Wednesday, September 30, 2009
And here's the roundup of Hot Topics, all things Kristin!
postergirlz' recommended reads
Breaking the rules
Things you can't control
Which character would you be?
Have you weighed in? We'd love to hear your thoughts. Thank you, Kristin!
THE MIND OF A GIRL
Guest blog by Thomas Randall, author of The Waking: Dreams of the Dead
I don't presume to know the mind of a girl. That's the key, I think, to being a man and writing from a female perspective. There is no formula I apply to figuring out what to write, what her thoughts are, what she might say or do in a given situation. Any guy who writes about female characters really has only one chance at doing it right, only one trick in the bag: osmosis. I've been told I write girls well. I have no idea whether or not this is true, as I am not a girl. I wouldn't presume (there's that word again) to make any such claims. But if it's true--if the women and girls who've told me that aren't just being nice in the way that the friends and families of so many doomed, deluded, and eventually humiliated American Idol contestants tell them they can sing--then osmosis is the only explanation I can come up with.
I suppose I've absorbed a certain amount of awareness of "girl-think" over the years, but it doesn't feel like anything I actually KNOW. It feels like instinct, to me. If that's true, there are a lot of women I should thank for that.
My parents were divorced when I was young, but even before that, my father wasn't around very much. My brother and I were raised by our mother and frequently left in the care of our sister, which meant we were surrounded by her many girlfriends almost constantly. Two of her best friends were straight. I've joked many times over the years that I was raised by a passel of lesbians. While it isn't true that they raised me, my sister and all of her friends--straight and gay--and my mother, of course, had a huge influence on me. From a very young age, being so constantly surrounded by girls made me far more comfortable with them than I was with guys. As I passed through middle and high school, I always had a girlfriend, but I was also THAT GUY, the one in all of the 80s movies, who the girls would tell their problems and ask for advice about other guys. It didn't seem odd to me at the time that I had such close relationships with girls, but looking back on it in later years, I realize some of my male friends probably thought I was some alien creature.
Even now, I am always more at ease communicating with women than with men. There's so much swagger when you get a bunch of guys in a room, so much bluster, and I have no patience for that. There's a wisdom that comes with maturity, and it seems to me that girls acquire that a lot faster than boys. Some men never find it.
So, does all of that mean I know how to write from a female perspective? Nahhh.
The truth is, I don't ever--ever--think about it. I don't hesitate or worry that I've somehow entered alien territory just because I've got to put thoughts in the head or words in the mouth of a female character. If my female characters are strong, intelligent, gutsy girls, I think that's more a testament to the girls and women I've known in my life than it is to my skill as a writer. If my female characters--like Kara Harper in THE WAKING: DREAMS OF THE DEAD--are smarter and wiser than the boys, tough and capable and full of love all at the same time, there are a lot of women I should thank for that, including my wife and my sister and my mother, and so many friends from my youth and from adulthood, doctors and lawyers and teachers, writers and artists and moms.
I lied to you before, just a little. It's true that I don't think about writing from a female perspective as a challenge...but I do think of it as a responsibility. There are enough girls in fiction who set a poor example. If there are guys reading my books, I want to make sure that they see girls the way *I* see them. And for the female readers...well, I'd love them to see themselves through my eyes as well, so they'll never underestimate how amazing they can be.
I don't presume to know the mind of a girl. But I don't mind giving them a peek inside mine.
To learn more about The Waking series and the just-released first book, Dreams of the Dead, visit ThomasRandall.net and follow the blog tour:
Monday, September 28th: An interview with Little Willow at Bildungsroman
Tuesday, September 29th: Author Q&A with Courtney Summers
Wednesday, September 30th: Guest blog about writing from the female POV right here at readergirlz
Thursday, October 1st: A guest blog about researching Japanese culture at lectitans
Friday, October 2nd: Q&A at Sarah's Random Musings
Friday, October 2nd: An interview at Steph Su Reads
Monday, October 5th: A guest blog about writing mysteries at Books By Their Cover
Tuesday, October 6th: Q&A with Kim Baccellia
Tuesday, October 6th: An interview with BookChic
Wednesday, October 7th: An interview at Presenting Lenore
Thursday, October 8th: Special post for Michelle at GalleySmith
Friday, October 9th: Last stop with Kelsey at Just Blinded Book Reviews
1. She did a LOT of martial arts research to write the fighting sequences in her books, and it shows (they're great!!).
2. Of her characters, Kristin relates most to Bitterblue, a real girl. Well, a Princess too. :)
3. She's touring soon! Find the info here.
We had so much fun this month! And we cannot wait for FIRE and the upcoming BITTERBLUE!
Thank you, Kristin!!!
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
So, who are the team players? Here's a list of our current 25 contributors. (For a description of roles click here.)
rgz co-founders and YA authors:
Lorie Ann Grover: program manager
Dia Calhoun: program facilitator
Justina Chen: program consultant
divas and YA authors:
Holly Cupala: visual design, secretary
Melissa Walker: blogger
Little Willow: leader and webdiva
rgz PR specialist: Sara Easterly
rgz media specialist: Martha Brockenbrough, treasurer
rgz SCOUT: Mitali Perkins
rgz Seattle HOST: Liz Gallagher
rgz Street Team:
Miss Erin: leader
Thanks to each one who volunteers her time to help operate our award winning community. Together we'll continue to read, reflect, and reach out for you!
