Joining us today is Natasha, author of the YA urban-fantasy, True Grime.
Welcome to The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection, Natasha. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?
Things you should know about me:
- When the writing isn’t going well, I make a pan of rice-krispie treats. Then I hide under the desk and eat the entire batch.
- I like to sing broadway show tunes to my animals.
- To stimulate creativity, I’ve been known to waltz with the cats/dogs.
In other words, it’s probably a very good thing that I’m a writer because I probably shouldn’t be let out in public.
When did you first get bit by the writing bug?
One of the reasons I started writing was because I was fed up with what I call Dysfunction Masquerading As Conflict. It’s especially prevalent in romances: she’s supposed to be self-sufficient and stubborn, but just reads shrill. Or he’s “wounded” and that’s the reason he’s allowed to emotionally abuse her, and be a jackass because “it’s okay, ’cause—deep down—he loves her.”
One of my favorites is the external conflict that a five-year-old could solve. She needs the rind of an orange, and he needs the inside, but oh-uh!! There’s only ONE orange. What are they going to do? So the reader suffers through hundreds of pages of “come here” “go away” hot sex, more sex, oh, look, more sex and right when she hits the 100th orgasm, she realizes she really loves him, but boo hoo, there’s that problem of the orange. Then she either gets pregnant and runs away, or sees him having dinner with another woman and runs away, or realizes it’ll never work in this mad, one orange world, and runs away. Inevitably, she gets hits by a truck or car (no doubt, driven by the now, completely pissed off romance reader). Then, she wakes up in a hospital, sees him. He’s all “oh, I love you!” and she says, “It won’t work. There’s only one orange.” Then he solves it all by saying, “No, we can share the orange.”
Then there’s more sex…well, except for the reader whose too busy poking their eyes out or seeking professional help to even consider having sex.
I started writing because I wanted to “put my money where my mouth was” and get a view of the writing process from the other side of the desk.
Why did you decide to write stories for the YA market?
I’ve been in the school system for over ten years and there’s so much that kids are dealing with…I wanted to write a novel that would (1) be a fun escape and a great break from all the homework (2) deal with some of the issues that kids are dealing with now (bullying).
What is your favorite part of writing for this group? What is the greatest challenge?
Writing for YA/children means being on the ball. The stories need to be tight and entertaining, full of fun and excitement. But I love writing for this audience because kids are wild—you can really go off the grid with story premises and have fun with lunatic plots/scenarios…in fact, one pre-teen reader said to me (after reading Grime): “I liked it but you should have had a sewer scene.”
“Yeah, something should happen in the sewer.”
Awesome. Never even thought of it, but I promised her (and her friend who came to back her up on the sewer idea) that I’d include it in the sequel.
Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?
Grime cop and teen fairy Pepper Powder lives for one thing: protecting the human species from magical zealots who seek to eradicate them with Violent Illness of Unusual Resistance and Strength (humans call them “viruses,” but their mistake is understandable. The very young often get their words wrong.). When a terrorist leader releases a necrophage bomb, it not only decimates Grime headquarters, it turns Pepper into the magical world’s first fairy amputee—but she’s not going to let a little thing like a missing leg stop her. To catch her criminal, and prevent him from unleashing a V.I.U.R.S in one of the human world’s biggest shopping centers, West Edmonton Mall, she goes undercover as a human. But once Pepper’s theories of humanity collide with the reality of bullies, cliques, and environmental destruction, will she still believe humanity’s worth saving?
What inspired you to write it?
The BP oil spill prompted Grime. I was watching it (and feeling fatalistic). We were just screwing up. Destroying everything and there was the newscaster, every 15 minutes, coming back and saying, “Oil’s still spilling.” Well, duh.
After a few days, I realized I was seeing it wrong. This wasn’t about us screwing up and killing ourselves and the planet. This was about a company making a terrible mistake and the whole world (it seemed) had turned its eyes to them, and was staring, waiting for them to fix things. The newscaster wasn’t wasting my time and giving me disaster porn, he was the clock-watcher, coming in every so often to say, “Those bastards still haven’t done anything. I’m going to go back and monitor it. We’ll hold them accountable.”
And hold them accountable, not just to the immediate spill, but to the long term effects…and I started thinking about how different my life is compared to the life my grandmothers led (pulled out of school at 8, forced into arranged marriages)…and then I realized that life is getting better. We may be slow, but we’re growing and becoming a better species.
So, I just wanted to send that message and to do it within the context of some of the scarier things we deal with: bullying, terrorism, environment.
Where can readers purchase a copy?
It’s available on amazon.com, and in e-formats for Nook, Kindle, and epub (Sony, Kobo).
Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?
www.natsahdeen.com and http://natashadeen.blogspot.com/
What is up next for you?
The sequel to Grime!
Do you have anything else to add?
From now until December 5th, if you post a review for True Grime on amazon.com, your name is entered to win a Kindle (Generation Four).
Thank you for spending time with us today, Natasha. We wish you much success.
REVIEW & WIN!
Until December 5, 2011, if you post a review of True Grime on Amazon.com, your name will be entered to win a Kindle! It’s as simple as that! And if you post on Amazon.com and Goodreads, then your name is entered TWICE.
- Contest runs until December 5, 2011, inclusive.
- Post a review of True Grime on www.amazon.com and email natasha @ natashadeen.com the link.
- Once the review is confirmed, your name will be entered into the draw.
- Posting a review on Goodreads will get you a second entry, but your initial review must be onamazon.com (no other amazon site is eligible).
- The draw will be on December 7, 2011.
The Not-So-Fine Print:
No purchase necessary. Entrants must be twelve or older, and one prize will be awarded, world-wide. Winner must answer skill-testing question: (2 × 4) + (10 × 3) in order to claim their prize. The winner will receive an Amazon e-gift card, valued at $79 USD, in order to purchase their Kindle. If the winner does not claim their prize within seven days, another winner will be chosen. Promotion ends December 5, 2011. Void where prohibited by law.