Friday, April 3, 2009

Our First Author Interview... and Getting the Gas

Hi Y'all.

Last Day of the Competition status: Um, yeah, it's the last day to be entered in the drawing for the autographed copy of Laurie Halse Anderson's book Speak.

I've procured our first author interview. She is Sydney Salter, and her book My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters hit shelves just last month.

Here's the blurb from Amazon:

"It’s the end of junior year, and summer is about to begin. The Summer of Passion, to be exact, when Jory Michaels plans to explore all the possibilities of the future--and, with any luck, score a boyfriend in the process. But Jory has a problem. A big problem. A curvy, honking, bumpy, problem in the form of her Super Schnozz, the one thing standing between Jory and happiness. And now, with the Summer of Passion stretched before her like an open road, she's determined for Super Schnozz to disappear. Jory takes a job delivering wedding cakes to save up for a nose job at the end of the summer; she even keeps a book filled with magazine cutouts of perfect noses to show the doctor. But nothing is ever easy for accident-prone Jory--and before she knows it, her Summer of Passion falls apart faster than the delivery van she crashes. In her hilarious and heartbreaking debut novel, Sydney Salter delivers a story about broadening your horizons, accepting yourself, and finding love right under your nose."

I think it sounds like a lot of fun! My copy's coming in the mail, and I plan on reading it before our interview. Join me if you'd like, and we'll make it a full-blown book club.

Please send along any questions you might have for Sydney. They can be about anything writing related, so you don't have to be familiar with her book. (How she came up with the story, how she got published, etc.)

Just to make it extra fun, the first three commenters who give me good questions (you know what I mean, they can't be "what's your dog's name" or "cubs or white sox" or anything like that) will win a copy of her book!

Any subsequent questioners will be put in a drawing to win an autographed copy of her book! (Providing I can get one before the interview. If not, it will be a regular copy.)

Most of you are familiar with my evil plan to single-handedly sustain the Young Adult publishing world, right? Mwah-ha-ha. Ha. Bankruptcy now, world domination soon.


So, I stopped the "25 things about me" tag at number eleven, because I couldn't think of anything else. My cousin asked me what the rest are, and I promised her that over the course of the next decade, I will complete the list. Here's number 12.

12. I love, love, love, getting the gas at the dentist. I actually look forward to it. In fact, if I'm in the middle of a stressful moment of life, I daydream about getting gassed. If I'm impatient, waiting for revisions for instance, I want to get gassed just to pass the time.

So, last night, when we were watching Chuck, this scene cracked me up. (Courtesy of

Chuck was pretending to be a doctor, operating on a known terrorist, and when his cover was blown, another terrorist attacked him. And then the nitrous oxide was released into the air. Enjoy the scene below.

I especially love the part where the guy slashes the knife back and forth, laughing, saying : "I was going to cut you, like this!"


If you've never watched Chuck, give it a chance. You can watch the full episode here.


  1. That looks like a fun read. How about these did you come up with the story, how did you get published :) LOL! Okay, in seriousness the fact that she wrote about someone wanting a nose job - was this from personal experience? Does she incorporate a lot of her own experiences and self into the story? If not, how does one come up with research inside a character with a really bad nose? For some reason that seems harder than identifying with someone who is, say, fat...Also, just in general I am very curious how someones goes from an idea to formulating it into chapters, characters, plot development, side plots, etc. I always imaging a huge creative writing bubble (like they used to make you do in grade school) but I would think I would get so confused and stuck trying to put it all together. My other question is this - a lot of authors seem to use very fancy words sometimes - I want to know if you are all really that damn smart or how many times you really have to google words and use a thesauras???

  2. Congratulations, Cam. You are our first winner! Not only that, but you posed good questions, and I'll only have to bleep out just one of your words. All in all, a successful start. :)

  3. I don't know if this qualifies as a "good" question, but I have yet to join SCBWI and I know Sydney is the Utah/Idaho SCBWI guru. I'd like to know how she got her position doing this and if she feels being especially involved in this organization (not just a regular member) contributed to her writing success, and if so, how. Thanks!

