Friday, June 27, 2008

What's Fresh with Carmen Rodrigues's Not Anything & a Giveaway!

A powerful debut novel about a girl living a not-so-glamorous life in a city that's all about glamour.

It always sounds way more glamorous than it is when Susie Shannon tells people that she's from Miami. But Miami's not all sunshine and hotties. It's endless zip codes and mega high schools where, if someone lost anything-including themselves-they just might not find it again...

Not that Susie ever lost herself. No way. Ever since her mom died, she made sure to keep her world safe. With no boyfriend, an increasingly MIA best friend, and a dad who couldn't pick her out of lineup to save his life, she somehow managed to stay okay.

Then she met Danny Diaz. Danny's is the life that she's destined to change. At least that's what Mr. Murphy said when he begged Susie to tutor Danny. She doubts that she could change anyone's life, but what if Mr. Murphy's right? Or better yet, what if Danny is destined to change hers?

Hello, Carmen, it's great to have you here to chat! Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?

Carmen: I've been writing since the age of eleven. I started with my own version of angst-ridden 'I love you. Why don't you love me?' poetry and graduated to the short story format by the time I was at FSU. Eventually, I realized that I had a novel lurking inside me. It was around that time that I began to write my first young adult book, NOT ANYTHING.

It took several years to write NOT ANYTHING and then a few more years to get an agent. After that, NOT ANYTHING sold relatively quickly to Berkley Books (an imprint of Penguin). The whole process was extremely exciting.

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.

Carmen: Schedule? What is this thing you call a schedule? I'd love to say that I get up everyday, make a cup of tea and then sit down for three hours of hard-core writing, but that would be a big, big fib. Sure, I aspire to that type of routine, but that type of routine doesn't necessarily aspire to me. Lately, my writing is done on the fly, whenever I can fit it in. Sometimes I write during the morning, other times at night. The important thing is that I find the time to write whenever I can.

I know what you mean! It is a lot about squeezing time in when we can. What's up next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.

Carmen: I'm working on a few projects, primarily one dealing with toxic friendships and the results of that. It's pretty different from NOT ANYTHING, in the sense that these new characters have even more to deal with -- suicide, drugs, and abusive relationships.

In NOT ANYTHING, Susie, the main character, has to come to terms with the death of her mother, which happened five years earlier. Her journey is difficult, but she has a strong support group to help her through the process. In this latest manuscript, tentatively titled LAST DAYS OF SEPTEMBER, my characters are left to navigate these uncharted waters alone, which is pretty scary for them as characters and pretty scary for me as the writer. Hopefully, LAST DAYS OF SEPTEMBER, will find its way to a bookstore in the near future!

Thanks so much for sharing with us, Carmen! I wish you the best with your writing career. Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Carmen: Absolutely! My biggest piece of advice is this: Always trust your instincts and your voice. Trust your instincts when it comes to approaching the business side of publishing and trust your voice when it comes to your writing. Every writer has a distinct voice that he/she should nurture. Your voice is what makes you unique! Don't lose it. Develop it.

Carmen Rodrigues was raised in the multicultural suburbs of Miami. Her debut young adult novel, NOT ANYTHING, is available at bookstores or online at www. amazon. com. For more, visit www.carmenrodrigues.com or www.myspace.com/carmen_rodrigues.

NOT ANYTHING sound good to you? Leave a comment from now until Sunday @ midnight and I'll announce the winner Monday morning. Happy commenting!

28 fresh comments:

TinaFerraro said...

Allow me to be the first to leave a comment and welcome you, Carmen to YA FRESH! Your book sounds terrific.

Bunny B said...

Hi Carmen! Your books sounds like a great read!

Liviania said...

I love that cover!

The Golfing Librarian said...

How can I pass up a chance to win a book by a fellow FSU alum. Sounds like a wonderful read! Count me in!

Cara King said...

Another writer without a set schedule! That always makes me feel good. ;-)

Cara

Alea said...

Ooh that sounds like a very sweet story! :)

aleareads@gmail.com

MelodyJM said...

I would LOVE to win NOT ANYTHING!
I sounds so good!
Kepping my fingers crossed,
Melody

Meredith said...

The book sounds great. Count me in!!

~Meredith

Melissa Walker said...

Don't enter me--already own it, love it--but I just wanted to say hi to Carmen and thank you guys for the interview! I'm psyched to hear about the new project!

Carol said...

Hello Carmen (that's my middle name BTW)
Your book looks like an awesome read.The cover looks great!

Carmen Rodrigues said...

Thanks for all the positive feedback! I'm so excited to be featured on YA Fresh! Thanks, Kelly!

I can't wait to see who wins a copy of my book!

Hugs,
Carmen

Anum Mustafa said...

Oh, wow! She's been writing since eleven! Thanks for the chance to win.

(;

freewriter said...

Sounds like a great book. I love the book talk line about the high schools- if someone lost anything-including themselves-they just might not find it again...

Lenore said...

Love the premise both of Not Anything and the new one. I love to hear about how authors got published.

slayground said...

Best wishes with the forthcoming books, Carmen! I love the title LAST DAYS OF SEPTEMBER.

Sara Hantz said...

Love the sound of your book Carmen!

books-a-lishious said...

I love the girl on the cover's hair. It's so pretty!

fieldhockeyluver25@gmail.com

Sara said...

Not Anything sounds like it is an awsome book. I can't wait to be able to read it if I could ever get a copy.

Zulmara said...

Sounds like a great book...love the concept...love the idea...

ADELANTE!!!

Zulmara

Lauren said...

The book sounds good. So, enter me in the contest!

Lauren at Pot17ter@aol.com

The Book Muncher said...

i really want to read this book!!!! enter me please!!

The Book Muncher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

ooh, enter me!!

Samantha
ssclarinet@hotmail.com

TJ Brown said...

I've been wanting to read this book forever!
Teri

Angel Young said...

I've really been wanting to read Not Anything for sooooo long! How can I pass up a chance to win it?

trudeau1031 said...

it sounds very good!!

Kiki said...

What a great title, and I love the cover! So gorgeous...

Kelly Parra said...

Thank you, Everyone for supporting Carmen and entering the giveaway! Contest is now closed and the winner will be announced shortly! :)