October 2

Kristen Otte: Friday Author Feature

Let’s give a warm Friday Author Feature welcome to Kristen Otte. Kristen Otte is the author of books for both young adults and children. Kristen stopped by to talk about her books and share some advice for young authors.

Tell us a little bit about your books.

I have two published young adult novels in the Eastbrook series: The Photograph and The Evolution of Lillie Gable. The Eastbrook series takes place in the same world and timeframe, but each book focused on a different main character and storyline. Therefore, you can read the books as standalone novels or out of order. The Eastbrook series are contemporary young adult books that dive into real life issues teenagers face such as the pressures of high school, family relationships, bullying, love, and loss. The third book in the series, The Perfect Smile, releases on October 27, 2015.

I also write a children’s chapter book series called The Adventures of Zelda. The Zelda books star Zelda, a mischievous pug whose antics cause young readers to laugh. I have published four books in the series with the fifth book releasing in 2016.


How long have you been writing?

I have been writing on and off since I was a kid, but about four years ago, I rediscovered my love for writing through blogging. I joined a writer’s group and started writing fiction whenever I could. I published my first fiction book in the summer of 2013 which is the first of The Adventures of Zelda series. I have published four in the Zelda series, which are laugh out-loud chapter books for young readers. I published my first young adult novel in the summer of 2014, and my second in the spring of 2015.


What inspires you to write your books?

Like many writers, I have loved writing and reading since I was a kid. I love reading stories that move me to laughter or tears. I love books that cause me to think differently about the world or gain a new perspective on people or relationships, and I want to write books that make people laugh, smile, and think differently.

I write my Zelda books with the reluctant reader in mind. I want a child who doesn’t like to read to fall in love with reading from laughing at a pug’s silly antics. I write realistic young adult fiction with teens dealing with real issues. I hope that reading those books helps teens gain a fresh perspective and encourage them to make good decisions in their own lives.


Which character of yours is your favorite and why?

Lillie Gable is one of my favorite characters. She is a secondary character in The Photograph and the main character in The Evolution of Lillie Gable. Lillie is the opposite of me. She is bold, brash, and outgoing, so I enjoy writing her character because her experiences and reactions are much different than what I would have done as a teenager.

I also love taking a break from my young adult fiction and writing from Zelda the Pug’s point of view. Her silliness and stubbornness always make me laugh.


What advice do you have for young authors?

Sometimes young authors (me, included) get so caught up in how to market your book and build an audience, that we forget that writing is a craft. Similar to playing a sport, writing is a skill that gets better with practice, so my best piece of advice is to write. Then write some more. And write again. My writing skills have improved with every short story, novel, or essay I have written, so keep writing!


What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

 That’s a tough question! If I’m not writing or working, often I am on the basketball court coaching high school girls. But if I have free time, I love reading, playing with my crazy dogs Zelda and Peach, or playing board games and video games with my husband.


Thanks to Kristen Otte for stopping by the Friday Author Feature!

Connect with Kristen Otte:

Website: www.kristenotte.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorkristenotte

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kristenotte1

Wattpad: http://www.wattpad.com/user/KristenOtte

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/kristenotte

Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/kristenotte

September 3

The Book Thief: YA Throwback

The Book Thief This week’s edition of the YA Throwback focuses on Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief, which was first released in 2007. From the Amazon.com description:

The extraordinary #1 New York Times bestseller that is now a major motion picture, Markus Zusak’s unforgettable story is about the ability of books to feed the soul.

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.

In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak, author of I Am the Messenger, has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

Obviously, I first read this book as a full-grown adult and not as a young adult, but I’m please to see this book end up on so many required reading lists in schools. My husband and I both read The Book Thief around the same time, and I remember him saying the book was one of those “that you don’t really know why you like it, but you just do.” And my feelings were the same–you can’t really put into words what qualities draw you to the book, but you just feel compelled to keep reading.

Or not–in reading some of the reviews for The Book Thief, I’ve seen that some were really turned off by the concept of Death as a narrator, a conceit that really pulled me into to the story. To each, his/her own, I guess.

I have yet to see the movie adaptation of The Book Thief (it’s on my never-ending “to do” list). If you’ve seen it, feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section.

Also, if you have a suggestion for a future edition of the YA Throwback, leave it in the comments section as well. I’d love to have some guess posters for this series, so if you’re interested, just let me know!