Isn’t this wild??? You guys are the BEST! I’ve got a ton of stuff going on today, so let’s get right to it!
The Winner of the Moonstruck Chocolate is: Keri Mikulski! (Blogger)
The Winner of Elizabeth Scott’s Stealing Heaven is: Martha Alderson! (Blogger)
The Winner of Robin Wasserman’s Hacking Harvard is: Jodi! (My Space)
Congratulations! I will be getting in touch with you soon to get your information!
Next, we have the week’s second big SURPRISE!
The most fabulous, amazing Ellen Hopkins is interviewing ME!
Hey Teri! Ellen Hopkins here. If your readers don’t know who I am . . . HMPH! Why not? Just kidding. If they don’t know my work, I write novels-in-verse. The four I have now are Crank and it sequel, Glass; Impulse; and Burned. Oh, and my new novel, Identical, will be on bookshelves in August. But hey, I’m here to talk about you, and since I’m not interviewing you for a magazine article, I thought I’d ask questions a Publishers Weekly reporter might not ask. Answer if you dare!
Ellen: My readers often want to know what high school was like for me. I was the “artsy, creative” type. How about you? Did you fit into any of these cliques?
Artsy (Theater/Choir/Band/Creative writing)
Teri: Wow. I just now realized that I didn’t really fit into any of those groups. Talk about a fish out of water! I was smart enough to be a brainiac (except for math) but lacked the self discipline. I was artsy in a way because I wrote a lot, but lacked the sense of style that the artsy crowd requires. I would have been a good hippie, but lacked the commitment. Is there a horse lover/smart/rebellious/ party girl kind of type? No? (Shaking head sadly.) I knew I was a misfit.
Ellen: What about body image? Did you love how you fit in your skin?
Teri: I was 5’8 in sixth grade and one of the tallest kids in junior high, how do you think I felt in my skin? LOL! I’ll never forget those stupid clog my mom let me buy… I wore them once and realized I was taller than most of the teachers! It wasn’t until I was a junior in high school that the guys caught up to me and by then the damage had been done.
Ellen: How about now?
Teri: It took a long time, but I am now so comfortable in my skin it’s scary. I am losing weight, but it isn’t because I feel bad about myself, but because I want to be as healthy as I can. I love feeling strong.
Ellen: What was your worst habit? Do you still have it?
Teri: Smoking was my worst habit. No, I don’t have the habit, but I realize I will always be a nicotine addict and have to avoid it like the plague. There’s no such thing as just one for me! HA!
Ellen: Tell us about the first time you fell in love. Was it amazing?
Teri: I was in kindergarten. He was beautiful. But unfortunately, once I got close to him, I realized that he smelled. Looking back, I don’t think he was completely potty trained.
Ellen: So, like, when did you decide you wanted to be a writer, and not just for fun?
Teri: I think I was always a writer, I just didn’t have the drive and determination to withstand the work, the rejections and the bad reviews. And then suddenly I did. I became a writing maniac. I wrote nonfiction for years, and just dabbled in fiction, and then I just decided to go for it. To my surprise, I snagged one of the best agents in the business and after a long, drawn out process, someone actually bought my book!
Ellen: IS writing fun for you?
Teri: Sometimes it’s an absolute blast. Other times it’s like pulling freaking teeth.
Ellen: When you decided you wanted to be a writer, what did your family and friends say?
Teri: I think they just laughed. (Who’s laughing now, people?) Ahem.
Ellen: Tell us about Read My Lips. Where did the idea come from?
Teri: My Mother in law. After her grandchild was born deaf, she became an advocate for deaf children everywhere. Some people are just born to make a difference. I wanted to be like her in that way.
Ellen: Is your protagonist really “you”? How much like you is she?
Teri: We actually have quite a bit in common—she and I both had issues with school, though for different reasons and I definitely wanted to fly under the radar at school.
Ellen: So, are you, like, mega-rich now?
Teri: No, my teenage daughter wants all of you to buy a copy of Read My Lips because she really, really, really wants to go to Cabo on vacation.
Ellen: What words of advice would you give aspiring young writers?
Teri: Write. Then write some more. There are no shortcuts to publication and there is very little about the process that you can control when you are just beginning. The only thing you can do is to get better at writing.
Ellen: Hey, this was fun. Maybe I should go back to freelancing and give up writing novels . . . Nah! Don’t think so. I totally love what I do. And I know Teri does, too.
