Phobia: Recordings of My Own Voice

BY MINDI SCOTT
239/365: 08/27/2013. Invention of Telephone

Photo by peddhapati

I don’t know what it is, but few things make me cringe more than hearing a recording of my voice. Over twenty years have passed since this happened, I still have a clear, uncomfortable memory from when I was around age 14.

(Side note: This was the very early-90s when few people had cell phones or voicemail. Instead, entire households shared one phone number and had devices called “answering machines” where callers could leave recorded messages that were played back later on a speaker than anyone in the room could hear. *shudder*)

So I was visiting my friend Mignonne for whom I’d left a message earlier that day. Someone forgot to erase it or hadn’t yet listened to it perhaps. Much to my mortification, Mignonne’s dad started playing the messages on the machine and said, “There’s one from Mindi on here.”

Hearing my own voice on the recording, I suddenly jumped up from the couch screeching, “Turn it off! Turn it off!”

I think Mignonne’s whole family probably looked at me like I’d lost it juuuuuust a little bit.

My feelings about hearing my voice haven’t changed. Even though I did a few vlogs (most of them during the summer of 2010 before my first novel came out), I’ve never gotten used to it. I did watch a few of the videos, but not all. Some of them, I know that I will never be able to subject myself to.

Anyway! That was my lead-in to let you know about the fun podcast that I recent was involved in with Sarah and Laura at the Clear Eyes, Full Shelves blog! I haven’t listened to it yet (you know, because of my phobia), but I totally invite you to do so. 🙂

The topic we explored is “Personal Agency” and how it applies to characters in fiction (including my own) taking control of their own lives. We also veered off into sub-discussions about zombies, Vince Howard (a wonderful character on the TV series Friday Night Lights), and Courtney Summers (an author whom I ADORE).

We were very, very chatty, so the entire conversation is split into two parts. Sarah has put together posts at her blog for each part. Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here. I’ve gotten feedback that some listeners have learned a few things from what I had to say about my approach to writing, which is exciting to me. If you listen to the podcast, I hope you’ll like it!

YOU ARE HERE with Debbie Rigaud

BY MINDI SCOTT

I’m so excited! Michelle and I have a brand-new feature here at our blog called “YOU ARE HERE.” Michelle came up with this great name, and I love it. Hooray!!!!!!!

Since the novel that we’re writing together (FAR FROM US) includes a road trip, we’re going to feature photos on this blog from our own travels as well as photos submitted to us from some of the authors we know. Each photo will also have a few paragraphs of explanation. We thought this would be a really fun way to see new places and “hear” about where others have been. 🙂

Here’s our first photo to show off!

School Girls in Haiti – photo by Debbie Rigaud

Location: HAITI
Contributor: Author Debbie Rigaud

“I took this photo in a small town in Haiti last year. It was my first ever trip to Haiti and I was so excited to be there. I was with a group of Haitian-American and Haitian-Canadian people who, like me, had been raised with the language, food and culture of Haiti, but had never visited the country. My parents emigrated to the US from Haiti the decade before I was born, but they instilled in me an understanding of the culture and knowledge of Creole and French, so I was able to wing it (somewhat) while I was there.

During our tour through Haiti’s gorgeous mountainsides and into various villages, large towns and cities, I was struck by the colorful ribbons I’d see adorning the hairstyles of countless school girls along the roads. It was like they all had candy-colored butterflies atop their heads. And the ribbons were not just worn by the younger girls, but also by tweens and even girls in their early teens! It was almost as if childhood lasted a lot longer in Haiti than it did in the neighborhood where I grew up in New Jersey. The girls in this photo are singing along to the praise music at an outdoor church. Though the church was completely destroyed in the earthquake and remained but a stone shell (minus the roof!), there was tarp overhead and plastic chairs assembled, along with a portable sound system. The place was packed and everyone was joyously worshipping and giving thanks. I couldn’t walk by without snapping this photo.” 

