July 17, 2007

3Q with Tanya Lee Stone (she’s back!) and then More on AVARICE

Remember Tanya Lee Stone? She is the author of more than 80 books for young readers. A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl is her first Young Adult novel. She has a degree in English from Oberlin College and a Master in Education degree from Southern CT State University. In addition to her books, publication credits include VOYA and the New York Times. She loves chocolate-covered pretzels and Wild Berry Skittles. She hates the word tasty.

I’m okay with Tasty if the person using it is being all ironical OR if they are referring to Tasty Freeze. Otherwise, yah, it’s a pretty hateful sounding word. Almost as bad as “Tender.” I VIOLENTLY despise the word “Tender.” In sounds so PINCHY and moist. WHOOPS – digressed. Back to my guest…

Library Journal says, in a starred review, "This is not a book that will sit quietly on any shelf; it will be passed from girl to girl to girl."

Tanya blogs here if you want to get to know her better, or you can just read what she has to say below.


JJ: Can you talk a little about the significance of your title and how you came up with it?
TLS: That title hit me in a flash. I was listening to a speaker talk about submissions for an anthology and the two themes were bad boys and good girls. I smiled to myself and scribbled in my notebook: a bad boy can be good for a girl. As soon as I saw what I had written, I knew I was going to have a lot to say about the negative experiences girls go through when they start dating seriously, and how we all learn so much from every experience we have--both good and bad.

JJ: I hate writing love scenes. I get embarrassed, even when I KNOW the way the sex stuff plays out is thematically important.....I hear you didn't have trouble. How did you approach them?

TLS: This is the only time I've written sex scenes, but they are obviously necessary because of what the book is about. I think my readers would have been pretty ticked at me if I had turned out the lights every time the bad boy got in a clinch with one of my girls. So I put myself in the character's place and concentrated mostly on what she was thinking or feeling in relation to the scene? Was she excited, nervous, afraid, hesitant--was she stalling …or what was going through her head and where was she going to take us with this bad boy. For me, that process put the focus on the emotional lives of the girls--which is really the main thrust of the book.

JJ: Tell us about the bad boys in your past.

TLS: I didn't have many, but a few was too much! I was always pretty self-assured when I was young. I knew who I was, and I wasn't easily rattled. But I wasn't immune to being dumped on. I don't think anyone really is. There were times when I let someone who dazzled me treat me in ways that didn't feel right--or that downright hurt. And afterwards I would think, "Why did I let him do that?" I think we all go through that to some extent.

So when I started writing the book, I found there were little pieces of me in each girl--Josie and I share a sense of self-confidence, Nicolette and I shared (I'm long over it now, thank goodness) the idea that if you were strong you couldn't get hurt, and Aviva and I share the artsy, cool-with-being-in-the-fringe thing. So, each girl is her own unique person but reflects a little piece of me--and pieces of my readers. I get lots of email from girls who relate to one character in particular, but more often they see parts of themselves in all the girls. I love that!

Thanks, Tanya!

BY THE WAY, thanks SO MANY for all your product recs in the comments. WAY TO ENCOURAGE ME TO BUY A BUNCHA CRAP! YAY! I am now so SERIOUSLY tempted by the Dyson it is GROSS. My husband is ready to murder you all in your beds for telling me I NEEEEEEEEEEEED it. AND!!! I didn’t even show you the E ticket attraction I want to buy.

Out in GORGEOUS TREE AND GOAT FILLED UNSPOILED LOVELY WINDER Georgia, a place that still has loose chickens roaming by the roadside and NO McMansions, and VERY few housing development signs and, my friends, you can get a WONDERFUL latte at a locally owned coffee place but you cannot yet “eat good in the neighborhood,” if you follow me, I saw this house:


I LOVE it. I WANT it. It was built in 1902, it is in the MIDDLE of downtown Winder – you can WALK to their FABULOUS library and the coffee house and a good diner and a drugstore and a hardware store and anyplace else worth walking too and it has ALL the original ART GLASS in the windows and it has a bare lot next door that comes with and a CARRIAGE HOUSE that I could make into my OFFICE! (!!!!!!)


