Friday, August 3, 2012

Authors Are Rockstars Tour: Gabrielle Zevin Guest Post and Giveaway



As a part of the Authors Are Rockstars Tour (hosted by Fiktshun and Two Chicks On Books), I get to host Gabrielle Zevin today in Bookland! Wooooo!


Why do I think Gabrielle Zevin is a rockstar? Well, it's obvious... isn't it? I absolutely adored her book, All These Things I've Done and seriously cannot wait for Because It Is My Blood. The main character, Anya, is an incredibly real character. She is completely flawed, but that is what makes her so amazing. I truly appreciate when an author is able to create a flawed character that ends up being really likable... and Gabrielle Zevin does just that!


Also, whoever is able to imagine a world where chocolate and coffee are illegal is completely amazing to me. I would not even want to think about a world like that, let alone spend so much time crafting the world and writing about it. Seriously.. if you can get me to love a book where coffee (which may as well be my lifeline) is illegal, you're a rockstar! 


Now you can read Gabrielle's awesome guest post. :) (And Gabrielle was super rockstar-like in that she is including a giveaway too (which is international)!
_______________________________________________________
On Hair and Hair-oines!

So, full disclosure. I have Anya Balanchine’s hair as described in All These Things I’ve Done. It is long, voluminous, dark, curly, and in the absence of product and the presence of humidity, occasionally prone to frizz. (One of the things that truly scares me about the future world of ATTID is not the fact that chocolate is illegal, but that hair products are rationed.) My hair blows out and flatirons well, and I’d say I do that maybe twenty percent of the time. At this moment, I am a couple of days into a flatiron and it’s slightly wavy, like straight hair that’s been to the beach. I’m prettier than I can even stand. (I jest!) In general though, I like my hair au naturel, and I’ve never wanted to become one of those women who treated curls like they were a plague to be eradicated by any means necessary. The reason I like my hair is because it is the perfect combination of my mom’s hair and my dad’s hair. Mom is Korean; Dad is of Jewish/Russian descent. And my hair looks like hair that comes from those people, those backgrounds. I like those people. I like that background. I like my hair.


It annoys me in movies or books when the nerdy girl gets “pretty” and the way we know that she’s “pretty” is that her once curly hair has become super straight. Exhibit A: Anne Hathaway in The Princess Diaries. Exhibit B: When Hermione goes to the ball in Harry Potter. (Don’t even get me started on the evolution of Hermione’s hair in the movies…) You know what I’m talking about. The subtext of these moments is that a girl cannot have naturally curly hair and be attractive. Is the bravest thing about Brave the fact that Merida is unabashedly curly? 


In writing, the selection of a character’s hair is no small matter. (Dare I say it is a hairy matter?) Certainly, there is an extent to which hair determines character. Would Anne Shirley be Anne Shirley without the red hair? Perhaps it’s a cliché, but the red hair symbolizes her outsider-ness, her specialness, her very Anne-ness. The inciting incident for her relationship to Gilbert Blythe is the moment when he insults her hair, calling her “Carrots!” Consider Daisy Buchanan in Gatsby. We think of her as a blond, but her hair actually changes colors throughout Fitzgerald’s descriptions. These shifting descriptions are no accident.


But as a writer, why I really think hair is important is because it’s one of the few things in life that a person can easily change. For the most part, if you want to be a redhead, you will be a redhead. If you want to have pink hair or blue hair, you will. Hair is not destiny in the same way that, say, height is. Hair color and style speak to the place and time one lives in, one’s health, one’s religion, one’s style, the style of one’s mate or parents or friends, I could go on. Hair can have intent in it or discontent, too. This is to say, we learn a lot about a character from the way he or she wears (or is made to wear) their hair. 


After name, hair is one of the first decisions I make about a character. Elizabeth Hall in Elsewhere was blond and blue-eyed. It was my first novel, and in retrospect, I think I needed her to look as differently from me as possible so that I could be freer in my writing. With blond hair and blue eyes, there was no chance anyone would mistake her for me, which allowed me to be more emotionally open. In Margarettown, one of my novels for adults, the male narrator thinks Margaret Towne is red-haired but later in the book, it is revealed that she has been dyeing her hair the entire time. The hair becomes a symbol for all the things the male narrator doesn’t know about his beloved. On the various foreign jackets, sometimes Margaret is depicted as a blond, sometimes as a redhead. I find this very appropriate. In Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac, Naomi wakes up in an ambulance as a bottle blond whose roots are showing, and this ought to tell you pretty much everything you need to know about her character.


