Love is Contagious (More From Mitali)

Last Saturday I posted the first half of an interview with Mitali Perkins. Mitali has written several books for children and teens, two of which I’ve read –Bamboo People and First Daughter – and several more are on my to-read list. Her writing spans many cultures. Not surprising, since Mitali has lived in several countries.

 

As a person who was born in an Asian country yet America is her home, have you experienced the prejudice that Sparrow experienced in First Daughter?

 

Mitali PerkinsMitali: To some extent, yes, especially when we first arrived and I was the foreigner/new kid in school. But everything gets intensified in the celebrity limelight, so Sparrow’s situation was unique.

I had introduced myself to you by sharing that I had also moved more than a dozen times while growing up with an Air Force dad, so I knew what it was like to always be the new kid. If it’s not too intrusive, may I ask what position(s) your parents held that caused you to move all over the world?

Mitali: My father is a civil engineer so he worked to help build ports and harbors.

 

 

Many readers of Scriblerians are also writers. They’re interested in some of the minutiae of publishing. For instance, book covers. I’ve displayed several of your covers here. I think the art on both Bamboo People and First Daughter is excellent. It gives a sense of the flavor of each story. Bamboo People is full of shadows, and First Daughter shows a hip, South Asian teenager sporting a sweet and cheerful smile. Do you design the covers yourself, or do you get to approve what other artists create?

First_Daughter_Extreme_Makeover

Bamboo People

 

Mitali: I have little say in the covers. In the beginning of my career, I had none. Now I get some input. But I am in awe of artists since I neither paint nor draw so it is monsoon summer 2hard for me to be critical. I do scrutinize them for cultural accuracy, though.

Secret Keeper

Do you consider yourself a plotter or a pantser? I would guess that Bamboo People needed a detailed outline, but perhaps First Daughter skipped through some unplanned adventures.

Mitali: People come first in my stories, with place a close second, and then I wrestle with plot. A growing edge for me is increasing tension in my stories. I want the reader to keep turning pages. Pacing is also a challenge. The passage of time is tough – “days passed,” “three hours later,” etc. seem stiff and heavy-handed so how do you move your characters through time naturally and easily?

What do you hope readers will take away from your books?

Mitali: Unforgettable characters, I hope. Mirrors to see themselves reflected and windows thrown open into lives that are different than theirs.

You have certainly accomplished those goals! I was amazed that I could sympathize with both sides of the conflict in Burma. Kind, decent characters could be found in the city, in the jungle, in the military. And in Sparrow’s world, even the most obnoxious people possessed something golden within them.

A just-for-fun question: if you could meet one of your characters in real life, which one would it be, and what would you do together?

Mitali: I would like to have coffee with Sparrow and take Chiko to see a good doctor here in the States. But all of them are dear to me.

Maybe that’s the key as to why I enjoy Mitali’s stories so much. She loves her characters. And I end up loving them, too. Because love is contagious.

Two questions for our followers and any readers exploring Scriblerians: What characters have you fallen in love with? Why do you think you were so passionate about them?”

 

 

 

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Interview with Angie Brashear

Angie Brashear - Headshot (2)

author ANGIE BRASHEAR

photo (1)Nickname: My real name is actually Angela, so Angie is my nickname. Back home, my friends also call me Ang.
Genre: Fantasy Romance for Young Adults
Personal Philosophy: Can’t was defeated in the battle of try.
Fave Scripture: Phil. 4:13 Because in Him, I truly can.
Fave Quote: “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” C.S. Lewis
In high school I was a… scholar, athlete, genuine nice girl, and friend to many. (According to my high school friends whom I polled.) [big smile]
Angie in high school

Angie in high school

Thanks for signing into our Slam Book, Angie! And thanks for coming on our blog today to talk about your new Christian fantasy, Of The Persecuted. We’d like to learn more about you and your book. Ready for the first question? 

Whom did you have in mind when you wrote Of the Persecuted?

