Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tina Ferraro on ABCs and Kissing

posted by Aunty Cindy aka Loucinda McGary

Young Adult author Tina Ferraro was one of our very first guest authors here in the Lair, and we are always happy when she can come back and pay us a visit! Aunty is tickled pink to sit down today with her buddy Tina and talk about her new release, changes in the YA market, and a cool new thing called “webisodes!”

AC: Welcome back, Tina! Please tell us a little about your new release with the fantastic cover -- The ABCs of Kissing Boys.

Tina: Sure!

Parker Stanhope has played soccer practically since she could walk. And now that she’s a high school junior, everything she’s worked for is finally coming together. She’s paid her dues on the field, and as an upperclassman, she’s a shoo-in for the varsity team. But that’s not what happens. This year, the coach moved up every JV player but two­-and one of those two was Parker. Now, she’s stuck with the freshmen, and her friends are cutting her loose. But Parker is determined to get her life back. She has to get on the varsity team, and she has the perfect plan. All she needs now is the right kind of coach.

Which comes first for you, the plot or the characters? And how did you come up with it/them for this story?

I had the idea that a girl-doesn't-get-moved-up-with-her-team floating around, as well as a Romeo-and-Juliet-esque parental feud.
(Shakespeare fan AC rubs her hands together with glee!)

But it didn't come together until I decided on my (admittedly ridiculous) title, and had to figure out how to tie those things all together with the heroine learning "everything there is to know about kissing." My critique partner, Kelly Parra, was wonderful in helping me sort out my thoughts, and before you knew it, I had a storyline, and I started writing.

So that was a really long way to say "the plot first."

AC: This is your third Young Adult release in as many years. What changes have you seen in your sub-genre since you first started writing in it?

Tina: Wow--I am no expert on Young Adult fiction, so take what I say with a grain of salt. But it does seem like the most popular books today have fantasy/paranormal themes, while when I started targeting YA, the books on people's lips were more contemporary high school stories, like Gossip Girls and (the now-defunct) Dorchester Smooch line. As for the future? Well, everything old is new again, right, so I imagine things will circle back.

AC: What new and exciting things are coming up in your future?

Tina: I have another book coming out in the summer of 2010, which I am really excited about. Here's a blurb:

When Bad Flings Happen to Good Girls

It took 17 years for Brandy to get her life the way she wanted it--and about 17 seconds for it to fall apart. Her well-intending friends tell her it's time to stop working so hard and "get a life." By this, they mean a boyfriend, and they give her the summer to find one, or they're going to go hunting the halls themselves. Not realizing that adding a boyfriend to her hectic AP and robotics team schedule, she'd have zero for them.

Away at her uncle's cabin, she sets out to find a guy who will "break her heart," so she can return from summer in need of her friend's TLC, rather than matchmaking skills, and then can resume her well-planned life. She quickly finds the perfect candidate. But hooking up with the lifeguard proves harder than she can imagine. Even with the help from his nice-guy friend who seems to have his own reasons for getting them together--and keeping them apart...

AC: Sounds like another fun read Tina! Now what other fun things have you been up to?

A "webisode" version of my second book, How to Hook a Hottie, is currently being shopped at TV studios. A "webisode" is a mini-episode, especially geared at websites. You'll find them popping up on TV channel websites in the forms of brand-new programming, and "extras" from your favorite TV shows. For instance, "The Office" just ran a three-part webisode series on the NBC website.

Anyway, yeah, so wish me luck on that.

AC: How exciting, and GOOD GOOD LUCK!

Tina will give away a copy of her newest release The ABCs of Kissing Boys to one lucky commenter today.

AC: Since Tina’s book is all about kissing, why not share one of your favorite kisses (first or otherwise) in a book you’ve recently read. Hey, Tina! You can go first!

Tina: I liked the first time Ranger kissed Stephanie in Janet Evanovich’s series. WOO HOO! Hot stuff!

AC: NO arguments here! Okay Banditas and Buddies, lay the kisses on us!


Virginia said...

Is he going to be at my house again!

flchen1 said...

Drat it, Virginia! ;)

Hi, Tina! Oddly, as much as I love the hot smooches, I'm blanking on the memorable ones right now. This might call for some rereading...

Thanks for the interview today, and congrats on the latest--it sounds like a great read! I don't remember having stuff like this when I was actually a YA!

Virginia said...

