Wednesday, February 17, 2010 Visit with Clint Adams
Today we're visiting with Clint Adams, who besides being an author of several titles for teens, is the author of several titles for teens focusing on fear - and dealing with that fear. If you haven't checked out his last YA title, DON'T BE AFRAID OF HEAVEN, make sure you do so:
Hey there, Jen & your fantastic teen readers,
If I were to write a back-to-school essay after summer vacation, I’d title it: “What Teens Mean to Me.” You know why? Teens and Teen-readers gave me my greatest rewards as a writer and I’ll always be grateful. You guys are truly fearless and please promise me you’ll stay that way forever. OK?
I no longer write teen novels, but some of you may know that I wrote four that had to do with living fearlessly. One thing you may not know is that book-marketing often times dominates a writer’s life. Prior to the launch of my fourth teen novel, MY WATCH DOESN’T TELL TIME, I knew I had to create a press (news) release (letting folks know that this book was about to come out). But, guess what? If you’re not a famous author, there’s nothing newsworthy about its arrival.
As a result, I created my NO TIME FOR FEAR school visits and workshops (in Denmark) to accompany the launch of MWDTT. Little did I know then, in 2006, that this would lead to the highlight of my publishing career: YOU! Getting to know you throughout schools in Europe and the U.S., and the stories as well as anecdotes you shared with me, left me speechless on many occasions. I know you were happy to have me shut up for a change, but let’s get real, the silence was deafening. Not to be crude, but it’s a good thing no one farted then.
Seriously, for the past 16 years, on a weekly basis, I’ve met people who want to become writers. Nearly 100% of the time their expectations are unrealistic. The best rewards come from the most surprising places, and I remind them of this. (If they write for teens/young adults) “Be on the lookout for school visits,” is what I say. “Getting to know the students will change your life.”
Whenever my mind reverts back to fear, I think of you guys, and I’m brave again. Thanks. I only hope I have done the same for you, during those periods when I wasn’t silent, of course. A few times over the years I’ve heard a compliment that will stay with me ‘til the day I die, “Your book(s) made me look at my life differently.” For me, it doesn’t get any better than that. And, again, you know why? Because these compliments came directly from you, courageous teens who have no fear.
You’ve made me look at MY life differently. Even when I’m old and using a walker, I still hope to take sharp turns and race downhill as fast as I can, being unafraid of what’s to come. When you become old, I hope you’ll do the same.
Happy page-turning to you all (y’all, if you’re in the South)! I hope each one of you continues to seek out new authors who aren’t afraid to tell their stories. I hope they inspire you to tell yours. I can’t wait to hear them. But…please speak up, I may be listening to 50 Cent on my hearing aid.
Best to you always,
P.S. Thanks again to you too, Jen, for letting me share your cyberspace.
**Thank YOU, Clint, for helping us all to remember to live life fearlessly! I also had the chance to ask Mr. Adams a few questions about his life and writing: enjoy!
1) If you could bring any character from one of your books to life, who would it be and why?
Miguelito, for sure! The bravest, funniest, most innocent and fearless kid I’ll ever know. If I could handpick a son, it’d be him.
2) Your own six-word memoir.
Life’s hard, but I learned tons.
3) Twitter your newest or upcoming release in 140 characters or less.
SIMPLY SPIRITUAL will make you laugh ‘til you pee. If you thought spirituality could never be funny, you’re in store for a surprise belly laugh.
4) You have the chance to spend the day with any character from one of your favorite books. Who would you choose and why?
Miss Celie from THE COLOR PURPLE, because we speak the same language; we both talk to God (me: not out loud though). More than that, I admire that as a teen, Miss Celie was imprisoned, but in the end, she recognized her power, her value, her worth and became free. Not many people know that this novel was initially marketed only to teens.
5) What was your favorite book growing up as a teen?
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee.
6) When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?
7) Your favorite subject in high school – and your least favorite.
Favorites: German & Spanish. Least favorite: English.
8) The one book everyone in the world should read.
Oops, a recommendation for ‘everyone in the world?’ I can’t do that. Too many tastes, too many cultures, too many differences…thank God. Books are as individual as people; that’s what makes them interesting.
