August Contest- The Luxe Series by Anna Godbersen

I never imagined that I would get a response from the author of the super famous Luxe novels Anna Godbersen. I figured she'd be too busy doing glamorous things people with huge followings do (Ala Sohia Coppola's Marie Antoinette. click here and download some cool stickers!). But one day, not long after I sent my query via myspace, I got her response in my inbox. Amazed doesn't even cover it.
One of the many reasons I chose this series as my next contest was the sophistication she brought to the YA genre. In fact, you'd never know this was a young adult novel until someone told you so. These books are sharp and mean, they are lonely and afraid, they are bold and they are hopeful. In short, they are must reads. So please enter the contest by commenting on this post, and please leave me some way of getting a hold of you, some of my readers will know that there are perks for participation, and these perks are secret but fabulous!
Contest ends August 31.

by Anna Godbersen

False Friends
Scandalous Rumors
Manhattan 1899

Rumors continue to fly about the loss of New York's brightest star, Elizabeth Holland, with all eyes fixed on the dearly departed mischievous sister, Diana.

Penelope Hayes, Elizabeth's dearest friend in life, seems poised to pick up the pieces... the most dashing of which is Elizabeth's widowed fiance, Henry Schoonmaker.

As old friends become rivals, Manhattan's most dazzling socialites find their futures threatened by whispers from the past. It seems gossip is the new currency, and nothing is more precious than a secret.

The Luxe
by Anna Godbersen

Wealthy Socialites partying Until Dawn
Manhattan 1899.
High society sisters Elizabeth and Diana Holland, have long rules Manhattan's social scene. Or so it once seemed. These pretty girls are about to discover that their status among the city's elite is far from secure. Suddenly everyone, from the not-to-be-crossed Penelope Hayes, to Manhattan's most delicious bachelor, Henry Schoonmaker- threatens to dethrone the Holland sisters.

In a world of luxury and deception, where appearances matter above all else and breaking one of society's rules can ruin a girl's reputation, the Holland sisters are on dangerous ground. Enter the world of Elizabeth and Diana Holland and their scandalous circle of friends.

About Anna:

"I am the author of The Luxe, a young adult novel, and its sequel Rumors, which HarperTeen just published. The series is about a group of teenagers in Gilded Age Manhattan who spend a lot of time dressing up and tearing each other down. Some of them are romantics and some of them are cynics, but they all move in a bright and fizzy world where everything is very light unless you're weighed down by a big, heavy secret. Before I started working on The Luxe series I ghostwrote other young adult novels, and I was also a bartender and a book reviewer and for a while I worked at a magazine. I attended Barnard College in New York, and before that Berkeley High School in Berkeley, California, which is where I'm from. Now I live in Brooklyn, where I am hard at work on the third Luxe book, Envy. "

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

Probably Mr. Darcy, and not just because he's good looking! He's tremendously challenging as a love interest and also just as an acquaintance, and that's the kind of person I like to be around.

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

I thought about college all the time, and worked really hard to get myself there! I'm kidding, a little. I remember feeling a lot of awkwardness during those years, but also a lot of wonderful things. I had a few really tight friends-- and I'm lucky to still be quite close with those people-- and I wrote in my journal and drew pictures and thought about ways to make my life beautiful, even when sometimes it looked a little weird and yucky to me. And then when I got to college I found that a lot of the things I'd always hoped for myself started to come true.

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

The books I've published aren't tremendously personal-- they're set over a hundred years ago, so no one would take it for thinly veiled autobiography--but any kind of writing really lays your assumptions about the world, your insecurities and desires, bare. And that can be very vulnerable-making. But at the same time, once you've turned anything into a written (or painted or photographed) product, it doesn't feel so personal anymore, and it's easier to look at with distance as something that just exists independently of you.

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 think that one of the reasons people become great readers is that, at some point in their lives, they really want to live vicariously through fictional characters-- I think that's true for me, too. Any way you come to reading is fine by me, and I think that once you're there you can't help but be changed by the books you read into a more reflective, empathetic, clear-eyed person. A person who reads a lot, in my opinion, even if they go through phases of reading mostly light books for fun, will be more likely and ready to read serious and difficult books at some point, because they know how to be focused and absorbed. As for issues, I think that the environment is the most important one for teens to pay attention to-- they have another sixty or seventy years on this planet probably, and they can't count on the generation in power now to take care of it for them.

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

I had to do a lot of research for The Luxe books, so reading Edith Wharton and Henry James, as well as histories of the gilded age gave me a lot of inspiration for my own writing. And I also read some really great historical novels that changed my mind about how a contemporary author can go about re-imagining the past, in particular E.L. Doctorow's RAGTIME and Steven Millhauser's MARTIN DRESSLER. But every novel I read shows me something new about story telling or description, and that's quite inspiring, too.

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

I don't have a great anecdote for this question, but I can tell you that inspiration comes from everywhere, at the weirdest times. It's a cliche that every writer must keep a journal by their bed, but it is absolutely true. I have huge Eureka! moments while falling asleep. But I've realized things while staring at the sky and watching the person in front of me pay their bus fare, so I suppose it pays off to get out of your head and observe whatever happens to be right in front of you now and again.

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?”

Absolutely. A good example in my own book is the character Lina, who readers seem to really despise. And that makes sense to me, because she does some pretty nasty things. But she's also a character I relate to-- in high school, I was the person who wanted my life to be rich and exciting but never knew quite how, and I did a lot of clumsy, awkward and (probably) mean things in my attempts to make it that way. So I wish I'd added more to her character so that readers could relate to that yearning, romantic part of her... and luckily, it's a series, so I get a couple more chances! But, you know, you can never make a picture with words that is as complete as the one in your mind, so I think that's a very difficult part of writing-- having to send out your creations knowing they are almost by definition incomplete.

