Saturday, January 18, 2014

Interview with Elizabeth LaBan AND a giveaway!

It's our lucky day! Elizabeth LaBan, awesome author of The Tragedy Paper, stopped by YA Stands to do a little Q & A for us. She's also donating two of her books, signed, as a giveaway! Let's interview her and then down at the bottom, enter to win!

Interview with Elizabeth LaBan

Thank you so much for being here today Elizabeth! It's an absolute pleasure! I'll start us off with an easy one. How long have you been writing? Have you always known you wanted to be an author?  

I have been writing for as long as I can remember. I recently cleaned out a bunch of old boxes and found stories and poems and even attempts at novels that I wrote as early as grade school. I knew I wanted to be an author when I was in middle school – that or a teacher. I think my fascination with teachers is part of the reason I love writing teacher characters like Mr. Simon.

Are you currently working on a new project? 

Yes – a second young adult book. This one has a female protagonist.

Woohoo! That's great to hear. I'm sure the almost 1,000 reviewers that gave your book a 4 or 5 on Goodreads will be happy to hear that! Now, what book do you wish you could have written?

That’s a hard one because there are so many books I love. There are many times I say, “I wish I’d thought of that.” For the record, I have changed my answer here four times but I think I have finally settled on the book I wish I had written – Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld.

I'll have to check that one out! What writing tips or advice do you have to offer others writers and authors? 

To never, ever give up. It is so easy to do that after one or twenty-five rejections, but keep going and one day you will connect with the right editor. Also, be open to criticism – it is a hard one, and you can’t rewrite to please everyone, but if you listen to what people you’ve trusted to read your work have to say and sift through it you might find a way to make the book or story even better.

Do you have any writing habits/practices? Tea and music? Silence? 

I typically write at my dining room table surrounded by piles of paper and books. I don’t generally listen to music while I write, but if anyone in my house is playing something, or practicing piano or singing, I don’t mind. I can really write anywhere as long as I have my laptop. I think that comes from years of working in a noisy newsroom.

Who is your favorite book villain? 

This question truly stumped me, and made me realize how much I do not connect emotionally with most villains. Having said that, I choose Vizzini from The Princess Bride as my favorite villain.

Which novel would you love to see made into a movie? 

Can I say The Tragedy Paper?

Absolutely, you can say that! That's a great answer! If your life had a theme song, what would it be? 

I honestly can’t think of the answer to this one! I can tell you what I’m listening to right now – One Republic and Imagine Dragons with my kids. I also love show tunes. We have music playing all the time – but I just can’t settle on one song that sums up my life – they all seem so corny when I try to do that.

What is something surprising about you that people don’t know? 

I am extremely claustrophobic.

Your book has a strong winter theme. Is winter your favorite season? 

I love the idea of spending time out in the cold and then coming into a warm cozy place. I also loved being inside when there’s a raging snow storm outside. But I would say winter is not my favorite season overall. Autumn takes that honor. I love when the weather turns cooler after the hot summer, I love the colorful trees, I love pumpkins, I actually don’t mind the stinky ginkgo nuts that fall in Philadelphia, and I love Halloween and Thanksgiving. Also my son’s birthday is in November so that just makes me like the season even more.

Which do you prefer?

Skittles or M&Ms? M&Ms – I mention M&Ms in The Tragedy Paper as well as the book I am currently working on!

Coke or Pepsi?  Coke – I have very strong feelings about this one.

Night or day? Day

Coffee or tea? Coffee

Sour or sweet? Sweet

Pirates or Ninjas? Pirate-ninjas? Pirates

Dogs or cats? Cats

Rain or sunshine? Sunshine (but I do like a rainy day here and there)

Thank you so much Elizabeth for answering all those questions! You're a fantastic sport!

About the author Elizabeth LaBan

Elizabeth LaBan lives in Philadelphia with her restaurant critic husband and two children. The Tragedy Paper, published by Knopf in January 2013, is her first young adult novel. She is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in The Philadelphia InquirerNew York Newsday and The Times-Picayune, among other publications, as well as the author of The Grandparents Handbook which was published by Quirk Books.


Elizabeth LaBan has generously offered to send TWO lucky readers a signed copy of The Tragedy Paper! She's amazing, isn't she? All you have to do, is enter on the Rafflecopter below. Good luck everyone!

What do you guys think? Have you added The Tragedy Paper to your Goodreads? Have you already read it? Let us know in the comments below. And don't forget to enter the giveaway!


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  2. So excited for this giveaway; I've been wanting to read this one forever and would love a signed copy! For my blog comment, I chose this one to answer:

    Do you have any writing habits/practices? Tea and music? Silence?

    I am a huge snacker, and I love music and making playlists for my books, so writing is a full sensory experience for me ;) I especially love Gushers, but I wish there were like a billion more in a pack! No coffee for me except on Sunday mornings, because otherwise I write strictly at night and that seems like a terrible idea.

    1. Nice Dahlia! I love making playlists too! How fun!
      And oh man, you had to mention my all time favorite snack!! I love gushers more than the Ninja Turtles loved pizza. <3 Thank you for entering.

  3. I want a signed copy SoooOOOooooOOO bad!! But if I don't win, I'm still going to read this--I'm not sure why I haven't yet!!

    Theme song: maybe corny and angsty but I've always had a feeling that Ani DiFranco's "32 Flavors" is totally one of MY jams. : )

    1. Yay! Well, I good luck to you! You're right, this book looks awesome (and is)!
      I don't know if I know this song, but I'm googling now. Thanks for entering!

  4. I loved this book! What a great story, and such a captivating format.

    1. Awesome Melanie! Thank you so much for sharing! I loved this story too!

  5. I would love to win a signed copy of this book! I've added it to my to-read list!

    For my question I'll go with Rain, or sunshine?

    I agree with Elizabeth...sunshine, although I appreciate the occasional rainy day. I do live in Arizona, after all!

    1. Haha! I think you have to love rain when you live in the desert! I did too, for around 8 years! Good luck, Riki! :) Thanks for entering!

  6. This book has been on my TBR list for a while now. Thank you for doing the giveaway!

    Question- Coffee or Tea?

    Definitely coffee :) Especially when I have to spend 8 hours a day in a cold, windowless office...

  7. I'd like to answer the question about winter being my favorite season. It isn't. Actually, fall is. Being someone that lives in Massachusetts, I love the fall here on the east coast. The beauty, the leaves, the colors. That, is my favorite season. :)

    Thanks for hosting this contest!