Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Teen Interview with a Samurai

This week I have the pleasure of talking to the one and only Blue Lipstick Samurai, Glenna.  

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

If I were a ninja, I'd have to say no. Ninja I am not, but alas, I'm not a samurai either. I am a part-time water ice scooper, full-time dork, and moonlighting baking enthusiast. In three years I will no longer be a teenager, and about a year ago I was a redhead. Come fall I'll (hopefully) be a college student, and I've never liked cauliflower. I would LOVE to thank Holly and all the wonderful folks of Paper Hangover (HEY PAM YOU ROCK bye sistah) for having me.

What is it about a book that makes you pick it up when you're browsing the shelves of the library or book store?

Recommendations, usually; whether an author I like says so, a blog/reviewer I respect, a friend whose taste extends beyond Twilight, if they recommend it, I will make a point to pick it up. But if not, my book-picking process can be summed up in one example: I was in Target (I know! Books from Target!) with some moolah to spare and came across a little square (I know! Books in square shapes!) book called What-The-Dickens. (1) The title was clever and evocative at the same time, like Sisters Red or Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. So I looked at the (2) author, who was Gregory Maguire, who I'd heard of and almost sure I'd enjoy (but I don't ALWAYS have to recognize the author; I bought Fablehaven without any idea who'd written it). With these two checked off I flipped it over to look at the blurb, which gave me an idea of the (4) premise. What-The-Dickens is a story within a story, told on a dark and stormy night, about a tooth fairy. Then I was sold. A clever title, an (optionally) recognizeable author, and a premise that is both familiar and inspired. If not recommendations, those four things will make me more than ready for fork over twenty dollars for a hardcover.

What's the best book you've read in the last 6 months?

Most definitely WICKED, which I found in Goodwill (I know! Forty-two cent books!), also by Gregory Maguire. (He's a flippin' fantastic author, read WICKED and What-The-Dickens now, now, now!). Clever, satirical, intelligent, lovely. That book made me cry, gave me chills, and had me talking about it for weeks afterward. Everything I want a book to be, whether I write it or read it.

If you could ban one thing from all books, what would it be?

Without a doubt, the idea that a decision does not have consequences, or worse, there is an end to anything. They fall in love, live happily ever after, the end. No. No, no, no, NO. If I could ban anything, I'd ban the blasphemy that love comes without loss, good deeds go unpunished, risk is neither scary nor rewarding, and a story ends when you finish a book. Who in the hell came up with that nonsense? (If not that, sparkles. I'd get rid of all things sparkly. I'm coming for you, Cullens.) I don't like the idea of censoring, but I also think the schools of thought indicated above are narrow and just plain wrong.

What would you like to see more of in YA novels?

Respect for the classics. Yeah, everyone is giving props to Jane Austen and other classic writers, but in blunt ways (if I read one more freaking book that has the MC read Wuthering Heights when she's trying to unwind, I will vomit. Vomit, vomit, vomit. It's a great book, but advertising other books within your story, even in effort to get readers to read more, is just shameless). Give the classics their due and respect why their classic. Admire the classic hero, or anti-hero. Surrender to the classic plot arc. Cheat a little bit and copy from them here and their. Shakespeare ripped off Sophocles. 10 Things I Hate About You ripped off Shakespeare. It's not wrong, because it's timeless (and, Heath Ledger).

What's your favorite part of a story: plot, characters, or setting?

How the heck am I supposed to choose? For me, setting is the other character; call me zen, but I think the setting interacts with the characters as much as they interact within it. The setting can be the bully or the best friend or the mentor. The plot is what brings them to life and tells us why they mean something. You can't pick favorites. They're like the Holy Trinity; separate entities, separate functions, but one in the same.

Do you feel like characters in YA books are representative of you?

Not usually. I can't relate to most YA books. I can't relate to most adult books. I also can't relate to most people, but that's why I write books. But I think I can't relate to most YA books BECAUSE they try to represent me, and no one is allowed to do that.

What's a saying that you use frequently? One that you can't stand?