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Rigaud.HeadshotDebbie Rigaud began her writing career covering news and entertainment for popular magazines. Her YA fiction debut, HALLWAY DIARIES/Kimani Tru was followed by the fish-out-of-water romantic comedy PERFECT SHOT/Simon Pulse. Since then, Debbie’s non-fiction essays have been published in anthologies IT’S ALL LOVE/Broadway Books and DEAR BULLY/HarperTeen. Her short story “Voila!” is featured in OPEN MIC/Candlewick Press, and TURFQUAKE, her first YA e-book will be released late 2013.

OPEN MIC coverAbout OPEN MIC
Listen in as ten YA authors use their own brand of humor to share their stories about growing up between cultures. Edited by acclaimed author and speaker Mitali Perkins, this collection of fiction and nonfiction embraces a mix of styles as diverse as their authors, from laugh-out-loud funny to wry, ironic, or poignant, in prose, poetry and comic form. www.facebook.com/openmicanthology

About “Voila” 
Thanks to overprotective parenting, Simone’s elderly great aunt Ma Tante has more of a social life than she does. But one afternoon, Ma Tante’s social scene awkwardly intersects with Simone’s in the unlikeliest of places.

All about Diana Rodriguez Wallach and REFLECTING EMMY

DianaWallach_HeadshotLowRes1

BY MINDI SCOTT

Diana Rodriguez Wallach is the author of Mirror, Mirror (Buzz Books 2013). She is also the author of three award-winning YA novels: Amor and Summer Secrets, Amigas and School Scandals, and Adios to All The Drama (Kensington Books). 

In 2011, she published a highly regarded essay in Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories (HarperCollins), and in 2013, she will be featured in the anthology Latina Authors and Their Muses (Twilight Times Books). In 2010 Diana was named one of the Top Ten New Latino Authors to Watch by LatinoStories.com, and she placed second in the International Latino Book Awards. She hold a B.S. in Journalism from Boston University, and currently lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter.

Links

Website: www.dianarodriguezwallach.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/dianarwallach

Facebook: www.facebook.com/diana.rodriguezwallach

Tumblr: http://dianarwallach.tumblr.com

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/dianarwallach/boards/


Diana answered some questions for us, so here we go! 🙂

At age eight, what did you want to be when you grew up? And at age eighteen? And while you’re at it, what about at age twenty-eight?

Diana Rodriguez Wallach: When I was little, I wanted to be an interior designer, which I think led to my love of HGTV. When I was in college, I was a broadcast journalism major, and I worked as a magazine reporter in NYC. And now, I just want to be the next Stephenie Meyer with a megahit young adult series and five blockbuster movies. No biggie, right?

Which Breakfast-Club-style label would have best fit your teenage self? 

DRW: I was a mix between the princess and the brain. I was in the National Honors Society, so my grades were good; but I was also raised Catholic, so I was very innocent with a good-girl image. I wasn’t nerdy, but I wasn’t overly popular either. I always say I was the girl who sat next to you in English. People knew me, but I mostly flew under the radar.

Without giving away too much from your newest book, which character or scene from it are you the most pleased to have created, and why?

DRW: Reflecting Emmy is the first short story in my Mirror, Mirror trilogy. It’s different from your typical book release, because it’s essentially a short-story collection consisting of Reflecting Emmy, Nara Gazing, and Shattering GiGi. The scene I’m most proud of is in Shattering GiGi, the third story, which releases in November 2013. It’s one of the final scenes in the trilogy, when Nara, the narcissistic teen at the center of the series, has to confront one of the classmates she’s hurt. I didn’t want the scene to be cheesy, and I didn’t want it to be just one long conversation; so I had to work hard to make the confrontation “active.” Ultimately, I came up with a paranormal way to give the reader an inside look as to what exactly went down between these two girls; and it’s now my favorite scene, because you really feel for both of the characters.

Which are your favorite movies to watch again and again?
DRW: John Hughes films. He is to filmmaking what Judy Blume is to YA novels, the godfather of the teen genre. I just love how he captures the mind and emotions of high school students, and I think his films are still relevant today. I own a boxset.

