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12-09 - M.L. Buchman

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

YA Author B. A. Binns

B. A. Binns here, back with the Genre-istas. Since I believe that cleaning is something best hired out, I'm doing a little break. This month we're highlighting YA authors. Since I am one, (the oldest person in the picture, but so what?) I thought it would be fun to answer some of the same questions our guests did. Here goes.
What made you decide to be a writer?  
The real truth is I didn’t decide. The characters in my head tried to drive me crazy until I agreed to write down their stories.
Have you ever based a character on someone you know?  
Someday I will get really brave and base a character on my daughter. Now that she’s grown and about to make me a grandmother, it might be interesting to base something on her childhood.
What character was the most difficult for you to write? 
Yolanda Dare. I knew so much about her and literally cried over her self-esteem issues. I needed her to be hard and vulnerable and sympathetic, to have a heart and the potential for being stronger than even she knew. And I needed to reveal this to the reader without ever getting inside her head. It was hard just letting her evolve through David’s eyes. I got my satisfaction when she finally realized she was a worthy human being.
What genre are most of your stories?  
I write contemporary fiction, romance, coming-of-age, urban literature. Right now that’s what appeals to me, people in their every-day life being faced with something extraordinary and having to find a way to deal with that. I like reality – not the reality TV type, but the real thing. The real fun.  But there may be a paranormal hiding deep inside me. I’ll have to think about that in the future.
What was the most challenging book you've written?  
BEING GOD. I always knew trying to reform/change a real life human being was difficult if not impossible – we can only change ourselves. I just never dreamed how hard it would be to talk to a bad guy I created and presumably had full control over, and get him to see the error of his way.
What do you do in your spare time? 
I’ve answered that one before, what is spare time? Seriously, I’ve recently been doing school and library visits.  My major platform involves working with reluctant readers.  I’ve had a number of speaking engagements on ways to help get those kids reading. As you read this I’m finishing up two meetings with readers and librarians in Wisconsin, and now I’m on my way to Little Rock, Arkansas to talk with students at Central High school.  Then it’s back to Illinois to give a workshop and a meeting with a church group.  So my spare time is spent working my platform.
How do you come up with the ideas for your stories?  
Since I write realistic fiction, it is appropriate that a lot of my ideas come from real life. Personal anecdotes, memories, even newspaper stories spark that “what if” inside me.
What books do you have available now?  
PULL is out now, still available, although the publisher, WestSide books is no longer in business. You can order it from B&N or Amazon.
What books do you have coming out soon? 
I’m currently working on another YA novel, BEING GOD, that takes up the story of PULL’s villain, Malik Kaplan. He has his own story and issues and he needs his own crisis to realize he is only human, and as he puts it “not the damned devil.” Malik is dealing with a hidden problem a lot of kids and adults face, alcoholism. Readers will also get more about Barney. She’s come a long way, but she still has some more growing up to do, and a little more of Malik in her future. BEING GOD will be out in November, 2012.

Now I have a question for you, readers: 
I both read and write YA, along with a variety of other genres. I find these books have much that's valuable for readers of all ages. What about you? Do you read Young Adult books?
There have been some news articles recently denegrating adults who read YA, while others speak of its value. I think we all have something to gain from every type of literature, and won't let myself be confined in a type. I would love to hear how you feel on this topic.


4 comments:

Sarah Raplee said...

I'm with you 100%, B.A.! I was appalled at the narrow-minded arrogance Joel Stein exhibited in the New Yorker article! After admitting he hasn't read a book, he goes on to evaluate said book and recommend adults don't read it.

I'll refrain from name-calling, but it's not easy.

Love these interview questions, B.A.! Thank you again for inviting such wonderful guests this month and for all your behind-the-scenes help!

Diana Mcc. said...

Great post! I've only read a few YAs. Mostly at the insistence of my daughter-in-law, I read the Twilight Series. I read "Don't Die Dragonfly" a long time ago.

I have time constraints like you, so I tend to pick and choose what I read right now. Generally I read in the genres I write in.

Great post, and good luck on all your traveling and speaking engagements!

Judith Ashley said...

I second Sarah's thank, B.A.!!

I was never a reluctant reader so being the grandparent of one is, at times, a mystery. When I'm in Scottsdale for the Desert Dreams Conference, I'll pick up an autographed copy of Shelley Coriell's "Hello Chloe" for her. If my being an avid reader and writer and having a ton of books around the house was all it took, she'd be a voracious reader. I think dyslexia is a cruel condition because the joy of reading for pleasure is diminished and reading for school or work is a challenge.

Do you deal with the issue of learning disabilities when talking about a reluctant reader?

Bron said...

I don't tend to read a lot of YA mainly because it tends to be written more often in first person, which I'm not a fan of.

My sister has just given me the Hunger Games to read, so I suppose I should give it a go before I check out your stories! I too love being involved in a character's ever day life. Thanks for stopping by.