Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Interview with Kirsten Hubbard and a Like Mandarin ARC Giveaway!


So, I have a confession to make. When I nabbed an ARC of Kirsten Hubbard's Like Mandarin, I was a little worried. Don’t get me wrong—I’d been dying to read the book for over a year. But during that wait, I met Kirsten several times, and she’s like this unbelievably awesome person. Almost as crucial: we totally color-coordinated at ALA.

What if I read Like Mandarin and it just wasn’t for me? What would I say?

Um, yeah…RIDICULOUS worry. Why? Because Like Mandarin is freaking amazing, that’s why. This book really blew me away with its lush setting, its timeless feel, and its intricate portrayal of two very different female characters and their unexpected relationship—all of it showcased by Kirsten’s lyrical prose.

But don’t take my word for it. See for yourself by reading my interview with Kirsten below, and then entering to win an ARC of Like Mandarin.

Which character are you more like, Grace or Mandarin?

You know, I’m not much like either one of them! I’ve always read a ton, like Grace, but I’m definitely not the shy, wallflower type. I’ve always been more outspoken, like Mandarin (often to a fault) – but that’s really where our similarities end. They’re more the types of girls I was fascinated with, especially Mandarin.

Setting plays a huge, awesome role in Like Mandarin. What made you choose Wyoming?

The Wyoming badlands are in my blood, even though they’re as far as possible from the Southern California suburbs where I was born and raised. My mother grew up in small-town Wyoming, and we used to visit my grandparents there in the summertime. Everything about that setting fascinates me; I’ve felt it as strongly as I’ve ever felt any sense of place.

Did you ever compete in a beauty pageant, or have any friends who did?

Nope. I think I was first intrigued by pageants after reading The Baby-Sitters Club #15: Little Miss Stoneybrook… and Dawn as a kid (no, seriously!) and I’m sure my twin sister and I threw together a couple pretend pageants. But I never participated in a real one, nor did my friends. They weren’t really on the radar where I grew up. I do vividly remember JonBenet Ramsey’s murder, and seeing her woman-child face on the cover of every magazine in the supermarket was both fascinating and repellant – which I think describes child beauty pageants well.

Mandarin does some pretty crazy things in the book. What’s the nuttiest thing you ever did in high school?

Every night of the Ventura County Fair, they’d set off fireworks over the beach beside the fairgrounds. The summer before junior year of high school, a friend and I stripped to our underwear and drove into the freezing ocean. There was nobody around, but it was one of those epic, unforgettable teenage moments, where we felt like we were in a movie, with our wet skin changing colors under the lights. It really was cold though.

Like Mandarin has such a lovely, classic feel to it—which books/authors inspired you?

Thank you! I didn’t read much YA the first time I wrote Like Mandarin (version 1.0) about four years ago, though I’ve more than made up for it in since. My favorite books are a total hodgepodge, though they tend to be literary, and in most cases I cry at least once. So, from LM’s early days: Watership Down by Richard Adams, Atonement by Ian McEwan, Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, The Last Unicorn by Peter S Beagle, Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, everything by Louis Sachar and Roald Dahl.

If you had run away from home in high school, which five personal items would have been in your backpack? (besides clothes)

I graduated from high school in 2001. It doesn't seem like that long ago, and yet, I didn’t have a laptop, cell phone or digital camera back then, which are the first things I’d bring now! So, realistically...

1) Watership Down (my favorite book in high school)

2) A big, fat hardcover sketch journal and pens

3) my gray-blue Jansport backpack with the leopard-print fabric I sewed on the pocket

4) Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness by The Smashing Pumpkins (a tossup between that and Siamese Dream, but Mellon Collie was a 2-disc set!)

5) my stuffed lamb, for sentimental reasons

Do you have any advice for YA writers attempting to get published?

My two favorite pieces of advice are:

Give readers what they want, not what they expect. In other words, never stop surprising them – in a good way. Satisfy them – unexpectedly. Don’t be predictable – but don’t alienate your readers, either. Give them the ending they want – even when they had no idea they wanted it.

Write that next book. Too often writers cling to their first project, revising it so much they aren’t seeing it anymore, waiting while they endure the query-go-round instead of writing. The best remedy for rejection, the best time warp for long waits, the best thing ever, period, is getting excited about a new project.

Which YA Highway member do you love the most? HA—KIDDING! How about: must-have writing snack food?

LOL.

My two standbys are Tazo chai tea, and Trident Tropical Twist gum. Neither one’s really a snack, though. I eat a whole lot of Peanut Butter Puffins. And those light Laughing Cow cheese triangles. Not together. Though maybe I’m missing out?

