Name: Kirsten Hubbard
Book Title: LIKE MANDARIN
Publisher: Random House/Delacorte
Release Date: Spring 2011
LIKE MANDARIN synopsis:
In the wind-battered town of Washokey, Wyoming, fourteen-year-old Grace Carpenter longs to stand out. But Grace rejects her mother's beauty pageant ideals and the superficial obsessions of her classmates. True beauty is seventeen-year-old Mandarin Ramey—the town slut.
Grace would give anything to be like Mandarin: self-assured, shameless, and utterly carefree. She doesn't realize Mandarin is searching for somebody, too. When a teacher unites the misfits for a project, they forge an unlikely, explosive friendship, packed with nights spent skinny-dipping in the canal, liberating the town's animal-head trophies, and constantly searching for someplace magic.
Grace plays along when Mandarin coaxes her into a pact to run away together. She believes it's all part of the game. But for Mandarin, it's real. As Grace learns the truth about the volatile older girl, she finds even Mandarin's unique beauty can't compensate for the turmoil underneath. And even the closest friendships can't withstand betrayal.
What made you decide to be a writer?
Like the majority of authors, I wrote nonstop growing up. But I was always going to be an artist. Then, for an ill-timed year that coincided with college apps, I was going to be a biologist (because all biologists do is play with orangutans, right?). Fortunately, a freshman creative writing class plus a job writing for my college paper steered me in the right direction, and I changed my major to writing that summer.
I've made a full-time living as a freelance writer for the past few years, but my first and best love has always been fiction. Someday I'll bring art into it too! And maybe even orangutans.
Spanning age groups and genres, some of my all-time favorites are Lolita (Nabokov), Watership Down (Adams), Jellicoe Road (Marchetta), Atonement (McEwan), Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth (Ware), Feed (Anderson), The Road (McCarthy), Wringer (Spinelli), The Arrival (Tan). I adore everything by Laurie Halse Anderson, John Green, Sarah Dessen and Jon Krakauer (what a mix).
Morning person or a night owl?
I love being up in the early morning and late at night, but in reality, I'm just sort of normal.
PC or mac?
What did you have for dinner today?
It's only 10am, but last night, I had In & Out. Vegetarian style. If you're not from the sunny coast, you don't know what you're missing.
Quick! Share 11 random things about yourself.
- I have a fraternal twin sister named Danielle, who is brilliant and should also be a writer, but who instead works as a lawful meth and ecstasy dealer (aka, research lab technician).
- I was voted Most Talented in high school, but for art.
- I'm the Guide to Central America Travel for About.com. I've traveled in Central America eight times in the last few years, mostly strapped to a backpack. Also, Southeast Asia; plus, I'm planning a trip through Eastern Europe. This means I have probably slept in worse beds than you. And have also seen larger insects.
- On a dive in Belize, a wild bottlenose dolphin swam up to me and looked me right in the eye. I SWEAR
- My dog looks like a purebred, but he's a pound mutt.
- I live in San Diego, but I grew up in Oxnard, California: not just another pretty name.
- I don't squash spiders—I set them free. I also feel guilty killing one ant when he's alone, say, in my shower, but if he and his brethren invade my kitchen, I will instigate a massacre.
- I never went to prom.
- Before becoming a full-time writer at age 22, I worked as a pet store clerk, a barista, a car show model, a cocktail server, and a Hooters girl. That's right. A Hooters girl.
- I drink a ridiculous amount of Tazo chai tea.
- When I was fourteen, I bought a little boys' thrift store shirt that said, "Live simply so others can simply live". I've tried to follow that ever since.