Monday, January 19, 2009

The 3rd Most Amazing YA Books of 2008 are...

The 3rd Most Amazing Books of 2008 are
The Sweet Seasons Series
by Debbie Viguie

******Debbie just informed me that she got book#4 in and will give away the complete set of all 4 books to the winner (or winners) of this giveaway! If you win you will literally be getting book #4 hot off the press and be one of the first to get to read it!!!*******

I am thrilled to be finding such great Young Adult books available nowadays! Now that my kids are starting to hit that age I am so much more in tune with what is and isn't available to read and so when I find a series like the Sweet Seasons series that I can feel good about having my daughter read I am very excited! One of the things I love about this series is that the author, Debbie, really brings not just good life lessons into the story but also spiritual lessons and I appreciate that so much. These books really earned their 3rd place ranking this year - here is a little peek into them (and Debbie)...

This was a really fun book. I read it in one sitting and it really is great for the YA crowd. The book takes place over the course of the summer and it is fun to see Candace grow throughout the experience of having her first job. The cast of secondary characters are a hoot and keep the book hopping. This is a series that I look forward to reading books #2, #3 and #4 in. This book made me smile and is a great start to what looks to be a fantastic series!

The Fall of Candy Corn is a wonderful follow-up to this clever series about a girl named Candace who works at an amusement park as seasonal help. We find Candace applying to work over Halloween in one of the "haunted mazes". She gets hired and is getting reacquainted with her fellow employees when it starts looking like the mazes (and the park) really are haunted... Can she save her job? Can she save the park? What a fun way to find out - grab a copy of this book!

Debbie has done it yet again! Book #3 of The Sweet Seasons might be my favorite so far. Candy goes back to work at The Zone for the Christmas season as an Elf - why is it that Elves get hazard pay, well it doesn't take Candy long to find out and that is just the beginning... I don't want to spoil anything, you have to read it to believe it :-)

And now let's meet Debbie...

1) You have created a fantastic series in Candace's world. Tell us how you came up with the idea of The Zone and Candy's various seasonal jobs there?

My husband, Scott, and I love theme parks, particularly Disney ones. While we lived in southern California I worked for Disney as a Travel Reservationist and for Knott's Berry Farm as one of the Halloween maze monsters. My husband and I created The Zone together. It's kind of like our wish list for the theme park we would love to someday build. Our dream is to one day see The Zone as a reality. So, we drew from all of our experiences attending theme parks and my experiences working at them to create the universe. Seasonal employment is a common thing, especially for those theme parks that are not open year-round. I fell in love with the idea of Candy selling Cotton Candy and that became her first job. For Fall she was a maze monster because I loved having that experience myself. For Winter turning her into an elf seemed a natural. Wait until you see what job she has in book four!

2) Friendship is a strong theme throughout the first three books, in the first one Candy's friendship with her best friend Tamara is stretched and tested when Candy gets a summer job. But through it Candy learns that it is okay to have more than one friend. How fun was it developing all the secondary characters Candy interacts with - Josh, Becca, Pete, Roger, Tamara, Kurt and even Mom and Dad?

The secondary characters are in many ways the best part about writing these books. Everyone has their favorites. In many ways I started out with a much clearer understanding of the secondary characters than of Candace herself. Partly this is because Candace isn't sure about who she is in the beginning. The secondary characters, on the other hand, can have a single character trait that defines them. Becca gets hyper if she eats sugar. Gib resembles a pirate. Pete tries to run people down with the train. Roger is first a klutz and then a love sick puppy. Josh is the coolest. These characters are also easy for Candace to understand and relate to, unlike her boyfriend Kurt who presents more of a mystery to her and the reader.

3) Speaking of Mom and Dad... one of the things I love about this series is that Candy has a Mom and a Dad and they are married and love each other and love Candy and (shock, shock!) she loves them too. This is the kind of family that I want my children reading about - mutual respect between parents and children. What made you decide to lean this way instead of trying to deal with divorce, single parenthood, "my parents are idiots" syndrome, etc...?

