Welcome to my stop on the ECW Press blog tour for the latest Pippa Greene novel, Leading Lines. I haven't reviewed the first two of Chantel Guertin's YA series on the blog (though I did write a review for book two, Depth of Field, for Niagara Life Magazine), I thoroughly enjoyed both of them. I jumped at the chance to be a part of the tour for the third book in the series. Not only did I really like the book, but I also loved the chance to ask Chantel a few questions.
Here's the synopsis:
After two drama-filled weeks in Manhattan, Pippa Greene is back. Despite a romantic reunion with boyfriend Dylan, she can’t seem to shake the emotional aftermath of New York. As she navigates parental drama at home and her charged dynamic with Ben Baxter at school, Pippa finds that Dylan is more wrapped up in his post-high-school life of bands, shows, and new friends than in their relationship. Will it survive?I absolutely flew through this novel. It's not very long but the story still packs a punch that will keep you turning the pages until you're done (which, in my case, was just a couple of hours). Don't you just love those kinds of books?
I found that this one, compared to the first two books, focused more on Pippa's romantic relationships. It's not necessarily a bad thing but I really liked how the other titles had Pippa exploring herself a little bit more. The latest book was less about her family and figuring out her path in life and photography, and more about her relationship problems. Like I said, it's not a bad thing. I like romantic storylines as much as the next girl, but part of what I really loved about this series was the nice balance of life and love Guertin had created.
This is a really great YA series for the teen in your life, plus those YA adult readers who like good stories. That being said, if you sometimes struggle with younger protagonists, this one might not be for you. Pippa is just 16 years old and she acts like it. This is both awesome and a tad annoying. It's awesome because Guertin completely nails what it's like to be a 16 year old girl. I found myself remembering what I was like when I was 16 (that was a trip down memory lane...thanks, Chantel ;) haha) and the feelings I had were oh so similar to Pippa's feelings. Of course, I'm no longer 16 and it's hard, sometimes, to tell my 28 year old brain to really immerse myself in the teenage brain.
I'm really excited there's going to be one more novel in this series. I really do love reading about Pippa and getting the chance to go back to Spalding is always fun. Leading Lines was such a delightful addition to the series and I already can't wait for the final book!
Books Etc.: How did you come up with the Pippe Greene series?
Chantel Guertin: I wanted to write a story that blended sadness with funny moments--one of my favourite types of novels. The idea of a girl whose father had died came to me from experience, as when I was about Pippa's age, my own mom died of cancer after a lengthy battle. That balance -- of dealing with death and trying to be a normal teenager with your own life became the starting-off point for the series, and then with each book, I thought "Now What would Pippa Do?"
BE: Pippa is really interested in – and skilled at – photography. Is that a hobby of yours or did you have to do a lot of research to be able to use appropriate terminology?
CG: A few years ago I was looking for another creative outlet so for my birthday I bought myself a Canon Rebel camera (same as Pippa!) and hired a photographer to teach me how to use it. My new hobby inspired me to create a character who liked photography.
BE: You've written chick lit in the past – my favourite genre! What made you want to try your hand at writing for and about a younger crowd?
CG: My publisher for my chicklit novels went out of business right after they had promised me that they'd publish one of my books every year (a novelist's dream!). I had a very bad year of feeling sorry for myself, eating ice cream, and having no confidence in my writing. Then one day I started writing again, but I wanted a change. I'd read YA books my whole life, and I thought it would give me a fresh start, to write in a new genre. That first book I wrote became The Rule of Thirds, which my new, amazing publisher ECW bought, and then expanded the deal to a four-book series as well as buying my two chicklit books and re-releasing them so that readers could buy them once again. Things couldn't have turned out better.
BE: What's it like writing for the YA market (I don't want to say teenagers since so many people read YA, yay!) compared to adults?
CG: I love how honest YA books can be--and how you can explore scenarios (like a love triangle!) that in YA can be so exciting and awesome, whereas were it a novel for adults, there would be some moral ramifications to deal with. Not to say that writing about a love triangle (or reading about one) in an adult book isn't exciting, but it needs to be treated in a very different manner.
BE: What's your writing process like? Do you like to write at a certain time of day or in a certain place? Do you outline or write by the seat of your pants?
CG: I have a varied schedule because of the other things I do (I teach magazine writing to post-grad students at a local college, am a beauty expert on the Marilyn Denis Show, and I have three children who have various activities after school and in the evening), so I've had to throw any sort of writing schedule out -- which has been a good thing. I write whenever and wherever I have time. Sometimes that means while sitting in the car before a soccer game is about to start. I like that because if I'm not writing, there's no one to blame but myself. As for plotting vs pantsing, it depends on the stage I'm at. Some of my best and favourite scenes are ones where I've been inspired by an idea or event and I let myself write that scene out in detail even if I don't know where it's going to fit into the book. But at some point before I get too far into the book, I plot it out to make sure there's a real point to the book. As a result, some of those earlier scenes will make the cut, and sometimes they won't.
BE: Finally, now for something completely different: What's your favourite treat? Cupcakes? Candy? Something alcoholic?
Check out the other reviews that are part of the tour...there are even some giveaways happening!
September 5: Tour kickoff, Review, and Giveaway, Booking it with Hayley G
September 6: Giveaway, Chapter byChapter
September 7: Review, Books Etc (that's me!)
September 8: Review, Read my BreathAway
September 9: Review, One More PageReviews
September 10: Review, Sukasa Reads
September 11: Guest Post, DearTeen Me
September 12: Review and Excerpt, Brains Books and Brawn
September 13: Review, Musings of aWriter
September 14: Review, Ramblings of aDaydreamer
September 15: Review and Giveaway, TheBook Bratz
*A copy of this novel was provided by the publisher, ECW Press, in exchange for a review for the purposes of this blog tour. All opinions are honest and my own.*