Interview with Lorraine Zago Rosenthal and giveaway *ENDED* for Other Words for Love

Today is a special day because I have the lovely Lorraine Zago Rosenthal on the blog with an interview and giveaway!  Lorraine Zago Rosenthal is the author of Other Words for Love.  And I loved this book! You can find my review here.  I’m so excited to have her on to answer a few questions.  And to give away a signed hardcover copy as well!  
In case you don’t know what the book is about, here’s the description from Lorraine’s blog:

Ari Mitchell feels invisible at her Brooklyn high school. Her hair is too flat, her style too preppy, and her personality too quiet. And outside school, Ari feels outshined by her beautiful, confident best friend, Summer. Their friendship is as complex and confusing as Ari’s relationship with her troubled older sister, Evelyn, a former teenage mom whose handsome firefighter husband fills Ari’s head with guilty fantasies.
When an unexpected inheritance enables Ari to transfer to an elite Manhattan prep school, she makes a wealthy new friend, Leigh. Leigh introduces Ari to the glamorous side of New York—and to her gorgeous cousin, Blake. Ari doesn’t think she stands a chance, but amazingly, Blake asks her out. As their romance heats up, they find themselves involved in an intense, consuming relationship. Ari’s family worries that she is losing touch with the important things in life, like family, hard work, and planning for the future. Meanwhile, Summer warns her that what she feels for Blake is just an infatuation. Not real love. But Ari’s world is awash with new colors, filled with a freshness and an excitement she hasn’t felt in years.
When misfortune befalls Blake’s family, he pulls away, and Ari’s world drains of color. As she struggles to get over the breakup, Ari must finally ask herself: were their feelings true love . . . or something else?
Thanks so much for being a guest on Candace’s Book Blog today!  I read Other Words For Love in about a day and on a weekend when I’m suppose to not have much time to read.  But when your reading a book that you can’t tear your eyes away from- well, you find time to read! 
You’re welcome, Candace! I’m very happy to be a guest on your blog. And I’m thrilled to hear that you enjoyed my book!
Other Words For Love takes place in the 1980’s, what was your reason for the time frame? (I loved that it was in the 80’s, btw.  I was a teen in the 90’s, but close enough.  I could picture it all so well.  It really was a different time.)
I’m really glad that you were able to visualize the setting so well. There are a few reasons why I chose to set the story during the 1980s.  First of all, the 1980s are a neglected era in YA fiction. The only other YA novel I know of that is set during this decade is The Carrie Diaries. There is YA fiction set in the 1800s, 1920s, etc., so why not the 1980s? This decade is as valid historically as any other, and I believe that no time period should be restricted from the YA genre. There are stories to tell from the viewpoint of young people in every era.
I thought that if teens could identify with historical fiction—time periods with cultures and values so different from now—then they could easily relate to a time period that they didn’t live through but wasn’t all that long ago. The ideals of the 1980s weren’t exactly the same as today, but they weren’t completely different, either. I also thought that adults who read YA fiction and lived through the 1980s might connect with the story.
But the main reason I set Other Words for Love in the 1980s is that the story wouldn’t work in the present day. As I mentioned, culture and values weren’t radically different then, but they weren’t exactly the same as today. For example—in the novel, Ari’s sister has a baby when she is seventeen years old, and although teen pregnancy isn’t encouraged now, I think it has less of a social stigma than it had during the 80s. There was no “Teen Mom” on MTV back then! Ari is more embarrassed about her sister having been a teen mother than she might be today, and Evelyn’s choices are extremely disappointing to her parents.
Also, the issue of AIDS is prevalent throughout the novel. Although AIDS unfortunately still exists, it is better understood than it was during the 80s, when it was new and many people didn’t fully comprehend how it could be contracted. There was an undercurrent of hysteria when AIDS first appeared, and this is present in Other Words for Love.
Finally, although Ari is intelligent and mature, she’s also more innocent than most girls her age would be today—for various reasons. For example, the internet didn’t exist during the 1980s, so teens didn’t have as much access to information as they do now. The 1980s were more conservative than the present time—just take a look at how teens were represented in the media back then as opposed to now.

So much of that I hadn’t thought of.  Those are some good points…

This book is about a young girl and basically her struggle through being a teenager.  Her friend issues, her family issues, her school issues and her boyfriend issues.  Were any of these things based upon your own life when you were a teenager?
I think that all authors use their experiences in their writing. Some of what we write is based on experience; some is experience mixed with imagination; and some is pure fiction. Like Ari, I grew up in New York and went to a prep school, so that is one aspect of the novel that reflects my experiences. Also, I think that many of the things Ari goes through and feels are universal—we’ve all been there in one way or another.