I'll share my first kiss. I was 13 years old and at a teen party. We were playing spin the bottle and Post office and you got to go in a dark room and kiss a boy. I was struck on one boy will call him DD. I got to go in that dark room with him that night, I will never forget it. I thought myself to be in love after that first kiss. I was in love with him for a few years I thought. The funny thing is we never got together, when we really got old enough, but I never forgot this boy and I haven't seen him in about 30 years now.

Virginia said...

Hey Fedora, the rooster wanted to stay with me today because he knew I made brownies. I also made him a snow suit to keep him warm. Because it is snowing here and very cold.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

WOO HOO! Looks like the GR will be hanging out at your house AGAIN, Virginia! Careful, you know what a Lothario that bird is. He's liable to try stealing a few kisses right along with the candy and cookies!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Missed it by... that much, Fedora!

I just finished writing a HOT smooch between my H/H in my WIP. Tina's title must have inspired me!

Have you read our Madame D-W's Dangerous Duke? I finished it recently. The first time Max and Lady Kate get in a lip lock if pretty dang HAWT!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

What a precocious 13 yr. old you were Virginia! Maybe I don't need to warn you about our wily bird after all...


danie88 said...

Hi Tina! *waves* It's so great to see you here at the Lair! I'm so looking forward to reading "The ABC's of Kissing Boys" I've had it on my wishlist for awhile now :D

One of my favorite kisses that I've read has to be by one of my friends I met on myspace... her name is Jackie... she is an aspiring writer and is so good at doing a kissing scene... when I read a sample of her writing I about melted... I am not kidding... you could just feel the heat it was so hot! Anyway I hope she gets published because her writing is great.

Here is the link to "the kiss" if anyone wants to check it out...

danie88 said...

*sigh* it looks like some of it is cut off... here is the rest of the numbers for the link it continues right after 4608


or you can add her at:

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Danie,
WOW! A written kiss hot enough to make ya melt sounds GOOD to me!

Glad to know you are a fan of Tina's work. I thought her Top 10 Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress was adorable!

Best of luck to your friend Jackie, and speaking of social networks...

Check out Jo-Mama's post right below today's interview. The Banditas are now on Face Book!


Anna Campbell said...

Virginia, you must be doing something right! He clearly LOVES you!

Tina, LOVELY to see you! I always get such a lift when I see your smiling face. Congratulations on the new release. Sounds like another hit on your hands. You come up with the best plots! They're sweet and funny and sassy without being shallow. Great stuff!

Actually my favorite kiss just HAS to be the one from the end of North and South with the gorgeous Richard Armitage. I snitched it for the big kiss scene in Tempt the Devil, as most of you know, because I keep telling you! It's just so poignant and tender and sweet and emotional with all this banked passion there under the care. Whoooooeeeeeeee! Be still my beating heart!

Minna said...

Caleb and Liberty in Time Was by Nora Roberts.

Helen said...

He must be enjoying your place Virginia have fun with him

Great interview ladies the book sounds excellent. Kisses aren't they the best my first kiss was when I was 14 tragic it was LOL I have learn't a lot since then and a lot of it from books I have read.

One of my favourite kiss scences is in To Tempt The Devil Olivia and Julian fantastic hero and heroine and he is persistant and it is worth every word thank you Anna I won't say anymore I don't want to give any spoilers you all will have to read the book.

Have Fun

Margay said...

In honor of Tina 9her being a YA writer and all), one of my favorite kissing scenes is in Twilight (the movie version especially). I think it's because she's the one whose more eager and wants more and he is the one showing the restraint and just being protective of her because he doesn't want to hurt her. What's more sexy/attractive than that?

Christine Wells said...

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

Congrats on the success of your novels and good luck on the webisodes, Tina. How exciting!

Kisses...well, I remember a movie one that got my YA heart racing--the first kiss in Top Gun between Maverick and Charlie. They have a fight and she zips off in her MG and he follows and they fight some more and then he looks sort of nonplussed before he takes her face in his hands and kisses her senseless. Ah, that was back when I thought TC was pretty hot stuff. Snork! Not quite as memorable as the volleyball scene;) but one that just sprang to mind when thinking of YA and kisses.

Anna, how did I know you were going to pick the N&S kiss? That would have to be the best screen kiss I've seen, too.

