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Monday, January 18, 2010

YA Author Spotlight Presents...

Carol - Framed
Carol Snow!!!

SwitchWriting for both adult and YA seems to be a trend among writers these days, and Carol Snow has certainly jumped in with both feet! What makes her novels stand out is that they have a very dark, paranormal feel to them. Her first book, Switch, focuses on Claire Martin. Now Claire appears normal in every way, except when lightning strikes. When that happens, run!

If you don't you might find yourself taking the backseat and someone else driving the bus, your bus! That's right, when lightning strikes, Claire will spontaneously "jump" into someone's body. She doesn't take up permanent residence or anything, and you won't fly off into the ether (at least I don't think so), and she will give it back, if fate let's her!

Curious now? Want to read an excerpt? Click Here, but be sure to come back, because we've got an interview with the author and an excerpt from her newest YA release, Snap!

ME: Do you make resolutions for the New Year? Why or why not? If so, please share one or more of them with us!

CAROL: I normally don’t make resolutions, but this year I resolved to start a blog! And then I didn’t do it.

ME: Now that the busy holiday time is over, what do you do to recharge?

CAROL: I’m supposed to be recharging? Mostly, I’m trying to catch up on all the work I ignored over the holidays. Also, I’m working on a book proposal.

ME: Do you have any holiday memories from 2009 that you would like to share with us?

CAROL: My father-in-law made the Boeuf Bourguignon from The Art of French Cooking, served with Julia Child’s recommended boiled potatoes and buttered peas. It was amazing – especially since I didn’t cook it and therefore didn’t know just how much butter was involved.

ME: What area of the country/world are you from? What are the average temperatures where you are? What type of clothing would most residents be wearing today? What tips do you have for people to “survive” the weather where you are?

CAROL: I grew up in New Jersey and spent my summers on Cape Cod, but now I live in Southern California. My son went off to school in shorts this morning (I think he will be cold). Around here, people consider temperatures under sixty degrees to be frigid. When it rains, they start driving into each other because they have so little experience with bad weather.

ME: Do you have any favorite outside hobbies? Can you perform any of these hobbies right now? If not, why not, and is weather a factor?

CAROL: I’ve taken photographs since I was a teenager. Weather is less a factor than lighting: generally, early morning light is best. Since I love to sleep, that can be a problem.

ME: Do you prefer your hot tub inside the house or outside the house? Why?

CAROL: I have one outside my house and rarely use it. So I guess I’d like it better inside.

ME: If you could be any character/creature, who/what would it be and why?

CAROL: A cat! I could do nothing but eat, sleep, sit in the sun, and shoot people disdainful looks. What more could you want out of life?

Now, let’s get to your writing:

ME: Why YA Fiction? What was the draw for you?

CAROL: An editor at HarperTeen asked me to write a YA book, and I said yes because adolescence is such a crossroads of life. It’s fascinating to explore the issues of teens’ character and identity.

ME: If you could describe your writing with a word or phrase, what would it be? Please delve into the core of your writing to tell us what word or phrase you want readers to take with them when they've finished reading your story.

CAROL: Let’s go with “real people in unreal situations.”

ME: Do the holidays disrupt your writing schedule? If so, how tough is it to get yourself back in writing mode and what have you found that seems to help?

CAROL: Often, I am more productive during the holidays because I am freed from the tyranny of my children’s school schedules and extracurricular activities. This year was an exception, however. Right now I am relying on my old friends Guilt and Anxiety to get me moving.

ME: Do you prefer hot chocolate with marshmallows or whipped cream? Does that show through in your writing? If so, how?

CAROL: Of course the mini marshmallows in my hot chocolate resonate in my books. Especially if I'm drinking it while working on a hard copy and, you know, spill a little.

ME: Who decides what characters/creatures you write about, you or your muse? What kind of influence do you have over your story, or is the muse always the one pouring the soap in the Jacuzzi?

CAROL: I don’t think of my muse as a separate entity – unless you count my cat Cecil – but rather a deep, dreamy, colorful part of my brain that can be very, very difficult to access. (I was a psych major; I can’t help it.) My initial plot ideas almost always come from there, but most of the work happens in the normal, plodding (and plotting) part of my consciousness. Still, the more I force myself to work, the more my muse pops out with new ideas – generally when I am cooking, driving, showering, or in some other place without a pen.

