TQ: Earlier this year Nightshade was the subject of a censorship attempt before it was even published. Could you tell us about that?
Andrea: Given that just a few days earlier I’d posted a blog in support of Laurie Halse Anderson, whose book Speak had been challenged in Missouri, and that I’d posted about how I thought someday Nightshade would be challenged on Page Turners Blog I felt a little like the universe testing my sense of irony. I expected challenges, but I simply wasn’t prepared for an objection on my first day visiting a school. Standing in the principal’s office I felt very small and a bit like I’d been sucker punched. I was a very well behaved child, and at age 32 this was my first time being sent to the principal’s office, told what I’d done wrong and how I should behave. The principal went on to request that I keep things from getting “PG-13” and that I didn’t say anything like encourage the students toward “vampire conversion.” Vampire conversion? Okay, first of all, there are no vampires in Nightshade. Secondly, do any authors give presentations at schools that promote vampire conversion? I wanted to know if Heather Brewer and Richelle Mead get this question at their school visits. As I went to the auditorium I felt a bit ill. I was already nervous and now I worried about having to censor myself when I spoke and answered questions. But then I started to get angry because I remembered who I am. I teach for a living. I know how to talk to students. I wrote a book I love and I don’t think it’s at all inappropriate. I have a Ph.D. in history and I understand the ways in which violence, religion, and sexuality have shaped societies. I use that research to inform my novels. These subjects shouldn’t be avoided or hidden. They need to be discussed. Running away from the more difficult topics of history only makes it more likely that patriarchy, inequality, and ignorance become more deeply rooted in our cultures. Fortunately I was saved by the wonder that is young readers. Over the course of the day I spoke to about 400 students. They were all amazing. Their questions were smart and engaging. Their ideas were fantastic. Each session was buzzing with intelligence and enthusiasm. When I finished, my voice was pretty much gone but it was one of the happiest moments of my life. And nothing about that trip to the principal’s office mattered. Not one bit. One of the event organizers did some digging and found out that the objection had come from a parent who hadn’t read Nightshade. She’d just seen my blog post supporting Laurie Halse Anderson. Turns out my first encounter with censorship stemmed from my speaking out against it. All it does is make me determined to barrel ahead without fear. And I’m not doing it for myself. I’m doing it for each of those students, who gave me more with their questions and ideas than I could ever hope to give them.
TQ: Do you think it has affected you as a writer?
Andrea: It has made me both more determined and fearless about speaking out in support of books with 'controversial' subject material and to work hard to raise awareness about the damage done by challenging and banning young adult literature.
TQ: You teach early modern history (1500s to 1800s). Do you see any parallels between the censorship that was taking place during those times and censorship today?
Andrea: It's important to keep in mind that the idea of censorship only exists given the assumption and advocation of the right to freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Both of those rights are inventions of the 18th century - rights aren't won without a struggle and I think in our contemporary culture we often take those rights for granted. Prior to the 18th century censorship as we know it didn't exist. For example attempts in medieval Europe to print the Bible in vernacular (common languages, i.e. English, French) instead of Latin were 'censored' by burning the printers at the stake for heresy. That's not exaggeration and I think it simply reinforces how important freedom of speech and the press are - we've come a long way in terms of protecting the right to knowledge and discussion of all issues. Regression in that arena is not something that would benefit society.
TQ: What advice would you give aspiring YA writers about both self-censorship and dealing with censorship by others?
Andrea: One thing I worry about for aspiring writers is that they will censor themselves for fear that writing what they truly love or believe in won't sell, so they'll restrain themselves or stick to 'safer' subject material. Writing to sell is the worst mistake an author can make and will only lead to failure and writing misery. It's a mistake to write for other people rather than writing for your own passion. The most important thing is to be true to your self. Writing that reflects the heart and soul of the author is the best of the craft. Regarding censorship by authors, it's simply important to be educated yourself and to educate others about book censorship and censorship attempts. I've found the experiences and advice of oft-challenged authors like Laurie Halse Anderson and Ellen Hopkins to be priceless. They are true heroes for authors, readers, book sellers, librarians and educators.