(Debra's note: Mmmmm, Peanut Butter Puffins! But where is the chocolate???)

Thanks so much for the interview, Kirsten!

Now, want to win my ARC of Like Mandarin? (Pssst: you do, you do, you TOTALLY do). All you have to do is leave a comment, telling us the nuttiest thing YOU ever did in high school. Entries close Monday at noon, PST.

And if you don’t win? Don’t worry. Check out Like Mandarin at Goodreads, then order your copy at Amazon or Indiebound, just in time for its March release!

61 comments:

Najela said...

The craziest thing I've done in high school was ditch class and have a drive-by pancake war from our iHop leftovers, driving around the mall looking for silly string and spraying the cars of people we didn't like. Pretty crazy times

Sarah Nicolas said...

mine is going to be the most boring comment here because I didn't really do any crazy stuff in high school! I lived on a military base so we were pretty restricted. I guess there was Senior Skip day when we went to the beach and I had almost a whole Mike's Hard Lemonade but I had to go back for basketball practice because we had a game the next day. Yep, watch out! I was a holy terror :(

Jennifer Walkup said...

Oooh, I totally am entering to win this awesome book. I've been waiting for this one to come out.

Nuttiest thing I ever did? Hmmm. Not sure they're okay for public consumption. Um, I'll say sneaking out of the house and going camping with a huge group of friends.:)

Also, Love Smashing Pumpkins. Mayonaise is one of my fave songs of all time. Great choices.

Great interview, ladies.:)

Melissa said...

My best friend and I skipped school and crossed the border to go bowling with two male strippers in Canada--we live in Michigan. (We were both terrible bowlers.)

I can't even believe I'm admitting this right now...

Krista Ashe said...

Great interview, Deb and Kirsten. I love how much Kirsten has integrated setting into her novels both in Like Mandarin and Wanderlove...I so dig how setting can be a part of your blood aka with her and Wyoming.

Looking forward to reading!!

Craziest and/or lamest thing I did in HS(Keep in mind I was a total goody two shoes, lol) was my bff and I were skipping class the day before Spring Break junior year and got into a road rage situation with this crazy guy in my neighborhood...we ended up in like a high speed chase roaring into someone else's driveway to get away from him!!

A.J. said...

Well, I didn't do much crazy things in high school. I was the quiet, good kid. ;P But I did skip school one day with a friend. Right before the bell rang in the morning, we just walked out to the parking lot & got in her car. We hung out at our other friend's house because that friend was sick that day. I had to ride the bus home, so when school ended, my friend dropped me off near the bus area. No one even noticed. :P

Erinn said...

Excellent interview.

The craziest thing I ever did was cut school, (called myself in sick) took the train to New York, hung out there, almost landed myself an intership at DC Comics, did NONE of the tourist stuff and came home on the late bus. It was awesome. BEST MEMORY from high school ever.

Tracey Neithercott said...

I was too obsessed with playing by the rules to do crazy things. I'll say having a party in a hot tub in the back of a funeral home that a friend's family owned. Though that's not so much crazy as creepy.

allison said...

I was so sure I was going to be a rock star in high school that one afternoon I bleached my hair and dyed it pink (this was before EVERYONE was pink, like Gwen Stefani and, well... Pink...). I thought it'd be a lovely fuchsia like on the bottle, but it was cotton candy pink! I sent my mom to the store for brown dye but it turned blond and stayed that way for MONTHS!

Bronwyn Scott-McCharen said...

Awesome interview! I can't wait for Like Mandrin :)

Hmm...does the summer after your senior year count? Because if so, then it would be purposely ignoring my mother's frequent phone calls while I gallivanted around in a foreign country all by myself.

Angelica R. Jackson said...

I didn't do anything specifically crazy in high school, other than landing myself in a continuation school for senior year. But that was more from apathy: the previous 3 years, I went to school 2 or 3 days out of 5. And I wasn't out being a delinquent; most of those days were spent at home reading, writing, drawing/sketching, or watching cartoons. Made up for it, though, by doing about 3 years' worth of credits in 7 months--by the time I was in continuation school, I just wanted to be done and out of there.

Found out in college that I have a learning disability and possibly Asperger's, so is it any mystery that I was bored by and hated high school?

Gina Blechman said...

So nothing exciting ever happened to me, so I don't really qualify for the contest, but I AM super duper excited to buy the book when it comes out!

<3 Gina Blechman

Kirsten Hubbard said...

thanks, Got YA!!

and omg, those are the best tags I've ever seen in my LIFE

Lauren M said...

Dang, I haven't done anything nutty in high school! So I'll just share an interesting fact: I had to miss my whole junior year due to a stomach surgery gone wrong! People thought I was pregnant. :P

Thanks for the interview and giveaway!

