Wednesday, July 25, 2007

BLOOD BROTHERS by S.A.Harazin



BLOOD BROTHERS is S.A. Harazin's debut novel. Delacorte says: "S. A. Harazin's gritty, powerful story takes the reader into the emergency room, the world of teenage parties and drug use, and the lives of two friends who are as close as brothers." Kirkus says: "This compelling story, told in diary entries that cover hours and days, never loses the pace as Clay races to discover what happened during Joey’s last day. The antidrug message is never didactic, and the story will grab readers from the first sentence." Young adult literature expert Teri Lesesne says, "S. A. Harazin has written a terrific novel of friendship, family, longing and belonging in BLOOD BROTHERS."

Please welcome S.A. Harazin to the YA Authors Cafe.


CATHY A: Who are the "blood brothers" of your title, and what happens to them in the story?

S.A. HARAZIN: The “blood brothers” are Clay and Joey. When they were seven, they spit into a bottle to become blood brothers. They dreamed of taking a cross county bike trip, and they spent the next ten years preparing. But one evening Clay went to Joey’s house and found him hallucinating and violent. Joey ended up in ICU at the hospital where Clay worked as an orderly.

CATHY A: Clay is poor and Joey is rich. How does this affect each of them in
their lives and expectations?

S.A. HARAZIN: Clay began to notice the differences when they were in high school. Joey had more friends, more money, a car, and was planning to go to Duke University and someday become a doctor—something Clay wanted desperately to do. Clay worked hard but he never seemed to get anywhere. Even Clay’s girlfriend preferred Joey. Joey saw Clay as his best friend, but he did not completely understand Clay’s life.

CATHY A: You have many strong supporting characters. Chief Baker and Mrs. Hunt are two of my favorites. Tell us about a few of your supporting
characters--literally, how do they *support* Clay in the story?

S.A.HARAZIN: Mrs. Hunt is a nursing supervisor, and she took a chance when she hired and trained Clay as an orderly. This was an opportunity for Clay, and he was good at his job, but he made mistakes. He realized how much he wanted to become a doctor. On the outside, Mrs. Hunt is stern and expects the best from Clay. Later in the story she does something to help Clay offstage that is both risky and surprising.

Chief Baker has grown children, so he tries to understand Clay. He begins to look at the facts, he listens, and he realizes there is more to the story than Clay knows. He sees Clay as vulnerable and worries that he will get into trouble.

CATHY A: What was your inspiration for Blood Brothers?

S.A. HARAZIN: It is loosely based on life experiences. It was a story that had been with me for many years. But the first grain of the story came to me at work when a patient was going through the process of brain death diagnosis. He was just a kid, and what happened next really affected me. That also was when I realized how much life was unfair, and how we can do everything to save somebody, but it isn’t enough.

CATHY A: Most of Clay's peers treat him badly in BB. How do you think they see him? Do you think their views will change as they all get older?

S.A. HARAZIN: Clay is mostly invisible to his peers. But while his peers are having normal teenage experiences (and partying), Clay is thrown into life and death situations. Joey knows that part of him—the others do not. I definitely feel that their views will change—and towards the end of the story, the views of Alicia and Wade (minor characters who wanted to blame Clay for everything) have changed.

CATHY A: You worked in a hospital yourself as a teen. Were you able to use that experience as research for this story?

S.A. HARAZIN: Yes. I could remember my emotional reactions the first time I would see anything bad happening. But there were many mundane times, too. I came to love the mundane. People who watch shows like ER see the excitement. With me, there were times when I was afraid I would not know what to do.

CATHY A: I am in awe of the smooth way you wove separate time periods
together--distant past, recent past, and present. It gave the book a
propulsive feeling, like I couldn't turn pages fast enough. How did you
choose that structure, and how did you get it to work?

S.A. HARAZIN: Thanks! My editor suggested the flashbacks and placing the time at the beginning of scenes. He deserves lots of credit for helping me make BLOOD BROTHERS what it is. I had to figure out where to place the flashbacks, and I worried that I would slow down the story. There was a lot of hard work involved, and I was glad that with the help of an editor, I was able to take the story to another level.

I also benefitted from the advice of critiquers.

CATHY A: You have strong male lead characters in your work that I've read, with devastating dry deadpan humor. How do you find these male voices, and do you have plans to write a female lead at some time?

S.A. HARAZIN: I have three kids. Their friends hang out at my house. I listen whenever I can. The kids have different, distinct voices that I know well.

I don’t know if I’ll be writing with a female lead. I feel more comfortable with a male POV.

