The life of your average teenager is filled with drama both big and small. But put a teenager in the school drama club, surrounded by other teenagers who live to perform, and the drama quotient will go through the roof. Life will be filled with everything from the seemingly trivial (but absolutely vital) issue of stepping on each other’s lines to the more far reaching problems that accompany alcohol abuse, death and relationships.
In Talent, fifteen-and-half-year-old Sandee Mason has a hard enough time dealing with auditioning for the school musical, getting her driver's license, and surviving Algebra. But she has to deal with a host of more adult problems all stemming from the disappearance of her big brother Bri while in Afghanistan.
She discovers that real life doesn’t have a script as she deals with loss, the manipulation of Bri’s best friend, her burning ambition to find her talent and the mystery of what happened to Bri.
Paperback: 284 pages (also available in e-format)
Publisher: Eternal Press (November 1, 2015)
Twitter hashtag: #TalentYA
Book Giveaway Contest:
To win a copy of Talent, please enter using the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of this post. The giveaway contest closes this Monday, March 7 at 12:00 AM EST. We will announce the winner the same day in the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!
B. Lynn Goodwin is the owner of Writer Advice and the author of You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers. She’s been published in local and regional newspapers, plus numerous magazines, anthologies, and online journals. A former drama and English teacher, she now conducts writing workshops, writes book reviews, edits, coaches writers, and is currently working on a second book about Sandee Mason’s adventures and a memoir about getting married for the first time at age 62 to a two-time widower who she met on…gulp…Craigslist. She lives with her husband, Richard, and her dog, Eddie McPuppers, in Northern California.
B. Lynn Goodwin’s websites:
-----Interview by Jodi Webb
WOW: In the past, your writing has been on the non-fiction side of the library--writing how-to, memoir. What made you decide to plunge into fiction?
LYNN: I had several stories to tell, and the best way to do it was to combine what I knew and what I was exploring in a work of fiction. In 1979 I directed the musical Oklahoma! at San Ramon High. All of the characters in TALENT are fictitious, but I remember feeling like I could read the minds of kids who knew they were not going to get chosen for a part but wanted to find their talent and some recognition for it. My fiction has roots in reality. No dystopian fantasy monsters or zombies here.
WOW: So many of characters started out in a series of short stories? What made you decide to take the stories to the next level and write them in a novel? Or were the short stories “test runs” for the novel you were planning?
LYNN: The articles for Dramatics were well received. I liked the characters and wanted to keep telling their stories. I had wonderful memories of directing Oklahoma! a few years earlier, so this seemed like the logical next step.
WOW: Tell us more about your work as an educator. What lessons did you learn from your days as an educator that helped you as a writer?
LYNN: I taught English and drama in high school and college. I learned to value teens, especially my students who wanted to succeed. I learned that teens are eager to embrace the world, that sometimes they are scared, but other times they are full of life, love, gratitude, and energy—crying out to be harnessed. I never thought of my young actors as students. I thought of them as actors, and I gave them the respect that eludes so many teens.
WOW: As fiction writers, it's difficult enough creating realistic characters--but you had to tackle that tough subject: teenagers. Do you find teenager characters more difficult to write than adult characters?
LYNN: I spent nearly 20 years teaching high school and college students. I knew my teenage actors very well. I still carry them with me in my head. These characters were easy to write. Some of them had already appeared in a series in Dramatics Magazine. I wanted their stories out in the world.
WOW: Did you do any special research before creating your characters for Talent to ensure that they felt real and timely? Some writers have confessed to eavesdropping at the mall!
LYNN: I did my research years ago. I wrote the first draft on an Apple IIC in the mid-eighties. It’s come a long way. Since I was in high school, I’ve understood that all teens want recognition, acknowledgement, respect, and most want freedom from the rules of Mom and Dad. These kids are on that road. I am rooting for them.
Teens have many of the same goals as adults, but they have less life experience. I knew what they wanted, what they would do to get it, and who/what was in their way, so I don’t remember finding this difficult. If I did, though, I’d go into my journal, write “Sandee, what’s going on? You can tell me,” let her answer, and keep going.
WOW: When you were writing Talent did you have any young adult beta-readers or "experts" to help you make sure your characters rang true?
