Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Girlfriends Cyber Circuit Presents Kelly Parra

I'm about to hit the road again for my San Antonio signing. Remember, that's tonight (Wednesday) at 7:30 at the Borders on Basse Road (apparently it's in an area called the Quarries). I have a cute 1940s-ish outfit, and since Borders is currently featuring the Puppini Sisters (I felt so in the know when I knew who they were when I saw that in a store, thanks to a blog comment), I may get the store to cue up that disc while I'm there and we can have a big, swinging party. I just hope this isn't yet another pathetic, sad, lonely signing.

On Friday I'm hoping to get around to responding to reader e-mails and blog comments and posting more Great Blog Campaign stuff. I'll get to be home for more than a whole week! Woo hoo!

Now before I go get packed, I leave you with a Girlfriends Cyber Circuit entry, Graffiti Girl by Kelly Parra.

Raised by her single mom (who's always dating the wrong kind of man) in a struggling California neighborhood, Angel Rodriguez is a headstrong, independent young woman who channels her hopes and dreams for the future into her painting. But when her entry for a community mural doesn't rate, she's heartbroken. Even with the winning artist Nathan Ramos--a senior track star and Angel's secret crush--taking a sudden interest in Angel and her art, she's angry and hurt. She's determined to find her own place in the art world, her own way.

That's when Miguel Badalin--from the notorious graffiti crew Reyes del Norte--opens her eyes to an underground world of graf tags and turf wars. She's blown away by this bad boy's fantastic work and finds herself drawn to his dangerous charm. Soon she's running with Miguel's crew, pushing her skills to the limit and beginning to emerge as the artist she always dreamed she could be. But Nathan and Miguel are bitter enemies with a shared past, and choosing between them and their wildly different approaches to life and art means that Angel must decide what matters most before the artist inside her can truly break free.

Now, the interview:
What inspired you to write this book?
I was very much a teen artist in high school, and my friends were into graffiti art. I would try my best at creating paper designs but I pretty much flunked as a graffiti artist in training. When I made the decision to try my hand at writing young adult fiction, a story line on graffiti popped for me first. I knew a lot about art, but I did have to do my share of research on graffiti in general.

Describe your creative process.
If I could, I would write by the seat of my pants, and work with the story outline as I went along. But when selling on proposal, planning out a synopsis is part of the game. I revise along the way as I write and then after I have my first draft, I go over the book again, revising and editing. By this time, I usually lose my perspective on a project and both my agent and CPs run through it and offer their suggestions. I wish I knew exactly how many times I read over a project--it seems like over 100 times!

Do you have any writing habits or rituals?
Because I'm a mother of two, squeezing writing time in whenever I can is the top ritual. :) Other than that if I have to stay up late to write, I have my designated cup of French Vanilla cafe to keep me warm and awake.

How much, if anything, do you have in common with your heroine?
My heroine Angel is a teen artist like I was in school and a little rough around the edges, like again I am. :) We share the same aspects of unruly hair and love of baggy and comfortable clothes. Angel is also Mexican-American like me, although I have one more nationality than her!

Do you have any kind of artistic talent (other than writing, of course!)?
As I mentioned above, I used to draw and paint a lot in high school. Now, not so much. I did go to school for graphic design so I know how to illustrate on a computer and my design sense helps me with any print work I need for promotion. I also catch the creative bug every now and then and play at photography with my digital camera and change colors and lighting with a photo editing program. It keeps my visually creative personality happy!

Chocolate: dark or milk?
Definitely milk chocolate. I'm all for sweet rather than rich.

What are you working on now?
I just sold a second young adult novel to MTV Books about a girl who sees psychic images or signs on her peers and then has to piece together the clues in order to save them from unfortunate fates. It's the first time I'll be writing with a paranormal element so I'm very excited about the project.

Is there anything else you'd like to say about this book or the process of writing it?
Graffiti Girl is a fast paced read. My intent while writing Angel's journey was to hopefully create a novel that teens can relate to and give them an entertaining story. I hope I pulled that off!

If you want to read the book, you can buy it from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble (or, of course, from an independent bookseller, if you're lucky enough to have one in your area).

For more info on Kelly and her books, visit her web site.

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