I write about Candy's family the way I do because that is how I grew up. My parents are still married to each other, still crazy in love with each other after all these years. They loved and respected me and I them. I find it a shame that so many families struggle in this area. I think in many cases parents can't remember what it was like to be kids and kids have absolutely no concept yet of what it means to be adults. My parents are the world's oldest living teenagers. They stay current with movies, music, and television. This gives them more of an understanding of the younger generations. In fact, "adopting" teenagers is their special ministry. They had one child but they've helped raise more than a dozen. Being the cool parents gave them a lot of advantages when I was a teenager. They never had to worry about whose house I was at because I was at home, and so were all my friends. Saturday morning would come and they'd get up and do a headcount to see how many kids they had asleep on the living room floor and then go get us all donuts.

4) I love how Candy is becoming a sort of fiction phenom at The Zone with all of her exploits and heroics - and yet everything she does requires her to rise above who she thinks she is and her self-imposed limitations. Do you see this as encouraging young people to step above where they see themselves or more importantly where others see them? What would you say to young people that don't see themselves as anything special?

Everyone is special, or has the potential to be. I think many people are afraid to admit this because if they did then they would have to do something about it. I think Candace's lack of self-esteem is common not just among teenagers but also among people of all ages. I believe it's important to challenge the limitations put on us by ourselves and by others. I would hope that readers would be inspired by Candace and seek to better themselves and rise above their everyday existance. Candace has leadership and greatness thrust upon her but these are things that are within anyone's grasp if they're willing to reach far enough and try hard enough. I was never the most popular kid in school but I made a name for myself by being the crazy, smart kid who had fun when noone else did. By being completely myself I became somewhat of a "fiction phenom". I have many friends and relatives who have done the same thing in their lives.

5) Is the fourth book the final book in the series - are we going to have to say good-bye to Candy and her friends?

I would love to do another four books about Candy and friends both old and new. However, the Spring of Candy Apples is currently slated as the last book. Unfortunately a lot depends on how well the books sell. If people love them and buy them then the publisher might let me write the next four. I do have a strong idea of what they would be about and I even have picked out titles. :)

6) What other projects do you have that we can look forward to?

I'm doing another retold fairy tale, The Princess and the Pea, for Simon & Schuster. It will be my third fairy tale for them. I'm not certain yet what the title is going to be but it should be out in the next year. Also, I have a mystery series that I'm writing now. The first book, The Lord is My Shepherd, will be out in 2010. I'm working on developing another Christian YA series but can't say much more about that right now.

7) Where can readers find you online?

My website is and readers can also check out The Zone website I have an author fan page on Facebook as well as a fan page for The Summer of Cotton Candy From time to time I will be running contests on the Facebook fan pages and readers will have the chance to win prizes.

Debbie has agreed to give away an autographed set of her first 3 Sweet Seasons books to one lucky reader so you know the rules...

1) Leave a comment telling me what your favorite amusement park ride is with your email address and you get 1 entry

2) Blog about this giveaway yourself and leave another comment here and get 2 entries

3) Tell someone else about this interview with Debbie and when they leave a comment with your name in it you will receive 3 entries

4) Become a blog follower (on the left of my blog you can do that) and receive 1 extra entry



MJ said...

I love the old wooden roller coaster at Myrtle Beach SC. As a kid, I was terrified and loved it all at the same time. I actually broke a pair of glasses when the fell off!!

MJ said...

I follow.

B said...

I liked the Zulu at Worlds of Fun in KC. It has a wheel of hanging cages that begin parallel to the ground and move to perpendicular then back. I also follow your blog.

sbsalzer at gmail dot com

Abi said...

I as a kid I loved the water rides the wetter the better.

I'd love to win this series. Yes, please pick me.

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Abi said...

I am a follower to your site. Yes, I'd love to win this series. This is one series I'd love to get. Please include me in the drawing.

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Abi said...

I just posted a blog entry about your interview on my blog. I really would love to win this series.

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Carol said...

This sounds like a great series. I would love to give it to my granddaughter when I'm done reading it.
I don't ride much because I have motion sickness. For some reason the merry-go-round never bothered me and I enjoyed the music.
Carol M
mittens0831 AT

AmandaSue said...

I like the simple rides, I'm not much for fast rides as they make me sick I've always loved the swings that lift you way up and then it goes around in circles and I like the merry go round and the ferris wheels (only the ones that look like cages though since the regular ones I'm afraid i'm gonna fall out) thanks for entering me!

AmandaSue said...

I'm a blog follower thanks!

Anonymous said...