Lynsey Newton said...

OK I skipped school and after working my part time job, I lied to my Grandma (sorry Grandma but I knew you wouldn't let me go all that way on my own) who was looking after me at the time as my parents were on vacation and I took 3 buses to a massive mall/cinema so I could watch Circle of Friends as as I had a crush on Chris O'Donnell LOL. What was I thinking?! How embarassing!

Lisa_Gibson said...

Okay, no judging me, I was a different person then. :) One of the guys and I sat in the back of Spanish class and smoked pot, blowing the smoke out the door. It was a little one-hitter pipe. Crazy...and stupid. But yeah, I was definitely a different person then.
Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

Sarah said...

I was not all that crazy in high school (still not, really) but on days when I had work release, which was sanctioned by my high school to go my job, I often skipped and just went home and napped.

riddikulus.sarahATgmailDOTcom

Robin Reul said...

I would have to say the craziest thing I ever did in high school was one night, when out with a group of friends, we went to the Sherman Oaks Galleria (yes, of Fast Times At Ridgemont High fame, I grew up in Encino and was an authentic Valley Girl) late at night and went swimming in our clothes in the fountain. That, and my friend Pam and I, ever-desperate in our quest to get out of high school P.E., used to throw ourselves up against the lockers hoping we'd injure something so we wouldn't have to participate, or telling the male P.E. coach we were having bad period cramps because he'd get all red in the face and embarrassed and didn't want to deal with it so he'd excuse us.

Yahong Chi said...

I'm still in my first year of high school, so I haven't done anything crazy. Like seriously - all I did was ditch school without telling the office. But hope I win anyway. :D

Sheila Siler said...

The craziest thing I ever did was get engaged - how nuts is that! It totally screwed up the last part of my senior year. Fortunately we broke up before the wedding!

Lauren Elizabeth Morrill (Mona Mour) said...

I was editor of my high school paper in East Tennessee, the land of abstinence-only education. I distributed a sex survey to my classmates trying to assess their level of activity and the effectiveness of abstinence-only education, so that i could write a story about it for the paper. Only I didn't get my adviser or principal's approval. Needless to say, neither were very happy with me! Many, many meetings were had in the principal's office. I don't know if it's the craziest, but it's definitely the thing that got me in the most trouble!

But hey, the episode became a college essay, and I got into journalism school. Now I'm an author! So suck on that, high school.

Debra D. said...

Loving reading all these stories! Also--of course you can enter without one!

Kirsten--THANK YOU!!! And--*snicker* I'm entirely too amused by the "Kirsten Hubbard whatcha got in your cupboard" tag.

=D

Liana said...

I was very boring in high school. I don't really have an interesting story. I liked when I snuck into the boys bathroom after hours just to see what it was like.

Meagan said...

My very best friend from high school once told me that he would give me five dollars if I stuck green beans in my ears and ran around the cafeteria, waving my arms and hollering "I can fly, I can fly!"

...I think the craziest thing was that I actually did it.

Lisa Aldin said...

I am not a crazy person. But I did skip out on the PSAT. Just didn't show up. GO ME!

Erin said...

I never did anything terribly crazy. I was pretty much a follow-the-rule, color-inside-the-lines kid. Had a few silly, embarrassing dance team performances in front of the school, though.

kaitlinbartlett said...

Most of the "crazy" things I did in high school revolved around musical theatre/performance, and they probably wouldn't be considered crazy by normal standards. I've worn everything from skimpy pink nightgowns to prairie bonnets onstage. I've serenaded people in public malls and stripped down to my underwear backstage to change constumes for a scene while tons of other people were running through. Theatrical people have their own definition of crazy, i've found. :]

Sniffly Kitty said...

o_0 I don't think I ever really did anything crazy besides perhaps dating someone who was a bit not right in the head.

snifflykitty@gmail.com

Vivien said...

On the last day of my senior year we have a breakfast with all of the seniors. The night before a group of us camped out on the school grounds. lol completely not allowed. So the principal was called out, but we talked him into bbq'ing with us. So it all turned out great!!

Vivien
deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

Erin said...

Very cool interview! Thanks for sharing and for the giveaway!

Sadly, I didn't do too many crazy things in high school. I am a sad, pathetic rule-follower.

There was this one time that a couple of us duck-taped our friend to a pole with his feet off the ground. He asked us to do it, though. He wanted to see how much duck tape it would take to hold up his weight!

Erin @ Quitting My Day Job

fletch8502 at yahoo dot com

Moirae(thefates) book reviews said...

