Spent the day revisiting the transcript of my interview with one of my new favorite writers, Victor LaValle, on his new book The Changeling, a finalist for a PEN America award! This will be Book Club Advisor’s first interview to be featured on literary journal’s blog, one of my favorite literary journals…stay tuned for more details soon!
Today I had the wonderful pleasure of having lunch with the fabulous A. M. Rose to celebrate the birthday of her new novel. Her debut young adult novel is now officially published and on sale! As a friend and colleague I’ve loved seeing her journey from dedicated writer to published author. We celebrated with lunch and cupcakes today and talked a bit about her novel, her process, music, and other writerly miscellany.
Drea feels like she is always making the wrong moves. With a dad who adores her and a mom she can’t please, she is always doing the dance of trying to fit in with the people she loves. Especially with Dylan. Dylan, her drool-worthy best friend who has been there forever. But does she love him? Or are they destined to be stuck in the friend zone? When her nightmares begin to blur into her daytime world, and she develops new amazing powers, (who surfs perfectly their first time, suddenly parkour?) Drea is not sure she even fits on this planet. As her mysterious past begins to collide with her quickly changing present, she is caught between two worlds, and two cute boys all while dealing with incredible loss. Drea is strong character who tackles the world fearlessly (or at least stuffing down the fear and going on to kick %^$ anyway). You will rush on reading to find out the answers with Drea.
A.M. Rose and I chatted over delish cupcakes…
Christine, your Book Club Advisor: What is your favorite scene?
Rose: I love the scene with her father at breakfast. The relationship they have and how they get along, and just that connection. I love it. I also love the scene when she comes home from the hospital and grief is rolling over her, all five stages at once. I love all the levels you see in her, and how grief is such a complicated thing. My favorite scene with Dylan is after she finishes working with her new special powers and she asks him to stay and hold her for the night.
BCA: I love all those scenes as well. Her and her father’s relationship is so great. And the tension between Dylan and Drea in that scene in his room is so perfect. High school romance butterflies, when the whole world depends on what someone says to you, and always trying to figure out what is not being said, and what it means. Tingles!
I stayed afloat during 2017 for one reason only, human connection between myself and authors I admire and falling into books that gave me hope, let me cry, and let me hide between calls (all the calls) to my congressmen, fighting for my rights and the rights of others. Trying to hold extended family close to my heart when differences were tearing us apart, and generally trying not to slip into apathy and resignation was a full-time job. Here are just a few of the interviews and books that kept me afloat (click on author interviews in the blog menu for even more). May they encourage, shelter, challenge, and set you an a strong course for the coming year.
Ausma Zehanat Khan, author of the Esa Khattak/Rachel Getty mystery series and the new fantasy, The Bloodprint, talks generational trauma, revenge, and healing across time and continents.
Rafi Mittlefehldt, author of the gorgeous YA coming of age novel, It Looks Like This, talks family connections, religious rifts, and the danger and survival of belonging.
Dorit Rabinyan, international bestselling author of All the Rivers, talks integrating visual art into a narrative and finding other’s humanity admist chaos.
Some Favorite Reads:
Mothers, Tell Your Daughersby Bonnie Jo Campbell (Short stories about families, rural life, and the truths we hide from ourselves)
Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta (a young girl explores her identity as a lesbian in Nigeria while trying to maintain the powerful connection with her mother and society)
The Art of Waiting by Belle Boggs (essays on infertility, family, sociology, and the inter workings of the human heart)
Liat and Himli meet in a New York City coffee shop. Liat is an Israeli on a Fulbright scholarship. Himli, a Palestinian, is an artist, wild in hair and spirit, and the two are instantly attracted.
As they grow closer, and as Liat’s visa comes closer to expiration, so does their relationship, for meeting back in Palestine or Israel seems as impossible as the fate that brought them together. When the unthinkable occurs, Liat is left to tell the story. Continue reading “Forbidden Love”
It looks like desire. It looks like fear. It looks like life beginning. It looks like the end. It looks like love. It looks like heartbreak.
Mike has just moved to a new town. A new school. Freshman year. Mike meets someone. Mike falls in love. With a boy. Mike’s conservative parents can’t know. Mike’s world is about to turn upside down. In a tragedy worthy of Romeo and Juliet, young love and family strife are center stage. A classic love story for our time. Whether you want the rush of young love, or the tears of that often come with it, this book is for you. Continue reading “It Looks Like This”
Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty are partners in the Community Policing Section of the Canadian Police, a special division that handles cases that might affect minority communities. They are surprised when they are called to a beautiful lake-side home where a man appears to have simply fallen to his death.
As the case builds, Esa and Rachel realize there is nothing simple about this crime, or about the way we deal with the past. With flashbacks to Bosnia during genocide, this book is a deep look at revenge, forgiveness, community, and family.
Ausma Zehanat Khan has created complex characters and a gritty, multi-layered mystery that spans the globe and time. A wonderful debut, this the first in a series of three mysteries with Esa and Rachel. The third novel in this series will be available February 14, 2017.
Ausma graciously agreed to answer some questions for me here at Book Club Advisor.
You’ve mentioned this in other interviews, but do you mind briefly telling my readers about the inspiration for this book?
The Unquiet Dead arose out of research I had done for my dissertation on military intervention and war crimes in the Balkans. I’d studied the Bosnian genocide for many years, and I felt the tragedy of it was slipping away without any of its lessons being learned. I wanted to tell a story that reflected the criminality of the genocide, and the unimaginable loss. There’s a line in The Unquiet Dead: “how quickly the violent ideals of ultra-nationalism led to hate, how quickly hate to blood.” I think that’s a lesson for us now. Continue reading “The Past Never Sleeps”
But what happens when Mya and Naomi don’t get to be partners? Instead Mya is stuck with Mean Connie Tate, the biggest bully at her school. Will she sneak information to Naomi and her partner to help them win? Or will she learn there might be more to Connie Tate than meets the eye?
A touching, rollicking look at friendship in elementary school. Sometimes the person we think is being mean isn’t. And sometimes when we don’t intend to, we become the mean one. And what do you do then? Fast-paced with a satisfying ending, including someone getting lassoed in the hall, The Magnificent Mya Tibbs will leave you smiling and thinking. Mya’s creator, Crystal Allen, talks with me about Mya, friendship, and her own experiences in elementary school.
Christine at Book Club Advisor: Thanks for talking with us today, Crystal! Mya Tibbs loves having Naomi as a new best friend. What did you know about Naomi when you began to write her?
Crystal Allen: I knew that Naomi was a beautiful, but bratty, nine-year-old girl. The more she developed in my mind, the more I began to see her as a child who was the product of beauty pageants that emphasized outward beauty. Continue reading “Fierce Friendship”