Archive for September, 2013

September 25th, 2013 by Terra | No Comments | Filed in Appearances

Y’all, this is what I’m doing Sept 28-October 1st! SO FREAKING EXCITED!!

Young Adult Literature Conference

10th Annual Young Adult Literature Conference
Saturday, September 28, 2013
Hotel Arista | 2139 City Gate Lane | Naperville, IL 60563
From 8:15 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. | Doors Open at 7:30 a.m
Join our 10th annual gathering of authors and educators interested in the best and newest in young adult literature. The conference will take place all day. Meet featured authors, attend breakout sessions on fascinating topics, book talks on the best in new YA, enjoy a continental breakfast, a full luncheon and shop the conference bookstore. Booksigning opportunities and CPDU credits offered.

Keynote Authors: Stephen Chbosky, Michael Grant, Gayle Forman, Adam Girwitz & James Swanson

Additional Authors Include: T. M. Goeglein, D. J. MacHale, Alex London,  Beth Revis, Christa Desir, Andrew Smith, Sonya Sones, Brittany Geragotelis, Shannon Messenger, Terra McVoy, Nancy Ohlin, Myra McEntire, Kat Falls, Elizabeth Eulberg, Eric Gansworth, Regina Sirois, Antony John, James Swanson, Cristin Terrill, David Lubar, Trish Cook, Demitria Lunetta, Joelle Charbonneau, Sally M. Walker & Bennett Madison

The cost for the entire day is $99. This includes all meals, conference packet and giveaways. We are offering a special discount fee of $75 for full-time students (with proof of current school registration).   Registration Required

To receive the full-time student discount you must call to purchase your ticket (630) 820-2802.
Price: $99.00
Add to Cart
Registration Form

YA Fandom Frenzy
Sunday, September 29, 2013
Hotel Arista | 2139 City Gate Lane | Naperville, IL 60563
From 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Our YA FANDOM FRENZY day will include some fun and quirky author panels, author story starter sessions, “lightning round” literary quiz questions and an “Inside the Writers Studio” with a James Lipton-esque interview. This is a day for readers and authors to get to know each other better in a fun way.  There will be autographing, lunch, a candy bar and swag bags for all attendees. Get your fan frenzy on with some of the best writers of YA literature today!  Great for anyone who loves YA! Get crazy with Anderson’s YA FANDOM FRENZY!

Authors Include:  Stephen Chbosky, T. M. Goeglein, Alex London, Christa Desir, Andrew Smith, Sonya Sones, Brittany Geragotelis, Shannon Messenger, Terra McVoy, Nancy Ohlin, Michael Grant, Myra McEntire, Kat Falls, Elizabeth Eulberg, Regina Sirois, Antony John, James Swanson, Cristin Terrill, David Lubar, Trish Cook, Demitria Lunetta, Joelle Charbonneau, Bennett Madison & Beth Revis

Price: $49.00
Add to Cart

Registration Form

Then, on October 1st at 7 PM. (343 S 5th Ave, Ann Arbor MI) is the YA Summit courtesy of Literati Bookstore! What an exciting week!!

Conversation About CRIMINAL

September 11th, 2013 by Terra | No Comments | Filed in Criminal

Book clubs are one of my favorite things, ever. It’s why I’m in two of them and lead two others. Reading the same thing and talking about it with smart, interesting people enhances the book experience by a hundred, at least, which is why I feel so grateful to the members of what I call my Lawyer Ladies book club (because most of them are lawyers) for helping me come up with these discussion questions about Criminal!


1.  Nikki is deeply influenced by her boyfriend, Dee, but what about the women in her life? How do you think she is positively (or negatively) affected by each of them?

2.  Have you ever been in Bird’s position—friends with someone who stays with a boy/girl friend whom you know is bad for them? What are the difficulties of this situation?

3.  Why do you think Nikki has such incredibly low self-esteem at the beginning of the novel? What factors in her life have led to this?

4.  There’s very little physical description of the characters in Criminal. Did this affect your ability to connect with them? Where in the book were you able to see and understand them outside of a physical description?

5.   There are very few positive male role models in Nikki’s life. How much of an impact do you think that has had on her, and who she has become as a young woman?

6.  What is your initial impression of Nikki at the beginning of Criminal? Does that viewpoint change? How and where?

7.  What events and interactions cause Nikki to fully understand her role in Deputy Palmer’s murder? How do they affect her evolution as a person?

8.  What business is left unfinished at the end of Criminal? Are there elements of the story that you wish had been more clearly tied up? What can you imagine happening to the characters after the book’s close?

9.  What, if any, of your own biases and assumptions were challenged by reading Criminal?
And, lastly, my personal favorite:

10. When and how have you been like Nikki?


From my book club to yours, I hope any conversation you have about Criminal is a stimulating one!