ME: What creature/character did you have the most fun creating and why?

CAROL: That’s easy: Tiara Cardenas in Here Today, Gone to Maui (one of my women’s fiction titles). She’s a surgically enhanced, aspiring model/actress. When I started writing the book, she was just a random bimbo. When I realized how shameless and calculating she was in her relentless pursuit of fame, she got much more entertaining, especially when paired with the straight-laced, rather anal-retentive protagonist.

ME: If you had the opportunity to meet just one of your characters in real life, who would it be and why? Which of your characters would you never want to meet under any circumstance and why?

CAROL: I’d love to meet Delilah from Snap. She’s a smart, perceptive, pink-haired teenager making the best of a difficult home situation while planning for a better future.

As entertaining as she is, I wouldn’t really want to meet Tiara from Here Today, Gone to Maui. She’d walk all over me.

BLURB: SNAP by Carol Snow

Madison Sabatini thought she knew who she was.
Then, in a flash, everything changed. Now she’s stuck in Sandyland, a gloomy beach town in the middle of nowhere, living with her parents in a crappy hotel “suite” and hanging out with pink-haired Delilah, an artist who works in a shop called Psychic Photo, and a skater boy named Duncan who’s totally not her type. Except, maybe he is ...

Determined to make the best of things, Madison throws herself into her greatest passion: photography. But when strange figures start appearing in her photos, she begins to question everything about who she is … and who she wishes she could be.

“As in Switch (2008), Snow blends mysticism, suspense and realistic family problems into a well-tuned chiller with enormous teen appeal.” -- Kirkus Reviews

“Snow's novel is a page-turning blend of romance, mystery, and the supernatural, with the backdrop of the mortgage crisis as viewed through the eyes of an angst-ridden teen, providing a sense of freshness and currency . . . A perfect choice for fans of supernatural chillers.” – School Library Journal

Chapter Three

SnapA bell jangled when I opened Psychic Photos’s purple door. There was another customer in there already: a woman in a straw visor stood in front of the digital photo printer, squinting at the screen.

Despite the funky name, the store looked pretty much like a normal photo place: a display case full of cameras, racks of film, color-drenched pictures on the walls. But the walls were the same purple as the outside and the sides of the service counter were encrusted with rhinestones, bottle caps, and shells. To my disappointment, there were no crystal balls or tarot cards.

A tall, angular girl stood behind the counter. She had the oddest hair I’d ever seen: straight and just past her shoulders, it was brown with black bond and pink -- yes, pink -- stripes. It made the unwashed mess on my head look normal.

She nodded hello.

I shot her a half-smile in return.

“Don’t say it,” She said.”

“Excuse me?” Did she expect me to comment on her hair? I wasn’t that rude.

“You know.” She sighed and closed her eyes. Her eyelashes were pale, as was her skin. A spray of freckles ran over the bridge of her nose. She had no curves and she wore no makeup. If not for the crazy hair, I would have guessed she was an extremely tall twelve-year-old.

Behind me, the door jangled again, and a man walked in. He was middle aged, with a round, squishy belly and a yellow T-shirt that said, “Fishermen Make a Great Catch.”
He grinned at the girl behind the counter. “I’d tell you what I’m here for, but I guess you already know.”

She kept her face expressionless. “Can I help you?”

“I have film to drop off.”

She picked up a pen and pulled a yellow envelope from behind the counter. “Your name?”

The smile was back, bigger this time. “Don’t you already know it?”

She gave him a look.

“Well? Aren’t you psychic?”

She tapped her pen on the counter. She had silver rings on all of her fingers, even the thumbs. “Rose will be doing readings this afternoon. She has a few openings if you’d like to make an appointment.”

“Nah -- just the pictures.” He handed her the film.

She slipped it into a yellow envelope. “Your prints will be ready tomorrow afternoon.”

His eyebrows shot up. “But the sign outside said this was a one-hour photo.”

She shrugged. “The psychic is one hour. Photos take a day.”

Hope you enjoyed our interview with Carol! Be sure to ask your questions!

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