Today I'm showcasing a fabulous female and her debut novel. Christina Mandelski wrote The Sweetest Thing (yes it's YA) and 5/10 was her Book Birthday!!!! So be sure to stop by her blog, twitter, or facebook page and wish her a proper Happy Book Birthday! Today I've interviewed her for this special occassion!
1. What made you start writing?
I was a voracious reader from a very early age – I’d read anything I could get my hands on – from my mom’s cookbooks to my dad’s collection of material on the Kennedy assassination (how weird was I?) Of course, my favorite books were the ones I brought home in armfuls from the library. I loved mysteries, historical fiction (Little House on the Prairie), realistic (Judy Blume), fantasy (The Princess and the Goblin), biographies. I truly loved how one book could transport me to a different time or place, introduce me to new people, creatures, ways of life – it was like magic to me. The first time I remember wanting to be a writer was around the 3rd grade. I knew, without a doubt that I wanted to make that kind of magic.
2. Why cake-decorating? Is it a secret passion?
I wanted my main character to be an artist, and to have a passion for her art that ran deep, kinda like I’ve always felt about writing. When I began writing the novel in 2007, my family and I were hooked on the Ace of Cakes show on TV. In my opinion, the cakes that they create are masterpieces and I thought it would be interesting to write a teenager who could do the same kind of thing. Plus, I thought it would be a blast to dream up incredible cakes, and it was!
Alas, though I have taken a cake decorating class from a very talented artist – I don’t have the patience, or the passion, to pursue that particular art form! I’m always willing to eat the resulting masterpiece, though – always!
3. What drew you to writing for teens?
I always assumed I’d write adult books, but all of my stories were coming out with teen main characters, so I went with the flow. Now I can’t imagine writing for anyone else. The young adult years are when we start to figure stuff out – what kind of person to be, what to do with our lives, how to love others (platonic, familial and romantic). Basically, it’s the beginning of us trying to figure out where we fit into this world. From an author’s perspective, this makes for a wonderful setting for stories ripe with emotion, meaning, turmoil, romance and of course, humor and fun.
4. Did you snag yourself an agent or go straight for the publisher? Share your story!
I’m very fortunate to have a wonderful agent and agency. I’m with Upstart Crow Literary, repped by Danielle Chiotti, who is, in a word, brilliant. The founder of Upstart Crow, Michael Stearns pulled me out of the slush in early 2009, and basically made my decade!
5. What do you find most rewarding about writing?
I get to do what I love every day. Not everyone can say that, and I don’t for one minute take it for granted. Of course, I also get to wear my pajamas all day if I want to (definite perk).
Fun & Random
Favorite cake flavor: Dark chocolate with vanilla buttercream frosting!
Favorite place to write: I love the quiet room of our local library. It’s got a wall of windows that looks out onto the woods. It’s like writing in a very quiet treehouse.
Panda or Polar Bear: Hmmm … which one has the least chance of mauling me?
Chick flick or horror: Chick flick all the way! After Nightmare on Elm Street in the 7th grade, I was done with horror forever.
Favorite read: My favorite book of all time is To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett is my go-to children’s book.
Silly string or Silly putty: As a kid, I would’ve been all over the silly string. As a mom, silly putty is much less labor intensive. Plus someone recently told me that if you’re ever thinking of getting a tattoo, lift a picture onto silly putty and stretch it out to see what it’ll look like as you age. Gonna keep that one in my back pocket as my daughters get older. Yikes, I sound like a mom, don’t I?
Isn't she fun and fabulous?! So here is the best news ever... she'll be having a signing here in Houston on May 14th at Blue Willow Bookshop at one p.m. so if you are around the Houston area I suggest you stop in for the fun! She's also having some CONTEST fun so do be sure to check it out, contest ends at the end of MAY!