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the penguin five: interview with brenna yovanoff and giveaway!

The winner of the first copy of The Replacement is: EMILIE. Congrats!

And now, for an interview with the lovely Brenna Yovanoff–and a chance to win the second copy of the book. Please read on…

Brenna, welcome! Can you tell us the top five things you think we should know about you?

Thanks so much for having me, Ally! Hmmm, what to say about me . . . Well, here’s something you’d notice right away: I have a lot of very yellow hair that kind of makes me look like a small lion wearing a dress. Not as readily apparent: I like indoor-gardens, horror movies, cotton candy, and mittens.

The Replacement is a horror novel, but one of the most important themes is that of love. I really enjoyed seeing how the siblings in the story (Mackie/Emma, Tate/ Natalie) looked out for one another and cared for one another. Do you have brothers and sisters? Did that influence your writing of the book at all?

I absolutely love writing about family relationships. I think they’re so fascinating, and it’s really fun to see how they shape various characters. I do have one sister (younger than me), and I grew up with a lot of younger cousins, but strangely enough, all my main characters so far have been the youngest of the family, or else only-children, so I don’t know what that means!

Music is also very critical to the story–the use of music to orchestrate and create feelings in people, the use of music as release, etc. Are you a musician? What music do you find serves some of those purposes (release, etc.) for you?

Confession time: I’m awful at music. I mean, I’m so bad that I actually failed an introductory class in high school, even though I showed up every day and tried really hard. I just do not have what it takes. But I love listening to music, and I like to imagine what it would be like if I had that intuitive understanding that some people just seem to be born with. My favorites are almost always songs with clever lyrics, and I love songs that tell stories or have fascinating characters, so I’m definitely a writer at heart!

The Replacement is a book that reads very well on its own. The story arc certainly feels complete, and yet the town of Gentry (and what lies beneath!) also seem full of possibility for future books. Is The Replacement the beginning of a series? And, if not, what can we look for next from you?

As of right now, there aren’t any concrete plans for a sequel, which certainly doesn’t mean I won’t be coming back to The Replacement in the future. Currently, I’m working on a book that doesn’t quite have a title yet, but almost! It’s about demons, mortal peril, moral ambiguity and kissing, and should be out from Razorbill next fall.

Can you share with us one of your favorite paragraphs/passages from your book?

Well, I’ve always kind of liked this passage from near the beginning of the book, where Mackie is thinking about the town of Gentry, and his place in it:

“Gentry was two different things, and at night, I could always see that second thing better. The town was its green suburban lawns, sure, but it was also its secrets. The kind of place where people double-checked the locks at night or pulled their kids closer in the grocery store. They hung horseshoes over their front doors and put up bells instead of wind chimes. They wore crosses made from stainless steel instead of gold because gold couldn’t protect them from people like me.”

And, finally, what are you reading right now?

Right now, I’m reading The DUFF by Kody Keplinger, and Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill. I really, really, really can’t read just one book—I try and fail miserably, so I tend to read in pairs or fours. Next on the list, Nightshade by Andrea Cremer and your own Matched, which I’m so excited for! (I may have cheated and started reading it already—shh, don’t tell the other books in my TBR pile!)

Thanks so much for having me, Ally!

Thanks for stopping by, Brenna–and now that I’ve read your writing, it’s incredibly intimidating to have you read mine.

To win the second copy of The Replacement, please comment on this post. Contest open to US/Canada. You can enter until midnight Saturday night (MST) and I’ll post the winner on Monday! Good luck!

+ comments (36)
  • julie
    September 17, 2010

    I agree about having to read 2 books at the same time Brenna. I’ve been hearing good things about this book.

  • becca
    September 17, 2010

    Cotton candy and horror movies sounds like a pretty well-rounded combination.
    Fun interview!

  • Sara B. Larson
    September 17, 2010

    Oooh, I’m even more intrigued by this book now. Thanks for the interview and giveaway. 🙂

  • JenP
    September 17, 2010

    What a great interview. Thanks for the giveaway! I read books in pairs, too!

  • KatieDoll
    September 17, 2010

    I’m pretty rough at music myself. My twin brother is a wiz on the guitar, but I’m musically challenged. Writers are a lot more awesome anyway. 😉 Can’t wait to read the book! I heard it’s incredible!

  • Karen
    September 17, 2010

    I have been wanting to read this book and now I’m even more intrigued. Thanks for the interview!

  • Casey (The Bookish Type)
    September 17, 2010

    I’m so excited Brenna is reading The DUFF! It was such an amazing book! It sounds like her TBR list looks a lot like mine =) Nightshade was awesome, and I’m dying to read Matched and The Replacement! I hadn’t heard of Heart Shaped Box, but any book that makes a Nirvana reference has my interest!

