Dear Teen Me – Interview & Giveaway

Welcome to author E Kristen Anderson

E. Kristin Anderson, in addition to co-editing Dear Teen Me and co-creating its eponymous website, is a writer and poet who has been published in dozens of literary journals. She is also an assistant editor at Hunger Mountain for their YA and Children’s section.


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If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
I think I’d go to the past.  I love, love, love the show Quantum Leap, (it ran from 1989 to like 1993 I think.)  My dad and I watched it a lot as a kid and I’ve been re-watching the series on DVD this fall.  Scott Bakula, OMG, so cute back then! In the show the main character is part of a time travel experiment and he “leaps” through time fixing things that went wrong in history, all within his own lifetime.  It’s way cool!  Anyway, I love all the old fashion, the music, the way so many life experiences are so different and, at the same time, totally the same.  I’d love to go back to the 70s and see Blondie live.  I’d love to go to the 60’s and have my hair done like Jackie O.  I don’t think I’d really want to know the future, but exploring the past would be awesome!

If you were a superhero what would your name be?
Now that you’ve got me stuck on time travel, and considering how much I love vintage fashion and retro music, maybe I’d be like Quantumelia or something!

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
You should read DEAR TEEN ME because, like in Quantum Leap, no matter how much our fashion and pop culture changes, so many of our experiences are kind of the same — and that’s why DTM will make you laugh, cry, and feel like you’re not alone.

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
I recently signed with my fabbity fab agent Christina Hogrebe at the Jane Rotrosen Agency.  We’re working together on my novel-y projects, including a romantic and mysterious magic realism novel that takes place on an island off the coast of Maine.  I grew up in Maine, so I love writing Maine books!  I’ll also be participating in NaNoWriMo again this year, and I’m planning to write a contemporary romance with a twist set at a boarding school in New England.  And because I can never quite leave magic out of it, the main character of this book loves reading Tarot and is afraid that all her problems are caused by wishes gone awry.

What inspired you to want to become a writer?
I think writing is just something most writers find relaxing and happy-making.  Yes, it’s also hard work, but it’s just what we do.  I think that there are lots of inspirations out there for specific novels, or specific projects though.  I know I’ve drawn inspiration from a lot of contemporary poets like Louise Gluck and William Matthews.  And I’m always so inspired when I read a book by Francesca Lia Block or David Levithan.

What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?
I loved reading books by Lois Duncan and Lurlene McDaniel when I was in middle school.  I think both authors confront some serious issues in very different ways.  Lois Duncan writes thrillers and mysteries, whereas Lurlene McDaniel writes what we call “problem novels” now — a lot of the time about terminal illness.  I also really loved books by Piers Anthony, who writes very funny, punny fantasy novels.  I got really into him in 7th and 8th grade, and I reread the first in his Xanth series, A SPELL FOR CHAMELEON in college.  Totally holds up!

Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters?
Actually, for Dear Teen Me, we got so lucky and were able to use one of my “theme songs” in the book trailer!  It’s “Hopes Up” by a band called I Love Monsters, based in NYC.  I went to college with the lead singer, Brett, and some of the other members as well.  I love “Hopes Up” — I think it really embodies the teen/young adult experience.  It’s about not listening to anyone who says you’re too much of a dreamer, about loving yourself, and knowing things get better.

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Know that rejections come with the territory.  You will get lots of them.  LOTS.  But that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not good enough or that you won’t ever make it as a writer.  Persevere, take critical feedback and use it to improve your craft, and wear those rejections like a badge of honor!

When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?
I had lots of answers to this question.  When I was like 6 I went between mail man and newspaper delivery person.  Seriously.  Then I wanted to be a nurse, because that’s what my mom did, then pharmacist, because that’s what my aunt did.  Then in middle school I was hell-bent on either rock star or marine biologist.  This switched to music producer in high school.  I eventually gave in when I was about 19 or 20 when I accepted that not being able to sing or play an instrument might get in the way of my musical dreams.  I did a lot of work with my college newspaper and was even editor-in-chief by my junior year, so I thought maybe I’d go into journalism (especially music journalism), and I did work in print production for a while.  I think though I always knew I’d be a writer.  It was just a matter of finding my way.

What do you do in your free time?
I’m a TV junkie.  I know people are always like blah blah TV rots your brain, but, you know what?  To me it’s just another form of story telling.  And I think there are some awesome shows out there right now.  Once Upon A Time is one of my current favorites, and I’m really excited about The Mindy Project with Mindy Kaling.  I think some of my hugest influences as a writer are Chris Carter (creator of The X-Files) and Joss Whedon (creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel).  Seriously.

Dear Teen Me includes advice from over 70 YA authors (including Lauren Oliver, Ellen Hopkins, and Nancy Holder, to name a few) to their teenage selves. The letters cover a wide range of topics, including physical abuse, body issues, bullying, friendship, love, and enough insecurities to fill an auditorium. So pick a page, and find out which of your favorite authors had a really bad first kiss? Who found true love at 18? Who wishes he’d had more fun in high school instead of studying so hard? Some authors write diary entries, some write letters, and a few graphic novelists turn their stories into visual art. And whether you hang out with the theater kids, the band geeks, the bad boys, the loners, the class presidents, the delinquents, the jocks, or the nerds, you’ll find friends–and a lot of familiar faces–in the course of Dear Teen Me.

Giveaway Details:
Autographed copy of Dear Teen Me (autographed by at least 5 contributors) plus swag
Open to US only
Ends 11/11/12

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