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.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Author Interview: A.S. King

Fabulous author, A.S. King, is here today to answer some questions I have. She wrote the popular YA pirate novel, The Dust of 100 Dogs, which I absolutely love. If you have not yet read it, you really should!

If you would like to learn more about Amy and her novels, visit: or check out her blog:

First, I am most curious, why did you decide to let Saffron live in the late 20th century instead of the 21st?

I got the idea and started writing the book in the 20th century—so I think that’s probably the first thing to consider. At the time, I was living on a secluded Irish farm, not watching TV and completely out of touch with the world (you could say I dropped off the face of the planet in 1994) so writing about a 21st century teenager in the USA would have read about as clueless as I was.

But I have a more truthful and [most likely] more frustrating answer that I’ll tack on, too. My books come as they are. I have little control over where they decide to set themselves. If I was to meddle too much in the name of commercialism, I’d feel I was doing a disservice to the story because it knows where it wants to go, and forcing a thing never works well. I also feel it would be kinda condescending to assume today’s teens/readers aren’t willing to read about other time periods—whether it’s the 17th century or the 20th. (Until this question started coming up, I have to admit, I never once thought about it.)

Looking back at the finished version of The Dust of 100 Dogs, is there anything you wish you added or changed in the story?

Nope. I worked on the book a long time, and my amazing editor, Andrew Karre, and my really awesome copy editor Sandy Sullivan helped me make sure everything was exactly as I wanted it before we released it.

From your initial stages of the story to the finish, how much did Emer and Saffron change?

Emer didn’t change that much, but Saffron changed quite a bit. I’d say Saffron was the bigger challenge, because she was bound to be flat next to someone like Emer and her entire existence was overshadowed by Emer’s 300 year old curse. But Saffron came alive during revision and her pirate thinking was born, which, for me, is one of the best and funniest parts of the book. (Though some people actually think Saffron is truly homicidal! Of course, Saffron has urges from her past lives, but wouldn’t hurt a fly.)

What was the easiest part of writing The Dust of 100 Dogs? And the hardest?

Easiest part was the writing. Hardest part was the writing.

If you were able to remember your "past life" like Saffron did, what kind of person (or creature) do you hope you once were?

I hope I was someone nice. Or a tree. Or a bird.

Can you give us a hint on what we may expect from you for your future works?

IGNORE VERA DIETZ is coming from Random House/Knopf Books for Young Readers in Fall 2010. Here’s the little blurby thing I’ve got for that: IGNORE VERA DIETZ (14+) is about a teenage girl, her dead (ex) best friend, and her attempt to clear his name. There’s a sarcastic pagoda, too.

What genres/topics do you hope to explore next for future stories?

I don’t think a lot of people know I’ve been writing novels for adults for about 15 years now. I usually land in a magic realism/literary/quirky sort of arena with those, but I started out in science fiction. I’ve been thinking a lot about my favorite sci-fi reads and hope to dabble in it again. I tend to have a mind that’s prone to magic realism though, so I’m not sure I can stay in just one genre anymore, now that I’ve found my own way of telling stories.

I keep my pet topics to myself while I’m writing about them (which means I just wrote a paragraph about them, but had to erase it) but you know I’m not heavy all the time—I’ll probably write about people who drive while talking on cell phones and rude gas station attendants, too.

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

I can juggle a basketball, a tennis ball and an apple and eat the apple while I’m doing it.

Thank you Amy!

Thank YOU Diana!

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Liviania said...

Great interview! (Though Amy is totally teasing us by keeping her pet topics secret.)

Diana Dang said...

Thanks : D

vvb32 reads said...

loved this book. saffron cracked me up with her homicidal thoughts of plucking people's eyeballs out, etc. lol.

Diana Dang said...

She is so homicidal eh?

Unknown said...

I find the mention of a 'sarcastic pagoda' as part of Ms King's next book interesting. I wonder, will she be like the famous Mr King and add a touch of home into each story?

A.S. King said...

Thanks for having me around, Diana! I loved your questions!

And Karen--it took me a minute to realize you were talking about Stephen King, and not my Mr. King. :) I don't read much Stephen King, so I'm not sure what bits of home he injects into his work, but yes, a lot of my stories are set in places I'm familiar with. The Dust of 100 Dogs is the same. I have lived in all three main locations of that book, too.