Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Bookanistas: XVI blog tour and giveaway!

I tried to convince Lisa to fork over Julia Karr's XVI before she went to the hospital, but she refused claiming that she'd need reading material while she was waiting around to pop out a kid. I laughed at her thinking there was no possible way that anyone could read while in labor.

I was wrong.

Lisa finished the whole damn book over the course of her 48 hour hospital stay. I'm not sure if that's a testament to her stubbornness or the amazingness of XVI, but I'm leaning toward the latter. Lisa phoned in her review and said, "It's sort of like a sexed up 1984. I literally could not put it down! I can't wait for this one to be released so we can all talk about it."

Luckily, Julia invited us to be a part of her 16 weeks of XVI blog tour so we get to talk about the book right now. For each of the 16 weeks of the tour, Julia's going to talk about a specific aspect of her book.

Week 16 - Julia's favorite things about Chicago (where the novel is set)
Week 15 - Julia answered 15 questions about vegetarianism (her main character is a vegetarian)
Week 14 - Julia discussed banned books, which feature in her novel

We're lucky week #13 and Julia has graciously answered some of our questions about how protest music of the 1960's contributed to the themes in XVI.

1. Can you tell us a little bit about what inspired you to write XVI?
XVI was a NaNoWriMo novel. The whole idea behind NaNo is "no plot/no problem!" Well, a few days prior to the start of NaNo, I had this image pop into my head of a sort of Manga-looking punk rock girl, just trying to make her way through the day in a city full of noise and homeless people. The book grew organically from that vision.

2. Were there any specific "message songs" that inspired the book?
Not really. Although I can certainly look back and see connections with certain songs. "For What It's Worth" by Buffalo Springfield is probably one of the most connected.

3. A lot of those songs are from the 60's, do you think there are parallels between 1960's Chicago and the Chicago portrayed in XVI?
I do. In the 1960's, the first Mayor Daley was running the city. A person could feel pretty safe, if they knew how to maneuver through the system. Of course, there were lots of things wrong with that system - but it's the way things were. You learned to live in/with it - or you left. Of course, in XVI, Nina doesn't have the choice of leaving.

4. Chicago has a fantastic music scene, did you have any specific clubs or venues in mind when you wrote the concert scenes in XVI?
Funny you should ask that. Yes. Yes, I did. When I lived in Chicago there was a little all-ages club called Like Young. Definitely the place to be. It was kind of dark with utilitarian tables and just enough room to dance until close. My friends and I practically lived there on the weekends! (And, I still love to dance!)

5. Do you think "message songs" are dead? Are there any current bands or songs that come to mind?
I think message songs will always be around. The arts are a great way to say things with relative impunity. (Although there is that ugly-headed beast known as censorship always lurking around!) Currently - Neil Young, Pearl Jam, Radiohead, R.E.M., and Tom Waits,  are keeping the "messages" alive. I know there are others - perhaps some commenters will name a few!

6. How do you use music in your writing?
Well, I have to have it QUIET when I write. Otherwise, I just can't concentrate. But, when I know I'm heading for a marathon writing session, I spend some time filling my head with songs I listened to when I was a teenager. Why? Because it puts me back in that time of my life and I can remember exactly how I felt. I think that's one of the amazing things about music, at least for me - I identify certain times and events of my life with certain songs and music groups. As in - I cannot hear Good Vibrations by the Beach Boys without thinking of Oak Street Beach in Chicago. Or, Black is Black by Los Bravos without being taken right to the outside of a little coffee house in the basement of a church just north of Old Town in Chicago. And, Groovin' by the Young Rascals - Lincoln Park on a sunny day. So - although I don't have playlists or listen to music as I write - I couldn't write without music. Heck, I don't think I could live without music!

Here's a list of 13 "Message Songs" from the 1960's. Unfortunately, they are mostly still relevant today!

Blowin' in the Wind - Bob Dylan / Peter, Paul & Mary
Eve of Destruction - Barry McGuire
Let's Get Together - The Youngbloods
Fortunate Son - Credence Clearwater Revival
For What It's Worth - Buffalo Springfield
Abraham, Martin & John - Dion
Imagine - John Lennon
Everyday People - Sly & the Family Stone
Vietnam - Country Joe McDonald & the Fish
Ohio - Crosby, Stills & Nash
I Am Woman - Helen Reddy
One Tin Soldier - Joan Baez
War - Edwin Starr

In order to be eligible to win a CD by one of these amazing artists (winner's choice), be sure to leave a comment. The contest will end next Thursday at midnight! Even if you don't win this week - you'll be eligible (and entered) in the GRAND PRIZE drawing on 1/6/11.

So - comment - and then go out and stand up for something right!

And be sure to check out what the other Bookinistas are up to...

