Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tina Ferraro -- "Hooked" on YA

interviewed by Aunty Cindy

A few months ago, my good buddy and red-hot YA author Tina Ferraro was kind enough to be one of our first guest bloggers here in the Lair. Well, it's a brand new year, Tina has a brand new book on the shelves NOW, and we are tickled PINK that she has come back for another guest blogger stint!

AC: Welcome back to the Lair, Tina!

Tina: Thanks, AC and all you Banditas for inviting me. I'm happy to be back!

AC: Please tell us about your latest YA release, How To Hook A Hottie. Where did you get the idea and other inspirations for writing YA?

Tina: Whereas in my previous book, Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress, I had an a-ha moment where the idea struck, How to Hook a Hottie happened through the course of several drafts. It wasn’t until a few pivotal characters started to breathe life that the story took off.

Here’s the plot:

Kate DelVecchio plans to be a millionaire before she's 20. When she agrees to go to a sports banquet with a hotshot baseball player, she stumbles upon a possible cash cow. The rest of the school is amazed that the no-nonsense Kate could hook such a hottie, and one by one approach her for help hooking their own. She doesn't know anything about getting guys, but for $100.00 a pop, she's more than willing to try, including inventing a 6-step-plan on How to Hook a Hottie. And how could that possibly backfire?

AC: How was this book a different writing experience from your first, Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress?

Tina: The main character, Kate, is basically doing her time in high school, feels like she’s on the road to greater things. The heroines of Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress, as well as my next book, The ABC’s of Kissing Boys, are fixated on their present lives, wanting to make the most of them and their high school experiences. I was definitely more the latter--very social and more about my friends than my grades--so writing Kate was a stretch for me. I often had to pull back and analyze my instincts versus what Kate would naturally do, which was not so much of a problem with the other two books.

AC: Any advice to the As Yet Unpublished or Not Yet Published writers here in the Lair? Like things you wish you'd known before your first book came out? Or before your second book came out?

Tina: My advice is to keep doing exactly this--networking. Reading and commenting on writers’ blogs, participating on writing loops and in critique groups, maybe entering contests. I believe that networking was a huge contributor in me getting an agent, making my first sale, and these days, keeping me “in the game.”

AC: With the rave reviews both your books have received, Aunty is sure you'll be "in the game" for a good long time. What new and exciting things are on the horizon for you?

Tina: In the spring of 2009, The ABC’s of Kissing Boys will be released. It’s about a 16 year-old girl who doesn’t get promoted to Varsity soccer with her teammates, and the crazy-but-just-might-work scheme that she concocts to get her coach’s attention, which includes kissing the prom king at the sports’ fair kissing booth. But first she needs to find out everything she can about kissing, and that help comes in the most unlikely of sources--the freshman guy across the street. But will maintaining this secret alliance with a froshie actually become more important than making Varsity?

Right now I’m working on another contracted book, the title of which is still in negotiations, which will involve, among other things, a summer fling. The main character has some of Kate’s seriousness, but some of the playfulness of my other heroines, too, and I’m hopeful that together she and I can pull off this new book!

AC: The ABC's of Kissing Boys sounds like another fun read! And with your talent and abilities, Aunty has no doubt you'll pull off the next book and continue to delight readers for years to come.

Readers, to keep up with all the latest on Tina and her books be sure to check out her website: www.tinaferraro.com.
She also blogs with six other YA authors at Books, Boys and Buzz.

Now Tina and AC have a question for YOU. Tina's girl-entrepreneur extraordinaire, Kate develops and sells a how-to plan for hooking hotties. What kind of how-to book or plan would YOU like to have? Don't be shy, you know anything goes here in the Lair.

One lucky commenter will win an autographed copy of Tina's new release, How To Hook a Hottie
. Good luck to all!


Anna Campbell said...


jo robertson said...

You evil witch!! I was all geared up to say "Cockadoodle doo!"

Wahhhh! Well, keep the little guy safe down under. I hear someone's making rooster cookies and might just accidentally mix up the real rooster with the treat!

Aunty Cindy said...

OOOO! You've resorted to NAME CALLING, Jo-Mama? See what Rooster Envy does! Doglady, what hath your creation wroth?

