To celebrate the release of her newest book, King of the Screwups, K.L. Going is hosting a contest where readers can "Confess Your Biggest Screw Up! and Win a $100 gift certificate to your local independent bookstore, Borders, or Barnes & Noble, plus a complete set of autographed KL Going YA books."
I have not had a chance to read this yet, but the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, provides this description:
Liam Geller is Mr. Popularity. Everybody loves him. He excels at sports; he knows exactly what clothes to wear; he always ends up with the most beautiful girls in school. But he's got an uncanny ability to screw up in the very ways that tick off his father the most.When Liam finally kicked out of the house, his father's brother takes him in. What could a teenage chick magnet possibly have in common with his gay, glam rocker, DJ uncle who lives in a trailer in upstate New York? A lot more than you'd think. And when Liam attempts to make himself over as a nerd in a desperate attempt to impress his father, it's his "aunt" Pete and the guys in his band who convince Liam there's much more to him than his father will ever see.
Always need more funny books for boys, and I loved St. Iggy, so I am looking forward to reading this one!
Ms. Yingling: In middle school and high school, would you have identified more with the geek contingent, or the cool kids?
Ms. Going: A little of both. I definitely had friends that fell into each category. I was pretty shy, but gained some confidence towards the end of high school.
In middle school I had some rough years where I wasn't at all happy with my appearance, but then as I aged I grew up and lost my braces and the bad perm. I tried very hard to walk that middle line where you don't get picked on, but maybe you don't get noticed as much either.
Ms. Yingling: Why do you think people like to read about other people messing up?
Ms. Going: I can't speak for everyone, but I know that when I read other people's stories of mistakes they've made it makes me feel better about my own mistakes. Since I started the King of the Screwups contest where readers can win a $100 gift certificate to a bookstore by sending in a paragraph or more confessing one of their screwups, it's been fun to read the entries. (I've posted them on my website at: www.klgoing.com/contest if anyone would like to read them.) Sometimes they're funny and sometimes they're heartbreaking. But they always make me stop and realize that everyone's human. No one is perfect. To learn more about enterring, just visit the website above. The contest runs until June 30th, 2009.
Ms. Yingling: Why did you want to write about someone who was having trouble being
successful in the way that he wanted to succeed?
Ms. Going: I like writing about characters who go against type. Liam, the main character of King of the Screwups, is a drop dead gorgeous guy who wants to be a nerd because this is the definition of success his father lays out for him. Not only did that set-up allow me to explore parental expectations and what effect they have on kids, but it also allowed me to have a lot of fun with a character who isn't your typical teen novel hero. I think people can empathize with Liam's struggle to be someone he's not, even as they laugh at some of his antics.
Ms. Yingling: In St. Iggy, you really get inside the character's head. Do you think
you understand people really well, or do you just really like the characters you create?
Ms. Going: I'd love to think I understand people well, but truthfully it's probably the latter. People are so complex that it's hard to understand anyone you don't know very, very well. Most of the time, unless we're talking about a character we create, that's hard to achieve. I think that's part of what makes writing rewarding -- we can get inside our character's heads in a
Ms. Yingling: Did you read a lot as a teenager? What was your favorite thing to read?
Ms. Going: Yes, I read a ton! And I have always read very broadly. I loved fantasy novels, but I also loved books like The Far Pavilions and The Thorn Birds -- sweeping, romantic tales. I loved the classics, like Wuthering Heights and children's books, such as Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising series. My favorite changed from week to week. Sometimes day to day.
Ms. Yingling: How can readers learn more about you and your work?
I'd love it if people visited my website - www.klgoing.com. I have a large site with games, music lists, videos, podcasts, a blog, book recommendations and much more. Also, for any aspiring writers out there, I have a page set up with writing tips and information on my Manuscript
Critique service. You can also find me on MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter under KL Going.
Many thanks to a great author for sponsoring this contest and writing books!