Thursday, April 30, 2009

Vote for June's Book Club Selection

June's Book Club selection poll is now posted in the sidebar! Vote for the book that you'd like to read in June!

Choose from these three amazing books:

Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
If I Stay by Gayle Forman

The poll closes May 27th and you may only vote once per computer.

Happy voting!

I also wanted to say a HUGE thank you to A.S. King for letting us discuss The Dust of 100 Dogs and her participation. You're awesome! Thank you!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Final Discussion: The Dust of 100 Dogs

It's time to finish off the month with new discussion questions, since your perspective can change once finishing a book. This thread of comments may contain spoilers. If you haven't finished The Dust of 100 Dogs, please do not click the comments section, assuming you don't want parts of the story revealed to you.

Below are a few questions I thought would be interesting to throw out to the group, based on the discussions going on in the previous discussion thread. Please feel free to add any questions in the comments you would also like to discuss. Also, keep in mind, just reply to a question or someone's answer if you'd like to respond. Keeping the discussion clean and organized is the key to a fun talk!

If you are new to the group, before commenting please review the FAQ and rules.

Don't forget, the poll for May's selection ends April 27th. If you have yet to vote, please do so. It's a tight race!

Thanks again to A.S King for letting us discuss The Dust of 100 Dogs this month!

Final Questions (based on completing the book):

  1. After finishing the book, do you think the lesson or meaning of The Dust of 100 Dogs changed from start to finish? How?
  2. A few of you mentioned in the start of discussion that Emer grabbed your attention at the beginning of the story, more so than Saffron. After reading both stories, who do you relate to more in life, Emer or Saffron?
  3. In the interview section with A.S. King, we had a great discussion regarding animal violence vs. human violence. Most of us mentioned that the animal violence affected us more than human violence. After having finished the book, is your view still the same?
  4. What will you take away with you from reading The Dust of 100 Dogs?
  5. Do you think the book is portrayed properly (cover, back cover copy (or jacket flap), etc.) in stores/media?


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Interview with A.S. King, Author of The Dust of 100 Dogs

First off, I wanted to thank everyone who posted questions and, of course I wanted to thank A.S. King for all of her help this month. You rock, Amy! Thank you for the amazing, thought provoking answers!

Without further adieu, please welcome A.S. King!

Tami Asked:

What is your writing schedule like and what is your favorite time to write?

A.S. King:

My schedule is insane at the moment. Nothing here is sane or regular or routine and it’s driving me a little bonkers. I have two small kids, so until they’re both in school, it’s a chaos-driven writing schedule. Mostly, I write in chunks of time. But, if I get to choose? My favorite time to write is ALL DAY. ☺

What are the top 3 things you have to have on your desk each time you sit down
to write?

A.S. King:

Really, all I need is my computer and me. I have a revision pencil (refillable) that I’ve had since 8th grade that I like to have around. A cup of coffee always helps.

Joanne Levy asked:

Hi A.S.!

I LOVED The Dust of 100 Dogs and especially that it made me think of SO MANY different things. I think a lot of the book is very open to interpretation, so I'm curious as to some of the feedback you may have gotten that you weren't expecting. Care to share any enlightening/weird/unexpected comments you've received about the book?

And here's a personal question: what is your favorite dog breed?

A.S. King:

Hey Joanne! Thanks for reading D100D. So happy you dug it!
Like any book, feedback has been varied and interesting. I suppose the most surprising thing so far for me is: the book covers some very serious human subjects like genocide, domestic violence, child abuse, sexual slavery and sexual assault, but far more readers voice concern about Rusty, the Doberman who is repeatedly maltreated by his owner. Don’t get me wrong. I love dogs—anyone who knows me knows how much I love dogs and abhor violence—and I’m really glad people are hating how Fred treats Rusty, because it’s wrong. I just find it interesting that people choose to comment so urgently about violence against dogs when in the same book, so many violent crimes are committed against humans.

