Archive for January, 2010

Congrats, Tucker-Reid H. Cofer Library!

January 23rd, 2010 by admin | 1 Comment | Filed in Uncategorized

Today I had the exciting opportunity to read a poem at the opening ceremony for the Tucker-Reid H. Cofer branch of the DeKalb County Library. And it was standing room only! And there were all these great people there (kids, parents, young people, old people, etc.) being very excited about this incredibly modern, incredibly cool new library. And I am sorry I don’t have pictures! But I thought I would post the poem that I wrote and read for the occasion. (Apologies ahead of time to Mike Bailey who probably does not even remember the day I mention here, nor knows he made it into a poem by me.)

The Library


New York loneliness in my mouth

like a pungent cheese to savor—

the sun slanting

on the empty floor.

No one waiting for me to meet them,

no one will be waiting

for me to come home—

I remember

three little girls,

three canvas bags,

their seams pulled tight,

heavy with books.

And this—

Mike Bailey and his

dark denim jacket.

Three hours of Dungeons and Dragons

I neither follow

nor enjoy.

Emerging into the sunlight,

still it is a surprise

—this afternoon will not end

in kissing.

And, always—

the long mural of indigo and violet unfurling the length

of the children’s room—

an expanse my small hand moved over,

languid and satisfied,

like that of a woman

dangling her fingers

to trail in the water

from the edge of a boat, rowed

by someone she loves.

It does not take long:

59th Street subway,

fast walk a few blocks,

and then the anonymity of fluorescent stacks

becomes a familiar, deep pool

in which I am fully submerged.

I am only

a hand, lifting,

choosing,

not this one but that—

finding and then not finding,

and finding something else.

For hours I am

lost.

Found.

Dissolved.

Nowhere else has solitude ever been so pleasing

—so soothing and luxurious.

Nowhere else grants this comforting power

to enter,

pause,

and disappear.

Getting To Know the Woman Behind GETTING REVENGE ON LAUREN WOOD: An Interview with Eileen Cook!

January 19th, 2010 by admin | No Comments | Filed in Talking with Other Authors

Eileen Cook and I have a lot in common. For one, we are both writers. For two, we are writers with the same editor. Also, we have a penchant for cupcakes, crafts, and boys who like robots. So, naturally, by the end of this interview, we decided we needed to be BFFs. But I already liked Eileen way before all that, back when I read What Would Emma Do? when it came out in 2008, and then again when I got to read her newest, Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood. If you already know her, then you know why I like her. If you don’t, read on, and you will like her too!

Your blog is really fun and personable, focusing both on your writing life and your personal life. How does it feel to be sharing so much of yourself with your readers?

Blogging and having an active presence on the web gives me a chance to connect with readers. I think readers enjoy getting to know the person behind the books and blogging is a good way for me to jumpstart my writing on a day to day basis. However, I do limit what I talk about on my blog, some things are personal. I am a firm believer there is such a thing as too much information. If it isn’t something I would yell from the rooftops then I tend to keep it to myself.

So much of what I love about both What Would Emma Do and Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood are the ways in which they both incorporate classic literature. Is that something you want to do with all your books? Is it pure lucky creative accident? And why’d you pick what you picked?

The idea of using the classics as an inspiration started with a discussion with friends about how The Crucible used the Salem Witch trials to focus on the McCarthy trials. It made me wonder what the worst thing you could be accused of doing would be now. (Witchcraft? Communism? Terrorism?) I re-read The Crucible and then began thinking about how it would play out in a modern high school. I would love to say that I had a coordinated plan after that to rework the classics, but alas I was far more random. When I was ready to start my next YA I knew I wanted to touch on how friendships change. I was between books and pulled one of my old college books off the shelf, The Count of Monte Cristo. As I started to read the book I realized it could be used as a great jumping off point for my next book. I love the classics. If my books help someone see the classics in a new way then I’m thrilled.

Both What Would Emma Do? and Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood are about friends who betray each other. Any personal experience with that, or is there something else that intrigues you about this topic?