ReflectingEmmy_LowRes

And, now, the most important question of all: Beatles or Elvis? Please support your answer. 😉

DRW: I can’t believe I’m going to admit this publicly, but I’m not a huge fan of either. I don’t think I have any Beatles or Elvis on my iPod (just some covers), that’s not to say that I don’t appreciate them. They are the godfathers of rock & roll to which all other rockers owe their roots. But if I had to choose one, I’d say the Beatles, primarily because I love the song “Let it be.” Though I also love Ingrid Michaelson’s version of “Can’t help falling in love with you.” See, I like covers.

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About the first story in the trilogy:

Eighteen-year-old Emmy is in the family business-trapping vapid narcissistic souls into her silver compact mirror for all eternity. It’s what the Rhamnusia family has been doing for thousands of years, all under the direction of Great Grandmother. Only Emmy’s latest assignment, Nara, is about to prove more challenging than she ever expected.

Gorgeous and self-absorbed, Nara is unflinchingly cruel to her classmates. Even her boyfriend, Luke, can no longer tolerate her actions–much to Emmy’s relief since she finds Luke a little more than intriguing. But when Emmy tricks Nara into gazing into her mystical mirror, what she finds there is not what she’s expecting.

All About Amanda Ashby and DEMONOSITY

BY MINDI SCOTT

Amanda Ashby has a new book out this week–DEMONOSITY–which sounds so fun and cute!

Demonosity.small

Check out the summary:

The Black Rose–a powerful ancient force–has been let loose and has taken up residence in Celeste Gibson, popular girl at Cassidy Carter-Lewis’ high school. Thomas Delacroix is the spirit of a fourteenth-century knight who is devoted to protecting the Black Rose, but he needs a contemporary living being to take on the challenge. That’s where Cassidy comes in.

She’s a quirky high school junior who just wants to dress in her vintage clothes, hang out with her best friend, and take care of her father, who is recovering from surgery. She’s the last person who would ever volunteer for such a task, but no one actually asked her. Now, like it or not, she finds herself training before dawn and battling demons at parties, the mall, and even at school. But hey, no one ever said high school was going to be easy.

I’m loving that Buffy vibe in the description!

Amanda Ashby took some time to answer a few questions for me below. To learn even more about her and her books you can, check out her website, or follow her on Twitter or Facebook! 

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At age eight, what did you want to be when you grew up? And at age eighteen? And while you’re at it, what about at age twenty-eight?

Amanda Ashby: At eight my sole ambition was to marry Will Robinson from Lost in Space and I remember quite clearly trying to break his leg so that I could then race in and care for him. At eighteen I had decided it might be quite good to be a journalist but three weeks after starting my college degree in the subject I realized that telling the truth all the time was not for me. At twenty-eight I had finally put the pieces of puzzle together and realized that anyone could think of breaking a leg as a plot device to get two characters together (and who seemed to hate telling the truth) was probably destined to be a writer.

Which Breakfast-Club-style label would have best fit your teenage self?  

AA: Fringe girl! I was always a bit left of centre at school, though I’m not sure I even knew it. However, when I look back at the secondhand shopping I used to do and all the strange outfits I used to wear, I realize I wasn’t quite like other girls (which is of course why I loved John Hughes movies so much and why I still haven’t forgiven my husband for throwing out my Pretty in Pink album during one of our moves).

Without giving away too much from your newest book, which character or scene from it are you the most pleased to have created, and why?

AA: Toward the end of the book Cassidy has had a fight with Thomas—who is medieval demon knight. Unfortunately he can’t travel forward in time so he is just an apparition and the only way for him to see what’s happening in her time is through the eyes of an owl. Anyway, after this big fight she goes out for a run and the owl/Thomas is flying beside her, trying to get her to stop. She is so mad at him and so upset that even when I think about it, I can feel her fury rising up through my chest. It was a really wonderful scene to write. Plus, you know, it had an owl, which is always cool!

Which are your favorite movies to watch again and again?

AA: Thank you for making that a plural. For a moment there I thought I could only list one! Anyway some of my favorites are: Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Princess Bride, Clueless, Jurassic Park, Star Wars, Love Actually, Pitch Perfect, Sense and Sensibility (Emma and Kate version), Galaxy Quest, Serenity, The Avengers, Shaun of the Dead.

