How now, FYA? Today I have a SUPER SPECIAL present for you all. You may all remember A.S. King, author of a Jenny favorite, The Dust of 100 Dogs. Well, she's back, with Please Ignore Vera Dietz, and has been patiently (and very productively, I might add) hitting the blogosphere on a World Pizza Delivery Tour. And we're the last stop! (Amy assures me that our pizza, unlike, say, Dominoes, will not arrive all smushed and cold, even though we're the last stop on the route. This is because Amy is, in many, many ways, far greater than Dominoes, who uses your pizza money to ensure that women don't get a chance to choose to have an abortion. Dominoes is Satan's Pizza.)
ANYWAY. Amy has kindly and awesomely delivered our TASTY pizza, plus stuck around for a Between Two Lockers sesh, so I think you'll agree that this is PRETTY FREAKIN AWESOME. With that, I'll let A.S. King take it away!!
Knock knock knock. Pizza delivery. I've got an Italian sausage, black olive and hot peppers here for the fine crew of awesome people at Forever Young Adult...
You guys are MY LAST DELIVERY on the Pizza Delivery Blog Tour. Last month, my book Please Ignore Vera Dietz came out and I've been delivering cyber pizza all over the blogosphere ever since. I'm totally done. I've given my two weeks notice. I've completely ditched the hat and I don't care about getting back to the shop to return my nifty roof flag. In fact, if you don't mind, I'm just going to crash here on your couch and take a nap while you ladies check out the answers to your groovilicious questions.
What was your number one imaginative fantasy as a child?
First off, you have to know about my imaginary friend, Wolfie, who lived in the trash cans in our two bathrooms. He wore a green set of tails and a purple top hat. He would talk to me when I went to the bathroom. He wasn't at all scary even though he was a wolf.
Then there is the suit of armor. The suit of armor has become a sort of metaphor for my adult personality. Here's the deal. When I was little there was this horror-themed show on at like 9 or 10 and because I was the youngest, I sometimes was allowed to stay up to watch it with my sisters. One of the episodes featured this suit of armor that came alive or something---the memory is sketchy because I was young---and it burst through this door and came after the human being in the story. When he burst through the door, it scared the pants off me, and so, from that night on, I slept with my bedroom door wide open. Why? Because rather than be scared by the suit of armor bursting through the door, I could see him coming...or at least be dead before I knew he was even there. This is why, if you know me, you know I tend to confront things and like to know what's going on. I like to get stuff out on the table and talk about it and then move on rather than close the door and wait for the armor to come bursting through to get me.
Last: I had this recurring dream that followed me for years as a child and into my teen years. I finally got to use it in my next book, Everybody Sees the Ants. It was a dream about people hanging in a gallows. It wasn't scary, but it was weird and kinda sad.
So yeah---Wolfie was probably the most uplifting (and best dressed) of my childhood imaginings.
Recommend a place to eat in your hometown!
I am known to be a bit of a Mexican food fiend, which is great because Berks County, PA has several great authentic Mexican places. My favorite is La Cocina in Temple, PA. Beautiful food! Here's a link.
How old were you when you first got to second base? (Reader, just so you know----this was the "Ask me a cheeky question that you'd never usually ask" question. The fine people at FYA have not become overly intrusive.)
I admitted last month, on Jackie Morse Kessler's Pizza Delivery Stop that I didn't actually play tonsil hockey until I was late 14/early 15. Second base did come soon after---in tenth grade---sometime in spring...so maybe closer to 16 for me. I was a late starter and looking back, I'm pretty happy about that. I have a feeling my boyfriends were not. Their tough luck.
Thank you so so much for being part of my Pizza Delivery Blog Tour and for being so awesome, generally. Your support of young adult literature is wonderful. I am so happy I got to end my Pizza Delivery Tour with you because (don't tell Heather Brewer) your couch is the most comfotable couch EVER. Please don't kick me out. You guys are so much fun. I mean, my house is fun too, but there are little screaming things and a pile of work on my desk and dustbunnies that no one else sees but me. You guys have way better snacks, too.
Oh yeah. I'm thinking I should really tell you a bit about Please Ignore Vera Dietz before I go, eh? We've been really lucky with a lot of starred trade reviews in the last month. I do hope this will increase the book's availability. At the moment, if you're looking to buy a copy in a brick and mortar store, your best bet is to call ahead and make sure your store has it. If they don't, balk and scold them roughly...and then order it. They'll have it for you in a few days.