Virginia...again??? Are you and the rooster having some kind of thing?

danie88 said...

it's a good thing you mentioned the post below this one... I didn't even notice I won a book LOL I also just added you guys on facebook :D

Beth said...

Welcome back to the lair, Tina! I can't wait to read The ABCs of Kissing Boys. Of course, my daughter will probably grab it and read it first :-)

I have so many favorite first kisses in books, it's hard to choose just one *g* I did love the first kiss between Sam Starrett and Alyssa Locke in Suzanne Brockmann's Gone Too Far.

I also loved Ross and Rachel's first kiss on Friends and the kiss between Sandra Bullock and Aidan Quinn in Practical Magic :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Tina! Welcome to the Lair!! You always have the BEST titles. I am absolutely LOUSY at titles. I so wish I had your knack.

I think it's fascinating that you did plot first with your YA. Do you think YA is (generally) more plot driven than adult romance? I'm just thinking about my own YA (Delcroix Academy), and it started with a what if ('what if you had super powers, but didn't know if they were good or bad..."), vs. all my adult romances, which start with characters.

I wonder if that might have anything to do with teens being more interested in exploring issues than characters?

Hmmm. I know, probably a little too deep for 6AM.

Okay, back to kissing.

I don't know that a lot of specific first kisses stick out in my mind, but I do love them. And I love writing them. The funniest first kiss I ever wrote was in my Delcroix book -- because in my experience, at least (TMI ALERT!!), French kissing was really gross the first time. It took a little while to get used to the idea of having someone's tongue in my mouth.

So I tried to capture that. But it didn't really work with the overall romance of the scene, so I ended up soft-petaling the ick factor. LOL.

Anyway, thanks for visiting and sharing your stories with us --you'll have to come back and gave us an update on the webstory thingie!

TinaFerraro said...

Thank you, everyone for such a warm welcome! And I'm loving hearing about real-time first kisses and fantastic literary kisses (written by you and others).

I want to single out one because it made my head spin (not exactly The Exorcist-style, but you get my drift). When Auntie Cindy first asked me about a favorite kiss, what ran through my head was Sam and Alyssa in GONE TOO FAR...I mean, so long in coming, such a build-up, and such sexy characters...

But then I remembered Ranger and Steph, and thought that probably had more general recognition.

So Beth, hey, high five on Sam and Alyssa! And how about WildCard and Savannnah, too???

TinaFerraro said...

Kirsten, thanks for the compliments on my titles. I have grown to really love titles, but truth is, I didn't start out very good at them. I worked at it. One of my "secrets" is checking out song titles and idiom sites. But keep that between us, okay? ;)

You asked about plotting. When I was writing adult romances, I started with a plot first, too. (What about a secretary who is trying really hard to get ahead...) But understand, I never sold any adult romances, so maybe if I HAD started with the characters instead of the story, I would have had more success?

Susan Sey said...

Hi, Tina--

Welcome to the lair, & thanks to AC for bring her by! I love YA stuff, though I have no ability to write it. I think jr/sr high were so awful & traumatic for me I've blanked them from my subconscious.

Except for my first kiss. Oh, my. Let's just say I didn't give kissing a whirl again for two years after that first go round, & the poor guy (who I now realize was probably doing his best) became a legend in my circle of friends. The Masher, we called him.

Romance novels probably contributed to the incident. I'd been eating them up to the tune of at least 1 a day, & keep in mind this was '80s. Swashbuckling alpha males kidnapping nubile young virgins left & right, charming them right out of their virtue by the power of their amazing kissing skills. Sweaty-palmed high school sophomores were bound to be a disappointment in comparison. :-)

Trish Milburn said...

Hey, Tina. I love it when we have fellow YA authors here in the Lair!

I'm sort of blanking on first kisses too, but I liked when Bella and Edward first kissed in Twilight. Everything else I'm thinking of is TV-related -- like when Buffy and Angel first kissed.

And good luck on the webisodes. That sounds like fun.

jo robertson said...

Yay, hi, Tina, welcome back to the Lair. Your books are so incredibly fun. I'm sure ABC's is great, too! And I love your covers.

Hmmm, I have to say I'm more the Joe Morelli kissing type, especially with the choo-choo game Stephanie and he played. Uh, I don't think there was any kissing involved in that one, however LOL.

