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We Interview a Young Adult Author: Tim Tharp

February 23, 2011

Today, we are thrilled to welcome acclaimed young adult author Tim Tharp to our blog. We have raved about Tim’s previous books, Knights of the Hill Country, and The Spectacular Now, here and here, and are so pleased to be a part of Tim’s blog tour in support of his new novel, Badd. Tim is never afraid to tackle tough subjects, and this compelling and suspenseful novel looks at the effect of war on a returning soldier from the perspective of his younger sister. If you enjoyed The Things a Brother Knows, from author Dana Reinhardt(another favorite of our group), you must read this book.

There were many questions we wanted Tim to answer for us about his books and his writing process. Here are a few below that he was kind enough to discuss with us. 

Do you read YA literature? If so, who are some of your favorite authors?

Some of my favorites, in no particular order, are Sights by Susanna Vance, Stoner and Spaz by Ron Koertge, and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. All have strong narrative voices, humor and quirky, surprising characters. Those traits, along with thought-provoking themes always draw me in. I worked hard to incorporate the same ingredients into my new novel BADD and my earlier novels, The Knights of the Hill Country, and The Spectacular Now.

What’s next? Is there a new topic or theme you’ll be tackling?

It’s too early in the creative process for me to talk about the topic of my next novel, but I am working on something. The themes of power and social class have wriggled into my mind lately. Big themes, for sure, but I’d like to handle them in a fun, even humorous way. Maybe with some mystery involved.

 Where do you get your ideas (particularly since they’re such gritty, mature topics)?

That’s a very good question. I don’t consciously choose “gritty” topics, but I am drawn to the kinds of real-life conflicts that people I know or live around are faced with. I have a very good memory for how I was in high school and know that, as a teen reader, I could handle mature themes and realistic portrayals. After all, my favorite authors during my teen years were John Steinbeck and Charles Dickens, neither of whom shied away from the gritty side of life.

Have you had any special experiences with readers who have a personal connection with your book topics?

Not long after my novel The Knights of the Hill Country was named to one of the state reading lists in Texas, I received a phone call from a seventh-grade student who lived there. He was a big fan of the book and wanted to help persuade Disney to turn it into a movie. I told him to go ahead, and he did. He wrote a letter to Disney explaining the plot and why it would make a great film. He emailed a copy of the letter to me and kept me updated on his progress, always signing his name and including the title “producer” after it. As it turned out, Disney never made the movie, but I couldn’t help admiring the determination of that reader.

If you would like to read more from Tim Tharp, please follow him to the rest of his blog tour stops:

February 24th—Teen Reads http://teenreads.com 

February 25th—Bloggers Heart Books http://bloggers-heart-books.blogspot.com/ 

February 26th—YA Fresh http://yafresh.com

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