A website dedicated to books in the Young Adult genre, featuring book reviews, author interviews contests and much more!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Interview & Giveway with Catherine Ryan Hyde, Author of Jumpstart the World

Today I'd like to welcome Catherine Ryan Hyde. Catherine stopped by today to talk about her latest young adult novel, Jumpstart the World, where she tackles emotional issues that transgendered individuals face. Catherine's  brought along two finished copies of the book to giveaway. Details below.

Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of 16 published and forthcoming books. Her newer novels are Becoming Chloe (Knopf, March '06), Love in the Present Tense (Doubleday, May '06), The Year of My Miraculous Reappearance (Knopf, Spring '07), Chasing Windmills (Doubleday, March '08), The Day I Killed James (Knopf, May '08), Diary of a Witness (Knopf, August '09), and When I Found You (Transworld UK, September '09). Older works include the story collection Earthquake Weather, and the novels Funerals for Horses, Pay it Forward, Electric God, and Walter's Purple Heart. Pay It Forward was adapted into a major motion picture, chosen by the American Library Association for its Best Books for Young Adults list, and translated into more than 23 languages for distribution in over 30 countries. Official Website.

1. Jumpstart The World is a book centering around Elle, a barely 16-year-old girl whose mom dumps her into her own apartment because of a new boyfriend who doesn’t want Elle around. Can you tell us a little more about the book, and perhaps share with us a favorite line, scene or passage from the book?

Sure. After the "dumping" by her mother, she's feeling alone and scared and ripe to fall in love with the first guy who pays any attention to her. And that turns out to be Frank, the "trans man" next door. But she has no idea Frank is in transition. He's just the older guy next door, and she adores him. She has some new friends at school, most of whom are gay (she's taken in by the “outcasts”) and they are the ones who tip her. She's mad at them at first, and refuses to believe it. But the truth catches up. It bothers her a lot, not because she's prejudiced, but because she has a shred of a doubt about her sexuality, and she's not sure what this says about her. But the big surprise is that the news really doesn't change things. I mean, in terms of her love for him. When the dust clears, she's still in love with Frank. The fact that he's transitioning from female doesn't have any effect on the feelings.

I like the scene when she's alone in her new apartment for the first time, and she looks under the bed at her brand new cat and tells him, "Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore." And then the cat's name is Toto from there on out. I set it up by calling the first chapter "How My Weird Cat Got His Weird Name." So then all she has to say, after, "Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore," is, "And that is how my weird cat got his weird name." And it comes together.

I also like it when she says (in the midst of the world's most horrible morning) "I generally try not to waste a lot of time feeling sorry for myself. Some days are harder than others."

My favorite scene is the night she sneaks into the hospital room with Frank. Particularly the gentle confrontation with the male nurse. But it wouldn't work at all out of context. So I just mention it here for anybody who has read it, or is about to.

2. What three words do you think best describe Jumpstart the World?

Fear. Acceptance. Love.

3. What do you love most about Elle and Frank, Elle’s next door neighbor whom she begins to develop feelings for?

I love the fact that Elle tries not to waste time feeling sorry for herself. Even though life gives her plenty of material. And I love the fact that she's willing to see, to admit to herself and others, that she still loves Frank. I mean, after she finds out he's transgender. It's brave. I like brave.

And Frank. I love everything about Frank. He's kind. He's protective without being controlling. He doesn't judge. He’s someone you can depend on. He's just a good person, through and through.

4. If you could inhabit the life of one literary character and dive into their world for just one day, who would you choose and why?

Well, that's a hard question to answer. Because I like to read and write the tough subjects. The experiences that shape people, the trials by fire. So the characters I love most...I really don't want to be in their shoes, even for a day. So I think I'll just keep being me. Now that I've finally got that right.

5. What were you like as a teen? Were there certain books that were your favorites and what do you think your teenage self would think about your book?

I was depressed and unhappy. I had a tough home life, and school was a nightmare. I was as likely to skip a class as to attend it. And I only put forth any effort at all in classes I enjoyed (English=99, Math=60). And I actually went through a time of hating to read, because when I got to school I hated the books I was given in school so much. I forgot reading was something I used to love.

When I was reminded, I loved books like Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle and Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I’ve always liked books with characters who are off to the left.

Meanwhile I was growing up with a transgender sibling. So I know I would have liked this book. I would have felt like we were all more normal than I'd realized. Like other people knew how I felt. I didn't have any transgender fiction to turn to at the time. Nobody was writing about it, especially not in an accepting way.

6. What types of feedback do you receive from readers about your novels? Is there one comment in particular that has really affected you?