This has really made me think. Are we so desensitized to violence against humans that we don’t see it? Or have we come to expect it? Imagine we saw, on the TV, 150,000 instances of dog violence before we turned 18, the way we see violence against humans. Would we be as desensitized to dog violence then? Would we stop seeing that, too? Deep thoughts, I know, but you asked!

My favorite dog breed -- Chocolate Labrador. Goofy, lovable and the way they smell in the rain is just so nice.

Robin Brande asked:

Okay, here's what I want to know: How much of you is in Emer, the girl pirate? Are you like her, or do you just wish you were like her?

Also, was it hard to write the scenes where Fred is being so abusive to Rusty? Because those were really hard to read! Poor Rusty!

Loved the book. Loved it so much I would marry it.

A.S. King:

Hi Robin! You rock for wanting to marry my book. (I am actually able to arrange that, if you’re interested.)

My life has been charmed compared to Emer’s. I do deal with adversity similarly. Head up—honor in battle. But I am a strict pacifist, so fighting is out of the question. Could I do it if faced with physical harm? Probably not. I’ve been robbed at gunpoint in real life and let me tell ya, I couldn’t do much more than shake in my boots and blink. I can’t say I wish I was like Emer either. I mean, she’s got some baggage—mostly power issues—that I’m quite happy to sidestep, thanks. ☺ If I could choose, I’d be Saffron, starting right where the book ends.

You bet it was hard to write those scenes about Fred being mean to Rusty. Really hard. But those were not the parts of the book that made me cry. The Cromwellian attack scene was super hard to write. The scene with Emer & the Frenchman in the cave was also super hard. But I agree thoroughly about how hard those Fred scenes are to read—Poor Rusty!

Terri Probst asked:

Amy, first I don't think I've told you how I loved the book. My 9yr old said "Wow, YOU know someone who's written a book??" I'm going to read it to the boys 5 + 9, with a bit of editing-hope you don't mind.

My question is how do I get you to central PA for a signing? We have D. Dashem in LH and Otto's in Williamsport. I have a very comfy futon...

A.S. King:

Thanks Terri! So glad you liked it.
You’ll need some serious editing for 5 & 9 year olds! I’d love to be a fly on that wall.

I am hoping to make it up to central PA this year sometime. I haven’t seen Lock Haven for at least fifteen years! Thanks to the info contained in your question, I’ve contacted Otto’s to see if they’d be interested. I’ll be in touch!

Heather M. Riley asked:

I'm still reading right now, but the first thing I noticed was the time frame. Aside from the flashback scenes where we see Emer's childhood. I also found it interesting that you chose to have her reborn as Saffron in the 70's and therefore the story doesn't take place in our current time but in the recent past. What made you decide on this time setting?

A.S. King:

Hi Heather!
First, when I started working on the book, as early as 1999, I had no concept of 2009 in my brain, same as we’re not thinking of 2019 right now. Second, I had a vision that Saffron’s dad was going to be a Vietnam War veteran, which made sense to set her birth in the early 1970s. Third, I was born in 1970, so I could relate to Saffron’s childhood better if I set her age close to my own. And fourth—probably the most important—usually my characters & plots & settings choose themselves. I have very little to do with it.

Tracy Belsher asked:

There are many historic details in this book - the settings, time periods, treatment of women, the reoccurring slavery theme – hell, you even work in Gettysburg. How did you approach researching for D100D – was it overwhelming?

A.S. King:

Hi Tracy!
For me, it was invigorating. I was scared of history class [memorization] in school, and so, I managed to graduate without much history knowledge, and avoid landing on the yellow squares in Trivial Pursuit for many years. But something hit me when I moved to Ireland. History presented itself to me—in the landscape, in town, it was everywhere. When we moved to Tipperary, I started to read a lot about it. My reading eventually led to an interest to write about it. The smaller historical mentions, like Gettysburg or Turner’s Rebels, came from a few small books I had sitting around about American history. So, really, D100D was the result of what I was reading and learning, rather than the other way around.