Last year, my publisher decided to re-jacket All These Things I’ve Done. Despite the fact that covers with girls on them are as common as iPhones, I was not all that upset when the new concept included a photographic depiction of the main character. While I had liked the original hardcover concept very much, I had strongly objected to the copy on the front. The copy had spelled out the world (“Chocolate is contraband; caffeine is illegal,” etc.), which I felt emphasized the wrong thing for readers as they approached the book. All These Things I’ve Done is a book about a deeply flawed girl, Anya Balanchine, not a world, and I hoped (hope!) that the new jacket would let readers know that they would be reading a novel that emphasized character. Furthermore, I liked the girl on the jacket. She was strong looking, not too pretty or girly, a little bit Lisbeth Salander. Of course, I did have to point out to my publisher that the cover model’s hair did not match the description of Anya Balanchine’s hair in All These Things… but no one seemed to think it was a problem. And as I thought about it, it wasn’t a problem for me either. The girl they chose captures something of Anya’s spirit. Ultimately, I think this is more important than if the model had the right hair. Although I’ve spent the last thousand words or so telling you how important hair is, I also think book characters are MORE than just hairstyles. Hair is a fine place to start, but if it doesn’t speak to a character’s situation, I won’t write it into a book at all. Not to put to fine a point on it but women are more than just hairstyles, too. Judge me by the content of my character not the quality of my flatiron, you know?


Incidentally, by the end of the series, Anya will have a hairstyle very much like the one on the jacket. Most women don’t have the same hairstyles their whole lives, after all. Anya is a sixteen-year-old high school girl in book one, but she will be in her twenties and in a very different place in her life by the end of the series. Not to mention, she has always been a retrospective narrator, telling the story from some future place and time, after all. In the future, Anya’s hair will look exactly like the girl on the jacket’s, I promise.

___________________________________________________
Giveaway Details:
-International (thanks to Gabrielle!)
-You must be 13 or older to enter
-Ends at 11:59pm EST on August 31, 2012
-Winner will be chosen through Rafflecopter
-Winner will be announced here and emailed
-Winner will have 48 hours after notification to respond with their details or prize will be forfeit and awarded to someone else
a Rafflecopter giveaway

70 comments:

  1. Books & tea. I couldn't live without either of them. Chocolate is way up there too though. Thanks for the chance to win!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I don't know what I'd do with myself if coffee was illegal. I am a weirdo and kinda hate chocolate so it would not be missed at all...but coffee? I would seriously cry. A lot.

    I loved Gabrielle's guest post. So. Much. I spend a long part of my life fighting my naturally wavy and frizz-prone hair, and felt so much better when I finally embraced it. :) It's a part of who we are and where we come from.

    Thanks so much for having Gabrielle as part of the tour and the awesome giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I feel ya - I would die without coffee. It's such a necessity. I have also finally started embracing my red hair and it's nice :)

      Delete
  3. Books definitely!!! But if I had to choice food and drink wise Id say Tea and potatoes :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. So happy you're part of the tour, seriously loved this post!!

    Great job!!!

    -Patricia

    ReplyDelete
  5. Fiction. If the only legal books were math textbooks I would go insane. Blankets, to. If they were illegal I'd freeze to death in the winter.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I loved this post. The title alone got me. Love this author. What an awesome stop on the tour! So glad you could be a part of the event! :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Books! And chocolate! :D I don't think I could live without any of them.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Dr. Pepper. Seriously obsessed with that stuff!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Books, laptop & tea! I couldn´t live without it!!
    I love this Author since I did read Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesic :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. I would have to go with books, Diet Dr. Pepper (or any soda), and chocolate. Thanks for the giveaway!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I am in love with this post like SO much. It may make me a bit shallow, but hair is the one thing that I really care about appearance wise. That's the first thing I notice on a person, but like you said, hair does not choose your destiny and you can always change it if you want. Hair is SO important and I'm glad you think so too. :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Books. Chocolate. Pasta.
    Those three are things that I pretty much need to survive. xD

    ReplyDelete
  13. I can't live without green tea, dark chocolate and .....books, of course. :P Thank you for the awesome post and giveaway! :D

    ReplyDelete
  14. Oh, this post is awesome! Very insightful and original. "Judge me by the content of my character not the quality of my flatiron" - love this! <3

    I'd DIE if music became illegal. I think my ears will ring constantly from the silence/other random noise around. And where would all the fun and good mood and dancing go - can you imagine?! *shudder*

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  15. books and coffee! Id go NUTS!

