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7/24/11

Ellen Hopkins, Author Spotlight, Interview and Giveaway!


My history with Ellen Hopkins' books started several years ago when I first picked up "Crank." I was immediately immersed in the book, it was raw and unlike anything I had ever read before. I remember reading pages of it, just over and over again because of how amazingly fluent the words on the page appeared. Ellen Hopkins writes in verse, making each page appear to be a poem and yet completely relative to the story, never once straying from the original concept. After "Crank", it was easy to say I was "Flirtin' With The Monster."  She's continued to release powerful, phenomenal novels one right after the other. As the author of Crank, Burned, Impulse, Glass, Identical, Tricks and Fallout, she has caught quite the attention and turned many heads for her work. Her latest novel "Perfect" will be released on September 13th, 2011. "Perfect" is a companion novel to "Impulse" where you can read more about on Ellen's site. Ellen also had a Dedication Wall where here fans can go and talk about how her writing has influenced them. Isn't that amazing? I recently did an interview with Ellen Hopkins herself. I was more than gracious of her willingness to participate, but also her kindness and overall supportive nature. Needless to say, I was honored. So, thank you once again, Ellen!


1] Your books have inspired so many people, but you also encounter a lot of controversy. Does anything anyone says ever effect your work, consciously or subconsciously?
I truly wished everyone loved my books. But I don't think there are any books everyone loves, and everyone is entitled to an opinion. I am conscious of my audience, and while I tend to push the envelope, there are things I wouldn't write about and words I won't use. But that is to satisfy my own sense of propriety. What others think doesn't affect the way I write.

2] When you're brainstorming during your writing process, what is your usual routine? What are the things that make it easier for you to write, for you to be in the correct environment to express yourself? Or do ideas just hit you on the train, so to speak?
I tend to write multiple viewpoints, which arranges my books naturally into sections. What I need to know when I sit down to write is what I want the current section to accomplish--how it will build the story, move it forward. I don't outline, but sometimes I'll jot down notes about that. Usually, however, I just jump in and write.


3] I know your books Crank, Glass and Fallout were based upon not only your daughters struggles, but the story of you grandson and how you came to terms with all of that yourself. Do you ever wish you could go back and rewrite something, or omit something because it is so personal?
Not because of the personal nature of the stories (around 60% true), but maybe because I feel like I'm a better writer now. I actually think I would rely less on formatting and more on story.

4] Your writing is always meaningful and deep, you write in such a fluid way, how do you decide what stories you want tell regarding certain issues?
I don't decide. My characters do. I create characters around the theme I've chosen. Once they become solidly established in my head, they start talking to me. Which is why I need quiet to write--so I can listen.

5] Impulse is the one book that struck me the hardest, was there something that ignited your writing process throughout the book?
At the time my younger daughter, Kelly, worked at a place like Aspen Springs. She cares for troubled youth, and some of the stories she told me just struck a chord. Plus, I live in a small valley with around 2000 people. We lost two teens to suicide in a single year and I really wanted to look at the "why".

6] Since your books are so powerful, do you ever find yourself getting overwhelmed or emotional when it comes to talking about certain things within your stories?
Not so much in writing my books where, again, I channel my characters and their stories. What can become emotionally draining are some of the readers' stories I receive. I hear real stories of abuse and rape and addiction and thoughts of suicide every day. They are not as isolated as some people want to believe, which is why I get so irritated at the "lets keep childhood clean and sweet" would-be censors. For way too many kids, childhood is not clean and sweet at all. They deserve a voice, and to know they're not alone. And they deserve to know they can get beyond the pain, into a better place. Books help them do that.


7] The fact that you write in verse is something I was instantly drawn to. What makes you want to write in more of a poetic form, versus the normal everyday writing?
The verse pulls you inside the characters' heads, puts you on the page. Readers often tell me they become the charcters, so it's like living the story instead of being told a story. Plus, I love the challenge of making every word count.

8] Most of your books have teenage narrators, how do you manage to speak and write so well through the eyes of a teenager? I'm a teenager myself, but you have a far better understanding on them than I do.
I have a 14-year-old at home, so have teens in my house all the time. I visit high schools, libraries and book festivals, where I talk to teens face to face. And I get literally hundreds of messages a day--email, Formspring, Twitter, Facebook. So I hear teens every day, and I am privy to their hopes and fears. I keep them in my head, and in my heart.


9] Finally, would you like to say anything about your upcoming projects, on your most recent and highly anticipated book, "Perfect?"