Leave your comments and tell us what you are reading. What do you find is a must read this season?
I'll hotlink this entry in the top left panel so we can continue to access it and add to it.
Here are my latest thanks to Goodreads:
How about you?
An impressive crop of kidlit bloggers has come together to make this event happen, including many of the terrific folks we met at last year's kidlit blogger conference (click here for info on this year's conference, November in D.C.) as well as friend, librarian, and rgz postergirl Jackie Parker of Interactive Reader in charge of the YA Fiction category!
Nominations for this year's Cybil awards are open October 1 - 15. Check out the Cybils site for full info on categories, judges, and the 2008 winners. Then on Thursday, go nominate your favorite kidlit books of 2009!
Monday, September 28, 2009
Last month's winning entries have been published on Beth's blog, so go read the lovely words of Jennifer Petro-Roy, Erin McIntosh and Lauren Miller!
Here is the second of Beth’s monthly entries about writing:
"For the second readergirlz contest, I've chosen a topic close to my heart—choreography—and called it The Story Song. Please find the details below:
"I read books to meet new characters, to go new places, and to find out what happens. I also read to learn how the author has chosen to choreograph the narrative. Is it a straight-forward telling, or a book that turns round on itself? Does the story speed up and slow down, are there embedded refrains, which themes recur, which details, and why? Watch this video (below), then share with me one of your own poems or short (up to ten lines) pieces of writing. Tell me, with your submission, just how you thought about the piece as lyric. What, in other words, was your choreographic strategy?
"Send your entry to me at kephartblogATcomcastDOTnet by October 25, 2009. The author of the winning paragraph will receive a signed copy of House of Dance, a novel about a young girl who, in taking care of her dying grandfather and learning about the life he once lived, decides to offer him one final gift. The winning work will also be posted on my blog."
Good luck, readergirlz!
Janet has been hard at work on several new fantasy novels since her time at readergirlz - STEALING DEATH was on the premier launch list of new-to-the-States publisher, Egmont USA. Congratulations, Janet!
See you Wednesday for the chat, September 30th at 6pm Pacific/9pm Eastern!
Planning your own book group/get-together for Graceling? Here are some party ideas from author Kristin Cashore.
Invite: Design something that incorporate swords, daggers, and two-colored eyes.
Food: Hm. Go out and catch your own mountain lion? No? How about homemade bread, cheese, and fresh fruit.
Movies: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Buffy the Vampire Slayer (okay, I'm cheating, that’s a TV show, not a movie - but it is disturbingly hard to find movie girls who are both kick-ass and self-reliant!); Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (an anime movie by Hayao Miyazaki)
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 2009
In Their Shoes: Extraordinary Women Describe Their Amazing Careers by Deborah Reber, this month's non-fiction recommended read (For the full list, check out this month's issue and read the post about this month's recommendations!)
For Your Younger Siblings
Pip, the Story of Olive by Kim Kane
This Month's Spotlighted Title
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Friday, September 25, 2009
This is a question often asked of the divas. How are books chosen to be featured? Let me give you a run down.
Here are our lines of input:
* Everyone on the rgz team is busy reading year round.
* In December, our postergirlz individually submit their top ten reads of the year to the divas.
* Throughout the months, the postergirlz also alert us the minute they finish a most amazing book.
* Mitali Perkins, our rgz SCOUT, watches the reviews of the most current titles, and she has those works sent to the divas a.s.a.p.
* The rgz Street Team posts their reviews.
* The rgz SALON contributes from their reads.
* The divas watch the blog comments to see what our rgz are talking about and recommending themselves.
Considering all the above, the divas select books that reflect strong female protagonists. We make every effort to represent a broad perspective:
* multicultural titles,
* various socioeconomic circumstances,
* the overlooked, quiet literary works,
* and the commercial successes that everyone is excited about.
We then reach out to see if an author's schedule can accommodate the rgz monthly commitment.
Once the features are booked, the postergirlz are alerted, and collectively they work to suggest the most excellent companion reads to equally accompany the feature. They always include a nonfiction title, as well, in their monthly recommended reads.
That's pretty much the process. A beautiful synergy to bring you the very best in young adult literature!
Just so you know, here's our official readergirlz manifesta: what we stand for, what we believe, what we promise YOU:
* readergirlz is about having serious fun while talking about books with the author and your friends!
* readergirlz is about getting the inside scoop about why the novel was written, the tears and joys and real-world angst that the author has lived and layered into her story.
* readergirlz is about reading great books to get to know yourself, your friends, and yes, even your mother, better.
* readergirlz is about celebrating strong girls in books who've got the guts to dream.
* readergirlz is about reaching out to others based on what you've read.
* And most of all, readergirlz is about inspiring girls to make history of their own!
Ha! I thought to start a series of posts of quotes that jump out at me as I'm reading. Maybe the other divas will play, too!
Right now, I'm zooming through A Sweet Far Thing for the second time to prepare for October, and here's what hit my heart:
"Absence is a curious thing. When friends are absent they seem to loom ever larger, till the lack of them is all one can feel. Now that Ann has left, the room is too big. Try as I might, I cannot fill the space that remains."
I missing my daughter at college!