One of my personal kisses that I remember well was the first time I kissed a guy who wore glasses. He smoothly removed his glasses and leaned in for the kiss. I was 20 at the time and thought that was soooo sexy!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Morning Everyone!

Just because Tina happens to write YA does NOT me we have to keep the OJ sans alcohol and the cabana boys fully clothed!

So bust out the bubbly and get some mimosas going! Off with the shirts cabana boys! We have SERIOUS PARTYING to do!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

LOL, Fo!

I also KNEW you'd get Richard A. in on the action if there were kisses involved. ;-)

I was all set to dive into TTD when my Rita books arrived. ARGH! I've never judged the Rita before, and have been obsessing a bit over doing my best, so TTD is still waiting for me to finish.


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Margay and Trish,

Two votes for Twilight... that is another book I've purposely put off reading because I know once I start I won't be able to stop! (kinda like TimTams...) And that is an entire series, so I need to be sure I have a large enough block of time to commit. :-(

But I agree with you, Margay! There's something very sexy about a guy who is trying to hold back and be protective. YUMMMMMY!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

YAY Beth and Christine on your votes for Sam and Alyssa in "Gone Too Far!" I love how Brockmann can intersperse these tender moments in with all her GREAT action sequences! MY KINDA STORY! HA!

And I LOVED the movie "Top Gun" when it first came out, but had quite an experience seeing it. I took my son, who was 10 or 11 at the time and my Chinese exchange student who was in his late teens.

Remember the opening flying sequence where Maverick flips the Russian jet pilot the bird? Well, I had to explain to my Chinese "son" what that meant...

Then, right in the middle of the love scene (which I was really enjoying) my son bursts out in a loud whiny voice, "EEWWW! They're licking each other!"



Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Oh no, Helen! Your first kiss was TRAGIC?!?! Pour her another mimosa, Cabana boy!

I take it this was NOT your beloved DH, just like Jo-Mama's guy with the glasses was NOT her Dr. Big...

SHHHHHH! Don't worry, what's said in the Lair stays in the Lair! :-)


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

I totally agree, Tina comes up with the best titles! I remember when she hit upon "Top 10 Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress" I was sooo envious because the title was PERFECT! It takes me forever & a day to think up a title, and then my publisher never seems to use it. :-(

ROFLOL about your aversion to French kissing! See my comment about Top Gun... others seem to share your opinion about "swapping spit" as my brothers used to call it. BLECK!


TinaFerraro said...

Susan, LOL about the sweaty-palmed sophomores...I think most of us had that kind of first kiss experience!

And I'm not surprised to see Twilight making top lists...I haven't seen the movie, but hear it's got some great kissing scenes, too!

TinaFerraro said...

Cindy, I think you were "there" for the creation of the title TOP TEN USES FOR AN UNWORN PROM DRESS. We brainstormed it with our on-line group. I know it started as TEN USES FOR AN UNUSED PROM DRESS. Susan Gable came up with "top ten" and either you or Diana Duncan offered up "unworn" to offset "used." 'Member???

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Your first kiss was from The Masher, Susan?!?! Now that IS tragic! Cabana boy, another mimosa for our Smoov T to wipe out that awful memory!

Since we're talking about PERSONAL first kisses, Aunty is shaking up the olde gray matter trying to remember hers... I seem to recall I was in Jr. high so around 13 or 14 and my BFFs brother, a year younger, and I were both eager to see what all the fuss about French kissing was. AHEM! We were enthusiastic, but I'm afraid our techniques were sadly lacking. :-P

C'mere Cabana boy and let Aunty show you how much she has IMPROVED! MWAH!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Tina,

Yes, I remember tossing the title about in the BS group, but I'm sure if there were good title ideas floating around, they probably weren't from MOI! :-P

I just received word that my next release IS all set for Sept 2009! YAY! But, of course, they haven't figured out a title yet. BOO! HISS!


Helen said...

No Aunty Cindy not my beloved DH and yes even though it is very early in the morning here in Oz and I should be getting ready for work (yuk) a drink might help me get thru the day LOL

Have Fun

Helen said...

I have to wait till September to read the next book we will have to start a countdown

Have Fun

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Get Helen another drinky-poo to get her though another hard day at work! So sorry you can't stay and play, Helen. :-(

And yes, I'm all for starting another countdown for my next release... WHEN I ever get a title. HRUMPH!!!


Beth said...

So Beth, hey, high five on Sam and Alyssa! And how about WildCard and Savannnah, too???

