June Contest and 10 Questions with Brian James

Zombie Blondes by Brian James

From the moment Hannah Sanders arrived in town, she felt there was something wrong.
A lot of houses were for sale, and the town seemed infected by an unearthly quiet. And then, on Hannah’s first day of classes, she ran into a group of cheerleaders—the most popular girls in school.
The odd thing was that they were nearly identical in appearance: blonde, beautiful, and deathly pale.
But Hannah wants desperately to fit in—regardless of what her friend Lukas is telling her: if she doesn’t watch her back, she’s going to be blonde and popular and dead—just like all the other zombies in this town . . . .

Thief by Brian James (sequel to Tomorrow, Maybe)

She can't be caught. But she can be trapped.

Elizabeth is a pickpocket and a thief living on the edge in New York City. She and her foster sister, Alexi, are living with Sandra- a cruel woman who takes in foster children and then forces them to steal things for her.

Even though she's sick of it, Elizabeth doesn't really question her life... until Sandra takes in a third foster child, this time a boy. Dune is a completely lost soul, and Elizabeth doesn't want him to share her fate. Sandra is not going to let either of them go- but Elizabeth knows she only has to find a way out.

So this month I'm giving away TWO books, Zombie Blondes and Thief because Brian James is one of my favorite YA authors who happens to be putting out 2 books this month. I'm extremely excited that Thief is the sequel to Tomorrow, Maybe... a book that introduces readers to a great character named Elizabeth. Go out to your library and check this book out, or go buy it so you can see for yourself what I'm going on about.

All you have to do to win is comment, I'll be selecting two winners (unless one person is freakishly lucky this month)!

Here's the questions, hope they enjoy them:
(all questions originated from a blogfest from Pulse)

1. “If you could choose one fictional character to bring into real life, who would you choose?”

Totoro, from My Neighbor Totoro, without a doubt! I admit that even though I know better, I still half-expect to run across Totoro on every walk I take through the woods.

2. “How did you survive being a teen?”

Barely. I was very confused, angry and scared most of the time and the way I handled that was do a lot of stupid things. I often look back and realize that it's a near miracle I survived.

3. “Have you ever written something that you feel uncomfortable writing, knowing that your family and friends will probably end up reading it?”

Yes, all the time. I guess working on my book Dirty Liar was the hardest. In that book, I wrote about some things in my life that I'd never told anyone. I was very nervous about how my family would react to it but felt like I needed to write anyway.

4. “What do you think are the biggest issues that teens need to be thinking about today? Do you think teens today are looking for quality in the books they read, or just to live vicariously through superficial characters?”

I don't think there's one or two blanket issue that applies to everyone, of any age. I think as teenagers, the most important thing is to find out who you are and who you want to be in your life. There are certainly major problems facing our world that are of importance to everyone, but I do believe each individual has to take responsibility for their own life before they can hope to change the world.As for books, I think they are first and foremost a form of entertainment. Personally, I read in order to live through characters, but that doesn't mean you have give up quality. It all depends on which characters you choose to spend time with.

5. “How have the books you’ve read inspired the books you’ve written, if at all?”

There are so many ways which the books you read influence the way you write. As a writer, when you encounter a great story that is told in an interesting way, you can't help but feel inspired. I guess the most obvious way, for me, would simply be in the way I tell a story. My favorite books have always been ones where I've felt like I was right there with the character and that the character was telling the story only to me. Because of that, I've always tried to capture that feeling with my writing.

6. “What is the strangest thing you have ever gotten inspiration from?”

This may seem like a cheap answer, but I honestly don't believe any source of inspiration is strange. Being a writer (or any artist), you see the world in a certain way and everything that crosses your path somehow eventually works it's way into a story. It's almost like writing a book is making a collage of all these random things you've seen and heard.

7. “Many writers say parting with a character is hard. Do you ever look back on a character and wish you had changed something about him or her?”

No, there's nothing about the characters themselves I wish I'd done differently. There are parts in every book that when I look back, I would change, but not the characters. The main character is usually the first thing that I come up with when I start a book. I really think about them as person for weeks or months before I write anything. That way, the character becomes like a friend, someone I know. It's almost like I couldn't change them if I wanted to, they just are who they are...they become almost real, at least to me.

8. “What is the one thing such as, sky diving or any other daring thing, that you would love to do but you are too afraid?”

Learning to ride a motorcycle...they terrify me, but the look like so much fun.

9. “What was the biggest obstacle you faced in becoming an author and how did you overcome it?”

