Monday, June 7

Author Interview And Review

Welcome Amanda Howells To Princess Bookie

1.If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I try never to think of what's wrong with a piece of writing when it's too late to fix it. That way lies madness! I just accept the fact that it will never be perfect. Revision is an endless process, and it can go on forever—but deadlines get in the way, and that's probably a good thing.

2. Did you ever experience writer's block while writing The Summer Of Skinny Dipping?
2. There were many tough moments in the process. And yes, I definitely got stuck. It's not that I stared at a blank page for ages; my writer's block is more like I have a sense of a problem—of plot, or character—and I can't see how to write my way through it. So I end writing and deleting a lot, and eventually if that doesn't work, I just write around the problem by moving on. The answer always comes, like doing a puzzle and keeping a tricky piece out until you get close to the end when you can see the shape of everything around it.

One example I can give is Mia's ex-boyfriend, Jake. I couldn't seem to get a handle on him, but I knew he was an important part of Mia's back story. I wanted to reveal that he was not Mia's true love, and that from the get-go something was a little off between them, but I couldn't find a way to show that to the reader, instead of just telling you "he wasn't the right one." After playing around with different versions of Jake and getting frustrated, I ignored the problem, and the solution came when I wasn't looking so hard for it. I knew a small, but key moment describing their very first meeting would go a long way toward conveying who he was and what kind of boyfriend he would be. But that moment eluded me right up until the end of my final draft, when I got the idea that Jake would perform a magic trick at school, and that he would rope Mia into the trick. Once I wrote the scene it slotted perfectly into the book (to me, anyway) and revealed Jake as a guy capable of dazzling Mia and making her believe she's in love, but ultimately he's a lightweight.

3. How long did it take you to write your book?
It took me just a summer to write the first draft. But the better part of 9 years to publish it! And in that last year, I rewrote it significantly.

4. Which of your characters is your favorite?
I enjoyed writing the "bad" characters—Genevieve and Corinne. Their dialogue was fun. But the narrator, Mia, develops most in the story, so she was the most complex and challenging for me to do. She really matures from beginning to end. There's the love story that transforms her in a huge and obvious way, but I also like how she becomes a more sensitive person to her family through the course of the summer; in the beginning she believes she has everyone else figured out, but by the end of the story she realizes our perceptions of others are not necessarily the truth—often, far from it.

5. Which of your characters would you most/least to invite to dinner, and why?
I'm so tired from writing them onto the page—they should be inviting me to dinner! And a very fancy dinner, thank you very much! Oysters and champagne, please.

6. What is your all-time favorite book?
Impossible question to answer. I'll narrow it down by choosing some YA: I love Sarah Dessen's The Truth About Forever. It's such a smart and moving and well-crafted love story. Of course all her books are great but that's my favorite (That Summer comes in second). A classic YA that I've always loved is Lois Lowry's A Summer to Die.

Thank You Amanda For Visiting Princess Bookie!

The Summer Of Skinny Dipping

Summary: After getting dumped by her boyfriend, sixteen-year-old Mia Gordon is looking forward to spending a relaxing summer in the Hampton's with her glamorous cousins. But when she arrives, her cousins are distant, moody, and caught up with a fast crowd. Mia finds herself lonelier than ever. That's when she meets her next-door-neighbor, Simon Ross. Simon isn't like the snobby party boys her cousins seem obsessed with; he's funny, artistic, and utterly adventurous. And from the very first time he encourages Mia to go skinny-dipping, she's caught up in a current impossible to resist. Timeless in feel, The Summer of Skinny-Dipping is a poignant, literary read sure to dazzle tweens and teens alike.

My Thoughts: We are introduced to Mia on the first page. I really liked her and could see myself friends with her. She's originally from Georgia. Her family decides to take a summer vacation to the Hampton's to visit her aunt, uncle, and cousins. She feels they are the complete opposite of her. Mia isn't a stick-pole or stylish and her cousin is the complete opposite, skinny, hot, tan, and she seems like she could be a popular girl at school. Mia is just ordinary. She hangs out with her cousins but she always feels like an outcast. She tries to fit in, but never really does. She than meets next door neighbor Simon. Simon has a bit of a reputation. Last summer he dated one of the girls from the Hampton's, fell in love with her too quick, she cheated on him and he kinda went crazy. Not really crazy, just lost his temper. It was understandable though. The situation he was in, was definitely not ideal. Mia starts hanging out with Simon, even though she fears what her cousins will think of her. She starts meeting him late at night down on the beach. I loved this. They even had a signal. 3 flashes with the flashlight means they should meet up. They start to become friends and get to know each other. This is the perfect summer book. I read it in April and I was ready for summer to be here already. Everyone should have a summer romance like Mia and Simon's. I honestly didn't know what was going to happen. I was worried about Simon and Mia going back to their own cities and never seeing each other again. But by the end of the book, we know what really happens and to say I had tears in my eyes is an understatement. This book was a beautiful emotional gripping story of how Mia comes to terms with her she is and what she wants to become.

Overall: Loved it. It was such a good book. Everyone deserves a summer romance like this. If only I could go out on the beach and soak my toes into the warm water and sit on the sand. I recommend it to those of you looking for a summer romance or just wish it was summertime!

Cover: Its really cute. I like how the girl is running on the beach in her swimsuit.

What I'd Give It:

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