Like a well-written character, you have a fascinating 'back story' of your own as an author. Tell us how you got started as a writer.
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I began writing in 2nd grade when my teacher assigned the class to enter a writing competition. I lost the competition but ever since then I was in love with the fact that I could put my imagination on to paper. What authors or films have most influenced you as a writer? The biggest influence on me is probably J. Her books were the first real chapter books I read and loved how she would make up words and the characters would get in the most peculiar incidents.
In ten years, what themes do you look forward to exploring or what new things do you expect to try in your work? Will they be the same genre or will you be branching out? The new books will be fairytale, a true story, and a comic book. I love my fans! I can literally say my books are for all ages because my youngest reader is a second grader and my oldest is an 89 year old lady.
I love how I can see that these characters affect their lives. I get emails every day demanding the next book! Great problem to have for an author! Sometimes talented people make things seem so easy. Usually, the road to those shining moments are after a tough climb. As an author, what have been your greatest challenges? So, as soon as they see the word, they literally drop the book and run!
If money and time were not an issue, what would you like to do as a person or as an author? I would love to be able to travel with my books. Sometimes people have ideas or have heard tales of writers who are very picky about how and when they write. When you write do you have any specific rituals or traditions?
I have to be in a crowded area, like a classroom, at one of my signings or something similar. This helps my brain not to wonder. Almost like the noise creates a barrier so my mind doesn't stray off! Readers always want to know — where do writers get their ideas? What generates your creative thoughts in a novel? Block lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Chris Schuette, and their two children.
She is currently developing a teen-focused television series for MTV as well as writing a screenplay for a possible movie adaptation of Weetzie Bat. In addition to the numerous awards and accolades that she has received throughout her career, Block was honored with the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime contribution in writing in the young adult field in Block's appeal as a novelist relies heavily on her exploration of issues rarely approached by other young adult writers.
Discussing such taboo topics as casual sex, incest, homosexual desire, and drug use—all co-existing alongside elements of the fantastic and the surreal—Block presents a frank and nonjudgmental examination of themes that speak directly to the interests of her teenaged readers. She is perhaps best known for her books centered around the independent-minded Weetzie Bat, the title character of Block's novel, and the Los Angeles-based literary universe that the character inhabits.
In Weetzie Bat , we are first introduced to the punk heroine Weetzie, the misunderstood and lonely daughter of divorced parents. Separating herself from her peers, Weetzie dresses and acts differently, but her life changes when she meets Dirk, a Mohawk-wearing punk in heavy mascara who seems to understand Weetzie as no one has before. Seeming soul-mates, despite Dirk's homosexuality, they become best friends and partners in life. Dirk introduces Weetzie to his grandmother, Fifi, who raised him.
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The elderly woman senses the desperate need for love in both teens and gives Weetzie a vase that contains a genie, who offers the astonished girl three wishes. All of her wishes come true in the form of a surfer nicknamed Duck and a real "Secret Agent Lover Man" otherwise known as Max for herself who moonlights as an independent filmmaker.
Together, they inherit Fifi's house and become a family, which is quickly joined by Weetzie's baby, Cherokee, and another child left on their doorstep, whom they name Witch Baby; both children later star in their own books. Structurally, Block utilizes Los Angeles as the surreal magical realm where her protagonists reside, emphasizing the city's twin evocations as the land of Hollywood glamour as well as the home to a seedy underbelly of lost souls.
Often referred to as "Shangri-L. For her part, Block even goes as far as calling Weetzie Bat "my love letter to the Angeles I missed, the lullaby that consoled me. In the sequel Witch Baby , the abandoned child taken in by Weetzie now has purple eyes and a shock of black hair. The teenager spends her time collecting newspaper clippings of tragedies in an attempt to better understand the world.
Ultimately, Witch Baby searches to find her real mother, which allows her to deal with her place in Weetzie Bat's extended family. With the next installment of the Bat family saga, Block further pursued the theme of family loyalty and the importance of love and a balance of spiritual powers in the world. The four friends depend on powerful mystical gifts from a Native American family friend, Coyote, to aid their performances.
The group is an instant hit, but quickly the euphoria goes to the musicians' heads as the band loses itself in sex and drugs.
Witch Baby misses him and soon follows Angel Juan to New York , and the book revolves around her search for him—aided by the ghost of Weetzie's father—through the nightmare world of Manhattan. In 's Necklace of Kisses , the romance has faded out of Weetzie and Secret Agent Lover Man's relationship ever since the terrorist attacks on September 11, As a response, Weetzie moves into L. Block has also authored a prequel to Weetzie Bat—Baby Be-Bop —which gives readers the backstory of Weetzie's friend Dirk and the events surrounding his first open declaration of his homosexuality.
