Friday, February 11, 2011

RiYA: Interview with Kim Culbertson + ARC Giveaway of Instructions for a Broken Heart

Today, I will interview one of my favorite authors who also happened to be one of the sweetest and nicest authors around! She’s the author of Songs for a Teenage Nomad and Instructions for a Broken Heart, her upcoming novel.
How did you originally conceive this novel? Did anything change?

I took 16 students to Italy when I was a second year high school teacher.  Another teacher was leading the trip and she asked me to come along.  That was over ten years ago but in the back of mind, I always thought a school trip would make a fun book idea.  The trip we had was so enlightening.  Travel is an incredible time to take stock of your life and really look at the world in a new way.  Then, several years ago, I was taking a writing workshop from the fabulous Sands Hall and she had us do a writing exercise and out of that exercise came this novel.  I loved the idea of a girl heading out on this life-changing trip with a broken heart and a care package from her best friend to help her along the way.

What are the effects of betrayal on your character's life?

Obviously, the character goes through a lot of growth in this novel around the betrayal in her life.  She’s hurting; she’s angry – but most importantly, for me, I wanted the novel to investigate both the betrayal but also the reasons behind it.  Every break up has two sides – or rather three (the truth often being neither of the “sides”).  Most importantly, I wanted to write a novel without villains.  With just people who all have their own “reasons” for things.

How did she cope? Did she have any strategy?

She copes; she has good moments and not so good moments.  The “instructions” from her best friend obviously provide some sort of framework, but also Italy comes to her aid.  It’s amazing was travel can do for the heart.

What instruction would you give to a person with a broken heart?
Go to Italy!  Ha, seriously, though, I’ve always felt like it’s good to get out of the norm, out of the comfort zone when your heart is hurting.  Even if it’s just going to a new restaurant or seeing a movie you haven’t seen (preferably not one about breaking up).  I am a hopelessly optimistic person, but I’ve had some horrible break ups in my life and as hard as it is, time does help but you can’t rush that.  It takes – time!  But I also think it’s important to hurt for awhile.  I also think each person heals in his or her own way so it’s key to find your own outlet and not necessarily always do what your friends think is the right way.  What might be right for them (a pint of Ben and Jerry’s) might not be right for you.

Heartache is commonly encountered by teens. How did you write about this? Did your age/maturity affect the way you perceive a teen's heartache?

I had my heart broken terribly as a teen.  Major, major heartbreak.  And I think I wanted to write this novel to give some credibility to teen heartbreak.  So many people say things like “Well, she and her boyfriend broke up but, hey, it’s high school.”  That makes me so mad.  Like, what, we don’t feel things in high school, don’t feel betrayed or rejected?  Hello!  We feel those things SO much more as teenagers.  There’s a scene in the novel where’s she talking to her teacher and they talk about how the first heartbreak in some ways is the hardest it will ever be because you don’t have any real body memory for it.

In writing this book, did you draw inspiration from personal experiences?

In so many ways.  But we’ll leave it at that. It is fiction, after all. :)

Who would you recommend Instructions for a Broken heart to?

I think this book will appeal to not only people who’ve had their heart broken but also people who just like to see how people weather an upset like this one.  And it’s also a great tribute to travel – Italy in particular, obviously – but that wonderful world of travel out there that holds so many possibilities for all of us.

Giveaway: ARC of Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson

*Giveaway Closed*

Three days before her drama club's trip to Italy, Jessa Gardner discovers her boyfriend in the costume barn with another girl. Jessa is left with a care package from her best friend titled "Top Twenty Reasons He's a Slimy Jerk Bastard," instructing her to do one un-Jessa-like thing each day of the trip. At turns hilarious and heartwrenching, Instructions for a Broken Heart paints a magical Italy in which Jessa learns she must figure out life-and romance-for herself.

You guys are lucky today! Because Kim offered an ARC copy of her upcoming novel from Sourcebooks Fire, Instructions for a Broken Heart!

Be a follower.
Answer this question: What instruction would you give to someone with a broken heart?
Comment with your email!
Ends on February 28, 2011! Open to US only (sorry – Kim will be sending it but if you have a US address or someone in the US who can receive the prize and send it to you, you can join!)

Entries (not required):
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  1. I would say that broken hearts CANNOT be mended over time, despite what people say. They only start to hurt a little bit less every day. the best thing to do is burn pictures =] and give yourself a busy schedule

  2. What instruction would you give to someone with a broken heart?
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  3. For broken hearts, I would say distract yourself, find something else that you love with all of your heart (NOT someone)and don't let a broken heart bring you down too much. Thanks for the giveaway

  4. To someone with a broken heart I would advice to spend time with those who love them. Also to learn about yourself and do things that make you happy.

  5. Have a margarita with your girlfriends.

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  6. I would say grab some chocolate, comfort food always helps. Then call your friends and talk it out. It takes time but it will help

    thegirlonfire27 at gmail dot com

  7. Instruction: No matter how depressed you may feel, never forget to eat, sleep, and maintain your personal hygiene. Neglecting your needs/yourself will only lead to more problems.

    Thank you for this giveaway!

    buoyread AT gmail DOT com

  8. I would instruct to surround yourself with friends but to also remember that being alone at times to wallow is a good thing (you need to feel the pain before you can start to heal).

  9. Thanks for the giveaway!

    Instructions: Drink some warm milk with honey. Watch a good movie. Read a good book. Smile with friends. Laugh a lot. Drink some hot chocolate. Life will go on :)

  10. Umm...its not the end of the life... learn from it..and move on..not saying it will be will take time but it is possible. it makes us more stronger than we think...

    GFC follower

  11. My instruction to someone with a broken heart is to allow yourself to grieve. Something that was special was lost, maybe not the person but the feelings you had for them.
    Follower and I tweeted the contest here:
    d.septer at

  12. I'd tell them to give themselves plenty of time to heal...and then pick up and move on. Leave the past in the past.

    whatinabox at gmail dot com

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  13. If someone had a broken heart I would tell them, "Stop moping around! Get up, get out, and be more productive! You'll never know what you'll find out there! There are a bunch of fishies out there! You just gotta know where to find them, and how to reel them in. LOL. And then maybe sparks will fly! If not, then you've got friends and family, who'll cheer you up, cry, laugh, sing, and dance with you! Your not alone. If you gotta go through this, then take me down with you, we'll go down together! So don't fret my friend, I'm here to save you! hehe"
    And that is what I would say. :)

  14. What I would say to a friend would be:
    "Stop moping around! Get up, get out, and be more productive! Primp yourself up, and take a walk, Who knows what'll happen along the way! ;) Life is full of surprises ya know! Don't waste it lazing around crying, when in that time you could do something so much Life changing? productive? hehe, or you've got friends and family who'll be more than happy to cheer you up, cry, laugh, dance, and sing with you! Cause sitting here is doing nothing for ya, so lets go get some ice cream:)"

  15. Thanks for the giveaway! :)

    I won't offer any advice, I'll just say something cliched: "Only time will heal a broken heart."

    +1 Twitter Tweet:!/YWenLiang/status/40538065575350272

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    Email: yiliang0124[at]

  16. Oops, I forgot to list that I also added the giveaway to my sidebar:

    Email: yiliang0124[at]

  17. I'm a follower on GFC-Lisa Richards.
    Advice for a broken heart, time is the only thing that will heal it.


    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com!/alterlisa/status/41322511882919936

  18. My advice is to surround yourself with positive and supportive friends.

    I'm a GFC follower. Thanks so much!