9) The book you wish you had written.
Not to sidestep the question, but what makes me read a book: its voice. The way a story is told is what holds my attention. Any story could be re-written by any author many times over, but an original voice can never be duplicated. Creative Writing 101: Write what you know. Creative Writing 102: Develop your own voice.
10) You have the chance to go back and change a scene from one of your previous releases. What book would you choose, what scene would you change, and how would you alter it?
Good question (especially for the prospective writers out there). I would have made my teen-protagonist, Miguelito, show more anger (in all four of the books he appeared in). I know, not necessarily a good thing. But, this is the one criticism I happen to agree with. Although he lives with a fatal disease, his fearlessness made him an angel to me. He had bad days, but there could have been more. A good lesson for me: no one’s perfect, therefore, no character in any book should be either.
11) You’ve invented a new national holiday. What is it called, and what does it celebrate? (Plus, would we get the day off of school and work??)
Fearlessness Day. A day when everyone is free, and is encouraged, to do something they’d always been too afraid to do. A day off is determined by the student/the employee; is facilitated fearlessness worth the risk of a few missed assignments or a days’ pay?
12) What is your astrological sign? How closely does it match your personality?
Scorpio. Fortunately/Unfortunately, too well. Determined, independent, self-sufficient, passionate, everyone's therapist: good. Serious, unyielding, self-destructive, jealous, everyone’s therapist: bad.
13) What is your ultimate vacation destination?
Lake Tahoe, Nevada (U.S.) Only for vacation though. If I’d ever live there again (on a daily basis), I’d forever worry that I’d end up taking its perfection for granted.
14) The world has suffered from a one-day only loss of power. You have no cell phone, computer, lights, or anything else that requires a computer, cell battery, or electricity. What do you spend the day doing?
Eat all the ice cream before it melts.
15) If you weren’t an author, what job would you be doing?
A teacher or professor.
16) You’re invited to a White House function, and you have the chance to give a 10-minute speech to the President and everyone else attending. What do you speak about?
Acceptance. We’re all in this together.
17) You’re writing a book where you can change one major historical event. Which event do you change? (For example, Abraham Lincoln wasn’t assassinated, or Japan never bombed Pearl Harbor.)
The EASIEST question I’ve ever been asked. The Holocaust. One of the greatest injustices the world has ever seen. If we (as a people) don’t learn from this, we have learned nothing. Forgive me if this sounds preachy.
18) Someone tells you that you’ll never publish another book that you write. Do you still keep writing?
Absolutely! I’ll purposefully spell out in big, bold, capital letters “TALK TO THE HAND!!!,” do the hand gesture-thing, then publish it on a billboard. The moment someone tells me no, that is the minute I stop listening to anything they have to say. ‘Never’ doesn’t exist in my dictionary.
19) A group of teens ask you the best way to become a published writer. How do you answer the question?
Easy one. Write the story that lives inside you that NEEDS to come out and you’ll become an instantaneous publishing star (because you did it for yourself and no one else). A best-selling classic that no one can ever criticize; their words mean nothing compared to your own.
**Thanks again to Clint for visiting with us today! The stories he writes are truly inspirational, so I hope you'll get the chance to check them out. Make sure you visit his website listed above, or you can also find him at his Blog, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Amazon, or email him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make sure you leave any comments or questions you have for Clint in the comments section; he'll be stopping by later today to see what we're discussing. Also, he has offered up an AMAZING, AWESOME prize for one lucky poster today!
1. A rare, signed copy of DON’T BE AFRAID OF HEAVEN that was created on an Espresso Book Machine (an über-modern book-vending machine @ Waterstone’s bookstore in London; only 8 of these machines exist in the world).
2. The chance to be the star of my STORIES ABOUT FACING FEAR blog. I’d like to get to know the winner by interviewing him/her and hearing what they have to say about life (it doesn’t have to do with fear); it could be about anything. They’re also free to write something original and I’ll be happy to post and publish it on my syndicated blog. In this blog, they’re the star; it’s entirely about them.
So ask, comment, speculate, and question away!
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