3 S.R. Johannes: Bookanistas - The Oracle of Dating Dynamic Duo Giveaway

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Bookanistas - The Oracle of Dating Dynamic Duo Giveaway

COMMENT on the interview today and win a copy of both books!

(If I get more than 100 comments, I'll throw a second surprise giveaway for commenters. Don't forget - only followers are eligible. See, I don't ask 4 much :)

Today, I interviewed Allison van Diepen, author of The Oracle of Dating and the sequel The Oracle of Rebounds. (Harlequin Teen) as well as several other books.

Oracle of Dating is a fun, engaging, and witty book for teens(like all Harlequin books coming out!). A great easy read for the beach or rainy day that you pass along to your friends and giggle about later. It has friendship, boys, and nuggets of teen relationship advice that I wish I had back in high school. It's also up to date with references to Facebook, blogging and Paypal, among other things.

For five bucks, the Oracle of Dating will tell you:
* How to flirt
* If that cute guy you're crushing on likes you, too
* Whether your new romance will last through lunch period
* And much more

No one at Kayla's school knows she's the famous Oracle of Dating—the anonymous queen of dating advice. She doesn't even have a boyfriend. Two relationship disasters were enough to make Kayla focus on everyone else's love life. But then her advice backfires on her own best friend. And Kayla starts to seriously obsess about Jared Stewart—the very cute, very mysterious new guy in school. Suddenly, the teen queen of advice needs her own oracle of dating—and she knows just where to find one….

The sequel, Oracle of Rebounds picks up where the first one left off.

As the "oracle of dating," Kayla is supposed to have all the answers about love and relationships. She's supposed to have the perfect relationship. But now that Jared is "taking a step back," Kayla feels like a total fraud.So the expert on dating starts taking her own rebound advice—and some from her friends—and stops moping around.

But when controversy erupts about the Oracle's advice, Kayla is sent reeling once again. Will anything work out for her this year? Yet when her friends start seriously needing the Oracle, Kayla begins to focus on what really matters.

Here's the interview with Allison:

Hi Allison, thanks for coming by with gifts :) First, tell us about yourself.

I’m a YA author from Ottawa, Canada, and I currently have five teen novels in bookstores. I’m also a high school teacher, and my first two books, Street Pharm and Snitch, were inspired by my experiences teaching at an inner-city school in Brooklyn. My next book, Raven, was a paranormal, and my two most recent books, The Oracle of Dating and The Oracle Rebounds, are light, fun teen romances which came out this year from Harlequin Teen. I love writing YA, and as you can see, my books are very different from one another. I follow my inspiration wherever it takes me.

How did you come up with the idea for The Oracle?

It was one of my sister’s friends who first called me The Oracle of Dating. I was about twelve, and my sister and her friends were fifteen. I became their dating guru. Over the years, as I’ve dated and observed others dating, I’ve seen distinct patterns, and have always wanted to write about them. A lot of the outrageous stories in the books are real experiences that have happened to me or people I’ve known.

It's amazing how much teen books come from our real lives. Can you talk a little about your journey to publication?I started writing when I was a teen. Once I became a high school teacher and wrote my first YA book, I bought a copy of The Writer’s Market Guide to Literary Agents, submitted query letters to five agents, and two requested to see the manuscript. A few months later, I signed on with an agent; he said it was my “unique voice” that attracted him to my writing, and he gave me some useful feedback on my manuscript. About a year later, he sold my first book,

I love that you did it the old fashion way from slush pile to publication! Can you tell us a little about your writing process?
In Jo Beverley’s words, I like to “fly into the mist”. I start with something that intrigues me – it may be an exciting scene that’s playing in my head, or a mysterious, sexy character. If the writing is flowing well, I know that I’m onto something. If it keeps feeling right, I keep going. Along the way, I stop and do some planning – for instance, I’ll make a few notes on what the next sequence of scenes should be, or on a few important plot points. I don’t like to plan a book in too much detail before I start writing it. For me, too much planning ahead spoils some of the fun.

