Thursday, August 27, 2009

Interview with Bethany Griffin and Handcuffs Review

EEK I'm so excited to announce that I was able to get Bethany Griffin here for an interview with us! :D If you don't know Handcuffs or Bethany, you should. They're both made of awesome-ness.

Handcuffs by Bethany Griffin
Summary: Parker Prescott is an ice princess. Cold, aloof, and a snob. At least, that's what everyone says on Marion Henessy's blog. And everyone reads Marion Henessy's blog.

Parker Prescott is a middle child. She's the good one, the dependable one, the one her parents trust. Well...she used to be.

Parker Prescott's parents want her to break up with her boyfrined. But she already did, two weeks ago. And then she realized it was a mistake. He came over. He had the handcuffs in his pocket. Everything went downhill from there. Sort of.

Parker Prescott's world is changing and she no longer knows who she is. Does anyone?

Review: First off, I want to say I love this book! And I'm not just saying that either. The characters were awesome and most of the time I didn't even notice that it was written in present tense. Present can be a weird tense to read somethings, but this wasn't at all. I also loved how 'the ex' is just called 'the ex' or 'him' through the entire book instead of giving him a name. There's never a doubt who Parker is talking about. I can really relate with Parker. Not because I have a boyfriend with handcuffs, but because I'm a bit of an ice princess myself. I sepnt the entire book rooting for Parker and even yelling at her a little when she went to do something crazy. Whenever I got called away, I definitely didn't want to leave. Overall: 9/10


And now let's see what the genius behind Handcuffs herself has to say. *cue applause*

Bethany Griffin is a high school English teacher and an avid reader of teen fiction. She teaches and writes in Kentucky, where she lives with her three cats, her two children, and her husband -- the first guy she met who had read more than three of her favorite books. Handcuffs is her first book for young readers. She has an awesome website and blog.

I'm sure you get this question a lot, but where did you get the idea for Handcuffs?
The original concept was about a girl who plays internet pranks and finds out stuff she doesn't want to know...sort of an internet version of the 'eavesdroppers never hear good things about themselves' adage. I needed to get her grounded...I wrote the handcuffs scene, and the book sort of reconstructed itself around that.

How long did Handcuffs take you to write?
I wrote the first draft in 6 weeks. I revised for two months.

Do you write from the hip or outline?
No outline, I hate them (except for the pretend ones I write for my agent...don't tell her, she wants me to be more organized)

How do you develop such great characters?
I dunno? Parker started out with some elements of me...and I developed her from there. I guess I just watch people a lot (tries not to be creepy). I find people pretty fascinating.

Was it intentional naming Paige, Preston, and Parker names that started with "P" or did it just happen? Was that part of the "perfect" family mentality?
It was on purpose. As a person with kids, I generally think about the parents when I name characters. What did the parents want for the kid and how might that have affected who these people are? So the Prescott names are all upwardly mobile names, and of course they all start with P! It is part of their perfect family mentality.

Did the ex always not have a name and do you call him 'the ex' in your head too?
I made up a name for him when I was writing a synopsis, because it was impossible to write a good synopsis without using a name (in fact, I find it impossible to write a synopsis anyway). This was about a month after I finished the book, it was for a full request that sent me a form rejection. I blame the synopsis. So he had no name while I wrote the book, but he does sort of have a name now. There's a guess the name contest on my website that gets some WEIRD guesses.

What made you want to write Handcuffs in present tense?
I love present. It makes everything so in your face and intense.

What was your journey to being agented like?
I queried for about 3 and a half months. I think she was my 9th full request?

What did you do when you found out that Delacorte was publishing your book?
We'd had a couple of close calls with editors, and a revision request. We had several rejections and had decided to do some revisions. Anyway it was a terrible day. Just bad weather, grumpy kids, I had to go to the funeral home on the way home from work.
When we got in I checked my email, and there was one from my agent. It said this means you can stop revising! I was like, what? So I scrolled down, and found the email saying that we had an offer. I jumped up and down and freaked out the kids...

Do you have anything in the works right now?
I have one completed manuscript, one on hold manuscript, and one manuscript I'm just starting on that I hope to finish by Christmas. So, yeah.

What would you like to say to all the aspiring authors out there?
Read a whole bunch, especially Handcuffs... well, it worked for me... at least the reading part. Read everything you can, and don't give up.

And finally, what is your favorite book?
My all time favorite book that I've read the most times in my life is Lord of the Rings. My mom read it to me when I was 4, and I read it to myself (for the first time) when I was 7.

Let's give a big thanks and round of applause to Bethany Griffin for taking the time to answer my PMs and be here with us! Now, what are you waiting for?? If you haven't read Handcuffs, go get it!


Becca Cooper said...

WHOOO! *applause*

9th full request??? Oh dear. *hides* Query letter Hell indeed.

Chanelley said...

This is so encouraging! And I just bought the book on amazon. I look forward to reading it.

Highly recommended Minnesota Divorce Lawyer, TCA said...

Wow, this sounds really good! Most of the YA I've been reading lately are pretty tame - I need something with a little steaminess! :)