Archive for September, 2010

Congrats, YARN Poetry Contest Winners!

September 8th, 2010 by Terra | No Comments | Filed in Uncategorized

Earlier this summer, I was completely thrilled when the great folks at the Young Adult Review Network (YARN) asked if I’d be interested in submitting something to them, regarding After the Kiss. After a few emails back and forth, we determined together that on top of seeing some of the poems that didn’t make it into the final book, it’d be cool for YARN fans to participate in a poetry contest.

Entrants were to write a poem, like Becca does in After the Kiss, using an already-existing poem by a famous poet as the base structure. They were encouraged to make the poem their own (changing the subject, and even essential words), but to also retain some of the voice of the original poet.

This was tricky stuff, but there were some truly fantastic entries. You can see the winning poems on the YARN website.

Thanks so much to everyone who entered, to the winner and runner up, and to the awesome people at the Young Adult Review Network! This was a lot of fun!

I Wish Eireann Corrigan was MY Accomplice!

September 2nd, 2010 by Terra | No Comments | Filed in Talking with Other Authors

As I’m getting completely pumped for the AJC Decatur Book Festival this weekend, one person I’m sad we don’t have in our lineup in the teen programming is the remarkable Eireann Corrigan. For one thing, she is smart and funny and just a good person to hang out with. But for another thing, her new book, Accomplice, is absolutely sensational–definitely one of my favorite reads this year.

So I decided to interview her! Here’s what she had to say, about Accomplice, poetry, VC Andrews, and other things that will make you love her, too.

TMc:  I love Accomplice for articulating the  experience of the crazy, complex, and incredibly serious “play” that we girls can and often do together, way beyond the playground age. Can you talk about your own similar imaginary fun?

EC: Oh wow—that’ s a great question, but it has the opportunity for so much embarrassment! Well, I grew up in a big family, but as the youngest by almost a decade. So I picked up on a lot of gruesome stuff long before other kids did. I was reading V.C. Andrews when my friends were reading the Babysitters Club. So that might have skewed my imaginative play a bit. There were two other girls my age in my neighborhood and we were a fearsome crew. Mostly we obsessed about séances and trances. We dedicated one summer to studying astral projection. I remember believing we were really weird and that we had to keep that a secret. Then I got to college and found out most girls go through that phase.

TMc:  The games in Accomplice do go out of control, though. How was it, watching your characters push themselves and each other into this place where you’re like, “Oh God. Don’t do that!”

EC: Accomplice really challenged me in that way. I couldn’t figure out how to make the girls likable. They do this awful thing. So I got on stuck on that. And then I realized you don’t have to like them, you just have to relate to them. The fact of the matter is though, that perfectly good people do stupid crap everyday. Finn’s dilemma really fascinated me because she understands how badly she screws up and the story follows her struggle to somehow fix it.

TMc:  There’s so much to love about Accomplice, and the ending is one of them. I was wondering if the ending went through any kind of weird revisions—if anyone wanted you to change it in any way, or if you thought about different options?

EC: Thank you. Hopefully, this doesn’t give anything away, but towards the end I had no idea to close it. I really felt like the only way to wrap things up was to kill off Chloe. And my students actually put the brakes on that. They were like, “Cop-out.” And then that drove me to find the ending that Chloe deserved.

TMc:  You are both a teacher and an author. How is that experience for you?

EC:  That experience consistently amazes me. At the end of the day though, I consider myself a teacher. Writing is crucial to my peace of mind, but it’s hard to think of myself as an author. For one thing, a great deal of my life revolves around school, so that’s usually the more pressing responsibility. Also—and I wonder if you feel this way too—I spent so much dreaming about being an author while growing up. It’s too strange to think that could have come true. I feel lucky enough that to have a chance to write and a place to send my work. But I feel just as fortunate to wake up each morning with another career that is exciting and fulfilling.

TMc:  There’s a lot about the media in Accomplice too, and how it can make a dramatic situation even more dramatic—sometimes with negative results. Any point you’re trying to make in there?

EC:  Well, there are a lot of different kinds of media in our culture and I wouldn’t want to bash journalism in general. The free exchange of ideas is a valuable aspect of our society and the press helps facilitate that. However—of course there’s a however—I think that the way some media outlets cover crime, specifically crimes against women, is disturbing. There is this glamorization of victims. It’s as if the only women who are assaulted or abducted are young, traditionally attractive ingénues. We know that’s not the case, but those crimes tend to get the most press. Does that mean our society revels in the idea of beautiful young girls in danger? Does it mean that less photogenic victims are less important? It makes me wonder how those messages seep into the way young women see themselves. Accomplice let me show these two girls who turn around and exploit a machine that might think very little of exploiting them.

TMc:  You are also a poet, and you’ve written a couple books in verse. How does  writing poetry inform your prose, and how does being able to write a prose novel help your poetry?

EC:  Uggghhhh. Dirty secret: It’s actually been about six years now since I’ve written a poem. That’s crazy to me and it sometimes makes me sad. But for as long as I can remember, all of my poems were written to someone. I was writing with a very specific reader in mind. Now I write for me and so it’s a different experience.  I enjoy thinking in novels— when you write poetry, you use words so economically. Writing prose feels luxurious afterwards. I do still use all those creative muscles I developed for poetry—it takes me forever to write a page, because I tend to consider each word so carefully. Poetry trained me to consider the music of words as well as the meaning. Recently, I promised myself to go back to writing poetry, mostly because I’m eager to see how writing two books in prose might have changed my writing style.

TMc: Your name is gorgeous, and so unusual. Is there a story behind it?

EC:  Thanks! My name is pronounced just like the more popular version—“Erin”. It means the same thing—“from Ireland”. The Irish don’t use “Eireann” as a name, though. Instead the bus company is “Bus Eireann”. At the airport, you land in “Terminal Eireann” and you call a cab with “Telephone Eireann.” So in retrospect, it’s a little overly enthusiastic, like being called “America”.

TMc: Another thing I love about Accomplice is that tension that happens sometimes in high school between friends. When suddenly you are looking at someone you’ve hung out with and loved for years, and find yourself going “I’m not sure I like you any more.”  How is that relevant for you at all?

EC:  Both sides of that realization are lousy. When I was younger, I usually had very intense, consuming relationships—both romances and friendships. So those endings were usually of the scorched earth variety. I’ve been as meek as Finn in some relationships and as ruthless as Chloe in others. And I regret both. Maybe everyone has the capacity for both extremes and that’s why the conflict between Finn and Chloe is compelling.

TMc: Who wins in a pudding wrestling match, Chloe or     Flynn? And why?

EC:  Definitely Chloe. Chloe would immediately go for the jugular. Finn would be too busy contemplating all the consequences.

TMc: I love imagining what life is like for your characters after the plot of Accomplice is over. Do you do this? Any teasers you can or want to share?

EC:  I do this a lot, actually. It’s hard to let their story go. I’d love to write the whole novel again, from Chloe’s point of view. Move faster through the days she’s in hiding and then cover what happens afterward. That would be a book about revenge, though. That would be a very scary story.

Thank you so much, Eireann, for spending time answering these questions, but mainly thank you for your amazing book! For those of you out there who haven’t read it, and are looking for something to read after Mockingjay, I promise you, Accomplice definitely should be next in your reading pile.