Did you know BookLounge.ca has a little sister? Bookurious.com is an online community just for avid teen readers; a place where they can meet other book lovers, talk about what they are reading and get the scoop on their favourite authors and new releases. These Q&As were originally posted there.
How are some of our favourite YA authors spending the holidays? We got the scoop about traditions, resolutions, and family from Kelley Armstrong (KA), James Dashner (JD), Jamieson Findlay (JF), Marthe Jocelyn (MJ), Y.S. Lee (YL), Patrick Ness (PN), Susin Nielsen (SN), Shane Peacock (SP), and Moira Young (MY). Feel free to add your own answers in the comments!
Which holiday(s) do you celebrate at home?
- We celebrate Christmas. Both my husband and I grew up with that. – KA
- I celebrate Christmas with my family – my mother, father, brothers, sisters and all the kids. It is a bit chaotic, to say the least. My brother-in-law has six dogs (yes, six ), which adds to the conviviality. – JF
- Christmas and New Years. They’ve got Boxing Day here in England (which I didn’t have growing up in the US), but mainly by that point, I really just want to sleep and read the books I got as gifts. –PN
- We celebrate Christmas. To this day I love Christmas. I confess I am not particularly religious, but it’s the spirit of the season (as long as I’m not in a shopping mall) that I love. My son, who is 15, loves it, too. My husband is more curmudgeonly, but it’s two against one. We have a million Christmas traditions – we always see a Christmas play, we always watch Elf on Christmas Eve, we always go cross-country skiing on Christmas Eve day, and we always do a 1000 piece Ravensburger Christmas puzzle! When I was growing up my mom and I would drive to my grandparents’ farm near Kingston, Ontario, for Christmas. Oh, how I loved it. It would always snow. It was magical. And of course we’d always have a big turkey dinner. –SN
- While my children were growing up in a mixed household, we celebrated Christmas and a sort of half-Hanukah. –MJ
- Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving … and we kind of celebrate the summer holidays around our house too, since we have three kids and they are very happy when that time of the year arrives. We have American relatives and sometimes go to the U.S. for their Thanksgiving in November – they really go at the eating … and shopping! – SP
What’s your favourite holiday story?
- My favorite Christmas movies are It’s a Wonderful Life and How the Grinch Stole Christmas – EW
- The Gift of the Magi Indian Giver, by Steve Martin (from ‘Cruel Shoes’) – MY
- Probably the movie actually called A Christmas Story. Irreverent and funny and taught me once and for all never to stick your tongue on a frozen lamppost. -PN
- Elf. Going a little further back, I also adore Miracle on 34th Street with a young Natalie Wood. -SN
- I don’t know if there is one in particular, but I remember being SO excited every Christmas eve as a kid. It was just beyond thrilling, the greatest night of every year! – SP
What are your family traditions for the holidays?
- We always open one present each on Christmas eve and the rest in the morning. –EW
- Cheating at Pictionary and playing childish tricks with smoked oysters while waiting for real life to resume. –MY
- We celebrate Christmas, and our main tradition is to eat a lot. It starts in late November, when we bake a traditional fruitcake for my husband (he’s British; Christmas isn’t Christmas, for him, without a brandy-soaked doorstop that he calls “cake”). Then there’s the usual Christmas frippery (cookies, candies), the family dinner, the gingerbread house (which I designed in the shape of our house, and which always sends us into sugar overload), our friends’ parties, our neighbours’ open houses… you get the idea. It’s so outrageously overindulgent that I tend to start the new year craving spinach. But that’s another story. – YL
- My family have Scandinavian roots, so we tended to celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve, which I still do. The big meal is then and all presents get opened. Christmas Day then tends to be for visits from friends. It’s nice. Plus, Norwegian Christmas desserts are unbeatable. -PN
- We have lots–from baking to decorating to gift giving, they all come with little traditions that we either carried over from our childhoods or started fresh for our family. With our extended families, we have traditions, too. We host Christmas eve for my husband’s side, then Christmas brunch with my mom and my siblings’ families, then dinner with my father. – KA
- I love movies, and my family loves movies. Quite often we will go see a movie on Thanksgiving and Christmas day. I also love some of the Christmas movies that we always make sure and watch at home, like A Christmas Story and Christmas Vacation. – JD
- Many years ago we stopped using a real tree for Christmas, so we decorate an oversize tomato frame with antique cookie cutters. That’s Christmas. We also have a beautiful silver menorah that we remember to light about five of the eight nights. That’s Hanukah. Our main tradition is still having stockings on Christmas morning, even now that we don’t have a traditional meal or presents. – MJ
- I grew up in a family that was very close, and not just our immediate family, but our extended one too. We used to have huge family get-togethers at Christmas and Easter, where we all gathered around very long tables with LOTS of food. Many, many excellent pies! Then we’d all head out for a massive family hockey game on a pond afterwards. They were great fun! – SP
What is your favourite holiday meal or recipe?
- Our traditional treats are homemade Perogs which are Latvian buns filled with ham and bacon and onion. -EW
- I have a list of “must make” Christmas baking. The kids notice if I don’t make everything on it, every year. For Christmas brunch, some things change, but I always make stuffed French toast. –KA
- I love Christmas pudding, even though we were (and to some extent still are) non-drinkers and there was never an ounce of rum in it! – SP
What was the best gift you ever received?
