Monday, November 7, 2011

Prized Blog Tour: Author Interview with Caragh M. O'Brien

I am so excited today to welcome the author of the Birthmarked series, Caragh M. O'Brien. The second book in the series, Prized, is releasing tomorrow(11/8)! I'm a huge fan of this series, so I'm a little fangirl-ish over the opportunity to interview her! On to the Interview!

Let me first say thank you, Tara, for inviting me by to visit Taming the Bookshelf.  I can hardly believe Prized is coming out tomorrow.  That’s so soon!

Dystopian books are obviously a hot genre in YA right now, however you wrote Birthmarked before the trend started. Any predictions on what will be the next big trend in YA literature?It was pure luck that I wrote Birthmarked just as dystopias were cycling into popularity again, and I’m not surprised that many other writers were picking up on the discontent and fears that have been simmering in our society for quite some time.  Our books, film, and art often reflect prevailing interests and attitudes.  I think now there’s an almost nostalgic longing for security and tradition, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see a conservative trend come along next.  I don’t know if that would mean a return to old stories retold, like updated fairy tales, or historical novels, or even westerns, but I hope it won’t be coupled with intolerance or fear of others.  We stand at a pivotal time, eager for scapegoats, and we need to be careful to move instead towards global kindness.  That’s the future I hope we embrace in novels and real life.

I absolutely love the world-building in your novels, especially in Prized. I love hearing the details of what makes a society tick. How do you come up with such creative ideas? Any inspiration?Thank you!  It’s interesting to hear you combining the world-building with the workings of the society, because I tend to think of world-building as just the setting but obviously, it isn’t that simple.  I liked working on Prized because everything was new to Gaia, and I was able to describe the place and the customs as she experienced them.  Nearly two hundred pages of the first draft ended up getting cut, but those lost scenes helped me develop the world in my mind.  I truly feel like I’ve walked in the village of Sylum, and seen it at different angles like from up on the bluff, and at different times of day and in changing weather.  I’ve been part of many conversations outside the main story, so I know the people there.  I’m glad you think the world-building works on the page.

How big is your personal library? Do you tend to hang on to books, or pass them on?We have built-in bookshelves in our living room and more in the library, plus over-stuffed shelves in the bedrooms.  Books pile up on my desk and on the coffee tables, too.  You’d never guess that I try very hard to move books out of our home.  I cull my shelves every few months and donate as much as I can to the public library for their fundraiser sales.  My plan is to save only my very favorites and keep the rest moving so I have room for my latest reads, but it’s sort of a battle and I would not say I’m successful.  Using my library card helps, but those books pile up, too.  I can’t resist them.

How do you feel about the new eBook trend? Do you own an eReader?
E-books make a lot of sense to me and I’m all for them.  Save those poor trees.  Bring e-libraries to old folks’ homes, hospitals, prisons and remote schools.  I do hope contracts with traditional publishers evolve so that writers earn more than 25% royalties on e-book sales, and I'm optimistic that will happen as production costs for publishers diminish.  It’s the actual book printing companies that are really in trouble, if you ask me.  I have a Kindle which I use for travel and when I can’t wait to start a new book in the middle of the night. 

What can you tell us about “Tortured”?
Ah!  My short story!  The team at Roaring Brook asked me to write a tie-in story to go with Prized, so I worked on one this summer and revised it with my editor.  It is a bit of an experiment for my publisher, so we hit a couple of snags.  Ironically, though neither my publisher nor I will be paid anything for the story, we still needed a legal contract for the work and that took some time to iron out.  “Tortured: a bridge story between Birthmarked and Prized” will be released December 6th.  It’ll be available electronically on Kindle and Nook, for free.  I don’t want to give any spoilers, but it features a different perspective from a favorite character.  I’m pleased with how it turned out.  I’m also really happy we have something to give away because I’m so grateful to the grassroots support of readers who have been passing Gaia’s story along to their friends.

Prized Code #15: L

Striking out into the wasteland with nothing but her baby sister, a handful of supplies, and a rumor to guide her, sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone survives only to be captured by the people of Sylum, a dystopian society where women rule the men who drastically outnumber them, and a kiss is a crime.  In order to see her sister again, Gaia must submit to their strict social code, but how can she deny her sense of justice, her curiosity, and everything in her heart that makes her whole?

Connect with Caragh!


Purchase Prized 

Be sure to drop by the GoodReads chat tomorrow! You can find the group HERE! The other bloggers from the tour and I will be joining Caragh and her editors, readers and fans. Feel free to drop by throughout the day. Caragh will be live around 9pm EST for anyone who wants to chat!

Tour Details can be found at Mac Teen Books . Instructions to decipher the code are also on the website. Make sure you stop by the final tour stop tomorrow, The Book Muncher!

Huge thanks to Caragh for graciously answering my questions! We'll see everyone tomorrow at the chat!

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