As authors we often spend a lot of our time comparing our books to other books. You know, Harry Potter meets Hunger Games (Wizarding duels to the death!!!) or The Giver meets The Gallagher Girls (Spies learn to steal memories!). You really can't escape it. Even after you are published (or multi-published!) the sales and marketing people will still use comparisons to pitch your book to whoever.
Tonight I want to talk about two books that are very different. We never talk about different. It's always about what's the same. Please welcome tonight's DebsTour of Difference guests, PRADA AND PREJUDICE by Mandy Hubbard, and TWENTY BOY SUMMER by Sarah Ockler.
Here's a bit about both novels: PRADA AND PREJUDICE- Fifteen year old Callie just wants to impress the popular girls when she buys a pair of Prada heels on her class trip to London. She didn’t plan on tripping, conking her head, and waking up in 1815! Now she’s wearing corsets with her designer pumps, eating bizarre soups, and breaking up engagements. If only the nineteen year old Duke of Harksbury wasn’t so bloody annoying, she might have a little fun in Austen-Era England…
And TWENTY BOY SUMMER- While on vacation in California, sixteen-year-old best girlfriends Anna and Frankie conspire to find a boy for Anna’s first summer romance, but Anna harbors a painful secret that threatens their lighthearted plan and their friendship.
TWENTY BOY SUMMER is a debut YA novel that explores what it truly means to love someone, what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every single moment this world has to offer.
Now, although you may be fooled by their matching blond hair and blue eyes, the authors of these books are actually also very different. If nothing else, geographically!
Sarah Ockler wrote and illustrated her first book at age six—an adaptation of Steven Spielberg's E.T. Still recovering from her own adolescence, Sarah now writes for young adults. After several years of wandering between New York City and Denver, she and her husband Alex now live in Upstate New York with lots of books and an ever-expanding collection of sea glass. Twenty Boy Summer is Sarah's first novel.
Mandy Hubbard grew up on a dairy farm outside Seattle, where she refused to wear high heels until homecoming—and hated them so much she didn’t wear another pair for five years. A cowgirl at heart, she enjoys riding horses and quads and singing horribly to the latest country tune. She’s currently living happily ever after with her husband (who, sadly, is not a Duke) and her daughter (who is most definitely a princess). Prada and Prejudice is her first novel.
And now the Feasty Five for these two lovely authors!
AP: What kind of soda does your MC drink?
SO: Diet Coke
MH: Diet Coke!
AP: *Glares at Mandy and Sarah* The theme for today was supposed to be differences, people!
SO and MH: *look at each other in confusion and shrug*
AP: Fine. What is your MC's favorite kind of flower? How about yours?
SO: Anna doesn't like flowers because they remind her of Matt's funeral - there were so many of them that day. She prefers trees. Like big old oaks. Me, I love stargazer lilies!
MH: I'll go with a rose for both me & my MC-- we're both suckers for romance, and there's nothing more romantic than roses!
AP: See! There you go! Now you're getting into the swing of this theme! Does your MC believe in magic? Do you?
SO: Yes and yes.
AP: Gotta love a decisive answer! Mandy?
MH: After traveling 200 years back in time, I'd say Callie would probably believe in magic. Myself? I say make your own magic.
AP: Okay, Superman or Batman?
SO and MH in unison: Batman! *They look at each other in surprise*
SO: He's much more emotionally conflicted and not afraid to admit that some things just can't be fixed or saved.
MH: He looks way hotter in his suit.
AP: *Grins* Excellent. Okay, last one, and I know these will be different because you are both such original authors! Give us one line from your book. You don't even have to give it context.
SO: "He took that mystery with him when he died, and a hundred thousand one-sided letters in my journal wouldn't have brought me any closer to the truth than I was the night I pressed my fingers to the sea glass he wore around his neck and kissed him back."
MH: "I am a prim and propery regency girl. I wear dresses and I curtsy. I belong here."
AP: Awesome! Thank you.
Seriously though, about these two books; Mandy's is a commercial, lower YA, set mostly in 1815 England, with a touch of supernatural time traveling. Sarah's is a literary, upper YA, set in contemporary America, in a realistic world. Mandy's is paperback, Sarah's is hardcover. Mandy's is a sweet, romantic romp, Sarah's is a gritty, raw tale of losing innocence.
They are very different. That's not the same as better or worse. It's been fun to see these two books come out to different kinds of readers, for different purposes. I can't wait to have both these books on my bookshelf! (I reward myself for reaching writing goals by buying books.:)) Which I guess leads me to my main point. No one book is for every reader. And that is so awesome, because it means that we have SO many different kinds of books. And all of them--even the ones YOU hate--are the perfect book for someone else.
So perhaps try a taste of both of these books, newly released, and at a bookstore near you!
And if you want to learn more about them, feel free to visit the authors' websites: sarahockler.com and mandyhubbard.com