Sunday, January 10, 2010

Welcome Kitty Keswick and Freaksville! plus ARC giveaway!

One of my greatest pleasures in recent months was being asked to mentor the co-presidents of the illustrious and newly launched Class of 2k10, Kitty Keswick and Judith Graves. (Okay, I'm not sure how valuable my advice has been - do a blog tour; don't stress over reviews; no I lied, stress over them because why should you be different; keep writing; ha ha ha, just try to find the time; enjoy the ride; and other stuff like that - but I've given it to them anyway and they've been gracious about it.)

Judith's debut Under My Skin (Leap Books) will be out in the spring, but Kitty's Freaksville (Leap Books) is in stores now and I know she's absolutely thrilled. It's a fun YA read - werewolves! romance! freaky powers! did I say werewolves? - the summary of which goes like this:

Every woman in the Maxwell family has the gift of sight. A talent sixteen year old Kasey would glad give up. Until Kasey has a vision about Josh Johnstone, the foreign exchange student from Englad. The vision leads her into deep waters... a lead in aplay and into the arms of Josh. But Josh, too, has a secret. Something that could put them all in danger. To solve a mystery of a supernatural haunting, they must uncover the secrets of the haunted theater when they are trapped on the night of the full moon.

Kitty -dear girl that she is - stopped by joysnovelidea for a little Q&A. Here's what we chatted about:

1.Kitty, as a debut author myself, I'm always interested in the author journey. So tell us a little about yours. What was your journey toward publication with Freaksville?

It’s been a roller coaster! My original publisher closed the YA line, and my rights were sold to a new publisher. But I’m enjoying the ride. Sometimes you have to just strap yourself in and hold on…maybe even let out a scream or two.

2. Freaksville is definitely a fun, frothy fantasy. Is fantasy your favorite genre? Do you write other genres?

I’ve tried to write novels that were straight contemporary, no fantasy, no paranormal, just normal, but, alas, somehow a bit of fantasy always seems to seep into the plot. Instead of fighting it, I decided to run with it. It’s where I’m at, at this stage in my writing.

When you read fantasy, who are your favorite authors?

I read so much, there are some terrific books out there. I can tell you I’ve enjoyed Rachel Caine’s Morganville Vampire series. I also like Catherine Clark and Kim Harrison, and I even read this great debut novel, Dreaming Anastasia.

3. In the spirit of getting to know you a little better, I see on your website that you love 80's movies and the late, great John Hughes. So here's the question. You're hosting a dinner party. Which John Hughes characters would you invite and why? How would you seat them? What would you serve? Anyone you'd make sure not to seat together? (Oh how I am loving the cleverness of this question.)

Oh how fun! I’d seat Claire Standish (Breakfast Club), Samantha Baker (Sixteen Candles), and Andie Walsh (Pretty in Pink) at one table; of course, they were all played by Molly Ringwald. It would be fascinating to see how the freak (PIP), the forgotten (16), and the princess (Breakfast) all react to one another. I’d also like to seat Steff (James Spader, Pretty in Pink) next to John Bender (Judd Nelson, the juvenile delinquent in Breakfast Club) because Steff really needs to be taken down a notch. Nobody played a creep—spoiled-rich-guy-jerk—better than James Spader. I’d serve pimento loaf sandwiches from which we’d remove the meat and toss it onto a nearby statue, top it with Captain Crunch smash, and pour pixy sticks filled with flavored sugar into our mouths, then wash it down with a Coke in honor of Ally Sheedy’s character Allison Reynolds in the Breakfast Club, which is one of my favorite movies.

John Hughes mastered teenage angst. I hope his work will be rejuvenated.

4. You and Judith Graves are both my Class of 2k10 mentees (is that even a word?) since I am now an official graduate of the school of hard knocks debut experience with 2k9. And you are co-presidents! So tell us about 2k10 - what's going on and how you ended up one of the fearless leaders.

The Class of 2k10 is an amazing group of debut Middle Grade and Young Adult authors. We’re from a variety of publishers, but we’ve banded together to promote our books. Being the co-president of the group is a ton of work, but worth it. We share a lot, and it’s this camaraderie that makes it special. We even started a mentor program, where the pervious class shares their wisdom with the new class. I’m honored to have Joy as my mentor.

We started working on the class of 2k10 back in April 2009 and just launched in January 2010. We have an amazing website at

Congrats on your graduation, Joy! 2K9 is wonderful group of talented authors. I’m honored to carry on the torch.

5. Your publisher is Leap Books. Tell us a little about them.
They are awesome. New, but growing. I’m one of their debut authors. They care about the story and an author’s voice. Their voice is snarky, so I seem to fit. You can read more about them at

6. I see that you grew up in California - with a vineyard in the family! Did you like Cali? Do you still live there? Are you a California girl?

In the seventies, my grandfather bought several acres of land in Denair, California. He planted his vineyard there and had it running for few years before he died. He didn’t make wine for public consumption; he sold his grapes to wineries. I’m not sure where he would have taken it; I was in third grade when we sold it. (I did get to squish grapes with my feet for his private stock, and my grandmother made raisins.)

I used to listen to the huge oak leaves whisper in the wind; it sounded like waterfalls at Yosemite. The rows and rows of grapes were my playground and my theater; I “talked” out my stories back then. It was a magical place and still inspires me.