What ways do you market your book as an author? What has worked well? What have you learned along the way?

I have a decent Internet presence, I think; I’m on Facebook and have a website. I have a blog, devoted to the Oracle series. I’ve bought ads on various sites which have directed people to my website. I’ve done guest-blogging and interviews on local TV, visited schools and spoken at conferences. What has worked well? I have no idea. It’s an endless topic of conversation among my writer friends. You can invest thousands of dollars in advertising, or exhaust yourself visiting bookstores, going to conferences etc. and see little change in your sales.

The best marketing is word of mouth, and that’s not something you can predict. If your book resonates with readers, over time it will catch on, and your books will stay in print. An author doesn’t always know right away if that will happen. I certainly didn’t know that my first two books, Street Pharm (2006) and Snitch (2007), would still be in print today. I have the teens to thank for that, and their teachers and librarians. What I’ve learned is that the more time I spend writing instead of trying to spread the word about my books, the happier I am. This business is so unpredictable. I always remind myself to focus on the parts of it that bring me joy – writing, and corresponding with my readers.

What are you most afraid of? and why?
Any author fears their work not being sought after anymore. Most writers with long-term careers have had times when their books sold well and when they didn’t. Since I plan to keep writing for years to come, I hope I will always find interested publishers and readers. It’s important for a writer who wants longevity not to be afraid to switch things up a little – to write in different genres, for different age groups, or even under a different name. I don’t know what I’ll be writing ten or twenty years from now…and I’m happy with that.

Thanks Allison!

Don't forget to comment for the duet of Oracle books!

Check out these other Bookanista posts today!

Lisa and Laura Roecker and Myra McEntire spreads some love for SELLING HOPE
Elana Johnson is nuts about NIGHTSHADE
Christine Fonseca swoons over SIREN
Shannon Messenger marvels over MUSEUM OF THIEVES (plus she's having another epic giveaway).
Carolina Valdez Miller is struck by SHIP BREAKER.
Megan Miranda is in love with I AM THE MESSENGER

If you have a book, you would like the Bookanistas to consider, feel free to email me offline.


Jamie Manning said...

Excellent interview. I love to hear insight as to why someone writes what they write...and Allison sounds like a professional when it comes to dating!

And thanks for this giveaway!

Carolina M. Valdez Schneider said...

Looks like cute, fun reads! Great interview, Shelli! Love that she uses real life experiences in her stories. Bet she continues to get some great experiences for her YA with her teaching.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Wonderful interview! I love learning about other authors. These sound like books my students would love! :-)

cleemckenzie said...

Enjoyed reading about the author and her stories. Here's my contribution to your 100 comments goal!

Susan R. Mills said...

Thanks for the review and the interview! I have to add these books to my list.

Shannon Messenger said...

Loved this interview, Shelli. Thanks for sharing. And it's so nice to see a Shelli post. The blogosphere is lonely without you. :D

http://www.adesiretogetcreative.com said...

I read advanced copies of these two books through NetGalley and can't wait to get the "real" books. :)

Joy D. Fanning said...

Thanks for the interview! These books sound like they would be a really fun read!!

Jemi Fraser said...

These books sound fantastic - perfect for my classroom. :)

Margay Leah Justice said...

I think teens are some of the best word of mouth marketers out there - if they like something, everyone knows about it!

This sounds like a cute series - hopefully, it will be in print for a long while, too.


Anonymous said...

I like how she knows when a book just "clicks" like that. When the writing flows and the characters go off into their adventure. That's how I want to feel while i'm READING it too!

Claire Dawn said...

These sound like so much fun! It's amazing how many great books there are in the world.

Fi-chan said...

Oh, a lot of the stories are real!? Nice. and already a dating guru when you were 12! Wow!

oh btw count me in for the giveaway! :D thank you

feeyonachan at gmail dot com

Dorothy Dreyer said...

Great interview! :)

Jennie Englund said...


Love the Slush Success!