My biggest obstacle was just being able to let anyone read what I wrote. I was always afraid people would think I was a freak for the things I wrote about, so I never showed them to anyone except a few close friends. It wasn't until I got a little older that I got the confidence to share my writing...which is a pretty important step if you ever want to get published. But even now, I try to never think about the fact that people actually read what I write. It's still a little overwhelming for me at times.

10. “What do you do when you are faced with writer’s block? What helps you get over it?”

I try to avoid it all costs. There are a lot tricks that you can do to avoid ever facing writer's block. One of them is to keep notebooks on you at all times and jot down any interesting thought or observation that you have during the day. Then at times when you're stuck, you can flip through it and usually find an idea to jump start you.


The Story Siren said...

great interview! James sounds like an awesome writer and I have yet to read his books.

Sign me up please!

paperxxflowers said...

oh! enter me please :]

Breanna said...

Those books sound amazing!

Please enter me. =)


Liviania said...

Excellent interview. And who wouldn't want to meet a totoro? They're so cute and everything. ^_^ (Also, having a catbus would be way cool.)

Bunny B said...

Awesome books! Please throw my name in as well :) Thanks!

RR2 said...

Sounds really cool. PLease enter me!

The Book Muncher said...

zombie blondes has a cool cover. they both sound great!

Anonymous said...

ooh, enter me please, these books sound great!


Shooting Stars Mag said...

They DO both sound great, especially Zomebie Blondes. I've been meaning to read something by james for awhile now! So enter me please! :)

Great interview.I get what he means about sharing your work..it is really hard!


Anonymous said...

awesome interview!!
Enter me please!

Grace L

Sara said...

oh my god! can't wait to read these books!

Book~Adorer said...

So looking forward towards Zombie Blondes, I would love to win it! Count me in!

Book~Adorer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I really like your blog, count me in for this contest - Ryan

Hope. said...

I haven't ever read a book by James before. Please enter me. :)


Lenore said...

These look really great - want!

Meredith said...

I soooo want to read Zombie Blondes! I can't wait!
Enter me to win!

KrisLeet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KrisLeet said...

I am prepared to do some full on begging and pleading to win a copy of Zombie Blondes. (I already have Thief) *sends a huge cyber bum kiss* I really really want to read Zombie Blondes and it has been on my read or die list on LiveJournal since I heard about it. It is basically this list I make when we get the huge magazine full of all the young adult and independent reader book releases at work. Then I lust and obsess over the books that look righteous and kick booty until they are released. So you see if Zombie Blondes came to live at my house it would have a wonderful life. All cozy on my book shelves, occasionally being passed to a close friend who happens to glance at it from across the room, and asks if it can stay at their house for a while.

MORAL: I heart books hard. Please enter me!

perla said...

I'm so excited you want to read these books, Cynthia Leitch Smith did an awesome interview on her blog with Brian about Zombie Blondes, and I love that he described part of his vision for the book as the films Heathers and The Lost Boys.

Oh and krisleet, love the argument. Let's see if the stars are aligned for you and this book!

Anonymous said...




Tasha said...

I loved the interview. The questions were very refreshing!! I would love to win as I've heard great things, but haven't had the chance to read any of his books.

blackroze37 said...

first i heeard of these books, please enter me, sounds like a wonderful read!


Nancy said...

I've been a huge fan of Brian James ever since I first read Pure Sunshine. He is handsdown my favorite author, even as I've grown older, I would still much rather read one of his books than any other. The wait has been a long one, since the last (young adult) books he's written, like Tomorrow, Maybe, and Perfect World.. Oh, man.. His writing inspires me to write something great, and even try to get it published some day.

Unfortunately, I'm out of a job, and have no cash. So even though the books are finally here (well, at least one is, and the other soon to follow).. I can't afford to buy them, so it would mean the world to me if I won this contest.

Please consider me.



Megan Mary said...

brian james is my idol! i cannot wait to read thief!

please enter me

Lauren said...

Please enter me :-) Pure Sunshine is my absolute favorite book in the entire universe and I've gobbled up every book James has written ever since!

Heather said...

The first book I read was Pure Sunshine. I sat in Barnes & Noble and read through the whole thing...then I got up and bought it!! It was so good that I couldn't put it down. Every other book has been that exact same way. I love this man!! I have been waiting FOREVER for Zombie Blondes to finally hit the shelves.

Anonymous said...

um i should win.
love your popcorn girl

Anonymous said...

awesome interview.
usually i get bored from reading them. but from the first answer... loveloveloved it. haha.
i love totoro. =)

anyways, please enter me in this contest.
thank you. =)

Carmen T

Carol said...

Great interview! I really want to read Brian James' books.