About Andrea's Books
Hardcover, 528 page
Philomel, October 19, 2010
Philomel, July 2011
|Photo: Gina Monroe|
Andrea Cremer is the author of the New York Times bestselling debut novel Nightshade. She grew up in the Northwoods of Wisconsin and now lives in Minneapolis, where she’s a history professor at Macalester College. She’s written about violence, sex, religion and power in history, and has used that research to create the world of the Nightshade series. Wolfsbane, the second book in the series, will be published in July 2011. You can learn more about Andrea at http://www.andreacremer.com/
NightShade Website: http://www.nightshadebook.com/
Shay Doran on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shadowshay
Shay Doran's Blog: http://www.shaydoran.com/
Shay Doran's YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/shaydoran
What: One commenter will win a copy of Nightshade by Andrea Cremer. This book has been provided by the publisher.
How: Leave a comment telling The Qwillery what you are passionate about? Keep it PG-13 please! If you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.
You may receive additional entries by:
1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.
2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.
3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.
There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.
Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.
Who & When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Wednesday, December 15, 2010. Void where prohibited by law.
*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*
I'm passionate about writing and music.ReplyDelete
+1 Blog follower
+1 Tweet: http://twitter.com/Sparima/status/12504568302665728
+1 Sidebar: http://fictionkingdom.blogspot.com/
My passion is for reading. I don't feel complete without *something* to read at hand, all the time. Thank goodness for the iPhone reading apps! Carrying books in my purse wasn't always practical, and while the 'pages' are small, it's so much better than standing in line & twiddling my fingers! :pReplyDelete
My mom tells me I am like my grandfather, in this respect. He always had a book in his pocket & would whip it out whenever he had a spare moment. I love this, as I never met my grandfather (I was 13 days old when he passed away), but I feel close to him, all the same. :)
BTW, +3... comment, follower, retweet! :)ReplyDelete
I'm passionate about reading. I read a lot, everywhere, and I love different genres. Reading is my favourite cure to everything, from loneliness to sadness!ReplyDelete
+1 blog folloer
I am passionate about my kids. I know this seems like a generic answer, but at the end of the day, they are all that matters. I am passionate about their education, health and happiness.
I am an old follower of the Qwillery!
Here is a sidebar post... http://ellzreadz.blogspot.com/
And a tweet... http://twitter.com/#!/EllzReadz/status/12540428779790336
I'm most passionate about books, I can't stop bringing home more. I love to read and ever since I learned to read, I haven't stopped.ReplyDelete
Nightshade sounds like such a wonderful book, and the cover is stunning.
I would have to say that I really do I have two passions.. The first being photography, growing up I have always wanted to become a professional photographer for National Geographic and someday have my own studio. I still take black and white photos on my spare time. Tied in with my passion for photography would be my passion for reading and writing, I've written alot of my own material that I would love to comeplete someday and perhaps achieve success in that department lol.ReplyDelete
+1 Follower (GFC and E-mail)
+1 Tweet (@MoonlightGleams)
Total 3 (Including comment)
I'm passionate about my kids...they are the one thing in life that I will move mountians for :0) Other things in life have my attendtion but the kids have my world :0)ReplyDelete
+1 Blog follower :0)
I'm passionate about keeping my close friends in my life. I also am passionate about reading. Thanks for the great giveaway!ReplyDelete
+1 for being a blog follower.
I'm passionate about reading and movies.ReplyDelete
+1 blog follower
musmekipi at gmail dot com
I'm passionate about my family and for reading :)ReplyDelete
+1 blog follower
I'm passionate about reading.ReplyDelete
Wow. "vampire conversion"?
*cough* Idiot *cough*
Sometimes I find it hard to believe we are in the 21st Century.
Thank you for continuing to stand up & for freedom Andrea.
All the best,
I'm passionate about reading and cooking (thank god, I have a cookthrough blog, it would be a nightmare if I didn't enjoy it).ReplyDelete
I'm a GFC follower!