Oh, I love WildCard and Savannah! And my other favorite couple is actually Stan and Teri *g* Loved their conflict and how he tried to fight his feelings for her *sigh*

Now I wish I had time to read all three of these books again :-)

Cassondra said...

Oh, my best first kiss is ALWAYS the same. *sigh* I know. I'm boring. It's the First Kiss in Last of the Mohicans.

No kiss in a film has lived up to that so far. It's interesting what makes a kiss amazing on film or in books for me. I don't know that I can put my finger on it exactly, but I think it's the emotion behind the kiss. The longing. The wanting. If that shows in the kiss, it's one I'll remember.

Tina, welcome back to the lair. It's always good to have you here. Can I just say, WHAT IS UP with the YA cover fairies? YAs are getting the BEST covers ever! This one is absolutely wonderful! Congrats Tina on this release. It'll be a great seller, without a doubt. And I love your story about how the idea came together.

Virginia, what's going on with you and that bird? No wonder Fedora is getting jealous!

Cassondra said...

Tina said:

When Auntie Cindy first asked me about a favorite kiss, what ran through my head was Sam and Alyssa in GONE TOO FAR...I mean, so long in coming, such a build-up, and such sexy characters...

Suz Brockman does great first kisses. My best first kiss in a book, for a long time, was one of hers too--one of her old ones when she wrote category. It was called Prince Joe.

I haven't read Gone Too Far yet, and now I think I have to go and get it. *sigh* No fair. I just added YOURS to the TBR pile. Now just reading the comments I'm getting more!

Cassondra said...

Wildcard and Savannah--they MIGHT actually be second in line after LOTM.


TinaFerraro said...

Cindy, congrats on the release date! (And see previous post about "title secrets...")

Cassondra, so glad you like the cover! It's a new look for me, more mature, but it seems to be getting a fantastic response!

Beth, I'm with you...I want to re-read all those books, too.

Jo, I loved the Morelli choo-choo thing, too. In fact, I adore Morelli. It was just that the Ranger thing sizzled for me!

Anna Campbell said...

Helen, thanks for the plug! Although I must say I did have fun writing that kiss (in an angst-filled sort of way!).

AC, I can see duty is calling. Olivia and Erith will still be waiting for you when you finish your RITA books. I've started mine - always interesting to see what I've got.

Cassondra, how could I forget the Last of the Mohicans???!!! Oh, that kiss. Oh, that music. Oh, DDL!!!

Actually there's a couple of great kissing scenes in How to Steal a Million with Audrey Hepburn and Peter O'Toole too. The first one is just SOOOO cute.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Cassondra,
You'll get no complaints here about bringing up LOTM! Please do mention that HAWT HAWT DDL any ole time! And yes, that has to be one of the BEST kisses ever!

fanning self

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Tina, glad to have you back in the Lair!

It's no secret among the Banditas, but French Kiss is one of my all time favorite movies. The kiss between Kate (Meg Ryan) and Luc (Kevin Klien) on the train when she's half asleep is fantastic! Just enough cling, and then the sucker-punched look on his face afterwards.........oh YUMMY!

(Hey Virginia, congrats on the GR nab.)

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Tina,
I'm a Morelli girl too, but Ranger is JUST TOO YUMMY! Esp. when I picture him as Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson... OOO! LA LA!!!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Suz!

I loved that scene from French Kiss too! Kevin K. is SUCH a cutie-patootie! :-)


MarthaE said...

Thanks for the interview! Your books sound like they have a lot of humor!
Here is a kiss (I think their first kiss) from Celeste Bradley's Duke Most Wanted: "He dropped a quick, meaningless little kiss on her lips, so close to his own. Except.... it wasn't meaningless at all."

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

OOOOO! Nice one, Martha!

Thanx for sharing.


TinaFerraro said...

Suzanne, FRENCH KISS is one of my all-time favorite movies...that scene in the die for.

Martha, that excerpt gave me an awww...

Pat Cochran said...

Hi,Tina and Aunty Cindy,

Just finished reading Celeste Bradley's Desperately Seeking a Duke.
You could pretty much select any of
Rafe and Phoebe's kisses from that
book and enter it in this "compe-
tition!" Talk about turning up the

Pat Cochran

ddurance said...

I love the first kiss in Twilight by Stephenie Meyer....simply magical.