Interview: Madeleine Kuderick, YA Author & Poet

mkuderickheadshotMadeleine Kuderick writes contemporary YA fiction and poetry and her debut novel KISS OF BROKEN GLASS is coming Fall 2014 from HarperCollins. She is published in anthologies and magazines and has spoken at conferences like the International Reading Association where she’s an advocate for reluctant readers and the teachers who touch their lives.

KissofBrokenGlass HCMadeleine grew up in Oak Park, Illinois, a community with a rich literary tradition, where she was editor-in-chief of the same high school newspaper that Ernest Hemingway wrote for as a teen. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida and an MBA from Saint Leo University. She lives on Florida’s Gulf.

She is currently preparing to talk about KISS OF BROKEN GLASS. Her first speaking engagement will be at the Secondary Reading Council Conference, Sheraton Sand Key, in Clearwater, Florida, this coming January. She’ll be presenting “Warning! This Workshop Bleeds.”

Let’s see how Madeleine answers the Proust Questionnaire!

What is your idea of happiness?
Chillin’ on Anna Maria Island. No watch. No cell phone. No internet.

Nothing but the waves and the warmth and the music.

What is your favorite song? When do you first remember hearing it?

I’m a huge Michael Franti fan and so much of his music is inspiring it’s hard to pick a single song. But I guess I’ll say my favorite is The Sound of Sunshine because that’s what he played at the St. Pete Forum in 2010 when I first heard him and so that song basically introduced me to his music. I just saw him again this month on Rombello, a 4-day music fest at sea. It was amazing!

Which talent would you most like to have?
I wish I could sing – I mean really belt it out, in tune and everything.

On what occasion do you lie?
Never. (Except when answering survey questions that ask “on what occassion do you lie”).

What is your present state of mind?
Optimistic.

What is your motto?
“It’s never too late to be who you might’ve been.”

I can’t take credit for that quote though. It’s George Eliot.

What character trait do you most value in your friends?
I value friends who are honest and who are genuinely good listeners. Very few people truly listen. I’m lucky to have some wonderful friends who do.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
And. But. The. Just. Little.

Your favorite painting?
There is some really incredible street art out there, but I’d have to say my favorite street artist is Banksy and his piece Stained Glass is especially powerful.

What is your favorite journey?
The one I’m on right now.

Not only because this is a dream I’ve had since childhood, but also because this journey has exceeded my expectations on so many levels. I never imagined I’d be working with industry legends like my agent George Nicholson, who founded Delacorte Press and Yearling Books, or my brilliant editor Antonia Markiet who just celebrated her 40th anniversary with HarperCollins and has worked with a staggering list of amazing talent including Maurice Sendak, Shel Silverstein, Kurt Vonnegut, Isaac Asimov, and so many more. I am over the moon about having this opportunity.

What is your favorite time of day?
11:59 and 59 seconds. What can I say? I’m a night owl.

With which literary hero or heroine would you most like to share a coffee?
John Green. Can you arrange that?

What do you need to achieve before you can die happy?
I’d like to see my children discovering what brings them joy in life and finding success however they might define that.

And I’d like to know that my writing touched people in a positive way.

Even just one person would be enough.

Who or what is your first love?
This is such an intimate question, because your first love is so powerful you carry a little piece of it in your heart for the rest of your life. That doesn’t mean you can’t be super passionate about the loves that follow. Your husband. Your children. Your writing. But that first love is so indelible, you’ll remember every detail — the mustang he drove, the smell of his Polo cologne, the REO songs playing in the background, the softness of his kiss. But, if you’re asking me for his name, I don’t kiss and tell. My first love knows who he is. That’s enough.

What’s the last dream you remember?
I rarely remember my dreams. Sadly.

What’s your madeleine?
The red and gold of falling leaves. 

Growing up near Chicago, the fall was always my favorite season and because it was the start of the school year, it always felt like a time of promise and new beginnings. 

But then I find myself travelling, like when I went to the Highlights Founders Workshop in the Poconos and these golden leaves began raining down on me and just like that, I was sixteen again. Full of possibility.

Without thinking, in one word: what is life?
A chance.

Interview: Stacey Lee, YA Author

staceyleeStacey Lee is a fourth generation Chinese-American whose people came to California during the heydays of the cowboys. She believes she still has a bit of cowboy dust in her soul. A native of southern California, she graduated from UCLA then got her law degree at UC Davis King Hall. After practicing law in the Silicon Valley for several years, she finally took up the pen because she wanted the perks of being able to nap during the day, and it was easier than moving to Spain. She plays classical piano, raises children, and writes YA fiction.

UNDER A PAINTED SKY coming from G.P. Putnam’s Sons Winter 2015, a young adult Western Thelma and Louise, in which a Chinese girl and a house slave disguise themselves as cowboys to run from the law, seek revenge for a murder, and find freedom in the California Gold Rush frontier.

