THUG Book Meet

Hello friends!

It’s hard to believe another month is almost over, isn’t it? We had our March Book Talk a couple of days ago, where we discussed the powerful and important novel The Hate U Give. It was amazing to get the chance to chat with the author, Angie Thomas, last week via Skype and it was equally as great to hear everyone else’s opinion.

We also held our monthly #YARoomChat on Twitter, where we were joined by readers all across Australia (and a few from overseas too!) to talk about what we loved about The Hate U Give and why it’s such an important and timely novel.

In case you missed it, here’s a video of the interview with Angie Thomas that we uploaded to our YouTube channel! Check it out!

Next month, we’re super excited to be reading Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. Make sure you grab your copy to join in the fun! Our next Book Meet will be held on Sunday 23rd April – we hope you can join us!

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Take a look at some of our favourite reviews of The Hate U Give, written by our book club members:

5 Reasons Why You Must Read THE HATE U GIVE – book review by Sarah

The Hate U Give Review (Spoiler Free) – book review by Bec

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – book review by Angel

Author Q&A

Hello again, friends! Today we’re bring you something really special – an interview with author Harriet Springbett! If you haven’t seen our last post yet, check it out to learn a bit more about Harriet’s novel – Tree Magic – and to hear more about the ideas behind it!

We were interested in learning a bit more about Harriet’s writing style and her tips for aspiring writers, so she was kind enough to give us a bit of an insight into her writing world! Enjoy!

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What does your usual writing routine look like? Do you prefer a particular place to write in? What time of the day do you get the most writing done?

I started to take writing seriously in 2005 and an integral part of that decision was to allocate myself a specific writing time and then stick to it. I’m definitely a morning writer – this is when I have the most ideas and energy – so I write every weekday morning. Having a routine makes it easier to treat writing as a job. I think about my story and take notes at other points during the day (and night) too, but this is bonus time. My regular evening runs even count as work time, as this when I play through new scenes in my head. It’s often the best time to solve my characters’ conflicts.

Sunlight is very important to me, and I tend to follow the sun around the house, sitting to write where I can see outside – or sitting outside whenever possible. This means there are tables every room. My current favourite place to write is in my tiny dressing room, squeezed between hangers of clothes, just because it has a huge window, the morning sun and a view over lots of spring flowers.

What was the most difficult part about writing Tree Magic, and would you do anything differently when writing your next novel?

Finding a title was difficult, but my longest challenge came from settling on the best approach to creating the novel. I’m totally fascinated by the creative process in general, and I love discovering parallels between writing and other arts. My first (bottom drawer) novel was tightly plotted and didn’t leave enough room for creativity. So I decided to let Tree Magic (my second novel) grow organically. This was more fun, but it required massive editing. My latest novel, Red Lies, White Lies, is a combination of the two methods, and I feel much happier about this. I’ve used the same approach for my current novel: I’ve plotted the main motivations and conflicts but have left room for the characters to do what they must within this framework.

The most complicated technical aspect when writing Tree Magic was probably finding the right voice for Rainbow’s age as her story progresses: she’s 13 at the beginning and 18 at the end, and teenagers change a lot between those two ages. My own kids were very young at the time and I had their voices around me all day, so this didn’t help. They’re teenagers now, so I feel very in tune with the YA books I’m reading and writing at the moment.

If there was one thing you could change about the publishing industry, what would it be?

That’s an interesting question, as the poor publishers have already had to cope with huge changes over the last 10 years. As an idealist, I guess I would replace the big publishing houses with a multitude of small publishers, all with equal resources. That would make the whole sector fairer – but it sounds rather Animal Farm-ish, doesn’t it?

Do you prefer the writing or the editing stage?

I love thinking up ideas and pulling them together to make a story in my head, and I love editing. The actual writing is the hard part for me. It’s where you have to take risks. I’m a very slow writer because it takes time to get into my fictional world and make the decisions for my characters using the right words. Although this part can be laborious, scary and fill me with self-doubt, it is also the most exciting part. It’s when the magic happens. It’s when the characters pick up the scent of the story and run with it.

To help myself through this long part, I often stop writing in the middle of a scene. This makes it easier to pick up the next day. I start every session by reading back to the beginning of the scene and editing a little, to get back into the swing of it, and then I continue writing. It’s a big mistake to finish at the end of a scene, so I start a new one, even if I know I’ll change it all the next day. As a Jodi Picoult once said: “You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.”

If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring writers, what would it be?

I’ve learnt so much over the past 12 years that it’s difficult to find just one piece of advice. I guess I would tell them to write short stories before attacking a novel. The turnaround time is faster, so you can learn from your mistakes more quickly and have fun experimenting until you’re clear about how and what you write. Only then, once your training has warmed you up, should you embark on the marathon of a novel.

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Thanks to Harriet Springbett for answering our questions and giving us an insight into her writing methods! These tips have been really useful, and we’ll definitely be using them in our own writing endeavours. Don’t forget to pick up a copy of Tree Magic!

Tree Magic by Harriet Springbett

51WAlm0W2vLRainbow’s magic hands can shape trees at her will, but her gift is dangerous and has fatal consequences.

From England to France, through secrets, fears and parallel worlds, Rainbow’s journey to understand her powers takes her beyond everything she’s ever known.

