5 New Boskone Mini Interviews: The YA and Beyond Extravaganza!

Calling all young adults and readers who are young at heart! We’ve got an awesome lineup of young adult authors and editors in today’s Boskone Mini Interviews. This year, Boskone’s expanded Young Adult programming is very exciting, and with authors and editors like Stacey Friedberg, Fran Wilde, Ken Altabef, ACE Bauer and Carrie Vaughn, it is no wonder we are looking forward to February!

Stacey Friedberg

Stacey Friedberg is an Assistant Editor at Dial Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Random House. She focuses on middle grade and young adult novels, and has previously worked as an Editorial Assistant at Lightspeed Magazine. A lifelong fan of fantasy and horror (and a more recent fan of sci-fi), Stacey is always looking for novels that open her imagination and bring her to new worlds. Follow Stacey on Twitter @staceyfriedberg.

What are you looking forward to at Boskone?

Even though I’m a participant, my very favorite thing to do at Boskone is to sit in on other people’s panels and listen in on all the funny and thought-provoking things the other panelists have to say. I just love learning new things, and it’s such a treat to be able to sit in on discussions held by interesting, intelligent people. Of course I’m going to go to all of the children’s and YA themed panels, but I also love being able to learn about things outside of my field, like real-world science or film. So, I am greatly looking forward to sitting in the audience and being totally enraptured.

What are you working on now? What excites or challenges you about this project?

I’m always working on multiple projects at once—the challenge lies in juggling them! Right now, I’m working on Lauren Magaziner’s next whimsical middle grade novel (it will be tough to top her first, The Only Thing Worse Than Witches), which is a hilarious school-based story, but not necessarily the sort of school you’d want to attend. It needs a title, which is I guess one of the challenges I am facing! I’m also working on Marked by Jenny Martin, the sequel to her heart-pounding sci-fi debut Tracked. Revising a sequel is always tricky, and revising a sequel that takes place in a sf/f world especially so, because everything needs to stay consistent between the two books—besides a connecting narrative voice, the cultures portrayed and even the slang used need to feel in sync. Finally, I am wrapping up The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes, a punch in the gut sort of read that makes you question what you believe and why. Half the book is told in flashback, which was a huge challenge to edit—getting the timeline right was difficult. But now that it’s wrapped up, I couldn’t be happier—and I am super excited for it to come out!

If you could recommend a book to your teenage-self, what book would you recommend? Why did you pick that book?

YA was only just starting to emerge as a genre when I was a teen. At the time, young adult books weren’t “hot,” and the books that were published for that age group often didn’t get much notice. Gabrielle Zevin’s Elsewhere came out in 2005, when I was a teenager, but I hadn’t heard of it at the time. It’s one of my very favorite books today. It’s touching and funny and heartbreaking all at once, and it’s a book that really makes you think, which is something I’ve always loved. And it’s so imaginative and beautifully written. I would have treasured this book as a teenager, and thinking about it now gives me such mixed emotions: I’m happy that the YA market has exploded, so that teens today can easily find and enjoy great books written just for them. But I’m sad that I missed out on it! Luckily, I read Elsewhere a few years ago, so at least that gem didn’t slip through my grasp. And now, I can recommend it to others (and I always do!).

Fran Wilde

Fran Wilde is an author, programmer, and technology consultant. She’s worked as a science and engineering writer, a sailing instructor, a game developer, and a jeweler’s assistant. Her first novel is forthcoming from Tor in 2015, with two more to follow. Her short stories appear in Asimov’s, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Nature, and The Impossible Futures anthology. Her nonfiction “Cooking the Books” column has appeared at Strange Horizons, the SFWA blog, and on Fran’s website. Friend her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter @Fran_Wilde, and connect with her on Google Plus.

What is it that you enjoy most about Boskone?

This is my third Boskone and what I enjoy most are the conversations that happen here — in panels, hallways, at kaffeklatsches, and over meals. Also, the readings, the YA track, and I love watching the demonstrations. So those are my favorite. Wait. The art show! Definitely the art. … Nope, I can’t pick. I’m looking forward to the weekend. Also I hear Steven Brust is pretty funny. He’d better be funny.

