Saturday, August 22

Interview With Patrick Jones

I had the luxury of scoring and interview with Patrick Jones! He is the author of the upcoming novel, The Tear Collector!!!

1. If you could choose any career besides writing, what do you see yourself doing? Why? Like many YA author friends, I have another career. My 9 to 5 is working as a librarian. For years, that was my focus: so much so that in 2006 I won lifetime achievement awards from the American Library Association and the Catholic Library Association for my making libraries more accessible to teens. So, to be writing teen fiction is exactly what I want to be doing because it combines a lifelong love of writing (and the thrill of publishing) with my career long commit to teen reading. The only other thing I could imagine wanting to do would still be writing – either as staff writer for the Daily Show, or as one of the writers for World Wrestling Entertainment (another lifelong obsession). The why is simple: because it is fulfilling / cool to be in a profession that entertains people, and for a few hours gets them out of the place they are, and takes them somewhere else. Writers are travel agents.

2. Where did you get the idea to write The Tear Collector? I was visiting a librarian friend in Fort Wayne IN on March 15 when a teen girl came into the area. She was browsing for something to read and the librarian handed her one of my books to read. The girl read the back jacket, and then returned it saying, “I only read vampire books.” I decided – mostly out of spite and greed – to write a vampire book, but knew I needed to tweak the formula. I flipped it – the girl is the creature; the boy is the human, but they fall in love, and complications ensue. The idea of tears came from many places, including my first novel Things Changed where the Johanna characters talks about her grandmother saying every tear has a different taste. Before Tear Collector (which was called Cannibal Tears until my publisher reported that the word “cannibal” wasn’t testing well), I was working on a book about rumors in high school. It came together: what if the tear-inducing drama in high schools was because of creatures who lived on tears. I wrote the book in my head in three hours driving between Fort Wayne IN and Flint MI. While lots changed, the core elements of the story, the characters, the key scenes, and the themes all came together driving on the highway on 15 March 2008.

3. What is your favorite book? Why is it your favorite?
Of my books, my favorite is the one I’m writing (see question six!). I like my first novel Things Change, not because it was first, because I hear all the time from girls about being in abusive dating relationships. They talk about seeing themselves in the Johanna character; that’s powerful stuff. I just got a message from a woman who runs a teen dating violence initiative in the DC metro area who wants to work with me. Of books I’ve read, my favorites are Ball Four by Jim Bouton, a book from 1970 about baseball. It changed my life when I read it as a teen. In fiction, probably Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut would be up there. Both books share similar elements: they are funny, foul-mouthed, rebellious, and while written by adult men, they have the sensibility of a smart –ass teen boy.

4. What advice would you give to teenage writers?
Sadly, the advice they never want to hear: don’t hang your dreams on publishing a novel when you’re fifteen. It is too hard; for every Hinton, Paloni and Atwater-Rhodes, there are thousands of teens learning not to write, but read rejection letters. The real advice isn’t radical – read a lot, write a lot, and hang out with other writers. Publish locally at schools or at public libraries, but mostly write.

5. Tell us one random thing about you that you don't mind sharing? I’ve never read a word of a Harry Potter book, but I have every professional wrestling biography

6. Do you have any ideas for your next book?
I have three ideas / books, all in different stages. Clicked is with my editor as we speak (August 2009) and I’ve had two excellent critiques from girls in the Teens Know Best program in St Paul. The book starts with the main character – Carson, a high school senior – coming home from his school’s homecoming football game. He’s a reporter for his school paper, so he goes up to his room to write the story on the game for the paper, but the word “homecoming” distracts him. Three years ago, his older sister Carrie ran away from home. Carson finishes writing the story, and then – well, he’s a teenage boy, he’s alone, he’s on the computer – he sees a picture on the porn web site he’s looking at: it’s a picture of his runaway sister Carrie. The book then becomes a “quest” for him to rescue her. The second book is in outline stage: it is a sequel to Tear Collector called Cassandra’s Turn. It answers some of the left hanging questions from the first book, advances the story, and sets up the final book. The last novel I’m working on is just in my head. I have a title (Crossfire Hurricane) and a theme (a girl with Borderline Personality Disorder), but nothing else…Yet.

7. Do you always know where a piece will end or do you wait to see where the characters take you?
A decade ago, I wrote a book about R.L. Stine and one thing I learned is that Stine started with the endings and worked backwards. Now, I don’t do that, but I’d say by half-way through the writing, I know the ending, in part because I like a “holy sh*^!” endings. All of my books – except Nailed – think have those endings; certainly, you’ll find it in Tear Collector. Now, things change in the writing, but normally the fate of the characters gets decided early. In part, it is because I try so hard not to tie myself to the YA novel formula. My books – like Cheated don’t have happy ending all the time, like Stolen Car; the characters don’t become better people because of their experiences or therapy like in Chasing Tail Lights. My characters don’t always make smart decisions. That’s harsh; that’s life. 8. What influences you as an artist and author? I am the only YA writer more influenced by rock music and wrestling than the Canon of Western Literature. I’ll go to conferences with other YA novelists and I don’t even know the names of the writers – let alone have read them – they list as influences. My YA writer influences are Rob Thomas, Chris Crutcher, and R.L. Stine. Every book has a soundtrack – I’ve put up the play-list on my website for some of them – that helps me write the book. It’s my soundtrack filled with songs that I wouldn’t expect teen readers to know about or listen. For example, Van Morrison – who I guess most teens have never heard of – was a huge influence on Tear Collector, while Tom Petty provided the soundtrack for Stolen Car. All that said, my real influence for writing YA are teens – teens I met during school visits, or who contact me via facebook, myspace, or email. They tell me about why they liked my books, but mostly they tell me about their lives. I listen; I try to learn. No wonder this new book is about a creature that gets energy off the suffering of others. I guess I’m a tear collector too.
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The Tear Collector by Patrick Jones

Release Date: September 1, 2009

Summary: Fans of urban fantasy should prepare for a new kind of vampire–one that feeds off of tears instead of blood. Descended from an ancient line of creatures that gain their energy from human tears, Cassandra Gray depends on human sorrow to live. Only Cass has grown tired of living this life and wants to live like a human, especially now that she's met someone worth fighting for.

Thoughts: This book was pretty much amazing. I am a huge fan of vampires and I was really intrigued to read this book for the simple reason its a different take on being different. This story is about a girl named Cassie who feeds off others pain and fears. She feds off tears instead of blood. She comes from a group called the "family." She is always there for everyone and it helps her survive since she needs tears to survive. I liked the whole aspect of this book. She has never known love. She has boyfriends but she never gets serious about them, though they do fall in love with her. But that all changes when she meets Scott. She falls in love and wants out of her way of living. She wants happiness and a future. Vampire books all seem to be the same anymore (which yes, I still do enjoy) but this was just cool in it's own way.

Overall: Awesome, a definite read for anyone who is already a fan of Patrick Jones and anyone who likes vampire/paranormal books! If there is one book you must read this year, it is The Tear Collector!!!! Run NOT WALK over to amazon and buy it right now!!!

Cover: I really liked this cover. As soon as I saw it advertised on amazon, I knew I had to read it. I love the tear going down the face and all the coloring ! Its got black coloring in the background which makes the face seem more vivid and stand out. Cool Cover!!!




2 comments:

book weirdo said...

this is cool that you got to interview this author. saw the book description and it sounds really good.




http://yabookgeek.blogspot.com/

...MY NAME IS ELENI AND I AM A BOOKAHOLIC... said...

Awesome book and great author, Patrick is super nice!

 

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