My favorite amusement park ride is the Ferris Wheel :) *Thanks* for the giveaway!


Anonymous said...

I blogged about the giveaway :

Anonymous said...

I'm following you on Blogger :)

Lora Lease said...

My favorite amusement park rides are roller coasters, and log rides. Pretty much anything that goes fast and gives you that thrill is what I like the best.

Grateful Gramma said...

Oh, my would have to be something like the merry-go-round. I barf on everything else!

mez said...

I like the thrill of a good roller coaster!

mez said...

I am a follower!

Anonymous said...

I read the interview and I think that Debbie should write the next 4 books.
I heard about this from Abi.

Stacie said...

I love the roller coaster "The Bat" from Canada's Wonderland. Its a backwards upside ride of your life!

Stacie said...

I'm a follower.

windycindy said...

What a wonderful series! My niece and I would enjoy reading about Candace! As far as amusement parks, I got sick on most rides! I do like water rides. Thanks, Cindi

Deborah Bates Cavitt said...

My favorite ride is the Log Flume. Years ago one of my sons and I rode it 27 times before Six Flags of Texas closed.

darbyscloset said...

Oh wow, well we are over half way to 40!!! Yeah!
My favorite ride is the rickest, highest, loopest roller coaster available at the amusement park!
I would love to receive this series!!
Thanks so much,
darbyscloset at yahoo dot com

hippmom said...

Well after I get back from vacation I can probably better tell you what ride is my favorite! I'm glad that I am able to enter this drawing _ I think my girls would love these books. I'll have to wait for a week to see the rest of the list. I've been thinking for days "hurry, Janna, get the whole top ten done"! Patience, Angela. I'll be routing for the 40 enteries!

Please pray for safety for us as we travel.

hippmom said...

Well after I get back from vacation I can probably better tell you what ride is my favorite! I'm glad that I am able to enter this drawing _ I think my girls would love these books. I'll have to wait for a week to see the rest of the list. I've been thinking for days "hurry, Janna, get the whole top ten done"! Patience, Angela. I'll be routing for the 40 enteries!

Please pray for safety for us as we travel.

hippmom said...

I'm a blog follower!

Anna W. said...

My favorite ride at Six Flags over GA is Shake, Rattle and Roll.


Anna W. said...

I'm also a blog follower!

lovedandamazed said...

I've been wanting to read these books because my first full-time job was at a theme park. Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO. I absolutely loved it. My favorite ride is Wildfire, the roller coaster with 5 loops. Wheeeeee! :-D But I'm not a hands-in-the-air rider. I can't stand *that* much of a free-falling feeling!

Thanks for the chance to win. :-)

Anonymous said...

i like the water rides, rafting etc.. :)
please enter me for this series!

Carolynn W. said...

I like the roller scares me to death but i still like it! :)
I am a follower of your blog.
Thanks for the chance to win!
carolynnwald at hotmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I heard about this interview from Abi's blog. This series sounds oh, so good for teens.


pastorsdaughter [at] gra [dot] midco [dot] com

Anonymous said...

I heard of these books and REALLY want to read them!

I never went on an amusement ride yet. And I don't plan to.


Becky C. said...

I would love to read these books or book.

My favorite amusement park ride, was the Zephyer, roller coaster, in New Orleans, over Lake Ponchetrain? It was a killer, but I rode it twice!

Please enter me in the contest.

Becky C.


Anonymous said...

My favorite ride is Kumba at Busch Gardens Tampa. It's a roller coaster and has a 135 foot drop, you plunge from 110 feet into a diving loop, feel a full 3 seconds of absolute weightlessness while spiraling 360 degrees, and tear through one of the world's largest vertical loops. I've ridden it over and over and never get tired of it. It's like flying!!

Anonymous said...

I'm already a follower

Anonymous said...

I've posted about this giveaway on My Blog

Abi said...

I posted about your book interview and give away and my second site also.


Jolene said...

sounds like a great series
enter me in the drawing

Anonymous said...

Favorite amusement park ride - the rollercoaster that spins you like crazy and makes you feel like your heart is in your throat;) Love them!
sarahnwoodill at hotmail dot com

Anonymous said...

My granddaughters would love these!

Sue R.

Janna said...

And the winners are...



Anna W.

Congratulations you 2!!!