LYNN: Emily, one of my granddaughters (you have no idea how thrilled I am every time I write that—I got married for the first time four years ago to a two-time widower with seven adult children) was my teenage beta reader. She said it was good and she put a review on Amazon. She reads constantly and loves Harry Potter. Her cousin, Haleigh, got a copy after the book came out. I’m not sure she’s found time to read it yet.
WOW: Do you have any advice for aspiring YA writers?
LYNN: Whether you’re writing contemporary, realistic, fantasy, sci fi, or dystopian, be true to your characters. Make their goals real.
If you don’t know what teens want, talk to them. You’ll find them in any Starbuck’s near a high school. You’ll find them in line at the DMV. You’ll find some in the library, some on the sports field, and some seeking work. Read Teen Ink. Volunteer in a school. Looking for the bad guys? Volunteer at your local juvenile hall.
Let your characters and their environment guide the action. Never put their parents or teachers in charge.
Of course it goes without saying that you should read YA. Also, try journaling in the voice of your characters. It’s a great way to get in their heads. Need an example? Sandee Mason, my protagonist, has written many of the blog posts at http://blynngoodwin.com.
WOW: What's up next for you?
LYNN: Right now I’m working on a memoir about getting married for the first time at 62 to a 2-time widower that I met on … gulp … Craigslist. I’m also thinking about my next Sandee story. I think it will start at the DMV on the day that she goes to get her license.
I’m teaching Independent Study in Writing through Story CircleNetwork I’m scheduled to present a workshop at the Story Circle Network Conference in April and a salon about the powers of journaling at the International Women Writer’s Guild in July. Four times a year I produce a new issue of Writer Advice, and I’m reading and responding to all submissions for our four contests this year.
In my spare time, I read for book reviews; walk Eddie McPuppers, who is our dog-dog and a columnist for a Petfinder Newsletter; and spend time with the man I married 4 years ago. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts with the readers of this Muffin interview. This has been a great experience.
WOW: Hang on, Lynn because the experience is just beginning. After all this is just the first stop on your WOW Blog Tour. Enjoy the tour everyone!
----------Blog Tour Dates
Monday, February 29(today!) @ The Muffin
Stop by for an interview with B. Lynn Goodwin and a chance to win Talent!
Wednesday, March 2 @ Building Bookshelves
Read a review of B. Lynn Goodwin's YA novel Talent about all the drama in high school and enter to win a copy.
Friday, March 4 @ All Things Audry
Author B. Lynn Goodwin shares tips for discovering your hidden talents.
Tuesday, March 8 @ Just Commonly
B. Lynn Goodwin, author of the YA novel Talent, shares five ways to cope with loss and the opportunity to win a copy of Talent!
Thursday, March 10 @ Lisa’s Reviews and Interviews
Wonder what makes writers tick? Learn more about author B. Lynn Goodwin in today's interview.
Friday, March 11 @ Books & Such
Author B. Lynn Goodwin will be sharing ways to make your writing shine -- and we all want shiny writing! Enter to win a copy of her latest book: the YA novel Talent.
Tuesday, March 15 @ Adan Ramie
B. Lynn Goodwin, author of the YA novel Talent, stops by today with a guest post. Don't miss it!
Wednesday, March 16 @ Finished Pages
Author B. Lynn Goodwin, author of the YA novel Talent, shares some acting techniques to help you create three dimensional characters. Action!
Friday, March 18 @ The New Book Review
Don't miss today's review of B. Lynn Goodwin's debut YA novel, Talent.
Wednesday, March 23 @ Deal Sharing Aunt
Learn more about author B. Lynn Goodwin in today's interview and read a review of her YA novel Talent.
Friday, March 25 @ The Things You Can Read
B. Lynn Goodwin's tour for her debut YA novel, Talent, is coming to a close. Don't miss today's review.
Sunday, March 27 @ Writer Unboxed
B. Lynn Goodwin, author of the Young Adult novel Talent shares "5 Ways to Tap into Universal Truths about Young Adults".
To view all our touring authors, check out our Events Calendar. Keep up with blog stops and giveaways in real time by following us on Twitter @WOWBlogTour.
If you have a website or blog and would like to host one of our touring authors or schedule a tour of your own, please email us at email@example.com.
*****BOOK GIVEAWAY CONTEST*****
Enter to win a copy of Talent! Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. We will announce the winner in the Rafflecopter widget this Monday, March 7.
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