GIVEAWAY, INTERVIEW and REVIEW: Fingerprints of You by Kristen-Paige Madonia

 
Lovely readers, today Kristen-Paige Madonia, is visiting Tales of the Ravenous Reader to talk about her upcoming paperback release of FINGERPRINTS OF YOU. Read our interview and get to know more about Kristen-Paige and her amazing novel that is truly unforgettable and see what else she has to say. Then make sure to enter the giveaway for the recent paperback release of FINGERPRINTS OF YOU.
 
Kristen-Paige Madonia is the author of Fingerprints of You, a young adult literary novel that will be published in August by Simon & Schuster. Her short fiction has appeared in various publications including Upstreet, New Orleans Review, American Fiction: Best Previously Unpublished Short Stories by Emerging Writers, and Sycamore Review; she has received awards or fellowships from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the Vermont Studio Center, the Juniper Summer Writing Institute, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Hedgebrook Writers’ Retreat, Millay Colony for the Arts, the Key West Literary Seminar, and The Studios of Key West. She was a finalist for the 2011 Virginia Commission for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction, and in 2010 she was awarded the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival Prize. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from California State University, Long Beach and a BA in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University. Kristen-Paige currently lives in Charlottesville, Virginia where she teaches creative writing and is at work on her second novel.

Here is my interview with Kristen-Paige. Please stay a bit and get to know this author of FINGERPRINTS OF YOU a bit better.

Can you give my readers a quick synopsis for Fingerprints of You? And how did you come up with the concept for the book? 
Fingerprints of You is the story of Lemon Williams, a seventeen year old girl raised by her single mother, Stella, an artist and a wanderer. After discovering she is pregnant, Lemon embarks on a cross-country road trip from West Virginia to San Francisco in search of her father, a man she has never met. It's a story about the ever changing definition of family in modern society. It's also about the wondrous time in life when we, as teenagers, discover that the world is much larger than it first seemed and realize that we have the ability to decide what kind of adults we will become. 

I first imagined Lemon and Stella when I was working on another novel, a book that has yet to be published, but once they took hold, I couldn't stop thinking them - this feisty mother-daughter team simultaneously coming of age. I wrote them into a short story originally but couldn't get them out of my mind. It's funny, as authors we don't always get to pick what or whom we write about. I think that's a gift - when the work pushes back. A short story wasn't enough for them, and I knew immediately I needed a much longer project to explore their relationship and to give them time to grow. 

Since Fingerprints of You begins in a tattoo parlor it makes me very curious, do you have any tattoos?
Oh, I love this question! I don't, though, needless to say, I'm captivated by the idea of marking ourselves in that way, by choosing images to represent various stages of our life. The final cover image was designed by a tattoo artist, Terry Ribera, so the font and artwork are all original tattoo designs. I've spent hours on his website searching through his work, and of course I considered having an image from the cover tattooed to celebrate the book, but in the end I never did. There's something about the permanency that intimidates me, though I'm so grateful that my art director at Simon & Schuster had the brilliant idea to focus on the tattoo theme for the cover.

Your novel delves into some serious subject matter what would you like readers to take away from reading Fingerprints of You?
I suppose it all goes back to the title and the idea that though we're marking one another all the time; we often leave our fingerprints on other people's lives even though we may not be aware of it.  It may be a passing interaction on a bus or at a concert, or it may be something more significant like first love, but all of our interactions help change and shape the people around us. 

Lemon's name is original and I adore it , where did the inspiration for her name come from? 
It's funny, a lot of things changed in the book with each rewrite and new draft, but Lemon was always Lemon, from the first day I imagined her and Stella. I didn't know why in the beginning and had to write forward to discover how her mother chose that name, but her name and her voice, her general character was fairly fully formed when I began writing. It took me a while to unpack her backstory and all the details of her childhood and to understood why she sounded the way she did, but for me the book started with Lemon's voice. 

What is your writing process? and do your writing space look like?
It changes all the time because I tend to work part-time jobs as well, so my schedule is always in flux. But in an ideal world, I write in the morning before the buzz and chatter of the internet and daily chores and distractions begin. I've also relied heavily on writing colonies, places that provide the gift of time and space for artists. In fact, I wrote the majority of the first draft of Fingerprints of You during a five-week stay at the Studios of Key West ( http://tskw.org/ )and then worked on the second draft at the Millay Colony ( http://www.millaycolony.org/ ). I've been so fortunate in that way. I find it much easier to write new material when I completely remove myself from the daily distractions of the "real" world. Of course that's not always an option, so when I'm home my writing usually involves lots of coffee, lots of breaks for short walks with my dog, and as little internet time as possible. Unless I'm researching something specific, I try to say off-line. (I've attached a shot of my work space at home and my favorite writing partner, Berkeley.)

