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November 08, 2015

How to Be Brave by @ekatwrites #Giveaway #Review #Interview #Thanks @GriffinTeen

An emotional contemporary YA novel about love, loss, and having the courage to chase the life you truly want.

Reeling from her mother's death, Georgia has a choice: become lost in her own pain, or enjoy life right now, while she still can. She decides to start really living for the first time and makes a list of fifteen ways to be brave - all the things she's wanted to do but never had the courage to try. As she begins doing the things she's always been afraid to do - including pursuing her secret crush, she discovers that life doesn't always go according to plan. Sometimes friendships fall apart and love breaks your heart. But once in a while, the right person shows up just when you need them most - and you learn that you're stronger and braver than you ever imagined.
 
E. Katherine Kottaras is at her happiest when she is either 1) at the playground with her husband and daughter and their wonderful community of friends, 2) breathing deeply in a full handstand, or 3) writing. She now lives in Los Angeles where she's hard at work on her next book.




Ok so normally I see a book has any kind of prose/poems and I run for the hills.  But this one OMG this one was perfect!  This is a wonderful story about a girl who is not skinny but so talented.  She needs to find her way and grow into her own person and she does this and more while she finishes a list of things she wrote down after her mother's death. How to be Brave was a wonderful debut! 

This book did a wonderful job covering the hard to topics our teens face today.  From sex to drugs and even just skipping school to bullies.  This book shows you that you shouldn't let anything stand in your way, to be brave, reach for the stars, and don't hold back! 

You should try everyone once (not so much on the drug use, just had to add that one)  But everything else was ok. 

The author did a wonderful job not glossing over what real teens face.  Now I will say that the use of the F word so much doesnt sound like teens I know at least around here.  But that aside this was perfection!  The author wasn't scared to go there. 

The characters in this one all have something they have to deal with and I think this book would have been even better if it would have been slip up into different POVs. But as it sits its still a wonderful journey of one girl learning how to be brave. Each character has their own voice and story and you get to follow along with Georgia as she finds love, hate, and tries everything at least once.  

I would love a short novella on what Georgia is up to today.  I want to know how her life turned out. 




 Go Into This One Knowing 
Main theme of the book don't let fear stop you from following your dreams.












"All opinions are 100% honest and my own."


Now for some goodies!  Check out the interactive trailer here and help Georgia Be Brave!
Yes I said INTERACTIVE!!!!

 CLICK HERE
CLICK HERE











HOW TO BE BRAVE addresses issues of positive body image. Was this something you set out to address or did it spring up organically? Is body image something you struggled with?
When I was growing up in the 1980s, I didn’t have access to the amazing body of work known as “YA literature” as it exists today. I was fairly obsessed with Sweet Valley High, but Elizabeth and Jessica were suburban twins (I’m an only child) with “perfect size-six figures,” and that was totally outside the realm of my experience. 

Thankfully, I did have Judy Blume, who was bravely offering characters that worried and obsessed about their growing bodies. Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret? and Blubber spoke to me about my awkward body and bullying and the need for kindness. 

But for the most part, I didn’t belong in the books I read. I was the only child of a Greek father and Russian-Jewish mother who were both of peasant stock (farmers on both sides) and who owned a restaurant in downtown Chicago. I didn’t know anything about suburban high schools, about size six. 

This last one was especially hard for me. When I was twelve, my pediatrician told me that I needed to lose twenty to thirty pounds, thus starting a lifelong battle with my weight. My ballet teacher told my mother I was too big too dance and she was wasting her money. I was constantly picked last in gym, alongside my BFF, who also struggled with her body. When I asked her recently what she remembered of our time as kids, she said:

“I remember our PE teachers who didn't help or guide but rather assisted with shaming by making the whole class wait for ‘free day’ until a pull-up was done (as though the situation was rooted in straight up defiance rather than inability) leading to a life-long dislike of physical activity.” 

I remember those many days, feeling embarrassed and shamed by my teachers, which led to feeling more uncomfortable and awkward (as though my own self-shame wasn’t enough). By the time I was in high school, I absolutely hated my body. 

I spent my twenties battling my weight. I yo-yo’d between diets and hunger and new workout trends and gyms. No matter what I did, no matter how hard I tried, I never was able to become a perfect size six – nothing even close to that – and my body retained its fullness, its roundness, its hardy, muscular, stocky, peasant stock shape. My short arms weren’t going to suddenly become lean and long. My thick thighs always remain thick. My belly likes being round, what can I say? 

I fought it for so very long. And then, after giving birth to my daughter, I stopped fighting. I had to. I learned to love my body in a new way. It was life-giving. It was strong. It was mine. 

