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Q & A with Lena Brown + Giveaway

Lena Brown is visiting us at Jessy's Bookends. She is the author of Every Breath You Take, an smartly written short story from Prom Dates To Die For. I want to share with all of you some questions I had the opportunity to ask to Lena.

Lena, welcome to Jessy's Bookends.

1. What is your favorite thing about writing for the Young Adult genre?

First of all, I loved my teen years. Okay, when I hit 15, at least. Loved my high school and college experience, so writing about it definitely lets me revisit a really cool time in my life. But as characters are prone to do, they decide what happens to them and how they react to growing up and dealing with adversity. In my Goddess Sisters series coming out later this year, I get to go back to college, which is actually a recurring dream of mine. (As in nighttime dream versus real-life dream. Only homework I do know is helping my kids.)

2. What authors have influence you on your work?

I'm a voracious reader and have been since I was little. I liked everything from Judy Blume to Francine Pascal's SWEET VALLEY HIGH series (when I think of 6th grade, I think of the twins!) Middle school marked a big Stephen King phase and of course in high school I was influenced by a lot of classics and didn't get back to reading for pleasure until I got hooked on Anne Rice in college and my early twenties. Once I had kids I read a lot of chick lit and looked for more humorous writing. In young adult, I've read a lot of Oklahoma authors, Rachel Vincent, Jordan Dane (both moved to Texas in the last two years), Gena Showalter, Ally Carter, P.C. Cast. And now that I'm executive editor at Buzz Books I get to read stories in the manuscript form and watch them "become" which is a real treat. My favorite book of the year was John Green's THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, so I'll be seeking out the rest of his books.

3. What inspired your short story on this anthology?

My approach to storytelling is to first be a good listener and curator for the voice in my head that says, "OOH, OOH, I HAVE AN IDEA! TRY THIS! WRITE THAT! DON'T YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT SO-AND-SO?" I'm a prolific idea gal, but there just isn't time to write them all so I pursue the idea I feel have the most potential for a good, well-rounded story and interesting characters. "Every Breath You Take" was inspired by my own proms in the '80s (and two in 1990, the year I graduated high school), and then actually the family circumstance that drove the story. I try to tune in to the characters and have them reveal the story to me over time and then start writing the story down as I "get" more information. It sounds like channeling and that's a spooky word, but I guess it's appropriate when writing YA paranormal.

4. If you had the opportunity to evolve your characters more, what else would you do with Charlie?

Well, since I'm writing a Goddess Sisters series about three of Zeus' daughters who are sent to Mid America University to learn about the meaning of sisterhood, you just might see Charlie popping up again in the dorms or one of the sororities. She's not frilly or girly and I like that about her.

5. Do you visualize a change in genre for your work? Do you have any project you would like to share with us.

I'm using the pen name Lena Brown because it is a big departure from my women's fiction under my real name, Malena Lott. Lena Brown focuses on young adult paranormal, but will be very grounded in character. For me, it will always start with character and then have the action and suspense support the growth of the character. I'll have a short story in the Halloween anthology, SOMETHING WICKED, out this fall and I'm writing that early this summer. I do know it will be set at Mid America University and it will have spiders. Lots and lots of spiders. And my Goddess Sisters' series is paranormal/fantasy and includes romance and lots of fun mythology. The first book is "Going Greek" and it's in edits right now.

Thanks for hosting me!

Lena Brown is the young adult pen name for author Malena Lott. Lena writes young adult paranormal and her first published work was "Every Breath You Take," in the PROM DATES TO DIE FOR paranormal prom anthology by Buzz Books USA. ($7.99 trade paperback, $2.99 ebook) Her first full-length book will be the Goddess Sisters' series, coming out in fall 2012. Find out more at www.lenabrownbooks.com and follow her at www.twitter.com/lenabrownbooks and on Goodreads.

Here is the Giveaway!  Win a Copy of Prom Dates To Die For. Buzz Books USA will provide a print copy for a happy winner.Don't lose this opportunity to read great scary prom stories.  This giveaway is open for United States and Puerto Rico.


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