Debbie's World of Books
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Interview and Giveaway for Ruined by Paula Morris

October 16th, 2009 by Debbie's World of Books


I know I’ve been excited to read this book ever since I heard about it and I’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to giveaway 5 copies to my readers! Plus read on to see the interview with Paula.

Description: Rebecca couldn’t feel more out of place in New Orleans, where she comes to spend the year while her dad is traveling. She’s staying in a creepy old house with her aunt. And at the snooty prep school, the filthy-rich girls treat Rebecca like she’s invisible. Only gorgeous, unavailable Anton Grey seems to give Rebecca the time of day, but she wonders if he’s got a hidden agenda. Then one night, in Lafayette Cemetery, Rebecca makes a friend. Sweet, mysterious Lisette is eager to talk to Rebecca, and to show her the nooks and crannies of the city. There’s just one catch: Lisette is a ghost.   A ghost with a deep, dark secret, and a serious score to settle.   As Rebecca learns more from her ghost friend — and as she slowly learns to trust Anton Grey — she also uncovers startling truths about her own history. Will Rebecca be able to right the wrongs of the past, or has everything been ruined beyond repair?

What inspired you to write Ruined?

I’ve been living in New Orleans for five years. Lots of people come to visit, so I get to play tour guide on a regular basis. I’ve also taught some classes on the history of Mardi Gras, and on the city’s literary past. New Orleans is such a unique city, with such a rich and complex history. The more I found out about it, the more I wanted to write about it myself.

After Hurricane Katrina, when the city felt turned upside down, I went to see a tarot card reader in a French Quarter voodoo shop. He told me that the storm and the flood had fractured time, and displaced hundreds of ghosts. He said he kept seeing ghosts everywhere. I hadn’t really thought about the ghosts of the city, but after that conversation, pieces of the story started taking shape in my mind.

You capture New Orleans beautifully in the book. What are your favorite spots in New Orleans? Is there particular local lore or history that appeals to you?

I drive through the Garden District — and past Lafayette Cemetery — a lot, especially when I’m taking visitors on a literary tour. It has tremendous physical beauty and character. But there are interesting stories on every corner in New Orleans. I also like taking people through Tremé, around the Bywater, and into Holy Cross in the Lower Ninth Ward. There are two stunning “Steamboat houses” right by the Mississippi river levee there.

What kind of research did you have to do for Ruined? How did you manage to describe the Mardi Gras floats so accurately? Have you ever been on such a float yourself?

I did a ton of research for the novel — reading books, talking to people, taking a cemetery tour — though obviously a lot is made up. For example, the Mardi Gras krewe called Septimus is imaginary, and any local can tell you that no krewe would be permitted to end their parades back in the Garden District!

Carnival season is a great time of year in New Orleans, and I’ve been to dozens and dozens of parades, watching various krewes ride. I know a number of people who belong to different krewes, both in the city and the suburbs, and they’ve told me lots of stories. I’ve never been on a float — just on the receiving end of beads.

Ruined is coming out around the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Can you talk a little bit about the effects the Hurricane had on the city, and how they influenced Ruined?

The storm, and the flood that followed, had a profound and ongoing impact on the city. Our population is much smaller than it used to be. Many neighborhoods were washed away, and have yet to recover. Some of the older parts of the city, like the French Quarter and the Garden District, lie on high ground, close to the river levee, so they had no flood damage. Tourists visiting the city and just spending their time in those neighborhoods would have no idea of the extent of the devastation — eighty percent of the city was underwater. I was conscious, writing Ruined, that it was set largely in an unflooded neighborhood. But the psychic scars of the flood — and the city’s evacuation, ruin, and slow recovery — exist everywhere, as Rebecca, the protagonist, finds out.

You’ve also written books for adults. Can you tell us how your experience writing for teens differs from writing for adults?

I got some very good advice from my teenage niece when I was working on the book. She told me it needed a lot of mystery and a little romance. I hope I managed both.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get your start as an author?

When I was a child, I wrote stories all the time, but as an adult real life took over — in the form of work, and travel, and building a new life in various places. (I’ve lived in eight different cities, in three different countries.) Writing is a vocation, I think, but you don’t always discover it right away. When I was living in New York, about ten years ago, I started going to creative writing night-classes at the West Side YMCA, and began writing stories again. My first adult novel, Queen of Beauty, was written while I was pursuing a creative writing degree in Wellington, New Zealand; I wrote a lot of my second novel, Hibiscus Coast, while studying at the famous Iowa Writers’ Workshop. I have to say, I think keeping going is harder than starting, in some ways.

