Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Top 15 Tips for Media Interviews

After being interviewed by the truly remarkable MomsRising radio show for RETURN TO ME and WHAT NOW, here are some crowdsourced top tips for conducting a radio interview. All of this is gleaned from working with marvelous PR experts over the years, from Waggener Edstrom to Edelman. As well, media trainer and radio personalities have added to the list. (Thank you, Dave Yewman, CJ Liu, Cathy Oloffson, and Lida Citroen.) Please add on and SHARE...so we all become better and more engaging communicators!

1. To prepare for the interview, first LISTEN to the radio show so you understand the content, format, and tone.

2. Before the interview, make sure to watch Amy Cuddy's TED Talk on power poses. Make sure to power pose for 2 minutes PRIOR to the radio interview. This will increase your testosterone and decrease your cortisol. You will feel more grounded and your voice more powerful. Then, as Dave Yewman advises,
"Smile." Even during a radio interview where no one can see you, a smile will add energy, enthusiasm, and life to your voice.

3. Charge your phone.

4. If the interview is over Skype / Google Hangout and your face will be seen, be sure to clip 2 booklights onto either side of your computer to cast as much light onto your face as possible. While vampires are great in books and in movies, not so much when you're being interviewed onscreen. Elevate your computer so you are looking straight on. And as Lida360 says,
"If you're doing Skype/Hangout, be mindful what's in your background shot. I've seen interviews where people have client data or inappropriate photos on the wall in their shot. Not so good for the brand."
5. Think about what "headline" your listeners might write after your radio interview. THEN ask yourself whether the top 3 points you make will earn that headline.

6. Create a cheat sheet with your top 3 speaking points. Place that directly in front of you during the interview. THEN, during the interview, with every question that you are asked, quickly assess how you can answer the question and deftly weave in one of your top points.

7. Craft at least 3 Tweet-worthy soundbites--short quips that encapsulate your thoughts...that the radio interviewer might repeat after you. That listeners might Tweet and repeat. For instance, "RETURN TO ME is my Valentine to my kids and every person who's ever been betrayed." Or "WHAT NOW shows women how to turn the DUST of betrayal into the STARDUST of new life."

8. Then during the interview, STAND. You will sound stronger and more engaged.

9. Keep a glass of water on-hand in case you need it. You can quickly mute the phone while the interviewer is talking and sip your water... (Of course, if you're on Skype / Google Hangout, don't do this.)

10. Keep a phone charger on-hand in case... The worst thing to happen is if your battery starts dying...because you've disregarded Tip #3.

11. THANK the interviewer. And then afterwards, make sure to follow up with another thank you. You've been given a gift to connect with the interviewer and his /her listeners. 

12. Take a pause. As CJ Liu says based on her experience as a radio show host, "There's nothing worse than a guest that doesn't stop for air. The back-forth is more interesting to the ear."

13. Craft some good stories. CJ and Dave Yewman both say, "People will remember stories more than anything."

14. Pretend you are talking to a good friend and NO ONE else is listening. CJ notes, "Listeners like intimacy like they are listening in on a private conversation."

15. Think of the worst questions you could be asked. Cathy Oloffson, communications expert, says, "Identify how you'd like to respond and then bridge your response back to your key messages."

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Modern Mom: 5 Survival Tips

After I finished writing RETURN TO ME, I realized I had *much* more to say to women. So in three fast-and-furious writing days, a slim self-help companion guide poured out of me. WHAT NOW: SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR THE BLINDSIDED AND BROKENHEARTED is a sister-to-sister manual detailing what to do in the first thirty days after a relationship falls apart. The survival guide is, above all, about how to turn the dust of betrayal into the stardust of a new life.

In RETURN TO ME, I write about a concept called sistering. When a piece of wood is rotting, oftentimes builders will sister it on either side with 2 pieces of healthy wood. I am so indebted to all of my dear friends who lent their wisdom to me and sistered me. 