Well, I didn't do anything super crazy, I was more of the embarrass myself and do something semi-crazy to try and cover it up. Only thing I can thing of is this:

I was at the top of the MAIN staircase THE MAIN STAIRS!!! in a dress and heels. It was lunch so there was a few hundred people in the hall below. I was with a friend, I slipped and fell down the stairs, before I fell I grabbed my friend by his arm. When we landed in a crumpled heap I stood up and yelled over the laughs "Next time you fall don't drag me down with you!" Then I grabbed him and we hobbled off to lunch.

So blaming him was the most "Crazy" thing I ever did....

moiraethefates(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Elizabeth Briggs said...

I ditched most of my junior year and then dropped out of high school at the beginning of senior year... does that count as nutty? Bad teenage Liz.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Honestly - I did nothing nutty in high school. College though....

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Fun interview and great contest! I really want to read this.

Once I went surfing with some friends and stepped on a sea urchin. One of the guys took an old safety pin and dug the spine out of my foot. Luckily, I've still got my foot. Another time I came home from school and decided to change my blond hair to brown. I choose the darkest dye (you know, cuz my hair was so light) and left a piece undyed so I'd have a streak. Total skunk. So, after everyone gawked at me for a day, I bleached it back. Luckily, I still have my hair. :)
sleuthwood (at) yahoo (dot) com

Jessi Kirby said...

Hmm...craziest thing was probably when a couple of friends and I "accidentally" snuck into Universal Studios while on our Senior Trip. Right over the barbed wire-topped fence and everything. Without getting caught.

Jess said...

I went to my prom in a dress made out of duct tape. I was the invisible girl at my high school, so even though I didn't think twice about wearing the dress, I think it surprised a lot of people. People I didn't know except as faces in the hallway came over to take pictures of--or with--my date and I.

The best part of the night, however, was when we went out for dinner at a restaurant that was hosting a huge family reunion. When a six-year-old in the group saw us, she stood on her chair, pointed, and yelled loud enough for the entire restaurant to hear, "Mommy, those people are FREAKY!"

ikkinlala said...

I didn't really do crazy things in high school - I wasn't that much of a rule-follower (I certainly skipped my share of classes), but I wasn't very socially involved with my classmates and most of the really crazy things I heard about seemed to happen in groups. The nuttiest things I did was maybe the tree-climbing competition.

Meredith said...

The craziest thing I did in high school was quit! Yeah, nuts! No worries, I went back and finished later!

meredithfl at gmail dot com

Jackie said...

I was a pretty straight laced kid back in the day. The nuttiest thing I ever did...Okay, I moved 1000 miles away from my BFFs my senior year of high school. Terrible, right? During Spring Break, I went to visit all of those friends, but their break didn't coincide with mine. So, I decided to sneak into school and attend all their classes with them!

The first time I did it, I was kicked out. We had a professor Umbridge type principal at the time. But, the second time I made it on to the campus was a success. All my friends and old teachers were ecstatic to see me. They also told me that if that nasty principal was on my trail I could always hide in their rooms!

jacqueline.c.goodman AT gmail DOT com

Audrey (holes In My brain) said...

I'm still in HS and I'm a play-it-safe kind of girl.. but I guess I've got to say falling asleep in the library for a few hours... yeah. i know, uneventful, eh?

And love the interview! Like Mandarin has been on my wishlist for the longest time, so glad to know it doesn't disappoint :) thanks!

holesinmybrain@hotmail.com

Jessy said...

The craziest thing I did in high school was skip with a bunch of my friends. We took the train to New York and saw a show, and rocked out with the Naked Cowboy.

Katie said...

I was pretty tame (read: lame) in high school, but once on a class trip to Quebec, I snuck out of my hotel room's window and met up with some guys from another school. I only stayed out a couple of hours at the most and didn't do anything crazy but I still felt really daring.

Kate said...

My best friend and I decided we wanted to go to the beach, so we road our bikes there. 75 miles. It took us all day, so we camped out on the sand, then called my parents the next morning and asked them to come pick us up. We were to tired to try and ride home.

margo said...

I was totally boring throughout high school too, but right before leaving for college, I went to say goodbye to the "friend" I happened to be in love with... we HUGGED, (yes, just hugged) for 3 hours in a parking lot. I didn't get home until 3am, and of course my Dad was up having a snack!! I didn't really get in trouble, but I'll never forget the totally confused and stern (he's never stern) look on his face!!

Jessica Secret said...

Well, I'm homeschooled, so my answer will undoubtedly be the lamest of the lame, but:

The craziest thing I've done is ask a hotel clerk if they offered special protection for Friday the 13th. I told you it was lame.

thebookwurrm said...

