in these terms? Who wants your name to be an &quot;interesting riff?&quot; My God. Poor kid.</p><p><strong>What&rsquo;s your <a href="http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.emcblue.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/fullsize_5.jpg&amp;imgrefurl=http://www.emcblue.com/2012/02/dc-pierson-profile-title-pending/&amp;h=151&amp;w=251&amp;sz=31&amp;tbnid=HwxJdhPzWOMcaM:&amp;tbnh=90&amp;tbnw=150&amp;zoom=1&amp;usg=__J2OSx_VIPryEBcsz1bvaTBfzfN4=&amp;docid=1L4wvG-iaiHggM&amp;sa=X&amp;ei=ZFOAUKD4OPKLyAGQ7ICoAg&amp;ved=0CDQQ9QEwBQ&amp;dur=282">hair</a>-<a href="http://splitsider.com/2012/08/pre-order-dc-piersons-new-book-now-and-hell-rap-about-you/">care</a> <a href="http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mbdn6dhtcw1qbzdzno1_500.jpg&amp;imgrefurl=http://mydamnchannel.tumblr.com/post/32878419380/today-on-mydamnchannellive-dc-pierson-1-3-of&amp;h=500&amp;w=500&amp;sz=162&amp;tbnid=NA7Bp4znF9BvnM:&amp;tbnh=92&amp;tbnw=92&amp;zoom=1&amp;usg=__Oeha_4OQ5nwseZDT-E0T3hsipAQ=&amp;docid=zbe-jufRZLXxXM&amp;sa=X&amp;ei=ZFOAUKD4OPKLyAGQ7ICoAg&amp;ved=0CC4Q9QEwAw&amp;dur=392">regimen</a></strong>?<br />My girlfriend recently turned me onto a shampoo called Shampure. It&#39;s made by Aveda. She uses it, I use it &mdash;&nbsp;sh*t is adorable. I wash my hair about once a week. Around three or four days in I start wearing a beanie, because by that time, my hair has come to resemble an abandoned fairground. It doesn&#39;t look quite so bad with the beanie on, though. If I have an audition where it doesn&#39;t seem like the character would necessarily be wearing a beanie over their &quot;middle of <em>Charlotte&#39;s Web</em>&quot; hair, I&#39;ll throw in a mid-week hair wash, as necessary. I&#39;m going to cut it soon, I swear. Many inches of its length can be chalked up to stubbornness, most of the rest to laziness, the final inch or two to the fact that my dad listened to a lot of Allman Brothers when I was growing up so I kinda think that sh*t is COOL.</p><p><strong>How does it feel to be the 330th person interviewed for Zulkey.com?</strong><br />A thrill. I think Interviewee 331st will be hard-pressed to match me for aimless parenthetical digressions and for pure flakiness when it comes to getting you your answers on time.</p><p>I had fun, though.</p></p> Fri, 19 Oct 2012 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-10/dc-pierson-interview-103245 The Sarah Dessen Interview http://www.wbez.org/blog/claire-zulkey/2012-01-13/sarah-dessen-interview-95527 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-January/2012-01-13/sarah-dessen-headshot.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-January/2012-01-13/sarah-dessen-headshot.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 200px; height: 300px;" title="" />If you&rsquo;re a fan of the young adult genre (and if you are, you don&rsquo;t need me to tell you that there&rsquo;s more to it than vampires and werewolves), you&rsquo;re probably heard the name of today&rsquo;s interviewee. She&rsquo;s the author of <a href="http://sarahdessen.com/books/">10 novels</a> (many of them <em>New York Times </em>bestsellers) which have won numerous awards and accolades. Just a few examples: <em><a href="http://sarahdessen.com/book/just-listen/">Just Listen</a></em> was a Booksense Top Ten Pic, An ALA Best Book for Young Adults and in YALSA Teen&rsquo;s Top Ten; <em><a href="http://sarahdessen.com/book/this-lullaby/">This Lullaby</a></em> was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a Borders Group Original Voices Finalist, and a <em>Los Angeles Times</em> Book Prize Finalist and <em><a href="http://sarahdessen.com/book/someone-like-you/">Someone Like You</a></em> was An ALA Best Book for Young Adults, A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, a barnesandnoble.com Best Teen Novel of the Year, Winner of the South Carolina Young Adult Book Award and was adapted into the movie <em><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_to_Deal">How to Deal</a></em>. Her most recent book, <em><a href="http://sarahdessen.com/book/what-happened-to-goodbye/">What Happened to Goodbye</a></em>, was released in May 2011. I hope you enjoy this interview that I think is a revealing (and, from a writer&rsquo;s point of view, reassuring look) at the life of a prolific and popular author.