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Win a copy of Nobody and Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (ends 2/20)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Lisa Yee and Absolutely Maybe

Okay so I have a confession to make. About the majority of this interview was predone. I was under a lot of stress and I just couldn't find the time to think of some questions, so I apologize. Obviously I will never ever do this again, however, I did manage to come up with some questions in a few minutes before I caved.

About the Author
Lisa Yee was born and raised near Los Angeles and grew up loving to read. She attended the University of Southern California, where she majored in English and Humanities. Lisa has been an associate director of a creative think tank and co-owner and creative director of Magic Pencil Studios, a strategic creative company. She has written and directed creative projects for Fortune 500 clients and led creativity seminars. Yee’s novel Millicent Min, Girl Genius is winner of the prestigious Sid Fleischman Humor Award; her second novel, Stanford Wong Flunks Big-Time, won the Chinese American Librarian Association Best Book of the Year Award. Lisa lives in South Pasadena, California, with her husband, Scott, and her two children, Benny and Kate.

Q: Can you talk about the genesis of Absolutely Maybe? Why did you want to write the book?
A: It began with a title, Charm School Dropout. I was curious about what it would be like to be the goth-ish tomboy daughter of a diva-esque ex- beauty queen. But as I started writing, the story evolved and became more complex and deeper in scope than I had first anticipated. It also changed from a lighter middle grade novel to a darker, though still humorous, YA novel. Having written middle grade novels before, it was quite liberating to write without constraints. I have a teenaged daughter and while working on Absolutely Maybe, I kept her in mind as my reader.

Q: How did the character of Maybe develop? Did she evolve as you developed the story or was she clear in the beginning?
A: Maybe, who's named after Maybelline cosmetics, came to me all at once. I really felt like I knew her, though she did reveal herself even more as I began writing. She presents such a hard exterior, but inside she's still very much a little girl looking for love and stability. I always write my endings first, so I knew where I was going. Only, I wasn't sure how I'd get there. But because Maybe was such a strong presence, I let her take the lead and show me the way.

Q: What was the most difficult part (or character) in the story to write and why?
A: It was hard to write Chessy, Maybe's mom, because she makes so many bad choices. She hurts Maybe repeatedly and appears to be the total opposite of her daughter. Yet, there had to be something redeeming about her to make Maybe's feelings about her mother be so strong and conflicted. Chessy was also very over-the-top in her beauty queen way, yet I knew I also had to make her vulnerable and sympathetic to round her out.

Q: What themes in the story do you hope resonate the most with teens and why?
A: When I begin writing I always assign a word to my main character. It reminds me of who they are and what they are looking for. With Maybe, her word was aimless. As the story began, she was sort of meandering and, even though she didn't realize it, she was looking for her identity. Maybe had an inner strength that she was not aware of. She had the ability to affect other people's lives for the better, but couldn't see it. Many teens doubt themselves. They underestimate their power, but it's there. It's there.

Q: Which character do you like the best in the story and why? the least?
A: I absolutely love Ted. OMG, he was sooooo fun to write. I had to be careful, though, or else he would have run away with the book. I'd sit and laugh out loud whenever I was writing scenes he was in. But like with all outrageous characters, I knew that Ted probably was very introspective too. Sometimes bravado can hide something. And it was wonderful leaving clues about the real Ted. As for the character I liked the least, I think that would be Gunnar. The way he treated Maybe was awful, but she had to meet him in order to move on with the rest of her life. The way he was, and their meeting, also put her relationship with her mother into perspective.

Q1: Under what animal were you born under?
A1: I was born during the year of the pig. Oink.

Q2: Do you think this describes your personality well? If not, which animal do you think you should have been born under?
A2: Hmmmm . . . well, there are aspects of the pig that I feel describe me, like loyal and thoughtful. However, I can identify with the horse more. I mean, the horse is quick-witted, perceptive, agile mentally and physically, open-minded and astute. Who wouldn't want to be those things?

You can visit Lisa at her blog, or her website.

Again, the publishers and Lisa was kind enough to donate an ARC of her latest book Absolutely Maybe!

1. +1 entry for commenting on this post
2. +1 entry for following me
3. +1 entry for blogging about this contest
4. +2 entries for ... (this is a secret...)
5. Leave me a way to contact you
6. If blogging, please leave me a link
7. The extra entry puzzles/riddles will not accepted for this celebration week.

This is a US only giveaway! It will end on February 16th!



    too lazy to type it all over againnnnnn hahaha

    oh yea, i did ur happy tag thing (finally!)


  2. I need this book in my life. For sure. Please enter me. I'm already a follower if that counts?

    lauren51990 AT aol DOT com

  3. I love the interview with Lisa. Maybe sounds interesting and I can't wait to see if Ted makes me laugh too.
    Please count me in.

  4. I already have a copy, so please don't enter me. Lisa is so much fun so I can't wait to start her book!

  5. please enter me, i am dying to read this book! thanks

  6. I blogged about it here

  7. Great interview - it brought out some interesting aspects of Yee's writing process! I like how you assign a word to each character as a way to focus, and it is interesting that you wrote the ending first!

    Please enter me! I follow and I have it posted on my sidebar @ epicrat.blogspot.com

    P.S. The week is almost over, Yan! And then you get to sleep?

  8. Please count me in
    i follow you

  9. Not entering the giveaway just want to say that I loved her book Millicent when I was in MS. :)

    Great interview, BTW. :)

  10. I'd love to be entered, and I am a follower.


  11. I am very excited to read this.

    I have posted a link on my sidebar. http://shalondasblog.blogspot.com

    I am also a follower!

  12. You have a lot of great giveaways. <3 I am a follower of your blog and I blogged your contest here: http://morbid-romantic.net/2009/01/26/book-giveaways-0126-0201.


  13. I need to read this book for sure. I am a follower.

  14. Please enter me!

    juliematthews7 (at) juno (dot) com

  15. Great Q&A! Please enter me

    mistakes AT gmail DOT com

  16. hi, I'd love to read this!

  17. This book looks so awesome! Please enter me :)


  18. OOh! enter me please!


  19. Please enter me :) And I'm already a follower.

  20. Please enter me! I've already blogged about all the contests in general in one blog. & I'm a follower.


  21. I'd like to be entered, and I already follow you on google reader.


  22. Enter me! I'm already a follower on google reader.


  23. I want that book ever since I first heard about it a little while ago. Please enter me!


    And I am a follower...

  24. Enter me! I am absolutely thrilled for this book.. the cover is fantastic.

    Oh, and I'm a follower.


  25. I love the character names in this book! And I'm following you on google reader at least :)

  26. I don't think I ever entered any so here I am entering! And I follow your blog and you know my address and claim to be on your way to break in so i think that should count for something! :P


  27. Enter me please!

    I'm already a follower.

    I posted about the giveaway here: http://paradoxrevealed.blogspot.com/2008/12/official-contest-list.html

    And here: http://twitter.com/ParadoxRevealed/status/1213409098

    paradoxrevealed (at) aim (dot) com