Monday, March 16, 2015

Day 16 of 31 books in 31 days - Ellen Hopkins & a chance to win a kindle

Welcome to the 16th day of 31 books in 31 days, where you win prizes for reading.

Recap of Rules

Everyday that you participate in the giveaway of the day, you are eligible to win a brand new kindle.

How to participate
  a) Subscribe via email, so you can get the author & prize of the day sent directly to your email.
  b) Like the author of the day on facebook
  c) Follow the author on Twitter
  d) Read any of the author's books
  e) Answer the occasional quiz on author's interview
  f) Scroll to the bottom of each interview and enter the raffle (you'll have to unlock the raffle with your email first)

That's it- then enter the kindle giveaway!

All giveaways will be sent out by the 7th day in April. Good Luck.

Today's author of the day is New York Time's best selling Ellen Hopkins. She has written a number of YA bestsellers which touch on topics ranging from suicide to drug abuse. Her books are written in free verse, and if you haven't already read her books your missing out.

Featured Book
Ellen Hopkins's semi-autobiographical verse novel, Crank, reads like a Go Ask Alice for the 21st century. In it, she chronicles the turbulent and often disturbing relationship between Kristina, a character based on her own daughter, and the "monster," the highly addictive drug crystal meth, or "crank." Kristina is introduced to the drug while visiting her largely absent and ne'er-do-well father. While under the influence of the monster, Kristina discovers her sexy alter-ego, Bree: "there is no perfect daughter, / no gifted high school junior, / no Kristina Georgia Snow. / There is only Bree." Bree will do all the things good girl Kristina won't, including attracting the attention of dangerous boys who can provide her with a steady flow of crank. Soon, her grades plummet, her relationships with family and friends deteriorate, and she needs more and more of the monster just to get through the day. Kristina hits her lowest point when she is raped by one of her drug dealers and becomes pregnant as a result. Her decision to keep the baby slows her drug use, but doesn't stop it, and the author leaves the reader with the distinct impression that Kristina/Bree may never be free from her addiction. In the author's note, Hopkins warns "nothing in this story is impossible," but when Kristina's controlled, high-powered mother allows her teenage daughter to visit her biological father (a nearly homeless known drug user), the story feels unbelievable. Still, the descriptions of crystal meth use and its consequences are powerful, and will horrify and transfix older teenage readers, just as Alice did over 20 years ago. --Jennifer Hubert

                                           Interview with Ellen Hopkins


Hello Ellen,

       Thank you so much for the interview.

  1. I have read that you gravitated to horror as a teen. Why horror and what made Dean Koontz one of your favorite authors?
Horror is an escape, and really, if you think about it, a safe escape. Fall into horror in a book, you know you’ll come out okay once you close the cover, whether or not the characters do. It’s tension. It’s a thrill. Dean Koontz and Stephen King write humanity within their horror, which is what still draws me to their work.

  1. What role does reading play in your life? How often do you get to read?
Once upon a time I read two or three books a week. I don’t have a lot of time to read for pleasure right now, between my own deadlines and some serious family issues I’ve been facing. I read on airplanes and in hotel rooms. I do miss it, though.

  1. As an adult, do you still read YA? What is the last young adult book that you read?
I do read YA, mostly because I have lots of friends writing it. The last YA I read was 100 SIDEWAYS MILES. And, yes, Andrew is a friend.

  1. What is the last book that had an impact on you?  How has that story impacted your life? Your writing?
David Levithan’s TWO BOYS KISSING. On the surface, it’s inspired by the two young men who set a world record for kissing without stopping. But it’s told from the POV of gay men who died from HIV, or without admitting to the world who they really were. It’s that outside POV that struck me--this idea that the things we do while we’re here on earth just might impact generations to come, and the true importance of that. We might not change the world while we’re here, but who knows what the ripples we cause might do? I hope my writing will continue to positively influence many generations to come.
  1. Your young adult novel is very personal to you. For our readers who don’t know, what is Crank about and why did you decide to publish something so personal?
Well, I actually have published eleven YA novels to date. Crank was my first, and it was inspired by my daughter’s story of meth addiction. I started the book for me, to gain some understanding of the choices she made, and what part I might have played in them. Through the writing process, it became clear that this was a story that touched many lives, not just my family’s. I chose to publish it to try and turn other young people away from that path, and to offer insight to those who faced losing someone they love to addiction.
6. If you can be one character from any young adult novel, who would you be and why?

Can I choose one of my own? I’d pick Cara, from PERFECT. I’m straight, and she’s not, but she is willing to accept the truth of herself and fight for love, despite pressure from her parents to be their idea of who she should be, and from a controlling ex-partner who refuses to let her go. She’s smart, athletic, and talented, but while she embraces those things, she doesn’t flaunt them. She’s honest and patient, but it’s her courage I admire most. 

7. What advice would you give to someone who is interested in becoming an author?

Be patient. Don’t take shortcuts. Grow your craft, honing it daily even after you’ve “made it.” If writing isn’t your heart, it won’t become a career. You have to love the process more than the dream of hitting it big, because few enough authors do. But if you’re creating stories people love, stories people MUST read, the rest will follow.

Other Books by Ellen Hopkins

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