Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Teen Interview: Renaissance Woman!

This week I wanted to go back to the root of Teen Tuesdays and interview one of your future readers. Taryn Albright joins me this week, an aspiring author currently in Query Land--as well as co-blogger for Noveltee(n), an awesome blog for other aspiring teen writers. Without further ado:

1. Are you still in high school, or did you just graduate? Can you tell us a little about your school (demographics, noticeable cliques, etc.)
I skipped a grade, so I'm 18 but already finished with my first year of college. My high school was a private one with less than 100 kids per grade. We all knew each other pretty well, but we definitely had defined lunch tables. Though the edges of cliques overlapped and blurred, they were there. We were a Christian school, not just in name. 90% of us were "good" kids who avoided drugs, alcohol, and anything past a kiss. The 10% of us who weren't were a little ostracized. Our popular kids were very wholesome, and our nerds were confident in their nerdiness. We embraced our clique-y-ness, I guess, and didn't let it define us.

2. What is it about a book that makes you pick it up when you're browsing the shelves of the library or book store?
Sorry, as a writer I have a writer-answer: online buzz. I don't usually browse the library or bookstore. I usually go with a mission to Amazon and preorder everything that looks exciting (from the synopsis or if I love the author) in the coming month.

3. What's the best book you've read in the past 6 months?
Oh! I was lucky enough to get ARCs of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and Lola and the Boy Next Door, and those two win, hands down. As for books that have come out, I'd say Myra McEntire's HOURGLASS, Veronica Roth's DIVERGENT, and Jennifer Donnelly's REVOLUTION. Oops, that's way more than one.

4. What would you like to see more of in YA novels?
Mysteries! Thrillers! Like VICIOUS LITTLE DARLINGS which just came out. *shivers* My 16 y/o reader sister, on the other hand, says WW2 historical novels.

5. You write for two different blogs: the group blog, Novelteen(n), and your personal blog, A Fool's Golden Paradise. In 10 words or less, what can we expect when visiting these blogs?
Noveltee(n): teen-focused content from publishing to reviews to interviews to writing-tips.
A Fool's Golden Paradise: sports metaphors for writing lately! Usually a writer's journey.

6. Your bio says that you're currently in the querying trenches. Any battle wounds you'd like to share? What has been the hardest/best part about querying?
I did a post on my querying mistakes here. I love querying. Probably b/c I had about a 50% request rate, and seeing industry professionals interested in my work was amazing. I actually knew the MS wasn't ready (I'm a premature querier), but I loved the opportunity to dip my toe in that process through which all writers must go.

7. You pretty much write in all genres. Is there one that you enjoy the most?
Ermmmm. Let's see, right now I'm finishing querying a suspense, revising a dystopian, simulataneously drafting a contemporary and a mystery, and planning a fantasy. Choosing would be like playing favorites with my children.

8. What's a popular saying that you can't stand?
I couldn't tell you. However, that popular song that starts with "Today I don't feel like doing anything" really bothers me. People act like this and then complain about how they don't have any time. Every moment is precious. USE IT! (Side note: I SO agree with Taryn--not a big fan of this song. And by not a big fan, I mean it makes me cringe.)

9. What's the best and worst school lunch you've ever had?
Hahaha wow. Weird question. My college caf has this pork that can either be amazing or awful, so I'd say that for both.

10. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
I would never have to sleep. Or stopping time. Something that would give me more hours in the day. But since stopping time would cause me to age more quickly than everyone else, I think I'll go with never having to sleep. (how's that for logic?)

11. Finally, what would be your advice to other aspiring teen writers out there?
Everyone has 24 hours in the day. Don't waste them. (I sound like a broken record, but laziness is my least favorite trait.) Remember that you can't polish a novel until it's finished, so get those words out there. It's possible to draft 70K in ten days and turn it into a masterpiece over a couple months, but not if you don't draft first.

Thanks so much! I'd also like to throw out a shameless plug for the editing service that me and fellow teen Kate Coursey have started. It's called Teen Eyes, and we focus on getting a teen's opinion on your YA manuscript. We also offer critiques for fellow teens who may prefer the assistance of someone nearer to their age. Click here or here for more info. We'll be offering a couple free critiques to create buzz.

Wow, Taryn--thank YOU!! Talk about a teen who has A LOT going on. I envy her productivity, and see BIG THINGS in her future. Any of you all have write in more than one genre as well? Do YOU have a fave?


Michelle Julian said...

Wow, Taryn sounds like an amazing person. She's right, we only have a certain amount of hours in a day, so we should make them productive. Thanks for this interview. Btw, I gate that song too!

Bluestocking said...

Wow is right. I can draft quickly (for me) but 70k in ten days is ambitious :) Glad to see someone so young so engaged in writing for publication.

K.D. said...

Good advice, and good luck to her in the querying process. It is excited to hear back from people.

The Blue Lipstick Samurai said...

She seems so much OLDER! In a wonderful wway, of course. In the way that comes with wisdom more than wrinkles. :D Great interview, Taryn!

Marquita Hockaday said...

She does have a lot going on. Reading this makes me feel like I should be doing more! Great interview:)

Meredith said...

WOW! Taryn sounds like a pretty cool woman! :)


Pam Harris said...

Taryn is AWESOME! I definitely aspire to be more like her, even though I'm more than 10 years her senior. :) I love her outlook on productivity--it makes me want to stop making excuses and just sit down and write.

Emy Shin said...

Thanks for doing this interview, Taryn and Pam! Taryn sounds really amazing -- the advice that each of us only has 24 hours a day is such a wise one. Good luck on your querying!

Taryn said...

Aww, thanks, guys! This was a really fun interview :)

Katy said...

Well, Taryn is clearly wise beyond her years. Why wasn't I so grounded when I was 18?

Great interview, Pam!

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