Thursday, September 2, 2010


Right after my first son was born I read a book called NOTES FROM THE UNDERBELLY by Risa Green. I loved the book, so I did what any good little reader would do, I started cyberstalking Risa. Lucky for me she has an EPIC blog. And so back when I had never even dreamed of becoming a writer, and I was working a really lame day job, I started obsessing over Risa and all the cool moms over at Mommy Tracked. This might sound a little strange, but the women who contribute to this blog sort of became my heroes. They were balancing motherhood AND following their dreams. More than anything else I wanted to be able to do the same thing.

And so, when Laura and I were blabbing late into the night about how lame and boring our lives were and she jokingly suggested we should start writing books together, I said yes.

So imagine my excitement when I found out that Risa's debut YA, THE SECRET SOCIETY OF THE PINK CRYSTAL BALL, was being published by Sourcebooks Fire. 

A bit about the book:
In a world where nothing is certain, a little magic couldn't hurt...right?

When Erin Channing's favorite aunt dies, Erin is bequeathed a pink crystal ball and a set of weird instructions. Granted, Aunt Kiki (aka Aunt Kooky) always lived "outside the box." But now Erin and her two best friends are convinced that the pink crystal ball holds the key to their future-or at least the key to getting dates...

Lila's Take:
THE SECRET SOCIETY OF THE PINK CRYSTAL BALL is a fun read that will appeal to fans of THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS. This book has it all - voice, mystery and romance. I predict girls everywhere are going to be BEGGING for the sequel, especially since it's set to feature my favorite character in the first book!

Risa graciously agreed to answer our random interview questions:

1. Tell us about your book in 140 characters or less.

140 characters – could you make it any harder??? I decided to do a haiku. Don’t tell anyone, but it’s actually 164 characters. Sorry.
Erin’s weird aunt dies
And leaves her an answer ball
The ball is magic
Mean girl, a strange guy
A hottie whom Erin likes
It is a teen book
Erin asks questions
The ball gets her in trouble
But it ends happy
2. Where did you get the idea for THE SECRET SOCIETY OF THE PINK CRYSTAL BALL? (As the official idea whores we have a vested interest here.)
I got the idea for this book in the most random way, which is, I’ve found, usually the best way. At my daughter’s school fair last year, she got as a prize a certain orb-shabed toy that rhymes with Tragic Weight Fall, and which is produced by a major toy company that rhymes with Schmattel. When you ask a yes or no question to this particular toy, a yes, no, or somewhat vague answer magically appears in a little window. Anyway, as we were leaving the fair, one of my daughter’s teachers told us to ask the toy if her son would find a girlfriend, which, of course, we dutifully did that night when we got home. The toy informed us that yes, he certainly would find a girlfriend, causing me to say aloud, wouldn’t it be cool if that really happened now? Which then caused me to say, wouldn’t that be a great idea for a book; a magic answer ball that really is magic and makes everything you ask it come true? And then my daughter and I (who was seven at the time) spent the next hour or so hashing out the beginning of a story.

3. Someone has a pair of scissors to your head (oooh, SCARY!) and you have to choose: Awesome title or gorgeous book cover?
WELL, considering that I am in such desperate need of a haircut that I’m beginning to resemble a (meticulously highlighted) Cocker Spaniel, I might just tell the scissor-wielding lunatic to go for it and let me have both. That said, however, I happen to have some experience in the Ugly Book Cover department (turquoise and purple paisley maternity skirt, anyone?), so I would have to say that a gorgeous cover beats a great title any day of the week. Especially when you consider that books with ugly covers do not get selected to be on front tables at bookstores.
Editorial Note from Lisa: Risa's answer is kind of hilarious because I actually sort of love this cover. I'm not sure I'd ever want to wear the skirt, but I'd definitely pick the book up in a bookstore. Proof that cover love is a highly subjective beast.

4. When did you know you had to be a writer?

I could totally lie and say that I knew I had to be a writer when I was seven and I wrote a book called Emily Packenberg, about a girl named, well, Emily Packenberg, whose life was pretty much exactly like my own. But the truth is, I came into my career as a writer totally by accident. I’ve always loved writing, but it never even occurred to me to try to become a professional writer, probably because my parents had brainwashed me into believing that the only two acceptable jobs in the universe were lawyer and doctor. So I became a lawyer, and within five minutes of passing the bar I knew that I would have to do something else, because everything about being a lawyer made me feel like I wanted to throw up every morning. So then I became a college counselor, which was a great job and I loved it, mostly because it involved quite a bit of writing. And also teenagers. But then I got pregnant, and I had a kid, and I wrote down some funny stories about how much I hated being pregnant and how I didn’t really like babies all that much. And then someone wanted to publish it as a novel, and so I rewrote it, and then I had another kid, and then all of a sudden I had a whole new career with fantastic hours for a mom of two little kids and really crappy pay. But I love it, and I have so much fun doing it, and I guess I’ve always been subconsciously making my way towards it, it just took me a few twists and turns to finally get here.
5. Twizzlers or M&Ms?
Ohhhh, this is a hard one. Because you see, I do love chocolate, and if I were stranded on a deserted island, I’d be okay, as long as I was also stranded along with a minibar. (For the chocolate, not the little bottles of booze. Although the little bottles might make for very cute message-sending devices). The thing about Twizzlers, though, is that I’m from Philadelphia, which is Twizzler country, but I live in California, and for the longest time here you could only get these fake, Twizzer-like things called Red Vines, which caused me to believe that the Twizzler people and the Red Vine people were involved in some sort of east of the Mississippi/west of the Mississippi price fixing conspiracy, which I was this close to anonymously reporting to the FTC. You can get Twizzlers in California now, but after so many years of being Twizzler deprived, I still get needlessly excited every time I see them at the movie theater concession stand. So, to answer your question, Twizzlers. But only if there’s also M & Ms.
Don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win this book and the rest featured this week. Good luck!


