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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Author Interview: Terra Elan McVoy

Terra Elan McVoy has been reading and writing avidly since she first learned how, and has had many jobs that center around those two activities, from managing an independent children's bookstore, to teaching writing classes, and even answering fan mail for Captain Underpants. Terra lives and works in the same Atlanta neighborhood where her novels After the Kiss and Pure are set.

For more info on Terra, visit her site(s):
Good Reads:

More books by Terra:

Pure - Hardcover Version / Paperback Version
(Both Available Now!)

Summary: Promise. Betrayal. Confession. Revenge. Tabitha and her four best friends all wear purity rings, symbols of the virginity-until-marriage pledge they made years ago. Now Tab is fifteen, and her ring has come to mean so much more. It's a symbol of who she is and what she believes—a reminder of her promises to herself, and her bond to her friends. But when Tab meets a boy whose kisses make her knees go weak, everything suddenly seems a lot more complicated. Tab's best friend, Morgan, is far from supportive, and for the first time, Tabitha is forced to keep secrets from the one person with whom she's always shared everything. When one of those secrets breaks to the surface, Tab finds herself at the center of an unthinkable betrayal that splits her friends apart. As Tab's entire world comes crashing down around her, she's forced to re-examine her friendships, her faith, and what exactly it means to be pure.

Up & Coming Books:

After The Kiss
(Release Date: May 4, 2010)

Summary: This moment changes everything. Becca has been head-over-heels for Alec from the instant they met. He's a brainy jock with a poet's heart—in other words, perfect for her. Camille is careful with her words and protective of her heart, especially since Chicago. Then a new boy in her new town catches her off guard with a surprise kiss. Too bad that new boy is Becca's boyfriend, Alec.

Author Interview:

1) When did you first consider yourself a writer? It wasn't really like that for me. Meaning, I didn't really “realize” I wanted to be a writer. I’ve just loved reading and writing from the minute I figured out how to do both, which was, like, age 4. It's just something I've always done and always loved. At one point I thought I wanted to be a marine mammologist, but my dad sat me down my senior year of high school and was like, "Babe, you make straight C's in Chemistry. And you're going to have to take a lot more Chemistry to be any kind of scientist. But you make straight A's in English and you love it. Why not stick with what you're naturally drawn to?" And I guess (once I got over thinking of my dad as a dream-crusher), I've just followed my literary heart since then.

2) What inspired you to write Pure? While I living in New York and working in publishing, I was in this really great book group, run by David Levithan, that read YA books. Even though each book we read was terrific, I often came away from it feeling like my own life of a plain-old, pimple-popping, church-going, boy-obsessed, clothes-concerned, “regular” non-vampire-loving (or elite prep school going) high schooler wasn’t represented in the way I wanted it to be. I also wanted to write something that addressed how tough it is trying to define your own morality when you’re a teenager, let alone stick to it, especially if it goes against what your friends are doing. When I read an article about purity rings, it all came together!

3) If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in Pure? I don't know if any writer considers their work 100% totally perfect, but I am pretty pleased with this little book! A lot of people have responded that aren't sure why Tab is friends with Morgan in the first place though, so if I could go back I might have made that a little more clear.

4) If you had to describe your book in one word, what would it be and why? I think the word I’d use would be “unexpected.” Because first of all, I didn’t expect I would ever be able to write a novel, so it was a big surprise for me, but also because I think a lot of people look at this book, or hear about this book, or even start reading a little bit of it, and they get these automatic assumptions of what it’s going to be about. But then—and a lot of people have told me this—as you read more of the book it turns into this thing you weren’t expecting: it goes in different directions than you thought.

5) What can we expect from your May 4th release of After The Kiss? Lots and lots of Sweetheart candies! I have bought, literally I think, a ton of them to give out at my signings. But also you can expect something completely different from Pure. The characters are different, the writing is different, the story is totally different . . . For one thing, After the Kiss is a novel in verse, which was a challenge but really fun to do, since my writing roots are in poetry. It’s about these two girls who don’t know each other, but one ends up hooking up with the other’s boyfriend, and the girlfriend’s best friend gets a photo of it on her phone. It’s called After the Kiss because of how that moment affects both of them, and what they do about it and learn about themselves as a consequence.

6) Do you have any other projects you're currently working on? Yes, I'm actually already working on my third book, but that's not due out until 2011! I'm keeping it under wraps though, because not even my editor has seen it!

7) What do you like to do when you're not writing? Well, when I’m not at work, recreationally I love to cook and bake, and reading of course. I like getting together with my friends and playing games, and right now with the weather warming up and spring coming, I’m messing around with my organic vegetable garden. Scrapbooking and decoupage crafts are fun, too!

8) What book are you currently reading? Because my job is working at an independent bookstore, I’m reading all the time—anything from kids’ books to adult books, and stuff all over every genre. My favorite thing I’m reading right now though is a middle-grade book by Frank Cottrell Boyce called Cosmic. It is absolutely adorable, but smart too. And the advance copy of Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan is also in my reading pile (it’s terrific). For the middle school girls’ book group that I run we’re also reading Elsewhere, by Gabrielle Zevin, which I totally love, too, and my book club for 8-11 year olds is working on Cynthia Lord’s Rules. So, like always, I am juggling a lot!

9) Do you have anything to say to all your readers? I’m just really grateful to everyone who picked up this little pink (now yellow, in paperback) book and gave it a chance, even if it didn’t seem like something they’d normally be into. I’m grateful to the people who read it and then immediately wanted to buy a copy for their friends. I’m also super grateful for all the comments and enthusiasm that I’ve gotten, and I hope that Pure’s been something that has created (or will create) some good conversation. I am nervous and excited about hearing everyone’s feedback on After the Kiss!

10) Tell us something about yourself that no one knows about. Hmmm. Well I doubt that there’s much either my fiancĂ© or sisters don’t know about me, But something readers probably don’t know is that I have a fused tooth! When I was a kid and lost one of my bottom front teeth, two small ones grew in (instead of one normal one) and fused together to make one tooth. You can still kinda see the line between them. Whenever I’ve gotten a new dentist, he’s always surprised and impressed!

**Thank you Terra for this great interview! Everyone please go out and purchase Pure which is being released in paperback today!**


Reverie said...

Great interview! I know Terra and we love her! Cannot wait for her second and third and hundreth book!

Good luck, Terra!

Terra Elan said...

Thanks for a terrific interview! This is an exciting spring for me!

Vixen Pearl said...

Terrific interview, Ladies. :) Good luck with the books, Terra!


bookaholic said...

Lovely interview Eleni!
Even I love to cook and read(obviously) in my spare time :)

slommler said...

Great interview!! The books sound terrific...thanks!

Kelsey said...

Great interview! I really want to read Pure now!

The Graef Family! said...

Great interview! I've never heard of Pure before but now I totally want to read it. :) A fused tooth? Random. Never heard of that happening. She seems really down to earth.

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