18-year-old Vera's spent her whole life secretly in love with her best friend, Charlie. And over the years she's kept a lot of his secrets. Even after he betrayed her. Even after he ruined everything. So when Charlie dies in dark circumstances, Vera knows a lot more than anyone. Will she emerge and clear his name? Does she even want to?
"Brilliant. Funny. Really special."
--Ellen Hopkins, author of NYT bestselling Crank, Glass and Tricks
Thank YOU, Amy, for delivering such tasty - and hilarious - pizza!! And I think I speak for all of FYA when I say, A) you are awesome, B) I want to live in your imagination and C) you're welcome on our couch at any time.
And, since we had Amy on our couch (not like that, pervs!) we decided to quiz her with some more questions as well! Take it away, Amy!!
OMG HOW CUTE IS SHE!
If your real life adolescence was a YA book, what would you, the main character, be like?
I'm making this an A.S. King upper-YA book and imagining myself at 16 or 17. So, the MC would be slightly confused about pretty much everything. But she wouldn't show it on the outside. She's happy, generally. She sings really loudly in her car. She jokes a lot. She likes school but gets very poor grades. She smokes cigarettes after basketball practice. I warned you about the confusion.
Who is your secret crush?
I got to date my real-life secret crush after confessing my crush to someone who told him. Then, over the next summer, I met my husband-to-be, who started out as my secret crush who I thought was way out of my league, but found out was crushing on me too. (Amy's secret crush stats: I got to date my first one and marry my next one. Twenty years later, I have still never looked at another guy. Win.)
Not-so-secret, not-real-life crush at 17? David Bowie. John Cleese. (yes I know that's weird) Bill Murray.
Um, Amy, it is NOT WEIRD to have a crush on John Cleese. Or if it is, I'm equally weird.
What is your number #1 source of angst?
Not being allowed to smoke anywhere**. And school. And my parents. And this one girl who was always mean to me. Okay, no. Two girls. All #1 sources. (**Readers: I finally quit smoking. It took me over 20 years of smoking before I did. If you smoke, quit now. I beg you.)
At what point would the reader pump his/her fist in victory?
Probably upon opening her report card and discovering that she managed to get to the next grade by the skin of her teeth. Also, winning basketball games or spiking on the badminton court in gym class. Yes badminton. What? What are you laughing at? Dude, I ROCKED at badminton. BADMINTON ROCKS.
Uh huh! Sure it does!
And who would play you in the film adaptation?
According to what others have told me, either Drew Barrymore or Mary Louise-Parker.
Those are pretty good choices!
THE SLUMBER PARTY Questions
What is your secret power?
I am a kindness ninja. This means I am constantly sneaking around being kind to people. Watch your back.
What is your #1 favorite food?
Are we talking dinner or munchies? Because I mean, for dinner give me corn pie and then apple dumplings for dessert. But if we're talking munchies, I'm a Skittles addict.
Tell me about your area of expertise.
I don't think I have one of those.
I mean, I could tell you the importance of pH in relation to chlorine parts per million in large community swimming pools. And I could tell you the complicated genetics behind breeding blue Orpington chickens. And I could probably still explain the ins and outs of printing photographs the old way, in a darkroom with nasty chemicals. I think the only thing I'm an expert at now is how to write books with tiny children screaming right next to my head. Oh snap. No. I'm not an expert at that, either.
Final answer: I don't think I have one of those.
If you could assemble your own Ocean's 11 of fictional characters, who would you pick and why?
This is a mix of movie and book fictional characters. I hope that's okay.
And since I've already divulged my secret power as kindness ninja, it should be assumed that my posse would not be robbing anyone. We would be spreading awesome.
So here's my list:
1. The Bride from Kill Bill---she's our bodyguard
2. Eliot Rosewater from God Bless You Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut---because he's got the money and knows how to use it correctly.
3. Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee---in case we get into any legal trouble for being too nice to people.
4. Richard Parker from Life of Pi by Yann Martel---because everyone needs a tiger.
5. Yoda---because he's Yoda, man.
6. Emer Morrisey from The Dust of 100 Dogs---in case The Bride needs someone to talk to or practice swordplay with.
7. Tiny Cooper from Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan---because Tiny is awesome and would totally be the perfect really BIG kindness ninja.