And, now, the most important question of all: Beatles or Elvis? Please support your answer. 😉

AA: Easy! It’s the Beatles because my husband is a Scouser (which means he was born and bred in Liverpool) and I lived there for six years – some of that time just down the road from Ringo’s house. And also because Blackbird is one of my favorite songs in the world.

That Time I Fangirled My Own Character. Sort of.

by Michelle Andreani

First, a little background: Remember when Mindi and I blogged about what Kyle and Cloudy look like? When figuring that out, we decided to use actual humans as a reference. Since we were writing the same characters, we needed the same pictures in our heads.  A good plan, yes? Yes! I agree.

The unfortunate part of all this was I didn’t know the name of the Cloudy-ish girl I’d chosen. (I’d saved the photo a few years ago — for another WIP — and never bothered to add her name when doing so. NICE FORESIGHT, MICHELLE CIRCA 2009.) It would’ve been nice to see if she looked Cloudy-ish in any other photos. And I felt rotten for not being able to credit her and the photographer in my post. Alas! In the end, it didn’t seem completely necessary to know who she was. So, that was that.

But then . . . it wasn’t!

Because God and MTV put Catfish on the air, which brought Google Image Search into our hearts and lives. Finally, I was able to find out this Cloudy-ish girl’s name! (FYI: It’s Devynne. And I only omit her last name in the hopes that she never, ever sees the nerdiness this hath wrought.) So, yep, I was VERY EXCITED when I found out. Very!

I rushed to edit that previous post, and finally give credit where it was due.  A few days later, I innocently clicked on a WordPress link (fine, it was an EW article about The Vampire Diaries), and I saw that I had a notification pending. A pretty, yellow star! It was this notification:

devynne_note

Guys.

WHAT.

NO.

BRB.

It was terrifyinggggggg.

Right away, I discounted the possibility that this was an Impostor Devynne . . . I don’t know why. Because I felt like it? After that, I was able to focus on the reality of her knowing I’d based a fictional character ON HER FACE. And clearly, she was now commenting to say I was big time creep, and to quit it already, oh and also she’s calling her lawyer.

But that wasn’t her comment at all.  She was full-on lovely — especially considering it is maybe not the most normal thing to stumble upon yourself in this context. She didn’t think I was crazy! Or, I mean, she didn’t SAY IT in text form, which totally counts legally!!!!!

So, then things went a little like this:

I’m serious. I had the kind of out-of-body experience that only comes from the purest, code-red kind of fangirling. Obviously, Devynne is not Cloudy. She is her own person, and very much incredibly separate from the Cloudy I know. But for a little while, just like when I met Max Irons (swoooon), it was sort of like this person who doesn’t actually exist did, well, exist. And she’d broken through and talked to me.

So I texted Mindi, and while I’m sure she was like, “Hey, that’s cool, just maybe calm the eff down?”, she nonethless gave me the sage advice to reply in a gracious and complimentary manner. So I did — at least, I hope I did. (After a looooot of agonizing, obviously.)

And I think I succeeded! Maybe not. I haven’t heard from any lawyers., though. That’s something! 😉

More Than Words

BY MINDI SCOTT

The other night as I was falling asleep, I came up with an idea for a blog post! My mind was going crazy with how great it was going to be:

I’ll write about [this] and [this] and [this]! And I’ll find a picture of [this] to include. Oh, and also use [this] as a cute anecdote. (And why can I never spell that word? Antecdote? Antidote? What?) Then I’ll embed the video for the song “More Than Words” at the end to tie it all together. YES!!!!!!

A funny thing happened. As you might guess from all the brackets above, I woke up the next morning with no recollection of anything that the Super-Great Blog Post was meant to include except for the video. I’ve thought about it long and hard, but the idea has not returned to me.

This meant that I had a choice to make. I could continue to not have a post on “We Have Words” featuring “More Than Words,” or I could, you know, post the video for no good reason at all.

This is it. This is what I have to do:

 

I think I made the right choice.

