Thursday, May 26, 2011

Want All of Catherine's YA Titles?

Catherine Ryan Hyde has donated all SIX of her YA novels to the TLC Auctions. That means if you bid and you're the get all of them, not just a choice of one or two. ALL OF THEM PEOPLE!

Catherine will have another auction posted soon as well, so you must be following along with the auctions and bidding on the ones you want or can. Bid to give yourself something, to give someone else something, or just to benefit two very deserving people and their families.

Normally, I try and space out posts...but I really want people to know about this, so please please please read the interview before this one. Scott is wonderful and took the time out of his life to answer my questions. It would mean a lot to us both if you left a comment...even if it's a quick one!!

amazon associate: buy the book, we get a small percentage. but think about bidding it forward is in the six titles you could win.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Interview with Writer/Director Scott Boswell

As most of you should know, I recently reviewed the film The Stranger in Us. Now, I was lucky enough to ask writer/director Scott Boswell some questions about the movie, his next projects, and even the possibility of writing a novel. The Stranger in Us was one of those films I could see as a book and would definitely enjoy I think it would be great if Scott ever wrote and published a novel, especially if it geared toward a YA audience on some level.

1. As the writer and director of The Stranger in Us, what was the overall process of bringing this film to life?

That's a big question, so I'll try to be succinct. I started the project in May 2008 after several years of making short films and writing feature screenplays. I had decided it was time to make my first feature film, which is a really important step for any independent filmmaker. You can spend years and years trying to find the funds to make a film, or you can pick up a camera and make one. I opted for picking up a camera, which of course also meant a very tight budget and going into debt. But I have noregrets. We kept the production very small and local and culled as many favors as possible. Now I've made my film and it's even found a distribution pathway around the world.

2. I'm a huge fan of titles, so I was wondering...what were your own personal thoughts when naming The Stranger in Us?

I actually had a hard time naming this film; I didn't settle on a title until way into the editing phase. When "The Stranger in Us" came to me, that seemed right because it captures a major theme in the film -- that of on discovering a part of yourself you never thought was there. For Anthony, it was about finding himself in an abusive relationship.

3. One of the things we focus on a lot here are novels. Do you think you'd ever turn your writing to the page?

Absolutely! In fact, I have. I've written quite a few short stories, and I've even worked on a novel version of one of my screenplays, A Good Kid. I still think this particular story would work well as a novel, and one
day I hope to finish it. I'm thinking about NaNoWriMo this year.

Scott Boswell

4. According to your website, you are working on the concept for a television series. Can you share anything concerning that?

Sure, it's a dual-character narrative, meaning it focuses equally on the lives of two characters. But we also see these two character at three different points in their lives, so there are actually six narratives happening. One is a gay kid / young man; the other is a middle class black girl / woman. They progress from rivals as pre-teens to best friends in high school to near strangers as adults.

5. As people can see from my review, I really enjoyed the character of Gavin. Any thoughts on writing something that surrounds just teens?

Yes, in fact, I've always been drawn to stories of youth in my writing. At the moment I'm working on two scripts about teens -- one is a high school comedy set in the 1980s (but very different from a John Hughes film); the other is dramatic story about a Latino youth in the U.S. who learns at the age of 16 that he's undocumented. My plan is to make one of these films next.

6. Everybody's character in The Stranger in Us has an open-ended story. What made you decide to go that route?

Good question. It was mostly an aesthetic or stylistic choice. I strove for realism with this story, and resolution doesn't always come with realism. And I think the choice of open-endedness compliments the genre, a character-driven drama; wrapping things up likely would have felt forced.

7. The editing is different from most films in The Stranger in Us. How did that idea come about? Was it a choice intended to add mystery?

I think you're probably talking about the story structure, specifically the "shuttling around" in time. A sense of mystery wasn't quite the intended goal; however, I did intend a sense of confusion as Anthony tries to make sense of his relationship with Stephen. In my mind, the film takes place over only two days: The first is Gavin's 18th birthday, when Anthony breaks down; the second is the next day, when Anthony takes a bus to find Gavin in Chico. Every other scene is a memory Anthony has while on the bus -- memories of the first two people he became close to in San Francisco, both of whom he subsequently lost. So for me as a writer, the shuttling in time is really Anthony's stream-of-consciousness.

8. What LGBT films would you recommend, besides your own?

Wow, there's so much to choose. I'm actually teaching a class on Queer Cinema at San Francisco State University at the moment, so I've been focused on this very subject. For people interested in LGBT film, I highly recommend the classic book, The Celluloid Closet, by Vito Russo. I've been influenced by directors like Gus Van Sant (My Own Private Idaho) and Pedro Almodóvar (Bad Education). Some recent favorites include the Canadian film I Killed My Mother by Xavier Dolan and the local documentary We Were Here: The AIDS Years in San Francisco by David Weissman.

