Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Great GATU Create a Book Boyfriend WINNER!

Hi :)

First of all, thanks for your patience. I just turned in an 85,000-word  #SeekritBook to Harper for 2017 publication (I hope) that I wrote in six weeks, so that's part of why I needed more time.

Judging your entries involved the following:

  • printing them out so I could read them without knowing who each boy belonged to
  • going through each category and highlighting the things that resonated with me in different color pens
  • adding up the points, looking at the top three with respect to the books I'll be pitching to HarperTeen and Tor Teen later this year (Mostly Harper, since two of the Tor pitches take place abroad, with stories that limit the major characters somewhat)
  • deciding which boy felt like he would fit in one of the books I'll hopefully be writing
  • deciding which boy felt like a boy I could competently write without having to make major changes to him

Please note how subjective those criteria are. If your book boyfriend didn't win, it doesn't mean there's anything wrong with him, or you. I appreciate how many of you took the time to do this, despite it being a subjective contest. I hope those of you who are writers used this as an exercise and were encouraged to think more deeply about all of your characters.

So, after a lot of waffling, I have picked a winner and a runner-up:

Don't get the wrong idea. I know nothing about Pokemon ;)

Winner is Alice L and her book boyfriend Aaron Jenkins!! Alice wins a signed ARC of GATU and her choice of any book from Book Depository. I am also going to try to incorporate Alice's book boyfriend in a 2018 or 2019 novel.

Aaron Jenkins is half Italian, half Japanese, with dark brown hair and dark eyes. He's 5'11" and has an athletic body type. He is an atheist. He has a little crook in his nose from when broke his nose by accidentally walking into a glass door. He has a dimple on his right cheek, a scar on his chin (from when he went skateboarding and fell), and slightly chapped lips.

Aaron stole my teen girl heart with his chapped lips, his "swishy" hair (it's one of his best features) and his personal ad:

Hi, my name is Aaron, and I love animals (but not in a weird way), puns, and the Oxford comma. I can cook sometimes and I'm really good at kissing (and maybe a little more, wink wink).

I love me some Oxford commas ;) I also really like Aaron's deepest regret "teasing that girl in elementary school relentlessly" and his words to live by "Why bother with a cunning plan when a simple one will do?" I was not familiar with this quote. Google tells me it is credited to Terry Pratchett. Mostly, Aaron feels very real to me, and he also feels like a boy I could incorporate seamlessly into a future romantic contemporary book.



Runner-up is Sarah M and her book-boyfriend Parker Lewis!! Because it was so hard for me to choose, I'm giving Sarah her choice of a signed copy of The Art of Lainey, Liars, Inc., or a signed GATU ARC. Sarah, please email me your choice to pstokesbooks [at] gmail [dot] com

Parker Lewis is half white/half black, bisexual, 5'11, 175 lbs, brown hair, hazel eyes. Has a scar on his forehead after falling out of his treehouse when he was eight, has a particularly dark freckle under his right eye, and when he gets nervous, his stutter comes back.

In addition to being a diverse guy, Parker has really diverse hobbies like rock-climbing and origami. I love that his deepest hope is "to travel the world" and his words to live by are "Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all." (Ambrose Redmoon.)

Overall, there were colored pen marks on every single entry meaning that every one of you wrote things that made me stop and go "Ooh, nice." Your personal ads were particularly fun. I will resist the urge to excerpt from them so this blog post doesn't get excessively long, but thank you all for the enjoyable time I spent hanging out with your book boyfriends :) 

And again, there are no losers here, all right? Similar to the same way an agent will read a submission, my decisions were based on gut instinct and personal preference as much as anything else.

Congrats to Alice and Sarah, and thanks again to everyone who entered. And if I can sell more books *fingers crossed* hopefully you'll see Aaron Jenkins in a Paula Stokes book someday :)

In the meantime, are you in the mood for another fabulously fun contest?? Check back next week for the Great GATU Sticker Design Contest. Prizes to be decided :)