It is in WINDER which means Scott would have to drive over an HOUR to work. Heh. So, NO.
Also it is zoned commercial, so it is 350K. *GACK* Also, NO.
DOUBLE also, no one has PAINTED IT or fixed the roof or the foundation a since, oh, I would say 1908, so it needs another 350K of work. *GACKETTY GACK GACK* NO NO NO.
It is an IMPOSSIBLE thing to have or even WANT. Look up close you can see it is about to fall into the ground.


But I love it.
SEE THE LION???? There’s another on the other side. FLANKING lions! Ohhhhh! I HEART stone lions and also, I am pretty sure they are a SIGN --- there is a sentence in THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING…..

[She likes the house with the] sleepy stone lions flanking the walkway. They don’t look much like guardians; these are library lions, lollers and slackers. Shelby has named them Lawrence and Miss Iris.

You see? That house wants to be my house. AND OKAY, GRANTED, I need a cool half a mil sitting around in my checking account to buy it and rehab it. I am NOT going a half mil into debt, for the love of Peter Rabbit… BUT if I DID buy it, it would really SAVE us money in the end. Don’t you think? Because all floors are hardwoods. So. I wouldn’t need the DYSON. *grin*

Posted by joshilyn at July 17, 2007 9:43 AM

True love is rarely rational. That is a great house.

Posted by: Leandra at July 17, 2007 10:28 AM

No, no! You still could have the Dyson, its "Bare Floors" setting is GREAT!
*Ducking* ;)

Posted by: Amy-Go at July 17, 2007 10:55 AM

Okay, I've officially been corrupted by Southern California real estate, because $350K with another $350K in work for a house that lovely? Seems cheap.


Posted by: Aimee at July 17, 2007 11:02 AM

The house just screams "A WRITER MUST LIVE HERE." That writer should be you. Seriously. And instead of a Dyson, you could teach the kids to SWIFFER.

Posted by: Shelley at July 17, 2007 11:18 AM

It's beautiful! I want it too! It is definitely your perfect house.

As for the price, check this out to see what that kind of $ will buy you around here... http://marinpos.blogspot.com/

This one is almost the same price. http://marinpos.blogspot.com/2006/09/affordable-housing-marin-style.html

Tell Scott to dig around the archives, THEN show him the mansion in Windmere. It will look like a STEAL!

Posted by: Martha at July 17, 2007 11:19 AM

That house is flirting OUTRAGEOUSLY with you. "Buy me...buy me. Pay no attention to those cracks at the foundation. Look, look at the pretty lions and the porch. Ah...the porch"

And sorry, you would still need a Dyson with hardwood floors. The hair from our 80 lb lab collects in large blizzard type drifts in every corner of the house.

Drifts that can not swept away with a mere broom or sucked up by anything LESS than a Dyson. Believe me we've gone through 5 other models. All of which together cost more than the Dyson.

So really consider it a cost saver to cut to the chase and buy the Dyson.

Posted by: Lisa at July 17, 2007 12:06 PM

Oh I looouvvvve that house. Love it. Ducky commutes over an hour each way, it makes him a very tired, worn out man. Keep Mr. Husband's life expectancy in mind. Okay?

I know I'm a bummer, dudette.

Posted by: Cele at July 17, 2007 12:25 PM

I was with you on all of your purchases, even the eliptical until you got to the house. Its pretty and charming but pretty and charming houses are like pretty and charming men. DON'T FALL FOR IT! They will break your heart every time. It will treat you bad and make you feel like you asked for it. All of the neighbors will be jealous of what you have but they won't know your heartache. Take it from me - someone who fell in love with an old house. In New England. Where 105 years old, in house terms, is practically a baby. Buy a Dyson. Buy a prius. Buy an Ipod. Leave the pretty, charming, old houses that are falling to pieces to ladies that don't really love themselves (or their money).

Posted by: Em at July 17, 2007 12:43 PM

Dear Mr. Husband,
I said not one word about the Dyson. I don't even know what a Dyson is (there, I admit it). Just wanted to point that out.