(One thing I do want to say about this, which probably has nothing at all to do with my blog post that is forever forgotten: This song and the video for “More Than Words” by Extreme came out when I was in eighth grade. I remember that there was much tittering amongst my friends and me about the fact that that one guy flips off the camera while playing guitar. As I’ve gotten older, I’d come to think that we were silly and clearly knew nothing about how guitar playing works to think he did that on purpose. HOWEVER, re-watching this video all these years later, I can see that we were truly onto something. In this somewhat long song where a number of different guitar parts are played and various angles are shot, why does the camera zoom in precisely when his middle finger is lifted, and only then? WHAT WERE THEY TRYING TO GET ACROSS?)

All About Jessica Brody and UNREMEMBERED

BY MINDI SCOTT

Unremembered - FINALAuthor Jessica Brody stopped by the blog today to answer some questions for me about herself and her new title, Unremembered. She’s also sharing the link to the first five chapters of the book, which you can check out directly after the questions. Here we go!

At age eight, what did you want to be when you grew up? And at age eighteen? And while you’re at it, what about at age twenty-eight?

Jessica Brody: At age 8, I wanted to be a writer. By age 18, I’d convinced myself that writers didn’t make any money (and didn’t get dental insurance) so I decided I wanted to be in finance. By age 28, I’d quit my high-paying job in finance and was back to pursuing my dream of becoming a writer. Some things are more important than money and dental insurance, it just took me a little while to figure that out.

Which Breakfast-Club-style label would have best fit your teenage self?

JB: The clutz! I swear it’s bad. Clumsyville, population me over here. I bump into walls, knock things over, and even fall down the occasional stairs when I’m having a particularly good day!

Without giving away too much from your newest book, which Character or scene from it are you the most pleased to have created, and why?

JB: My favorite scene takes place on page 73. It’s actually one of the scenes I read at my readings. It’s when Seraphina first discovers one of her many superhuman abilities. She has an entire conversation with a stranger in a bus station and it isn’t until minutes later that she realizes the whole conversation took place in Portuguese. That’s when Sera first gets clued in that she can speak multiple languages.

Which are your favorite movies to watch again and again?

JB: Well, since you mentioned it, The Breakfast Club is high on my list! Also, Sliding Doors, 13 Going on 30, Love Actually, and The Matrix.

And, now, the most important question of all: Beatles or Elvis? Please support your answer. 😉

JB: Beatles! It all comes down to lyrics. You just can’t compete with Beatles lyrics.

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CLICK HERE TO READ AN EXCERPT OF UNREMEMBERED!

About the book:  

The only thing worse than forgetting her past…is remembering it.

When Freedom Airlines flight 121 went down over the Pacific Ocean, no one ever expected to find a single survivor; which is why the sixteen-year-old girl discovered floating amid the wreckage—alive—is making headlines across the globe. She has no memories of boarding the plane. She has no memories of her life before the crash. She has no memories…period.

As she struggles to piece together her forgotten past and discover who she really is, every clue raises more questions. Her only hope is a strangely alluring boy who claims to know her. Who claims they were in love. But can she really trust him? And will he be able to protect her from the people who have been making her forget?

Set in a world where science knows no boundaries and memories are manipulated UNREMEMBERED by Jessica Brody is the first novel in a compelling, romantic, and suspenseful new sci-fi trilogy for teens.

Jessica Brody - Author Photo

About the author: 

JESSICA BRODY knew from a young age that she wanted to be a writer. She started self “publishing” her own books when she was seven years old, binding the pages together with cardboard, wallpaper samples and electrical tape. She is the author of 52 Reasons to Hate My Father, My Life Undecided, The Karma Club, and now, Unremembered. Her books have been translated and published in over 15 countries. She currently splits her time between California and Colorado. www.jessicabrody.com

When Characters Become Real. I Mean, Like, Really Real

by Michelle Andreani

Have Mindi and I ever told you about Matty? We really, really like talking about Matty.

He’s been one of the funnest characters to write so far: silly and playful and sweet. And dreamy. There, I said it. But despite bubbling up with inner charm, Matty needed some outer-ness, and the first thing that struck me about Matty was that he’d have a killer smile. (Also a rest-of-his-body, and probably hair, but a face-brightening grin was what I automatically associated with him.) So, when I came across this gif of a smirky Max Irons . . .

. . . I instantly thought: “MATTY’S SMILE! MATTY’S SMILE IS ON YOUR FACE, MAX IRONS!”