Buy the film from our link, and we get a small percentage. I do not own any photos.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Living Beyond Tolerance Scholarship/Contest

I'm setting up a scholarship. It's a bit informal. We won't know the full amount (but the smallest it will be is $200) until the end of November of 2011. However, you can start applying TODAY (June 1 -End of November) and I'd really love to see people from all over getting involved. If you can't apply...spread the word. Regardless, there is something most of you can do (big or small) and I'd love to have more help.

To find out more about the scholarship, please go here and read up! It's called the "Living Beyond Tolerance" scholarship and is for those that identify as LGBT or an Ally. You must simply be working to make sure everyone is accepted and NOT just tolerated.

In honor of this scholarship and to raise more awareness for it, we're holding a contest for the months of June and July called LGBT BOOK SUMMER

To enter:
One must purchase an LGBT novel and send a photo of the book or receipt to the following email: lauren51990 AT aol DOT com
This will enter them to win a prize pack of LGBT-themed novels, including a signed copy of David Inside Out by Lee Bantle.
You can start sending in your entries in the form of a pic/receipt NOW until August 31 (EXTENDED)
Please spread the word about this giveaway and the scholarship. It would mean a lot. Help us make it a success. And if you wish to donate something for the November auctions, send an email here: lauren51990 AT aol DOT com
Basket Contents
(this will keep being updated during the next two months)
1. Signed copy of David Inside Out by Lee Bantle (donated by author)

2. My Invented Life by Lauren Bjorkman (donated by author)

3. A collection of books by Tom Dolby (donated by author)

4. Your choice of ONE of Julie Anne Peters' LGBT themed novels (donated by author)

5. Don't Let Me Go by J. H. Trumble (donated by author)

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Popularity Papers (Books 1 & 2) Review!

The Popularity Papers: Research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang by Amy Ignatow

Review by: Lauren

Copy From:

amazon associate: buy either of these books, we get a small percentage for the site

Summary: Lydia and Julie have been best friends for years but now that they are coming to the end of fifth grade, they start a dual notebook that will help them to become popular for middle school. They pay attention to the popular girls in their grade and what they wear, what sports they play, and even what boys they have crushes on. As they try and mimick these things, they soon learn what they actually like and what they are just fine tossing aside.

Review: The Popularity Papers is a middle grade series with only two books currrently out. What I loved about the books is that both girls write and draw, except Lydia is a bad drawer and writes in cursive...while Julie is an excellent drawer and has dark, bold writing. If you look at the covers...the characters are "Julie's" drawings. Julie has dark hair...Lydia has blonde.

Even though these are aimed at middle grade readers, I think they would be enjoyed by many. They are fun, quick reads with lots of cool drawings and observations about how to live your life and become the "true you" so to speak....even if that means taking things adults say with a grain of salt!

The reason I'm putting this book on Let's Get Beyond Tolerance is because Julie has two dads and no mom. I thought this was great for many reasons. One, I think LGBT characters in books are great in general...especially when they are just there and part of normal life. Also, even though I don't read much MG, I haven't read or heard of any other titles that really focus on LGBT characters. Julie loves her dads, calling them Daddy and Papa Dad. They are quirky and fun and serious and just good parents. It's great to see this overall, like I said, but even better to have it in an MG novel where younger kids can learn to accept these things a bit earlier.

The Popularity Papers: The Long-Distance Dispatch Between Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang by Amy Ignatow

Review by: Lauren

Copy From:

Summary: Lydia's mom has gotten a great job opportunity and will be going off to England with her two daughters...much to their dislike. One of the good things is that it will only be six months but that's still six months of middle school away from her best friend, Julie. While in England, Lydia forms a group of friends consisting of some of the kids on the outer fringe of popularity. As for Julie, she makes her way into one of the most popular cliques known as the Bichons.

Review: Using some of what they observed in the first book, both girls try and become a bit more popular...and still learn as much as they their respective corners of the world. I personally love anything that deals with England so it was really fun to see Lydia's adventures there and the new words she learned. Lydia's particular crisis in this book is that she must learn to accept people as they are and sure, encourage your friends, but don't force them to do things. She also must deal with her mom possibly falling for a guy...and where does that leave her? Stuck in England?

Julie, on the other hand, is doing pretty well for herself...or so you think. She soon realizes that the Bichons aren't that great of people and she'll have to figure out just who her real friends are and how to stand up for herself.

These are all pretty universal issues, and some of them can take place at even an older age...which goes with the idea that these aren't just for the MG crowd.  I like that the girls are bit clueless with things. I don't think they are too "dumb" or anything, just a bit naive. They are kind of dorky girls who really only had each other for awhile...and here they are in middle school with kids from various elementary schools and they have to survive. Well, at least Julie does. Lydia has to make do with everything being new.

I loved that Ignatow plays with Lydia and Julie's friendship in various ways. They aren't always happy with each other...they argue, they write things about each other (for only their eyes), and they stop talking sometimes. It's a normal friendship that grows and changes.

As for Julie's dads, you seem them just as much in this one as the other...and they are just as adorable! I think Ignatow does a great job showcasing various parents and siblings (such as Lydia's sister, Melody). They are all very unique and their own people...but it works somehow, like most families!