Particularly with Becoming Chloe, I've had a couple of people tell me that it helped them through a serious depression, or a time when they had thoughts of suicide. And that means a great deal to me, of course. I already had someone tell me, regarding Jumpstart the World, "It means so much to those of us dealing with this situation to have a novel that speaks in such a kind, unbiased way.” That's what an author really loves to hear, of course—that they have added understanding to a difficult situation that readers are living every day.

I think my very favorite comment—at least, of those recent enough that I can remember them—was the reader who said Becoming Chloe made him want to tell his friends he loved them. That makes an author say to herself, "My work here is done."

7. What can we look forward to reading from you next? Any upcoming projects or new series in the works?

I have another young adult novel sitting on my editor's desk. It's the first time I've ever done anything you might consider a "sequel," going back to revisit characters from an earlier book. But it's too soon to talk about it, because I have no idea what she'll think. She's tough (but sweet). And, quite frankly, Jumpstart will probably have to do better than my novels before it if I’m going to continue publishing YA.

Maybe you've noticed that my career is going much better in the UK than it is here. I'm releasing a book a year into that market, and of course I'm really hoping my US readers will pick up on them as well. I've added book buying buttons to the book pages on my website, sending US readers to sites like the Book Depository, which offers free international shipping. I'm trying to "shrink the ocean," so readers think less and worry less about which side of the pond their book is coming from. That will give my US readers access to titles they haven’t tried.

Bottom line, Jumpstart is book number 14 and I have two more under contract. So I bet just about everyone who is reading this can go find more books of mine that they haven’t read yet.

Want to learn more? Catherine will be featured Saturday, November 6 at at Chick Lit Reviews with a book review of Second Hand Heart. Check out Kari's book review of Jumpstart the World at A Good Addiction

*Two finished copies 

Published: October 12th, 2010

Elle is a loner. She doesn’t need people. Which is a good thing, because she’s on her own: she had to move into her own apartment so her mother’s boyfriend won’t have to deal with her.

Then she meets Frank, the guy who lives next door. He’s older and has a girlfriend, but Elle can’t stop thinking about him. Frank isn’t like anyone Elle has ever met. He listens to her. He’s gentle. And Elle is falling for him, hard.
But Frank is different in a way that Elle was never prepared for: he’s transgender. And when Elle learns the truth, her world is turned upside down.  Now she’ll have to search inside herself to find not only the true meaning of friendship but her own role in jumpstarting the world.

Tender, honest, and compassionate, Jumpstart the World is a stunning story to make you laugh, cry, and honor the power of love.

Official Rules:
1.You must be 13 year or older to enter.
2. Open to entrants with a valid U.S. mailing address only. 
3. Entries must be received by Midnight EST on November 17th 2010. 
4. Once contacted, winners have 48 hours to respond with their mailing address.
5. To enter to win, simply fill out the form below. Good luck! 


cj'alhafiz said...

Wow!! I love the issue put forward by the author. This is a great interview. Well done!!!

-CJ @ Coffee N Crackers

Latest Review @ CNC:

Bethie said...

Sounds like quite a story. There are some very mature themes at work here. This is something I would love to read.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

SandyG265 said...

I like the cover. It's a change from all of the very dark covers I've been seeing lately.

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Great post!

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Doesn't sound like my cup of tea but I like the cover and answers :)

Happy weekend!

Are you loving the cooler temps? I am.

Jessy said...

This reminds me of a movie a just saw, Transamerica. It dealt with the same topic and I especially like how these topics open the eyes of some people.

catherine_and_richard said...

This book looks great! I can't wait to read it!

Anonymous said...

It must be very difficult to get acceptance in the transgender world. A person has to be very strong to cope with the stares and the people who want everyone to be the same.


Vivien said...

This cover is SO cute. I love kitties!! Great interview.

Pondering Page said...

I think this sounds like such an interesting book, I've never read any of Catherine's other books, but after reading her interview I will certainly be checking them out. She sounds like such a honest and genuine person I wish her continued success, especially in the states.

Ginny said...

Sounds like an amazing story, thanks for the great interview!

jewelknits said...

This is a worthy issue. I've been interested in it ever since I first saw it and I put it on my wishlist right away!

Julie @ Knitting and Sundries

Bere said...

I first learned of Jumpstart the World @ Random Buzzers. And ever since I've been really looking forward to reading this novel. Excellent interview, Kim. I've added a lot of Catherine's books to my reading list. Can't wait to get started. Thanks so much for the contest! =]

Books and Bane said...

I have a transgender brother/sister in-law. I love her to death!
nedsped at verizon dot net