Showing posts with label Introductions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Introductions. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Introductions to Authors: Exploring Author Websites

Introductions to Authors: Exploring Author Websites

Once readers identify YA authors whose work interests them, individual authors' websites and blogs provide glimpses of the people behind the books.

Author websites are typically anchored by a list of publications accompanied by short blurbs about each title, excerpts from reviews, and awards won. These thumbnail sketches give readers an immediate idea of the topics and themes an author has explored and the critical response their books have received.

For readers who don't yet have a copy of an author's newest book but would like a taste of it, chapters from individual books are sometimes available to download.Author websites also allow readers to discover the insightful and provocative things authors themselves have said about their lives and novels.

Some authors provide these insights through special commentary posted on the website. Paul Volponi's author's note on Black Shoes Online and White explains how his job teaching incarcerated adolescents on Riker's Island led him to write about race and the justice system.

Paul also tells the story of a race riot that occurred at Long Island City High School shortly after the team he coached played a game there. This background information allows readers a glimpse of the real events that served as seeds for the story.

Shaun Tan provides a lengthy, brilliant commentary about the design of his wordless graphic novel The Arrival and ways readers might interpret it. He identifies sources for the many sepia images of immigrants in the book, offers metaphorical ways of interpreting the book's imaginary phenomena, and discusses the conceptual space that images create in the absence of words.

Shaun also reveals the texts he consulted as he learned to craft a graphic novel, including Japanese mange as well as Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics.

Other authors provide links to interviews that can be heard and viewed through the website. Markus Zusak's site links to interviews he gave to National Public Radio and Good Morning America when The Book Thief was published.

Because these interviews can be heard and viewed, they allow readers access not just to Markus's words, but also to his facial expressions, mannerisms, and voice as he explains how he turned his parents' stories about growing up in wartime Munich into an award winning novel.

Podcasts offer teachers and students another chance to hear authors' voices. Laurie Halse Anderson produced her first podcast when Twisted came out. In it, she reads brief excerpts from the book and discusses her different attempts over time to explain what the book was about and get the book written.

Podcasts such as these are the next best thing to hearing the author talk in person at a conference or a local bookstore. Discount Shoes by addressing readers directly through the podcast, Anderson offers a momentary sense of closeness and intimacy with her and her book through the sound of her voice.

Readers can also find "extras" on author websites, similar to music bootlegs or television outtakes. On a page called "Behind the Book," K. L. Going reveals her motivation for writing Saint Iggy, a book about a kid who's not really talented at anything but who "sees the world in a way no one else can." Then she includes a scene she had to delete from the novel for pacing reasons.

Barry Lyga goes a step further in sharing behind the scenes material from his gripping novel Boy Toy, including a series of deleted scenes reflecting 150 pages cut from the original 600page manuscript, along with explanations of why he wrote each scene in the first place and why he later chose to cut them. In addition, he lists subplots cut from the book and subplots never added to the book.

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