Kirsten Hubbard gives props to Between Shades of Gray 

Shannon Messenger brings us Cover Love and a Teaser for Desires of the Dead 
Elana Johnson is a fan of HER AND ME AND YOU 
Christine Fonseca is enthralled by GIRL, STOLEN 
Shelli Johannes-Wells gives us a Paranormal Preview 
Myra McEntire shares some Trailer Love
Carolina Valdez Miller adores NIGHTSHADE CITY 
Jamie Harrington is awed by ACROSS THE UNIVERSE

Michelle Hodkin gives props to LIKE MANDARIN


Adventures in Children's Publishing said...

What a cool concept. I love that she's so inspired by music, but like Julia, I have to have quiet to write :) Thanks for the interview!


Matthew Rush said...

Wow. What a frigging cool idea for a story. This sounds really awesome. Thanks for the heads up LiLa!

Renae said...

Thanks for the interview! What a great premise for a story. Can't wait to read it.

Loretta Nyhan said...

Julia has great taste in music! I can't wait to read this book--it looks fascinating!

Jen Daiker said...

I've recently been hearing about this novel around the blog and I'm looking forward to snagging a copy!!!

Jonathon Arntson said...

I love Chicago so much. Even though I live in Michigan, it's the closest major city to where I live.

I am intrigued by this book. It has a great premise and an amazing cover. I have a soft-spot for covers.

As for the music inspiration, that's so totes right up my alley too!

Elie said...

Great interview. Music definitely can provide inspiration for many things. I can understand the need for quiet while writing though.

April (BooksandWine) said...

I really like that song, For What It's Worth. It evokes Forest Gump, and well, I really love that movie.

I am sooooooo excited for XVI!

DarcyO said...

Really enjoyed the interview. Seeing the list of message songs takes me back to those times also. I am adding XVI to my TBR list.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Love Chicago! Such an amazing setting for a book.

So excited to read XVI! And not just because it's set in Chicago and because it was her Nano (two little details our mss have in common). But because I want to read a sexed up 1984. How awesome is that idea?

Carolyn V. said...

This book sounds so amazing! I can't wait to read it. Great interview.

Lisa Potts said...

Those songs really do endure, don't they? Great interview and the book concept sounds fantastic.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Great interview. Love that it's a nano story.

Christine Fonseca said...

I can not wait to read this book! Fab kick off to the tour.

R. B. LeMoyne said...

Yay for NaNoWriMo novels! I'll definitely have to pick this one up to support my fellow NaNo-ers.

Kirsten Hubbard said...

So excited for XVI -- and what a insightful, unique interview!

Talli Roland said...

Great title and super cool concept! Thanks for the review.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

I do want to read this book, it sounds great. And I love books that have influence with music.

lauren51990 at aol dot com

Shannon Whitney Messenger said...

Yay for Julia! I <3 her so much! Can't WAIT to read this one. Hurry up fellow Bookanistas. I want my turn! :)

Pam Torres said...

This book has been on my TBR list. I am even more excited reading all these interviews. Thanks Julia! And thanks Bookanistas!

lettucehead said...

Awesome interview. I want that book!

Sara B. Larson said...

It must be amazing if she finished it in the hospital, wow. Can't wait to read it!

Jemi Fraser said...

That cover is awesome!! Sounds like a great book.

I've used several of those songs in my classroom over the years. They're really amazing.

Mariah Irvin said...

Reading during labor? Much props!

This looks like a great book based on the cover alone!

Riv Re said...

Nice interview. I'm an oldies fan, even though they're waaaay before my time.

Dominique said...

I must read this book. Why does it not come out sooner!

Amie Kaufman said...

While she was in labour. In. Labour.

That's got to be the most emphatic book recommendation I've ever seen (and it says a little something about Lisa, as well, though probably nothing you didn't already know!).

Anonymous said...

Wow. So cool. :D

Pokadots1121 said...

I love that idea. It so new and unique.

Elie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Falen (Sarah Ahiers) said...

ooh, how did i miss this the first go around?
Sign me up for the drawing!
This books sounds AMAZING

Janet Johnson said...

XVI sounds so good! And what great music.

I definitely think "Message Songs" are still out there. Just listen to country. :)

Heather said...

All of these songs are fantastic but I'm a huge CCR fan. Ugh, I hope that doesn't show my age. Speaking of standing up, I'm giving away a copy of SPEAK over on

Ishta Mercurio said...

I write in quiet, too, although I do some "mood-setting" with music before I sit down. And music transports me, as well - isn't it amazing how music can do that in a way that other things can't?

Lauren M said...

Thanks for the interview! This book sounds awesome.
I definitely agree about "message songs" living on forever-- even though most of our mainstream music is filled with sex, drugs and alcohol, there are still artists putting meaningful stuff out there.

Aik said...

This book sounds great! I'd have to check it out soon, if not now!

Julia Karr said...

Thanks for all the positive comments everyone! I'm so glad you all stopped by! Remember, even if you didn't win this week's contest, you are automatically entered in the GRAND PRIZE drawing on 1/6/11.

And, this week's winner, chosen by Random Number Generator is #10 - Carolina Valdez Miller! *throws confetti*

Carolina - I've sent you an email about your prize. Congratulations!

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