Wednesday, April 27, 2011
New Book Giveaway: The Sweetest Thing by Christina Mandelski
Read the author interview of Christina Mandelski and post a comment at the end. The only way I can contact you is via email, so you'll have to leave an email address and please leave school's name or library's name and city and state. Books will ship from NYC from Egmont. contest opens NOW. Deadline for posting is May 1 at 12:01 a.m. MST.
I met Christana through email when I read and reviewed an arc of her new book. She loved the review and printed it out and saved it to look at as she is writing her next novel--a novel with a little paranormal. "Don't worry," Christina says, "No vampires." smile.
I next saw Christina in Austin, Texas, signing copies of arc's for librarians across the Lone Star State. She jumped up and gave me a big 'ol Texas-sized hug. The pictures are of me with Christina in Austin. The interview was conducted via email.
Q=me, Pamela Thompson, librarian, reviewer, blogger,lover of ya novels, and wannabe writer
Christina, writer extraordinaire's answers are in italics!
Q: In the novel, Sheridan bakes cakes and her dad is a chef. Do you personally have aspirations in the kitchen?
I get asked this question a lot – and I have to be honest – no, I don’t particularly like to cook or bake. But I do have a deep appreciation for well-prepared food. I love to watch shows like Ace of Cakes and Cake Boss, and my ultimate never miss show is Top Chef – I really do feel like what these people do is an art form. Even as a kid, I remember being riveted to Julia Child’s The French Chef on PBS. It’s not an artistic talent that I’ve been blessed with, but I’m fascinated by it (and I do love to eat!)
Q: What kinds of topics did you have to research to write The Sweetest Thing?
As I mentioned, I do watch a lot of cooking shows on TV, but I had to study baking and cooking terms, supplies and equipment. I also took a cake decorating class – there were four sessions and I’ve never worked harder in my life. We made the cakes and frosting from scratch (even the fondant)! It was fun, but it was not easy, and required patience that I don’t have. I did make the most of it, though, and really learned to sympathize with my main character and what she has to go through to make these fantastic cakes.
Q: Sheridan searches for her mother throughout the book—what gave you the idea for the missing/non-caring mother?
As an author, I look for situations to put my main characters in that will allow them to explore a broad range of emotions. The idea of a mom who checks out, who cares more about herself than her own daughter, is heartbreakingly sad, but also is a catalyst for feelings of self-doubt, anger, fear, resentment and disappointment. Sheridan has allowed her mother’s desertion to define her existence and she almost obsessively tries to connect with her mother through cake decorating. But through the course of the story, Sheridan begins to discover that she is more than just her mother’s daughter – that she is an artist in her own right, and (most importantly) that she is loved.
Q: What is Sheridan’s favorite cake recipe?
Sheridan is pretty old school when it comes to cake flavor -- she prefers dark chocolate or vanilla bean, although she’s been known to nibble on lemon sponge with raspberry filling.
Q: What is Donovan Wells’ favorite recipe?
He’s a Midwesterner with a mother from Texas, so he can work magic with a good cut of beef. Filet with a red wine reduction is his specialty, but he grew up in the bakery, so he always leaves room for dessert.
Q: What is YOUR favorite sweetest thing?
I have some self-control when it comes to dessert, but I love chocolate cake with real buttercream frosting. Can. Not. Resist. Key lime pie is another favorite.
Q: What is your favorite book from childhood?
I have so many favorites. I loved the Little House books and the All of a Kind Family books. I loved any mystery (but preferred Agatha Christie to Nancy Drew). But my favorite book was probably The Secret Garden. The plot was just magic to me – orphan goes to creepy house to live with her weird uncle. There’s a mystery – and the idea of finding a hidden garden just enthralled me.
Q: What is the greatest ya or teen read book you’ve read in the last two years and why?
To pick the greatest is tough. I am a big fan of Sarah Dessen, Meg Cabot – and the Hunger Games series, I just love it. I also got into the Luxe series by Anna Godbersen (I’m a sucker for historical fiction). But I really adore Joan Bauer. I think Hope was Here is one of my favorite young adult novels.
Q: What is your favorite classic book?
I love To Kill a Mockingbird. Such an important story, but also beautifully written.
Q: What is next for you? Your next writing project?
I’m working on young adult novel with a slight paranormal twist. Don’t worry, there are no vampires.
Q: Where is the ONE place you want to visit in the world and why?
I want to rent a villa in Tuscany. I can picture myself and my family sitting out on a terrace overlooking the countryside, eating bright red ripe tomatoes straight off the vine. Ah, heaven.
Q: What are your favorite words to live by: five or less?
In all things give thanks.
Q: What is your mood this minute?
Busy but happy.
Q: What words of wisdom do you have for teen girls?
Invest in your passion. School and romance and friends and jobs are important, but if there’s something that you love to do, make time for that as well. I wrote in middle school and a little bit in high school, and then I got busy with life and stopped. If I had to do it over again, I would never have put the pen down in the first place.
Thanks, Christina, you really are The Sweetest Thing!
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