So when I sat down to write my own book, I knew the character had to be several things: she had to be Greek, she had to live in Chicago, and she had to have immigrant parents who didn’t always understand her. I also knew that she would struggle with her body. BUT. I didn’t want losing weight to be central to her experience. I knew I didn’t want it to be a goal. For the longest time, it was for me. I didn’t want to do that to her. 

HOW TO BE BRAVE is about a girl who has lived her life in fear and who sets out to try new things, despite her insecurities. Before her death, her mom commanded Georgia to live differently—to try everything at least once and to never be ruled by fear. 

When Georgia is first creating her list, she asks her best friend, Liss: 
"What about losing weight?" 

And Liss responds: "You don't need to be brave to do that."

Georgia agrees, but of course, her insecurities don’t just disappear. They are always there. However, at the end Georgia finally realizes, “I’m not going to kill myself trying to achieve microscopic proportions. I’m still curvy me, and I always will be.”

Of course, there are many similarities between Georgia and me. Georgia also feels uncomfortable in her body that’s deemed “overweight” by society’s standards, and part of her storyline is that she finds confidence in her body, as it is – that losing weight does not equal being brave. This has been part of my storyline has well. 

What advice can you provide aspiring authors?
READ. A lot. Both in the genre/style you want to publish in and ABOUT writing – all aspects – the writing process, the publishing process, etc. There are hundreds of blog posts about the writing life, etc. and I read them obsessively to understand what I had to do to get published.

Also, WRITE a lot, of course. Just keep writing, no matter what, even if it’s a journal for yourself where you write a little bit everyday. And keep submitting – the rejections are difficult at first, but it gets easier.

Writing is hard and fun and frustrating and exhilirating. I can’t imagine not writing. And if you write, you understand this strange demand – it’s not a desire; it’s a necessity. Follow that call, whatever it is inside you that asks you to write - and keep writing, no matter what.

Of Georgia's tasks, are there any you don't think you could complete yourself? Are you up for the challenge?
The only one I’m really afraid of is skydiving. My husband went skydiving ten years ago, but he didn’t tell me until AFTER the day was over. (And I was incredibly grateful for this choice.) But I don’t know...maybe one day...

What was your path to publication? How long did it take you to write the book? Was this the first book you wrote or just the first one that got published?
I’ve been writing since I was four years old (strange little odes to Crystal Gayle’s, my favorite country singer of the ‘80s – oh how I wanted her hair). I wrote throughout high school via environmentally-themed zines that my friends and I Xeroxed and handed out to the entire school, as well as secret poetry written in journals stashed under my bed. Of course, there were all those papers for college and grad school. (I’m a freak because I love writing essays for school.) 

However, I didn’t pursue creative writing seriously until I was 25 when I signed up for classes at UCLA. About seven years later after taking classes in short story, nonfiction, and YA, I finally decided to start submitting my work places – poetry, short stories, essays, etc. Around the same time, I decided to write a book. It’s YA paranormal, took me four years to write, and was rejected by absolutely every single agent I queried. Not even one request. 

So, after a bit of soul-searching and some acceptance that perhaps this book wasn’t “the one,” I started over. I took some more classes through Litreactor where I started the book has eventually become HOW TO BE BRAVE. I’ve been extreeeeeemely lucky as the process has been fairly quick from initial draft to publication. Between beginning the book and publication, it will be a grand total of two years and nine months, which is actually quite amazing! 

What's currently in your TBR pile?
My L.A. buddies: 
For the Record, Charlotte Huang and The First Time She Drowned, Kerry Kletter

The Lies About the Truth, Courtney Stevens (my publication date buddy) 

Hoodoo, Ronald L. Smith (we were classmates!) 


Are there any "must-haves" at your work station? (M&Ms, coffee, etc.)

Dark chocolate at the ready. Another chair so I can put my feet up. Two Ugly dolls as elbow support. My cat, purring underneath my chin and blocking my view of the screen. She’s doing it right now. (Purr, purr, purr.) 









The winner will get a hardback of the book and some swag!  
Thanks to EKatWrites for sending some swag! 

 a Rafflecopter giveaway


 Disclaimer: Thanks to Goodreads and Amazon for the book cover, about the book, and author information. If you can not see the link above you will need to turn off your spam blocker. Buying via these above links allows my site to get a % of the sale at no cost to you. This money gets used to buy items for giveaways.




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1 comments:

Tammy said...

I think the bravest thing i done has been Ziplining with my 10yr old daughter. I was a amazing thrill though.

This book sounds amazing!

Thanks for the amazing giveaway.

Ryver

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