I say Jeebus Crisco a lot. I started saying it as a substitute for 'Jesus Christ,' because it would upset mi madre if I used Jeebus's name in vain. But then I started referring to him as Jeebus and things got out of hand. I absolutely hate the saying 'f-bomb.' It's the 'f-word.' In the immortal words of The Count, of the Philip Seymour Hoffman in Pirate Radio variety, not the Seasame Street brand, "If you shoot a bullet, one dies. If you drop a bomb, many die. If you hit a woman, love dies. But when you say the f-word, nothing happens." Preach it, brotha. It's a word. It's a powerful word. It's an unpleasant word. It can be an inappropriate word, but given the occasion, so can 'poop' and 'thingamabob' (you wouldn't say it at a job interview. I dare you.). Some may say it's an unnecessary word, and bully for you. But it's a word. That's it. Not a bomb. It causes no destruction. Except maybe to one's vocabulary.

What did you eat for lunch today?

Since I was at work and didn't think to pack or buy one, a chunk of soft preztel and a spoonful of chocolate peanut butter water ice. Holla for nutrition.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

Ugh, I had to consult the Children of the Red King series (SO GOOD!) for this one, but ultimately, I don't know. What the hell would I do with superpowers? Superpowers mean an obligation to use them for good, and hell, I'm not in any way suitable to save anyone. I write. That's what I do. I also bake. I have several cosmic abilities, but they're more to do with my wonky brain than anything otherwordly (I haven't lost a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors since kindergarten, I have an inexplicable penchant for gift giving, and my online shopping abilities are like, woah. But superpowers? Hardly. Help anyone? Not so much.). I do, however, request a magic cure for carpal tunnel. Please and thanks.

Last, but not least, I know you're a writer too, so would you like to share a little about what you're working on?

Well. I'm writing little things here and there, and researching a project that I'd love to share with you all but needs a LOT of historical facts in check before I proceed (I think y'all will enjoy it [;...); other than that, I'm not working on anything. I have a part time job and I'm trying to get into school for the fall. The glorious news is the program I'm studying requires TONS of writing and includes a writing workshop class that is simply FANTASTIC. I've shelved three important projects, and have several ideas waiting to be fleshed out, but I came to the conclusion a few weeks ago that I am not at all the writer I want to be. I'm okay, but I want to be great, and the only way writers can do that is to study, and more importantly, read. So I'm going to read, read, read, write, write, write, and study, study, study until I simply can't contain myself anymore. Maybe then, I'll be something good. But right now, I'm student who writes. I'm working really hard at that.

Thank you, Glenna, for interviewing with me!


Marquita Hockaday said...

Holy shiz, Glenna! This was an AWESOME interview :) You are in no way shape or form a teenager. I will never believe it. Not even if you showed me a birth certificate. Anyways, 1.) Heath Ledger, FTW! 2.) So interested in your new project that you have to do historical research for, 3.) I, too don't relate to most people which is why I am almost certain me and Pam are aliens, and 4.) Me and Pam say "Help me, Jeebus!" on a regular basis. You are absolutely related to us. No doubt about it.

Again, great interview. I really enjoyed reading it this morning :)

Abby Stevens said...

Yup yup yup, totally not a teenager. <3 :D Glenna's way an old soul. If I hadn't met her in the flesh, I might think she was some kind of extremely hip 35-year-old...

Also, I need to go get an Italian ice now (no water ices for use down South, though they're one and the same, lol).

Also also, you know I don't relate to basically anyone either except for Bear, so I'm really glad I ended up with a best friend-slash-husband in him.

Also also also, excellent interview. I have WICKED sitting on my bookshelf, but I haven't read it yet. Will have to bump it further up my reading list.

Sophia Richardson said...

Wow, awesome interview from Glenna, talk about voice/character! The things she would ban from books are the same as mine: give me realism and good tainted with bad any day. Loved the little quirky voice-words that crept in like holla, brotha, and like woah. Gotta go check out the blog now.
- Sophia.

Alicia Gregoire said...

That chocolate peanut butter water ice sounds intriguing.

Pam Harris said...

I think I've told Glenna this before, but I totally want to be her when I grow up. <3