That’s true, and that’s what I love about contemporary.  It seems like no matter what we can relate in one way or another.

When you started writing Other Words For Love did you already know the beginning, the middle and the end?  Or was it more of a ‘it came as you wrote’ kind of deal?
I had the majority of the story in mind while I was writing it, and I had a very clear vision of the major scenes. However, while I was writing, some things changed and I came up with new ideas in the process. But overall, the finished product is almost exactly what I had envisioned when I began writing the novel.
What was your biggest obstacle to overcome while writing? 
The most challenging aspect of writing this novel was getting inside the mind of the main character. So much of what takes place in the story has to do with Ari’s feelings and perceptions, and it was therefore necessary to unearth the reasons why she feels and perceives things as she does. We are all the product of our experiences, and I wanted Ari’s actions and reactions to make sense based on her experiences. In order to depict this in a credible way, I had to create her life—her interactions with her family, her friends, and her peers—in a manner that would explain why she is so affected by her relationship with her boyfriend, Blake. Another challenging aspect was portraying Blake as a sympathetic character even though he ends up damaging Ari. He also required a strong back-story to explain his actions.

I love that you brought that up.  I was expecting to hate Blake.  But I didn’t.  I mean, I wanted to smack him a few times, but I couldn’t hate him. And at times I completely fell for him.  So… great job in portraying all that!
 

What is your favorite writing spot? 
My home office—that’s where I do all of my writing.
If you could have one superpower what would you pick?
It would be nice to be able to fly, so I could avoid all of those pesky airport delays!

LOL, that was actually my choice too.  I would like to be able to visit my family and friends that are all over the country, a lot quicker!

Is there one book you find yourself recommending over and over? (I have to tell you that the Hunger Games is almost always the answer for this question.  That’s no surprise though.)
Strings AttachedThere are so many books that I recommend, but one that I read a few months ago and really enjoyed was What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell. I really love to see the YA genre branching out into eras that aren’t typically written about in YA fiction. What I Saw and How I Lied is set during the 1940s, which is a fascinating time period. Because I liked the book so much, I’m currently reading Blundell’s latest novel—Strings Attached—which is set in 1950.

It’s funny you mention Judy Blundell.  I was just looking up Strings Attached and was seeing that it was set in the 1950′s.  I’m definitely going to be checking out her books!

What can we plan to see from you in the future, that you can tell us about?
I’m currently working on another YA novel that is set in NYC. The story and main character are different from Other Words for Love, but the novel also deals with love, family, and other relationships.

Oh, I can’t wait!  

Thanks so much for being on!  We’ll be eagerly anticipating more from you!
You’re very welcome!

Stalk Lorraine Zago Rosenthal:

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/lorrainezr

The Giveaway: This Giveaway has ended

You can win your own hardcover, signed copy of Other Words for Love.  This giveaway is open to US addresses only, and you must be 13 years of age or older.  

This giveaway ends 4/18/2011

*This giveaway is sponsored by the author.  She will be shipping the book to the winner.* Thank you Lorraine!



To Enter: This Giveaway has ended

Leave a comment telling us your favorite era(s) to read about.  Don’t forget to leave contact info as well! 

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Comments

  1. My favorite time period for historical fiction is the Tudor era (England), but I love historical fiction in general so I’m not too picky!

    readinginthecorner11(at)gmail(dot)com

  2. Nice interview. Flying is definitely useful.
    My favorite era is Crusades. I’m more of a high fantasy fan, but I feel like there’s a connection between other-worldly war and fighting, and old hand-to-hand, sword-to-sword combat!
    Thanks for the giveaway! This book looks very interesting!
    rivkarno1(at)hotmail(dot)com

  3. Oh my gosh, I’m so excited.
    It’s times like these I’m glad I have an immediate family member living in the US.

    I was so shocked and stoked for this giveaway I made this really weird gasping noise. Fortunately there is no one around :)

    I’ve heard only wonderful things about this book and I would LOVE (LOVE!) to get my hands on it.
    YEEE!!! :D

    arielle.yeap(at)gmail(dot)com

  4. woops, to the question! which I forgot to answer.

    Eras.. hmm I love historical periods, I don’t know the names of them, but like philippa gregory, those times.
    Also I like certain books about the second world war (once, boy in the striped pj’s, the book thief), and I’m just starting to get into futuristic/dystopian novels too!