What are you working on now? What excites or challenges you about this project?

I am finishing Cloudbound, the second book in my Bone City trilogy for Tor. And I’m getting ready to share Updraft, the first book, with everyone in 2015. Updraft is about a city high above the clouds, built on towers of living bone. Kirit, the protagonist in UPDRAFT, is seventeen when the novel begins. The themes and story within UPDRAFT include politics, environmental issues, monsters and an entire city on the cusp of change. While this book is appropriate for older YA readers, it is classic fantasy, leaning new weird. After Boskone a couple years ago, I went up to New Hampshire to the indoor skydiving center to do research for both books, so topping that is going to be a challenge. Maybe. ^^ We’ll see.

Ken Altabef2Ken Altabef

As an active SFWA member, Ken’s short fiction has appeared three times in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and also Interzone, Buzzymag, Abyss & Apex, Stupefying Stories, Unsettling Wonder and various anthologies.  ALAANA’S WAY is his 5-book epic fantasy series with an arctic twist.  His first short story collection Fortune’s Fantasy was published by Cat’s Cradle Press in September 2014 .  He was an editor on the mixed-genre short story anthology Drastic Measures and its sequel Wash the Spider Out. Visit Ken’s website and follow him on Twitter @KenAltabef.

What is it that you enjoy most about Boskone?

What I enjoy most about Boskone is an opportunity to interact with the readers. I see writing as a form of communication. I construct the prose in such a way as to convey images, to give a semblance of life for the characters and meaning to the story. I’m doing all of that, alone in a room. But the reader is foremost in my mind all the time. I think about what they should know and when they should know it, how they perceive the characters and the environment, how to make them laugh, when to tease them a little and when to reveal the big secrets. Am I doing it right? Are they getting my message? At conventions I get to hear the other side of the conversation, the point of view of the readers. I often like to float new ideas at cons and get reactions. I also have a longstanding tradition of giving out autographed copies of one of my novels to everyone who attends my readings, and will continue that this year.

What event or experience stands out as one of those ‘defining moments’ that shaped who you are today?

When I was thirteen, I read both Dandelion Wine and The Hobbit in the same month. Boom! That’s where it all started for me. In those ancient days, Ray Bradbury was taught in grade school English class. From Bradbury I learned that it’s not enough just to tell an entertaining story, you have to tell it beautifully. Dandelion Wine is all about finding fantastical stories in commonplace items (such as a new pair of sneakers). But The Hobbit is all about fantasy with no semblance of reality at all – hobbits, elves, goblins, dragons. So many choices. In my novels I try to keep a balance by having fantastical characters and also a full cast of realistic human beings facing their own problems (such as survival in the arctic).

What are you working on now? What excites or challenges you about this project?

My current project, Alaana’s Way is an epic fantasy series of novels (5 in all) which take place in the arctic. The fantasy world is based on Inuit mythology and that’s a world readers don’t encounter very often. Instead of elves and dwarves and wizards, we have Inuit shamans and polar bears, and a golden walrus spirit with a sarcastic sense of humor. All things that you can only see in the arctic setting. My heroine Alaana has one of the most unusual sidekicks in fantasy fiction. It’s a tupilaq – which is the reanimated carcass of a black seal stuffed with amulets and created for bloody revenge upon another shaman. Alaana reconsiders her intentions and decides to educate and raise the thing on human kindness, feeding it with the laughter of children. It has a raven’s beak stuck in the middle of its forehead and can talk through both the seal’s mouth and the raven’s beak with two different personalities. That’s a character you can only find in the arctic. There are a lot of other wild and fun characters including The Whale-Man, Tornarssuk the guardian spirit of the polar bears, the Moon-Man and Tulukkaruq the mischievous Raven himself. Alaana’s Way Book One (The Calling) will be on free Kindle download during January 16-18 if anyone wants to check it out ahead of time, and also during Boskone weekend.