AB: Young adult females, particularly those who battle insecurity in even the smallest tasks.

I think all of us battle insecurity at one time or another. I know I do. What do you hope readers will take away from your book?

AB: I hope my readers will see the One True God’s truth. And that He is the answer. To insecurity. To loneliness. To any form in which the enemy challenges each of us.

He is the answer, for sure. Which character is most like you and why?

AB: Can I pick three? [smile]

Laila Pennedy’s insecurity reflects every bit of my self-doubt as a teenager. No matter how obvious the truth was—whether getting good grades, winning races, or…really, any high school achievement—I didn’t believe I was good enough. And I believed I was a burden to the family and friends who supported me. Though my insecurities stemmed from different sources, abuse rather than the loss of those closest to me, I struggled with such emotions throughout my teenage years, and even into adulthood until I came to know Christ. 

Lars Landre’s reluctance to lead parallels my experiences. As a cross country runner, as a coach, and as an educator, I’ve often tried to avoid leadership roles, for I prefer to work behind the scenes because I do not like to be the center of attention. But I always end up leading, and I ultimately learned that good leaders aren’t the center of attention. 

Zander Costigan’s journey with the Maker mirrors my journey with God. Not the murderous allegiance to the Clan, but his moment of salvation and his subsequent reluctance to forgive himself of his mistakes. He’s actually my favorite character. Most of my readers have mixed emotions about him, and they’re supposed to, but I love him most.

I liked Zander and hope we get to see him more in your next novel. If you could meet one of your characters in real life, which one would it be and what would you do together?

AB: Lars, so he could teach me to shoot and fight. How fun would it be to assume the role of a female Robin Hood type?!?

That would be cool. I’ve always wished I knew how to shoot a bow and arrow or fence, but they’re not very practical today. 

Of the Persecuted (ebook cover)

 

You can connect with Angie at her website, on Facebook, or Twitter.

For a longer interview with Angie and to read an excerpt from Of The Persecuted, head on over to my blog.

AND NOW, THINK BACK TO THE LAST BOOK YOU READ. WHAT WAS IT AND WHICH CHARACTER WAS MOST LIKE YOU?

IF YOU WANT TO WIN AN E-COPY OF ANGIE’S BOOK, SAY SO IN THE COMMENTS. Winner announced September 4th. Must be 18 to enter. No purchase necessary.

My favorite YA books of 2013

Are you tired of 2013 best-of lists yet? When it comes to books, I’m always happy to see what someone’s favorite books of the year were. There’s nothing like reading something that someone else has enjoyed. Especially if you know them and trust their opinion.

In no particular order, here are books to add to your TBR (to-be-read) pile from my list of favorites for 2013.

Starting with books by my favorite authors:

Who doesn’t love a fairy tale re-telling? I love all of Melanie’s books. They are a rich mixture of romance and historical fiction based on our favorite fairy tales. This one, on Cinderella.

A new favorite author for the year, Jill Williamson. I haven’t read all her books yet, but I do have them all on my kindle. I love this series. I read the first one in 2013.

 

And now for new authors I’d never read before 2013.

This is for romance/fantasy folks. It’s the story you’ve always wished you could live.

 

Anyone will love this fresh take on Authurian legend, told from a teenage Merlin’s point of view. Clever and well-crafted:

If you haven’t read Ender’s Game, a book many claim is the best Sci-Fi book ever, what are you waiting for? I finally read it and it exceeded my expectations.

 

Looking for a fun read that’s entertaining with great characters and plot? I love this series by RL Copple. I read #2 and #3 this year:

 

This is a book that made me see prophets in a whole new way. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series!

 

And this last book isn’t YA fiction, but I think anyone who enjoys YA would love this book as well. If I could buy it and give it to everyone to read, I would. The title and cover may put off some, but this wonderfully clever and well-written book shouldn’t be overlooked:

 

Now, dear readers, tell me: how many of these have you read? And what was your favorite read of 2013?