Keep up with Stacey on her website!

Let’s see how Stacey answers the Proust Questionnaire!

What is your idea of happiness?
You ask some tough questions.  Happiness is having the peace of mind that my family is safe and healthy, and good friendships.

What is your favorite song? When do you first remember hearing it?
“You’ll Never Get Away From Me” from the musical Gypsy by Stephen Sondheim. I’m a big Broadway fan. The title sounds stalkerish, but the song is about a woman telling her guy their love is inevitable.  Okay, it still sounds stalkerish, but it’s not. Really.

Which talent would you most like to have?
Singing.

On what occasion do you lie?
At night, on my bed.

What is your present state of mind?
Happy b/c I just spent two hours chatting with @babelbabble.

What is your motto?
Be kind. Or did Google take that one?

What character trait do you most value in your friends?
Loyalty.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“Like.”  You can take the girl out of Southern California . . .

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer (1665)

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer (1665)

Your favorite painting?
Girl with a Pearl Earring.

What is your favorite journey?
The one towards peace and tranquility.  Usually in a spa-like setting with lavender oil.

What is your favorite time of day?
Twilight because it’s when the world changes color and magic things emerge.

With which literary hero or heroine would you most like to share a coffee?
Snape. I was inspired by Melissa Grey’s interview.  I love that he’s so angsty, greasy, and totally bad, but has a heart of gold.

What do you need to achieve before you can die happy?
I just want to be able to moonwalk, really.

Who or what is your first love?
Writing!  Is that not original?  I penned my first poem at 8 about Santa Claus. I fell madly and deeply in love with words.

What’s the last dream you remember?
I dreamed I was on the lam, and I was holding my MS under my arm. Can you tell I’ve been staying up too late, revising? 

What’s your madeleine?
Cowboy music, which is probably why I wrote GOLDEN BOYS. My father fancied himself a bit of a cowboy. As kids, my sisters and I loved dancing the hoe-down to songs like “Ghost Riders in the Sky” and “Red River Valley.” It makes me nostalgic for home and childhood, when everything was possible.

Without thinking, in one word: what is life?
Butter.

Interview: Victoria Marini, Agent

Tor_MostRecentVictoria Marini is a literary agent who represents adult fiction, narrative non-fiction and young adult fiction of all sub-genres. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and cats.

Check out what Victoria’s looking for on her website.

Let’s see how Victoria answers the Proust Questionnaire!

LifeByCommittee-1What is your idea of happiness?
A state free of worry.

Which talent would you most like to have?
I’d love to have perfect pitch.

On what occasion do you lie?
When the truth would needlessly hurt. When I absolutely must.

What is your present state of mind?
Cozy and comfortable and calm. It’s quite nice.

What is your motto?
I don’t suppose I have one of my own. I borrow them from songs and books and Disney movies. I quite love “just keep swimming!”

What is your favorite song? When do you first remember hearing it?
It’s not possible to pick a favorite song. Currently, I’m thinking about Johnny Cash’s cover of Personal Jesus, which I heard for the first time in a car.

What character trait do you most value in your friends?
Just one?!?! I really value a sense of understanding, someone who is generous with their spirit.

GoWithMeWhich words or phrases do you most overuse?
I say “Dope”, “Awesome,” and “f**k off” too much.

I also proclaim that “I’m dying” every time I feel even a little unwell. It’s a mix of hyperbolics and genuine fear.

What is your favorite journey?
A road trip with a good playlist and good company. A solitary walk by water.   Oh,oh! The steps to my favorite chair.

What is your favorite time of day?
The minutes between when I wake up and get up.

With which literary hero or heroine would you most like to share a coffee?
Atticus Finch.

Pablo Picasso, The Dreamer (1932)

Pablo Picasso, The Dreamer (1932)

Your favorite painting?
This is like choosing a favorite song. I can’t. I love Andrew Wyeth’s Pennsylvania Landscape, A Public Sale and the Helga Pictures. I love Picasso’s The Dreamer. I own a lot of paintings from street fairs and flea markets that I love. One is called “Ice Capades.” It’s a watercolor of a dancing figure skater skater surrounded by penguins drawn in ink. The artist’s name escapes me at the moment! I love that one.

What do you need to achieve before you can die happy?
I think I’d die happy now, but I’d love to see a midnight sun before I go.

Who or what is your first love?
Plays. Reading them, Performing them, seeing them peformed. I still love it.

What’s the last dream you remember?
I dreamt Jessica Lange was driving me to the airport, but I’d forgotten my passport and was going to miss my flight.

What’s your madeleine?
Flowering Magnolia trees.

Without thinking, in one word: what is life?
Wild.