The Lockhart Ten with Tara Altebrando

Sometimes I ask fellow authors to come answer ten questions on my blog. Sarah Mlynowski & Sara Zarr both did it recently. Before that I used to do the Dramarama interviews, and author boyfriend lists and I had a Fly on the Wall survey I did as well. 

Those links are chock full of Q&As with your favorite authors. 

Anyway. Tara Altebrando's new book is The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life and she is awesome. Here is all the dirt she cared to share!

1. Where are you from? Tell me a bit of local slang. (I love local slang.)

I hail from Staten Island, New York. Back in the day, if you were sort of regularly kissing a guy, you were "going with" him.

2. Favorite snack while writing?  

Balance Bar. But only the Yogurt Honey Peanut–flavored kind. 

3. Favorite swear word?  

I like fake swear words like "frak" from Battlestar Gallactica and Irish ones like "feck." As in, "Oh, would you feck off!"

4. Tell me a book that gave you nightmares.  

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. Still count it among my favorites of all time, though.Tell me a sentence from your new book.

"The Yeti knows about Google!"

6. A great teen book you read recently.

And Then Things Fall Apart by Arlaina Tibensky. Love-love-loved it. 

7. A word of dating wisdom. 

Be picky.

8. Tell me something embarrassing about yourself. 

Until recently, I thought Stonehenge was in Scotland. 

9. What made you laugh this week?  

iCarly. I'm sorry, man, but Spencer is FUNNY.

10. Give me the movie pitch version of Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life -- ie. Jaws meets Great Expectations.

The Breakfast Club meets Midnight Madness.


I love that the Yeti knows about Google. You have to want to read a book with that sentence in it, right? 

The Lockhart Ten with Sara Zarr

Sara Zarr is my pal and one of the best YA authors around. I especially love Story of a Girl, which was a National Book Award finalist, but Sweethearts is awesome too and I am very psyched to read How to Save A Life, which is about teen pregnancy, family, jealousy, joy -- LIFE. It's told in two narrators, and Zarr (or THE ZARR, as I like to call her) is amazing at getting the specific rhythms of people's speech. 

I interviewed her, below, with shortie questions and shortie answers that reveal a lot, I think!  But if you want a more in-depth interview, check out this one at Forever Young Adult


Okay, Zarr. Shortie answers, one sentence!!

1. You live in Utah. Give me a bit of local slang. (I am a fan of local slang)

"What the crap?" (When confounded. Favorite use: when a previously undiscovered species of fish was discovered in a nearby lake, the fish and game guy who was interviewed for the local news said, "I saw it, and I was like, what the crap?!")

2. Favorite snack while writing?

 In my dreams: M&Ms. In reality: Raw almonds.

 3. Favorite swear word?

 Crap. (I HAVE been in Utah eleven years...)

 4. Tell me a book that gave you  nightmares, or a recommendation for All Hallows Read.

I read THE AMITYVILLE HORROR when I was in junior high, I think. Terrible idea.

5. Give me a sentence from How to Save a Life.

 "It's fairly easy to stalk someone when you've dated him for almost two years."


6. A great teen book you read recently.

TIGHTER by Adele Griffin.

 7. A word of wisdom about family, or the families we make for ourselves, which is the topic of your book. 

 We're all in this together and mostly doing the best we can. So have some compassion, including for yourself.

 8. You were just on the Smart Chicks book tour with Melissa Marr and Jennifer Lynn Barnes, among others. Describe them each in a word.

I would like to describe them both in two words:
1) Hair 2) Brains

9. What made you laugh this week?

My husband said, "There's not one Paul McCartney song you can throw at me that I can't sing in Carol Channing's voice." And, he was right.

10. Can you give me the movie pitch version of How to Save a Life? Camp it up, if you like, or do it straight.

Juno meets Steel Magnolias, with no dying at the end. And also not in the South. So actually not that much like Steel Magnolias except there are a bunch of awesome women, and one of them has some pretty big hair.

Also you can win a video chat with Sara Zarr for your book club in this sweepstakes!  



Sarah Mlynowski, Radio Controversies and More!

Sarah Mlynowski is my good friend. She and I wrote How to Be Bad together with Lauren Myracle.

(Stay tuned for VERY EXCITIING How to be Bad news, coming up. Well, okay - -moderately exciting. But NEWS.) Anyway.

Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have)

Sarah M's new book is flying off the shelves and it's Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have). It is SOOOOOO funny, and racy and true, and I wanted you all to know about it. So I thought, in honor of her BOOK OF LISTS and my own Ruby Oliver BOOKS OF LISTS, I would make her write a list! Or answer questions in a list. Gah. Whatever. HEre it is!!

 Questions by me, answers by Sarah. 

1. You're from Montreal. What's Canadianism you still use, despite all your years living in New York City? I say “eh.” A lot. 

2. Favorite snack while writing? Toasted Marshmallows. (I’ve only set fire to the toaster oven once.)

3. Favorite swear word? Tabarnac (Is French Canadian so you can’t really get in trouble. Unless you’re in Quebec.)

4. Tell me a book that gave you nightmares. The Witches. *shivers*

5. Tell me a sentence from Ten Things. “Why was I in bed with a guy who was not my boyfriend without any pants?”

6. A great teen book you read recently. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. Swoon.  

7. A word of dating wisdom. A watched phone never rings.

8. You just toured with Sara Shephard and Maureen Johnson. Describe them each in one word.  Sara: sweetheart. Maureen:  Tabarnac is she funny. 

9. What made you laugh this week? My toddler counting. Twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, eleventeen. 

10. Give me the movie pitch version of Ten Things -- ie. Jaws meets Great Expectations. Female RISKY BUSINESS.  





In other news, the kerfuffle over the misinformed and inflammatory Wall Street Journal article by Megan Cox Gurdon continues. (Here's Gurdon's post-kerfuffle riposte, with like 400 comments.) I was interviewed recently for the Vassar Quarterly about the whole thing. Since like every YA novelist alive and dead went there, including me, they are publishing an article. But that won't be out for awhile. 

Today, you can work yourself into an irate frenzy by listening to archived radio from yesterday! Here is my pal and co-author Lauren Myracle, most banned/challenged author in the USA today and specific target of Gurdon's disdain for her new novel Shine, discussing the issue on NPR with Gurdon! 

Novelist Maureen Johnson, also my friend, had a pubic convo with Gurdon on Why radio, here:


In still other news, I'm shacked up in Venice Beach, CA for a couple weeks,  kind of writing, kind of vacationing, etc. Right now I am in a chain coffee shop wtih a bunch of tan dudes with big muscles!