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Teen Author Tuesday Presents Mara Purnhagen

Teen Author Tuesday is a weekly post featuring up and coming authors who write for teens. Today I'm excited to introduce another classmate of mine from the Class of 2k10, Mara Purnhagen.

Mara's debut novel, TAGGED is due out March 1, 2010 from Harlequin Teen. It's contemporary YA for ages 14 and up.

Welcome, Mara! Can you tell me about your book in seven words or less?

graffiti, mystery, lattes, sweet sixteen party, gorillas, art

That sounds like quite a combination! Other than your main character, who's a favorite character of yours in your debut novel and why?

I like Lan, who is my main character’s best friend. She’s Vietnamese, fiercely loyal and struggling with an unrequited crush.

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself, Mara?

As I’m writing, I listen to music and chew Dubble Bubble gum. I have an entire desk drawer filled with Dubble Bubble. I can’t explain it, but I can tell if I’m getting a lot done by the number of wadded up wrappers spilling out of my office trash can.

That's great! What's been the most surprising thing about your path to publication so far?

It wasn’t the first book I wrote that got published—it was the third. I’m glad I kept on writing new things instead of fixating on one manuscript.

What's one piece of writing advice you would give to aspiring authors?

Read as much as you can, discover the books you love, and try to determine what about those books made them feel real to you.

Great advice! Are you swept up with promotion for your debut book right now or can you give us a sentence or two about something new you're working on?

My second novel, Past Midnight, will be released on September 1, 2010. It’s the first book in a trilogy about the daughter of paranormal investigators. I like to think of it as “paranormal realism.” Two more books will follow in 2011.

Wow, congratulations! That sounds like a lot to keep you busy. What did you write when you were a teen? Did you journal? Write poetry? Write overly literary or emotional stories? Or avoid writing altogether?

I wrote short stories for years and always kept a journal. I have a cedar chest filled with my notebooks. I still journal, although now I keep it on my computer!

What's the last book you read that you really loved?

Nothing Like You by Lauren Strasnick was fantastic. I read about two books a week, so I have a lot of favorites, but this one stood out to me in 2009.

Oooh, I'm just reading (and loving) Lauren's book (we share the same editor). If readers want to find out more about you and your writing, Mara, where should they look?

My website: www.marapurnhagen.com,
My Facebook: www.facebook.com/#/mara.purnhagen
My LiveJournal: http://marapurn.livejournal.com/

Great! Thanks so much for joining me here today, Mara, and all the best with your launch! If my readers are interested in picking up a copy of TAGGED, you can find it on Amazon or at your local independent retailer.


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