Please give a generous round of applause to Kristi Cook, author of the upcoming YA novel Haven which is definitely high up on my ‘must read’ list of 2011! I’m sure a lot of you already know all about the book, but for those who haven’t caught on yet, you should stick around and find out! Major thanks goes to Kristi, of course, for agreeing to take part!
Q: Your upcoming book, ‘Haven‘, features a student body (and faculty!) charged with psychic powers. If you found yourself at Winterhaven, what would be your ability? And how would you use this ability for good (or evil)?
Definitely astral projection! Iâ€™ve been obsessed with the concept since I read Lois Duncanâ€™s Stranger with My Face back when I was 12 or so. Iâ€™m not sure exactly what Iâ€™d use it *for* (goodâ€”definitely good!) but I just think it would be really, really cool to temporarily â€œleave my bodyâ€ and travel anywhere I wanted.
Q: For those who haven’t yet heard of ‘Haven‘, give us a quick 101 on the story and its characters, as well as why readers should put this on their wishlist right now.
At the heart of Haven is the Winterhaven School, an elite boarding school in New Yorkâ€™s Hudson Valley. Everyone thereâ€”every teacher, every studentâ€”has psychic abilities, and itâ€™s a place where they can be themselves without feeling like a â€œfreak.â€
Violet McKennaâ€™s gift is visions of futureâ€”usually bad things happening to people that she cares about, and sheâ€™s basically been hiding her gift all her life. She transfers to Winterhaven during her junior year, hoping to fit in, and she does. Almost immediately she has a close circle of friends, and she catches the eye of the very mysterious, very *hot* Aidan Gray. Only problem is, once they start getting close, she starts having visions of his deathâ€”and in her visions, sheâ€™s the one killing him. Yeah, definitely a problem.
Q: Can you tell us the significance of the blue butterfly on the cover? Or is that a closely guarded secret to do with leading man Aidan’s abilities?
Nope, no secret! The butterfly represents Violet, and her â€œtransformationâ€ once she comes to Winterhaven.
Q: What was your favourite Young Adult read in 2010? What are some titles you’re looking forward to in 2011?
Well, I loved Mockingjay— it didnâ€™t disappoint. It was very emotionalâ€”I think I was in a funk for a full week after reading it! But I thought the ending was appropriate to the story and the characters. My other favorite read in 2010 was probably Anna and the French Kiss, completely on the opposite end of the spectrum! It was just soâ€¦fun! And so romantic. Etienne St. Clair was totally swoon-worthy, and I donâ€™t remember the last time I had such a good time reading a book.
There are SO many great books coming out in 2011! Iâ€™ve already been lucky enough to read ARCs of many of them (I work part-time at a wonderful independent kidsâ€™ bookstoreâ€”ARCs are a definite perk of the job!). I really, *really* loved both Veronica Rothâ€™s Divergent and Amy Plumâ€™s Die For Me.
Q: How important do you think it is to interact with your readers and be a part of the online book community? Are there any particular highlights or downsides you’d like to shed some light on?
I think the best part of my â€œjobâ€ is interacting with readers and being a part of the online community! I mean, Iâ€™m a writer, but Iâ€™m also a voracious readerâ€”I could talk books all day! I have met so many amazing people through Twitter and the YA blog community, and I do think itâ€™s important for authors to be a part of thatâ€”but only if theyâ€™re comfortable with it.
The only downside is that I worry that bloggers/reviewers feel â€œweirdâ€ interacting with me if they didnâ€™t enjoy my book. And they shouldnâ€™t! Reading is entirely subjective, and I donâ€™t expect everyone to loveâ€”or even like!â€”Haven. I just donâ€™t want anyone feeling badly about that, just because theyâ€™ve chatted with me on Twitter!
Q: And finally, after the release of ‘Haven‘, what will you be working on next?
Iâ€™m working on the sequel to Havenâ€”and itâ€™s great to be back at Winterhaven, spending time with my characters again!