Ok folks, if you haven’t picked up one of Brenna Yovanoff’s books yet, it’s time to use that bookstore gift card you got for Christmas. Like, pronto. Here at Penguin Teen we are in literary loooove with Brenna and her creeptastic novels, from The Replacement to her latest (out now!), Paper Valentine. We’re love her as well as her novels, though, because she’s totally awesome and hilarious. Don’t believe us? Read away, because today’s Penguin Teen Author Spotlight features Brenna Yovanoff!
Name: Brenna Yovanoff
Novel: Paper Valentine
Available: January 8, 2013
Who’s your favorite author, living or dead? Oh man, I’m so bad at these kind of questions! Mostly due to the fact that I’m incredibly indecisive and my tastes change seriously every 45 minutes, but I’ll try. Okay, this: the way I know that my favorite author is Neil Gaiman is that he is my answer roughly every seventh time I get asked this question. Which gives him a sliver-thin advantage over other perennial favorites Donna Tartt, Stephen King, John Green, E. Lockhart, and Maurice Sendak.
What’s your favorite thing about your book? If you’d asked me this question before I wrote Paper Valentine, I almost certainly would have told you that my favorite part was going to be all the scenes about the photo shop and how Hannah’s cousin is in charge of developing the crime scene pictures for the police, because that was my job while I was in college. But now I think my favorite thing is actually the friendship between Hannah and Lillian, because it’s really complicated and codependent and kind of toxic, but at the same time, also just so loyal and genuine and enduring. Oh, and Finny Boone. Because he has nice arms.
If you could spend one year on a deserted island with one character from literature, who would you choose? Hey, I know this one! Phoebe Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye, because I think we’d get along well and have enough conversational material and similar interests that neither of us would get bored. Also, she seems like she would be very easy to cooperate with, and we could build a rudimentary house and start a garden using island plants and tools that we made, and then put on little plays and make up girl-detective stories until help came.
Where do you write? Generally speaking, I’m a huge fan of coffee shops, because if I’m not in my house then I can’t be distracted by how there’s a pie that desperately wants to be baked and I haven’t done laundry in a month. However, I’ve also been known to write on airplanes, under conference tables, and in cars. (Not while driving—I promise. Except that one Don Quixote paper in college. Hey, the light was red, the napkin was there, and it was a key argument!)
Who is your favorite hero or heroine of history? So, I really, really, really like Nikola Tesla. I don’t know if he qualifies as a hero, but he was definitely a genius, and also incredibly weird. Maybe you already know all about him. If you do, that’s excellent—you can help me advance my rational and totally platonic love for him! If you’re reading this right now and don’t know who I’m talking about—or you do, but maybe you are not entirely familiar with his list of shockingly brilliant inventions—then go look him up when you get a chance (and be sure to google some pictures of him hanging out with the magnifying transmitter that he invented and built). Because he was awesome.
Do you tweet? What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever tweeted? While I don’t remember exactly what I said or how I said it, there was this one time when I baked a really beautiful Dutch apple pie and then put a dish towel over it and left it on the counter, and when I came downstairs the next morning, the whole pie was squashed completely flat because my cat thought it seemed like a good place to sleep, and then her paws smelled like apple-cinnamon. That was my funniest tweet. Only, you have to imagine it way more clever than how I said it just now, and also shorter.
What is your favorite season? I like spring the best, and particularly this incredibly precise three-week period between the middle of May and the beginning of June—it’s just warm and flowery and flawless. It’s perfect.
If you could teleport anywhere in the known universe right now, where would you go? I’d go wherever there’s a preponderance of baby red pandas, because they are so adorable they don’t even seem real, and I just want to see them frolic up close.
Do you have any writing rituals? Hot beverages and headphones!
What is your idea of earthly happiness? Earthly happiness is getting to be around people who understand you. People who just get it, and don’t ever treat you like you’re weird for all the times you forget what day it is, and never make you feel bad for jumping straight into conversations mid-thought, or needing plenty of space so you can sit quietly and make up stories, or that time you inappropriately started talking about accidentally eating spiders at their work party. They know all that, and still think you’re pretty cool.
What is the best concert you’ve ever been to? Okay, I love concerts—so much that I even have a metal Whitman’s box stuffed full of tickets and buttons and flyers and stuff I picked up off the floor. So you’d think it would be really hard to choose my best one, but it is absolutely NOT! My unequivocally-best concert ever was a Mindless Self Indulgence show at the Ogden in Denver, on May 18, 2005, because that’s where my husband proposed to me—on our five-year dating anniversary, in the mosh pit, during the encore. (Also, just so you know, he is the one whose work-party I weirdened by talking about spiders. You probably could have figured that out. But just to be clear.)
What are you currently working on? The book I’m writing right now does not have a title. (Still!) The book I’m writing right now is intensely strange. The book I’m writing right now is a sprawling southern gothic, with magic and family secrets and arcane superstitions and all the dark, unearthly things I can think of. And as a bonus, I get to indulge some of my favorite memories of being a little kid in the Ozarks.
Thanks, Brenna! We know Paper Valentine just came out, but now we can’t wait to read the next one!
You can find Brenna on twitter and her website.
Add Paper Valentine to your “to-read” shelf on Goodreads!
Purchase Paper Valentine from Penguin, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Powell’s, IndieBound, Walmart, and Books a Million!