Kirsten Hubbard: Friday in the Fort!

Welcome Kirsten Hubbard, fellow Bookanista and all around rock star, to The Fort! She's an explorer of life and human emotion, an adventurer, and a damn excellent writer. LIKE MANDARIN is available now! 


"A beautifully crafted, bittersweet story about an unlikely friendship that sets two very different people free."
--Melina Marchetta, author of the 2009 Printz Award winner JELLICOE ROAD
It's hard finding beauty in the badlands of Washokey, Wyoming, but 14-year-old Grace Carpenter knows it's not her mother's pageant obsessions, or the cowboy dances adored by her small-town classmates. True beauty is wild-girl Mandarin Ramey: 17, shameless and utterly carefree. Grace would give anything to be like Mandarin.

When they're united for a project, they form an unlikely, explosive friendship, packed with nights spent skinny-dipping in the canal, liberating the town's animal-head trophies, and searching for someplace magic. Grace plays along when Mandarin suggests they run away together. Blame it on the crazy-making wildwinds plaguing their badlands town.

Because all too soon, Grace discovers Mandarin's unique beauty hides a girl who's troubled, broken, and even dangerous. And no matter how hard Grace fights to keep the magic, no friendship can withstand betrayal.
About Kirsten: 

A travel writer and young adult author, Kirsten Hubbard has hiked ancient ruins in Cambodia, dived with wild dolphins in Belize (one totally looked her in the eye), slept in a Slovenian jail cell, and navigated the Wyoming badlands (without a compass) in search of transcendent backdrops for her novels. She lives in San Diego, California.
Her YA debut, LIKE MANDARIN, will be published by Delacorte/Random House in March 2011. Visit her website at www.kirstenhubbard.com.

Favorite game?
Water polo. Not the fake kind people invent in backyard pools, but the real kind I played in high school. I miss it. I'm sure I'd be terrible now though.

Sun worshipper, spray tan or SPF 50?
Sunscreen on my face every single day, but admittedly, I lay out a bit in the summer. 

Beach or lake? Boat or shore?
The beach -- but with warm water, which doesn't describe any of the beaches around here! And while being on a boat is fine if I'm traveling somewhere, or to snorkel or dive, I do get seasick. So, shore. 

Air conditioning or open windows?
Open windows. Unless there are mosquitoes.

Raft or inner tube?
White water rafting! That makes me sound hardcore but I've only done it once.

High dive, low dive or cannonball?
High dive, feet-first. Low dive, head-first.

Favorite summer drink?

Ghost story or not? Do you remember any favorites from the past?
You know Alvin Schwartz's Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark trilogy? With all the amazingly creepy drawings? There was one story called the Wendigo, about this invisible Native American spirit monster who filled the sky, and called your name on windy nights, and you couldn't resist, and when you finally ran outside your tent, it would pull you along until your feet caught fire, and then the rest of you... O.O

Truth, or Dare?
I like to think I'm a Dare kinda girl, but truthfully, it depends on the crowd.
What singer/musician/band is a must have for The Fort soundtrack?
The National is my favorite, but Broken Social Scene is more lively.

What movie would you bring to watch?
Something scary, like Paranormal Activity or The Descent. And then Babe to make up for it. 

Who's the ideal mascot (usually cute boys, or one time, a unicorn, or that other time, Sue Sylvester) for The Fort and why?
My dog, Sky. Once we took him camping, and it was after midnight, and we were sitting around the campfire, and for some reason, he was starting off into the dark, super-alert. And then, abruptly, he burst in to explosive, furious barks. We discovered a couple of our friends had been creeping up on us in the dark, intent on scaring the crap out of us. GOOD DOG!

Marshmallows, lightly toasted or burned to a crisp?
In between. I have no patience, so usually I just light the thing on fire, then blow it out.

Awake all night or first one to sleep?
Also in between. 

If awake all night, practical joke or no (and what kind)?
Practical jokes, for sure. Like the one where you wake someone up by yelling "TRUCK!!" and aiming two flashlights at him or her. But I would never, ever do that. 

If you could have any YA author visit The Fort and tell stories, who would it be and what story would you ask them to tell?
I would like John Green to tell us a scary story. He just seems like the type to have this deep, dark, disturbing tale just waiting to come out and make us cry ourselves to sleep.


  1. She seems so cool. I'm totally going to buy Like Mandarin.

  2. Through the interview, I was thinking "I like her." And then she suggested John Green for the last question, and I was thinking "I LOVE HER."

  3. OMFG she loves The Descent? That's it, Kirsten's perfect.

  4. Excellent Fort today! Kirsten is fantastic.


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