THE ART OF LAINEY, by Paula Stokes, is a fun contemporary coming in May (2014) from HarperTeen. It’s the story that’s described as “Old school strategy and subterfuge meet modern-day dramarama in the story of a girl who sets out to win at all costs and ends up discovering what’s really worth fighting for.” And while I’m not a big reader of contemporary, I can say it has me excited.
Today, we’re thrilled to have Paula over for three things: an interview, giveaway for THE ART OF LAINEY, and… a reveal for the countdown widget I designed for her release. So read on, enter the giveaway, and grab that widget for your sidebar (leave me a comment if you do).
IceyBooks: THE ART OF LAINEY isn’t your first book, but did you always want to write a contemporary, or have you been more attuned to writing historical fiction, like your debut?
Paula: I would say I always wanted to write contemporary YA. I basically wrote The Art of Lainey at the same time I wrote Venom, alternating between the two stories almost every day. [Note to self: Writing 3rd-person past-tense story and 1st-person present-tense story simultaneously = brain meltdown.] As soon as I sent Venom off to my editor, I dived into revising the Lainey draft. Then when Venom came back to me with edit notes, I sent Lainey to beta-readers, etc. Venom sold on proposal through the literary development company Paper Lantern Lit, and that’s why it came out much sooner. Historical fiction was a fun challenge, but I am much more comfortable in the contemporary realm. My next book is a contemporary murder mystery, kind of Cruel Intentions meets The Fugitive.
IceyBooks: Many novels are inspired by one sentence or question, was there one that sparked THE ART OF LAINEY?
Paula: What happens to the girl who had it all, after she loses everything?
IceyBooks: Do you have a favorite line that was removed from the original draft of THE ART OF LAINEY?
Paula: I have 67 pages of cut scenes, which is pretty normal for me even though I am a plotter and always start with an outline. I wouldn’t say any of the lost lines are my favorites, but I do miss this little exchange between Lainey and her partner-in-crime Micah. They’re talking about one of the coffee shop regulars (who got cut), a grad student from Wales who has been flirting with Lainey:
“You’re not just trying to get with someone to get back at Jason, are you?”
I lift my bangs up and frown at the Jersey-shaped blotch of freckles. Is that spot ever going to fade? “How would that be different from what I’m doing with you again?” My voice gets a little frosty.
“Well, you know. We’re not really doing anything.” Micah’s voice trails off.
It almost sounds like he’s jealous. Either that or he’s worried about my honor, which is cute in a kind of hilarious way. “I talked to him for, like, ten minutes, Micah. He’s a writer. He gave me a freaking textbook-sized pile of his manuscript to read. No sexual favors were exchanged.”
“He just seems a little sketchy to me, Lainey.”
“Newsflash. You seem a little sketchy to a lot of people.”
“Yeah.” Micah pauses for a moment. “Well I’m not some old guy hitting on high school girls.”
“He’s not old.” I quickly calculate in my head how old someone in grad school probably is. “He’s, like, twenty-five or something.”
Micah clears his throat as if to say that twenty-five is super-duper old, and I’m kidding myself if I don’t know that.
IceyBooks: Say THE ART OF LAINEY is being adapted to a movie – who would portray your main character?
Paula: Such a tough question. I actually kind of want Lindsay Lohan from Mean Girls or Emma Stone from Easy A. Can we go back in time and do that? :) If not, I guess I’d have to pick Saorise Ronin. Or blogger Inky from Book Haven Extraordinaire, since she looks a lot like my MC! :D
IceyBooks: Give us the three…Movies you can’t wait to see:
Paula I love movies in theory, but I work three jobs and don’t have TV, so I couldn’t even tell you the last time I saw a movie trailer. I’m looking forward to Divergent, but that’s about it.
IceyBooks: Random facts about you:
1. I’ve touched a human heart–one still inside of a living person.
2. I’m totally shy when it comes to meeting other authors–I remember staring across a library at Barry Lyga and Siobhan Vivian like OMG! But I never worked up the nerve to talk to them.
3. I’m an obsessive collector of knitted winter hats. I have like 50 of them.
IceyBooks: Books you can’t wait to read:
Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater
Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott
About the Author
Paula Stokes is half writer, half RN, and totally thrilled to be part of the world of YA literature. She started out writing historical fiction under a pen name and is now branching out into other YA genres.
When she’s not working (rare), she’s kayaking, hiking, reading, or seeking out new adventures in faraway lands. She’s petted tigers, snuggled snakes, snorkeled with stingrays, and once enjoyed the suction-cuppy feel of a baby elephant’s trunk as it ate peanuts from her palm. Her future goals include diving with Great White sharks, learning Krav Maga, and writing a whole slew of novels, not necessarily in that order.
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