Watch yourself, Foanna, that Jo-Mama can be deadly when provoked.


jo robertson said...

Welcome back to the Lair, Tina, good to "see" you again!

How to Hook a Hottie sounds absolutely darling! I'm sure it'll be a hit. I really admire YA authors for getting into the heads of their characters. I remember that being a very scary time, not sure I wanna go back into MY teenaged head LOL.

Hmmm, I think I'd just like to have a Travel Plan to circle the globe in style -- you know, no worries about money or time, just a really relaxing trip.

Hmmmm, AC's corrupted me!

Anna Campbell said...

Goodness, JM, that was close! Neck and neck! Yes, I heard about the rooster cookies too which is why I think he wanted to emigrate for the day!

Tina, my friend, lovely to 'see' you back in the lair. You have an evil glint in your eye in that photo that makes you look like a real Bandita, buddy!

Congratulations on the release of your second book. I adored Prom Dress, as you know. You have such a wonderful, bubbly style but still manage to touch the emotions at the same time. Brava! The new one sounds equally compelling. Can't wait to read it. Um, what's that? My conscience just called on the landline. Oh, that's right, I've got a book to write. Sigh. Oh, well, I'm desperately looking forward to reading it anyway.

Aunty Cindy said...

HA! You were a very apt pupil, JM! After all, YOU are the one with another cruise scheduled. And if you do figure out how to travel with no time or money worries, PLEASE LET ME KNOW!

Helen said...

Well done Anna

Welcome back Tina this book sounds wonderful.
My how to book would be on how to retire and still have enough money to buy all the books that I would have more time to read, and of course to travel to the places that the books take me to.
Great post
Have Fun

Annie West said...

Tina, the book sounds great - full of intriguing possibilities!

What kind of how to book would I like? How to get a book accepted without revisions! That would be a great one. Or perhaps: How to get teenagers to tidy up after themselves...? Oh, they'd be bestsellers, I'm sure.

Anna, quit the evil snigger, please. It's scary enough in person without having you flaunt it over the net!


Christine Wells said...

Hi Tina! Welcome back to the lair. Great interview, Aunty C.

Your books sound like so much fun, Tina. Hmm, I think I'd like to know how to fit more than 24 hours into my day.

Congrats on the GR, FOanna. I hope you're taking good care of our feathered friend. Feeding him lots of chocolate slice. Yum!

danetteb said...

Hi Tina,
I really enjoyed your Top Ten Prom Dress book, I've been looking forward to reading your latest. It's on my need to buy.
Hugs, Danette

Amy Andrews said...

Great title - How To Hook A Hottie.
What about how to fit too many things into too shorter a day while still being a size eight yummy mummy for whom nothing is too much trouble?
Don't think I could sell that idea. The title is terrible!

Caren Crane said...

Congrats on the GR, Foanna!

TINA, so good to have you back! I would love to have a plan on how to make my hair look great in under 20 minutes. I've been searching for this elusive plan since I was 12. Anyone have a plan for that?!

Caren Crane said...

Annie, I would buy the book on getting teenagers to tidy up, for sure! I need several copies. *g*

Keira Soleore said...

Welcome to the Lair, Tina. As you can see the Banditas have become naughtier since your first visit.

Are the YA red-hot books just as sexy/erotic as the adult books? Or are there gradations to it just like we have foradult books?

Gannon Carr said...

Welcome, Tina. How To Hook A Hottie sounds wonderful. The word "hottie" makes me laugh, because my 8 year old daughter and her friends refer to the cute boys in school as "hotties"! I told her they need to come up with some other word; hottie is not something I want to hear a bunch of 3rd graders saying! LOL!

I would love to have a plan on how to exercise, lose weight, and look great.... in 30 minutes a day!

Beth said...

Welcome back, Tina! My daughter and I both loved Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress and we can't wait to get a copy of How To Hook A Hottie *g*

Annie, I'd love to read how to get a book accepted without revisions and getting teens to pick up after themselves *g*

I think I'd have a series of books, sort of like -- How To Teach The People in Your House To:

Take out the garbage (instructional drawings of putting a clean bag in the trash can included)

Change the empty toilet paper roll

Unroll dirty socks AND how to take undergarments out of dirty jeans before they're placed in the dirty clothes pile

Rinse dirty dishes and place them in the dishwasher

Learn the different between an Emergency and a Non-emergency. Hint: Being bored, hungry or just having an overload of teenage angtst are NOT emergencies. Please do not bother the writing mother unless there is copious amounts of blood, bones have been broken or the house (or a sibling) is on fire.


