Ontario Teen Book Fest 2018: Featuring an Interview with Author Ellen Hopkins

In only a matter of weeks, some of the biggest names in YA will be gathering for the annual Ontario Teen Book Fest. Authors such as Ellen Hopkins, Robin Benway, and Ava Dellaira will be attending the event, speaking during panels and signing books.

For all the book lovers, YA enthusiast, or bibliophiles in general, this is an event that you cannot miss out on. Interested? Look below for a brief summary of the event details, and find out more about the event and the attending authors on Teen Book Fest’s website.

Event Information:
  • When: Saturday March 3rd, from 9am to 5pm
  • Where: Colony High School. 3850 E. Riverside Drive, Ontario, CA 91761
  • Find out more at: OntarioTBF.org

*This event is free, and tickets are not required. Lunch will be catered and provided for attendees from Panera.

The Ontario Teen Book Fest will be sponsored by Once Upon A Time. They will be providing books for purchase as well as T-shirts and posters. For more information about Once Upon A Time, check out their website: ShopOnceUponATime.com.

Author Interview with Ellen Hopkins (Crank; The You I’ve Never Known; Tilt)

Ellen Hopkins is the author of numerous bestselling books, including her most recent, The You I’ve Never Known. Hopkins writes about heartbreaking, realistic teen issues through her poetry, writing striking stories that teenage (and adult) audiences are certain to relate to. She is well-known for a variety of titles, such as Crank, Tilt, and Traffic.

Below you will find my conversation with Ellen Hopkins as we discussed her influences, her work, and her advice for the next generation of writers.

At what point did you know you wanted to be an author, specifically for YA audiences?

I always had it in the back of my mind that I’d be an author one day. I pushed into journalism first, and from there into nonfiction for children. So before I tested the YA waters, I’d already realized I wanted to make a difference in young lives. Then a personal story (my daughter’s addiction to crystal meth) became something I knew I had to tell, and I wanted to tell it to teens to keep them from making the same terrible decisions she did, if I could. That story became CRANK, my first YA novel.
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Do you relate to certain books of yours over others? Or do they all feel personal in one way or another?
EllenHopkins.com

Obviously, the CRANK trilogy is very personal, but there are threads of real people and life situations in all my books. Maybe not people I personally know, but people I can relate to for whatever reasons. The other book that’s very personal, however, is THE YOU I’VE NEVER KNOWN, which was also inspired by a true chapter of my life.
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What do you hope teens take away from your books after reading them?

That life is all about choices, so it’s critical to arm yourself with knowledge. We can forgive mistakes, but sometimes mistakes result in things that can’t be changed. Despite everything, though, there is always light beyond the darkness. The past will always inform your future, but it doesn’t have to define it.
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What sort of responses have you gotten from teen readers?

Here’s one that came in just this morning. It’s representative. “I just wanted to message you to thank you for changing my life for the better. I’ve always struggled with addiction either within myself or with my entire family. I used your books throughout my teen years to just escape the real world and also teach myself the true rock bottoms that could happen to anyone. Crank and Glass we’re probably the most inspiring books I have ever read in my life. I love the way they are written and I wish I could go back and escape with them again but unfortunately my entire book collection was separated from me when I was in some of the darker parts of my life. I wish you all the best and I hope you continue to inspire and help people like me who feel they owe you for pulling them out of their darkness and showing them that what happens to them can happen to anyone. To the best author in the world!”
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What made you decide to tell your stories through verse and poetry?

I’ve been writing and publishing poetry since I was a kid, so combining verse with fiction came naturally to me. I enjoy the challenge of making every word count and also creating visual appeal through word placement. And the white space is comforting to readers, especially considering the difficult content in some of my books.
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Are you currently working on another book at the moment? If so, what details, if any, can you share with readers?

I’m always writing a new book! I’ll have two out in 2018: A Sin Such As This (for adult readers) in May and People Kill People (YA) in September. I’m currently writing the 2019 YA The Sanctuary Highway, which is a near-future look at what could happen in the US if certain current policies in Washington DC continue down a path toward darkness.
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What advice do you have to give aspiring young writers?

To write what scares you. Straddle the edge. Stray out of your comfort zone. And remember what makes every good book great is character, character, character. Let plot flow from the characters you create.

 

 

Blog Tour Schedule:

Interested in learning more about the event and the authors who will be attending? Follow the blog tour listing below to follow along as more behind-the-scenes details are provided each day of the tour.

 

Joshua Flores currently lives in Tustin, CA, and attends Arnold O. Beckman High School. When he is not busy doing homework or cramming for math tests, he can be found dreaming up ideas for his book, obsessing over YA fiction, attending book signings, or discovering new and exciting places in LA. He is currently an editor for the Entertainment section of The Beckman Chronicle and a contributing editor for the blog Food, Fitness and Fiction. Follow him on Instagram and on the blog Food, Fitness and Fiction to hear more about anything book related.

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