What was the best book you've read all year? Tell me all about it!
GP: I've been reading almost exclusively YA this year and I read almost exclusively contemporary, at that. I think my two favorites have been Stupid Fast, by Geoff Herbach (man, I love that guy) and And Then Things Fall Apart, by Arlaina Tibensky. I love them both for the same reason -- how strong the voices are and how quirky, funny, and poignant the main characters are. I cared so much about Felton (Stupid Fast) and his trials and tribulations were both heartbreaking and laugh-out-loud funny. Plus, teen boy book with great, authentic male lead in real, relatable situations, I mean, we so need more of those. And Keek's (...Things Fall Apart) sarcastic, hilarious, wiser-than-her-years voice had me breathless with its clever, pitch perfect ramblings, and wishing I had written her. Plus, And Then Things Fall Apart has a whole Bell Jar thing going on, making me desperate to reread the classic, so total bonus! I mean, who could ask for more than that?
On another note, and it's almost unfair to mention it, but I am re-reading The Book Thief and it continues to astonish me with its unique, remarkable and heartbreaking brilliance.
What was your favorite thing you wrote?
GP: I've been working on an upper YA manuscript called In Sight of Stars -- it's pretty dark, although funny and hopeful in parts, and there are a few scenes that took my breath away when I finished them. But I'm not ready to share any of that.
On another note, I wrote a Halloween-ish blog post about Whoppers (TM) malted milk balls which is a take-off on Poe's The Raven. And every time I read it, it entertains me. So let's go with that. You can read that here if you want: http://ghpolisner.blogspot.com/2011/10/Halloween-riff-sugar-rush.html. And join my blog, too, while you're there. :)
What was your biggest writing struggle, and how did you overcome it?
GP: Probably just that self-doubt we all get after years and years of rejection (on top of the self-doubt we'd already feel without ANY rejection piled on). For me, having my kids helped. I wanted to prove to them that you could keep getting knocked down, told "no" after "no" after "NO!" and still succeed. So, I kept going. I mean, that wasn't this year, I guess, but pre-book deal. But this year, too, has been rife with writing struggles, and rejections, and learning how to handle the occasional less than stellar review, or the rejection of a next book idea. My kids still motivate me. I try to take the same advice I'd give them. Get knocked down, cry and stomp for a bit, then get back up, kill the tears, and keep going.
What can we expect from you in the new year?
GP: My brand new, shiny and wonderful agent, Jim McCarthy is excited about my current manuscript, Frankie Sky. I've just turned in my revisions to him and, so, hopefully, it's about to go out to publishers (I'm moving houses for long, boring reasons) so I have to shop again as if I were a new writer. Keep your fingers crossed for me.
Write down your 'Writing Resolution of 2012!'
GP: "Facebook less. Write more." Yeah, you're right, that ain't never going to happen. Hmmm. "Write more. Write better." How about that one? ;)