Sunday, December 14, 2008

Welcome, Greg Logsted!

I’d like to welcome debut author Greg Logsted whose YA novel, SOMETHING HAPPENED, was recently published under the Simon Pulse imprint. Looks to me like this book would make a great holiday gift for any teens on your list.

Greg and I (and his wife and daughter) all share the same literary agent. So, even though we've never met in person, it's like we're automatic friends. :-)

Welcome Greg. Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Yes, I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I remember my third grade teacher telling my parents she thought I’d grow up to be a writer. I loved that idea and unlike me, it never grew old.

Tell me a bit about SOMETHING HAPPENED.

SOMETHING HAPPENED is my first novel (Simon & Schuster, Nov 2008). Five months after his dad's unexpected death, Billy Romero is still struggling with the loss. Billy's mom spends more time talking to her Bluetooth than to him, and his best friend, Ziggy, just doesn't get it. There's no one who understands how alone Billy feels...except his new English teacher, the young and beautiful Miss Gate.

Miss Gate offers support and friendship, even giving Billy extra help with his writing outside of school. Billy isn't really sure how he feels about spending so much time with his teacher. It's a little weird, but it's also kind of exciting that someone like Miss Gate wants to hang out with him. But the closer they get, the more Billy wonders what kind of friendship this really is....

How hard was it to get into the head of a 13-year-old boy?

SOMETHING HAPPENED is a YA set in a middle-grade environment. I found it really easy to get into the head of a thirteen-year-old. Maybe because I loved being thirteen – it was just a fun and magical time in my life. Also as a writer you get the opportunity to look at the old as new again. You get a second chance to say all those things you wished you had said when you really were thirteen.

Yes, there are sure a few events in my 13-year-old life I wouldn’t mind revisiting with adult wisdom. What’s next for you?

I just finished my second novel ALIBI JUNIOR HIGH! It was a whole lot of fun to write. This one has a bit more action than my last. ALIBI JUNIOR HIGH, is about a thirteen-year-old boy, Cody Saron, accustomed to living a globetrotting James Bond lifestyle with his mysterious dad. Cody must suddenly learn to cope with regular school life for the first time after he's forced into hiding when a secret mission turns bad. He thinks after everything he’s done that going to a small Connecticut junior high school will be easy, a piece of cake…boy, is he ever wrong.

That sounds great. Nothing’s ever a piece of cake at that age, is it? What’s your #1 piece of advice for aspiring authors?

My best piece of writing advice is to find what works for you and stick with it. Everybody’s different. What works for one person might not work for the next. I like to read poetry before I write; it helps me focus on the importance of choosing and using the right words. I’m not sure that would work for everyone. What I do think would work for everyone is practice; it might not make you perfect but it definitely will make you better. Write every day. Write hard; live free.

Thanks so much Greg! And good luck with the book.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Zack & Miri (and Kevin) Make a Disappointing Film

I was really looking forward to Zack & Miri Make a Porno. I like Kevin Smith. I like Seth Rogen. I like romantic comedies and this one had such an edgy fun premise.

But it kind of sucked.

I've been trying to figure out why it fell so flat for me. In the end, I think it boils down to weak writing, bad acting and too much reliance on gross-out or stereotype-reliant humor. Re the bad acting: the two leads were fine. (Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks) but the actors in many of the minor parts were horrible and, even in fairly small rolls, detracted from the film. Some of the minor characters were embarrassingly bad stereotypes. (particularly the Brendan Routh and Justin Long cameos as a gay couple.)

Casting (early 1980's underage porn star) Traci Lords as a porno actress is kind of funny (and stunt casting Lords worked for John Waters when he did it in Serial Mom and Cry Baby... but we expect bad acting in a John Waters movie (even when it's Johnny Depp). And the stunt casting didn't work here. Besides, Traci Lords is getting a little long in the tooth and it's been too many years since her infamous years as a porn star for the casting joke to be funny.

But beyond the stiff acting, (no pun intended), I think it was the writing that was the real problem. I liked the premise of two long-time platonic friends only figuring out that they were in love when they try to film a porno staring themselves... But it just didn't work. The characters were already so awkward and nervous around each other that we knew what was going on and the sex scene ended up simply being a let down. Either it had to have been a way better sex scene... or there should have been less obvious foreshadowing and they should have started out trying to do porn-style sex more convincingly that turned into somehting else. As it was, it was sex that started out awkward and just got more awkward, except maybe that they had a little meaningful eye-contact. Perhaps it was realistic... but I didn't want realism, I wanted a nice, emotional sex scene... It was a huge turning point for the film. Or should have been.

Then, the "black moment" and resolution were total cliche. A misunderstanding that a short conversation would have solved, followed by the eventual conversation, but only after a forced separation of 3 months. Any beginner writer of romance knows that doesn't work. There was no conflict between these two people except a misunderstanding. Beginner stuff.

Sigh. You'd think Kevin Smith could do better than this. He has done better than this. Jersey Girl was a half-decent rom-com with some real conflict.

On the upside... I found Jason Mewes (aka "Jay" from Kevin Smith's early movies) pretty funny (and disturbingly attractive) in this film. Perhaps my standards are lowering in my old age.

Monday, December 08, 2008

I So Am Going to Read This

My writer BFF Barrie Summy's first book hits the shelves today!!!

I SO DON'T DO MYSTERIES, Delacorte Press/Random House, Dec. 9 2008

I'm so excited for Barrie and anyone who wants a fun read, or who has a tween on their holiday gift list should run out to the store and get their hands on a copy!

It seems like yesterday that I got a phone call from Barrie telling me the good news that she'd received an offer for this book.

Congrats Barrie and good luck with the launch!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...