- My favourite gifts are always books. A book is like a perfectly packaged miracle: affordable, yet far more than the sum of its parts. The intellectual intimacy of the gift is often a revelation, and that’s why I cherish it so much. –YL
- My wife surprised me with a full drum set, that now sits in my office. I can release stress and anxiety and nerves by beating those things whenever I feel like it. I love it! – JD
- My other half got a rhino named after me on a nature reserve in Kenya. I’m a big fan of rhinos – I even have a tattoo of one – so knowing there’s a black rhino called Patrick running around east Africa makes me happy. I’ll bet he’s bookish. –PN
- I would like to mix this up a bit and give you my best and my worst. My best was a doll’s house that my Grandpa built me. It wasn’t the fanciest, but oh how I loved it. I didn’t grow up with my dad, and my Grandpa was really my father figure. He was a wonderful, gentle, loving man. I remember I cried when I opened that doll house, knowing how much love and work had gone into it. He was a great carpenter.
The worst gift I ever received was from my Great Aunt Jean. I wound up loving my Aunt Jean and getting to know her well as an adult, but we didn’t see eye to eye when I was a kid. One Christmas, when I was about 9, she gave me a doll – flat, one-dimensional – made of about 8 J-cloths. “So you can help your mom with washing the dishes,” she cackled. In that moment I loathed her. (to reiterate, we grew to really like each other!). –SN
- I remember getting a subscription to The Hockey News when I was a little guy, and being just over the moon about it.-SP
What gift would you get your (latest) main character? Why?
- Well, since I took away Savannah’s powers and she really wants them back, I could say that…except that I think she’s temporarily better off without them. Instead, I’ll give her an indestructible cell phone, able to withstand pits of water, bomb blasts and hell beasts. She’s gone through too many phones in the last couple of books. – KA
- I know you said “latest”, but I’ll answer for two of my characters. For Ambrose, the protagonist of Word Nerd, I would get him a new pair of pajamas.
For Violet, the protagonist of Dear George Clooney: Please Marry My Mom, I would get her another pair of Converse running shoes. I love that Violet is not at all a girly-girl, and wears jeans and t-shirts – but expresses her individuality on her feet. I’d get her a really wild pair. -SN
- Well, Sherlock could use a new coat … and a magnifying glass.-SP
What is your favourite thing about winter?
- Holing up by the fire with a hot chocolate and a good book. – KA
- The clothes. I love layers and jumpers and tights and boots. I hate summer clothing. Loathe it. Particularly the footwear. – MY
- I love being warm, so I didn’t really enjoy winter until we installed a wood-burning stove in our house. Now, I’m deliciously warm all winter long, and simple things like having a glass of wine by the fire or coming in from snowshoeing feel like indulgences. – YL
- Fox tracks in the snow in the back yard, which apparently – while I sleep – is a total fox playground. They go crazy in the stuff.-PN
- My favourite thing is the colour of the sky at twilight – on a clear cold day it can be a deep blue-violet, the colour of a tropical lagoon. But actually I love everything about winter; it is my favourite season. I love playing hockey outdoors; I love cross-country skiing; and I love walking on snowy streets when cars are spinning their tires and getting stuck. – JF
- I love snow and ice and cold. I grew up in Georgia where we didn’t get much of that, so now I’m making up for it by living in the Rocky Mountains. I love working on a cold day, bundled up and warm while it’s stormy and white outside. – JD
- Hockey. Hockey. Hockey. And that’s about it. – SP
How do you plan to celebrate New Year?
- My whole family is going down to Vermont to ski. We’ve rented a gigantic chalet and we’ll spent New Years eve together – my wife, my oldest daughter Christina and her husband Marc, my son Nick and his girlfriend Emily, my youngest daughter Julia and our relatives from Latvia. –EW
- At my brother’s house; he always has New Year’s Eve party and we play boot hockey on his swimming pool. He has a huge pool that he doesn’t use for swimming; it is a frog-and turtle pond in the summer and a rink in the winter. That’s my brother, the biologist. – JF
- Usually I boycott New Year’s Eve, but this year I am going to a wedding.-MJ
- We usually spent it together at home. We used to go to a friend’s amazing house on a hill in the country, and run outside at midnight and bang pots and pans … lots of noise and lots of fun! -SP
What are your New Year’s resolutions for 2012?
- To travel less in 2012. I said the same thing in 2011 and ended up traveling more. Let’s see if I can do better this year! – KA
- I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. Any day can be a day where you change things, do that thing you’ve always wanted, try to have a different outlook. Why does it have to be the first of the year? Start now, life is difficult and challenging and beautiful and glorious. It’s yours for the grasping at any moment. Even this one. –PN
- To be more of myself. – MJ
- I want to exercise more, work harder, and have the best year of my life. I will have two new novels out in 2012. I’ve never doubled up like that before. One is the final Boy Sherlock, which should be a big deal, and the other is one of seven novels seven amazing Canadian writers are creating, separate stories but slightly connected. I am really looking forward to both of those publishing events. Both come out in the fall and there will be a great deal of promoting going on … so, that’s why I have to get in shape! – SP