kiri said...

First point for twizzlers! Bah. Go M&Ms.

This doesn't sound like something I'd normally pick up, but if the voice in the book is anything like Risa's voice in this interview, maybe I should.

Laura Pauling said...

Sounds so cute! Great interview everyone!

Linda Henderson said...

This sounds like a fun read, I like books with magic. I would love to read it.

seriousreader at live dot com

Matthew MacNish said...

Great interview, great questions, sounds like a great book! Thanks all.

Unknown said...

I think I like the minibar idea, with the little bottles, for sending messages in... that was great... I think I'll actually use that when next ask what I would do on a deserted island.

Which I doubt will ever happen.

This sounds like a super fun read, and who wouldn't love an aunt named Aunt Kooky :)

Christine Fonseca said...

So looking forward to reading this!

Lola Sharp said...

We have a PINK Magic 8 Ball. My daughter has had it since she was little. :) But now I kinda want a pink crystal ball...pretty.

This is a fun interview. I really enjoyed Risa's answers and personality. Love that she went all haiku on you guys. :)

Also, I now wonder if that teacher's son scored a girlfriend.

And, last, but not least, YES to the minibar AND the mini bottles of hooch. I'd def be drinking the hooch (most def) with my M & Ms.

Stina said...

Love the cover. OMG! My TBR pile is getting unmanageable. I think I lost one of my kids under it.

erica m. chapman said...

Sounds like a great book! I'm a Red Vines gal! LOL on the East/ West of Mississippi! You crack me up!

Great job on the interview (both sides), very entertaining ;o)

Carolina M. Valdez Schneider said...

I have a feeling Risa and I would get along quite famously. She answers your questions, but in a very roundabout, take the long-cut way. I LOVE it. She's so funny. Love how she basically said she'll choose Twizzlers and M&Ms but in such a way you feel she's agreeing with you either way. THE SECRET SOCIETY OF THE PINK CRYSTAL BALL sounds royally fun as well! How cool you guys have been following her so long.

Jennifer Rummel said...

I've been DYING to read this book - it looks SO cute and fun.

Tere Kirkland said...

Interesting premise! Sounds like a fun read.

Thanks for the interview, ladies!

Lisa Potts said...

Thanks so much, gals. The book looks really good and I just signed up with Mommy Tracked!

Laura S. said...

LOL, love all her answers!!! Especially that last one. I'm looking forward to reading her new book as well as Notes from the Underbelly. Thanks for this fantastic interview!

Aik said...

Looking forward to reading this book. It sure sounds awesome!

Aleeza said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aleeza said...

I love the cover for this book - the girl's eyes on the top. And the magic part would be pretty fun to read.

Fi-chan said...

Yay, another author chose gorgeous book cover! (BTW, cover for The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball is nice! book title is okay as well!)
and I love the story of her road to being a writer! It's good to know that not every author knew since they were a child. D:

Myra McEntire said...

I do love that cover too! And how awesome that one of your inspirations is with your pub and on your blog!

Sara B. Larson said...

All of her books sounds great! I'll need to check them out. Thanks for the interview!

Lisa_Gibson said...

Great questions! I love this interview. The book sounds fabulous. Maybe they should consider putting twizzlers in M&M's. Nah, that would be too weird.
Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

Becky B. @ Bibliognome said...

Book sounds great. They do have the Sweet & Sour filled Twizzlers now so maybe they should fill chocolate flavored Twizzlers with mini M&Ms.

Jemi Fraser said...

Another great interview :)

Love the concept of this book - everyone who has played with the 8 ball has probably wondered what it would be like :)

ali cross said...

FUN! I love the cover too.

Great interview, once again, girls! I was totally LMBO at the whole Twizzler thing. Because I despise Red Vines. I think me and Risa are long lost twins.

Llehn said...

Thanks for the intro!


Mia said...

Crazy aunts and pink crystal balls? Sounds awesome. My reading list could use a little happy right now. *adds to goodreads*

Alex Bennett from Electrifying Reviews said...

This one looks so cute!

Lisa B. said...

I must admit I've never heard of THE SECRET SOCIETY OF THE PINK CRYSTAL BALL, but now that I have I'm intrigued. I love the Sisterhood books and if this is anything like it I'm sold.

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