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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

MEN in YA: Interview + Giveaway with Jon Skovron, author of Misfit

I'm delighted to be joined today by the fabulous Jon Skovron, author of Misfit! If you missed my yesterday's review of Misfit be sure to check it out later - it's a fantastic, entertaining and wild ride you can't afford to miss! Enjoy the interview and be sure to tell me what you thought about Jon's MEN in YA exclusive picture! :) 

Guys, please give a warm welcome to our extraordinary YA Galaxy Defender, Jon Skovron!

E: Evie
JS: Jon Skovron
E: Welcome to Bookish Jon! I’m honored and excited to be able to talk to you today! Three words: I loved Misfit! Gripping, imaginative, elegant – it was a fast-paced and tantalizing read! Could you tell us where did the inspiration for this novel come from?
JS: I'm so glad you enjoyed it! The inspiration for Misfit was a slow and winding road, with many dead ends and wrong turns. I knew I want to tell a story about a half-demon in Catholic school. Initially it was a boy named Dean. When he got upset, smoke would leak out of his mouth. To cover that up, he would pretend to smoke cigarettes. He didn't like constantly getting in trouble for smoking on school grounds, but he knew it was preferable to the priests finding out his mother had been a demon.

But I got stuck with that idea. It just wasn't working, especially with the relationship with the father. Then one night while I was tucking my sons in to bed, I wondered to myself what it would be like to have a daughter and realized I might never know. And so I thought, "Well, I could write story about a father and daughter, and then I might know at least a little bit." The moment I began thinking of the half-demon as a girl, everything just fell into place.
E: How long did it take for you to write Misfit?
JS: From that original story idea with Dean to the final draft published, it took approximately five years. To compare, my first novel, Struts & Frets, was written in less than a year. Of course, that was a much simpler story and required almost no research.
E: Are any of your characters inspired by people in your own life?
JS: My favorite thing to do is to take two people I know in real life, people who have almost nothing in common, and mash them up into one person. Bam! Instant internal conflict! Now, this isn't something I do on purpose. It's just something I've noticed after the fact. And even then, that's just how the character starts, but as I continue writing and revising, the characters evolve in ways that sometimes surprises even me.
E: Which of your characters do you feel is the most like you?
JS: Hmm, that's a tough one. It would be like picking favorites, you know? There are somethings about each of them. My experience growing up in a conservative Catholic environment was much like Jael's experience. Rob and I share many philosophies. And while my parenting isn't anything like Paul's, the fears he has for his daughter and her well being is something I have for my sons. Then, of course, there's Dagon, who probably isn't anything like me at all, but I just love the guy.
E: What was the most difficult part of the novel for you to write?
JS: The plotting was the hardest part for me. There are a lot of characters, a bunch of settings, and a vast timeline to cover. Getting all of those pieces to fit together was a huge headache and not something I'm naturally inclined toward.
E: How do you approach writing a new novel? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
JS: Ha! I pretty much define the pantser ethos. Coming from a theatrical and musical background, I'm a huge fan of improvisation. I treat rough drafts like big messy improv jam sessions. A lot of it gets tossed when go back and revise, but that's fine with me. I'd rather make crazy writing choices and have to pull back then be overly cautious.
E: Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so, how do you deal with it?
JS: There is this myth that writer's block is some kind of terrible affliction, like an illness or something. But it's actually just a part of my process. It's a symptom, a signal that there's something I haven't figure out yet, or that I've taken a wrong plot turn somewhere. Sometimes I have to just batter my way through it, write some terrible pages until I stumble toward the solution. Other times, it's best to just step away, go exercise or play a video game or take a shower. Often while I'm doing those things, my subconscious is churning away and suddenly you figure it out.

But any way you look at it, writer's block is not something to be feared. It's just comes with the job.
E: What advice would you give to aspiring authors interested in writing YA novels?

Read. A lot. And not just YA books. Read classics, read weird stuff, read terrible stuff, read stuff that seems way over your head. Read it all.

Then write. A lot. And not just YA stories. Write classical stories, weird stories, terrible stories, and stories you don't even understand.

If you do all of that, eventually, in some strange mystical alchemy, you will arrive at your own voice, your own style. Something that could never be copied by another.
E: Who or what are your literary inspirations? Can you name 3 all-time favorite reads?
JS: This is a hard question for me because there are so many authors who inspire me. Current authors like Neil Gaiman, Michael Chabon, Anne Rice, Tom Robbins, John Irving, Kelly Link, and Holly Black. But I also draw a great deal of inspiration from classic authors like William Shakespeare, Anton Chekov, William Thackeray, and Samuel Beckett.

If I had to pick three works of fiction, only three, to have with me at all times, they would be The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon, Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray, Sandman by Neil Gaiman, and Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link (that's four, I know, sorry...)
E: What’s next in line for you? Are you working on a new book now? Can we expect a sequel to Misfit?
JS: I just turned in a new book last week. Probably a little too early to talk about it (though I REALLY want to!!!!). I would love to write more Misfit books if the circumstances are right. We'll just have to wait and see
E: What are your biggest bookish pet-peeves?
JS: I don't really have any peeves. Paper books, e-Books, hardback, paperback, bookmarks, folding corners, notes in margins, highlighting, whatever. I've been guilty of all of it at one time or another, so I don't get annoyed by it.