What are some of your favorite books/favorite authors?

So many! For short stories: William Trevor, Alice Munro, Deborah Eisenberg. For novels: Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Ian McEwan, Lloyd Jones (a New Zealand writer). Favorite authors from childhood: Eleanor Estes, Edward Eager, and Helen Clare. I’m also an expert — read: bore — on the Chalet School series by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer, and the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I’ve been to all the Little House sites — in seven different states!


The Giveaway Rules:

  • Open to US residents only.
  • Leave a comment to enter

Extra entries for:

  • Leave a separate comment if you add me to your blogroll, subscribe in Google Reader or email or already have done so (+1 for each)
  • Post about the giveaway on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc. and leave the link in a separate comment (+1 for each up to 3 extra entries)
  • Stumble, Digg, etc this post and leave a separate comment(+1 for each)

The Winner:

  • I will use a random number generator to choose the winner
  • Giveaway ends October 30.

Posted in Books, Young Adult

102 Responses

  1. Sandra

    I have wanted to read this book since I have seen reviews of it on several blogs. Please enter me.

  2. Tawnda

    I would LOVE to have a copy of Ruined

  3. Tawnda

    rss subscriber

  4. Lori

    Count me in!


  5. Lori

    +1 Blog Roll
    +1 I’m a follower


  6. Angela

    I think I want to read this book just based on the cover alone! The story sounds really good too ;-)

  7. Angela

    I follow your blog

  8. Natalie

    Great contest! Subscribed in Google Reader. Thanks for hosting!

  9. Natalie

    Tweet at Twitter

  10. Natalie

    Link on Contest Sidebar

  11. JOYE

    I love New Orleans so I enjoy reading books set there. Would like to read this one and have added it to my TBR list

  12. J. Kaye

    Great interview! I have this book on my nightstand!

  13. Jessica

    Sounds great, count me in please.


  14. Wrighty

    I’ve been anxious to read this book! Please include me too and thanks for your giveaway!

  15. Wrighty

    I already follow and have you on my blogroll.

  16. Julie J

    This looks and sounds like a great book! Please enter me in your contest! I’m a subscriber via Google Reader.


  17. Donna S

    Please include me.

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  18. Donna S

    I am a follower.

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  19. Donna S

    Linked on sidebar here:

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  20. Kelly B

    I would love to be entered to win this book. It sounds incredible! Please enter me.


  21. valerie2350

    this sounds great!

  22. valerie2350

    reader subscriber

  23. Kelly B

    I subscribe via email!


  24. Kelly B

    I also am a subscriber via Google Reader. Thank you again for the chance.


  25. Kelly B

    I tweeted up your giveaway @kellyblackwell


  26. Barbara S

    I am a follower and subscriber.

  27. Barbara S

    I posted this on Facebook.

  28. Barbara S

    I tweeted about this giveaway.:

  29. Barbara S

    I posted about this giveaway on my blog:P

  30. Kathy

    This books sounds so intriguing, I’d love to read it. Got to add it to my TBR list!

  31. Kathy

    Email subscriber

  32. Kathy

    Tweeted here

  33. bridget3420

    Count me in.

  34. bridget3420

    You’re listed on my blogroll

  35. bridget3420

    Email subscriber

  36. zia

    Would love to enter.


  37. zia

    Subscribed via Google Reader.

  38. Laura @ ImBookingIt

    I’m intrigued! Please enter me.

  39. Laura @ ImBookingIt

    I subscribe to your blog in Google Reader.

  40. melissa @ 1lbr

    Sounds interesting!

    I’m also a google reader subscriber.
    And you are on my blogroll.


  41. Marjana

    please enter me to win Thanks:)

    kalynnick AT yahoo DOT com

  42. Alyssa Kirk

    This one looks like a great read. And I love the cover!

    +1 you’re already on our blogroll
    +1 we put it on our sidebar (I think that counts)
    +1 we tweeted at teensrandw

    Thanks for a great contest. And we appreciate you entering ours too!

  43. clenna in NH

    I love New Orleans and the history of the city. Please count me in.

  44. clenna in NH

    I subscribe via email

  45. clenna in NH

    I follow in Google Reader

  46. Kristi

    I had not heard of this book – it sounds really good. I would love to be entered!

    kherbrand at comcast dot net

  47. Kristi

    I am an email subscriber.

    kherbrand at comcast dot net

  48. Julie H

    Love the New Orleans feel of the cover! Please count me in!

