How to be Brave released on Tuesday and I’m SO excited to have had the opportunity to read this amazing debut novel! First up- a Q&A with author E. Katherine Kottaras, then I’ll have a short review of the book and don’t miss entering my giveaway to win a copy of the book. Trust me- you want to enter- this is a beautiful story!
Q & A with E. Katherine Kottaras:
- What advice can you provide aspiring authors?
READ. A lot. Both in the genre/style you want to publish in and ABOUT writing – all aspects – the writing process, the publishing process, etc. There are hundreds of blog posts about the writing life, etc. and I read them obsessively to understand what I had to do to get published.
Also, WRITE a lot, of course. Just keep writing, no matter what, even if it’s a journal for yourself where you write a little bit everyday. And keep submitting – the rejections are difficult at first, but it gets easier.
Writing is hard and fun and frustrating and exhilirating. I can’t imagine not writing. And if you write, you understand this strange demand – it’s not a desire; it’s a necessity. Follow that call, whatever it is inside you that asks you to write – and keep writing, no matter what.
2. How do you address body image issues with your daughter? Was that part of the drive to write this book?
Absolutely. We talk a lot about how the media often “sells” a certain body type. .” I’ve shown her Photoshopping videos like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPnfjwKfkSk
and we discuss, quite openly, how it’s unrealistic to try to change your body to meet the standards presented in magazines and on screens. I try to guide our conversation as a discussion, asking her questions about why she thinks the media represents women and girls in certain ways. We talk about how every body is beautiful, and that she is beautiful, just as she is.
3. You are also a yoga instructor and practitioner. How has this influenced your writing?
I am in my head, a lot. My yoga practice grounds me like nothing else. One definition of yoga is the linking of body and breath to focus the mind. I find that when I’m not doing my practice, I can’t focus and I become easily overwhelmed by my fears and my anxiety – and as a result, I can’t write. When I am doing my practice, I’m able to deal with those fears and those anxieties in a way that is healthy.
4. Your protagonist, Georgia, lost her mother and is honoring her by completing her bucket list. How much of this premise was taken from your own experiences?
HOW TO BE BRAVE specifically started as a thought experiment to see what my relationship with my dad would have been like had my mom died first. As I started writing, Georgia became her own character with her own struggles.
5. What’s currently on your bucket list?
Here are a few things on my Do Everything Be Brave List:
Learn how to roller skate and/or ice skate without using the wall.
Ride my bike to yoga. (Bike lanes scare me!)
Hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon (and all the way back up, I guess…)
Visit every continent (I’ve only been to two.)
Here are a few brave things I’ve done:
Flown down the largest zip-line in the continental U.S. despite my fear of heights. (and gave my eight-year old permission to do so as well.)
Paddle-boarded during high-wind season in Hawaii.
Fallen in love and stayed there for more than twenty years.
Become a writer. I tell my students everyday: it’s the scariest thing in the world.
My Thoughts and GIVEAWAY!
I’ll admit- when I initially heard about How to be Brave and read the summary I was kind of on the fence about it. Meh, a parent dies, so an overweight girl adopts a bucket list.
Really- this is what’s on Amazon so you can see what I mean:
“Georgia has always lived life on the sidelines: uncomfortable with her weight, awkward, never been kissed, terrified of failing.
Then her mom dies and her world is turned upside down. But instead of getting lost in her pain, she decides to enjoy life while she still can by truly living for the first time. She makes a list of ways to be brave-all the things she’s always wanted to do but has been too afraid to try: learn to draw, try out for cheerleading, cut class, ask him out, kiss him, see what happens from there.”
But then I gave it a chance and started reading it. It is SO MUCH MORE than what the summary gives off!
Georgia takes readers on such a roller coaster of emotions and the novel goes well beyond the bucket list.
What I thought was going to be a “cute” story about following a bucket list turned into a beautiful story about self acceptance, realizing dreams, and knowing what is important in life.
This could be such an important book for teen girls! I’ve already placed it on a wish list to order for my library because I can see it being something that my students would love and be able to benefit from so much!
No, I didn’t forget! St. Martin’s and Griffin Teen are AMAZING and have offered a copy of How to be Brave! Thanks, Griffin Teen! You have the opportunity to earn several chances to win this book, so go *HERE* to enter and good luck! The giveaway is US only and ends on November 12 at midnight.