Friday, 17 April 2009

Interview with Luisa Plaja and GIVEAWAY!!!

*Update - the giveaway is now closed*

Extreme Kissing was inspired in part by the sport Extreme Ironing. What would be your ideal Extreme Ironing location if you could go anywhere?
I love this question! The truth is that I never iron anything, so ironing in my front room would be pretty extreme for me! But let's see... hmm, I think extreme ironing at Piccadilly Circus in London would be a challenge. It might not sound as exciting as ironing up a mountain or underwater, but there would be a lot of jostling going on, and some distracting people-watching. Or maybe I could iron while sitting on a lion in Trafalgar Square.

If you could pick anyone (fictional, dead, or real) to go Extreme Travelling with, who would it be?
Oh, another fun question! I'm going to give two answers to this one too. The real answer is my family - some of our holiday adventures would definitely count as Extreme Travel, even if it hasn't been deliberate. But if I had to Extreme Travel with a fictional character, I think it would be have to be Peter Petrelli from Heroes. I'm sure his Swiss Army Knife of special powers would come in useful on any extreme journey.

Would you say you’re more like Carlota or Bethany?
That's a hard one! I'm probably outwardly more of a Bethany, with an inner Carlota streak. I can be a huge worrier like Bets, but I can definitely be more impulsive like Lots at times. Of course, the truth is that I'm like both of them, but I'm ultimately like neither. And I could say the same for Jo and Josie from Split by a Kiss, even though Jo and I have definitely shared quite a few experiences.

The girls have several secrets that are revealed throughout the book. Are you good at keeping secrets?
I think I’m usually good at keeping other people's secrets. I'm often a bit rubbish with my own.

What’s your writing process like? What is a typical day for you, how many hours do you spend writing?
I don't really have a typical day because with young children every day is an extreme adventure! I mostly write at night, though, for as long as humanly possible, bearing in mind that I usually get woken up way too early in the morning.

Where is your favourite place to write?
I've tried different places - the library, cafes, the train - but really I write best sitting at my desk with music plugged into my ears.

How do you deal with writers block?
I'd like to say I haven't really had time for writer's block, because it's the truth. Every writing second is precious. Unfortunately, despite this, I have had moments when I've got completely stuck. The only way out for me is free-writing, otherwise known as 'taking the pressure off'. I let myself write anything at all for as long as I want to. Once I'm unstuck, I'll occasionally find that this process has produced things I can use in my work-in-progress. There are definitely a couple of paragraphs in Extreme Kissing that have been plucked from bouts of free-writing: the moment when Carlota first meets Bethany, for example. Oh, and I nearly forgot this one - the entire first draft of Extreme Kissing was written when I was stuck three-quarters of the way through Split by a Kiss. Writing 'the end' on Extreme Kissing gave me the confidence to go back and finish Split by a Kiss.

What book has had the biggest impact on you?
It's probably Masha by Mara Kay. It's a historical novel set in nineteenth century Russia and following a girl's life from the ages of 9 to 18, including so many ingredients I love: a fish-out-of-water main character, a coming-of-age storyline, a focus on female friendship. I first took it out of my local library when I was about 9 myself, and then I borrowed it repeatedly until I finally managed to buy my own copy when I was about 12. (It was already out of print by then, unfortunately, but I bought a battered copy from a library that was closing down.) I've since visited places featured in the book, which involved a fantastic trip to St Petersburg. And in my teens I wrote to the author several times, telling her I wanted to be a writer. She always replied and she was amazingly encouraging.

As well as writing, you’re very active on the Young Adult blogosphere, running the wonderful teen site Chicklish. Do you have time for any other hobbies?
Does reading count? Or sleeping? Or childcare? Or Facebook and writing forums? I'm not sure what else I do, but there must be something. It's definitely not ironing, anyway (extreme or otherwise!)

Are you working on another book right now?

Yes, I'm working on a sequel for Split by a Kiss.

Thankyou so much for stopping by Luisa! I never even considered Peter Petrelli as an Extreme Travelling companion, but now that you've put it in my head I think he's ideal!

And now, the giveaway!
Between them the wonderful publisher and author have given me five copies of Extreme Kissing to give away! Three of these are for UK residents, and two are for international readers. This means that wherever you live, you can enter!