Perfect examines beauty ideals and how far people will go to attain something unattainable--perfection, as an athlete, a student, a model. But it's also about how denying the inner person in favor of the exterior is damaging. Because who you are inside is what counts in the end.
After Perfect comes Triangles, my first adult verse novel, about midlife meltdowns and how they affect important relationships. Within writing that, some of the teen characters' stories became important to me. I'm currently writing Tilt, the 2012 YA, which tells these stories and looks at the Triangles issues through teen eyes. It's been fun writing a YA companion to the adult. There will be a 2012 adult novel, too.


10] Now, here's the Ellen Hopkins Giveaway! It's quite simple, really. Fill out the form below, add the required information and you'll also see there's ways to get extra entries, too. This giveaway will run until September 1st, 2011 and the winner will get an Ellen Hopkins book of their choice!



Fill out THIS form!!
It is open internationally,
and I'll get your mailing addresses once you've won.





31 comments:

  1. I tried to fill out the form but it says the page cannot be found. :-(

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  2. AnonymousJuly 24, 2011

    I can't fill out the form because it won't let me click on the link :( - Cody (your cousin)

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  3. Nobody move! I'm fixing the form!! :)

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  4. Burned was my first ever Ellen Hopkins book and I LOVED it. Her words have a way of speaking to you. She's a total master of verse.

    I loved reading the interview.

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  5. Great interview! There were some great questions in there and I enjoyed reading more about the behind the scenes part of writing. ^_^
    ~Jessica @ T@1AM

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  6. Your interview is amazing. I absolutely adore Ellen Hopkins and it's great to hear and understand her inspiration and where she is coming from while writing these books. Thank you for this!

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  7. Thanks for the interview & giveaway! I can't wait to read Perfect!

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  8. Nice interview and insightful questions!

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  9. Love the interview--especially when you say Ellen gets teens more than you, a teen yourself, do! Can't wait to see what cool, professional post you write next!

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  10. Thanks for the great giveaway :)
    I enjoyed the interview. I think it's great that she writes about difficult/ugly issues and I agree with how she feels about the censors. Not addressing issues doesn't make them go away.

    I was lucky enough to win PERFECT and TRIANGLES in giveaways and can't wait to read them. I would love to read all her books.

    Also I've never read a book in verse before.

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  11. Thanks so much for the giveaway!! I love Ellen Hopkins! :)

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  12. I would really like to read Crank.

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  13. Thanks for a great interview and giveaway! I think it's great when books invite controversy - anything that gets people talking and thinking is a good thing :)
    jwitt33 at live dot com

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  14. Great interview. Thanks so much for the giveaway. :)

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  15. Thanks for the giveaway and for opening it to International entries.

    Much appreciated.

    Carol T

    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

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  16. I absolutely love Ellen's books, I've read them all, except Fallout and Perfect. I'm uber excited that she's writing more books that partner with Impulse, because it is my favorite book by her. (:

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  17. I love Ellen's books, they're totally raw and suspenseful. Great interview. I've read almost all of them and Impulse just has to be my favorite. Can't wait to read Perfect.

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  18. Great interview! I love Ellen's books so much! :)

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  19. Thank you so much! I've recently gotten Crank and I'm itching to read more. :)

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  20. Hey!
    Thanks for the giveaway!

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  21. Thanks for this interview and giveaway!

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  22. Thank you so much for the chance to win!

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  23. I have heard a lot of praise for Ellen's novels and I appreciate the fact that she believes that keeping YA reads clean and sweet isn't doing teenagers any favours. These are real issues that they're forced to deal with and need to be addressed as such.

    Thanks for the chance to read one of her amazing works:)

    Sarah

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  24. Thanks for the giveaway.

    I haven't read any of the novels as yet but I want to start.
    Carol T

    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

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  25. I got to see Ellen Hopkins in NY while I was there for BEA. She read part of Perfect for us at the Simon and Schuster luncheon. I hadn't read her work before but now, I love it!

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  26. Great Interview! I've only read Impulse but I LOVED IT!! Totally cant wait to read more from her.

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  27. I adore Ellen Hopkins. She is one of my inspirations. Great interview! :D

    x
    Sierra(:

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  28. Heey, great interview! loved it, I adore Elle hopkins. :)

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  29. Ellen Hopkins is one of those authors that is on auto-buy for me. As soon as I heard she was writing her first adult novel, I was stoked. Her YA novels are always so dark and gut-retching and I expected nothing less from Triangles, and she didn't disapoint me. Ellen Hopkins def. shows more a sexual side in this novel and at times I felt like I was reading an erotic novel, but in true Hopkins form she dosn't sugar-coat things, and her brutual honesty is something I love about her.

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