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?”

This isn't the kind of thing that gets your heart-rate up, but since I'm such a homebody it feels daring to me: I'd love to be out traveling in the world for a bunch of months or a year, seeing things without any place to go home to and very minimal possessions. To me that sounds frightening and thrilling.

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

Finding time and supporting myself while doing it. There are no guarantees of steady income with writing, and before I sold The Luxe series I was patching it together with three jobs and I was pretty tired all the time. But then I got lucky-- I managed to get a book deal with only a third of the novel written, so I was able to quit my jobs and really go for making The Luxe the best book possible. But listen up, would-be writers! It's never easy.10. “What do you do when you are faced with writer’s block? What helps you get over it?”I go to some of the books I really love, and I read passengers I've marked or just start from the beginning. I look closely at the way they put sentences together, and that reminds me that the world is full of stories and infinite ways to tell them. It makes me want to put sentences together too. Of course, sometimes that only happens after an hour or so of compulsively checking my email and reading celebrity gossip online, but hey, sometimes that's the way it goes.

Thanks Anna!


Meredith said...

Oh, this is easily one of the best series that I have read so far! I would love to win it. And I cannot wait for Envy to come out so that I can know what happens!!!

rosesaremyfavorite (at) hotmail (dot) com

Lenore said...

Awesome interview and contest!

ambeen said...

Ooh, I've been wanting to read this series. Please enter me!

theravenousreader (at) hotmail (dot) com

The Book Muncher said...

great interview :D Anna is so nice, and I loved, absolutely loved, The Luxe

books-a-lishious said...

i've been wanting to read these books for a really long time! i'm glad that i found a contest for them!

KrisLeet said...

I love Anna. I promptly e-mailed her after finishing The Luxe, and she actually responded. She is not only a tour de force in the YA world, but she is so personable with her fans. I am so glad you picked her this month. The interview was really good! Sadly now I am reminded of how much I am dying to read Envy! I have no idea how I am going to concentrate enough to read anything till it comes out.

Josette said...

Hi there, can international readers join in? I'd love to enter. Thanks!


robin_titan said...

wow!!!! this is such a great contest!! i've heard sooo much of these books and anna godbersen but i have not gotten around to reading her books i hope i win so i can :) awesome interview it's really interesting to learn about authors i love reading author interviews

lc_intocable at yahoo.com

Breanna said...

Woah what a great giveaway! Totally enter me, please =). I'd love to have both books. I haven't read either of them yet so it'd be completely awesome to win so I can finally read them and own them too!

Great interview with Anna too!


whatvanessareads said...

:) Great contest... I haven't heard anything but positive things for this series... I'm in!


Bunny B said...

Awesome interview! Books look like very good reads! I'd love to win! Thanks!

bunnybx at gmail . com

Sena said...

Great interview! I'd love to win this! Thanks!

sena.sagani at gmail dot com

Yan said...

It sounds amazing! Definitely a must read. I also love the covers!

Paradox said...

I would like to read these books!

If I win I can be contacted at my website's "contact me" page (click my name).

Liv said...

I love the Luxe series! Great interview-it was really interesting. Enter me in the contest please!

Linda said...

I read the Luxe. I have to say, I really hate Penelope and Lina. My cousin recommended it to me. And no offense, her book choices are usually less than stellar.

perla said...

Hey Linda,
I hated Penelope and Lina too! It is always hard for me to read a book when the characters I love to hate manipulate the lives of others. But feeling so strongly about those characters makes me feel equally strong about the characters I do love. I enjoy it when an author gets a reaction out of me and I'm not just a passive participant in the story. Each of the books I've recommended & given away here at my blog have made me feel strongly about some aspect of their story. I did so in the hopes that the people that read them would also have a strong reaction to them whether it be good or bad.
So I'm glad you gave me your opinion no offense taken.
Thanks everyone for entering- and yes international contestants are more than welcome! Good luck everyone.


softindierocker said...

Yay, I read the The Luxe and loved it! Sadly I haven't had a chance to read Rumors yet but I've heard great things about it! =) That was an awesome interview! I would love to go travelling- but it would be really scary, like you said. I've always been intrigued by the Motorbike Wall of Death as well! I'd really like to be able to do it someday- if only I wasn't afraid to die, lol!

Oh, yes and Perla thanks so much for your email- I just got it! I'm going away for the weekend- it's my sisters birthday on the 23rd! =) We're going to go see The Dark Knight again, lol! Yusss! Because I'm super paranoid that she'll see this I can't tell you what I'm getting her right now- but I can tell you there's a real present and a decoy one! ;)

~Lucy D =)
(Lol, and I'm sorry if that was overshare! =D)

Lauren said...

Great interview and contest! I really want to read these books.

Amber said...

Wow - please enter me. I loved this interview :)

Book~Adorer said...

Definitely enter me these are Fab books I loved them both.

VT Girl said...

Enter me!!!!

Anonymous said...

I left Anna a message on her myspace & she also answered me back ! I dont really hate Lina but Penelope, I did not like. Lina is just hungry for life & ambitious & she does feel somewhat guilty.

I was proud of what she did when it came to Will. It took courage and lots of self esteem !


Carol said...

I haven't read this series but I would really love to! Please enter me in the contest! Great interview!


Anonymous said...

From the first couple of chapters of the book I was struck by Anna Godbersen's writing style; it flows so smoothly, and, if you 'close your eyes', so to speak, really sounds like the style of the Gilded Age. In a way she almost pokes fun at it subtly, I think....

Anyway. Her books are amazing, really unique in the young adult genre, and I can't wait for Envy! Only two months more....*squeals*