And I was also like: “*giggles coquettishly*”

I digress. (But seriously, let’s talk about Matty being dreamy sometime, yeah?) This gif has an overall Matty-ness to it and, thankfully, Mindi seemed on-board with this vision. All was well!

Fast forward some months to this February, when I was visiting a dear friend in Washington, DC. As luck would have it, Stephenie Meyer (yes, that one!) was on a small-ish book tour promoting her new novel-turned-movie, The Host. And her DC stop just so happened to coincide with my DC vacation. Stars aligned, I tell ya!

Oh, wait. I feel obligated to tell you here that I like the Twilight series. Sometimes I even like it a lot! I am okay with this. And while I like it for various reasons, I know that many people dislike it for various reasons, and we agree to disagree, and hooray for different opinions! (But if you are one of those people who cannot agree to disagree, I must direct you here. Thank you.)

My friend and I were all over that signing, if only because Stephenie Meyer is not the most accessible of authors these days. (And the signing was at Politics and Prose, a DC bookstore I’ve always wanted to get to.) But I’ll be honest, I was equally excited when I found out there’d be additional guests at the event – some handsome actor-types from the film.

UM SMILEY MAX IRONS TO BE EXACT.

Apologies for the bad quality. I blame the adorable smiles! (That's costar Jake Abel to his right.)

Adorable Boy Smiles screw with photo quality, I say! (That’s costar Jake Abel on the left.)

You guys. Beholding Max Irons was like seeing Matty in the flesh. (Only not, of course, because Max Irons is Max Irons and not a fictional teen boy. But still!) Seeing this person who so resembles a character in our book was a surreal moment – especially when he flashed that grin. (*giggles coquettishly*) It was as if, at least for a few minutes, Matty had come to real, flesh-and-blood life. How often do writers get to experience that? So, it was a total thrill for me – and Mindi, once I texted her the photo – considering how much time Matty spends locked up in our heads. Sometimes characters need to stretch their legs, I guess. 😉

And you’ll be happy to know that smile is just as effective in reality as it is in that gif above. Totally Matty-worthy.

(PS: If you think this makes me sound like a creep, just WAIT until my next post, wherein I ask the question: “Can you fangirl your own character?” And answer it with: “I don’t know BUT I DID.”)

Sharing the Love – GOING VINTAGE

BY MINDI SCOTT

photo (9)

Spoiler: I’m giving away an advance copy of Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt at the end of this post!

From around age 8 to age 18, Valentine’s Day was my favorite holiday. I loved making cupcakes with pink frosting, picking out cards and candy to give to my classmates, and getting presents from my mom.

More than all of those things, though, I loved the anticipation. Valentine’s Day felt like a day when anything could happen. Every February 14th, I hoped that whichever boy I liked that year would buy me a school-fundraiser balloon or rose to be delivered to me in class. Or that he’d ask me to be his girlfriend. Or that he’d make some grand gesture that showed me he liked me.

It never happened. Not even once. I now appreciate Valentine’s Day for the heart-shaped Junior Mints (when the stores aren’t sold out!), but it’s otherwise kind of unimportant. I have a husband who loves me every day, so I don’t want or need grand gestures in February. (Unless it involves tracking down the aforementioned Junior Mints–that’s real devotion.)

This year, on my formerly-favorite holiday, I thought it would be fun for me to kick off a series of SHARING THE LOVE posts about books! I received a few advance copies at ALA a few weeks ago, and I’d love to use them for their intended purpose of talking up upcoming books that I enjoyed.

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Today, I have Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt! This one comes out in mid-March this year, and is the story of Mallory who, after discovering that her boyfriend is cheating on her with an online girlfriend, decides to “go vintage” and live like it’s 1962–when there was no internet. As the jacket states,  it includes “heartfelt family moments, laugh-out-loud humor, and a little bit of romance.”

What especially resonated most with me in this book is the theme of “finding your thing.” Mallory doesn’t feel like she stands out or has anything that is really hers, so she (sort of accidentally) sets out to discover those things about herself. I so relate to feeling non-unique and average, and especially would have related to it as a teen.

