Wednesday, February 4, 2009
I'm delighted to be the third stop on Justina Chen Headley's blog tour for her new book North of Beautiful!
To win your very own signed copy of the (excellent) book, be the first to answer this question in the comments:
What is Justina's new community service project tied to North of Beautiful?
And visit the other stops on the tour to learn more about Justina - and for more chances to win.
Monday - Mitali's Fire Escape
Tuesday - Shelf Elf
Wednesday - Archimedes Forgets
Thursday - Bibliophile
Friday - Teen Book Review
S: Coffee and tea both play a role in North of Beautiful. Which one do you prefer?
J: Bubble tea—fruity drinks filled with fat tapioca pearls, sucked out in oversized straws. It’s a party in a cup. Or a cup of tea when it's on vacation.
S: From your blogging and tweeting, it's clear that you're into geocaching. Did you start geocaching before it became one of Jacob's hobbies, or did it move from the book into the rest of your life?
J: I had read about geocaching in an article, thought it was interesting, and tucked the idea away until I started working on this book. It occurred to me that geocaching—high tech treasure hunting using a GPS—could be symbolic of Jacob’s transformative effect on Terra. Her controlling mapmaker of a father who tries to box her into a grid; the boy who uses maps to break open her world. So in the name of research, I bought a GPS, created an account at www.geocaching.com, and hauled my family on a geocaching expedition. The kids and I were hooked!
One of our best geocaching adventures happened over the summer with the readergirlz, Jackie Parker, and Nancy Pearl. Check out www.youtube.com/northofbeautiful for our footage from that day!
S: During the trip to China, Terra makes a few side trips alone. What's your advice for girls who want to travel by themselves - or just split off from the family vacation for a few hours?
J: Right out of college, Microsoft sent me to Europe by myself. Up until then, I had never been out of the country, much less traveled alone. But in two weeks, I had to visit five countries, train sales people, and conduct research with corporate accounts. Worse, the only other language I spoke was rudimentary Spanish—not particularly helpful considering Spain wasn’t on my itinerary. That said, I had a lovely adventure in every country—whether it was the bus driver who detoured from his regular route to take me to the Microsoft office outside of Paris. (Remember, I couldn’t speak more than three words in French, and so I held up my business card, smiled, and said: “Microsoft!”) Then there was the owner of a bistro who comped my dinner since my credit card was demagnetized somewhere along the way. And then I had no idea what tiny meant until I checked into one hotel in Norway. I could touch opposite walls with my arms outstretched.
So here’s my advice: make sure someone knows exactly where you’re going and you have an exit plan in case something goes wrong. Double check with someone knowledgeable that the neighborhood you’re investigating is safe. Know the essential words: please, thank you, sorry. Practice awareness at all times. Go to the bathroom before you set out. Pack a sense of adventure, a smile, and enough cab fare to get you back to your home base.
S: What's your favorite way to procrastinate?
J: These days? As you’ve noticed, it’s tweeting and blogging!