I am very fortunate to have great friends. My best friend all through junior high and high school is still a very close friend and wants to go on the record that she never betrayed me for a slot on the cheerleading squad. (However, she did once ruin a pair of my jeans. Not that I’m bitter about it or anything). I am intrigued by what holds friendships together and what drives them apart. Unlike family, friends we’re able to choose. Letting anyone that close to you means risking they could hurt you. I like exploring how that can be played out.

You are a counselor by day. How does knowing about human psychology either help or get in the way of creating your characters?

I think having the psychology background is a huge help. I’ve always been fascinated by how people’s perceptions color how they see the world and how they behave as a result. People do things for a reason. We may not understand it, but everyone acts in a way that they think they will benefit them in some way. I love the process of pulling apart character motivation, it’s my favorite part of the process.

I understand that we both have a deep fondness for cupcakes. Any favorite recipes or decorating tricks?

There is a cupcake bakery within walking distance from my house. Do you have any idea how dangerous this can be? My all time favorite is the red velvet with cream cheese icing. Mmmm. I rarely bake them at home because then there would be many cupcakes and my bum and I do not need cupcakes in multiples just laying around.

Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood is currently on Simon & Schuster’s Pulse It board, where teens read the book online and then get to immediately respond. How is that experience for you?

I think the Pulse It Board is a great idea. It gets books out in front of teens. There are so many good books out there to choose from it is always nice if you can help people discover yours. The good news is if they like the book they tend to spread the word, but of course if they don’t like they aren’t shy about sharing that either. As a writer one of the hardest things to accept is that it doesn’t matter what you write, there are people who will like it and people who will hate it. You can’t please everyone.

Both Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood and What Would Emma Do have their (great) romantic elements, but to me the friendships between characters and the consequences of different actions play much larger and more important roles. Is this intentional on your part?

I was a dork in high school (it’s possible I’m still a dork, but that is another question) so red- hot romance wasn’t something I had a lot of experience with as a teen. I dated, but the far more intense relationships were with my friends. Boys may come and go, but friends tend to stick around. I am fascinated by female friendships. We create these powerful bonds that can last a lifetime or can blow up.

One of my favorite characters in Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood is Brenda, because she is, yes, dorky, but she is also a fully-fleshed out person. And she brings out both the best and the worst in Helen. Can you just . . . talk some more about her?

I love Brenda too! I think she is the closest to my own personality. Brenda was the surprise that came out of writing Getting Revenge. I hadn’t planned her character; she evolved as the book developed. Now I can’t imagine the book without her. I believe her character is important because it helps balance Helen. Without Brenda, Helen runs the risk of being completely insane. That’s what great friendships do- they smooth your rough edges and push you to be better than you might be on your own. Besides who can avoid loving Brenda? She wants to be an astronaut!

You’ve got a regular job on top of being a writer. What’s that like for you, really?

My long-term goal is to be a writer full time. I absolutely love writing and want to be able to focus on it. However there is something to be said for having a few days a week when you have to get up and put on grown up clothing that is both clean and ironed. It forces me to get out into the world and talk to real people versus those who exist in my head.

You’ve talked in your blog about being a writer vs. being an author or artist. As a self-proclaimed Writer (instead of an author), what are your hopes for your own books?

I love to read. I love the feeling of being caught up in a book and not being able to wait to get home because I want to read more. I love staying up way too late because I keep reading just one more chapter. I love when I’m reading a book and I want to scream at one of the characters to do something so that things will work out. My hope for my books is that they evoke the same feelings in other readers.

Thanks so much, Eileen, for sharing yourself! I hope –for all our sakes– you will get to live your writing dream soon!

Thanks, Joe Davich!

January 13th, 2010 by admin | No Comments | Filed in News, Pure

Last week in Creative Loafing my good pal Joe Davich (who is also Literary Know-All of Georgia–at Georgia Center for the Book–, not to mention Man Who Can Make Anything Happen, Especially if You Need Signage or Stantions) wrote a terrific list of his nine favorite books of 2009. And guess who made the cut? Here’s what he had to say:

Pure by Terra McVoy. A stunning debut in Young Adult Fiction that proves great writing beats vampires and werewolves any day of the week. McVoy is brilliant and confident in her writing of the young character. Each character has its’ own voice and personality from word one until the final page.”
The rest of the list is worth checking out too, but this amazing review left me pretty breathless! Thanks, Joe! And the rest of you click here for the full report!