  49. Julie H

    +1 I subscribe via Google Reader!

  50. Kelly B

    I blogged your giveaway.


  51. Kristi

    I tweeted –

    kherbrand at comcast dot net

  52. Sara (The Hiding Spot)

    Great contest! I’ve been want to read this forever and haven’t bought it yet, so please enter me to win!


  53. Sara (The Hiding Spot)

    +1 I follow your blog!

  54. Lauren S

    New Orleans has always been a city of wonder…and I might be going there next year!

    mabelilly28 at yahoo dot com

  55. Lauren S

    I am a Google Friend!

    mabelilly28 at yahoo dot com

  56. Sara (The Hiding Spot)

    +1 contest linked to sidebar @


  57. Sara (The Hiding Spot)

    +1 contest linked in tweet (@thehidingspot)


  58. Lauren S

    I subscribe to your blog via e-mail!

    mabelilly28 at yahoo dot com

  59. Lori (Psychotic State)

    Great giveaway! Please enter me.

    ~ Lori ([email protected])

  60. Lori (Psychotic State)

    You are on my blogroll. +1

  61. Lori (Psychotic State)

    I subscribe by email. +1

  62. Lori (Psychotic State)

    I have you on the Google reader. +1

  63. Lori (Psychotic State)

    I provided a link to your giveaway on a sidebar of my blog. +1

  64. Lori (Psychotic State)

    I posted about your giveaway on my blog’s Facebook page. +1

    Thanks, Debbie! :)

  65. Lori (Psychotic State)

    Oops, sorry – – here in the link to the Facebook post:


  66. Page

    Would love to enter!!
    +1 Subscribe in google reader
    +1 you’re on my blogroll

    [email protected]

  67. Heather

    Please enter me! Thank you!

  68. Heather

    I’m subscribed in my Bloglines! +1

  69. futblwf

    Would love to win! Thanks

  70. Jill

    Enter me please :)

    foltzsfantasticbooks at

  71. Jill

    +1 follow in Google Reader

    foltzsfantasticbooks at

  72. Jill

    Tweeted it :)

    foltzsfantasticbooks at

  73. Henrietta

    I would love t be entered to win! Thank you!

  74. Anna ♥

    I would love to read Ruined. It sounds amazing! Please enter me.

    Anna ♥
    [email protected]

  75. Anna ♥

    +1 Google Reader subscriber

    Anna ♥
    [email protected]

  76. Anna ♥

    +1 Email subscriber

    Anna ♥
    [email protected]

  77. Anna ♥

    +1 Posted here:

    Anna ♥
    [email protected]

  78. Anna ♥

    +1 Posted on sidebar:

    Anna ♥
    [email protected]

  79. Linda Kish

    This book looks really good. Please include me

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  80. Elie N

    +1 I subscribe in google reader

  81. Elie N

    +1 I tweeted

    (Ellz Readz)

    great giveaway

  82. Elie N

    +1 posted on my contest sidebar

  83. Breia B

    This looks to be a very interesting book. I look forward to reading it.

    bbricke AT yahoo DOT com

  84. Breia B

    I tweeted.
    I follow you in Google reader and I am a friend. You are also on my blog roll @

    bbricke AT yahoo DOT com

  85. Jaime

    Please include me, Thanks

  86. DarcyO

    This sounds like a great read. Please include me.

  87. DarcyO

    I follow with Google Reader.

  88. DarcyO

    Tweeted (darcy1956):

  89. Hailey M

    This sounds like an absolutely awesome book! Please enter me.


  90. Hailey M

    +1 I added you to my blogroll at


  91. Hailey M

    +1 Posted about this contest with a link on my sidebar at


  92. Darlene Wright

    Would love to win.

  93. susan

    I just blogged about this title at Color Online. Would love to win a copy.

    Thanks for the contest and interview.

  94. Monica Schroeder

    Great giveaway. I am in.

    [email protected]

  95. Monica Schroeder

    Giveaway +1 for adding to my blog

  96. Cherie J

    Please enter me. This one is on my wishlist so I would love to read it. I love the New Orleans setting.

  97. Cherie J

    I am a follower.


  98. Cherie J

    I am a subscriber by email.


  99. Jaime

    blog follower

  100. Paula

    I would love to win this book. Books set in the New Orleans area are so fascinating to me.


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