#BIR2010 – Book Giveaway: Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John + Interview

Welcome to Author Antony John!

I recently read, reviewed and LOVED the book Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John.  Last month I did an interview & giveaway for his book. I’m thrilled that Antony agreed to do another interview and giveaway on my blog in conjunction with BIR2010.


What’s your favorite music genre? Favorite artist? Song?
I have a very wide range of musical interests, but–and this is so predictable coming from someone with a Ph.D. in music, I know–classical is tops. Favorite artist: Bach. His music is sublime. It’s why I wanted to become a composer in the first place.

Is there anything you need in order to write? (ie Chocolate, quiet, music)
Time. Seriously, give me an hour and I’ll get stuff done. But I’m a stay-at-home dad, so I only have two hours a day to write, and it’s really not enough. Still, looking on the bright side, I’ve never come close to experiencing writers block.

Night owl, or early bird?
I write best in the mornings, but I’m a night owl, no question. I loathe mornings. In my opinion, it’s impossible to wake up late enough.

One food you would never eat?
Chocolate. Just don’t like it. Which causes most people to regard me as though I’m a mutant. At least until they realize that leaves more chocolate for them, at which point they find it a delightful trait.

Favorite Cartoon?
The Simpsons (circa 1990s). Utterly brilliant.

Paranormal or Normal?
Do I really have to choose? See, I actually love the parallel existence of “normal” and paranormal in YA, and the fact that the same writers frequently work in both genres. (Including me, by the way; Dial will be publishing my ELEMENTAL trilogy starting fall 2012.) To me, it’s all about the quality of the writing, and I have to say that, right now, there’s some pretty amazing writing out there.

What is your favorite sport to watch on TV?
College basketball. I went to Duke, and had season tickets every year I was there. If I hadn’t, I’d probably have finished my degree in five years instead of six, but I don’t regret a moment. It’s such an unpredictable sport, and March Madness is almost the perfect sporting event.

I also try to follow the English soccer team–I’m English, after all–but it’s not easy. Even when they’re physically, technically, and tactically superior to their opponents, they still find a way to choke. It’s actually quite mesmerizing.

How do you react to a bad review?
No one likes bad reviews, but I decided a long time ago that a professional reviewer reads enough books to have an opinion worth reading, whether they like my book or not. In the case of my first book, BUSTED, the School Library Journal reviewer wrote the following line: “the characters are flat, stereotyped, and, except where it serves the machinations of the plot, one-dimensional.” It was by far the worst line of any review I got, but at the same time, I thought there was at least a little truth to it. And so I vowed that in my next book, every single character would be fully-fleshed and nuanced. It took a lot of work, but from the reviews so far, I think I sort of pulled it off. And a part of me wants to thank that reviewer. I learned more from that review than from any of the positive reviews BUSTED got.

If not a writer, you would have been?
I used to be a composer/academic. I loved teaching undergraduate and graduate music courses, and I loved composing. I’d probably be happy as a composer right now, too, but it turns out I like writing novels even more. Who knew?

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
The early reviews say that it’s funny, heartfelt, and with a thoroughly endearing cast of characters.

What was your favorite book when you were a teen?
I’d have to go with THE OUTSIDERS by S.E. Hinton. It wasn’t exactly new when I was reading it in the 80s, but for a kid at an all-boys school in England, it was mind-blowing. And I’m not just talking about the setting and the characters, but also the style of the writing itself. It was so different than the writing of the English authors I was being assigned at school, and I thought it was electrifying.

Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters?
If I had to pick one, it’d be “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana. I’d tell you why, but that would ruin the book.

What do you find so appealing about the genre you write for?
I’m biased, of course, but I think that YA is where it’s at, right now. YA books have a cultural cache they lacked in earlier decades, and the level of writing is wonderfully high. Truly, I’d say I’m both impressed and moved by about 90 percent of the YA books I read. And contemporary writers have a degree of freedom that would have been unthinkable twenty years ago. I wouldn’t write in any othergenre.

Thanks for having me along today, Kathy, and a happy holiday season to all your readers!

(For another chance to win 5 Flavors of Dumb and to read part 1 of the interview I did with Antony Click Here).

Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John:

THE CHALLENGE: Piper has one month to get a paying gig for Dumb—the hottest new rock band in school.

THE DEAL: If she does it, she’ll become manager of the band and get her share of the profits, which she desperately needs since her parents raided her college fund.

THE CATCH: Managing one egomaniacal pretty boy, one talentless piece of eye candy, one crush, one silent rocker, and one angry girl who is ready to beat her up. And doing it all when she’s deaf. With growing self-confidence, an unexpected romance, and a new understanding of her family’s decision to buy a cochlear implant for her deaf baby sister, Piper just may discover her own inner rock star.

Giveaway Details:
Antony had a copy of Five Flavors of Dumb sent to me to giveaway as part of BIR2010. Giveaway is open to those with a US mailing address.  Giveaway is open until December 31, 2010.  To enter you must fill out the form below: