Visiting The Book Swarm today is Kirsten Hubbard, author of the fabulous YA contemporary travel novel, WANDERLOVE (review here).
Intrepid traveler and travel writer for About.com, Kirsten has also published LIKE MANDARIN (review here). You can visit her blog and the Wanderlove Tumblr site, which is filled with gorgeous pictures and descriptions of places I'm definitely adding to my list. Welcome, Kirsten!
Wanderlove is filled with your own sketches. Why did you decide to include sketches with this book?
I've always drawn, and Bria was always an artist. I think including illustrations was something I hoped for, in my heart of hearts, from the very beginning. But I was also aware doing so would be totally up to my publisher; since I'm not a professional illustrator, her reaction could very well have been, um, no, your drawings are awkward. Plus illustrations in a book are an additional expense for the publisher. Fortunately, both my agent and editor were on board immediately. Hooray!
The main character, Bria Sandoval, desperately wants to be a global vagabond. As a serious traveler yourself, do you consider yourself a global vagabond? How is that different than a traveler or tourist?
Throughout Wanderlove, Bria writes down travel rules she gets from Rowan (a very experienced backpacker). Rule number four is something I've observed time and again: "No matter how well-traveled you are, you'll always meet someone who's traveled more than you." I've backpacked quite a few times, but every time I travel, I meet people who haven't returned home in over a year, people who've lived abroad and visited triple the countries I have.
As for the global vagabonds, I didn't put too much thought into it – it's the name of the dorky tour group Bria ditches early on. When she sees the name, and longs to be one, she only pictures the romance, not the reality of travel: the poverty and crime and mosquito bites and unhappy stomach conditions. As Bria says, "backpacking really does push aside the curtain".
You've traveled all over the place including throughout Central America, which you write about for About.com. What was one of the most interesting place you've visited, and where are you would you like to go next?
Black Rock City, Nevada is definitely the most interesting, and also a favorite. While I adore traveling abroad, there's nothing like wandering through a post-apocalyptic white sand desert at sunset and coming across a three-story bouquet of fire-breathing flowers. As for where to next: I always say I'd go anywhere, but right now, I'm most interested in visiting Colombia, India, and Spain/Morocco. Might be a little hard to hit all three on the same trip, though!
And a couple of writing questions...
Since you’ve been published, what’s the coolest thing that’s happened to you?
Melina Marchetta blurbing Like Mandarin :)
Where do you do the majority of your writing?
It's about 75% my office – which now includes my ultimate writing desk: a consignment dining room table, just beautiful – and 25% at one of the coffee shops down the street. I can't write when people I know are around, but somehow, I can concentrate in a sea of strangers with Macbooks.
What's your biggest distraction when writing?
The internet, general. Metafilter, specific.