Tabula Rasa by Kristen Lippert-Martin Interview & Giveaway!

I'm so excited to be hosting the fabulous Kristen Lippert-Martin on my blog today. Her book, Tabula Rasa, debuts on September 23rd!

The Bourne Identity meets Divergent in this action-packed debut thriller with a Katniss-esque heroine fighting to regain her memories and stay alive, set against a dystopian hospital background.

Sarah starts a crazy battle for her life within the walls of her hospital-turned-prison when a procedure to eliminate her memory goes awry and she starts to remember snatches of her past. Was she an urban terrorist or vigilante? Has the procedure been her salvation or her destruction?

The answers lie trapped within her mind. To access them, she'll need the help of the teen computer hacker who's trying to bring the hospital down for his own reasons, and a pill that's blocked by an army of mercenary soldiers poised to eliminate her for good. If only she knew why . . .

Amie: Welcome Kristen! As many of my readers know, I'm an avid MG writer and reader, though the first book I wrote was actually a YA. Why do you choose to write YA? With your book, TABULA RASA, being compared to THE BOURNE IDENTITY and DIVERGENT, can you tell us why you were inspired to write a dystopian? Was there specific event--maybe a dream--that inspired your novel?
Kristen:  I write YA because it’s where I fit. And believe me, I know what *not* fitting feels like because I started out writing adult literary fiction. I found my way to YA after several frustrating years and the ultimate realization that I should be actually writing something I love to read.
As for dystopian—I can’t say that I even had that adjective in my head when I was writing this story. I suppose it’s appropriate because Sarah is trapped by her environment, trying to get out, but when I was writing TABULA RASA, I was mostly thinking of it as a mystery-thriller.
As for inspiration, I can tell you that one thing had a great influence on how I conceived the opening image of the book. Insomnia. When I’m stressed, that’s what hits me. It’s awful to be so, so tired, day after day, and not be able to sleep. I remember wishing, “Gosh, if I could just, I don’t know, drill a hole in my head and give myself a shot of novacaine right into my brain maybe I could finally go to sleep!”
Charming image, no?
So, yeah, my insomnia is why Sarah starts off in a halo, waiting for doctors to drill into her head.
Amie: Verrrrry charming. *eek* Tell me a little bit about your MC and what makes her special. Her favorite food? Song? Favorite place? Favorite memory? (If she could remember!)
Kristen: Well, that’s the problem, isn’t it? She doesn’t know the answers to any of those questions. It was a real challenge to create a character who is so blank and yet not. I couldn’t rely of sharing her favorite music or books or whatever. But even within this antiseptic, “blank” world of the hospital, her choices and preoccupations tell us a little about her. And of course her actions speak loud and clear. Her actions say, “I’m a person who wants to live and thrive despite everything that’s happened to me.” They say that’s she’s a person who’s sad and fearful on one level but angry too. And that anger is what ultimately powers her quest to find out who she is.
Amie: I see you won a WIP grant from the SCBWI. How has that helped shape and mold your career as an author? (Both the grant and your membership in the SCBWI). Fellow PAL SCBWI member here!! Nice to meet you! Are there other resources that have helped you in your path to publication? Any advice for new and aspiring writers? I have many teen readers - specific advice for them?
Kristen: *SCBWI fist bump*
Winning that WIP grant was absolutely huge for me. It gave me such a boost right when I needed it most. I applied for it just about the same time I was searching for an agent and when I won, it was just surreal.
As far as advice for young readers, I would say the best thing you can do is write regularly and get in the habit of putting your work out there for feedback. Find a group of other young writers who are also just starting out. (Fan fiction communities can be a great place to start.) Everyone thinks they need a mentor or a teacher to help guide their writing career — at least that’s what I believed — but you really only need the reciprocal mentorship of other writers. Learning to give constructive feedback and get constructive feedback—that’s going to take you a long way. Five or six years ago, I’d go into the YA section at a book store, baffled about how to break in, and wonder, “Who do I have to know?” Now I now go into a book store and I can point out a dozen books or more written by author-friends of mine.  You work your way up and into publishing with the help of your peers.
Amie: I couldn't agree more. Great advice! Sooooo....Ice cream or lollipops? Cherries or grapes? Wet wipes or hand sanitizer? Careful - the fate of the world rests in your answers!
Kristen: Ice cream (who would answer any differently? That would be madness!)
Grapes! (I want to try those new cotton candy flavored grapes I’ve been hearing about.)
Wet wipes. (Because hand sanitizer drips all over the place!)
How’d I do? Is the world safe now? ;)
Amie: *Dances* You've saved the world!!
Kristen is a mom of four, a practicing geek, a holder of many opinions (which she's more than happy to share with you—really, just ask). She earned her MFA from Columbia University. She lives with her husband and merry band of misfits in Arlington, VA.
Find her on twitter, facebook,and goodreads.  

Want to win a copy of Tabula Rasa? Just enter the rafflecopter form below! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to visit some of the other stops on the blog tour. Up next: A Dream within A Dream and Jump Into Books


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