Modern Mom invited me to be a guest blogger, and I hope a few of the tips help sister their readers, too. You can check out the full article here.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Why I Write for Teens

Writing for teens certainly has its perks...like being on panels with wonderful authors, including the likes of Stacey Jay (Juliet Immortal), Mary Lindsey (Ashes on the Waves), Jennifer E. Smith (The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight), Tamara Ireland Stone (Time Between Us).

 And meeting tons of authors...

But the most meaningful interactions are with readers... Meeting them at conferences like Houston TeenBookCon and receiving emails... Here's one of my all-time favorite. So so so humbling.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Houston TeenBookCon

38 authors, Blue Willow Bookstore, and Houston. We're talking about TeenBookCon on April 20! I'll be speaking on a couple of panels on looooooove.

To read about the entire line-up, check it out here. And if the link doesn't work, look here: http://bluewillowbookshop.com/event/houston-teen-book-con-2013.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Rock the Drop!

Some of my favorite Tweets from Operation Teen Book Drop 2013. How did you Rock the Drop?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Atlantic: Rocks the Drop!

Love it! The Atlantic covered our Operation Teen Book Drop taking place TODAY, April 18, around the world. It really is one of the most "charming" ways to support Teen Lit Day. So get out and rock the drop...and leave your favorite YA novel out in the "wild" for another reader to find.

For the full article, read more here. And if the link doesn't work, try this: http://www.theatlanticwire.com/entertainment/2013/04/leave-book-find-book-support-teen-lit/64329/

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Operation Teen Book Drop: April 18!

From the readergirlz blog:

We're so excited to be rocking Operation Teen Book Drop '13! You guys know The Drop is one of our favorite days of the year -- what better way to get on board with Support Teen Literature day? This year, in addition to rocking out and dropping our favorite YA titles in public spaces for lucky readers to discover, we're also directing supporters of teen fiction everywhere to consider a book donation to 826NYC to help grow their library. On April 18th (that's next Thursday!), readergirlz will be teaming with Figment, I Heart Daily, Soho Teen, and 826NYC to celebrate YA lit.

Want to #rockthedrop with us? Of course you do!

Here's how: 

Follow @readergirlz on twitter and tweet #rockthedrop

Print out the bookplate (designed by the super-talented Lindsay Frantz) and drop books in your area on Support Teen Literature Day:

Donate books to 826NYC: 

attn: Joan Kim
c/o: readergirlz Rock the Drop
372 Fifth Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215

We can't wait! Now, off to gather a box for 826NYC, and to think of the perfect drop spots for our books....
Don't forget to post pics at our facebook of any books you drop or find! Hope to see you online on Support Teen Literature Day!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Library Love

One of my favorite librarians announced that RETURN TO ME is a featured April pick at my local library. Let me tell you how much I love my local library: these librarians promised me that they would find any fact I ever needed for my novels. Even when I moved to China and was thousands of miles from them, they vowed to even scan pages from research materials, whatever I needed.

LOVE my library. LOVE the King County Library System!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Blogger Extraordinaire: JeanBookNerd!

If you want to know how to interview in an engaging way, look no further than Jean Vallesteros, a devoted book review who maintains a fantastic blog, JeanBookNerd. (How would I describe Jackson in RETURN TO ME? My answer: He drives at one speed: sexy.)

Suffice it to say, I was thrilled when Jean asked for an interview. PLUS, she's giving away a few copies of RETURN TO ME. Visit her now to win your copy!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Happy Pi Day!

So honored to be part of YA Reading List's celebration of Pi Day along with John Green and Danica McKellar. There she is, Patty Ho, the protagonist of my debut novel, NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH (and a few white lies).

So strange to think that I wrote that book over 6 years ago: buildering (rock climbing on buildings) at Stanford, learning about the fine art of tea drinking (caffeinated, anyone?), and immersing myself in feng shui...