<br /><br /><strong>I&rsquo;ve read that several of your stories have been influenced by your real-life high school experiences. Prior to publication, have you ever spoken to any of your friends who you felt may have recognized themselves in your characters? </strong><br />I&#39;ve been pretty careful not to use anything too specific about anyone. I find that the more I depend on real life, the less interesting the story is. It&#39;s much more common for me to take something that almost-happened, or I wish had happened, and then follow that possibility. That said, I have used names of my friends as teachers and other things, just as a little wink. Also then I will know if they actually read the book or just said they did.<br /><br /><strong>On that note, do you ever refer to old journals, yearbooks or photos to jog your memory of what life was like when you were in high school? How do you keep in that mindset? </strong><br />Personally, I don&#39;t have to work very hard. I still live in my hometown and pass by my high school regularly, and I did marry someone I met then, as well. However, if I spent ALL my time with high school friends that wouldn&#39;t be good either. I think the mindset, for me, comes mostly from just remembering. It was not the best time for me. But the upside is that the feelings and events are kind of burned into my brain as a result.<br /><br /><strong><a href="http://www.foreveryoungadult.com/2011/05/10/between-two-lockers-with-sarah-dessen-omg/">In an earlier interview</a> you said, &ldquo;In high school, I was the oracle. My friends both loved and hated this about me.&rdquo; How so?</strong><br />I remembered all the stories. I still do. Which means that if my friends ever wanted to revise their histories to deny certain things (boys they dated, in particular) I would totally correct them. They hated that. On the other side, though, I was the one who could tell all the stories and make us laugh. Someone has to remember. Even if you sometimes want to forget.<br /><br /><strong>Do you ever disagree with your editor? How do you know who is right? </strong><br />I&#39;m lucky that I have a really, really good editor in Regina Hayes at <a href="http://us.penguingroup.com/static/pages/publishers/yr/viking.html">Viking&#39;s Children&#39;s Books</a>. I call her my Just Right, as I have former editors the way other people have ex-boyfriends. Some were good fits, some not so much. Regina is VERY wise, and she won&#39;t push an edit unless she really feels it needs to be done. I also have learned to pick my battles. If you fight for every single thing, your voice loses impact. Editing is altogether collaborative, in the end. If you have someone good, you can learn SO much.<br /><br /><strong>What do you think is the difference between a Young Adult book and an adult novel that happens to be about a young adult?</strong><br />I know there are librarians that have much better answers to this question. To me, the difference is that a novel that involves the narrator looking back with adult perspective is contemporary fiction. A narrator who is a teen right then, without benefit of hindsight, is a young adult book. But I may be totally off on that. There are a lot of theories!<br /><br /><strong>For you, what&rsquo;s more difficult, writing the first draft or the editing process? </strong><br />Always the writing process. Editing is hard but nowhere NEAR as tough as facing that blank page and blinking cursor each day. You&#39;re all alone and no one else can do it. At least with editing you have someone in the trench with you.<br /><br /><strong>Have you written any complete books that didn&rsquo;t get sold? Do you consider those dead and buried or do you think about trying to resurrect them and alter them? </strong><br />I have SO many books I didn&#39;t sell. Some my agent rejected outright, others made it all the way to my editor to be turned away. Not everything is a winner, which is tough when you&#39;ve devoted eight or nine months of your life to something. But usually, if I am honest, I have a sense when I&#39;m rushing something or it&#39;s not right. I just hope I&#39;m wrong. My agent is so totally honest, which is just what every writer needs. She won&#39;t let me sell a crappy book, even if I want to. I also have a few regular fiction books that I wrote years back that no one was interested in. I&#39;d love to think they&#39;re good enough to get another shot but...I think if I write for an older audience, I&#39;d like to do it with all the experience I&#39;ve had in the last ten years, not with something from before.