Beth said...

Okay, those should be difference and angst *sigh* My kids are home for a second day due to school being cancelled because of a water line break. If they don't get it fixed today, I'm going to go fix the darn thing myself!

MsHellion said...

Oh, my How To book would be: How NOT to Date in the 21st Century: a Survival Guide to Avoiding Pig-Killers, Not Yet Out of the Closets, and Die-Hards Looking for a Love Like the Titanic

Slightly specific, I admit, but probably useful to girls around here.

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Tina -

I'd like a book on how to pick just fun & marketable titles! Yours are absolutely wonderful.

Annie - was LOL about a book getting a teenager to clean up after themselves. Next would be a book about how to get a teenager to read a book about how to clean up after themselves *g* I think nothing short of a magic wand will impact my two.

Beth - Oh, I feel your pain! I know they send the kids home to keep them safe while repairs are being made -- but are they really? And are you sure the teachers aren't tapping away on the now exposed pipes trying to prolong the unscheduled holiday?

Kirsten said...

Tina, thanks for coming back!! You are so talented and we are very lucky to have you! I loved Prom Dress and Hottie. The ABCs of Kissing sounds like fun--you've got great stuff in the works.

My How-To book would be: How to Juggle Two Careers and Two Small Children Without Losing Your Mind.

Except, I haven't figured out the "how to" part yet. I'll have to work on that a little. Snort.

TinaFerraro said...

You guys here at Romance Bandits are amazing! I woke up to 20 comments!

I appreciate the warm welcome, and am LOVING all the how-to ideas...and as soon as I can get the kids out the door, will respond more fully!


TinaFerraro said...

Thanks again to all who have commented, and here's a few jump-in's on topics:

Jo, I agree that the teen years can be a scary time! But as an adult I use the same elements that put me off and held me back to empower my characters to try harder to get what they want. I tell you, it's way more fun to be 16 NOW.

And hey, Anna! That evil glint in my eye was probably fear that out of 100+ pictures being shot, I wouldn't like ANY of them. However, I had a lovely photog--a friend--who helped, as well as a friend who did my hair...

Which makes me jump to Caren, and yes, I fret about my hair all the time, and could use that book, too!

TinaFerraro said...

Keira asks:

Are the YA red-hot books just as sexy/erotic as the adult books? Or are there gradations to it just like we have for adult books?

Tina says:

I'm not aware of red-hot YA books. In YA, we have "edgy" books, but for the most part, the sex isn't red-hot as much as awkward.

Maybe someone else can help us with this answer?

TinaFerraro said...

Danette, Beth & Kirsten, thanks so much fo telling me you enjoyed PROM DRESS! And Danette, weren't you the winner here on the blog? Kirsten, wow, you've already read HOTTIE, too! Much appreciated!

Amy and Donna, thanks for the nods on my titles. Coming up with them is arguably my favorite part of every new project.

Gannon--LOL about third graders using "hottie!"

Thanks to Helen, Annie, Christine, and Mshellion!

Kate Carlisle said...

Hi Tina, welcome back! Very fun interview, Aunty. :-)

Anna, take good care of our bird, please. Rooster cookies? The mind reels.

Beth, your list is hilarious! I feel your pain, I really do!

I'm joining the group who's writing the "how-to-quit-the-day-job-and-still-have-tons-of-money-with-which-to-travel-around-the world" book. As soon as I figure out how to do it...

Tina, I absolutely love your titles and concepts and I know they've got to be so appealing to teens! Okay, please don't groan, because I know it's the oldest question in the world, but I'd love to know how you keep coming up with such great ideas. Thanks!

Gannon Carr said...

Beth, LOL, about changing the empty toilet paper roll. I have the same problem at my house! GRRR!

TinaFerraro said...

Hi, Kate!

