Monday, March 25, 2013

Karen Finneyfrock Author Interview

Photo Content from Karen Finneyfrock

Karen Finneyfrock is a poet, novelist and teaching artist in Seattle, WA. Her young adult novel, The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door, is due from Viking Children’s Books on February 21, 2013.Her second book of poems, Ceremony for the Choking Ghost, was released on Write Bloody press in 2010. She is a formerWriter-in-Residence at Richard Hugo House in Seattle and teaches forSeattle Arts and Lectures’ Writers-in-the-Schools program. In 2010, Karen traveled to Nepal as a Cultural Envoy through the US Department of State to perform and teach poetry and in 2011, she did a reading tour in Germanysponsored by the US Embassy.


Age Range: 12 and up
Grade Level: 7 - 9
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Speak; Reprint edition (May 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0147509955
ISBN-13: 978-0147509956


"Karen Finneyfrock is an amazing poet so it is no surprise that her first novel is poetic. It is also hilarious, exciting and as painful as anybody's teenage years. Read it, please." —Sherman Alexie, National Book Award-Winning author of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian 

“I loved The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door! Celia is a quirky and unique character whose journey—through friendship and secrets and chocolate—will stay with readers long after they close the book.” Ruta Sepetys, New York Times bestselling author of Between Shades of Grey

“What debut novelist Finneyfrock captures perfectly is the powerlessness of being a teen.... Illuminated with flashes of humor, Celia’s narration is expressive, and her poems, which are sprinkled throughout the novel, elucidate her emotional state with grace and specificity.” Kirkus Reviews

“Finneyfrock gives Celia a drily funny voice that keeps the narrative zipping along.” Publishers Weekly

"Finneyfrock weaves characters and plotlines into an entertaining and thought-provoking mix. She succeeds in making her debut much more than a “problem novel” by creating a memorable outsider who is articulate, funny, and brave." SLJ

"Suggest this to fans of David Levithan’s and A. S. King’s books, as well as allteens who feel outside the frenzy of high-school social life." Booklist

"Readers will like Celia and pull for her to learn that being true to herself is the sweetest revenge of all."

"This well-written, engaging, and ultimately hopeful book offers sympathetic characters with depth and interest.... Many readers will see themselves reflected in these pages." VOYA

Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?
It was a slow-growing awareness that all the books I was reading-and I was READING A LOT OF BOOKS-were involved in one great conversation. I wanted to join that conversation.

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
The reason we want to watch characters go through trials and meet obstacles is so that we can imagine how we might those same obstacles. Even far flung story lines, futuristic stories for example, must feel possible. And if the events of the story are possible, in that they MIGHT happen to someone somewhere, then we want to know how to deal with them. Stories also give us the chance to live more than one life.

Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre?
My all-time favorite book is The Onee and Future King by T.H. White. You guessed it, I discovered it as a young reader. In fact, I was in elementary school, and the book was way beyond my reading level, but I worked my way through it slowly, looking up words in the dictionary. I was invited into the world of Camelot and into the world of adult readers at the same time. My favorite book outside my genre is The Color Purple by Alice Walker.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
Kevin Emerson, author of The Atlanteans series, has been mentoring me in this new world of YA. He told me that sometimes you can’t help reading the reviews, and when you see an unfavorable one, it can stick with you for a long time, even change the way you look at your own work. But, he also told me that a book doesn’t have to be prefect to have worth. While we grow as writers, our books get better. It’s all part of the job.

In your new book; The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it and why they should read your novel?
This is a novel about how one special friendship can save you when it feels like your whole world is sinking. Something bad happened to Celia Door when she was in the eighth grade and now, at the start of ninth grade, she has no friends. She’s brooding in class, alone at lunch and always plotting revenge. But, when she meets Drake Berlin, things change.

What part of Celia did you enjoy writing the most?
The POETRY! My main character, Celia, is a poet and I’ve been writing, performing and publishing poetry for twelve years. In fact, poetry was my first love in front of fiction. Writing the poems that Celia would write allowed me to honor the youth poets I work with as a Teaching Artist. I also not-so-secretly hope that this book will inspire more young poets.

For those who are unfamiliar with Drake, how would you introduce him?
Drake is attractive in an effortless way and he has a knack for seeing the real coolness in someone beyond whatever awkwardness might be on the surface. He likes skateboarding and comic books and he’s in love with someone. That love is tearing him up inside.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
I’m working on my second YA novel for Viking Children’s Books, tentatively called, Starbird Murphy and the World Outside. I can’t say too much, but I will tell you that it features a crow feather that translates the will of the cosmos, but it ISN’T fantasy!

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I would introduce Celia to Hazel from John Green’s fabulous book, The Fault in our Stars. I know, I know, another John Green junkie. But look who’s pointing the finger! I think both characters have darkness for different reasons, and Hazel would bring perspective to Celia’s life, while Celia would adore Hazel.

When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
“Is that your natural hair color?” Okay, I’m answering YOUR question with a lie. I do admit to dying my hair when people ask me and the ask me ALL THE TIME. I have grey hair with streaks of black. But, I wish I did lie because I don’t really think it is anyone’s business. Okay, resolution, from now on, I’m lying about that.

Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?
Funny you should ask. I call my best friend Warren. And, in fact, it is that friendship that inspired the friendship between Celia and Drake in my book. Warren has been my best friend since high school, but we’ve known each other since NURSERY SCHOOL! Hard to believe, right? We moved all the way across the country together, from Maryland to Seattle. In the acknowledgements at the back of my book, I thank Warren with the phrase, “Every Celia needs a Drake.”

What's the most memorable summer job you've ever had?
I worked at a super fancy golf course, like where-the-Presidents-play-golf fancy. I was the Drink Cart Girl, so my job was to drive around the front and back nine asking golfers if they wanted to purchase a beverage or snack. I had never been on a golf course before, and the first day, I drove my little cart with no top on it right across the driving range.

Tell me about your first kiss
Don’t I wish it was a better story than this. Ugh. Spin the bottle, middle school, Halloween party. I went as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz and I had these pretty white, cotton ribbons at the end of my braids. Except, apparently, everyone at the party thought they looked like toilet paper. So, before the kiss, I heard the boy who the bottle was pointing at say, “Oh great, now I have to kiss a girl with toilet paper in her hair.” For the record Pete, that wasn’t toilet paper, and, actually, I’ve decided not to count you as the first.

When was the last time you cried?
About twelve hours ago while listening to a Radio Lab podcast about a chimpanzee. I was in the bathtub. I’m a cryer. It’s a daily thing.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?
As terrible as I am at having my heart broken, I would STILL chose heart break. You have to live life and pain is part of life. Everything else is just hiding. When it comes to heart break, just like other forms of suffering, there is no way around it. The only way is through.

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager?
I would take the 80s all over again. We got to experience the invention of MTV. We got John Hughes movies. We got Prince, Madonna and Cyndi Lauper. It was a golden age of teen angst.

That's the day the trouble started.
The trouble that nearly ruined my life.
The trouble that turned me Dark.
The trouble that begs me for revenge.

Celia Door enters her freshman year of high school with giant boots, dark eyeliner, and a thirst for revenge against Sandy Firestone, the girl who did something unspeakable to Celia last year.

But then Celia meets Drake, the cool new kid from New York City who entrusts her with his deepest, darkest secret. When Celia's quest for justice threatens her relationship with Drake, she's forced to decide which is sweeter: revenge or friendship.

This debut novel from Karen Finneyfrock establishes her as a bright, bold, razor-sharp new voice for teens, perfect for fans of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Will Grayson, Will Grayson.

When Sandy Firestone made Celia Door’s life miserable in middle school, Celia decides to start her high school career with revenge on her mind. When an incident prompted by Sandy and her friend Mandy, Celia places a wall and guards herself with fronting an unfriendly manner. Karen Finneyfrock’s The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door details her freshman year as she plots her revenge. Her plotting gets on paper but never seems to take flight. When the new kid from New York City, Drake, comes into her life and shares his dark secret, a new friendship is born. Although her quest for revenge is still fresh on her mind, she cannot risk ruining her relationship with Drake. Revenge just sounds so sweet, but so is this new found friendship. So she must decide which one will give her the most satisfaction: sweet revenge or sweet friendship.

The one aspect of this amazing story that will have readers coming back for more is Celia. Although her life has been plagued with some rather bad situations such as her parents going through a trial separation, her former best friends moving, and of course that incident in middle school, she takes up poetry writing as a channel to make her life meaningful. From that point on, it was poetry that really saved her. Her life is relatable to many people her age. Filled with real life situations and the drama that only high school can envelope, it delivered a story that felt real and will have readers rooting for Celia to come out on top.

The poetry that Celia writes is simply adorable. Poetry is not much exposed to teenagers of these days and I truly appreciate how author Karen incorporated her compelling story with it. We all know what poetry is, but sadly most don’t know the beauty and appreciation it has in a person’s life. Karen’s writing style is amazing and she is a remarkable storyteller. It delivers a powerful punch with its version of mean girls, the problems that bullying produces, the many painful predicaments that life presents, and the discovering of love and friendship. The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door is a wonderful piece of literature that covers a wide range of real-life issues.

You can purchase The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you KAREN FINNEYFROCK for making this giveaway possible.
 2 Winners will receive a Signed Copy of The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door by Karen Finneyfrock.
1 Winner will receive One poster, One Bookmark, and One button of a Surprise Art by James Vallesteros.
10 Winners will receive One bookmark of a Surprise Art by James Vallesteros.
MARCH 26th TUESDAY Intoxicated by Books REVIEW
MARCH 28th THURSDAY Tsk Tsk What to Read EXCERPT
MARCH 28th THURSDAY Chapter by Chapter SPOTLIGHT

MARCH 30th SATURDAY A Dream Within a Dream REVIEW
MARCH 31st SUNDAY Ever and Ever Sight REVIEW
APRIL 1st 
MONDAY Sassy Book Lovers EXCERPT
APRIL 2nd TUESDAY Curling up with a Good Book GUEST POST

APRIL 5th FRIDAY Beneath the Cover REVIEW
APRIL 6th SATURDAY Contessa at the Crossroads REVIEW
APRIL 8th MONDAY James Vallesteros ARTWORK



  1. If anyone knows me, I love anything Revenge-related. No, not real ones. You know that show called "Revenge" on ABC? Yeah, that show's the best! :D

  2. Thanks so much for both the giveaway and interview! THE SWEET REVENGE OF CELIA DOOR sounds fantastic!