  4. Great work, Kim. You are number two! That most definitely qualifies as a good question.

  5. Gah! I missed the first two comments! Boo. :) Well here are my ideas.
    I know a lot of authors have to go through TONS of revisions and edits so I got curious. After Sydney did that with her book was she generally happy with the outcome or did she really miss certain pieces that were deleted (could she possibly share one with us?)?
    What's her favorite word?
    If she could meet with any other author who would it be and what would she ask them?

  6. Oh and by the way that getting the gas thing was hilarious! I LOVE the dentist and I swear thats why. The good memories from all that yummy bubblegum smelling happy gas made long long lasting impressions. Is it your bro-in-law thats a dentist? I guess they know what to get you for your birthday. Does that sorta thing come in gift packs? :)

  7. Great questions, everyone! Deb is our third winner. Everyone else who asks a question now gets entered into a drawing for an autographed copy of My Big Fat Nose.

    Not only that, you all of course are entered to win Speak!

  8. I like to go to the dentist even when I don't have any cavities just so I can get some laughing gas. It puts me in my Happy Place and I never want to leave that place. As far as the question for the author goes, I'm having a brain cramp. I really like all the questions that have already been asked and I really can't come up with anything except for: Does she fold or crinkle her toilet-paper? I crinkle. Dave folds. Go figure.

  9. Erin- lol!

    But I think that falls into the "Cubs or White Sox" category.

  10. This book looks wonderful!

    I am not familiar with this author so my questions might be a bit stale, but:

    1. How do you write young characters? What inspires you in your portrayal? Ex - do you pull from past experiences? Other youths in your life?

    2. Jory is obviously in high school and plastic surgery has been around a while, but do you feel that teenagers (those under 18) having plastic surgery is still slightly frowned upon/taboo? Is this a reason that possibly spurred you to write this story?

  11. Una- Great questions! And you're entered in the drawing.

  12. i must NEVER get enough gas at the dentist...i cannot stand going, gas or no gas~

    and i fold

    and i cannot come up w/a question at the moment.

  13. Just for the record, I think Sydney has a nice, normal nose, so I'm guessing that might not be from personal experience.

    I'd like to know how she balances family and writing. And her website mentions that fear of failure stopped her writing for a while. How does she keep herself from feeling that way now and keep writing?

  14. Kim- yup, Sydney has a fantastic nose. And you ask a great question! You are entered in the drawing as well. Thanks.

  15. I have a question that either of you could answer: How in the heck do you even write a story to begin with? It just seems like so much, you know, work! How does it go from "Once upon a time..." to a full-blown book?

  16. I'd also like to know what she does about marketing her book. How much time, effort, money, etc, does she put into it?

  17. To say that I love love love the gas would be an I have used nitrous gas (sweet air) ever since I was a kid....and even found a dentist who uses it on me for cleanings. She is the BEST. There is nothing like that first deep breath of the sweet.....or that feeling of floating....yet sinking into the chair......all at the same time. I often drift of to my own little happy place (which ironicaly is thinking of being in the dentist chair on the gas). Oh...and the ceiling...and lights.......I fall in love with them every So, besides loving it too....what is it like for you?

  18. Kim- good question!

    Anon- lol! "(which ironicaly is thinking of being in the dentist chair on the gas)"

    You are very funny. Who are you?

    I love the way it makes me feel like the chair and I are one, and we are floating. It also makes me feel like the dentist and his assistants are talking about me, and I feel all smug because in my mind, i'm totally talking back, using witty retorts. Of course, those retorts are only inside my head.

    And when I wake up, it turns out they're not very funny.

  19. Thanks for commenting back. Since reading your post and commenting, I find the desire to go to the dentist and visit, (who am I kidding, I often fantasize about There is nothing like having that sweet little mask placed over your nose....yummy. Kenny, NY

  20. Kenny- you could always run head first into a doorknob and crack a tooth. Not that I would ever go to that extreme... I'm just sayin'...