Reminiscent of the "Weetzie Bat" series, Block's Girl Goddess 9 and I Was a Teenage Fairy deal with similar themes: young people fighting to come to grips with a rapidly changing world and their place in it.tourforall.com.mx/media/dyzafotu/914.php
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Girl Goddess 9 is a collection of nine short stories about girls, with the stories arranged chronologically; the first tales are about toddlers, while the last one concerns a young woman entering college. The novel I Was a Teenage Fairy is a modern-day fairy tale about a girl named Barbie who is being pushed into modeling by her mother. The appearance of an acid-tongued, finger-sized fairy named Mab changes Barbie's life and eventually helps her overcome the emotional trauma of being molested by a well-known photographer whose crime was ignored by the girl's mother.
Block's novel Violet and Claire is the story of the friendship that develops between two wildly different teenage girls. Seventeen-year-old Violet is an aspiring filmmaker and an outsider at her high school. Past depression and a suicide attempt have left her hard-edged and isolated; she devotes her time to studying the films she loves and writing her own screenplay. She eventually meets Claire, a poet with glittering gauze fairy wings sewn on the back of her Tinker Bell t-shirt, and the two become fast friends. As the novel unfolds, the friendship between Violet and Claire is tested as the girls are divided by personal ambition and the intrusion of the outside world.
Violet is willingly seduced by a rock star who gets her a job with an agent, while Claire enrolls in a poetry workshop and becomes attached to the instructor. The action reaches its peak at a wild party the girls attend after Violet sells a screenplay. Claire flees into the desert, and Violet follows in search of her. While fantastic elements are prevalent throughout Block's novels, The Rose and the Beast: Fairy Tales Retold is perhaps Block's most overt attempt to redefine the fairy tale form for a modern audience.
Featuring nine brief reworkings of folklore classics, Block's stories involve strong elements of contemporary drama and adult issues. For example, in the author's reinterpretation of "Sleeping Beauty"—titled "Charm"—the heroine is released from her prison of drug addiction by a lesbian kiss.
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Furthermore, in "Wolf," Block's retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood," the lead character is a physically and sexually abusive stepfather a metaphoric wolf-like predator who is murdered by his stepdaughter. One of the leading proponents of contemporary fairy tales, Block's willingness to buck literary conventions has earned her both accolades and animosity.
District libraries, including those in Montgomery County, Texas, and Fairfax County, Virginia, have seen recent challenges to her works, with offended parents accusing her books of promoting promiscuity and homosexuality. And yet, many critics have argued that Block's novels reach a neglected segment of young adults who feel little connection to most available literature for juvenile readers.
Karen Williams has stated that Weetzie Bat is a particularly appealing book for "students hesitant or skeptical towards mainstream reading assignments. Critics have also praised Block's lyrical sensibilities in combining prose with poetics to create a unique and powerful voice that blends modern slang with the author's descriptive virtuosity. In presenting Block with the Margaret A. Edwards Award, Committee Prize Chair Cindy Dobrez commended Block's ability to "take traditional folklore archetypes and translate them for contemporary teens with her inventive use of lyrical language—transforming gritty urban environments into a funky fairy tale dreamworld.
For example, the Publishers Weekly review of I Was a Teenage Fairy has claimed that the story's heroines "behave with an exaggerated flatness, as if the author were squeezing them into a happy ending one or two sizes too small. Despite such criticism, Block's young adult novels have widely been embraced as celebrations of the outcast youth and their ability to achieve their dreams. Echoing this optimistic view, David L. Russell has suggested, "We admire Block's female protagonists for their ability to face the world head on, to construct their own lives on their own terms, and ultimately for their willingness to abandon the fantasy without sacrificing the hope.
Portland, Maine: Calendar Islands Publishers, Students in grades Some topics demand maturity, but the reading is fast and easy.
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This would be a good book for students hesitant or skeptical toward mainstream reading assignments and a choice book for students studying fairy tales. Weetzie, a spunky punk, feels she is the only one in her school who appreciates and understands the glam, glitter, and fantastical surroundings of L. Weetzie, with her white flattop and Dirk with his "shoe-polish-black Mohawk" 4 and "dark smudged eyes" 6 find themselves in empty, self-sacrificing relationships while searching for soul mates they can't seem to find.
Dirk's grandmother, Fifi, realizes their need for love and companionship and uses her canaries as examples of two "who are in love, but even before they were in love they knew they were going to be happy … they trusted … they have always loved themselves and they would never hurt themselves" She then gives Weetzie a magical vase from which a genie emerges and grants Weetzie her three wishes of finding a soul mate for her, one for Dirk, and a place they can all share.
An unexpected death takes Fifi and grants Weetzie's third wish by leaving Dirk and Weetzie her cottage. All four now play in the fantastical city of L. The four friends face many difficulties but are ultimately brought together by love.
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