I tell you what I love, though. Old books. The feel of them, the smell of them, the weight of them. I have a couple of books, a copy of Thackeray's The Newcomes, two Edgar Rice Burroughs John Carter of Mars books, a collection of Lord Byron's poetry, and a translation of Homer's Odyssey that are about a hundred years old. They are my most prized possessions.

Jon, thank you so much for joining us today!  
I had a BLAST reading Misfit and can't wait for the next part to come out!!!

I hope you guys enjoyed the interview, for more information about Jon Skovron and his books, please visit his website: Jon Skovron or/and read my review of Misfit.

Huge thanks to Jon Skovron for the exclusive MEN in YA photo! <3

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Thanks to the fabulous:
ME ^___^

We have a copy of Misfit up for grabs today! 
To be eligible to win all you need to do is be a follower of my blog and enter through Rafflecopter below.

Ends: January 14th

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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This interview and giveaway are posted as a part of the MEN in YA event (Nov 20th - Dec 20th)
For more awesomeness (reviews, interviews, giveaways, guest posts) please click the banner below!

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About the Author
Evie is the Blogger behind Bookish. She enjoys reading many different genres, especially YA, Paranormal, Contemporary Fiction and Fantasy.
She loves talking to authors and is always happy to welcome them for interviews, and guest posts. She also likes spreading the love for awesome books and  chatting with fellow book-worms.
You can find Evie here: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Shelfari | The Library Thing


ebaker said...

Thanks for the interview...This book looks great and I like what you said about Writer's Block...I think it would be kind of the same thing when you forget something and you're like where did I put it or what was I going to say? and then you go do something else and you remember : )

Nicole said...

I've been wanting to read this one! Love the cover, and wonderful interview :)

DJL said...

Misfit has been on my list for a while now, so I'd love to read it soon! Thank you for the great interview and giveaway!

Angie said...

Your review actually made me add this to my TBR. :)

Angie @ Pinkindle Reads & Reviews

roro said...

wonderful interview :)had a netgalley galley but it expired b4 i could read it

Tiffany Drew said...

I've been trying to get my hands on this book for a while now. I always look forward to YA books written by men becomes I think it brings something completely different to the genre than the norm and I haven't been disappointed yet. Thank you for the opportunity to read this :)

zaraalexis said...

I'm a little bit of a misfit myself---though I can't say I'm a half-demon. Would love a copy of this to read and review.

Melanie S. said...

I saw the book a lot around the blogopshere and the more I see it the more curious I get and now I can't wait to read it. Thanks for a great interview - I really enjoyed reading it.

Sana said...

Wow, he mentioned Chekov I like him already =)

Suz said...

Loved the interview! I liked reading Jon's answer to writer's block and his inspiration. Can't wait to read Misfit and would love to win a copy!

M.A.D. said...

I'm with Jon on *loving old books* - the paper, the typeset, the hand sewn bindings!!! They're like treasures waiting to be opened :)

Mary DeBorde [M.A.D.]

Fara said...

Awesome post. I've been meaning to get my hands on this book but hadn't had the chance

manda-rae said...

I love old books as well. However I do have a pet peeve when people dog-ear the corners of the pages. I hate it when the pages of my book get bent.

Great interview! Thanks for the giveaway!

Asheley (@BookwormAsheley) said...

oh my, this made me sort of laugh: "I knew I want to tell a story about a half-demon in Catholic school...When he got upset, smoke would leak out of his mouth..." -- not sure why that is so funny to me except maybe that it is so unique?? but i loved that Jon changed it to a girl.

also, i loved the advice he gives for aspiring YA writers.

great, great, excellent interview! loved it! thanks guys!

Na said...

I like the advice read and write a lot and to not just stick to one genre. That will help with being creative.


marybelle said...

I'm LOVING the idea of a Half-Demon a Catholic school. I'm looking forward to reading MISFIT.


Julie W said...

I loved this interview and I really, really want to read this book!! Jon, I'm getting a headache just thinking of 5 years of research and trying to get all of those pieces to fit together! You're a lot more patient than I am!!

Julie W said...

The form wouldn't let me enter my GFC follower name: Julie Witt

Llehn said...

I love the premise fo Misfit and am looking forward to reading it.

The form won't let me leave my GFC name as well so here it is : Llehn.


Amanda Nicole said...

I love interviews and this one was awesome! :) I can't wait to read Misfit. Thanks so much for the giveaway!

Caitlin said...

Thank you for the interview. I have been wanting to read Misfit for a while now. It's amazing that it took so long to write but I am glad you finished. I know I will love this book so I hope there is a sequel. Thank you for the giveaway.

GFC name: Caitlin Audet

Proserpine said...