Here’s a short list of “Things About Me” that I came up with after reading this book:

1. Vegetarian cooking (My mother-in-law says I make the best vegetarian food of anyone she knows)

2. Mixing my lipsticks and applying with a brush for truly custom colors.

3. Absently drawing hearts all over the place.

4. Collecting every book by Victoria Holt/Phillipa Carr (but not Jean Plaidy, because I didn’t like those very much)

5. Writing books (Because it is a thing I do)

Surprisingly, I actually could go on. But I want to hear from YOU!

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For a chance to win my Going Vintage ARC, please leave a comment below (along with an email address where I can contact you) telling me one or more of the “things” that makes you you.  

Edit: We have notified a winner! Thank you to everyone who joined in the discussion here. It was very fun to read your responses.

All About Melissa Walker and SMALL TOWN SINNERS

by Michelle AndreaniMelissa Walker phone

Melissa Walker was the first author to stop by We Have Words, and we’re so glad she’s back to celebrate the paperback release of SMALL TOWN SINNERS (out now)!

You’ll have a chance to learn more about the book (which is so lovely) later in this post, but first, we want to tell you about a contest Melissa’s running. All you have to do is snap a pic of the SMALL TOWN SINNERS paperback when you see it in the wild, and you could win a whoooooole lotta books! Read more about the contest over at Melissa’s blog.

And now, Melissa answered Mindi’s Very Important Questions:

1. At age eight, what did you want to be when you grew up? And at age eighteen? And while you’re at it, what about at age twenty-eight?

Melissa Walker: Eight: A vet. Eighteen: A writer. Twenty-Eight: Still a writer. Yay!

2. Which Breakfast-Club-style label would have best fit your teenage self? [Examples from the movie are brain, athlete, basket case, princess, and criminal, but feel free to make up your own!]

MW: I think Gossip would have fit best, which I’m not proud of. I really did sling a lot of it around, and I didn’t think about repercussions. LAME. I changed though. So that’s good.

3. Without giving away too much from your newest book, which character or scene from it are you the most pleased to have created, and why?

MW: Well, in Small Town Sinners, I’m most proud of the quieter scenes between Lacey Anne and her friends. The Hell House scenes were the ones I was excited to write–they get a little nuts–but the softer ones ended up being my favorites.

4. Which are your favorite movies to watch again and again?

MW: Anytime these movies are on, I will stick to the couch: Jaws, Point Break, Die Hard, Taken, Some Kind of Wonderful and this year I think I’d add The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

5. And, now, the most important question of all: Beatles or Elvis? Please support your answer. 😉

MW: Beatles, only because it’s easier to listen to a huge range of their stuff than it is to do Elvis for DAYS, especially if we’re allowing solo careers to mix in. But believe me, I’ve been to Graceland and if someone wants to do Elvis for days, I’m down.

Thanks, Melissa! 

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About SMALL TOWN SINNERS:

Sinners PBDoes falling in love mean falling out of faith? 

Lacey Anne Byer is a perennial good girl and lifelong member of the House of Enlightenment, the Evangelical church in her small town. With her driver’s license in hand and the chance to try out for a lead role in Hell House, her church’s annual haunted house of sin, Lacey’s junior year is looking promising. But when a cute new stranger comes to town, something begins to stir inside her. Ty Davis doesn’t know the sweet, shy Lacey Anne Byer everyone else does. With Ty, Lacey could reinvent herself. As her feelings for Ty make Lacey test her boundaries, events surrounding Hell House make her question her religion.”

Read an excerpt.

A few reviews:

“Walker has written a credible and tender evocation of the moment when a young person’s beliefs begin to emerge and potentially diverge from the teachings of a family’s religion…” —The New York Times Book Review

“A non-judgmental, nuanced, fascinating look at the teenage religious right… Walker writes an outstanding contemporary novel with a cast of characters who, far from being portrayed as hateful zealots, are relatable for readers of all faiths.” –Romantic Times

“Both tender and provocative… Walker creates an astutely balanced portrait of a conservative congregation’s in-your-face response to perennial issues of domestic abuse, teen pregnancy, and suicide, as well as of those who struggle to fit the prescribed Christian mold.” —Publishers Weekly