Oct 15, 2012

Dear Teen Me - Review, Interview, & Giveaway

Dear Teen Me: Authors Write Letters to Their Teen Selves
October 30th, 2012 from Zest Books

I am so thrilled to talk about this book and encourage everyone to read/buy/scrapbook. I have been reading the Dear Teen Me blog for....a long time. When word came out that it was being made into a book I was thrilled for the editors and contributors! The day I got the book in the mail I read all the way through. I cried, literally laughed out loud, blushed, and said the word "awe" a lot. I read a few stories to my husband and kids and eventually my 14-year-old read the entire book. People we know and love writing to their teens selves - what is not to love? 

A few stand out letters were Jessica Lee Anderson's and Ilsa Bick's. Both were totally different stories, but I remember them in detail months after reading. Anderson talks about the pressure of achieving and getting into a good college - something millions of us can relate to. I related a lot to her story, even the epic trip to Mexico. Bick's was a completely different story and absolutely took my breath away. It is one of the longest letters and yet when it ended I wanted another page. I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but let's just say her letter talks about a 40+ year-old secret and hidden past. When I meet Bick face-to-face again, this story is something I will be asking her about.

There are also funny lighting round questions like 'What Was Your Most Embarrassing Moment?' and Who Was Your Celebrity Crush?" Some of those answers are hilarious! 

Add to Goodreads
Dear Teen Me on Facebook and Twitter
Find Anderson at her website
Find Kenneally at her website

I am equally thrilled to host E. Kristin Anderson, co-editor, on the blog today! 

We both live in THE best literary town. What does it mean for you as a writer to be living in Austin, Texas?
Gosh, it means so much! It means never being without someone who loves to read. Never being away from an artistic community. Always being able to get in touch with a friend who get the pressures of the industry -- be it a first draft foul-up or the woes of the agent hunt or first book jitters. It means that you can hug librarians and they won't think you're (terribly) creepy. It means booksellers who care about your book AND you. It's bloggers you can sit and have drinks and dinner with and shoot the shit (whether it's YA book trivia or you'll never guess what my kid/cat/dog dit). It's not just a network, it's a giant family. I'm grateful for it every day!!!
Me with hubbie, Stephanie Pellegrin (contributor) with hubbie, 
and Emily with boyfriend, summer 2012

How did you and co-editor Miranda Kenneally meet?
We met on Twitter. We both liked to watch Survivor and during the Heroes vs. Villains season loved talking about Coach Wade and his martial arts routine. We started our own #DragonSlayerChi hashtag. I think at some point we also exchanged some critique -- I'm pretty sure Miranda looked at my first synopsis. And when I asked her to join Dear Teen Me as a contributor, she asked me if I could use some help...and good grief what a help she's been!! She's irreplaceable, for realz. On Twitter, though -- that's where our friendship really blossomed. Survivor, Hanson, geeky TV and movies, YA books...we had a lot in common. Still do. I can't wait to meet her IRL one of these days!

I won’t ask what your favorite stories are, but which entries surprised you the most in some way?
I will say that PJ Hoover's surprised me, because I know her so well and the story she tells is something she's never talked about before. It was so so so brave of her to share this story. (I don't want want to spoil it too much, so you'll have to read to find out!) I was also not so much surprised but enthralled by Nancy Holder's letter about the choices she made as a young dancer, choreographing a piece to her favorite Rolling Stones song, and having to face an uncertain future after a family tragedy. And then of course there's Dave Roman's graphic piece about a (in hindsight) humorously toxic relationship. Didn't expect this from Dave! Especially because anyone who knows anything about Dave Roman knows that he and his wife, Raina Telgemeier, also a graphic novelist, are super tight. It's hard to imagine them NOT together. (Now I sound creepy. Sorry Raina & Dave! Don't run away from me at ComiCon!)

What do you hope young readers gain from reading Dear Teen Me?
I think every reader will gain something different. I think that there's a story in here that every teen will find resonates with him or her. But there are also stories that teens might not see themselves in...but they might find familiar from dealing with a friend or family member. Or maybe they've never even seen that sort of thing. But reading about it makes the reader a bigger, more whole, more knowledgeable human. I know that's how I felt after reading books like CRANK and SPEAK -- even though I'm fortunate enough to not have suffered sexual assault or drug addiction, knowing these stories makes me a better, more compassionate person. So, short version: solace, compassion.

Dear Teen Me continues on with new entries on the website. What are the plans for the site and any eyes on another DTM book?
Well, first of all, we just had the sight redesigned by one of my writing partners Priya Chand, and it's so sexy! And, OMG, I love some of the entries we have up now and there are so many you should keep your eyes for at DearTeenMe.com. We've also got some contest winners from TeenQuake in San Francisco -- we'll be posting these in December. FAB fab writers, these teens! We're also hoping to keep a general schedule of 3 posts a week as long as we can, so, authors and publicists, send us an email if you want in. As far as the book goes, right now, there isn't talk of DTM 2. But feel free to write my publisher with your demands. (Just kidding. Or am I? Ha.) I would love love love to work on another DEAR TEEN ME anthology, or any other anthology...or, who am I kidding, any other project with Zest. I love the team at Zest Books. They make BEAUTIFUL books, for real. I hope you'll check out some others when you go pick up your copy of DTM. My current faves are THE LOOK BOOK by Erika Stalder and DEAD STRANGE by Matt Lamy. But Back to DTM 2 -- if the world wants it, I'm here ready to make it happen. It would be a privilege.

Who would you have loved to be in DTM, living or dead?
Libba Bray would have been fab. She was on deadline, so couldn't participate, but she has some seriously amazing stories from her teens that I've heard her discuss in lectures. I'd also love to have John Green. And I'd love to hear what Stephenie Meyer has to say to her teen self! And, um, DUH, Judy Blume. You know, THE JUDY? Hello! There's also one of my favorite adult authors, Douglas Coupland, who would be worth killing for to get him in the anthol. From the other side, it would be so cool to have Emily Dickinson, because she's such an inspiration to me. Louisa May Alcott for sure. And Dr. Seuss!

Be honest, how long did it take you to pick out your DTM photo?
Dude. Dude. I had my dad send me an entire folder of proofs from my senior photo shoot as well as a few pics from various proms. There is some seriously epic stuff here. I'm going to give you an EXCLUSIVE and include a shot here that I think you'll love. This is the dress I was wearing -- hand made by a friend that I later discovered might not have been such a good friend, though the jury's still out on this particular accident -- for my junior prom. I sat down at the restaurant (Macaroni Grill in South Portland, Maine. Classy, y'all) and heard this giant RIP. The bodice had come undone from the skirt of the dress. Holy crap. I had to go home and change into an old homecoming dress and show up at the dance alone...only to have everyone ask me "Where's the dress [CENSORED] made you?" Oh, high school! At least I had a tiara.
Thank you, Emily!
Thanks so much for hosting me on the blog tour, Jen! I LOVE banned books, and I totally love "I Read Banned Books." Keep the naughty books coming, girl!

Save the Date: #DearTeenMe Twitter Chat 
October 30th! 

Zest books has been gratious to offer a giveaway for one lucky US reader! Enter to win a SIGNED copy of DTM by 4-5 authors, postcards, and bookmarks. Fill out the fancy doo-hickey to be officially entered! 

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