Aug 18, 2011

Interview with Taryn and Kate of Teen Eyes

I found a reference to Teen Eyes at Authoress's website and was instantly hooked. Taryn and Kate, two book-hungry/edit worthy teens are offering their services to kidlit authors for extremely reasonable prices. So I hopped on over to Taryn's page and lo and behold, they were launching their service with a contest. Great idea, thought I, entering my pitch and also asking for an interview-pretty-please.
Despite being crazy/super busy with the start of a new school year, the young ladies graciously acquiesced. They're open for business, folks, so after you discover their wondrousness, head over to their site and have a look-see. Ask your questions in the comments OR, if you're very brave,
post your query. Taryn and Kate may have questions about it to help out the process!

1. So you're 18 and you want to critique. Please explain from whence this crazy notion came.
In other words, tell us about yourself.

Taryn: Well, I've always loved books, writing, reading, whatever. As I became more involved in the writer blogosphere, I noticed how many adults wanted to know What Teens Liked. They'd ask me to read their manuscripts, and since I loved reading, I acquiesced. After the Help Write Now auction during which some teens and I gave a teen critique, I realized people were willing to pay for such a service. Since it's something I love, I thought Teen Eyes would be the best way to help out (and get money for my book-buying addiction, lol).

Kate: Like Taryn, I’ve always loved books and reading and writing and blog-stalking. Teen Eyes actually started out as two separate companies....I created my own critique service because I felt like older writers might benefit from a teen’s perspective on their YA novel. Taryn and I ended up combining our companies, and thus Teen Eyes was born.

2. You're majoring in creative writing with an eye to being employed in publishing. What made you choose this career field?

Taryn: Same as the above--I love, love, love books. Being involved in the whole journey is a really exciting option. Interestingly, I've always pictured my main career as a swim coach, but I keep that info away from my writing-centered blog.

Kate: I’m not majoring in creative writing, as the university I’m attending this fall only has a regular English major. I’ve thought about being an’s a position I’m sure I would enjoy, but I find it rather difficult to switch from editing to writing on a daily basis.

Speaking as a former English major...nah, don't want to rain on your parades. It's all good!

3. How many books do you read a week?
Taryn: Oh gosh. It totally depends on the week. One week in the end of July, I read 16. Too many. Usually it's around 5-8, depending on what I have around, plus a couple manuscripts.

Kate: Not nearly as many as Taryn.

I was with Taryn on the 5-8 books a week but 16 is a lot. Seriously. *jealous of Taryn's amount of free time*

4. Fav authors, genres, etc?
Taryn: All time favorite book is ENDER'S GAME. I also love A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY, and ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS, THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER, MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN, and all sorts of stuff. If I had to pick one genre to read forever, it would be mysteries.

Kate: I pretty much love all genres. Some of my favorites would have to be HIS DARK MATERIALS, THE BARTIMAEUS TRILOGY, MILES FROM ORDINARY, CORALINE, and (like Taryn) MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN.

I saw Miss Peregrine's while shopping for bargains at Borders. Looked spooky!

5. *taps chin and looks earnest* So what really makes you tick reading-wise? Are you a character girl? All about the action? Or *blinks eyes rapidly* are you into romance?
Taryn: I like action and a mystery. I used to not notice characters at all, but as I've started critiquing, that has changed. Still, I read more for the plot.

Kate: I think I focus equally on action and character. I love books that are high-concept in terms of plot but still character-driven (THE BARTIMAEUS TRILOGY is a perfect example of this). Although I love a good romance, sappy and/or unrealistic love affairs are a big turnoff.

Ooh, good reader mix between you two: one for plot, one for action/character.

6. What are your reading pet peeves? Or what will you NOT read, ever, no matter how cool the book jacket?
Taryn: I'll never say never! I hate lazy characters, or whiny characters, or characters who can't get over a boy. OMG MOVE ON. There have been two books I put down this year, two very acclaimed books. One for the lack of action (in a YA!) and one because I couldn't connect with the voice. Soooo, I don't really have pet peeve :) OH! I also hate vampires. Other than TWILIGHT (Which I read only because I had to see what the fuss was about), I've only read one vampire book, and that didn't count because she turned back into a human at the beginning.

Kate: Honestly, I don’t really like books set in outer-space, or any “hard” sci-fi for that matter. Like Taryn I’ll never say never, but I’m just not a fan of books with tons of science-y gadgets and whatnot. Also like Taryn (can you see why we get along?), I can’t stand a female heroine whose life centers around a guy. It’s hard for me to respect a character who has such an unhealthy emotional dependence on another person.

Preach it, sister! What is up with all these clingy, guy-crazy heroines? That is so last century.

7. What kind of stories do you want to see in YA?
Taryn: More mysteries and thrillers! YA is heading that way, though, so yay. I'm also still on the dystopian bandwagon. Dystopian offers a way to take an issue today, intensify it, and then explore consequences. I'd also like stronger characters, and less romance. Guys, every book does not need a love interest.

Kate: I agree, more mysteries and thrillers! There’s a lot of it on TV and I think it’s starting to carry over into commercial literature. In addition, I’d love to see more historical fantasy/historical magical realism, particularly set in countries we don’t often see (someplace in Africa or South America, for instance).

Oh, you are girls after my own heart! Not just sayin' that bc my latest WIP is a mystery.

Join us tomorrow for more about Teen Eyes, their credentials and tips for surviving on a deserted island with just a monkey and a ball! Hey, you never know what life's going to throw at you...


Carrie Butler said...

Such ambition! I'm impressed. :)

Kelley said...

Great interview. I, too, have reader quantity envy. Maybe I would get my TBR pile to a reasonable amount if I did that? Teen Eyes sounds great, and cool blog :)

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