Wednesday, February 27, 2013

An Interview With (a) Vampire Lover(s)

Hey there, I have been without internet for a long while now, and have not really been able to blog. So, this makes me so excited. I am about to blog awesomeness. Why?

Because I am a teacher. And I teach 13 and 14 year olds. And I teach English. So, reading and writing. READING AND WRITING FOLKS! Which means I have so much access to the one thing writers love. READERS! And in particular, YA READERS!

So, every once in a while, my brain actually works and puts something together that is amazeballs. And here it is. I interviewed some of my students to find out FROM THE SOURCE, what teens look for and don’t look for in books. These are the kids who buy our beloved books. These are the ones we need to entice. Yes, everything is subjective, but when I noticed these girls devour books like it’s a plateful of pie, I figured I would get inside their head. Ask them a few questions about what they read and why they read it.

So, here is the interview. Listen and learn, writers. Today’s audience...teen girls. If you are writing YA, pay attention!

Welcome Jessa, Katelyn, and Rumneet, Jaiya, Euna, and Kendra. Six wonderful girls with sass and spunk. You could not ask for six more amazing students in your class. COULD NOT!
Me: So what genre books do you usually read?

Jessa: We love science fiction, like Hunger Games. It has to have romance and drama.

Katelyn: And dystopia like Hunger Games. I loved that whole series.

Rumneet: I also like fantasy.

Jaiya: Adventure, historical fiction and fantasy. Anything with zombies.

Euna: Romance, comedy and fantasy.

Kendra: Romance and realistic fiction.

Me: What about paranormal. Like werewolves and vampires, etc?

Katelyn: Oh yeah. We LOVE that. Hot werewolves.

Me: So what are some of your favorite books you’ve read this year?

Jessa: Delirium, Divergent, Hush Hush saga, The Host.

Katelyn: The Host, Hush Hush saga, Wake (series), Before I Fall, and the first Marked book.

Rumneet: Immortal Series and Eragon series. I also loved Shadow Falls.

Katelyn: And Raven. That one was so good.

Jaiya: Les Miserable, Origin, Mark of Athena, and World War Z.

Euna: Hush Hush, Child Called It, Harry Potter series, and Matched.

Kendra: Perfect Chemistry, Hush Hush, Chain Reaction.

Me: So what has to be in a book for you to want to read it?

Jessa: Romance, a hot guy, and drama. I also like my book to be a little steamy. I don’t mind description of kissing, I just kind of laugh.

Katelyn: I like my romance sweet. I don’t want to know all the details. There needs to be a good problem. Something that is hard to fix. And totally hot guys.

Rumneet: I like warm romance. In between. Not too much detail, but enough.

Katelyn: We like a girl POV because we like not knowing what the guy is thinking.

Jaiya: Relatable characters. They don’t have to have super stand-outish personalities, they should be realistic.

Euna: I like really good looking guys.

Kendra: Slow romance that you can tell is coming. Friends becoming more is cute. And what people are thinking. Lots of detail and descriptions.

Me: What are some of your favorite all time characters?

Jessa, Euna and Katelyn: PATCH.

Me: Why do you like him so much?

Katelyn: Because he’s hot. And dangerous. And protective. He will do anything for Nora. He’s mysterious. But the guy on the cover does NOT match what I have in my head. In my head, he’s way better looking. I also like Janie, from Wake. She’s responsible and takes care of her alcoholic mom. She’s independent and strong.

Me: Do you think characters like Patch border on abusive? There’s debate in the writing world about that.

Katelyn: No, not at all. I mean, he does sometimes become overprotective and he needs to let Nora do what she needs to. Like Scott, he needs to not be jealous of Scott. Scott’s a good guy.

Jessa: Ooooo. Scott. I love him. And Vee. I can’t believe who she turned out to be.

Me: *glares* DO NOT GIVE AWAY THE ENDING. (Finale)

Katelyn: Now Cable, from Wake, he is overbearing and kind of a jerk.

Rumneet: I really like Della from Shadow Falls. She’s smart and witty. I love her sexual innuendos. It makes me laugh and I like her humor.