    ReplyDelete
  16. books and chocolate! I would not survive!!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Books and music. I'd go insane. :D

    ReplyDelete
  18. Missing chocolate and books really would mess me up (although I did give up chocolate successfully for Lent one year).

    ReplyDelete
  19. Books & diet Mtn. Dew - gotta have lots of both ;D

    Mary DeBorde M.A.D.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Books would be the main thing and of course chocolate. I can't deal without these two things.
    I love the post about hair. This is coming from a curly red head :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Obviously books, but I would also have to say shopping!!! I don't know what I would do if I couldn't go shopping.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Books, electronic gadgets... and oh gosh, FOOD! Especially doughnuts. :P

    ReplyDelete
  23. Books, soda, and games!! I would be devastated!!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Books, soda and Facebook (internet).

    ReplyDelete
  25. If books, the internet, and potatoes and pasta were illegal, I may cry. I could live off of potatoes and pasta!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Chocolate would definetly suck, but my ultimate weakness is ice cream. I would hate it if that was illegal.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Books. I just wouldn't be myself without them!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Aside from chocolate? Books. I would be happy to live just eating chocolate and reading books if I could. So losing those would be absolutely horrible!

    Catriona @ Little Book Owl

    ReplyDelete
  29. if books were illegal I would loose my mind
    tinyauthor at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  30. Soda--it's a horrible addiction :)

    ReplyDelete
  31. I would hate if it were illegal to own books or read them, like in *Fahrenheit 451*.
    I'd hate to have our house burned over it.

    bookaholicholly @ gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  32. chocolate and pasta! :)
    thank you for the international giveaway.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I would have to be sugar in any form! I love my comfort sweets!! I have to have a dessert after my meal or I'm just not "done". And fruits just don't do the trick.

    Basically, I'd shrivel up and die... :D

    ReplyDelete
  34. BOOKS!...INTERNET!..SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS!...GREEN TEA ICE CREAM! Yes, I am greedy. *drools*

    Lilian @ A Novel Toybox

    ReplyDelete
  35. Chocolate would be a biggie for me too. Also diet coke. Books. Having dogs as pets. These four things pretty much sum up my life ;)

    ReplyDelete
  36. Books and Coca-Cola! I would dieeee!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Oh it's a popular answer but totally books oh and internet. I would go crazy if they were illegal. And I would break the law a lot.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I will say that food-wise, ice cream can never be banned.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Chocolate, Ice Cream, coffee in food related things

    Music and books in things

    awesome giveaway

    ReplyDelete
  40. Books! I would die if books were illegal. But food wise.... hmmm.... probably chocolate and soda.

    ReplyDelete
  41. I know everyone said it, but books and music are a couple of things I can't live without.
    Now food... I think the thing I would miss the most is meat/fish.
    Penny Pe

    ReplyDelete
  42. Internet and chocolate.
    Thanks a lot for the giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  43. I agree with books!

    Also food and water, because we'd die...that would make for an interesting book, though. A society where basic necessities are outlawed so the citizens have to constantly break the law in order to survive.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Music, I would probably go crazy without it. And chocolate.

    ReplyDelete
  45. I would hate books to be illegal, definitely! Orrrr... monster munch crisps... totally!

    Or ice cram, jade needs her ice cream!

    ReplyDelete
  46. Books, ice cream, chocolate and cheese! Can't live without my cheese LOL :D

    ReplyDelete
  47. Books. I would not be able to live without my books.

    ReplyDelete
  48. i'll go crazy if books, laptop, internet and tasty food is declared illegal.... :)

    ReplyDelete
  49. Speaking! Or alphabet letters like in the HILARIOUS book Ella Minnow Pea! Haha!

    ReplyDelete
  50. I think I would go absolutely crazy if Ice Cream were illegal, I'm pretty sure I need that stuff to survive!

    ReplyDelete
  51. Technology!! I would die without my iPhone and computer!

    ReplyDelete
  52. One thing? Easy...I would hate for books to become illegal! Imagine if the world was like it was in Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury *shudders* That would be horrible =( x

    ReplyDelete

Comment away, my friends. I love to chat with you guys. :)