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Author News & Interviews

Interview: Len Vlahos, author of The Scar Boys

Jan 31, 2014

Len Vlahos's new book THE SCAR BOYS --- about a severely burned boy who finds solace in his punk rock band --- hits surprisingly close to home. The Executive Director of the Book Industry Study Group was in a punk rock band in high school, Woofing Cookies, and eventually dropped out of NYU film school to reunite and tour. In this interview, he talks about how his own experience influenced THE SCAR BOYS, the power of music and some insight into his next project.

Interview: Marilyn Nelson, author of How I Discovered Poetry

Jan 21, 2014

An award-winning poet, Marilyn Nelson has written and translated more than 24 books and composed poems about a huge number of topics, including historical figures like Emmett Till and George Washington Carver, love, slavery and motherhood. Her latest collection HOW I DISCOVERED POETRY tackles a new theme --- the 1950s, the decade that Marilyn grew up. Comprising 50 poems, this book looks at Marilyn’s childhood but also delves into more universal themes, like the Civil Rights Movement, life for military families and the power of language. In this interview, Marilyn tells Teenreads the wonders of recipes published in 1950s magazines, her favorite poem in the collection and recommended books for teens who want to read poetry for the first time.

Interview: Steve Sheinkin, author of The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights

Jan 21, 2014

Although award-winning children's nonfiction author Steve Sheinkin doesn't have an exact recipe when deciding what to write about, he says that he wants the story to be "dramatic and full of tension" and hopefully enlighten readers about a key moment in American history. His earlier works certainly fit the criteria --- he's written about everything from the atomic bomb to Lincoln's grave robbers --- and his latest book, THE PORT CHICAGO 50: Distaster, Mutiny and the Fight for Civil Rights is no exception. Addressing the prejudice that faced African American soldiers during World War II, this fascinating story follows the events stemming from an explosion at the Port Chicago Navy base --- 300 sailors were killed, and 244 men refused to return to work until conditions improved. In this interview, Steve tells us a surprising fact about Jackie Robinson, how his work as a filmmaker influenced his writing style and the most memorable question that a student ever asked him.

Interview: John Dixon, author of Phoenix Island

Jan 6, 2014

Being sent to a military-style detention center would be hard enough --- intense physical labor, rigid schedules and hardcore discipline --- but what if that was the least of your worries, because there was something dark and sinister going on in the background? Just ask John Dixon, whose book PHOENIX ISLAND explores this very premise. In this interview, John goes behind the scenes of his suspenseful thriller, telling us the inspiration for his characters, his personal opinion on boot camps and his fascination with transhumanism. Plus, he shares details on PHOENIX ISLAND’s transformation to the small screen --- it’s the muse for the new CBS show "Intelligence"! Be sure to read PHOENIX ISLAND and check out the show to see how they compare.

Interview: Mindy McGinnis, author of Not a Drop to Drink

Sep 24, 2013

What would happen if our entire water supply was contaminated? Author Mindy McGinnis tackles this question in her debut, NOT A DROP TO DRINK. Teenage Lynn has been taught to defend her pond against every threat: drought, a snowless winter, coyotes and most important, people looking for a drink. Lynn has no use for the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. But when strangers appear, the mysterious footprints by the pond, the nighttime threats, and the gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and they won't stop until they get it...

In this interview, Mindy McGinnis explains the inspiration for her environmental dystopian debut, confirms how fun it is to write a character completely inexperienced with social interactions and reveals how she'd fare in a survival situation.