Euna: Also Harry Potter but only in Goblet of Fire. He looked so good in that one.

Jaiya: Katniss, Marius, and Percy Jackson.

Kendra: Alex and Brittany from Perfect Chemistry. They have unsuspecting feeling of getting together.

Me: What are books you absolutely did not like?

Jessa: Cinder. I just couldn’t get into the whole robot thing. It was too weird. Oh and Shiver. I am not a big werewolf fan.

            Katelyn: Wait. Shiver has werewolves?

Jessa: Yeah, the guy is.

Katelyn: I have to read it. I did not like Beautiful Creatures. It just didn’t start fast enough and I am not a fan of witches. Except Raven. That one had witches, but it was different.

Jessa: They’re not witches, they’re Casters.

Katelyn: Whatever. I don’t like them. I also didn’t like Matched. The whole dying thing and the fact that they couldn’t choose their life, was unrealistic.

Rumneet: I liked the first Beautiful Creatures ok. But the second one just was slow. I had to rush through it, and I didn’t end up picking up any others.

Jaiya: I don't have any books I really don't like. (this girl is a DREAM READER)

Euna: Esperanza Rising. I didn't understand it and there was no romance so it wasn't interesting.

Kendra: I don't think there has ever been a bad book. (another DREAM READER)

Me: So, when you are choosing books, what do you look for?

Katelyn: I read the back. I look at the loglines. Like Wake says Open Your Eyes. But she’s blind. So that makes me wonder.

Rumneet: I read the blurb, but then look at the cover. It has to have some mystery I want to solve. Something that makes me have to know what it means.

Katelyn: And two people almost kissing. I love that.

Jaiya: I read books that people recommend to me. Usually they are right.

Euna: There has to be some kind of love triangle, the guy has to be really good looking, and the girl has to be normal.

Jessa: I read the blurb. When I want a good book, I come to you, Mrs. Torgesen. You know all the good books.

Katelyn: Yeah. Me too. I come see you.
Me: J YAY! (I totally lurve when they like my recs. It gives me ALL THE FEELS)

Euna: Is that a gif? It's from Friends. It's Chandler.
Bonus points for Euna.

Jessa: I also look for hot guys. It has to have hot guys.

Kendra: I look at the title and the back. Something needs to be interesting and pop out at me. Something that surprises me.

Me: Describe the perfect book.

Girls: It would be about a girl. And there would be love. And multiple guys would be fighting for her and she would have to choose. But she would choose the right one, which is not necessarily the good guy. He would be a little bit bad. And dangerous. A forbidden love. She would follow her heart. And there would be family secrets. They would be in a small town because there, secrets are harder to keep because everyone knows everyone else. There would also be a villain. But it wouldn’t be an obvious one. Like a friend or something. It would have to be paranormal. That would be the best book. You need to write it.

Me: What would the perfect MC be like:

·         Secrets

·         Dark past

·         Not too much of a goody-goody

·         Mystery

·         Long hair

·         Brunette

·         Bright eyes

·         Worrisome, cautious

·         Special

·         She would be independent

·         Could fend for herself

·         Smart

·         Quick thinker

·         loyal

The perfect Love Interest:

·         mysterious

·         dark and dangerous

·         good looking

·         tortured past

·         forbidden love

·         smart

·         funny

·         sarcastic

·         strong
      ·         muscular

·         tall

·         brave

·         alluring eyes

·         protective

The perfect Villain

·         false/pretends to be something else

·         mysterious

·         good looking/gorgeous

·         devious

·         manipulative

·         dark

·         quick thinker

·         always has a plan, ahead of the game

·         tries to be a friend/love interest

So this is what teen girls are looking for in a good book. Nothing groundbreaking, but it’s something to chew on. Do your books include these critical things? Are your characters lacking any of these characteristics?

Is paranormal dead? These girls would say otherwise. I will say the books that fly off my shelf and the ones that frequently have to be replaced are almost all fantasy/paranormal romance.

So, next time, what are teen guys into reading? Would that be a post you’d be interested in? Any other questions you have for the teen reader? Post them here.