I try to stay away from aliases because I had a bad experience once. One night in college we decided to use aliases and I was supposed to be “Phoebe,” until some guy asked me to spell it, and then my cover was blown. So remember… Words of wisdom you can only get here at Books By Their Cover… If you decide to use an alias, choose one that’s easy to spell!
As for other titles, the one I remember batting around was One Hundred Words for Blue. It was a pretty phrase from the book and it summed up how Cam was feeling in the beginning. But I think there are a lot of similar titles to that one out there.
2. There's a lot of craziness in POM. How do you manage incorporating humor and random animal scenes without losing the underlining tragedy?
My family has always used humor, often self-deprecating humor, (and random animal scenes) to help them wade through difficult times, so the balance between humor and tragedy is sort of a natural state of being for me. My life has always been tragically funny. Or comically tragic. (go ahead... ask around :) So that's the balance I can naturally strike. If I had a "world view," I guess it would be tragicomic. Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, humor and sadness are often two sides of the same proverbial coin. They are just different ways to express and release deep feelings about something. The animal scenes you speak of acted as comic relief. You can’t have a story that is continual non-stop tragedy. And life is not like that either. When a family is experiencing terrible times, there are moments of lightness in it all. There have to be or we wouldn’t survive.
3. When I first saw the cover for POM, I thought "wow is it pink". What was your immediate reaction? Did it seem that POM was finally on its way to becoming a real physical book found in stores?
Yes seeing the cover was a big moment. Before they even started designing the cover my main question was, “Does it have to have a girl on it?’” I was hoping it could be just text design or something abstract. And I probably would have added, “Does it have to be pink?” if I knew they were even considering pink. I’m not really a pink person. In fact, the grocery store manager across the street calls my daughter “Violetta” because I often dressed her in purple as a baby to avoid being inundated in the Pink. But. When I saw that cover. I LOVED it. The pink is appropriate. (and it stands out) The girl is Beautiful. The feather is cool . And the FONT is PERFECT. Don’t you think?
Yan: Yes! The cover is growing on me as I look at more. Plus, after finishing POM, I can't imagine anything different.
4. What is your favorite part about Disney World?
When we went with my daughter who was then four, we made it on the first day to Opening Ceremonies, and I had Goosebumps! And it was just 8:30 in the morning. Unlike Cam, I definitely feel the magic of the Magic Kingdom. I have a lot of favorite parts. I love the idea of “Character Dining”. How cool is it for kids to sit down to dinner with Cinderella or Winnie the Pooh? That’s cool for them. (They should have that for adults. I want to go to a huge restaurant and eat chicken nuggets while Asthon Kutcher and Mark Wahlberg and Matt Damon walk around visiting all the tables and stop by to take pictures with you and kiss you on the cheek.)
5. What's your favorite animal?
Tigers. I just wish they didn’t have the tendency to eat people and I’d have one for a pet. They’re just beautiful. We just went to a little girls’ birthday party where she asked for donations to save the tigers in lieu of presents. So Thank You, Hailey, for saving the Tigers!!!
6. When you first told Cam's story, did you already envisioned her to be snarky or was she the one to tell you? Did you find it difficult at times to write her story?
She was always snarky. She had to be in a place where she could protect herself emotionally and the snarkiness was her armor. And she had to start off in a low place spiritually in order for her to grow. As for the second part… writing is Always hard no matter what story you’re trying to tell. Once I had created all the characters though the story unfolded. Slowly. Sometimes tortuously. As if I were watching a movie in my head.
7. What are some books you're looking forward to in the upcoming months or year?
Right now I’m reading The Marriage Plot. Then on to: The Art of Fielding, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (before the movie comes out), Swamplandia, The Tigers Wife, IQ84,and more. I tend to shy away from reading a ton of YA, because I don’t want to be derivative. I want to stay fresh. Does that make sense? Plus, I’m a little old for it. Honestly. I’m pretty old.
Yan: You can never to be too old for YA! But I understand the worry about staying fresh.
8. I have to know if you have anything else you're working on. I read POM back in July, but it's one of those books that lingered in my head these past 8 months.
Among other things, I’m working on a Thelma and Louise story for teens about the power of friendship and the mysteries of the universe. For now, it’s called The Museum of Intangible Things.
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