  5. Hmm I don’t have any particular era that I love reading about, but I like dystopians so I like reading about the future. But I also like reading books from the late 1800′s to the early 1900′s to.

    Thanks for the great giveaway!
    danceislove27(at)gmail(dot)com

  6. I’m happy reading books set in any era as long as they are well written. In terms of historical fiction, I do get a bit of an “icky” feeling when a time period is romanticized in a way that ignores who awful the time period was for a large (or otherwise significant) portion of the population. I also love reading books set in the future (though I think hover/flying cars are over-utilized).

  7. I’m a dystopian fanatic. However, I did just read Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran and LOVED it. So I’ll say the French Revolution.

    Vivien
    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  8. My favorite era is probably the Revolutionary War/Civil War because I’m a huge fan of American History. :) But, I do really like reading just about all of them! :)

    basicallyamazingbooks [at] gmail.com

  9. I like things that are happening in present day. I do read historical novels from time to time but I like modern day best.
    Thanks for the great giveaway, I love a good contemporary novel that deals with real life problems.
    apk1princess(at)live(dot)com

  10. Honestly, I read just about everything. Lately I have found myself really enjoying the 50s and 60s. I am really excited about Other Words For Love. I have read great things about it and I love that it is set in the 80s because I am an 80s child :)

    jaidahsmommy(at)comcast(dot)net

  11. Wonderful interview! Other Words for Love is one of my favorite reads of the year so far and I really enjoyed reading this interview. I think this is the only YA book that I’ve ever read that’s set in the 80′s, but I’d like to see more now. The time period has more to offer than people probably realize.

    My favorite era to read about is probably the present time, just because I can relate to it the best, but I do love books set in the 60′s that tackle racism and segregation though.

    Thanks for stopping by and for the giveaway Lorraine!

  12. After reading The Luxe series I like the early 1900s (late 1800s) and I also futuristic dystopian era books.
    lexie.bookbug at gmail dot com

  13. I’m not entering the giveaway, but fantastic interview!! I think books set in any era is great! I really liked that this one is in the 80′s!

  14. Thanks for the giveaway :)

    I don’t read much historical fiction, but when I do, it usually takes place somewhere in the 1900s. I’m not very picky about which time era the book is set in as look as it looks good.

    chickenbock AT gmail DOT com

  15. I actually like both present day and Victorian Era. More the late Victorian.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    bookfanatics at rocketmail dot com

  16. I’m not sure if there is a name for this era but I like reading books that take place during the time of the American Civil War. Like a lot of other people here, lately I am loving futuristic dystopians, too.
    peacelily_2006(at)yahoo(dot)com

  17. I love reading books that are set in “the jane austen era.” probably has something to do with the fact that she is my favorite author. that and the clothing and language they use is lyrical, beautiful, and so different.

    Heather McWilliams
    mcwilliams.heather@yahoo.com

    lovelifeandreading.blogspot.com

  18. I actually like the 2000′s because most of my childhood was during this time. It makes it more relateable to me, although, reading about different time eras are super fun, too! :D Thanks for the giveaway. I’m a follower. :)

    Sophia
    mashimaro401[at]yahoo[dot]com

  19. Great interview :) Flying is definitely near the top of my Superpower-Wish-List, too. Or maybe instant transmission would be better for me, seeing as how I am terribly, terribly afraid of heights! I’ll definitely be adding What I Saw and How I Lied to my TBR, as well. I’ve seen it around for a while now, but I haven’t heard too much about it. Thanks for the recommendation!

    As for the time period I most enjoy reading about? That’s a tough one. I really have no strong preference. I do love reading novels set during the Victorian Era in England, though. There’s something magical about that time period, the dresses and language, and being on the cusp of the twentieth century with all of the new technology and advances for women. Exciting times! Thank you for such an awesome giveaway. I’ve been really dying to read this book :)

    lillyisabear (at) gmail (dot) com

  20. -It doesn’t really matter to me. I enjoy all of them. But my favorites would be the past and the present. I enjoy reading stories that take place in the 1800s or early 1900s, just for the simple fact that it’s different. But, I like being able to relate to them — the present.

    Sierra
    ittssierraily@yahoo.com

  21. hmmm I like so many. But I do enjoy reading books set in the 20′s for some reason. And some earlier, in the horse and carriage days, like when New York was bustling and snobby. haha.

    I’ve had my eye on this book! Thanks for the chance!

    kristinrae023(at)gmail.com

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