thejoyofthejoyofcooking at hotmail dot com
Truthfully I'm passionate about urban fantasy books! Reading them and writing them! I'm an aspiring writer so reading and writing is my passion and those two just go together! I mean you really can't have one without the other!ReplyDelete
+1 I'm a follower
I'm passionate about exercise and reading. Two very different activities but I live for them both.ReplyDelete
+1 Blog follower
I am passionate about reading (of course), the sharing of information, and issues that affect young women. If you look at my blog, you will see that all three are true! I fervently believe without access to information and education, everyone, but especially young women, are left without the means to make sound personal decisions about their own lives. I think Andrea's book deals quite a bit with this same idea. We owe it to ourselves to keep our eyes and ears open for information that can help us and see when a lack of it can hurt us. Okay, I'm going to stop before I sound too 'after-school special'! Keep on reading!ReplyDelete
-Linds, bibliophile brouhaha
+1 GFC follower
+1 twitted about(@bibliobrouhaha): http://twitter.com/#!/bibliobrouhaha/status/12932670602350592
+1 posted about in my Thursday News Roundup - scroll down, under 'Buzz: Books & Otherwise'
Whoops - that's four entries - my email is bibliophile[dot]brouhaha[at]gmail[dot]com.ReplyDelete
I am passionate about blogging :) Also reading and my husband and dogs :))ReplyDelete
+1 I am a follower
Total = 2
baychriz at gmail dot com
I'm very passionate about reading definitely. But I'm also very passionate about cooking. I've been doing a lot of it lately. Tackling backing has been a lot of fun too. I've looked into a culinary school but of course there isn't one in town. But in the future, I will attend one :)ReplyDelete
deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com
I'm passionate about reading...that's a given I think :) I'm always scoping out the blogisphere. I'm also passionate about taking care of my family. I'm a stay at home mom and I always have everything taken care of to keep my husband and son very healthy and happy. Great giveaway. I've wanted this book for a long time now...fingers are crossed XxXxReplyDelete
+1 Commented on post
+1 old GFC follower as Tanyaw1224
+1 twittered at www.twitter.com/Tanya1224
I am passionate about reading. I just finished my 236th book this year.ReplyDelete
+1 Blog follower
+1 Tweet http://twitter.com/toobusyreading/status/13250033247846402
bkhabel at gmail dot com
Having read Nightshade, I must say Andrea has really laid it on thick with trying to convert readers to vamperism. Those werewolves were real advocates for pushing people to become boodsuckers. *mutters about idiotic people who try to push bans when they haven't even read the book*ReplyDelete
I'm passionate about animal rights and reading. I'm a vegan so I wholeheartedly support organisations who help to give animals a voice against the cruelties they suffer in our society. And of course, bookworm that I am, lover of all that is YA fiction - I am definitely passionate about the love of reading!
Thanks for the fantastic giveaway! I loved Nightshade, but don't have a copy of my own. So I'd love to win!
+1 Tweet - http://twitter.com/#!/peacelovebooksx/status/13450350505762817
Wow, I can't believe they spoke against this book an actually asked Andrea to keep it PG-13 and vampire-less. I mean what? There are no vampires in Nightshade! lolReplyDelete
I am laughing but it is really tragic, how this can be even in the 21st century!
I'm glad that made her more fearless.
As for me, I feel very passionately about music. I couldn't survive without music. It's what has gotten me through everything really. And I'm also passionate about reading (naturally :P) ans writing (my diary, ff whatever) :)
- I'm a follower on GFC (Kelly A.)
- I posted it on FB http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=147534915295372&id=887420205
- On my sidebar: http://yllektra.blogspot.com
I have a passion for food - Sourcing, cooking, photography of - and I get all excited about finding new things in the markets, or stumbling across new 'favourite' recipes.ReplyDelete
Rusted (GFC follower!)
rusted ivory at hotmail dot com
Like all the wonderful people before me, my passion is definitely reading. I can "read" myself out of house and home :) I shudder at the actual amount I have spent on books. Thank goodness for quality used bookstores! Thanks for a wonderful interview!ReplyDelete
I am passionate about books and spending time with my man.ReplyDelete
+1 GFC follower
jlynettes @ hotmail . com
I am passionate about reading!ReplyDelete
+1 gfc follower
+1 I'm passionate about uhm TV series, books, musics, internet (sigh ADDICTED) and love. :DReplyDelete
+1 I'm a follower
+1 sidebar on blog: http://bookish-escape.blogspot.com/
feeyonachan at gmail dot com
Thank you! :D
I'm gonna be lame and say I have a passion for books :D I can never study in a library because I get soooo distracted by all the books lol XDReplyDelete
I'm a GFC follower
I tweeted: http://twitter.com/#!/ramen_addict/status/15179358826139648
Thanks for the great interview! I've heard such great about this book, and it's at the top of my Christmas book wish list. :-)ReplyDelete
What I'm passionate about? Hmmm, I'd say I'm passionate about knowledge, about knowing things, understanding things. It doesn't really matter whether it's listening to the audio commentary on a DVD or a lecture on women's role in antiquity, I just love to learn things and know things. :-)
The only problem is, there is never enough time to take everything in!
+1 I'm a GFC follower
I think my e-mail is in my Google profile, but it's mi-mi(at)tele2(dot)se
I am passionate about reading books.ReplyDelete