CATHY A: You are a moderator on the Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Chat Board. How has the internet changed things for writers in the past ten years or so? What is the value of community as a writer?

S.A. HARAZIN: A writer can find just about anything he needs to know on the internet. Verla Kay’s site offers support to writers. It is a good place to cyber- meet other writers. Sometimes we have editors or agents drop by and post advice or answer questions. This is helpful for people who can’t go to conferences.

The down side is that the internet can turn into a major distraction.

Thank you for sharing with us! Now for the blog readers to have a turn . . .


~~Cafe Note~~ As a regular part of our interviews, featured authors will pop back in for one week after their interview is posted to answer any other questions blog readers may leave for them. So if you have any questions or comments for Shirley, send them now! She'd love to hear from you!

Many thanks to guest interviewer, Catherine Atkins, author of When Jeff Comes Home, and Alt Ed.

32 comments:

TinaFerraro said...

Hi, Shirley! I came over here from your MySpace bulletin, and really enjoyed reading about BLOOD BROTHERS. Can you tell us what you are working on now?

Tina
Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress, Delacorte Press, 2007

Mussel Bound said...

Hi, Shirley - great interview! I read the excerpt you had posted somewhere, and got so involved I was startled to come to the end and wanted to keep reading; I got immediately involved in the character.

(I came here from the Verla Kay link btw)

C.K. said...

Shirley, Blood Brothers is so emotionally involving that I wonder if you could share what element(s) of the book were most difficult for you to write on an emotional level.

And I like Tina's question too! Would love to know what's next...

SAH said...

Tina asked: Can you tell us what you are working on now?

Thanks for stopping in, Tina. The wip is about a kid who has to live with a rare genetic condition and his search for identidy.

Musselbound, Thanks for reading the excerpt. I am glad you liked it!

c.k. asked: Blood Brothers is so emotionally involving that I wonder if you could share what element(s) of the book were most difficult for you to write on an emotional level.

Hi c.k! Thanks. The scenes where the Clay is with Joey in the hospital were the most difficult. I also wanted to switch to new emotions--happier times--and it was hard to change the tone. I did not want the reader depressed by the book--and I think I was successful in capturing the emotional changes in a true, honest way. I hope so, anyway.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Shirley.

Can you tell us how long you worked on the book and how many revisions you did?

SAH said...

Thanks!

I wrote the first draft in 1999. I don't know how many revisions I did, but I saved 33 of them.

laura wiess said...

Shirley,

Congratulations on Blood Brothers! I very much enjoyed it, especially the medical details and the interaction between Clay and Joey's family, which I thought was tragically, wonderfully realistic. I can't wait for your next book!

Laura Wiess

Amanda said...

"I wrote the first draft in 1999. I don't know how many revisions I did, but I saved 33 of them."

You've worked long and hard--and ended up with a book that's a great read. If you were forced to distill all that hard work down to one piece of advice for other writers, what would it be?

MarPerez said...

Congratulations, Shirley! And I love amanda's question!

Can you tell us a little bit about what your daily writing process is like? Do you finish a draft and then revise, or revise chapter by chapter? Do you require large pots of coffee or a serene, quiet room?

Mar

SAH said...

Thanks, Laura!

Amanda said: You've worked long and hard--and ended up with a book that's a great read. If you were forced to distill all that hard work down to one piece of advice for other writers, what would it be?

Thanks, Amanda. My advice is to keep rewriting and revising until you get it right.

Mar said: Can you tell us a little bit about what your daily writing process is like? Do you finish a draft and then revise, or revise chapter by chapter? Do you require large pots of coffee or a serene, quiet room?

Hi Mar! I was writing every morning for a few hours, but I recently have not been able to do that because of my day job. Now I am writing late at night and I have had trouble adjusting.

I wrote Blood Brothers straight through without revising. Now I seem to have trouble going forward without revising what I have written.

I require coffee and a serene location to write.

Thanks for the comments and questions!

maryP said...

"I wrote the first draft in 1999. I don't know how many revisions I did, but I saved 33 of them."

You are an inspiration, Shirley. Truly. Did you have any idea when you were working in a hospital that you would one day be a writer using those details and observations in a book? I always find it so fascinating how prior experiences weave their way into an author's story. Sometimes even the not-so-good experiences become a great source in writing.

SAH said...

Mary said: Did you have any idea when you were working in a hospital that you would one day be a writer using those details and observations in a book? I always find it so fascinating how prior experiences weave their way into an author's story. Sometimes even the not-so-good experiences become a great source in writing.

No. I did not originally plan on writing a novel and having it published. I wrote because writing is part of who I am. I actually rejected writing "Blood Brothers" for a long time until I got to the point where I felt I had to write the story.