I went to high school in Fiji. It was a Muslim high school and we had a pretty strict uniform policy - that would be relaxed once a year. Only that year, I believe I was in Grade 10 (or Form 4) as we call it, the principal canceled "Mufti Day" (the day we were allowed to wear casual clothes to school). As you can imagine, this did not go down well with any of us. Only some of us (ahem, me) were a bit louder than the rest and somehow (I really don't know how it happened or how it grew to those numbers) I sort of incited almost the entire school to come to school wearing casual clothes - a move not sanctioned by the school administration. The principal instead of gracefully admitting defeat and letting it be, sent ALL of us home. There were some 500 students and we were all sent home. In Fiji, the buses and the schedules are capricious. (Which is a nice way of saying they come hours apart and we lived in a village some kilometers away from the city on a sugarcane farm.) So my cousins and I hitched a ride on a sugarcane truck that was returning to the village because the sugar mill had broken down that day. I did get into trouble with school but that was a normal state of affairs for me. And wow, now that I reflect upon it, I have lived a pretty interesting life. Heh.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Honestly, I never really did anything crazy in high school. I had some fun times but I was what you would call a good girl. However...I hung out with friends in a hot tub (weird because we wore clothes and no swim suits) and some crazy, amusing moments are getting kicked out of three different parks. :)

-Lauren
lauren51990 AT aol DOT com

jpetroroy said...

Oh, I wasn't wild and crazy at all. Perhaps skip last period a few days?

jpetroroy at gmail dot com

Lois D. Brown said...

Nuttiest thing? Wow, there were so many. The first one that comes to mind is that we were at a movie and one of my friends was on the rag. She leaked during the show and didn't realize what had happened until the end. She didn't want to walk out, so one of us went up to the front desk and got a bunch of brown paper sacks. We cut them to make a long strip of brown paper and all of us wrapped them around our waists (so it looked like a loin cloth). People were laughing at us so hard, that we wore them around the rest of the evening.

Kirsten Hubbard said...

these stories are fantastic! I want to retroactively hang out with each and every one of your teenage selves :)

thebloodfiend said...

The crazies thing I've ever done in high school? I never went to high school. I'm homeschooled. Still, I want to read this book. I've been dying to since I saw it on YA Highway.

emery said...

One Halloween in high school, my guy friends conspired to scare the living crap out of us. As retribution, we concocted a plan for their ringleader. My girl friends and I spent weeks collecting busted furniture using one girl's brother's truck for pick-up and another girl's family barn for storage. Late at night when the ringleader's parents were out of town, we unloaded it in his front yard. When he woke up, there was a perfectly-arranged living room in his front yard- sofa, loveseat, side table with doilies and a lamp, a rug and a TV- and he had no idea what to do with it before his parents got back. All in good fun :) Hehe

Lauren said...

My friends and I used to climb the school roof at night to eat snacks,drink and hang out. We'd find the most interesting things up there, like soccer balls and sweaters and books that people had just tossed up and forgot about.

Bee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bee said...

Gah, I *want* Like Mandarin SO much. The wait has literally been killing me.

Craziest thing I did in high school? My best friend and I had a massive crush on these cricket players and we tried hunting them down through the telephone directories. We ended up coming up with lots of namesakes. And we made international calls to every possible name we came across. Someone in Lahore pretty much thought we'd lost it, as did the phone booth operator.

We never found the real guys though. But the high school was all about the craziest, silly things :P

*Andye* said...

The first time my mom wrote me a note to get out of class, I re-wrote it so that they would have MY handwriting on file instead of hers. Then I wrote myself notes all the time, when I was late, or skipped school. I guess I did a lot of other crazy things, too.....but I wouldn't want to give anyone ideas....haha!!!

Lindsi said...

The funniest, nuttiest thing I did in high school was probably the most embarrassing. I was in the middle of a volleyball game and a ball rolled into the hallway. I ran to go get it, but smashed into a glass wall instead. I could hear the laughter in the gymnasium for days.

Kara Mustafa said...

The nuttiest thing I did: I dressed up as PeeWee Herman and did the tequila dance on the stage during a variety show :D

LeishaMaw said...

Great interview! The books sounds divine!

Nicole D'Alonzo said...

Love the "Little Miss Stoneybrook!" reference =) Excited to hear about Kristen's favorite writing snack foods and really enjoyed the interview! Thanks for sharing Debra!

Hope this finds you well,

Nicole D'Alonzo
Community Manager
@TheLaughingCow

LindsayWrites said...

thanks for this contest!! The craziest thing i've done was steal my teacher's copy of The Lord of thee Flies..ya. i know. i'm a REAL wild child.