Friday, March 28, 2008

Pretty Tough Tuesday: Q and A with author Liz Tigelaar

Liz Tigelaar, YA sporty author of PRETTY TOUGH and PLAYING WITH THE BOYS, movie producer, and television writer, was kind enough to take a break from her busy schedule to answer a few questions about writing, Hollywood, and sisters. 

1. What was your inspiration to write PRETTY TOUGH and PLAYING WITH THE BOYS?

The concept! I was impressed with the company, "Pretty Tough" and their mission to support girls in their quest to be both strong and tough athletes without losing their sense of girlie-ness and femininity. I loved the idea of writing books about teenagers for teenagers that sends a positive message. 

2.  Do you have a sister? If so, are you more like Charlie or Krista? Or are you closer to Lucy? 

I do have a sister and our relationship actually inspired the first book. Although, neither of us are like Charlie or Krista, we're very, very different and when we were younger, we didn't always see eye to eye. So the themes and feelings are drawn from my own life, but not the characters. I probably am the most like Lucy, in that I moved across the country for high school and it was hard to fit in right away. But, I'd like to think there's a little of me in each of them - at times, I've been a real rebel like Charlie, I've enjoyed fleeting popularity like Krista, and I've struggled to find my place and prove myself like Lucy, even when the odds weren't in my favor. 

3. Are you or were you an athlete? 

I'm definitely more of an athlete now then  I was as a teenager. I liked theatre and singing, and with the exception of tennis, didn't do much else. I did play soccer when I was a little kid, but I got in trouble for doing cartwheels and picking dandelions in the back field. In college, I did crew which taught me about being on a team and I've played soccer (badly) as an adult. Now, I love being athletic - with biking, spinning, hiking, kayaking, yoga, Pilates, even trampolining - but, I still don't have a lot of team experience. 

4. What is it like writing for television? How is it different from novel writing?   

Writing for television is completely different. It doesn't take nearly as long (60 pages vs. 250 pages) and the pay is better! Writing a scene is a lot easier than writing a chapter. But the biggest difference is the ability to be inside a character's head. You can do that writing novels - you can go off on tangents, explain back story easily.. In television, that's not possible. I can't say which I like better since they're both so different. In television, I like sticking with the same characters and getting to watch them grow. But, I think with a book series that would be similar. But often books are more like movies - you create the characters, tell their story, and move on. 

5. I read that you co-produced the movie, "Stick It", which I loved. What was that experience like? 

"Stick It!" was incredible because I'm a huge gymnastics fan. I worked on that project from the beginning with writer/director Jessica Bendinger and I started as a researcher (when I was teaching her yoga). Eventually, I moved up as a writer and was able to help her break (which actually means put together) the story and then when she was ready to shoot, I was able to help with rewrites and changes during production. Mostly, it was incredible because as a huge gymnastics fan, I was able to meet famous gymnasts, so I was in heaven. Also, my good friend, Vanessa Lengies was cast as "Joanne" (we worked together for years on "American Dreams") so we had a blast working with each other again (later, I cast her in a pilot I shot for the CW).

6. What is your day like? When do you write? Do you have a certain routine when it comes to your writing? 

When I'm on a show, I pretty much go into the office like a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job (or in my case a 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.). I work with the other writers in the writers' room and we come up with story ideas together. But other times, I'm off writing my episode or set producing it. And I'm always doing projects on the side (like the Pretty Tough books or just recently I wrote two movie adaptations of the "Clique" novel series which will come out on DVD soon) and my favorite time to write is in the early mornings. I have an office in my loft at home and it's a beautiful place to work and write. When I'm really busy, I have to multi-task - for instance, right now, I'm shooting my "Brothers and Sisters" episode while finishing a rewrite on the second "Clique" movie.

7.  What writing assignments are you working on right now? 

Right now, I'm a writer/producer on "Brothers and Sisters", I'm working on a pitch for a movie called, "Daddy's Girls," I'm finishing a rewrite on "The Clique" and I'm doing notes on a pilot called "Light Years" that I wrote for CW, but I'm not sure that they will shoot it. Then I'm gearing up for the next development season and I'm trying to come up with a new TV show idea - hopefully a good one! 