<br /><br /><strong>When you found out that you were having a baby, did you make a schedule for yourself in terms of how writing, editing and publishing would fit into your pregnancy, delivery and then early days of child-rearing, or did you just make it work as you could? </strong><br />I was writing <em><a href="http://sarahdessen.com/book/lock-and-key/">Lock and Key</a></em> when I found out I was pregnant, so we knew we were dealing with a time issue more so than the other novels. I finished it in the spring, edited during the summer, and finished everything on my end it pretty close to when my daughter was born in the fall. Because we did the writing and editing much closer together than normal, I had from September to May or so to just adjust to being a mom before I had to start promoting. And I did a VERY small book tour, only four dates or so, only one overnight. But writing with a kid isn&#39;t easy. I have sitters who help me weekday afternoons, but if they get sick or have a conflict, I just don&#39;t work that day. The controlling writer freak in me goes NUTS when that happens. But I just have to roll with it. So I try to do just that.<br /><br /><strong>How much time to you allot yourself each day or week to be in touch with your fans or promote your books? It seems like that would be a tempting way to &ldquo;work&rdquo; while simultaneously procrastinating writing. </strong><br />I feel like <a href="https://twitter.com/#%21/sarahdessen">Twitter</a> was tailor-made for me, because I can do short spurts all day long. I loved my <a href="http://sarahdessen.com/blog/">blog</a>, but doing daily, then thrice weekly entries was really time consuming. 140 characters is perfect. And I just have to be super strong when it comes to my work time. Shut the browser, ignore the email alerts, and just WRITE. It&#39;s actually easier now that I know I only have four hours a day, five days a week. It forces me to get serious.<br /><br /><strong>You&rsquo;ve <a href="http://www.persnicketysnark.com/2010/04/interview-sarah-dessen.html">said</a>: &ldquo;I am a serious rule-follower, sometimes to my detriment.&rdquo; What does that mean? </strong><br />Oh, I just can&#39;t ever be a free spirit and just relax. When it comes to work, as I said above, this is good. I&#39;m very disciplined, which with writing is often half the battle, or more. But it also means that if I want to, say, play hooky and chocolate and watch Bravo all afternoon, I feel horribly guilty. I wish I could find a nice balance. I wish I could find any balance, these days.<br /><br /><strong>How do you feel about Goodreads? I know a lot of authors consider it a necessary evil.</strong><br /><a href="http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2987.Sarah_Dessen">I belong to Goodreads</a> but honestly am not super active on it. All this stuff would take all day if I let it! I do <a href="https://twitter.com/#%21/sarahdessen">Twitter</a>, very little Facebook, the occasional <a href="http://sarahdessen.com/blog/">blog</a> post and very few emails to my mailing list. And that is still a LOT. I am lucky to have a very web-savvy assistant who does some of the heavier lifting for me.<br /><br /><strong>Do you have a tradition for celebrating pub day?</strong><br />I usually try to read at one of my favorite hometown independent bookstores, <a href="http://regulatorbookshop.com/">The Regulator</a>, on my pub day. We&#39;ve done that the last four books or so and now I am superstitious about it. Also I eat a lot of potato chips and try NOT to obsess, usually not very successfully.<br /><br /><strong>Which magazines do you subscribe to? </strong><br />Oh, dear. I should totally say <em>The Economist</em>, right? Truth: <em>US Weekly</em> and <em>Entertainment Weekly</em>. I also get <em>Newsweek </em>but I&#39;d be lying if I said most weeks it didn&#39;t go directly into recycling. Sigh.<br /><br /><strong>I know you like <em>Modern Family</em>: what other shows do you watch?