A.C.E. Bauer

A.C.E. Bauer is the author of two middle grade novels, No Catles Here and Come Fall; and a young adult novel, Gil Marsh. She also published a short story in Ladybug Magazine called “The Piano Lesson.” Her books have been chosen for the ALA Rainbow List and CCBC Choices Books, and have received starred reviews in Kirkus Reviews and Publisher’s Weekly. Born and raised in Montreal, she spends most of the year in Connecticut, and much of the summer on a lake in Quebec. For more information, visit A.C.E.’s website, friend her on Facebook or LiveJournal, and follow her on Twitter @ACEBauer1.

What are you looking forward to at Boskone?

The people! This is my first Boskone, and I’m excited to meet fans, pros, volunteers, and participants.

If you could recommend a book to your teenage-self, what book would you recommend? Why did you pick that book?

There are so many books that I’d recommend, so it’s hard to pin down just one. But as a teenager, I’m pretty sure I’d have loved The War of the Oaks by Emma Bull. It’s the novel that introduced me to urban fantasy. Filled with complex, fully formed characters, a rich setting, and a host of faery folks, it has an compelling and intricate plot. It’s so beautifully crafted, I reread it willingly.

How would you describe your work to people who might be unfamiliar with you?

I write fiction mostly for young readers that fits into the magical realism genre. I describe it as realistic fiction where magic can occur, but usually doesn’t. It’s a kind of fantasy, sort of.

When I was a kid, I believed that anything could happen, especially magic. But day-to-day, I had to brush my teeth, comb my hair, go to school, do my homework, and get shots every year at the doctor’s office. The bully in fourth grade cornered me in a stairwell, and my older brother was more interested in hockey than in playing with me. There was no magic.

But I still believed it existed. If I opened the right door, or read the right book, or met the right person, or I wound up my courage and visited a strange house, I might find it. I didn’t expect to be sent into a fantastical world of wizards and dragons, or meet elves or fairies, but I knew that somehow, I’d brush up against a little strangeness, something that didn’t quite make sense, and that would be magic. This is what I try to capture for my characters in my writing.

Carrie Vaughn

Carrie Vaughn is the author of the New York Times bestselling series of novels about a werewolf named Kitty, the most recent installment of which is Low Midnight. She’s written several other contemporary fantasy and young adult novels, as well as upwards of 70 short stories. She’s a contributor to the Wild Cards series of shared world superhero books edited by George R. R. Martin and a graduate of the Odyssey Fantasy Writing Workshop. An Air Force brat, she survived her nomadic childhood and managed to put down roots in Boulder, Colorado. Visit Carrie’s website and follow her on Facebook.

What are you looking forward to at Boskone?

This will be my first ever Boskone. I only get to the East Coast for conventions every other year or so, so I’m really looking forward to meeting and hanging out with people I don’t get to see very often, meeting fans in a part of the country where I’ve not yet done an event, and checking out a whole new convention that I’ve heard great things about.

What are you working on now? What excites or challenges you about this project?

Right this minute, I’m working on a screenplay adaptation of one of my stories. Writing a screenplay has been on my long term “to do” list for years. It’s inevitable that I would try it someday, since I’m such a fan of movies (see my blog for my impromptu, idiosyncratic movie reviews). It’s a different kind of writing, demanding a lot of precision and planning, and I’m learning a lot. I don’t know if anything will come of it, but it’s something I really wanted to try.

I’m also putting the finishing touches on a YA space opera novel which is a huge amount of fun.

How would you describe your work to people who might be unfamiliar with you?

I end up saying, “No, really, just try it,” to people about my work a lot. People who aren’t fans of urban fantasy see the label and are skeptical. But I tell them I write quirky, character-driven stories of contemporary fantasy with an eye toward realism, and that gets them interested.

~

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2 Responses to 5 New Boskone Mini Interviews: The YA and Beyond Extravaganza!

  1. Pingback: See You at Boskone! | ~ fran wilde ~

  2. Pingback: Friedberg, Stacey | Writing for Children and Teens

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