My ideas? Well, just like all writers, they just start with little kernels and pop, things I've collected throughout my life. But they spring to life in today's world with help from my kids' and their friends' lives.

Like...in THE ABC's OF KISSING BOYS, the main idea is that a 16 year-old does not get advanced from JV to Varsity with all her player-friends. The humiliation and fear of being "left behind" is universal, but I had to find high school soccer players to help me make it real.

That book, however, started with the title, and then I worked backwards, trying to figure out why in the world a girl would have to learn all about kissing...

jo robertson said...

mshellion, love your list! So useful :-D.

Beth, I can tell you have a houseful of teens. Yes, what's with the underwear in the jeans? So disgusting. I wanted to train mine to put their clothes in separate bins, whites, darks, and lights. Never worked.

flchen1 said...

Hi, Tina! I'm so glad to learn about your books--they sound hilarious and wonderful! (I'm SO glad not to be sixteen anymore, although I wouldn't mind parts of it, like the eat-anything-anytime part!) And I haven't read too much YA recently, but from what I remember, much of the sex isn't so sexy; occasionally I remember reading "sweet" scenes and more often awkward or uncomfortable, but not so much sexy.

I could probably use any or all of the how-tos already proposed, plus I'd love the complete how-to-declutter-your-house-without-lifting-a-finger ;) And how to gently nudge your kids out of the grumpies without yelling at them.

Congrats, Anna, on the GR!

The Compulsive Reader said...

How about How to Babysit Siblings Without Going Mad? Or How to Procrastinate Efficiently. Or ever How to Cook a Meal EVERYONE Will Like (I'm pretty sure that one is impossible).

Thanks for the cool contest!


doglady said...

Okay, ladies, don't make me come over there and referee the GR disputes! Never mind. I was channeling my bakery manager self. Running a business with an all female crew who have access to knives can be rather daunting. Play nice, Anna and Jo!

Tina, your books sound fabulous and as I am ALWAYS looking for good reads for my thirteen year old niece I am off to The Book Basket to scout these out or have Tammy order them. They sound like they are right up my niece's alley. Can't wait for the third one as she is a sports playing fanatic - softball, basketball, soccer, volleyball you name it.

Beth, your list made my morning. I cracked up! I don't have any children (except the furry kind) but I taught high school for five years so I FEEL your pain. Teenagers are an alien species!

My how to books would have to be

How to keep my butt in the chair until I finish all four books in my planned series. How to get the guts to send out queries to agents and editors. How to make writing my career so I can stay at home and do it and not have to go back to Wal-Mart.

Oh and how to get teenagers to come to my house and clean. I don't care who they belong to as long as they come to the house, clean up and then leave BEFORE they get hungry! Now THAT would be a best seller!

terrio said...

I just know the more I hang out over here the better chance I'm going to get sucked back into YAs. LOL! But there's no time! Too many dang books already.

Tina - Kate sounds just like me in HS. The killing time part. I got good enough grades but the only thing that got me out of bed every morning was what I had planned for AFTER high school.

As for the list I'd make, since I just finished Does She Dare the other night, that Man Plan is looking like a pretty good idea...LOL!

Meredith said...

The kind of how-to book or plan I would want is... how to get a better job than being a crossing guard! Ha.

Kelly Parra said...

Great interview, Tina!! HOTTIE is just one of those books you want to read again and again. :) :)

Donna MacMeans said...

Hey fichen1 - What's this about being 16 and being able to eat whatever you wanted? Did I miss those years? Darn - I think I've always had to carefully watch what I ate - and I did - all the way from the plate to the fork to my mouth *g*

terrio said...

Gannon - My 8 yr old is the same way. Isn't it scary? And Zac Efron is NOT helping here...

Beth - I think we live in the same house. LOL!

The sad thing about MsHellion's book is that is all true and from RL personal experience. Seriously, the woman needs to reverse her wrong-guy magnet.

I want that How-to add more hours to your day. I desperately need that one.

TinaFerraro said...

Thanks, flchen1, Meredith and TCR!

Doglady, 13 years old is perfect for my books, and they all include SOME sports, whether it's the heroine or the hero who is playing.

