fLiP iT fRiDaY: Thao @ Serene Hours

Today’s interview is especially cool, because in true Freaky Friday style, the special guest and I have switched places. While Thao chats with us over here for fLiP iT fRiDaY, I’m hanging out on her Friday Flavor feature, vlogging about a few good reads and giving away an ARC of Sara Zarr’s ONCE WAS LOST. So after you’ve had a chance to get to know Thao on fLiP iT fRiDaY, skip on over to her blog, Serene Hours, to watch the video and enter the giveaway. You can also follow Thao on Twitter @serenehours.

Describe a typical day in your life.

It’s really boring to be honest. Wake up, go to school, go back home, do housework, homework, then read or watch TV. The last few hours is for internet, including blogging. I really hope I can add a few things like club meeting or working at a bookstore/flower shop someday soon : )

What is your favorite YA book and why? Or, which YA book has had the most profound effect on you and why?

Can I have a list of my favorite YA books? Well If I have to pick one, I’ll pick Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. It’s the coolest and scariest book I’ve ever got my hands on. I really like the subject of suicide / dealing with life of teenagers and Jay Asher makes it even more interesting. The story exposes the darkest and most depressing corners of life that readers are hardly aware of. The writing is raw thus everything seems real to the point of horror. It provoked a lot of thoughts and feelings in me. I realized that sometimes what we unconsciously do can hurt the others really badly even though to us it’s nothing but a joke. The book makes me wanna be a much better person and tells me not to judge people from sloppy impressions or rumors. I just love love Thirteen Reasons Why.

Thirteen Reasons Why was interesting in this way — definitely made me think about how seemingly insignificant or harmless things can really devastate a person’s life.

What are 5 of your favorite things?

  1. Books,
  2. my ipod which is full of cool music,
  3. letters (old-fashioned I know, but I love random letters),
  4. my stuffed puppy,
  5. and my blanket.

I love letters, too! Like, real hand-written ones. I can’t even remember the last time I got an actual letter in the mail. I’m not talking about the holiday newsletter people stick in their Christmas cards, which is fun in its own way, but a real, hand-written, personal letter. If iPhone could invent “an app for that,” the world would be a better place for sure.

How long have you been blogging, and how did you get your book blogging start?

I’ve been blogging for almost a year. Last November I discovered the book blogging community and was in awe. I thought it was really fun to read and review and make friends with people who love books just as I do, so I started Serene Hours. I was scared it would fail, but everything is going slowly but nicely now.

Letter writing aside, I do think that blogging — and interacting online in general — with book bloggers, authors, librarians, and other people who just love books, really does connect people in a community kind of way. I don’t mean just gaining “followers” or “friending” people (though obviously that’s part of social networking), but by making real friends that, if not for these technologies and Web sites, we never would have met. I know I’ve developed several great friendships with people I met online just because we all happen to love books.

Are you planning any upcoming new features or special content on your book blog and/or is there anything specific you want potential new visitors to know about your blog?

I really want hold contests/giveaways and I’m doing my best to have them featured on my blog as soon as possible. I will also include author guest posts in the future – which I think is really cool. And I’ll post some review vblogs for fun now and then. I hope you’ll enjoy them all!

Thao has already started on some of these endeavors! Don’t forget to check out today’s Friday Flavor, then stick around on Serene Hours to see what other fun interviews and giveaways Thao’s got planned!

In addition to blogging, what other creative pursuits do you enjoy?

Creative writing. I’ve always wanted to become an author. As you see, my daily life is kinda boring and I don’t have much luck in my love life either. So it becomes a habit to me of imagining things in a brighter and funnier way. I wanna create worlds of excitement, surprise and extraordinariness where I have the power to control everything. Creating plots is one of my favorite things to do. Right now I have four on my mind and I’m going to put one down on paper soon, hopefully someday it’ll come out as a book *dreams on*. And yeah, I have to mention the joy of naming characters too, it’s as fun as naming children.

What do you want to be when you “grow up”?

It changed throughout the years. First I wanted to be an artist. Then I wanted to be a teacher. Now all I want is to become a writer who owns a bookstore that sells YA books at cheaper prices than usual ^^

That sounds awesome. Fun, too!

*Runs to Thao’s bookstore to get in line*

What are 3 things you’d like to do or accomplish in your lifetime?

  1. I’d love to be a successful YA writer.
  2. I also want to be a good mother of two twin girls and one boy and raise them as well as my parents raised me.
  3. And I want to travel around the world with my loved ones, or at least get to Paris, London and Venice like I always wish to.

*Makes room on the bus for the world-traveling YA authors and bloggers tour.*

Tell us something that people who know you in real life would be surprised to learn about you.

Someone who got this book called “What does your brithday means” tell me that according to what she read, people who were born on the same day as mine were somehow possessed by dark emotional forces. And it was so true. I have never realized it or told anyone but I really like to read/write/watch dark and sad stuff. Tragedy intrigues me. It makes me feel happy. Weird right?

Tragedy makes you feel happy?

*Backs away slowly.* *Hides sharp objects.*

Seriously, though, I think we’re all possessed by dark emotional forces to some extent. We can all relate to things like loss, heartbreak, unfulfilled longing, fear. Reading or creating dark, emotionally-intense work is a way for us to explore this side of ourselves.

And speaking of dark forces…

Now, it’s time for Apocalypse Mad Libs!

If I ever had to face a vampire take-over I’d want Lisa Schroeder on my side, because she’s someone who can deal with these creepy creatures as well as making me feel happy. She did have a funny phone call with Mr. Edward Cullen and even dared to demand him – the epitome of vampires – to read her book (even though he unpityingly refused). And the fact that she’s funny and friendly is undeniable.

If she wasn’t available, I’d take Jackson (sorry Ava, he’s mine now) from the book I Heart You, You Haunt Me, because ghosts can surely kick vampires’ asses and what girl doesn’t want such a charming guy to be with her when the world may come to an end?

In any case, if I only had 1 day to live before the end of the world, I’d eat one hundred Oreo cakesters with honey and then I’d tell everyone, “See you soon in another world. Don’t forget to bring books along!”

Edward Cullen, Oreo cakesters with honey… I’m in. 🙂

Thanks for chatting with us on fLiP iT fRiDaY, Thao! Visit Thao at Serene Hours or as @serenehours on Twitter.

fLiP iT fRiDaY is a weekly feature at SarahOckler.com showcasing the fabulous YA book bloggers and reviewers who share young adult fiction with the world and inspire raves, rants, intelligent discourse, and a whole bunch of book-lovin’ among readers everywhere. If you’d like to be featured on fLiP iT fRiDaY, contact me!