To read the full post and immerse yourself in books about math, check it out here.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Blast from the Past: Hannah Teter + Girl Overboard!

For the launch of GIRL OVERBOARD--featuring a snowboarder--Burton Snowboards and my publisher put Olympic gold medalist Hannah Teter and myself on a tour. I was tickled to see The Ultimate YA Reading Group include a photograph from one of our pit stops in Vermont before we climbed on Santa's sleigh to participate in a small town parade.

You can check out the full article here.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Science of Storytelling

A number of corporate storytellers have asked me for further information about the science of storytelling. Here's a great article that encapsulates some of the research:

For the full article, click here.  Or go to: http://www.dailygood.org/view.php?sid=394

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Creative Process: Vision Boarding

So curious about other people's creative process: how do you take your ideas and see them to fruition? One of my favorite exercises is to create a vision board of my new work. Essentially, I map out the character, journey, goals, and mood in a collage. And use that piece of handmade art as my north star from discovery draft to final manuscript.

On NOVL, my publisher's Tumblr that celebrates YA novels, I divulge the messy, chaotic creative process at work. 

To read the full post, click right here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Books YA Love

Such a lovely review for RETURN TO ME from a librarian blogger over at BooksYALove.

My favorite line: "Separation and reunion, perception and reality – Justina Chen once again brings readers a story with the right ending in a complex real world." She really understood that the book was about transforming dust into stardust. And that for me makes it worth the over two years it took to write and rewrite every word!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Storytelling: Social Media + Leaders

One of my all-time truest passions is storytelling--whether researching, writing, rewriting, rewriting, rewriting, rewriting...or teaching about story.

I had the privilege of keynoting a social media conference co-hosted by Disney and Ragan Communications. Here's what one of the attendees picked up about storytelling. (For his complete article filled with great nuggets, click here.)

To story and storytellers!

Friday, February 15, 2013

7 Fun Facts

Looking for a way to get to know someone? Take note of what the gals over at the Ultimate YA Reading Group do when they feature an author. Ask them for 7 fun facts about themselves.

Here's what I said:

For the full post, click here.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Art Project a la Return to Me

How fun that RETURN TO ME has inspired an art project. In the book, Reb creates fairy houses from found materials. One of the librarians on the Teen Librarian Toolbox blog created one with her daughter. Check out the instructions to make your own fairy house here.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Cover Story with Melissa Walker

Melissa Walker, novelist extraordinaire and former editor of Elle and Seventeen, invited me to share the inside scoop on the gorgeous, atmospheric, and moody cover for RETURN TO ME. You can read about it here.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Disney's Social Media Conference

When Disney says, Be Our Guest, the company isn't kidding! 400 communicators from Marvel Comics to Whole Foods and Zappos to NASA descended on Disneyworld on Feb 6-9 to attend a Social Media Conference, co-hosted by Disney's Social Media Team and Ragan Conferences.

Among some of the many wonderful projects that Disney's team spearheads, one of my favorites is their Disney Park blog with posts like this one, which showcases the park's heritage:

That said, let's talk fear factor! Intimidating is: keynoting the conference after Theron Skees, the creative director of Disney's Imagineering. Intimidating is: talking about story and storytelling to some of the most accomplished storytellers in corporations, governments and non-profits today! I mean, the social media director for the Panama Canal's 100th birthday was there! I literally slept for just 3 hours the night before running a half-day workshop. And then managed only 2 hours the night before the keynote! So speechless about all the nice Tweets...

Three cheers for @DisneyParks and @RaganEvents for a fantastic conference filled with pixie dust and fireworks!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Dear Teen Me

When my publicist asked if I could write an essay for Dear Teen Me, I immediately said, YES. I've been a fan of the blog since the original book was published. And then...I found out that I had to post a few photos from my high school years. Why the pixie hair cut? Why the permed hair phase? Why?