Deke Snow asked:

Was there one character, or even one trait of a character that you identified with most while writing the book? Is there some of you in any of your characters?

A.S. King:

Hey Deke!
I think there’s probably a little of me in all of the characters, even if, in characters like Fred, I write representations of everything I reject or fear. But not to be obtuse, I think I could certainly relate to Saffron while she was dying to get out of high school. Aren’t we all dying to leave school and search for treasure (life)?

Also, Emer and I share the experience of holding a deep love for someone we had to live without for a period of time. My husband and I were separated by the Atlantic Ocean for about five years, and 20 blissful years later, thinking about it still hurts.

Last but not least, I asked Amy to share a little something about what she's working on now.

A.S. King:

If you can talk about your new book, what is the plot in a few quick sentences?

Explaining the plot in a few sentences, I can’t do. But here’s something I came up with while I was trying. IGNORE VERA DIETZ (Random House/Knopf 2010) is about a teenage girl, her dead (ex) best friend, and her attempt to clear his name. It’s also about destiny. And a neighborhood full of secrets. And a sarcastic pagoda. And vocabulary words.

Thanks you SO MUCH for having me!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Questions for A.S. King

As we continue to discuss The Dust of 100 Dogs, now is a good time to have everyone post questions for The Dust of 100 Dogs author, A.S. King! She has agreed to take questions. Thanks!

So, if you have something you'd like to ask her regarding The Dust of 100 Dogs, writing, or anything having to do with teen fiction, please type them in the comments section of this post by Sunday, April 12 at 10 am PDT. I will be taking all questions and passing them along to her Sunday evening.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Start of Discussion: The Dust of 100 Dogs

Since we're six days into the month and probably started reading The Dust of 100 Dogs, I thought I would post a few discussion questions to think about while you're reading. These are just basic questions that we will be discussing for each book. We will get more specific with our discussion later in the month. Please remember, if you have finished The Dust of 100 Dogs, do NOT post any spoilers for those who have yet to finish.

If you visit the comments, you'll notice that I've also posted each question there, as well as this post. If you want to join in on the discussion for any of the questions, please just hit the "post reply" option next to the question. That way, we can keep each discussion a separate thread and reply to individuals. Remember, please no spoilers in this discussion. We can talk about the end of the book in the last discussion post of the month.

Also, if you haven't already, please read the FAQ and Rules. They will always be posted in the sidebar if you need to find them at any time.

1. How does the setting figure into the book? Is the setting a character? Does it come to life? Did you feel you were experiencing the time and place in which the book was set?
2. What motivated the story? Was the novel plot-driven or character-driven?
3. What are some of the book's themes? How important were they?
4. How are the book's images symbolically significant? Do the images help to develop the plot, or help to define characters?
5. What was your first impression of the characters?

Please don't be shy. Make sure to join in the discussion. If there is another question you'd like others to consider while reading the book, please feel free to post them in the comments section as a new comment.

If you haven't picked up your copy of The Dust of 100 Dogs yet, don't worry. There is still plenty of time. We will be reading and discussing the book throughout the month!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April's Book: The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King

About The Dust of 100 Dogs, by A.S. King:

In the late seventeenth century, famed teenage pirate Emer Morrisey was on the cusp of escaping the pirate life with her one true love and unfathomable riches when she was slain and cursed with "the dust of one hundred dogs," dooming her to one hundred lives as a dog before returning to a human body-with her memories intact.

Now she's a contemporary American teenager and all she needs is a shovel and a ride to Jamaica.

For more information, visit The Dust of 100 Dogs website:
The Dust of 100 Dogs website

Online links to buy The Dust of 100 Dogs:
Barnes and Noble
Powell's Books

Link to find an Indie bookstore near you:

Indie Bound

Link to find the nearest public library in the US:

US Public Library Search