Today we are thrilled to welcome TL Costa to the Ball! Costa is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and has a Masters of Teaching from Quinnipiac University. She recently released her debut, PLAYING TYLER, a YA novel published by Strange Chemistry. She has worked as a publicist, assistant gallery director, high school teacher, and mother. When she is not busy teaching the next generation, she is most likely to be found in the garden battling woodchucks or writing. She lives in Connecticut with her family.
Here’s a bit about the book:
Tyler MacCandless can’t focus, even when he takes his medication. Tyler’s dad is dead, his mom has mentally checked out and his brother, Brandon, is in rehab for heroin abuse…again. The only person he can really count on is his Civilian Air Patrol Mentor, Rick. The one thing in life it seems he doesn’t suck at is playing video games and, well, that’s probably not going to get him into college. Just when it seems like his future is on a collision course with a life sentence at McDonald’s, Rick asks him to test a video game and Tyler thinks his life might finally be turning around. That is, until Brandon goes MIA from rehab and Tyler and he discovers that the game is more than it seems. Now Tyler will have to figure out what’s really going on in time to save his brother… and prevent his own future from going down in flames.
TL has been kind enough to take the Deb Interview, and I think Deb Susan in particular will appreciate TL’s answer to the first question (paging shinobi Hiro…)! Take it away, TL!
Which talent do you wish you had?
Ninja. Is that a talent? Anyway, I wish I was more ninja-like. The problem is that I may be the loudest person on the planet. I talk to myself when I study, I blast music when I cook, I sing along to the muzac playing at the grocery store. People hear me coming. Stomping down stairs, through the halls, laughing, you name an action, and I will find a way to up the noise factor exponentially. So I wish I was more ninja-like. Stealth would be great. Terribly useful. Especially on Black Friday, “That TV is mine, Grandma!”
Right now, the closest I get to being even remotely ninja-like is when I wear my black yoga pants to pilates. Not really the same…
Have you ever met someone you idolized? What was it like?
I met Ann Rice last week. When I was in high school, I read Interview with a Vampire and was then hooked. I’ve read everything she’s written. So it’s safe to say that I’ve been a fan for a rather long time.
I waited in line, book open, babbling incoherently to the people around me, waiting for my turn. When I get to the table, me, the woman who can’t shut up, couldn’t say a freaking word. Not one. I stared at her, sweat dripping down my forehead, hands shaking. She looked at me and smiled, signed my book, and all I could get out was a garbled “thanks”.
Now, I know it sounds pathetic (it totally is) but really, what could I say? There was too much, too many words racing through my head. Should I tell her she inspired me to become a writer? Should I tell her that her books are amazing? That her interview earlier that day was the best author interview I’ve ever seen?
No. I smiled at her, she smiled at me, and it was enough.
Share one quirk you have that most people don’t know about.
I have a secret obsession with action films. Give me a movie with lots of explosions or car chases or heck, even camel races, and I am one happy girl. It’s part of why I love having boys, they totally feed my obsession. Now when a friend catches me lining up to see the latest Transformers movie, I totally point to my son and shake my head like he’s the reason I’m there. *cue evil laugh
What’s the strangest job you’ve ever had?
I hawked knives door-to-door and sold funeral plots over the phone all in the same summer. Yes, I know. Epic, right?
It was a low point in my life, what can I say. I was a telemarketer— for funeral plots. There is absolutely no way to look at that and give it a positive spin. The horror of that summer will be forever scarred on my brain. “Hi, can I interest you in our French Chef knife?” Followed a few hours later by, “Pardon me, ma’am, but have you considered your final resting place?”
Yeah. That’s me. Winning.
Do you have a regular ‘first reader’? If so, who is it and why that person?
I do. It’s my best friend. For years we’ve talked books, tending to have very similar tastes in fiction. We’ve read just about every genre, and we both started digging into YA lit at the same time. So when I wrote a book, she was naturally the first person I gave it to. Also, she’s comfortable enough to be willing to tell me when I need to take my trusty French Chef knife and cut the hell out of anything that’s not working. Her honesty is the best thing I could ask for in a beta reader.
She just loved Tyler. She understood what I was doing with the voice and why it was important. Why it was so important to give the world a kid with ADHD who could be a hero. I’m not sure the book would have happened without her.
Thanks so much for joining us at the Ball, TL! TL has been kind enough to give away *one signed copy* to a lucky reader. Just tell us below when ninja-like skills might have come in handy for you!