Debby G. said...

I really enjoyed reading your interview and Q and A.

I didn't know you had a day job. Are you working as an RN?

I'm looking forward to reading your book.

SAH said...

Thanks, Debby. I work for my husband during the day as a receptionist/secretary for his business.

OnlinePharmacy said...

LjVueJ Your blog is great. Articles is interesting!

miami phentermine purchase said...

m8AXAf Please write anything else!

airline meridia trans said...

Hello all!

coral beach motel ormond said...

Please write anything else!

name said...

Nice Article.

carp tour ny said...

Nice Article.

2006 pumpkin smashing tour said...

Good job!

citizens insurance florida said...

Magnific!

ringtones said...

Please write anything else!

said...

Nice Article.

cialis levitra vs said...

NDgbsf Thanks to author.

free ringtones for sa said...

Hello all!

wholesale air jordan said...

Air Jordan Shoes, Nike Jordan Shoes, Nike Air Jordan Shoes,Jordan Whoesale.

Nike Shoes: Shoes like Air Jordan Shoes, Air Jordan, Nike Jordan Shoes, Nike Air Jordan Shoes, Jordan shoes, and many other Wholesael Nike Shoes are reviewed.

buy wow gold said...

Today, the Microsoft-owned in-game ad agency said that it has signed an exclusive multiyear agreement with Blizzard. Azerothians opposed to seeing in-game ads in their localworld of warcft goldwatering holes need not worry, however, because the deal is limited to Blizzard's Web sites and Battle.net,the game maker's online-gaming hub. Terms of the deal were not announced, but Massive did note that the agreement is applicable to users in the US, Canada, Europe, South Korea, and Australia.
buy wow gold


Massive also said today that it would be extending its aforementioned deal with Activision to encompass an additional 18 games appearing on the Xbox 360 and PC.cheap wow goldThe agency didn't fully delineate which would fall under this deal, though it did call out Guitar Hero: World Tour, James Bond: Quantum of Solace, and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,buy wow items as well as games in its Tony Hawk and AMAX Racing franchises.Shortly before Activision and Vivendi announced their deal of the decade,wow power levelingthe Guitar Hero publisher signed on to receive in-game advertisements from Massive Inc for a number of its Xbox 360 and PC games. A bit more than a year later, Massive is now extending its reach to Activision's new power player, Blizzard Entertainment.buy wow gold from our site ,you'll get more surprises!

梦中林 said...

A slim, wide-eyed mygamegoldwoman almost human in virbanksfeatures eyed agamegold the pair. Her nose was sharp, but very elegant. She had tbcgold a pale, trade4gamebeautiful face the color of ivory, and veryge for hair she wore a wondrous mane of downy feathers. Her gown fluttered as she walked—on two delicate worldofgolds but still sharply-taloned feet. “Awake, awake you are,” she said with a pvp365 slight frown. “You should rest, rest.” Krasus bowed to her. “I am ezmmorpg grateful for your ighey hospitality, mistress, but I am well enough to continue on9a9z now.” She cocked her head as a bird might, giving the mageltk365 a reproving look. “No, no…too soon, toogold4guild soon. Please, sit.” The duo looked around u4game and discovered that two chairs, made in the same ready4game fashion as the nest, waited behind happygolds them. Malfurion waited for Krasus, who finally nodded and sat.

Anonymous said...

Nice to meet you!!!
[URL=http://superjonn.50webs.com/restaurant-citysearch.html]restaurant citysearch[/URL]

Anonymous said...

Nice to meet you!!!
[url=http://tennis-avenue.cphoster.com/]http://tennis-avenue.cphoster.com/[/url]
http://tennis-avenue.cphoster.com/

tina said...

Gucci
Replica GUCCI SHOES
Replica GUCCI handbags
wholesale gucci shoes
cheap Gucci shoes
cheap Gucci handbags
discount gucci shoes
Gucci shop
Gucci bags
Gucci shoes
Gucci ON sale
Gucci Belts
Gucci small accessories
Gucci hats & scarves
Gucci wallets
Gucci Handbags
women Gucci shoes
Men Gucci shoes
Gucci
Replica GUCCI SHOES
Replica GUCCI handbags
wholesale gucci shoes
cheap Gucci shoes
cheap Gucci handbags
discount gucci shoes
Gucci shop
Gucci bags
Gucci shoes
Gucci ON sale
Gucci Belts
Gucci small accessories
Gucci hats & scarves
Gucci wallets
Gucci Handbags
women Gucci shoes
Men Gucci shoes