The Bookcase was thrilled to host three awesome young adult authors as well as one of our very own Minnesotan authors Dawn Klehr. They have each written a wide array of books ranging from thriller to contemporary and they are each as funny and kind as they are on Twitter! It was a blast!
Hey, I'm Paula. I write stories about flawed characters with good hearts who sometimes make bad decisions. I believe in second chances and happy endings, both in life and in books. I got my start writing historical novels for a book development company. Then I wrote a fluffy YA romantic comedy called THE ART OF LAINEY. After that, I wrote a dark and twisty mystery called LIARS, INC. Those two books sold to the good people at HarperTeen, and since then I've finished another totally different story called VICARIOUS, which sold as a duology to Tor Teen. Mixing it up keeps things interesting for me. I've got four books out and another six on the way. My writing has been translated into nine different languages, which is just about the coolest thing ever.
Philip Siegel grew up in New Jersey, which he insists is much nicer than certain TV shows would have you believe. He graduated from Northwestern University and promptly moved out to Los Angeles, where he became an NBC Page (proof below). He likes to think that the character of Kenneth on 30 Rock is loosely based on his life rights. Currently, he lives in Chicago and does his best writing sandwiched in between colorful characters on the El.
Lindsay Cummings is a 22 year old author of YA and MG books at HarperCollins. She lives in Dallas, TX with her husband Josh, her hedgehog named Hedwig, her two German Shepherds Hurley and Kai, her wolf cub Kimber, and a draft horse named Dan the Man. Lindsay deals with Chronic Fatigue issues, believes Jesus is the reason for all of her success, and swears that book hoarding is not a problem at all. She’s still waiting on her letter from Hogwarts–it was probably just lost in the mail.
Dawn Klehr began her career in TV and loves to get lost in stories –in film, the theater, or on the page – and is a sucker for both the sinister and the sappy. She’s currently channeling her dark side as she works on her next book. Dawn lives in the Twin Cities with her funny husband, adorable son, and naughty dog. The Cutting Room Floor is her debut YA novel.
Talk about the inspiration behind your books.
LINDSAY: I read this news article about this town that was being plagued by all these murders this one summer and I thought it'd be super cool, you know, if I could do that in the future and make characters that weren't afraid to fight back. And that became The Murder Complex.
PAULA: So mine's super humiliating...I got the idea from one of my own break ups....I was questioning myself and one of the ways I got over it was I started writing about it and instead of being sad it started getting really funny...A lot of times people ask why Lainey starts out a little bit shallow and a little bit superficial but I wanted to look, instead of at the quiet, awkward bookish girl to turn and look at the so-called perfect, popular girl and kind of show that she's really not that different from everyone else.
PHILIP: I tried talking to some of my friends that were in relationships that weren't that great and it was very hard to get through to them and I was like, God, I wish I could just hire someone to break these people up...That's kind of where the inspiration came from and then at the same time I kind of thought this book was also like Mean Girls meets My Bestfriend's Wedding.
DAWN: Riley, one of the main characters, was a friend in another book I'd written..and I loved that secondary character and I wanted to create a love story for her--but the way my mind works it turned into a murder mystery thriller.
What is the most important part of your novel to get right before you send it off to your agent or editor?
DAWN: The voice...It's the tone, it's the feeling, it's the personality, it's the language used and I think once you nail the voice that's when everything else works itself out for me.
PHILIP: I am anal about plot. I like to make sure the plot makes sense and everything works itself out--I'm a big outliner.
PAULA: God I'm super compulsive...My stories go through at least five revisions.
LINDSAY: I will edit the whole book three or four times before I send it to my agent. She's South African and she has a foul mouth and a really strong accent and so when curse words and accents combine it's terrifying...For me, I have to feel 100% confident in what I'm sending to her because if I don't feel confident then I know she's going to come back and scare me. I love her though.
As you're creating awful thoughts and deeds of evil do you ever feel bad for enjoying it?
LINDSAY: No, I'm from Texas. We all carry guns and knives. For me, I'm like, YES, I get so into it. I can't watch horror stuff but I like to write it because I like to give the reader those kinds of emotions. I want them to get those crazy emotions. I enjoy it.
DAWN: I'm totally opposite. I don't know if it's because I'm a mom and I'm supposed to be a certain way...These kids are so messed up and it's really disturbing and they're doing bad things but what's cool about it, what I like about it, is I like seeing how the minds of really evil people work...For some readers, it helps them make sense of the world, and it does for me too...Most villains aren't born villains, something usually happens to them that makes them a villain.
Do you ever write a scene that's so out of character that in the back of your mind your character's telling you I wouldn't do that?
LINDSAY: I wrote this scene where Meadow told a boy that she loved them and then I was like, ew, no. You wouldn't do that. You'd kill him.
PAULA: I have a book coming out called VICARIOUS...and she has PTSD and she's really emotionally volatile and so even though knives and guns are fun to give to your character...it occurred to me that it's probably not the smartest thing to give to a girl who has PTSD.
PHILIP: For me the biggest challenge, it's about getting the dialogue write. You have to calibrate it just right or else it'll sound off...you want it to be snappy and funny...but sometimes when it's too on the nose...I have to go back and make sure what Becca, Val and the characters said was something they'd genuinely say and that it's not my voice making them say it.
DAWN: I did have a scene when my editor got to the end of my almost final draft of the Cutting Room Floor...and said everything was too wrapped up. He didn't think it was believable, and looking back, he was totally right...I put the ending that, I think, I wanted and not the ending that the characters wanted.
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|SIGNED Hardcover The Break Up Artist, SIGNED paperback of Cutting Room Floor and SIGNED ARCs of The Murder Complex and Art of Lainey plus matching swag for each!|
Rachel and The (YA) Bookcase Team