Here's an excerpt of the letter:

Dear Teen Me,

You are sitting in front of a typewriter, glaring at the college application form to Stanford. Your parents insist that you apply there even though your heart is set on Berkeley. Just as you’re about to type a random idea to sabotage your application, the essay question actually intrigues you: Whom would you most like to spend a day with and why?

You write: Myself when I’m ancient-old. And all I want to know is, am I happy?

So here I am, your college essay dream come true: ancient-old at 44 and armed with an answer and some advice.
For the full essay, click here.

Monday, January 28, 2013

RETURN TO ME: Book Party Photo Essay

My thanks to everyone for celebrating RETURN TO ME at the book launch party on Sunday at the University Bookstore. There, for two hours, we celebrated the transformation of dust to stardust in stories and lives.

After laboring over RETURN TO ME for the better part of two years, it was utterly surreal to see the book on the shelf...

 and to be signing copies for all the special people whose names are in the author's note...

 and those who have walked in my shoes.

Such fun and satisfaction to see all my different worlds mingling in one place...

 my two incredible kids, adorable sister, multi-talented brother-in-law, generous father, and gorgeous mother...

and all my writer friends and neighbor friends and Microsoft friends and Strategem friends and non-profit friends and Bible study friends...

gathering around to listen to the truly gifted audiobook narrator, Therese Plummer, read an excerpt from the book...

Stardust. This is all stardust. Thank you all for sharing this moment with me and for returning me...to me.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Return to Me: Pinterest

For those of you who are Pinterest addicts, my board for RETURN TO ME includes images capturing the inspiration behind the novel! For instance, here's a photo from a mud bath near Taos, which inspired Reb's dream of opening a treehouse sanctuary.

Check the Pinterest board out here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Return to Me: Facebook

Little, Brown Books created a Facebook page for RETURN TO ME. Check it out here!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Kirkus: Feature Story

So honored that Kirkus asked me to write an essay about RETURN TO ME.

Here's an excerpt. Click here for the full essay.

You receive the call.

“We need to talk,” says the voice that vowed to love you until death do you part. “I’ve been seeing someone for awhile.”

Suddenly you find yourself the unwitting co-star in a midlife cliché. Far worse, you watch helplessly as your kids fall into emotional catatonia, prone and unmoving on the rug after they learn that their father is leaving. Weeks later, when your pre-teen son grunts at his dad on the phone, no longer even deigning to form words, you understand that the most tragic legacy of the ensuing divorce isn’t a broken family. It’s your children’s broken hearts.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

RETURN TO ME: Research

Few things delight me more in the writing process than research: reading non-fiction books, going on field trips, and most of all, interviewing people.

With RETURN TO ME, I threw myself into architecture, visiting a number of my favorite local architects, including Zero Plus Architects. As soon as I walked into their spare, but not spartan studio, a tray caught my eye: an ever-changing collage of found objects. I knew I found the architects who could explain the way my character, Reb, saw the world.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

RETURN TO ME: Audiobook

Super excited about the audiobook for RETURN TO ME--my first downloadable audiobook for the iPod, iPad, Kindle, and MP3 players! Here's the narrator, the incomparable Therese Plummer, in the studio, as she records all 9 hours and 24 minutes of the book. 

The director (Suzanne Toren) and sound engineer (Tommy Harron) flank Therese above. What a wonderful crew who called me to double-check the pronunciations of Seattle locales, such as Leschi and Issaquah.

To listen to a sample of Therese's beautiful voice as she reads RETURN TO ME, click here.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

RETURN TO ME: Happy Publication Day!

So happy to announce that RETURN TO ME is officially available today at Amazon, Barnes + Noble, and indie booksellers all over! This book is so precious to me: a Valentine to my kids and to every person who's ever been betrayed. You will transform the dust of disappointment into the stardust of a new life. Publishers Weekly calls the novel an "uplifting story."

Celebrate with my publisher and me if you're on Twitter, and win yourself a FREE copy of the book!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013
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