To find the truth, she must also find herself.

Magical-Realism, Metaphors, and Ideas

A few weeks ago, we were lucky enough to receive a copy of Tree Magic, a new YA debut by Harriet Springbett. We utterly adored reading this magical and intriguing novel. Set in England and France, this alluring tale follows Rainbow, a girl who can shape trees at her will. As well as being a novel about overcoming fears and fighting her way through parallel worlds, it’s also a touching coming-of-age story about finding yourself.

We were thrilled to have the opportunity to learn a little bit more about how Harriet came up with this fascinating concept. Here’s a little piece Harriet wrote to be featured on our blog… Read More »

The Month of CARAVAL

Hi friends! We hope you’ve had a great month so far. With Sarah off in Middle Earth for half the month and everyone starting school again for the year, getting back to work or sorting out their uni timetable, there hasn’t been much for us to organise this month! However, we’ve been looking forward to our Caraval Book Talk all month and we’re so thrilled that it’s now only a few days away!

Earlier in the week we held a Twitter chat that revolved around the themes and ideas behind our Book of the Month – Caraval by Stephanie Garber. It was lovely to have so many people joining in with the chat and it was so entertaining to read your answers. We could hardly keep up at times with the amount of enthusiasm you were all showing! We were joined by readers who loved the book, readers who hated it, and some who hadn’t even read it, but we all had a great time musing over what magical books are our favourites and what we thought of Caraval‘s unique layout.

If you haven’t already heard, this Sunday is our Caraval Book Talk! It will be held at Dymocks, 234 Collins Street, and will run from 2.30 – 4pm. There’ll be drinks and snacks available for purchase from the lovely Dymocks cafe and we’ll also be selling our March Book of the Month – The Hate U Give! If you’re going to be joining us on Sunday, you can find us upstairs in the cafe area surrounded by books and empty coffee cups.

We’ve also just announced our April Book of the Month, which is Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor! There are some really exciting things we’ve got planned for the next couple of months and we can’t wait to tell you more about them. In the meantime, we’ll see you all on Sunday!

Get your free ticket for our Caraval Book Talk here!

caraval-animated-cover

Frequently Asked Questions

I haven’t read your Book of the Month! Can I still come to the Book Talk?

Of course! We totally understand that not everyone will have the time to read our Book of the Month. While we will be discussing our BOTM at our Book Talk, we’ll ensure that nothing major is spoiled for you. A lot of the questions will be based around general themes and ideas, so there’s no doubt that you’ll be able to add to the conversation anyway! We’d love to see you there.

I’ve never gone to a Book Talk before. Help!

That’s absolutely fine! We’re just starting off too, so we’re not 100% what we’re doing either! But trust us, we don’t bite. We’d love to have you at our Book Talk – it’s a lot of fun and you’re guaranteed to meet a whole lot of bookish people! It’s a very relaxed environment, so there’s nothing to be nervous about.

Does it cost anything to come to the Book Talk?

Nope, it’s free! We just ask that you get a ticket from our Eventbrite link so that we know how many people will be joining us so we can cater for the group. There’ll be drinks, snacks and books available for purchase from Dymocks, so you’re more than welcome to bring some money and grab something there, but there’s no obligation to do so! They do make pretty good hot chocolate though 😉

I booked a free ticket through your Eventbrite link but now I’m unable to attend. What should I do?

That’s fine! It would be great if you could let us know so we’re not waiting for you on the day. You can tweet at us @TheYARoom_Melb or send an email to theyaroom@gmail.com. We hope you’ll be able to join us next time!

I love your The YA Room shirts! Where can I get one?

Aww, thank you! These are custom made from an online site, but we’re planning on opening a little non-profit ordering shop. More information will be released soon!

IDA Book Talk

Hi everyone! For those that haven’t heard already, we’ve just announced our very first Book Talk for our Book Of The Month! We hope you’ve read Ida already, because our discussion will be focussed around this phenomenal novel, and we’re so lucky to be joined by the author Alison Evans at our meeting! If you haven’t had the chance to read Ida yet, make sure you grab a copy because it’ll be great to have a group discussion, and I’m sure Alison would be more than happy to deface (sign) your book for you.

Our Book Talk will take place on Sunday 29th January from 4.30 – 6pm at the Janet Lady Clarke Rotunda in the Alexandra Gardens, Melbourne. It’s just a five minute walk from Flinders Street Station, and across the road from Hamer Hall!

Please make sure you grab a free ticket to our event and spread the word! You can get your ticket here.

We can’t wait to see you all there!

Book Love Overload

Do you ever feel like a book is just too good, and that you’ll never be able to perfectly encompass the way it made you feel and the beautiful experience it provided you with into a review? Do you struggle to find the right words to describe your complete love and appreciation of the exquisite piece of literature in front of you? Then you, my friend, may be experiencing what’s known as Book Love Overload (BLO). Untreated, this deadly disease can cause a struggle to articulate, lying in the foetal position while overcome by the feels, and yes, even slumps.

But why do we find it hardest to discuss or review the books we love without being reduced to inarticulate screeching, overuse of gifs or “keyboard spazzing”? Today we’ll be dissecting this problem that sweeps through the bookish community and finding ways to prevent BLO.
Read More »