8. Forrest Gump (and his mom) (And Lt. Dan, if we need him)---because if anyone understands our mission, it's Forrest Gump. He and Eliot Rosewater would get along so well.
9. Vladimir Todd from Heather Brewer's The Chronicles of Vladimir Todd---because I think Vlad will be great recruiting a new generation of kindness ninjas. And we need someone cute for Tiny Cooper to crush on. Sorry Vlad.
10. Juno from the movie Juno---because she is the shizz.
11. D.Q. from Last Summer of the Death Warriors by Francisco X. Stork---because D.Q. is all about living his life to the fullest. And I think with him around (not to mention Yoda) the others would be less prone to whining.
I WANT TO GO THERE.
What is your best karaoke song?
(In my car) "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" by Stevie Wonder
Tell me something scandalous!
I just ate an entire bag of candy corn in about five minutes flat.
What is your favorite adult beverage?
Jameson whiskey. With ginger ale, please.
UM YES PLEASE. My favorite drink in the whole world is a whiskey presbyterian (whiskey, ginger ale, and a slash of soda water, with a twist). YOU ARE MY BOOZE TWIN!
What book have you read the most number of times?
Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
Who is your freebie?
I don't have one. Or, you know, Robert Downey Jr., Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp, unless he's as pretentious as he's starting to seem. Then not him. Somebody funny and not too full of himself. (As you can tell, I am really bad at this sort of slumber party talk. I'm better off making birdhouses or wiring the chandelier.) If time machines existed, my answer would be completely different. (Example: Yul Brenner from The Magnificent Seven era, Jimi Hendrix in 1967 or Bob Marley in the late 70s. Of course time machines don't exist, so I'll just get back to wiring the chandelier.)
A few minutes later, Amy sent this to me:
UPDATE: I do have a freebie. It's Justin Timberlake.
I know--surprising, right? But he's got it all. Hilarious, sexy, smashing good looks. Great smile.
Frankly I think ALL of your Freebie choices are inspired! And I hear ya; it's hard to narrow it down to just one name! I have like 15. (Except Ryan, boo, you know you're my favorite!!)
"No Amy, no cry! I'll be your freebie!"
YA authors are so cool. Who would you give a BFF charm to?
I'm giving you three answers because I'm rebellious and I know too many cool YA authors to narrow this list down: Lisa McMann, Heather Brewer, Lauren Baratz-Logsted.
Out of all of the characters you've written, which one do you most wish you could be?
This is from an unpublished book. I hope that's okay.
My answer: The queen of H-125. She ROCKED. She was pretty much immortal, she was queen of an entire planet and though she was over fifteen feet tall and her head was shaped like a flat lollipop, she was benevolent and a very good queen. She wore really great gowns too. And she lived in space. I mean---that would be cool.
Um. AWESOME. I want to be her friend.
If you were invited to the FYA slumber party (and obvs, you ARE), what pajamas would you wear, and what is the most crucial snack food and/or movie you'd bring?
My PJs are the red flannel bottoms with the skiing penguins and probably an old Nirvana t-shirt that Mr. King won't let me wear outside of the house anymore due to the holes. I'd bring either cheeseballs or Skittles and I'd bring Kill Bill, Parts One and Two.
I LOVE CHEESEBALLS.
And now, THE VERY IMPORTANT GAME OF MASH.
As ever, A.S. King has provided us with three acceptable answers and we have provided a fourth, unsavory option. The random number is 3! Laissez les bon temps rouler!
Mansion Apartment Shack House
Topher (Sorry. I'm sappy.)
A Grateful Dead Show in Philadelphia
Des Moines, Iowa
# of Kids
Pickle Plant Manager
Just getting by
Not really getting by
How can anyone have three answers to this? PA
A vintage Nova or something
Well, I'm not sure how you can support 12 kids on a Pickle Plant Manager salary - not to mention, cart them around in your Nova - but at least you aren't married to Glenn Beck. THINGS COULD BE WORSE.
Thank you SO MUCH to A.S. King for developing such a kickass blog tour (and also for being patient with yours truly as she nearly threw gmail out the window)!! Everyone should go out and request Vera Dietz, PLEASE! And, I never say this, but please go order it from Barnes and Noble, Borders, or other big chains. They so far aren't carrying the title - even though it's a starred review - and maybe if enough people request it, they'll remove their heads from their asses. And look for a review of the book coming to FYA soon!