So I got the chance to chat with Charles Benoit, author of You and Fall from Grace. For readers whom have been to TBF before, the TBF game show is slightly going to change this year. At TBF 2013, Charles has the honor of hosting the game show. I'm excited for this year's opening ceramony and I know that you are too!
Miranda Reads: In Fall from Grace, Sawyer gets caught up in some fun, crazy and possibly illegal adventures with a mysterious girl named Grace. Were you a troublemaker when you were a teenager? If you were a troublemaker, did you get in trouble at high school? (side note: Charles went to Greece Athena)
Charles Benoit: Hmmm... Let's just say that my friends and I didn't do anything that most of the other kids at Athena were't doing back then and leave it at that. Okay, maybe a few things.
MR: If you were able to steal one priceless item, what would it be? Why?
CB: While I write about stealing things I don't actually do it, but if I did, I'd go after a full set of first editions by P.G. Wodehouse. I know the Queen Mum had a set, so watch out Buckingham Palace.
MR: Do you have a new book that’s coming out soon?
CB: I sure do! It's a story about secrets and blackmail and the power to destroy lives. Right now the title is COLD CALLS, but you know how those things can change.
MR: Before you were a YA author, you were an adult author. What are the pros and cons to writing YA lit and adult lit?
CB: The best part of making the switch to writing YA is that now I have readers who are willing to argue with me. With adult mysteries, it all has to be tied up so neatly at the end that there's not a lot of room for discussion, and even when there is, adult readers seldom get very passionate about their opinions. Teen readers have no problem telling you what they like and what they don't like and why, and often their analysis on my books is better than what I had in mind.
As for disadvantages, I will say that it is harder writing for YA readers since they are more demanding. An adult reader will put up with a dull chapter or two, but once a YA reader hits a dull spot, she's gone. YA authors have to work harder to ensure that every sentence hits the mark, and while all authors have to do this, YA authors know that one false step and they are done. That's scary.
MR: One of your five fun facts says that you started a ska band and have been in love with it ever since. What exactly is it?
CB: Obviously the school system has failed you horribly. Ska is a music style that started in Jamaica back in the late 1950s, a unique combination of traditional Jamaican folk music and American jazz, R&B and pop music. Unlike most music you hear, with a heavy downbeat on the 1 and 3, ska hits on the 2 and 4. By 1965, ska had slowed down a lot and became what we now call reggae (Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Jimmy Cliff all started as ska singers). Ska didn't disappear though, and it branched off into ska-punk and ska-jazz. The Skatalites are the band to check for the old style sound and for something fast and new try Reel Big Fish or The New Town Kings or Rancid. And then there's my band . Thus endeth the lesson.
MR: What author are you most looking forward to meeting at the 8th annual Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival?
CB: I'm looking forward to chatting with Mark Shulman. Like me, he once worked as a late-night security guard, and his new book, SCRAWL, sounds like the kind of book I like to read. Plus he worked for NPR and I think that's cool.
Thanks Charles! We can't wait to see you again!
Make sure you enter the TBF giveaway. The deadline is April 22