Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ellen Hopkins at Addendum Books

Ellen Hopkins at Addendum Books

So last week I was struck down with a fever and a nasty cough.  Turns out I had bronchitis and I almost missed meeting Ellen Hopkins because I was too sick to go to her first appearance but luckily she stayed overnight in Mpls/St. Paul for a night and went to the Addendum Bookstore close to my home yesterday.  Phew!

I parked my car a few blocks away and as I was walking to the bookstore to meet one of my favorite authors, I ran into a Little Free Library.  I love these little libraries and so I searched for hidden treasures and then happily moved on to the bookstore.

Ellen Hopkins was in town to promote her newest teen book called Smoke.  It is her 12th published book and a sequel to Burned.    She read to the audience out of Smoke and also introduced us to her new character in the book Rumble, that will be released next summer.  My does it sound good.   Rumble is about religious conflict and suicide.  When Ellen finished reading from Rumble she opened up the floor for questions.

We were a very small group of people ranging in age from high school students, to parents and teachers, and everyone asked such great questions.

When Ellen Hopkins writes, she is mainly a character builder and she never writes more than one draft of her books, much to her editors chagrin.
When asked which is her favorite book or character from her novels, Ellen stated she has no favorites.  Crank is her least favorite book because it is so personal.  She does a lot of research for each book and mainly uses primary sources to get at different points of view.  Crank is being adapted for the stage and Ellen is writing the screenplay.  Her new adult novel is called, Tangled and it is a combination of prose and poetry.  It is about being in love with a psychopath.  Ellen Hopkins subject matter is always so interesting.

Out of all Ellen Hopkins books, Crank has been banned or challenged the most.  She is surprised
each time her books are challenged because of a swear word or drug use.  Ellen stated, fear and ignorance is the driving force in book banning.  In the audience was one of the librarians from Anoka-Hennepin district who chose Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell as a summer teen read.  Two parents in the district got the author banned from speaking to students and are trying to get 75 books removed from the district and public libraries as well as demanding the librarians be disciplined for choosing the book.  I felt honored to be in her presence and shook her hand.

When asked what she read in high school, Ellen states, she read Stephen King, Erica Jong and John Irving.  There were hardly any Young Adult book choices when she was in school and she is glad there is a YA genre now.

Ellen wants her readers to always read her author notes and she warns not to skip them as they are integral to the story.

After Q&A, Ellen signed books and took pictures.

I was introduced to Ellen's book by a former student who told me I absolutely needed to read Crank.  I read it and have been hooked on Ellen's poetry  and YA books since.  My favorite has been the Crank trilogy but her other books are really good too.  If you haven't read any of her books, I encourage you to check her out.