8. How did you end up working in Hollywood and writing? Is this something you've always dreamed of doing? 

I haven't always dreamed of writing. I used to love acting.. but, actually I suck. I started to think about writing in college because I always have loved to tell stories. Actually, my goal was to write for "Days of Our Lives". I moved out here after college and scored an internship on "Dawson's Creek". I kept writing and working as an assistant and eventually worked my way up. My big break came on "American Dreams" where I became a full-time writer, then I wrote for "Kyle XY", "Split Decision" (my pilot), "What About Brian?", "Dirty, Sexy, Money", and now finally "Brothers and Sisters". My job is definitely a dream come true. I've worked hard and struggled, but it's also taken a little luck. 

9. Do you have an interesting story you'd like to share about meeting or working with an actress or actor? 

Hmmm. Most stories I'd get in trouble for telling. I'll just say that the cast of "American Dreams" was the best, most inspiring cast I've ever worked with. They are a class above the rest. 

10. What advice do you have for aspiring writers or producers? 

If you want to write, write all the time. Take any job. And give your writing to people who know more than you do and be sure to take notes. People often write and get attached, if someone doesn't get what they're doing, they get sensitive, they try to defend their work - if you ask someone for notes, be ready to take their notes. That's the only way you're going to learn. And if you really want to do it, go for it! 

Liz's amazing new book, PLAYING WITH THE BOYS hits stores April 10th. "Brothers and Sisters" airs on Sunday nights at 10 p.m. on ABC. Thanks, Liz! 

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

My First

Yesterday, when I arrived home after a brutal weekend, both on the work and family front, I opened my email and there it was.. My first "I Love Screwball" letter! Yes, I've had reviewers, editors, first readers, family members, friends, and other authors read the book and tell me they liked it, but this was the first stranger letter from the exact demographic that I attended to reach when I wrote SCREWBALL. What an amazing feeling to read this wonderful email. 

How do you feel when you receive a nice note about your book, magazine article, or story? Do you remember your first fan letter? What did you do with it? Anyone have any happy news they'd like to share?

After watching someone I love very much dodge a major health bullet this weekend, today is a great day to share happy thoughts and be thankful. :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Pretty Tough Tuesday: Check Out this Fun Sporty Novel

Pretty Tough By: Liz Tigelaar

I love reading sporty YA books. And this one's a must read. :) 

Southern California sisters, Charlie and Krista Brown, are polar opposites. Krista is perky, popular, and pretty. While, sophomore, surfer Charlie, is the victim of a vicious freshman rumor that left her friendless and invisible.

When Charlie tries out for Krista's main sport, soccer, their worlds begin to clash as both girls learn hard lessons about themselves, boys, friends, and the strong bond of sisterhood.

I absolutely adore this book. Liz Tigelaar does an excellent job writing in both Charlie and Krista's unique points of view. While some sporty books are all about the sport, Pretty Tough throws in some major boy, coach, and best friend drama, which keeps the pages turning. Although Screwball is my favorite sporty fun book :), the Pretty Tough series is definitely a close second.

Read any good books lately?

Page Flipper Book Club The wonderful YA reviewer and blogger The Page Flipper is hosting a YA bookclub. Check out her site to join and read her awesome reviews.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Tagged Newbie

Tagging.. What a great concept. I'm lovin' it. So, here it goes courtesy of Jessica Burkhart

The rules: 
1. You link back to the person that tagged you. 
2. Post these rules on your blog. 
3. Share six unimportant things about yourself. 
4. Tag six random people at the end of your entry.
5. Let tagged people know by leaving a comment on their blog. 

Six unimportant things: 
1. When I was a little girl, I dreamed of being a cheerleader or gymnast. :) But, I can't do splits, I'm pretty tall, and I have zero grace. 
2. I never miss an episode of "Dancing with the Stars". 
3. When I was in fifth grade, I was chosen to compete on a television game show called "Double Dare". During the obstacle course, I had to jump in a huge pool full of baked beans. Dripping with slimy beans, I slipped through the rest of the course, pulling down the host with me while I fell. 
4. I've had a huge crush on Derek Jeter since 1996. Once, early in his career, I was close enough to score an autograph, but I was way too nervous to ask. So, I just stared at my shoes.
5. I've seen every single episode of "90210", "Dawson's Creek", and "The OC". 
6. I have a strange obsession with handbags. 