What was your favorite book when you were a teenager? What is in your reading pile and what are you reading now?
The book that comes to mind most, and this was probably in middle-school, is The Outsiders. I fell in love with the gritty world of that novel, a place so unlike my own, and the characters that lived and struggled inside it. I think that book was the first book that taught me to write against the typical advice to write what you know. Looking back, it showed me that I could write about any world I want, as long as you do it authentically and vividly. Because I'm currently working on a YA novel, I've spent the last months reading YA: Everybody Sees the Ants, It's Kind of a Funny Story, Eleanor & Park, Every Day. There are so many strong contemporary YA authors out there that it's hard to keep up! I tend to always be reading two books at once, a novel and a collection of short stories. There's an urgency in the short story form that I try to bring into my own novel writing, and I'm currently reading Amber Dermont's collection Damage Control, an excellent collection.

Why do you write for the YA genre.
If truth be told, it wasn't a planned thing; in fact, when I wrote Fingerprints of You, I never had the YA readership in mind. I wrote the book because I felt it was a story that needed to be told, but because I had always written for adults in terms of my short stories and my first book project, that was where I imagined Fingerprints finding a home. It wasn't until much later in the process, the final draft in fact, that I realized it had the potential to be labeled YA. But all of that aside, I hope that I will always write for teens and adults and can't imagine not being a part of the YA community. There is so much energy there, and I feel empowered to have the opportunity to connect with teen readers. It seems to me than a fairly equal amount of YA readers are adults and teens, so publishing in this field is a fantastic way to reach a wider audience. There's also a rawness that comes with YA, an honesty and authenticity and momentum that you can draw from and create in these beautiful coming-of-age stories. And I'm a firm believer that we're all still coming of age, at all ages; we all have so much to learn and so many opportunities to grow and become better people, so that theme in YA is particularly appealing to me.

What can readers expect from you next, and can you tell us a little about that project?
I'm working on another YA book - also set in San Francisco but quite different from Fingerprints of You. I'm hesitant to say much except that it explores the history of the city and a cast of characters that I've absolutely fallen in love with. Think summertime in San Francisco in 2006 ... rock bands and best friends and lots of scenes in Golden Gate Park and on Haight Street. In a sense, it's also about family, but this novel explores the things we can and cannot explain and the ways we cope with the seemingly unsolvable mysteries of life.   

FINGERPRINTS OF YOU by Kristen-Paige Madonia
Excerpt HERE

Lemon Williams was raised buried in the shadow of her free-spirited mother, Stella, and consequently her childhood was spent on the move – dodging disasters and mastering the art of packing up apartments, of being the new kid, and of leaving the past behind.
But when Lemon begins her senior year at another new school, she realizes she’s taken an inescapable part of their last life with them: She’s pregnant. In an attempt to fill in the gaps of her history and to avoid repeating Stella’s mistakes, she decides she must set things right by going in search of the father she’s never met. So as new life grows inside her, Lemon boards a Greyhound bus and heads west to San Francisco in hopes of freeing herself from her childhood mishaps and discovering the true meaning of family.

REVIEW:

FINGERPRINTS of YOU by Kristen-Paige Madonia is a brilliant coming of age novel due to it's mesmerizing storytelling and unforgettable characters.

As I began reading FINGERPRINTS OF YOU I was quickly introduced to Lemon and the world that she has grown up in: A free spirited mother, a nomadic existence and yearning for something more. Before long she discovers that she is pregnant and she decides to quickly embark on journey to find her biological father. It is clear from the start that Lemon is smart and quick witted and it is fascinating to witness her adventure.

What makes this story work for me besides it's protagonist is the fact it's auxiliary characters are so endearing and memorable. I cannot indulge in too much in regards to them because it would reveal way too much but believe me, you will not easily forget them. I also found my opinions changing about Lemon's mother whom initially I pegged to be flighty and irresponsible, but eventually realized she was only doing the best that she could. The only complaint I have is that I wish I could have read a bit more because it was simply that good.

I highly recommend FINGERPRINTS OF YOU by Kristen-Paige Madonia because she has done an amazing job at creating a story that is amazing and truly memorable. A must read to finish out this summer.

Now! you can also have a chance to read this wonderful novel. Just enter the giveaway below for a paperback copy of FINGERPRINTS OF YOU and good luck!
 
US entrants only
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

7 comments:

  1. The whole concept!! It caught my eye when this book first released. So glad to have another chance to win it!

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  2. This book has been on my radar for a couple months. I've read some awesome reviews and can't wait to read it myself.

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  3. You got me with the cover illustration!!

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  4. Sounds like a really good book. I'm interested in reading it for my blog but also to add it to my high school classroom (I teach English 10 and AVID 11-12). The cover art will attract a lot of attention from my students.

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  5. Thanks for all the enthusiasm!

    BW - let me know if you decide to have your students read it, as I'm happy to Skype, free of charge, with high-school classes! You can email me through my website: http://kristenpaigemadonia.com/

    Kristen-Paige

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  6. I love the girl's name first of all! Also love books about road trips! Thanks for the chance to win! Looks like a great book!

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  7. What i loved about this book is its not glamorous its real.. it doesnt make teen pregnancy something amazing take it from me its just not.. This book felt so raw and real perhaps thats why i had to remind myself Lemon is fictional. i seriously recommend this read :D!

    I borrowed this book from my local library!

    Irene (Child Custody Lawyer)

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