Thursday, January 22, 2009

The 1st Most Amazing YA Books of 2008 are...

The 1st Most Amazing YA Books of 2008 are
"Finding Hollywood Nobody", "Romancing Hollywood Nobody" & "Goodbye Hollywood Nobody"
by Lisa Samson

One of my favorite books from 2007 was "Hollywood Nobody" by Lisa Samson. Here we finally had a truly original, free-spirited young woman who makes us realize that despite peer pressure and the world's standards - it is okay to be you - just you. She is a homeschooler who loves history and reading and travels around the country in an RV with her mom who is a food artist for movies. She starts a blog (gotta love that) because of the inside info she has on different movie stars since she lives on the sets. There is a mystery thread running through the series that has to do with her past and mom and dad. She makes different friends along the way that become a big part of her life. Through out the books she finds her faith and discovers God (but not in a typical must have a conversion before the end of book #1 kind of thing). I love this series, my 12 year old loves this series, my 60 ish mother-in-law loves this series. I don't want to giveaway any spoilers so I won't say anymore except that the saddest news I've heard in awhile is that NavPress isn't doing YA books anymore so this is the last we'll see of Scotty :-(

Regardless, this series should make your keeper shelf for any age group!

Now let's meet Lisa...

1) Lisa, I mentioned to you that this series (though written for Young Adults) has been enjoyed in my house by myself (33), my mother-in-law (63) and my oldest daughter (12). In fact, when the 4th book arrived at my house I read it that day and showed my mother-in-law (Sue) when I was finished, "Look what I got today!". She snatched it out of my hands and flipped it over to read the back and said, "You aren't done with it yet, are you?" When I proudly announced that I was she said, "Oh good!" and headed to her room to get started! Did you have any idea that this series would have such wide age appeal?

I really didn't. When NavPress told me the book was for high school/college age young women, I thought "Yeah, right." I realized my true audience would most likely be middle-schoolers. But I did try to make it interesting for all ages just in case, which is where Scotty's love of retro fit in. (I'm just tickled death that three generations in the same household like these books! Makes me happy!) I guess I tried to write Young Adult fiction that would interest me too. I don't want to write a book I wouldn't want to read myself.

2) Though this series doesn't cover a huge time period, it does cover a wide area of Scotty Dawn's life. I know that my daughter couldn't wait to get to book #3 "Romancing Hollywood Nobody". Okay, okay, to be honest neither could I! As a mother of 6 who is a little concerned with the whole dating aspect, but I really appreciate the way you handled it. I didn't have Sarah coming to me saying, "Why can't I date?" Did you know how things would wrap up romantically for Scotty all along?

I'm glad it didn't bring dating strife into your family! Actually I didn't know how it would wrap up until the last book. In my fiction for adults I probably wouldn't have gone that way, but I know how happy teens would be at the outcome so I just went with it!

3) There is a mystery thread running through the books that does get resolved along the way. Who is the biker man? What happened to Scotty's parents? What is Scotty's real name? Did you know when you started how you were going to arc that through all 4 books or did you let the story take you along?

Believe it or not, I didn't know who Biker Man really was until I began the second book. So yes, I just let the story take me along in some regards. Once that was in play, however, it was easy to figure out the directions of the final two books. It's probably NOT the way to do it, but hey, it sure is a way to make the process interesting!

4) I was impressed with how well you wrapped everything up in book #4 "Goodbye Hollywood Nobody". It left me sad, but satisfied. I would be happy to see more of Scotty Dawn in the future though... do I dare hold out any hope?

I know. Sigh. I was sad too, but it had to go that way. (Don't want to spoil it for everybody else.) However, I surrounded Scotty with such a good community of friends and family, I knew she'd be okay! Unfortunately the publisher of these books has decided not to do fiction anymore so I suppose Scotty's stuck in the summer between high school and college! It would be fun to explore her and Seth more and see how Karissa does with her new responsibilities, but we'll have to let the readers write that story themselves.

5) Some of what made Scotty one of my favorite characters was that she was a fashion retro, book loving, history buff, homeschooler who traveled all around and blogged about the famous movie people she ran into on movie sets. How did you come up with such an eclectic, fun heroine?

Well, NavPress approached me about doing YA for them at a book convention, so I literally went out to my car in the parking lot, sat there a minute, and Scotty just flowed into my brain. The set up too. Traveling around in a RV with her food stylist mother. Honestly, what I didn't want to do was write a "real-life teen book" about kids in their school, mean girls ganging up on the nerdy girls. Or a gritty book (necessary to be sure) about the worst aspects of teenage life. I do that sort of stuff in my adult fiction! I wanted to have fun. Most teen lit that grabs the readers are set in alternative worlds, limited parental influence, where the teen has to figure things out for herself. Now, in real life, we hope our children don't have to do that, but that's what makes for good fiction. The main character has to grapple with the stuff of life. And well, Scotty is a lot like my daughter Ty, so that was just a natural choice to build the character that way.

6) Do you plan on writing more for the young adult age group? What are you currently working on?

I'm thinking about what my next series will be for YA. I'd really like to but I don't have any idea jumping out at me. When it does, I'll write up a proposal and try to sell it. Right now I'm finishing up my current novel, called The Good Life, about a woman with PTSD from the Rwandan Genocide who is brought back to life by a prisoner on death row. It's been pretty agonizing. I've been in communication with a death row inmate in Ohio, and just dealing with raw life and death issues and humanity and how society's fixes are never easy has been pretty emotionally draining. Can't wait to send this puppy in for editing!

7) Where can readers find you online? Or, I'm totally in love with facebook! I'm under Lisa Samson.


I wish I had a copy of these to giveaway - but I don't - so visit your local bookstore and pick these up!


robin_titan said...

Ooooh I'll put this on my tbr list! :D

hippmom said...

The same thing has happened in my house. My 12 year old keep begging me to buy the next book!

Lisa Samson said...

Thanks so much Janna!