Obsessing Over OCD LOVE STORY and Corey Ann Haydu

September 4th, 2013 by Terra | 1 Comment | Filed in Talking with Other Authors

September is here, which means a slew of new releases to get excited about. There’s a giant pile of books I have yet to read on my desk, all of them coming out RIGHT NOW (as in, yesterday or last week or next week), and everyone I know has fall book frenzy. Today though, I want to make sure a terrific book that came out in July stays on your radar (and, more importantly, in your To Read pile). OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu is a smart, snappy, surprising, lovely love story that will both satisfy and surpass your expectations of this kind of book. (Plus, it got three different stars from important places, so.)

Here’s the description:  In this raw and relatable romance, Bea learns that some things just can’t be controlled.

When Bea meets Beck, she knows instantly that he’s her kind of crazy. Sweet, strong, kinda-messed-up Beck understands her like no one else can. He makes her feel almost normal. He makes her feel like she could fall in love again.

But despite her feelings for Beck, Bea can’t stop thinking about someone else: a guy who is gorgeous and magnetic…and has no idea Bea even exists. But Bea knows a lot about him. She spends a lot of time watching him. She has a journal full of notes. Some might even say she’s obsessed.

Bea tells herself she’s got it all under control. But this isn’t a choice, it’s a compulsion. The truth is, she’s breaking down…and she might end up breaking her own heart.

This is Corey Ann Haydu’s first novel, but after finishing OCD Love Story, I can’t wait to see more from her. She took some time to address my questions about it, and her answers are just as interesting as her book:

TEM:  OCD Love Story is not simply a clever title. This novel is actually about obsessive-compulsive disorder, and how it affects people. I learned so much in the reading; how did you become such an expert?

CAH: I didn’t know much about OCD as four or five years ago. Like a lot of people, I had misconceptions about the disorder, and was especially surprised when I learned that it’s an anxiety disorder. I’m someone who has struggled with anxiety since I was a teenager, so I was reading about different kinds of anxiety, and saw OCD listed as part of the “anxiety canon”. I was intrigued and started reading up. I did some research on the psychiatric and scientific side of things, since I was personally trying to understand how thoughts get distorted when you are struggling with anxiety, but I was more interested in things like memoirs and documentaries. I wanted to know about the experience of struggling with OCD, and I was surprised at how deeply I connected to the feelings. My personal methods of coping with anxiety may be different, but the intense desire to escape anxiety was familiar.

Anxiety, and OCD in particular, is something often addressed through cognitivebehavioral therapy. Again, because of my own personal issues, I was interested in learning about this style of therapy, a way of shifting thoughts through tangible shifts in behaviors, so I also did quite a bit of research on the most effective therapies for coping with obsessive compulsive disorder.

TEM: Bea and Beck, as the main characters, are fantastic in their own rights, but I was so impressed with your secondary characters too. Lisha, for example, as Bea’s BFF is fleshed out in a whole and thorough way. Can you just . . . talk about her, and her development?

CAH: Lisha was really important to me, and is the only character who has had some “backlash” in readers’ responses. Although I wanted to write from Bea’s point of view, I also really wanted to address the difficulties of having a loved one who is struggling with an anxiety or mood disorder. This, too, is something I have experience with, so although Lisha makes a lot of decisions that are imperfect, it was important to me that she is trying to be a good friend, is trying to be good to herself, and is also a flawed human being who can’t be perfect all the time.

Like with my connection to OCD, I felt connected to Lisha’s struggle. We all want to be the perfect friend in difficult circumstances, but the reality is that it’s hard when your best friend has really large needs and you just want to talk about your problems. I think when it comes to mental illness, we have to be generous with everyone—both those who are working hard to overcome different brain chemistries, and their hard-working support systems.

TEM:  Sylvia and Austin, as the objects of Bea’s obsession, are equally intriguing, and provide a terrific second story to the novel. Were they always so well developed, and significant to the plot? Or did that change in writing/revising?

CAH:  That’s a great question. I had absolutely no idea how big a role Sylvia and Austin would play in the novel! I am a very messy first-drafter; I don’t outline or make any big story decisions when I’m initially exploring a topic and a set of characters. At first, I simply liked the idea of writing a scene about someone listening in on a therapy conversation. I’m an eavesdropper, myself, so at first it wasn’t part of her disorder at all. It was simple curiosity. Then I realized I could tie in her interest and curiosity in other stranger’s lives (something I have in common with Bea!) and turn it into a more dangerous obsession.

I also learned quite a bit about Sylvia and Austin’s life during in-class writing exercises at The New School. I thought I was writing little scenes are tiny, unimportant characters that would never actually show up in the book I was working on but would maybe inform the world I was creating. Instead a lot of those scenes ended up in the book! It’s important to be open to things going in unexpected directions, and I’m really happy I didn’t stick to any plan, and miss out on learning more about Austin and Sylvia.

