Tuesday, January 6, 2015

PUYB Virtual Book Club Chats with Lisa A. Kramer, author of P.O.W.ER

Lisa A. Kramer has spent her life learning, creating, and exploring the world through theatre, writing, traveling and collaborating as an educator. She has lived in nine states and two countries (including Japan). She holds a PhD in Theatre for Youth, an MFA in Theatre Directing, and a BA in English Language & Literature and Theatre. She has published non-fiction articles in journals specializing on Theatre for Young Audiences, as well articles aimed at young people for Listen Magazine. In addition to young adult novels, she has ventured into the world of short stories, and has stories for adults in several of the Theme-Thology series published by HDWPBooks.com and available on Kindle, Nook, and Kobo. When not writing, Lisa shares her love of the arts and the power of story as co-founder of heArtful Theatre Company and as adjunct faculty at various colleges and universities. She also spends time enjoying New England with her husband, daughter, and two dogs from her home base in central Massachusetts.

Her latest book is the YA speculative feminist fiction, P.O.W.ER.

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About the Book:

What would happen if women and girls joined their unique abilities together to change the world? In a world where access to the written word is reserved to men, Andra BetScrivener has been able to read and write ever since she was a little girl without anyone teaching her. She must keep her abilities a secret in the country of New North, or she could lose her hands, her eyes or her life. In fact, the only paths offered to her–and all young women–are to either marry or enter the government-run Women’s Training Program, where she’ll be taught “feminine” arts like drawing, painting, and homemaking.
On her seventeenth birthday, Andra discovers that her abilities extend beyond reading. She can write events to life. As she begins to explore her new ability, she must take care not to jeopardize her father’s job as head scrivener at the Ministry. Despite her efforts to keep her powers hidden, she comes to the attention of both the government and a rebel group, who each desire to use Andra for their own goals. At the same time, she begins to meet other gifted women who have never dared use their unique powers. With the help of her friends Brian and Lauren—who has the ability to read minds—Andra must find a way to unite the power of women to create change.
When one side manipulates Andra’s words into killing someone, and the other threatens her father’s life and her own freedom, Andra decides to use her writing to empower others to stop governmental oppression. But in a society ruled by lies, cruelty, and inequality her journey will not be easy or safe.

Her latest book is the YA speculative/feminist fiction, P.O.W.ER

For each book sold, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to causes that support women and children around the world.  

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Welcome to the book club, Lisa!  Can we begin by having you tell us why you like to write feminist fiction?

Lisa: Whether I intend to write feminist fiction or not, everything I write seems to be about strong women and girls making their voices heard in the world.  I want to tell good stories, and I am more comfortable writing female characters. Even though “feminism” is a complex word in our society, it is still something we need because it is about justice and equality for everyone. I enjoy writing and exploring stories that allow for the possibility of a just, humane world.

Can you tell us a little about your protagonist, Andra BetScrivener?

Lisa: Andra BetScrivener is a young woman who has been raised in a very restrictive society, by parents who wanted her to believe in herself. She is strong-willed, creative, and wants to see the world changed so that women can make their own choices in life. She has a slight stubborn streak and a quick temper that can get her into trouble if she acts before thinking. She prefers to spend time with her father or close friends, and is a little shy. She hides behind her talent as an artist when she is in uncomfortable social situations. She has little interest in love, yet, but a lot of interest in being friends and equals with men.

Is there a love interest for Andra? 

Lisa: There are two possible love interests for Andra, but she isn’t quite ready to admit that yet. The first is Brian Woodson, who has been like a brother to her all her life. He might want something more, but she is only just beginning to recognize those feelings in herself. The second is Peter Rogerson, the son of an important man in the Ministry, who many people want her to marry. Andra is against forced marriage in general, and marriage to Peter is out of the question in her mind. She wants to marry for love . . . but that may come.

What is one of Andra’s weaknesses and what is one of her strengths? 

Lisa: One of Andra’s weaknesses is self-doubt. She has talent and abilities, but she questions whether or not they are enough to succeed and that sometimes paralyzes her. Her strength is her intelligence and flexibility. She questions, challenges and finds answers in ways that don’t fit tradition.

If Andra could change places with anyone else in the book, would she do it and who would that be?

Lisa: I don’t really think she would, but probably her father the Scrivener. She wants to live in a world where women aren’t restricted, and have free access to things like reading and writing. The Scrivener lives in that world, and although he has his own challenges, as a man he is free to live life as he wishes—or at least that is what she believes.

There’s always at least one pivotal point in the book where the reader can’t put the book down.  What’s one of yours?

Lisa: I hope there are many points where my readers can’t put the book down. I think one of in is when Andra has been imprisoned in the Women’s Training Program and it looks like she will have to destroy people she cares about if she wants to get out.

What’s next for you, Lisa? 

Lisa: I am working on two other novels: young adult paranormal fiction and literary fiction. I also have some plays coming up as a director. I am developing some workshops/author visits that combine my interests in theatre for social change with writing and am working on developing a tour with those. (For more information visit http://www.lisaakramer.com/author-visits-and-workshops/). A friend of mine in Australia wants me to tour with P.O.W.ER there, so I am trying to figure out a way to make that happen.

If you could say one thing to your readers and fans, what would that be?

Lisa: Never give up on your dreams. Writing and publishing a book has been a dream of mine since childhood, but I was sidetracked for a long time. Now that dream has come true and is opening up the door to all sorts of possibilities. I have no idea what comes next, but I am sure that whatever it is will be an adventure worth writing about.

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