I saw this cover and thought: this should be a good reading, but I didn't read the summary.... (because I'm a cover lover!). Nice interview, I do love Anne Rice too! Thanks for this giveaway!

GFC : Proserpine

pointy star said...

I've been wanting to read this book ever since I read the summary! And great interview! :D

Thanks for having such an awesome giveaway!


Chel said...

Thanks for the giveaway!
GFC: Chel

mimz said...

Nice interview! And thanks for the giveaway! I've been waiting for a while to get my hands on this book! :D

Some additional info slots were showing. GFC: mimz; blogroll:

Tasnim said...

Great interview and thanks for the giveaway!

I wasn;t able to leave my GFC follower name on rafflecopter.

GFC - Taz

Hope you have a good Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Tasnim x

Denise Z said...

I'm with you, I love all books regardless of the shape or form and sometimes the more used and passed around the more precious. Thank you for taking the time to share with us and for the awesome giveaway opportunity. Misfit has been on my wishlist and I look forward to the read.

layen said...

Great interview. The idea of a boy taking up smoking to cover up smoke leaking out of his mouth seems pretty hilarious. I wonder what would have happened if Jon had stuck to his original idea.

Thank you for sharing & holding the giveaway!

GFC - layen

ItszLo said...

Awesome interview!!!
Thanks for hosting such a great GA!

Bybyutza said...

That interview it's amazing.
That book look very good and summary is awesome.
GFC name: Bybyutza

Taneika said...

Great interview :) I've been constantly picking up this book to buy, then putting it down because the blurb sounds nowhere near as good as how the interview portrayed it!! Thankyou for hosting this giveaway!

GFC Name: TaneikaS

xlacrimax said...

5 years? That sounds a lot for me, I wouldn't have enough patience to work on one project for 5 years (I've never tried though).
GFC - xlacrimax

Natasha Areena said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Natasha Areena said...

Five years huh? The book Must. Be. AWESOME!!!
GFC - Natasha Areena

fra & fede said...

I didn't know this book but it sounds really interesting :) The author worked on it for 5 years, i think it's amazing he loved so much his work :)

Roxy Kade said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roxy Kade said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roxy Kade said...

Thank you for the giveaway!
I've heard great things about this book :)

GFC - Roxy Kade
Link to my blog -

Loved the interview :)
I especially loved the mashing up of two people into one! LOL that could make for some interesting characters :) I have to try that some time!

giddusadik said...

I am not participating in the giveaway, but great interview! Thanks!

Chapter by Chapter said...

This book sounds like it would be so good! And the interview was great! (as always!) Thank you for this giveaway.

Chapter by Chapter

Carrie said...

No place to put in Rafflecopter form, so:

Added your button to my blog:

Following both on Twitter as @celjla212

Following on GFC as Carrie Ardoin.

Catholic schools will always hold a dear place in my heart, as I attended one!

Mel said...

What a great interview - thanks! And for the international giveaway. :)

Sayomay said...

Ive heard so many great things about the book! I cant wait to read it!

alipeli said...

I've been wanting to read this one! Love the cover, and wonderful interview :)

Megan said...

Sounds like an interesting read. My dad went to Catholic school, so he can be my fact checker!

A Tiny Blog said...

The way he answered that he takes two people who have almost nothing in common, and mashes them up into one person instantly put a smile on my face for some reason. Just imagine you could do this in real life. :)

»мσяgαиα« said...

I'm really curious about this book. Should be an interesting read...thanks for the giveaway :)

Gorelenore said...

Thanks for this interview, I think it is so great that there is encouragement to read. I think it should go for everyone though not just aspiring YA writers. I love reading but writing I could never get into, reading lets me go anywhere, I love the worlds they create.

Pao Martinez Parente said...

Thanks for the lovely interview. Seems like a great book. Can't wait to read!!!

Cassandra (The Book and Movie Dimension blogger) said...

Haven't read this but will. Been sitting on my e-reader. Cool author interview. Love the graphics and set up!

Veronica W. said...

Great interview! I also feel like the plot would be the hardest part for me when writing a book!

Cindy said...

I have had this book on my radar for awhile now and i think I might actually get it now. I love hearing who influences and other and waht they love to read.

Cindy said...

I have had this book on my radar for awhile now and i think I might actually get it now. I love hearing who influences and other and waht they love to read.

Pen to Paper said...

What a great review! I have Misfit to read, and I'm really looking forward to it!

I like that he describes Writer's block as a symptom and indication of a problem that hasn't yet been worked out. I love that.

Dani @ Pen to Paper

Stephanie Verhaegen said...

Lovely interview!! :)

IdentitySeeker said...

Very interesting interview! I've read so many positive reviews for Misfit. I find Jon's advice for writer's o inspiring- about reading everything and anything. That's exactly what I'm like. I read anything that come my way, no matter how poorly written and seemingly senseless. I just feel that there's something I can learn from every thing I read.

Thanks for haring your time and thoughts with us:)

Sarah Bibi Setar

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