Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Interview and Giveaway with Laura Whitcomb!!!

I'm so excited to be interviewing Laura Whitcomb, author of one of my favorite books of all time, A Certain Slant of Light! She's also generously giving away a SIGNED copy! I'm so freakin' jealous of whomever wins this one-- good luck guys!


So, pretend we're in school and have to do one of those annoying ice-breakers, what are a few things you'd tell us to get to know you better?

I adopted a newborn a year ago – his name’s Robinson, but I call him Binny. His nursery is decorated like an elfin forest. We have a MinPin pup named Maximus. I host monthly Supernatural Tea Parties where friends gather (actors, storytellers, magicians, writers) and eat finger sandwiches and sweets and drink Earl Grey tea while discussing subjects like ghosts, fairyfolk, myths and legends, ESP, time travel, UFOs, magic, and the like.

Why did you decide to make A Certain Slant of Light a young adult novel when it could have easily been an adult novel?

My agent said it might sell to YA or to adult – she sent it to both kinds of editors and it sold to Graphia, a YA imprint of Houghton Mifflin. But as soon as I knew it would be YA, it made perfect sense to me. Helen and James deal with the high school lives of the teens they possess. It makes them accessible to YA readers, I think.

Do you have a comfort book? You know, one of those books you pick up when you need to feel better? If not, what do you do for a pick me up?

I’ve read the Princess Bride many times – every time I pick it up I think I’m only going to read one of my favorite parts, but I end up reading scores of pages before I even realize I’ve done it. It’s so charming.

What one book would you recommend to every reader?

Too hard to choose just one. I love The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie, C. S. Lewis's Narnia series, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle and so many others that they get stuck trying to get through the door of my brain at the same time.

As an aspiring author and reader, I've always wondered if authors are inspired by their favorite authors?

While I was writing A Certain Slant of Light I had recently read Janet Fitch’s White Oleander and both Poisonwood Bible and Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver – I wanted to write as beautifully as those two women. I would reread passages. Once I even blindly opened Fitch’s book and photocopied pages at random then highlighted every phrase or sentence that was unexpected and brilliant. She could be original on average a couple times per page. With the same highlighter in hand I went through my own rough draft of Slant and made sure I had at least two phrases or sentences per page that I felt were beautiful or fresh (or both.). If I found a page with no highlights in my book, I would work on that page until I liked it better.

How long did it take you to start writing your novels after you got the idea formed in your head?

That ranges quite a bit – I wrote twenty unpublished novels before I broke in. Sometimes years, sometimes days. With Slant I just started writing not knowing if it would be a short story or a novel. I didn’t have it all worked out in advance.

What was your reaction the first time you saw your book in a store?

I was a thrilled dork and had my sister take a picture of me next to it.

Do you have any future plans for anymore YA or adult novels?

Right now I’m writing the sequel to A Certain Slant of Light. It’s also kind of a prequel. So a sprequel. (My editor calls it a companion novel.) I also have an idea for a series to write after that which would also be YA supernatural. I also have ideas for a couple of adult novels, too. But I don’t talk about my stories in advance. I’m funny that way. Private. No, more like shy. Nervous if I talk about an idea I’ll kill some of it’s energy.
Just a few quickies:

Favorite Movie: One of my faves is Gosford Park.

Favorite Book: As I’ve said, one of my favorite books would be The Princess Bride.

Favorite Band: Flight of the Conchords.

Favorite TV Show: One of my favorite shows is 30 Rock. But I also love Medium, Treme, Boardwalk Empire, Luther, Being Human (UK version), Nurse Jackie, and So You Think You Can Dance.

I saw this question on the 30 Days of Insight posts I participated in and loved it: A memory that never fails to make you laugh: Once when I was in about the fifth grade my family was taking a walk around the neighborhood together and my mom was quietly walking without stepping on the lines in the sidewalk. When my dad noticed, he tried to force her onto a crack. By the time he succeeded, they were both laughing and she stopped and jumped up and down on the lines in a kind of “I meant to do that” fashion. They both died in 2005, but I bet Heaven is full of just that kind of sweet silliness.

Thanks so much Laura! And now drumroll please....time for the amazing giveaway!! All you have to do is:
  1. comment on the interview below
  2. comment on any of my posts before today (+1)
  3. be a follower (+1)
  4. spread the word in any way (+4)
The giveaway ends February 14th at 11:59 PM in honor of Valentine's Day!!!


  1. Nice interview. I've never read anything from her, but i've had my eye on A Certain Slaint of Light for a while. Not sure why i've never bought it...

    Thanks for the giveaway :)

    +1 I'm a follower

  2. Hi.

    I love Laura Whitcomb, and this is an incredible interview with fun questions, but it is kind of hard to read because of the background.

    I wish it was easier to read. I finally had to give up reading it on your blog and switch to RSS mode then come back to comment.

    Fun questions though. I loved finding out more about Ms. Whitcomb's sprequel and what inspired her.

  3. I love that The Princess Bride is her comfort book! I've had that on my TBR pile forever and she just inspired me to actually read it!
    +4 Tweeted at http://twitter.com/#!/LexieBookBug/status/24999392071131136
    +1 GFC follower (Lexie@BookBug)

  4. I am so glad to have found your blog thru Book Blogs. This is a great interview. I'd love to be invited to Laura's tea parties! What fun it would be.

    Thanks for the giveaway, I have my fingers crossed!

    +1 new follower
    +1 email subscriber

    onebookshy at yahoo dot com

  5. Great Interview! You gave me some ideas for questions!

  6. This was a great interview! And, I totally love this book! I would love to win a signed copy! I was amazed by how great this book was, and getting to know the author better is always great!

  7. I love hearing authors favorite things...it feels good to get to know them a little better...esp when we know their characters so well!

    I would love to win a signed copy!
    +1 I'm a follower

  8. Thanks for the giveaway! I ran across this book a few years ago and thought it looked interesting, but I've never gotten around to finding a copy and reading it.

    +1 GFC follower

  9. I follow you on GFC (Genna Sarnak). I saw this book on Goodreads the other day and it really piqued my interest. I would love to win a copy so I could write a review for my blog!

    Thanks so much for the opportunity. :)

  10. Awesome interview and thanks for the giveaway! Please count me in!


  11. Nice interview. You got different way to deliver your question.

    I have never heard about this book before. Sounds
    interesting. The cover is creepy.

    I am GFC FOllower
    Blog post about the giveaway

    aleetha.ally at gmail dot com

  12. This is a wonderful interview! I totally love the way Ms. Whitcomb went through White Oleander and then emulated that style .. such a well thought out way of editing your own prose and making it flower! And the funny memory .. and ... well .. just a great interview overall! This is a title that I've been seeing around and tossed on my wishlist, but now I think it needs to go closer to the top of the list!


  13. Oh! I'm following via GFC as jewelknits!


  14. Cool interview! I loved A Wrinkle in Time too and I'm actually collecting all the other books in it. I love The Princess Bride too. I would love to read A Certain Slant of Light. Thank you for doing this interview and introducing us to this brilliant author, and for this giveaway, too!

    I'm a follower, GFC name is Nina B.

    buoyread AT gmail DOT com


Thanks for leaving a comment! I read them all!