Back when Chantelle ( one of my very best friends) and I met, we hit it off right away talking about books. Oddly enough, when I run into a fellow reader these days, it often starts a connection a little deeper, bridging the acquaintance-to-friend gap. For me at least. Anyways, she told me to read A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray. Its a YA book, so being about 20ish at the time, I was skeptical. However, Since we'd been talking about books we both enjoyed, I decided to trust her judgement.

I thought the book was wonderful. I'd wished I had read it when I was younger, (as I would have probably loved it even more) but it still struck a chord with me as one of those books I'll love forever.

On my absolute favourite website - I have the book listed as a favourite and last week there was a message in my inbox asking me if I'd like to join a thread, in which Ms.Bray herself would be answering reader questions. I was so puzzled in what to ask one of my favourite authors. What would you ask someone like that if you had the chance? I don't think I've ever had the chance to communicate with an author so famous! I was pretty excited but decided to stick with some safe questions.

Reading through the thread, I was glad I did. I know she writes for the YA group, but I didn't think there would be so many 'young adult' questions. Also by the end of the few days we were allotted to ask the questions, people were asking the same things over and over again. I read through the questions before I asked mine to make sure that I didn't ask something someone else did. Anyways, I guess she's nice enough to reply to the people who claim to stalk her, LIKE OMG LOVE one of the male characters she wrote about in her trilogy,and if she prefers the The Matrix or Inception, etc.

So I ended up asking her what her favourite books are, and if she always knew she'd become a writer. Like I said, played it safe.. I wasn't even sure she'd reply. BUT SHE DID. Due to technical difficulties, it took a little longer, and I wasn't sure if she was even going to reply, i was on the edge of my computer chair! I also wasn't sure if I could ask two questions, but both were answered! I just think that's so cool and I was so stoked about it. I mean, how often to we get to ask one of our favourite authors anything? I definitely don't live in a town where a bestseller would come promote a book, let alone answer questions. And now I give you, the extremely polite, Libba Bray!

"Hey Alana--no worries, we don't get out the thumbscrews for sneaking in two questions. :) Oh gosh, it's always so hard to nail down favorite books, but here are some of them: Charlotte's Web, Goodnight Moon, The Hotel New Hampshire, The Beak of the Finch, How To Say Goodbye in Robot, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, 'Salem's Lot, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Pride and many more but I'll stop there.

I had no idea I'd become a writer. My first love was art, then music, then theatre. But when I was eighteen, I had a very bad car accident in which I basically broke my face and lost my left eye. For the next six years, while going to college, I had a lot of reconstructive surgery. But that first year--my freshman year--was really awful. I was broken on the inside as well as the outside and I had no way to talk about the heartbreak and rage. But I had received a little yellow journal as a graduation present and I began to write everything down in there as a way to cope. Eventually, I looked forward to the writing. It was the one place where I found I could be completely honest, and that saved me. I wrote myself into being a writer, I suppose. Thanks for your questions. "

Other Q& A's:

Natalie wrote: "What inspires you? how do you come up with these amazing ideas for novels?"

"Well, thanks! Truthfully, just about everything is inspiration. If you put the cereal box in front of me for too long I'll suddenly want to spin off a story about Riboflavin. (My vote for most superhero-sounding nutrient. But I digress, and it's only the first question...) I have many, many interests, especially when it comes to what I like to read, so I tend to say, "Hey, what would be fun to work on for the next X number of months/years? Gothic Victorian boarding school fantasy? Yeah! That sounds fun!" It's like deciding where to go on a road trip. Of course, once I get into the writing, I discover all new things and I realize that under the idea or inspiration is a story I desperately need to tell. But I don't know that until I'm too far in to chicken out. :)"

Carling wrote: "Hey Libba. I don't know how many people have told you this but you are awesome. What advice can you give to a wannabe writer on how to improve her awesomeness? Thanks.

PS I love Beauty Queens :)"

"LOL. Um, is now the time to tell you that I put my shirt on inside-out this morning? Yeah, my awesomeness is very, very questionable...but thanks. But yay for writers and writing questions and on that end, my advice is to read. Read, read, read. It's like a master class in book form. I keep trying to learn from everything I read. I know this sounds really basic, but you'd be amazed at how many people don't actually read. So, yeah. Do that reading thing. It really IS the awesome. Rock on, my friend. (And thanks for the BQ love.)"