Terrio, good for you for getting those good grades in HS! I didn't...and it took me years to figure out that I could have, had I cared about the action in the classroom as much as I did about what happened in the halls...

And hey, Kel (my fantastic critique partner and author of 2 YA novels herself), thanks for dropping by!

Aunty Cindy said...

Morning Everyone!

Sorry if I mis-lead anyone with the description "red hot" for Tina's books. I didn't mean sensual, but red hot in terms of being such great reads that people were fighting to get their hands on them. Sorta like the GR..... :-P

Beth, I LOVE your How-To titles! I NEED your How-To titles! Esp. the garbage dumping, toilet paper roll replacement, and the rinsing plates! Yes, I have NO CHILDREN in my house (except my dogs and they do NONE of those annoying things), so I think you can guess who the MAJOR OFFENDER is around here! Of course, he'd never actually READ any of those how-tos and why should he? All those things get done... BY ME!


Tera Lynn Childs said...

In response to Keira's question on sexuality:

Yes, there are gradations of sexuality levels, just like in adult books. There are books with explicit on screen sex and books with nothing more that a quick kiss (or less). But the "extreme" in the YA spectrum is not nearly as red hot as adult books. In YA, more than in adult novels, any sexual content must be integrally tied into the plot and is generally more about exploring sexuality than indulging in it.

Just one author's opinion.

MsHellion said...

How to Reverse Your Wrong Guy Magnet: Strategies for Avoiding Men on Bridget Jones' List of Men to Avoid

I think you have a book, Terr!

Cassondra said...

Hi Tina! Welcome back to the lair.

Congrats on the new book. I'm falling in love with reading YA of late. I love the freedom to go different directions and the authenticity of voice you can get in those books. You who are good at it make me BELIEVE you're still 16! Amazing.

mshellion said:
How NOT to Date in the 21st Century: a Survival Guide to Avoiding Pig-Killers, Not Yet Out of the Closets, and Die-Hards Looking for a Love Like the Titanic

LOL! I actually LOVE this title hellion! I think you need to write it.

Lessee..I'm presently pestering the dickens out of my local booksellers, looking for an "Idiot's Guide to mystery writing" or the equivalent. I'm doing a self-study on mystery and suspense plots and their differences. Not found anything great yet.

Life how-to: How to get the husband to put stuff back rather than just leaving it lying around. Grrrrrr. ;0)

Aunty Cindy said...

How to Reverse Your Wrong Guy Magnet

Now THAT would be an instant best-seller!

Tera, thanx for your take on sexuality in YA novels. Always good to hear from one "in the trenches!" ;-)

Tina, what do your own teen children think of your books? Do they read them? Are they proud of Mom, or mortified? I think I seldom did anything other than mortify my son when he was a teen. LOL!


TinaFerraro said...

Hello to Aunty Cindy, and thank you once again for this opportunity to visit!

Tera (whose YA book, Oh.My.Gods debuts in May!), thanks for your thoughts on levels of sexuality in YA novels.

Cassondra, so glad you're enjoying the YA genre!

Keira Soleore said...

Tera, thanks much for clarifying the purpose and focus of sexuality in YA books. As a parent, I'm much relieved to know how it is defined and explored, so kids understand the importance, the gravitas, and well, the fun behind it.

Wendy said...

Hi, Tina and all the fabulous Romance Banditas!

I'd like to have the How to Get Through Nursing School Without Strangling The Instructor!

Nah, just kidding, my instructors rock. I'd like How to Hook A Hottie - seriously, help! ;)

TinaFerraro said...

Aunty Cindy asked: what do your own teen children think of your books? Do they read them? Are they proud of Mom, or mortified?

Proud, overall. My daughter reads everything I write, helps keep it "real". And she's great about reporting to me when she sees girls reading my books. My sons are more subdued, but both have asked me to sign autgraphed copies for favorite teachers, and attended various booksignings. And all have plans to spend the big bucks they seem to think I'm someday going to make! Haha.

Jennifer Y. said...


Hmmm...the how-to plan for hooking hotties sounds pretty good to me...kind of like Tawny's Man Plan...those were the first types of plans that came to mind when I read the question.

I also wouldn't mind a plan for getting books read...I need to come up with something because I seem to waste too much time trying to decide what to read next...too many choices...LOL.