All you have to do is tell me who you would like to go Extreme Travelling with. You MUST also tell me if you’re UK or INTERNATIONAL and leave me an email address or way to contact you if you win.

You can tell me in the comments (even if you’ve never commented on any blog before, mine will accept anonymous users, so don’t be shy!) OR if you’re uncomfortable with that, you can email me the information at bookshelfbabble(at)yahoo(dot)co(dot)uk

Extra Entries, you ask?
+1 entry if you tell me how you found out about this giveaway
+1 entry for every person who tells me that they heard about this contest from you (this means the more you spread the word, the more entries you get)

The deadline for this contest is Wednesday 6th May


  1. I'm an international readre and found out about your contest through Google Reader. Love the fact that the title is Extreme Kissing. Oh, the ideas... ;)

  2. would love to do the extreme traveling with my eldest son becuase he is in for adventures and fun- husband tires too easily

  3. I am an international reader and I would love to go Extreme Traveling with my husband because we are sure to have a good time!

    I heard about this contest from Epic Rat's blog.


  4. I am International Reader and would love to go extreme traveling with my college son.Thanks for the giveaway!

  5. International reader. I'd go extreme traveling with my family and luckily we've been fortunate to have done that so far.

    msboatgal at

  6. I am an international reader. I'd go extreme traveling with my husband and two kids :-)

  7. I heard about this contest from Hasama's Contest Corner!

  8. Well, I am an international reader who found out about your blog by following a massive chain of blog links the other day creating a summer book list. And I liked it so it's favorited now.

    Oh the possibilities for Extreme Travelling.. I would go with my lovely kitty cat. I've already brought him across country and he has loved it! Plus its very Lilian Braun-esqe.

  9. Ah. My email is

  10. I would go extreme traveling with my friend Susanne she is just as fearless as me. Thanks for the giveaway I am an international reader

    sharr1226 at yahoo dot com

  11. i'm from canada!! thats pretty cool! i think the most extreme place to iron would be on top of a mountain!!

  12. I would totally go extreme travelling with my gay best friend. He's super awesome and always up for anything! Plus, he lives in NY and I live in LA, so we need some extreme travelling to get us together! I live in the U.S., so international for me!

  13. What a fun interview!! I'm in Germany so that makes me international. I'd go extreme travelling with my best friend from college who I went eurailing with. She'd have to leave all her kids at home though!

    I found out about your contest because you left a comment on my blog (your Redwall obsessed brothers sound like they'd get along with Eleanor btw) and I came on over to see what you are up to.

  14. I am international and I would go with my friend Maggie.

    madamerkf at aol dot com

  15. I would like to extreme travel with my husband. He is more of a risk taker than I am and I know that I can rely on him. I am international.

  16. cool contest! If I could pick one..that would totally my best friend to go traveling with!
    Marjolein(international reader)

  17. I'm from Spain.
    I think I'll go with five of my bestfriends (we have a club or something like that XD. I know that it doesn't matter where I go if am with them because I'll never stop laughing.

    +1 I heard from

  18. I would go with my best freind Chris, who I trust with my life.
    jochrisbryan@gmail .com

  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

  20. Sorry had to delete klast post as I had said I found you at Chicklish but forgot to add I am from the UK

  21. I'd love to be entered!!

    I'm in Canada, so I'm international (which I don't usually write, lol) and I found out about this because I follow you. :)

  22. Ooo... Who I would want to go extreme traveling with! I like the author have 2 answers for this one. In all likely hood I would never go with the other person I choose, I would want my family to go with me! If I could pick anyone in the world to go with though, I think I would have to pick kate hudson! She is my favorite actress and I think she would be a blast to go somewhere with!!

    I am a US resident!

    Thanks for telling me about this :)


  23. I would like to enter, please!

    I live in the US.

    I would go extreme traveling with my family. That'd be fun.

    +1 entry: I learned about your blog from the YA book blog directory!


  24. International reader here.

    I would definitely go extreme traveling with my family. I can't imagine myself going with anyone else. :)

    And I found out about this giveaway through the Chicklish website.

  25. I'm international. I would go extreme traveling with my hubby.
    1bmore @ gmail . com

  26. I'd go extreme traveling with my ex husband - we went to Europe last year and he's been globetrotting all over the place since we got divorced and he's fearless so it makes up for my extroversion!