YA book reviews, reading and recommending since 2009

Today we have Julie Kraut, author of Slept Away which is her second novel!

None of the images below (except Slept Away cover) belong to Julie. They are for entertainment purposes.=P

How did you get the idea of writing Slept Away?
Because I still want a spot at the Thanksgiving dinner table, I won’t go into too much detail about this, but during a recent trip home, I found myself yelling down the stairs, “I swear I’m like the only person in this family who wears pants on a regular basis.” And then I thought to myself, “What a ridiculous thing to say. I want the main character in my next book to say that.” And that really was the little kernel of the idea that started the book. I outlined my ideas for Laney and her mother and not-at-all-step-father and made sure that the two adults never wore pants.

After I laid out this little trifecta of pantsless family dysfunction, it felt like the perfect set up for sending Laney to camp. After ten years (No wait, more—ah, when did I get this old?) of reminiscing about my summers at camp, I was ready to step back and somehow turn my collection of memories into a story. While Slept Away isn’t the love letter to sleep away camp I’d write if I were telling my own story, writing the book still allowed me to rehash many of my summer experiences and had the added bonus of prompting me to Facebook stalk some of my former camp friends and get in touch.

What is the best thing that has happened to you since you became a writer?
Recognizing that doing what you like pays off if you stick with it. I always thought that line of thinking was too cheesy to be true. But now I realize that it’s just cheesy enough.

Where do you usually write?
I’m not really picky about where I write. As long as no one’s talking on their cell phones and there’s a comfy place to sit, I can type away. I wind up doing most of my writing at home, sitting in a big chair, with my computer on my lap.

Have you ever attended a sleepaway camp? What age was that? Any special memories of it?
Heck yeah. I’m a camp veteran. I started when I was 8, I think. I went to different camps or teen programs through age 16. I have a ton of special memories from those summers. I made amazing friends that I’m still in touch with, tried all sorts of cool activities, and drank a whole lot of bug juice.

Confess! Did you bring along your teddy bear to camp?
No way! I had a stuffed duck. So much cooler.
Uh uh, I disagree! teddy bears are cooler than stuffed ducks. =P

What are your top 5 essentials when you go to camp?
Speaking of stuffed ducks, bringing a comfort item is a must, especially if it’s your first summer. Also, bring pre-addressed and stamped envelopes to folks you want to write to while you’re away. It’s easy to get distracted from letter writing and keeping in touch, so you might as well make it as easy on yourself as possible. I’d also say that you should make some self-addressed and stamped envelopes to give to your friends and family to make it just as easy for them to keep in touch.
In terms of wardrobe, bring clothes that you don’t mind mucking up (camp can be dirty) but that you still like (you want to feel confident for meeting new friends and trying new things). Also, bring a few pictures from home. You don’t have to hang them up, but it’s nice to have a family photo and some fun friend pics to look at if you’re ever feeling a little homesick.

Who are some of your favorite YA authors?
Just a small sampling of my YA crushes:

Megan McCafferty (I know she’s not technically YA, but she crosses over and I heart her stuff!)
Ann Brashares
Jen Calonita
Frank Portman
Rosemary Clement-Moore

If someone told you 10 years ago that you would be a writer, what would your reaction be?
Yeah right. Could you move out of the way? I’m trying to watch SNICK.

Are you currently working on anything?
Yep! But I’m pretty superstitious about talking about projects before they get bought. So, you’ll have to wait a bit for the details.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
To be able to eat as much chocolate as I want without feeling sick…or flying. I can’t decide.

What a fun interview! =) Thanks for participating Julie. Julie was so awesome to provide a signed copy of Slept Away to one lucky winner!


Open to US residents only
Contest ends 22 June
To qualify to enter, you must have a review blog!
To enter, comment below and tell me what stuffed animal you brought to camp. Or if you haven’t been to camp, what is your fave camp movie?. Try not to comment multiple times please.

To get extra points:
+1 link to the contest on your sidebar
+1 for every one person you refer to my blog, you get one bonus entry. They must comment below and say you referred them (before it is counted)!
+1 follow me on Twitter
+2 blog about this contest
+2 if you are already a follower on Twitter
+4 become a follower of Read This Book (my blog)!

Go and pick up your copy of Slept Away! today.

I would love to hear feedback on my interviews. You can email or comment! =) Tell me what you like about them and how I can improve it. I might give a bonus entry for that! BTW one week left to enter my contest to win Ghost Huntress: The Awakening by Marley Gibson.


Comments on: "Summer camp interview with Julie Kraut + contest" (20)

  1. I’ve only ever been to camp once, and it was church camp. I never brought a stuffed animal, though. My favorite camp movie is “Heavyweights”. I loved that movie growing up.

