Today I have an amazing guest on my blog. I'm super excited about it - because it's my first interview AND it's with an absolutely awesome author!
Please welcome Kimberly Pauley, author of CAT GIRL'S DAY OFF! Below you'll find a short info about the book and Kimberly, an interview with her, as well as a giveaway.
CAT GIRL'S DAY OFF
You can read MY REVIEW HERE || Add to GoodreadsNatalie Ng’s little sister is a super-genius with a chameleon-like ability to disappear. Her older sister has three Class A Talents, including being a human lie detector. Her mom has laser vision and has one of the highest IQs ever. Her dad’s Talent is so complex even the Bureau of Extra-Sensory Regulation and Management (BERM) hardly knows what to classify him as.
And Nat? She can talk to cats.
The whole talking-to-cats thing is something she tries very hard to hide, except with her best friends Oscar (a celebrity-addicted gossip hound) and Melly (a wannabe actress). When Oscar shows her a viral Internet video featuring a famous blogger being attacked by her own cat, Nat realizes what’s really going on…and it’s not funny.
(okay, yeah, a frou-frou blogger being taken down by a really angry cat named Tiddlywinks, who also happens to be dyed pink? Pretty hilarious.)
Nat and her friends are catapulted right into the middle of a celebrity kidnapping mystery that takes them through Ferris Bueller’s Chicago and on and off movie sets. Can she keep her reputation intact? Can she keep Oscar and Melly focused long enough to save the day? And, most importantly, can she keep from embarrassing herself in front of Ian?
Find out what happens when the kitty litter hits the fan.
Sucks to Be Me (2008) was Kimberly's first book, followed by the sequel Still Sucks to Be Me (2010). The books have won a number of honors, including a YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers (Sucks to Be Me), and the VOYA Best Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror list 2010 (Still Sucks to Be Me).
She was an English major at the University of Florida and her favorite classes by far were those in adolescent literature. After college, she worked a number of (boring) corporate jobs and also founded YA Books Central, one of the leading websites for Young Adult (YA) books.
Born in San Mateo, California, she has moved around all over the place (Florida, Mississippi, Kentucky, Illinois) and now lives in London (UK).
You can follow Kimberly on her twitter or website.
Well, a number of reasons, I guess. I've always loved cats and have had at least one cat in my life nearly my whole life. Strangely enough, I don't have one right now because when we moved to London, our cat Gracie stayed with my mom in Florida as she was too sick to travel that far. She has since passed on from cancer. Our cat Harley died a couple of years ago from a tumor. They both make appearances in the book, by the way (PD is like Harley and Queenie is like Gracie). Anyway, I needed an animal that was around enough for Nat to talk to, which pretty much means a cat, a bird, or a dog. I don't know much about dogs, though I've owned some in my life, and I thought cats would be much funnier and snarkier, so I went with them. I can't imagine a dog saying the things the cats say in the book. They're just too nice.
What inspired you to write a book with such a mix of themes? Cats, bloggers, superpowers...
Um. Er. That's kind of my brain. It just really developed that way. It started as a story about silly superpowers and then went to adding in the stuff about a redux of Ferris Bueller, which meant I needed someone famous to be kidnapped... Honestly, it's kind of like stream of consciousness, you know? One thing leads to another and by the time you get to the end, you have no idea how you got there. It really kind of took off once I started thinking about Ferris, which is, incidentally, one of my favorite movies.
It's hard to find a YA book with a heroine that is not white. Weren't you tempted to leave out Nat's roots in favor of "going with the flow"? What do you think about such cases in YA world?
I'm half-Chinese myself and, for whatever reason, once the main character was "Nat" in my head, she was too. The original idea for the book, with a character named Kathryn, was white. I'm really happy that Nat came out the way she did, though. While her ethnicity really isn't an important factor in the story, it's part of who she is. I would have loved reading about her when I was growing up. I wasn't tempted at all to make her white and I'm really happy that the cover of the book shows her how she is. I know that there's a possibility that will hurt the book's sales in the long run, but things don't change in the world if we don't change them. There's absolutely nothing wrong with books with white characters. It's just nice to have books out there that reflect the diversity of the world at large.
As far as what I think...I think it's a tough and complex question. There are so many factors and while some people find it easy to point the finger and pass blame on publishers, bookstores, authors, readers, etc., it's just not that easy. It's not black and white. What I hope is that a) writers will write more stories with characters of all races, b) publishers will publish them, c) covers will reflect them, d) bookstores will stock them, and e) readers will read them and either find themselves or learn about others. Honestly, in my ideal world, the race of the characters would not matter at all; just the story.
What would be your Talent if you had any?
If there's such a talent where you could unleash a horde of brownies to clean your house for you, I think I'd like that a lot. Especially if they did laundry.
What's your usual ordeal when it comes to writing? Any special 'rituals'?
Not really. Though I have found that I do my best writing...or, at least, my most productive writing...when I go to a cafe or pub that does NOT have Wi-Fi...
Nat mentioned she only knows a couple of words in Chinese. What are they?
She can say hello, count to ten, thank you, things like that. And she knows the proper honorifics for her grandparents. Which is about the amount of Chinese that I know too. We went to China a couple of years ago and I was totally lost. My mother's family is Cantonese, so the few words that I knew were useless in Shanghai since everyone mostly speaks Mandarin. The sad thing was that the people there would look at me, then look at my husband, who is tall and most definitely white, ignore him completely and start talking to me a mile a minute in Chinese and I would have almost no idea what they were saying. I wish I knew more, but we moved away from San Francisco when I was three. A lot of my cousins know quite a bit.
If Nat could befriend one character from another YA book, who would that be?
Hm, that's a good question. I think she'd like to get to know Emerson from Hourglass.
And one character she wouldn't get along well?
Oh! Yikes! Um...Well, she'd have no patience with Draco Malfoy, that's for sure.
I felt a little offended on behalf of dogs and the implication that they're stupid! Is there a person who can speak dog? They should get a spin-off! ;)
Ha, that would be fun! Dogs really aren't stupid, but cats generally think they are. And, as Nat says, that's probably what dogs say about cats as well.
A few words to your readers, please! Why should they read your book?
Let's see...read my book because...I want to bring laughter to the world. Seriously. I want to make you snort your drink through your nose. I want to make you laugh out loud in public and make people move away from you on the bus because they're not entirely sure you're okay in the head.
And besides, don't you want to know what cats really think?
Thank you so much, Kimberly!
GIVEAWAYKimberly has kindly offered a copy of her finished book CAT GIRL'S DAY OFF and a signed bookplate to one lucky reader! The book will be shipped to you after the release of the book (April 1st). This giveaway is international. Fill the Rafflecopter for the chance to win!
a Rafflecopter giveaway