I'm tagging everyone who reads this blog. Let me know you're posting, so I can read it. :) 

Contest Alert: Kudos to the awesome Book Muncher who is giving away a signed copy of SCREWBALL. :) Check out her amazing blog for some great YA reviews.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Living the Dream

Actor, comedian, and Yankees fanatic, Billy Crystal, was bummed about turning sixty. So, what does Crystal do after chatting about his big birthday with New York Yankees shortstop and captain, Derek Jeter? He signs a one day contract to play exhibition baseball with the Yankees. On Wednesday, Crystal, wearing the number sixty, worked out with the team. Then, yesterday, he led off during the first inning, his only at bat, against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Crystal struck out after six pitches, but he did manage to foul one off. 

Wow! Can you imagine how amazing this moment was for Crystal? It made me think. If I could do anything for one day, what would I do? Easy. I probably would do exactly what Crystal did, play baseball for the New York Yankees or go out with Derek Jeter. :) 

What would you do? 

Guest Blogger: Today I'm guest blogging over at YA Enchanting Reviews. If you get a chance, stop by and say hello. Have a great weekend! :)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Why is Soccer called Soccer?

I'm researching the origin of soccer for a magazine article and I finally answered a question I've thought about for years. Why is European football called soccer in the United States? 

The English played two types football: rugby football which allowed hand and foot play, nicknamed rugger and association football which prohibited hand play, named assoc. When soccer started gaining popularity in the US during the 1960's, gridiron football (National Football League) was already in existence. Therefore, the US adopted the English nickname, assoc, which eventually turned into soccer because it's easier to pronounce. 

What is something you're currently mulling over? Or something you've pondered in the past? 

Contest Alert: Pretty Tough is sponsoring a SCREWBALL contest. Check it out! All you have to do is tell me your SCREWBALL story to enter a chance to win a Pretty Tough profile, a copy of SCREWBALL, and a subscription to Fastpitch Forever magazine. Tell me about a time, like Ashley Clarke in SCREWBALL, when you had to sacrifice something for your sport (Prom, friends, another sport, party, etc.). Send your story to Three winners will be selected at random. The contest runs from March 11th - 30th, 2008. Winners will be notified by email on April 1st, 2008. Good luck! 

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Pretty Tough Tuesday

I'm over at Pretty Tough today blogging about Bound 4 Beijing. 

Contest Alert: Pretty Tough is running a SCREWBALL contest. You can enter to win a Pretty Tough profile, SCREWBALL, and a subscription to Fastpitch Forever magazine just by sending an email to me at Check my blog this week for more information. 

There's some exciting fastpitch news on the horizon, but I have to keep mum right now. Here's a hint - Hollywood! :) 

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Moonvertising.. What?

Is this is amazing or strange? Rolling Rock is advertising on the moon. It's called moonvertising. Beware, if you click on the website, it's kind of slow, but from what I got out of if, anyone can write a laser message on the moon. Also, local bars and clubs are sponsoring Moon Parties so people can view Rolling Rock's moonvertising. I couldn't tell from the website if the personal messages were for the website only or if at the moon parties, you could view the messages on the actual moon. Now, that would be interesting. Imagine, someone moon popping the question. The first attempt at moonvertising is March 21st, March's full moon.  Sounds like fun? :)  

What do you think of moonvertising? What would you post on the moon? 

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Pretty Tough Today

I'm over at Pretty Tough today, blogging about MySpace fastpitch friends and the week in college softball. Have a great day!  

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Book Bites for Kids

Today, I'm stopping by to chat with Suzanne Lieurance on Book Bites for Kids at 3:00 EST. My very first radio interview. Yeah! :) 

Question for everyone.. I'm in the process of brainstorming a prequel for SCREWBALL. Read any great tween books lately? 

Monday, March 3, 2008

I Have to Know..

The middle school visit went great! It was so nice to be in the classroom again and talk with the teens. We had some great discussions about.. 
1. The students told me they like to read books that "keep it real". :)
2. The students buy books based on the summary on the back and the cover. 
3. They like shorter books, but if a book is long, it better be really good or they won't read it.

On a side note: Why do I care? But, I do.. Way too much.. Currently, my latest celebrity obsession that's pulling me away from writing is... 
Is Kate Hudson pregnant? There are some pictures floating around of Kate Hudson looking preggers. And who is the father? Justin Timberlake or Owen Wilson? Juicy stuff.. What's your latest celebrity obsession?