Tera Lynn Childs said...

Keira, Cindy, and Tina -- Glad I could provide a POV on this and hope it was helpful/informative.


Jennifer Y. said...

Oh, and Anna C., take care of GR! He said he might come back to visit me if I get more Banditas books to read...LOL. He read them all...me, I am dreadfully behind on reading them...I think he hid some of them in the TBR Mountain. I keep finding feathers everywhere.

Authorness said...

Hi, Tina! I just finished reading the fabulous Hottie. I loved Kate's ambition. Interesting to read about how the story really took off after completing several drafts.

I'd like a how-to-summon-a-genie-to-clean-my-house book.

Vanessa :)

Aunty Cindy said...

How wonderful that your kids think your writing is cool. When I told my son I'd named a minor character in my book after him, he was pleased. When he finally sees it in an honest-to-goodness printed book, I think he'll be a bit more impressed. :-)

Now, if ONLY we could get those huge royalty checks the kiddos believe are headed our way!

P.S. Vanessa, send that housecleaning genie my way when he's done at your place.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Welcome back to the lair, Tina! We really enjoyed your visit last time.

My how to books....Well the first would be, How To Purge Faster Than The Pack Rat Hauls It In! (I'm doing in depth case study on that so far this year.)

The second? How To Convince Publishers My Books Are Worthy Of Publication. Still working on that one

Suzanne Welsh said...

Wendy, I have the answer to that How To Get Through Nursing School....book!


Lots of it!

Peace, Love, and ME said...

Hmm...the 'how-to' book i would want would be:

How to NOT fall for your sexy english teacher!

infact, even if i don't win the book, anyone got advice??
He's 25 years old, married w/ two kids, six pack abs, and talks about literature like it's his true love...Mah! week at the knees!!!!!!


Aunty Cindy said...

Hang in there, Suz! And the rest of our AYU Banditas. It's only a matter of time before some astute editor discovers you. :-)

Tina, thank you again for hanging out in the lair with us today! It's been such a pleasure to have you here and I hope you'll come back again soon!


Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Peace Love & Me,
Thanx for dropping by and commenting. Long ago and far away, I had a tremendous crush on my Western Civ prof (probably around 30 & married) I can remember it now with a smile because I didn't do anything about it!

It's okay to enjoy a married man from afar. Heck, I enjoy Eric Bana, Hugh Jackman and Paul Bettany A LOT! But part of their appeal is that they are obviously not afraid of commitment, since they all are happily married. There's no harm in looking! And while you're admiring the unavailable ones, don't forget to keep an eye out for those who ARE available. There are some undiscovered gems out there. It just takes a lot of prospecting and polishing. ;-) Happy hunting!


TinaFerraro said...

Thanks so much for your comments, Wendy, Jennifer, Vanessa (all the over there in Oz), Suzanne (and LOL at your solution!), P, L & Me!

Scarlet said...

a book about how to get into a really expensive college w/o having to pay all the expensiveness :)

Anna Campbell said...

Tina, thanks for daring the lair again. Come back and see us again and all the best for the new releases! They sound fabbo!

TinaFerraro said...

Scarlet, with three kids approaching college, I could use that book, too!

Anna...you bet!

readingissomuchfun said...

How To Hook A Hottie sounds very good.

I would like a book on How To Make A Dent In Your TBR Pile Heehee


Wendy said...

Suzanne, I think you're completely right. In fact today when I was in the middle of a Catheter Insertion procedure today, I had a stray thought that after that I really needed a drink, LOL.

Between the woman groaning and my classmate (who was the one doing the actually insertion) mumbling "ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod.." and looking up at me with his eyes widen in panic while Deanna and me hold the woman's leg opened and laugh our butts off because OHMYGOD, LOOK AT HIS FACE. Even the instructor was laughing.

Good times.

Wendy said...

By the way, it was an old unresponsive female with severely contracted legs - they were bend so we literally had to pull them apart and let me tell you, holding them in place for more than half an hour HURTS for both her and my poor arms, although after 15 minutes of mindnumbing pain and me silently cursing Shawn for taking SO long, my arms went numb.

Aren't you guys glad I love sharing? LOL.