I just went back to central California for the holiday. It’s sad the vineyard is now a housing development. That’s progress. It’s still sharp in my memory, and maybe someday I’ll write about it. But for now, werewolves and vampires and ghosts have my pen.

I love California. I’ve lived in a few states since, but it’s still one of my favorite places. I don’t live in there now, but I’ll always be a California girl. My novel Freaksville takes place in the make-believe town of Stony Creek, California, and I modeled the high school after my old high school.

7. So back to the supernatural. Do you believe? Ghosts? Vampires? Werevolves? Things that go bump in the night? Any paranormal experiences that led you to your love of all things fantasy?

I do believe in ghosts. I’ve had a few experiences that raised the hairs on the back of my neck—my name called out when no one was around, things flying off shelves, shadows…

As for vampires and werewolves, my lips are sealed…some secrets are best kept. J

8. Advice to aspiring writers?

READ. That’s the biggest thing a writer can do to improve. Learn your craft. Read books on plotting, characters, pacing, conflict and resolution, etc. Then next thing is learn to edit your words. Forget about how long it took to write them. If they don’t move the story forward or have a specific purpose to the plot, cut them. Novels aren’t written. They are rewritten and rewritten and rewritten. Freaksville had so many drafts. The original is so far from the final. It’s a process, but it’s only painful if you let it be so.

9. Why YA?

I love the time in characters’ lives where they are on the verge of possibilities, where they are standing at this beginning in which everything is new and each path will lead them to something amazing. Teens are that genre, and that’s where my voice fits best.

10. Anything I haven't asked that you're totally dying to answer?

Nope. Thanks Joy, I had a lot of fun.

Checkout Kitty's blog below, the Leap Books website and also Judith and Kitty's Wolfy Chick blog!

Want to win an ARC of Freaksville? Then comment on my blog on the following question: What's cool about werewolves?
I'll put the best answers in a hat and let you know the winner soon. Contest is open until midnight 1/14. Winner will be posted on Friday 1/15.

Til next time...


Natascha De Marco said...

What's cool about werewolves?

Easy. They-Are-HOT. In what way? EVERY WAY POSSIBLE.

Taschima Cullen

Unknown said...

What's cool about werewolves?

Well, It depends of what kind of werewolves we are talking about? The uglies that when they transform eat everything in their way and loose their sense while?? or the handsome werewolves, the ones who many girls dream about?? I really like the one that are like shapeshifter, who transform completely into a wolf. But then It is cool about then all their power and strength. And those muscles too. I think I got carried away with my answer, haha.

PS. twitter - @MariePuertoRico

Kitty Keswick said...

Thanks Joy! I couldn't ask for a better mentor!

My werewolves in Freaksville transform into wolves...but they are hot guys in their human form.

Sherry said...

Werewolves are cool they are smoking hot, frisky and playful. Who wouldn't want to snag a werewolf!?

Kitty and Joy I enjoyed the interview, and i'm glad I found out about Freaksville and Dreaming Anatasia. I look forward to reading them both!

Thank you so much!


Sherry said...

oh yea p.s.

Congrats on 50 followers Joy! :)

Denise Jaden said...

Yay, Kitty! And may I just add that she's an AWESOME co-prez over at 2k10 :)

Thanks for the great interview, Joy!

Joy Preble said...

Thanks you guys! Let's keep the 'why are werewolves cool'comments coming! And Sherry, yes! I'm now up to 53 followers which totally rocks my world. And speaking of followers, check out the new Sourcebooks Teen Fire website at Lots of cool stuff going on there too!

Sab H. said...

That's a good question because I didn't find werewolves cool at all until I read The Summoning and Shiver. And then of course, I saw New Moon and the abs... And well, now I think what's cool about werewolves is that they are so strong and manly that abs and a drop-dead body are a must. Lets be honest, who cares about the face and the personality when the guy has a yummy six-pack? Yep, not me. :D

Sab at

yabliss AT gmail DOT com

Wendy said...

Werewolves are sexy and earthy and sooo red-blooded which is even more awesome!

donnas said...

They are cute, furry and oh so protective.

Spav said...

What's cool about werewolves?

They are strong, impulsive and I think the coolest thing is that they can transform into a wolf. :D


Janet Fox said...

What a great interview, Joy and Kitty! I love it! Congrats, Kitty. :)

xo - Janet

Judith Graves said...

Cool interview! Thanks for being such a fun mentor, Joy - you seriously rock (even though you didn't know about the Rasputin

Congrats, Kitty!

Anonymous said...

Oh, yes, I second the werewolf & abs combo...they go nicely together.

Kim said...

What's cool about werewolves?

Well, I like the fact that they are such an unique creature; authors can write them in so many ways that it makes me impressed. When you ask me that question, I don't really know how to answer because nowadays, werewolves are so different in every book. I guess I just like how they are so alluring, mysterious, and diverse.

sruble said...

What's cool about werewolves?

They are mysterious. Nobody knows exactly what they are or how they transform, except other werewolves, of course.

Favorite book werewolves so far are the ones in BLOOD AND CHOCOLATE, HARRY POTTER, and LIAR because they manage to keep a bit of the mystery, while still letting the reader see a part of who they are.

Thanks for the great interview and fun contest!

sruble at

Joy Preble said...

Great comments!! CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED!! will pick winner and post later today. Thanks for playing the cool werewolf game!

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