You got that right, Ellen. I love what I do!
Now for our guest authors! First up is the utterly talented and amazing Niki Burnham author of Spin Control, Scary Beautiful and Goddess Games.
I am a huge believer in the concept of gifts-to-self. Had a bad day? Gift yourself with a copy of Lucky so you can ogle high-end clothing. Aced an exam or a nailed a tough report for work? Hello, manicure. This week is my birthday, so naturally I'm gifting myself with a copy of Teri's Read My Lips. (Good timing on that book release, Teri!) Buying myself inexpensive treats now and then helps me maintain an upbeat attitude.
When Teri asked me to blog about "being a fish out of water," my first thought was, "What? Blog about a time when I felt ostracized? Blog about feeling BAD?" But the thing is, as an Army brat who grew up moving every 2 – 3 years, I've always been a fish out of water. I attended eight different schools between kindergarten and my high school graduation. It sounds awful, but it really wasn't.
What I learned is that when you catch yourself in these fish-out-of-water situations—say you're the non-sporty girl at a football game, or the one person on your class trip to Mexico who didn't pay attention during Spanish class—you can choose how you feel about the situation. The key to making yourself comfortable is to look for the little gifts you can give yourself. In a country where you don't speak the language? Buy yourself a guidebook with simple phrases (okay, and maybe a few dirty ones. Rick Steves' pocket-sized language books always include a few choice words!) Ask someone with a friendly face why the ref called something the way they did during a game, and you'll both make a friend (hopefully) and learn a little about the game.
Of course, you can always grab yourself a copy of Teri's new book as a self-gift.
Reading about a character in your own situation will remind you that—no matter how out-of-whack you feel with the rest of the world—you're not the first person to feel this way!
Thanks Niki! The nice thing about moving all the time is that you get to see a lot of things other people never have the chance to! Can you tell I moved a lot when I was a kid?
Now it’s time for some serious fan girl gushing, because next up is the awesome, fabulous, amazing, Melissa De La Cruz!
First off, thanks Teri for inviting me to such a FUN party with all these famous people! Those are the kinds of parties I love best, of course, and in my book, author-celebs are even better! Congrats on your debut and all the best with your new book!
My whole life has been a fish-out-water story. I was twelve when we moved to the United States from the Philippines. While I was a huge fan and expert on American pop culture--my favorite shows were The A-Team, Knight Rider and Family Ties, and my friends and I re-enacted scenes from "Return of the Jedi" the summer before my family moved, (I always got to play the Emperor because I liked to hiss "Rebel Ssssscum!") actually being in America was a total culture shock.
For the first couple of months I felt like I was on a movie set. Every boy was a cute as Michael J. Fox and every girl was as pretty as Justine Bateman, so I was intimidated by everybody. Even though I spoke English fluently, and lost whatever trace of an accent I had pretty early, I still pronounce some words incorrectly--just watch me order lobster bisque at a restaurant and you'll see what I mean.
When we moved here, I had no idea what a "booth" was, and when waiters asked if I wanted a "soup or salad", I would just nod, thinking I had ordered the "super salad". I was shocked that at school, no one stood up when the teachers walked in, and that my friends routinely criticized their parents. I'm pretty sure I gasped the first time I heard someone describe their mother as a "bitch".
Americans to me seemed very rowdy, loud, cheerful, friendly, casual and fascinating. Of course I wanted to be just like them. These days I drive barefoot, am known to laugh too loudly at formal restaurants, and use way-too-colorful language on a daily basis like the New Yorker I grew up to become.
But even if I believed I'd finally shed my immigrant awkwardness, the first year my husband and I rented a summer house in the Hamptons brought me back to 1985 again. We arrived via Jitney and as everyone got off the bus toting their weekend gear in crisp LL Bean bags, I pulled along my black wheelie suitcase that went kerplunk kerplunk kerplunk over the cobblestoned streets, once again trumpeting my fish-out-water status.
But that's okay. I've learned how to breathe through my gills.
Remember, if you haven't picked up a copy of READ MY LIPS yet, you can find it
here on Amazon.com, or in your local bookstore. And if you just stumbled across my blog and are wondering what the fuss is all about, read an excerpt of my brand new YA novel, READ MY LIPS, here.
Thanks everyone! Hope you enjoyed the party! Come back tomorrow for more prizes, surprises and author guests!