Posted by: amy at July 17, 2007 1:32 PM

Dude, Winder is practically next door to here. Come on over. I will even help paint! *ducking*

Posted by: Mir at July 17, 2007 1:52 PM

OMG, I hugely pink-puffy-heart that house. And the lions. The LIONS! As soon as I saw that photo, even before I read the next paragraph, I thought "library lions!! the house has library lions!"

Screw the other stuff...buy a lotto ticket (a winning one, natch!) so you can afford to buy and rehab the house with enough left over so Mr. Husband doesn't need to commute anywhere.

Posted by: DebR at July 17, 2007 3:34 PM

Oh. My. Great. Heavenly. Days. You are bad, bad, bad for me because now I WANT THAT HOUSE TOO. Of course I live way over here in Texas, so my chances are next to none, but it screams that a southern author with all sorts of Bagels and Demon Composer cats should live there.

Of course, we like your husband though we know him only through you, because he can ululate like a Yeti and fix things that go boom during thunderstorms AND buy groceries. I can see how half a million dollars and an hour commute might dampen the longings. . .but one can dream.

(By the way. . .I'd use a creamy yellow paint on the outside--add some dark green shutters, a couple of porch swings and some wicker furniture. . .just sayin'.)

Posted by: Roxanne at July 17, 2007 4:22 PM

LOOK, at the wonderfully, beautiful, wood that's on the PORCH! I can only imagine what the floors look like inside!
Tell your hubby, that mine drives from villa rica to conyers everyday, that should make him grateful. (as you know villa rica was SUPPOSED to stay a sleepy little nothing town, oh I luvvv living in the great state of Atlanta)
I would beg for that house, sell a kid or something & Winder is gorgeous.

Posted by: Desi at July 17, 2007 5:04 PM

You don't need the house. Just buy yourself some lions. MUCH cheaper.

Posted by: Laura at July 17, 2007 7:17 PM

I am going to tell you to go visit the house, if you haven't. I can't tell you the number of these older places I have looked at online and just been ready to sign the papers, only to visit them and just be absolutely disgusted and/or horrified! Usually it is the house across the street that has the old sofa on the porch, starving dog tied to the decayed washing machine in the yard, rusting 1967 Plymouth Valient on blocks taking up the rest of the yard. Or the house is in way worse shape than they say on the realtor's site. Notice if you will how the photo is not exactly centered-that is a notorious realtor's trick to make the house look bigger and avoid the trashy neighbor's house. There are groups that offer photography classes especially for realtors. I am confident that it won't look that good in person.

Posted by: Heather at July 17, 2007 9:11 PM

It's a great house, but, dude, Winder, Georgia? Isn't that just a speed trap on the way to Athens?

Posted by: Edgy Mama at July 17, 2007 10:00 PM

The most appealing part of your blog is the idea that it is in a small town. Walking distance to everything downtown? Oh how heavenly. I agree with Heather on the condition of the house or neighborhood. Being in the plumbing contracting business, I bet every bit of the plumbing would have to be ripped out and replaced. $$$$ Not to mention, heating, electrical, walls, floors, etc etc. The $350K would prolly just be a start. As Laura said, buy the lions. I remember seeing you at the Biltmore last March in front of those lions, too!

Posted by: Rhonda at July 17, 2007 10:23 PM

You should totally buy that house. Why? Because it is a YOU house. And besides for $350K up here in Calgary you MIGHT be able to buy a two bedroom condo or apartment... so if you don't buy it, I will have to.

Posted by: Heather Cook at July 17, 2007 11:14 PM

I DID see the house. I took those pics with my cell phone. I was nothouse shopping on the internet as I have NO intention of moving, but I went to Winder to a library thing and DROVE past it and saw it and it was for SALE! and my heart stopped and then my car stopped and I ran out and licked the house and kissed the rigth hand lion. ON THE MOUTH. I's RIGHT downtown and totally darling all around.

We are not moving.

Posted by: joshilyn at July 17, 2007 11:21 PM

Think of the movie "The Money Pit." That is all.

Posted by: Therese at July 18, 2007 8:54 AM