One month to go until SPARKS!
I'm pleased to announce that Adam and I will both be at the Teen Book Fest in Rochester this coming May. Which of us does more panels depends on how Sparks does vs. Adam's Extraordinary, which comes out the same week. Mine is in paperback, and his is in hardcover, so sales-wise, I expect to mop up the ol' floor with him.
The first few reviews have trickled and, and, to my delight, have NOT dinged me for using pop culture references (to the extent that Full House still counts as pop culture in 2011). I know Adam got hit a lot for the pop culture references in I Kissed a Zombie - many reviewers made a point of saying that the book won't age well, since it has a number of pop culture references. Most of them are to Leonard Cohen and Cole Porter, which will be no less dated in 2030 than they already were in 2010, but never mind.
Somehow, word has gone around that you should never refer to pop culture in a book, because the book will be dated soon if you do. Actually, the REAL rule is "never use pop culture to show how hip you are, or rely on it as a means of getting the reader to feel a rapport with your narrator." Your book will be dated in a few years anyway. The world marches on. And which idiots are we pandering to if we write our books strictly for readers who expect everything they read to seem like it was taking place two weeks ago? Personally, if I read a book from 1965, I expect a Beatles reference. If the main character in a book that takes place that year doesn't have an opinion about the Beatles, they're probably dead inside.
All books date. Every paranormal romance and dystopia will be dated in ten years, after the crazes have died down. Most likely, after ten years, hardly anyone will read them.
But Roger Ebert recently said that the biggest problem with a ten year old movie is that it isn't thirty years old. The same is true of books. Some of these books will become "period pieces" that continue to connect with readers from across the decades. But what good book have you read recently from 1981 that truly seems like it could have been written this week?
I like to rant about this stuff. I think I've already done it once or twice on here.
Meanwhile, back at Smart Aleck Staff HQ, we're busily preparing the first four Shakespeare guides to launch next month, and running drills for what happens if Adam gets followed home by a ghost after one of the ghost tours that he's now funning 6-8 times per week. He's going tromping around in some of the most notable supposedly-haunted spots in town, flashing lasers around, and digging up information about long-dead serial killers. Ah, Halloween! When a young man's fancy turns to blood.