Notice for Review Requests

I receive review requests weekly. However, my personal schedule is hectic and I no longer review actively. (I also manage another blog called The Toronto Cafe and Food Blog). I do read every request sent but I apologize in advance that I do not reply to them all.

If I do take on a request, I will forewarn that it may take some time before I can review it. I am now looking to review adult fiction and self-help books instead of young adult fiction because I have grown out of it. If you are to request a review for either adult fiction or self-help, I will more likely to give it a shot.

In the meantime, Stop, Drop, and Read! serves as an archive book review blog. When I have the time, I may post a review. Thank you for understanding.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Author Interview: C.K. Kelly Martin

As a recent Canadian YA novelist, she has made an impact in the YA book blogging world. You may have seen her popular work, I Know It's Over, or her latest release, One Lonely Degree, around. I present to you, C.K. Kelly Martin! I have asked her a few questions regarding I Know It's Over and her personal opinions on teen sex.

If you would like to learn more about C.K. and her books, please visit her at

Firstly, what inspired you to write I Know It's Over?

I’d just finished a trilogy with a female character and really wanted to work on something with a male central character. But what specifically inspired the storyline was the Third Eye Blind song Ten Days Late. Stories about pregnancy are usually from the female point of view but to imagine one from the flipside seemed intriguing. In the song the news is a complete surprise to the guy, the way it is to Nick, and I really wanted to know how things would progress from there.

In I Know It's Over, you wrote from a male's perspective. What was it like to write in a teenage boy's voice? Did you have to ask any male friends on their opinions if they were in Nick's position?

Every voice you write in is different and I think the important thing, whoever you’re writing about (whatever age, gender, race they are) is to get the details correct. You’re not thinking about how a generic guy would think about things or react to events in his life but how specifically, Nick, being who he is, would think and react. There are definitely different social expectations weighing on guys and girls. Generally society is okay with guys being somewhat aggressive but not so much with showing more vulnerable emotions while girls are broadly encouraged to display more vulnerability and be nurturing but when they act aggressively are often called ‘bitchy’. At the core we have similar emotions though. So no, I didn’t seek out any opinions, I just let myself be guided by Nick’s personality in combo with the societal expectations being exerted on him.

What is your take on teen pregnancy and sex?

I think unwanted pregnancy is a difficult thing for people of any age to deal with, but usually even harder when you’re a teenager because you have fewer resources and less experience. I’m glad there’s less abstinence based sex ed going on in the U.S. now (studies show that really doesn’t work). But there’s still a lot of work to be done in this area in the States and Canada. There was a survey from Planned Parenthood Toronto recently that showed 83% per cent of the teens surveyed had never accessed sexual heath care, although most of them had already engaged in some kind of sex.

Obviously pressure to have sex (and there’s a hell of a lot of that in our society) is wrong but equating sex with shame is also wrong. I think it’s terrible if teenagers don’t get the health care they need because of some kind of fear of being judged. I think that if Sasha and Nick in I Know It’s Over could’ve walked into a drugstore and bought Plan B morning after pills like they were buying a bag of chips the whole ordeal she and Nick went through never would’ve happened. We currently have a weird situation here in Canada where Plan B pills no longer have behind the counter status yet all the pharmacists I spoke to still keep them there.

In general for you, what is the hardest part in writing any story? And the easiest?

It’s weird because I love writing but I think the very hardest part is actually getting down to it. I procrastinate like crazy and I don’t know why. Sometimes, once I get dug into writing for the day I don’t want to stop, even if I have concert tickets or something like that. I force myself to shut down the computer and go because once I’m there I have a good time, of course, but when I’m in the zone I never want to stop. So why is it so hard to get started? I’m really not sure.

The easiest bit is creating the characters themselves. They just seem to evolve in my head with their own voice, personality and issues without me doing much work but writing all that stuff out in detail is more difficult – transcribing what you know of the character and their situation.

Both of your novels are realistic contemporary stories. What kind of things inspire you to write?

So many different things – songs, plays, newspaper articles, conversations you have with people or sometimes conversations you happen to overhear. Potential titles themselves are a big inspiration – mostly I get a phrase or word stuck in my head and the book grows from there.

Do you plan on possibly writing in a different genre, like fantasy for example?

The book I’m currently working on is still YA but has some different elements to it but for the moment I really do mostly prefer working on contemporary teen fiction. When I’m reading YA myself (and adult books too) that’s the stuff I like the best, stories where it seems like events could truly be happening almost exactly as described to real-life people very much like the characters you’re reading about.

Are there any writing projects you are working on at the moment?

The novel I mentioned above is way back in the queue as far as books of mine being released goes so I don’t want to give away too many details but before that’s another book which is written in alternate points of view (second cousins, one who is a seventeen year old girl and the other who is a sixteen year old guy). Also, I just finished up copy-edits on my third book, The Lighter Side of Life and Death. It’s about sixteen-year-old Mason Rice, who is on a high after starring in the school play and falling into bed with his best girl friend who he’s had a crush on for years. Unfortunately, she feels the incident was a big mistake and their friendship begins to crumble. His other best friend, who had a thing for the same girl, is also angry with him. Mason, wanting a distraction from these negative aspects of his life, begins pursuing this twenty-four year old woman he’s met recently but thinks nothing will come of it. Turns out, he’s wrong!

Lastly, give us an interesting fact about yourself that not a lot of people know of!

My brother and I were extras in the Police Academy 4 movie when we were kids. I’m not sure if anybody even remembers those movies but basically they were comedies about people who made terrible recruits trying to become cops. The film was shot in Caledon and mostly I just remember being in the catering tent, hanging out until the extras were needed. I think we got paid for it too but I can’t remember how much.

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Thao said...

I will go and check out Police Academy 4 I want to see C.K as a kid :)

Diana Dang said...

Haha, tell me if you spot her!

Anonymous said...

It is extremely interesting for me to read the blog. Thank author for it. I like such topics and anything that is connected to them. I definitely want to read more soon.