TEM:  So often in YA, the adults are much more thinly drawn than the kids, but Dr. Pat, Bea’s therapist in OCD Love Story was refreshingly human. Was this intentional, or simply part of your amazing talent?

CAH:  Aw, thank you! I wish I could say it’s all just fancy “talent” but actually Dr. Pat is a result of my own experiences in therapy. She is definitely not based on any one therapist in particular, but rather is the kind of therapist I thought Bea would need at that time in her life. Again, I’m mostly interested in flaws and the fact that even people in positions of power don’t always have full control over a situation or perfect boundaries with the people around them. I think Dr. Pat is an excellent therapist who also has her own inner monologue, her own needs, and her own struggles to find the right paths for her patients. I’d like to write an even more flawed therapist someday. It’s such an interesting profession, so I’m sure you’ll see more therapists with wildly different methods and personalities in future books!

TEM:  You have a background in acting. Can you talk a bit about acting and writing, and the connections between the two?

CAH:  This is one of my favorite topics, because I think I used the exact same parts of my brain while I was acting as I do now that I’m writing. I went to NYU for acting, so I was fully immersed in “technique”. I studied a technique called Meisner, and on the first day of class, my amazing teacher explained to us that the Mesiner technique was based on the idea that acting is “living truthfully under imaginary circumstances.” We spent two years learning how to open up emotionally and respond truthfully to any moment. We did a lot of improvising (not the funny kind—the Meisner kind of improvising which involves a lot of crying and screaming and, laughing hysterically and, strangely, coming up with “activities” like piecing back together a broken vase, so that you are doing an activity while interacting emotionally with someone) and I think I use that improvising muscle when I’m writing. My method involves activating that same emotional openness I had to have when I was in class and on stage. I sort of live through the experiences of my characters right along with them, like I would have to do if I were playing them on stage.

Another thing I learned when I was acting is that you have to be “on your character’s side”. Even if you’re playing the villain in a show, YOU can’t think of yourself as a villain. You can’t “play” bad. You have to learn how to adopt the point of view of even the worst, most flawed characters. I really loved that and I think incorporate that into the characters I write.

TEM: This is a love story, but part of what keeps it so engaging is that Bea and Beck are both loveable, while also being minorly gross at the same time. How do you feel they are uniquely themselves, and how are they universal characters too?

CAH:  That’s a challenging one. I tend to think, in general, what separates us from each other is behavior but ultimately most of our feelings are pretty universal. So Bea and Beck may DO something things that some readers find difficult to understand, but I hope their feelings that are motivating those actions are relatable.

I also think their love story is unusual but also has a universality to it. When any of us fall in love we’re looking for a really deep acceptance. Someone who sees our deepest flaws and secrets and struggles, and doesn’t judge us for them. Bea and Beck want what all of us want, I think. To be able to share their struggles and their humiliations and still be loved. And, like, all of us, or certainly like me, they’re so so scared in the process.

TEM: As I mentioned before, I learned a lot about OCD and how it manifests itself in different people while reading OCD Love Story. Besides those mentioned in the book, were there other surprising obsessions/compulsions that you discovered while writing?

CAH:  I actually tried to give a pretty full portrait of OCD, from more commonly known cleaning and hygiene related OCDs to pulling out hair, which is a form of OCD as well.  Also, it’s probably important to note that I only wrote about characters whose OCD was strong enough to have them, as teens, be in group and individual therapy multiple times a week. It’s important to know that there are less severe shades of OCD, as well. The fear of hurting other people is something I addressed in OCD Love Story, but it was definitely the most surprising obsession I learned about, or at least the one I was least familiar with. And it’s not totally uncommon.

I think what’s surprising is how eager we are to distance ourselves from things like OCD when in reality we’re all experiencing these fears and anxieties on some level. We’re afraid of hurting other people, of getting hurt, of getting sick, of the unknown, of reliving past bad experiences, and so on. So probably what surprised me most is how understandable it all seemed to me.

TEM:  Lastly, what are some of the most romantic moments you’ve encountered in life so far? (Either including cheese or not?)

CAH:  Let’s be honest, cheese can make any situation romantic. Or just downright incredible. I recently went to Paris with my boyfriend, and that was pretty freaking romantic. Notre Dame at night in the snow. Ridiculously fancy cheese plates at French bistros. A boatride on the river, staring at the glorious Eiffel Tower at night. But mostly the cheese.

Also, as far as teen romantic moments go, I was pretty swoony about an Aerosmith concert on New Year’s Eve my sophomore year of high school.  So I can find romance in a lot of different places, clearly!


I’ll be looking forward to seeing more romance –and anything else– from you, Corey. Thanks again for the interview, and good luck with the next projects, whatever they are!