Tuesday, May 15, 2007

What's Fresh with Kelly Parra's Graffiti Girl

Graffiti art. It's bold. It's thrilling. And it can get a girl into serious trouble...

Raised by her single mom (who's always dating the wrong kind of man) in a struggling California neighborhood, Angel Rodriguez is a headstrong, independent young woman who channels her hopes and dreams for the future into her painting. But when her entry for a community mural doesn't rate, she's heartbroken. Even with winning artist Nathan Ramos -- a senior track star and Angel's secret crush -- taking a sudden interest in Angel and her art, she's angry and hurt. She's determined to find her own place in the art world, her own way.

That's when Miguel Badalin -- from the notorious graffiti crew Reyes Del Norte -- opens her eyes to an underground world of graf tags and turf wars. She's blown away by this bad boy's fantastic work and finds herself drawn to his dangerous charm. Soon she's running with Miguel's crew, pushing her skills to the limit and beginning to emerge as the artist she always dreamed she could be. But Nathan and Miguel are bitter enemies with a shared past, and choosing between them and their wildly different approaches to life and art means that Angel must decide what matters most before the artist inside of her can truly break free.

* * * * *

As you know, today is the official release of GRAFFITI GIRL, and to celebrate, I am interviewing Kelly!

Tina: Hello, Kelly, could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you sold your young adult novel GRAFFITI GIRL to MTV Books?

Kelly: If I could have seen my future about ten years ago, I would have been shocked to see that I would be a writer. Most of my life had been about art and graphic design. But about six years ago, I became an avid reader of fiction. Two years later, I read a bio about a local author who made a living at writing books, and that day I sat down to begin my first book. I started out writing Romantic Suspense, which I did sell. Unfortunately the line closed before that book could be published. A few months after my first sale, I sold GRAFFITI GIRL to MTV Pocket Books--and now I'm excited to be going in a new direction in my writing career.

Tina: Readers and writers often like to get a behind the scenes peek of an author's writing routine. It would be great if you could please share your typical writing day schedule.

Kelly: My typical day is to get up and ready my kids for school and out the door. Then when I return home, I refuel, check email and my numerous blogs, and that takes at least an hour. I can then settle into where I left off with my current book. I usually read the prior chapter to get back into the tone and scene, and that goes on with breaks until it's time to pick up the kids. Not a very eccentric lifestyle, I know!

Tina: Please tell us about your novel, GRAFFITI GIRL,published by MTV Books (May 15, 2007) and what we can expect from your characters.

Kelly: GRAFFITI GIRL is about a high school Mexican-American artist named Angel. She is drawn into the underground world of graffiti art, feeling this is the only method her artwork will be accepted and still allow her to stay true to her cultural identity. It's a story of finding where you belong and believing in your talent enough to be different. I'm hoping it will connect with teens in different ways, and that they will ultimately feel GRAFFITI GIRL is an entertaining read!

Tina: What's up next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.

Kelly: I just sold my second young adult novel to MTV Books about a girl who anonymously blogs about her ability to see psychic images or signs on her fellow students and attempts to piece together the clues in order to help save them from unfortunate fates. I'm excited about finishing the book and playing with the paranormal element, which is a new aspect for me in my writing.

Tina: Sounds great! Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Kelly: Of course! Even while I was struggling to finish my first book, and trying get an agent, then getting rejection after rejection from editors, there was this voice inside that kept saying, "Don't give up." So that's what I like to say to writers who know how hard it is to finish that first or second book. The ones who feel discouraged after receiving a rejection from an agent, editor, or even a contest. Don't give up. If you work hard enough, keep working on your craft, and keep going, your break could be just around the corner. Thanks for chatting with me, Tina!

Kelly Parra writes young adult fiction for MTV Books. When not at work on her current novel, she spends her free time roaming bookstores, surfing the blogosphere, and watching reality TV. GRAFFITI GIRL is her debut novel. For an excerpt visit, www.kellyparra.com.

3 fresh comments:

Janie Emaus said...

Kelly,
What a great interview. I can't wait to read your book. You are an inspiration to writers everywhere!

Janie

TinaFerraro said...

Thanks, Janie! And I agree...Kelly IS an inspiration. So hard-working and talented, and with a full family life, too. (Hey, Kel, am I making you blush?)

Kelly Parra said...

Jamie, that is so nice! Thank you!!

And yes, Tina, you are making me blush. haha! All those things are just as true for you, too!!

Thanks so much for interviewing me!!