    Thanks for the chance to win The Replacement!

  • Christina G
    September 17, 2010

    Looking for to reading it! The cover is beyond awesome 🙂

  • Lea
    September 17, 2010

    Awesome interview! That passage has me curious about this one,

    And now I so want some cotton candy 😉

  • Laura A.
    September 17, 2010

    Wow!! Thanks for this interview; adore Brenna even more!! She totally rocks!! Also can’t wait for The Replacement even more so now. Is it Tuesday yet?! I’ve been itching to read this book for so long!! On top of my TBR list!! Thank you so much for the chances to win!! Ok, I’m way to hyped up….need to calm down haha!

  • Samantha
    September 17, 2010

    Whoa. I need to add THE REPLACEMENT to my reading list.

  • Jenny
    September 17, 2010

    Great interview! I really cannot wait to read this book!

  • Amanda
    September 17, 2010

    I always like to see what authors are reading. I haven’t read The DUFF or The Heart-Shaped Box, but I do highly recommend both Matched (not sucking up here, really!) and Nightshade. They kind of rock. 🙂

  • Tara
    September 17, 2010

    I’d love to be entered 🙂

  • L.T.Elliot
    September 17, 2010

    That paragraph sure ends with a great hook!

  • Britney W.
    September 17, 2010

    I have been really excited about his book since I first read about it. I thinks it a great and interesting story and very creative.

  • AM
    September 17, 2010

    Cannot wait for this book to be released! Like Brenna, I’m also reading about four books at any given time. It must be a writer thing?

  • Missie
    September 17, 2010

    Moral ambiguity and kissing! Sounds like a great combo. I loved The Replacement, and I can’t wait to read more by Yovanoff.

    Great interview. Thanks for sharing. Please enter me in the contest!

  • Sandy
    September 17, 2010

    Oh yay! I’ve been hearing so many good things about this book. It’s cool to see some background info on it!

  • Van P.
    September 17, 2010

    Fun interview! please enter me in for the contest 🙂

  • Heather
    September 17, 2010

    Great Interview! I would love to read the book!

  • doris madsen
    September 17, 2010

    can’t wait to read it!

  • Christi Aldellizzi
    September 17, 2010

    Am really, really, excited for both The Replacement and Matched–I think they’re both going to be fabulous!!

  • Lora1967
    September 17, 2010

    I think its an interesting thing that she isnt sure she will do a sequel. Most of the authors with the popularity this book has gotten that she would do a sequel. I hope to win this book so i can see the hype. Thanks for te giveaway.

  • Kirstin
    September 17, 2010

    This book sounds so good- I can’t wait to read it!

  • Kara
    September 17, 2010

    I have been looking forward to The Replacement and Matched since May! So excited for their release!
    Would love to be entered in the contest too. Thank you!

  • Karen_St_Louis
    September 17, 2010

    The sibling relationships in the story sound interesting. Sometimes I think that well-drawn family relationships are much more important to a book’s success than you’d ever think.

  • Llehn
    September 17, 2010

    I’d love to play please!

  • Sylvia
    September 18, 2010

    Oh gosh, I really can’t wait to read The Replacement! I hope I win this time! Thanks a lot:)

  • Brooke
    September 18, 2010

    I can’t believe The Replacement is so close to being released. I can’t wait!

  • heather
    September 18, 2010

    great interview! this book has been on my wish list for some time now. 🙂

  • Madie C
    September 18, 2010

    Thanks for the giveaway! I’m soo excited for this to come out!

  • Thanks for the second chance to win!

  • Edna
    September 21, 2010

    Thanks for the interview. I enjoy books which have good family relationships especially ones between siblings. Like you, I think they’re fascinating and provides good camaraderie. Growing up and even now in the present i spend a lot of time with my sibs and my cousins. Anyway, I’m very intrigued by the premise and the passage included in this interview.

    Oh also, I just read The DUFF not too long ago and liked it a lot. 🙂

  • Ekta
    September 23, 2010

    I want to read The Duff!! The story sounds great. And I can’t wait to read The Replacement either, I love the cover! Great interview and thanks for the giveaway 🙂

  • francesskinner
    March 31, 2012

    i have advanced english class in it we had to choose a book, i chose the replacement. I have written a timeline along with illistrations to go with it on the book, a re-write of the ending, a free verse poem of the book, 60 facts and unknown words of the book, and a reading log journal to write down what i was experiencing while reading the book. i still have to do a poster, two illistrations of the main characters, and an analytical paper. at the moment im doing an author study where i have been trying to find more information on who breena yovanoff really is, so i ended up here and at http://www.brennayovanoff.com but so far thats all i can find. i know she has a blog and i will look there next for more information on her. i really enjoyed her book and i cant wait to read more.

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