    Great interview! I really enjoyed it.



  2. Thanks for the interview, Kate!

  3. How fun. Looks like a great read.

    I took my teddy bear, Joss, to camp with me.

    Already a Twitter follower (@iheartmonster)

    Already a blog follower.

    Thanks for the contest! 😀

  4. I’ven ever brought a stuffed animal to camp, but I’d have to say my favorite camp movie is Fired Up! I absolutely love that movie, it’s so funny!

    : )Erica

  5. I would say my favorite camp movie is Camp Rock. 😛
    I already follow you on twitter!

    -Senfaye 🙂

  6. Fired Up was hilarious!

    +1 linked to the contest on my sidebar
    +2 already a follower on Twitter (@katiesbookshelf)
    +4 was already a follower of Read This Book


  7. I’ve never been to camp, but I’ve also never seen a camp movie. (Epic failure, right?) So I’ll go ahead and say that if I were to go to camp, I’d bring along my purple bunny that my grandma made for me. 🙂

    +1 link to the contest on your sidebar
    +2 if you are already a follower on Twitter
    +4 already a follower of Read This Book 🙂


  8. I’ve been to camp many times, but I never took a stuffed animal with me. So my favorite camp movie is Fired Up! (:

    +1 link in my sidebar

    +2 I’m already a follower on Twitter (@alexislovesyouu)

    +4 I’m a follower


  9. chiizus said:

    I always brought my pink Care Bear to camp with me.

    +2 already a follower on Twitter!

  10. I can’t enter this as I’m not in the US, but I wanted to say that I loved the interview and really enjoyed reading this. Thanks!

  11. maxbrown94 said:

    I’ve been DYING to read this FOREVER. I’d love to enter. Thanks.

    +3 I blogged and sidebarred. http://maxsbooksandthings.blogspot.com/2009/06/slept-away-contest.html

    +1 I follow you on Twitter. I’m MaxBrown94.

    +4 I’m a subscriber on WordPress.

    My email is max.e.brown.94@gmail.com


    • maxbrown94 said:

      Ack. Sorry. I forgot about the question. When I went to summer camp, I didn’t bring any stuffed animals with me, but my mom did send me a plastic rat that had been a Halloween decoration as a care package. Does that count? (Inside joke.)

      Sorry about the double-comment thing. I’m good at being sort of idiotic sometimes.

      (Still) Max.

  12. My favorite teddy bear that my dad gave me when i was little is the one i take with me anytime i go anywhere. I took it to camp with me a few years ago!

    +1 for becoming a follower

    thanks for the contest!!


  13. I’ve never really been to camp, but I’m in this program that is pretty much a college preparatory camp so i guess that counts. I was kinda nervous about it at first but by the end of the second day, it was like home.

    I linked the contest to my sidebar
    and I am now a follower through google reader

    I heard about this contest from Katie’s bookshelf

  14. forgot my email addy.


  15. I always bring my stuffed turtle that I’ve had since I was a kid.
    +1 link to the contest on my sidebar
    +2 blogged about this contest
    +1 follow you on Twitter (naggy8)
    +4 become a follower of Read This Book


  16. I loved the movie the parent trap.

    I can’t wait to this book I have been trying to a copy for a while.


  17. butterflyywings said:

    I now follow you

    I blogged here


    And I requested to follow on twitter


  18. When I went to camp, my golden retriever Scooter (because of course he had a name) came with me. 🙂 Of course, my mom insisted that he get a good scrubbing immediately after returning home.
    Anyway, I’d really love to win this book – it looks adorable!
    So, I blogged about this contest at my blog, here: http://feedyourimagination.blogspot.com/2009/06/in-my-mailbox-week-3-and-more.html
    Also, I’ve become a follower (and added you to my blog roll).
    As for the interview, I’m not sure if anything I say will be helpful as I’ve never done one myself, but hopefully it helps a little. So most importantly, I like how you mixed more serious, writing-related questions with fun ones. It’s also great that your questions were author/book-specific rather than generic. So, from a reader’s perspective, I’d say to keep handling interviews as you have been doing. As far as the more serious questions go, I think it seems good to always ask questions that address: where the idea came from and personal experiences that connect to the book. Lately I’ve also seen a bunch of interviews asking authors that are considered “YA authors” what they think about this categorization, and I really like seeing those responses.

    my email: dazdnconfusd@comcast.net

  19. I always brought my teddy bear Mr. Bear (original I know) to camp with me. No shame!

    +1 linked to the contest on my sidebar
    +4 became a follower of Read This Book

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