</strong><br />This is another guilty pleasure of mine, TV. I love ALL the Housewives franchise on Bravo, but pay penance by only allowing myself to watch them while I&#39;m working out. (Also, my husband will not tolerate them on in his presence.) I also regularly watch <em>The Office</em>, <em>Parks and Recreation</em>, <em>The New Girl</em>,<em> Grey&#39;s Anatomy</em>, <em>Kitchen Nightmares</em> and <em>Good Morning America</em>. Sadly, that is not the whole list, but I&#39;ll stop now.<br /><br /><strong>What&rsquo;s been your favorite book that you&rsquo;ve read with your daughter recently?</strong><br />We are really loving <em>Say Hello to Zorro!</em> by <a href="http://cartergoodrich.com/#/books/say-hello-to-zorro/Say-Hello-to-Zorro-1">Carter Goodrich</a>. We are also big fans of the Llama Llama books by <a href="http://www.annadewdney.com/Annas_website/Home.html">Anna Dewdney</a>. I love how much she enjoys reading. She looks nothing like me---a ringer for my husband---but with her love of stories I see myself in her.<br /><br /><strong>What&rsquo;s your worst (by which I mean best) waitressing story? </strong><br />I had a woman slap my hand once. She&#39;d ordered a salad and eaten it. The plate was clear, fork diagonally across it. I asked if I could take it, she ignored me, so next time I went by when it had not been touched, I reached for it. She smacked my hand. I remember going back to the wait station all like, &quot;I cannot even begin to talk about what just happened at table two.&quot; It was awful. I still see her around town sometimes. Am always tempted to smack her, but have restrained myself so far.<br /><br /><strong>What&rsquo;s the last book or story you read for fun? </strong><br />I just finished <a href="http://www.npr.org/2011/10/11/140949453/a-marriage-plot-full-of-intellectual-angst">Jeffrey Eugenides&#39;</a><em> The Marriage Plot</em>, which was not an easy read, but I&#39;m so glad I persisted. Right now I&#39;m reading Elissa Schappell&#39;s <em><a href="http://www.elle.com/Pop-Culture/Movies-TV-Music-Books/New-Book-Release-Blueprints-for-Building-Better-Girls">Blueprints for Building Better Girls</a></em> and it is fantastic. I wish I had more time to read!<br /><br /><strong>How does it feel to be the 301st person interviewed for Zulkey.com?</strong><br />I&#39;m flattered. And doing it while my daughter is watching TV and jumping on her trampoline, which makes it all the more special.</p></p> Fri, 13 Jan 2012 15:16:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/claire-zulkey/2012-01-13/sarah-dessen-interview-95527 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy' reheats Cold War espionage http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-12-16/tinker-tailor-soldier-spy-reheats-cold-war-espionage-94967 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-December/2011-12-16/Tinker-Tailor-Soldier-Spy-Teaser-Trailer-16th-September-Oldman-Hardy-Burke-Strong-Firth-Alfredson.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Feeling a little sinister? Wondering if a Russian spy is sitting in the next cube? The days of spy versus spy, Cold War-style may be over but filmmaker Tomas Alfredson brings them back to life in <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1340800/" target="_blank"><em>Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy</em></a>. The Swedish director had a big hit with his 2008 vampire flick <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1139797/" target="_blank"><em>Let the Right One In</em></a>. Now he tackles the dark and bloody atmosphere of the "Circus," aka the British Secret Service, circa mid-1960s London and Budapest. Christy LeMaster joined <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> to review that film and <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1625346/" target="_blank"><em>Young Adult</em></a>. LeMaster programs the <a href="http://nightingaletheatre.org/" target="_blank">Nightingale Theatre</a> in Chicago, teaches at <a href="http://www.colum.edu/" target="_blank">Columbia College</a> and regularly joins <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> to talk about film.</p><p><em>Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy</em> and <em>Young Adult</em> are both currently playing in theaters.<br> &nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 16 Dec 2011 15:25:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-12-16/tinker-tailor-soldier-spy-reheats-cold-war-espionage-94967