Category Archives: writing

writing

I Read the News Today. Oh Boy.

Image

(illustration from the Mo Willems book I’m a Frog)

I read that “civilization is ending” article much the same way I take most of my news – half-skimmed on my phone from someone else’s Facebook post, while on the toilet, as the kids were riding brooms like horses in the hallway. I couldn’t stop thinking about the dire predictions but of course, the next thing I needed to do was to put the kids to bed. So as we got into jammies, brushed teeth, and read mind-numbing Little Critter books, here was, essentially, my thought process. I share it here because in retrospect it seems kind of funny, but I assure you this all felt/feels VERY REAL. 

  1. Man, if it’s true that industrial civilization is going to collapse in like 15 years, I’ve got to think of something I can do to help the world!… … … hmm… … … nope, I got nothing. Okay well maybe I should just try to really enjoy every moment. Just really mindful of these good, still-civilized times, really live in every instant. I mean, not right now exactly because I’m not crazy about tooth-brushing-time, but like tomorrow. We are supposed to go grocery shopping tomorrow but maybe we should do something more seize-the-day-ish like…the Botanic Gardens! Then grocery shopping. When it seems like civilization is really starting to decline I should definitely go to Costco and stock up on… something. Matches. Crackers. Firearms? No, that’s very not me. Maybe like, tuna fish. That seems right. I should probably reread Little House on the Prairie.
  2. How sad. I really like civilization, too. Mostly the art museums. And the antibiotics. And book stores. Especially the ones with cats.
  3. Pets-wise, at least Quimby won’t still be alive in 15 years. I don’t think she’d make a good post-apocalyptic dog. We’ll probably find some highly intelligent, intuitive stray who helps us find squirrel meat and stuff. <picturing my family living in Prospect Park, in a sod house.>
  4. Wait. Really? But not really? That wouldn’t really happen. People are always saying crazy things about the world ending. Remember those Waco people? It wouldn’t really happen. Or at least not to me. That can’t happen to me! I’m the POV character!
  5. Wait, what? That’s a crazy thought. And I don’t even do drugs. But I do do books. I’ve been doing too many books lately, clearly. I need to do something real. The world is about to get all The Road. And I couldn’t even finish that book because it was too depressing, and also I have to admit, the prose style didn’t thrill me. I wonder what happened in the end? Maybe it was, like, a really happy ending! But still. It would help to have some skills. Real skills. We should go camping. We should teach the kids to start a fire. Or something. The only skills any of us have are civilization skills. Reading, writing, taking photographs. Singing lullabies. I’m pretty good at that. But I guess we’d be relatively okay.
  6. Oh my god, my glasses! When civilization starts noticeably declining, someone remind me to get like 100 pairs of glasses. It will seem crazy, but I will totally really need them if, say, a future-mutant-wolf-squirrel eats mine. I can’t see a thing without them!
  7. Maybe I should tweet that link to President Obama. Wait, he probably read it. He’s probably going to take action and make it all okay. No he’s not, he’s going to get his family on a jet to the super secret satellite for all the government officials, like in that movie Elysium! I wish I was going to that super secret satellite place. But no, I’ll be here in the polluted shantytown of Brooklyn working in a robot factory with no health insurance like Matt Damon. That will be miserable. But there could be a good memoir it, I suppose.
  8. I hope I finish my next book in the next 15 years. Oh WAIT it totally won’t matter. Or maybe aliens who land on the barren wasteland of Earth in 400 years will find our books? Or they’d probably be all dissolved. How long would a Kindle last in the wild, I wonder?

I mean, in all seriousness, what are we supposed to do? Just, you know, go on writing listicles and telling the kids to turn off the tap when they are brushing to save water? I guess so. And reading books, I think. I’m not sure why but really, why not.

The Only Thing to Discourage is Discouragement Itself

Image(via NYPL)

Is it because of writing so many of these things for the people who pay me money to write that I seem to only be able to think in lists lately?

Or is that just life in the internet age? Or life as a mother of young children who is constantly being interrupted and hasn’t had a cohesive thought in a half a decade?

Where was I?

Oh right lists. I have been thinking and talking a lot about discouragement lately.   I feel like I am often having this conversation with other writers I know:

Writer Who Is Not Me: What kind of book should one write? What is the best kind of Writer to be?

Me: Ummmm I dunno. Those are Important and Big Thoughts to Think. But I don’t have time for thoughts like that anymore. I think I remember having thoughts like that. Now I’m just happy when I have a minute to write.

WWINM: But what’s the point of it all? You work and work and work on a piece of writing and for what? Why do we try so hard? To what end? Writing something no one will publish, or that someone will publish but no one will read, or that will be read but get lousy reviews, or be really well-received and then called overrated, or that will do well now but never enter the literary canon? Or else to get a job teaching writing that still barely supports us or offers only crud health insurance so that one day we sit joylessly among our dusty books while the teeth fall out of our heads one by one?

Me: Ummmm I dunno. I just, like, get crabby when I don’t write?

But of course I get discouraged, everyone does. Here are three ways I try to dig out:

1) Do the thing. Talking about writing and thinking about writing are both somewhat crazy-making. What I actually like doing is writing. I had a rather abstract conversation about What Writing Is the other day, and felt a little muddled, and then sat down to write, and changed the phrase “walked down” to “descended” and felt a clean jolt of joy, and then became miraculously unmuddled. These are rare moments but such good ones.

2) Don’t do the thing. Then again, sometimes trying to write makes me just as crazy as not writing, because in my life right now finding time to write means missing out on family time on the weekend when my husband can watch the kids, or paying a nice lady many dollars I don’t have to watch the children, or not sleeping enough which then makes me not a nice mommy, and all of these things are stressful, and sometimes I have to remind myself that, in the grand scheme of things, there is no real rush, and if creative work happens slowly for a few years when the kids are small, it’s really okay. It’s just a few years, in the end. So if I don’t write 150 pages and finish my novel draft this weekend, and if I want to read a book tonight instead of doing novel research, it’s okay not to beat myself up about it.

3) Make it easy to enjoy other peoples’ successes. This is a tricky one I know, and not a nice one to talk about because who wants to admit that they greet other people’s triumphs with a petty, self-pitying inward grumble? I mean, I can imagine some people feel that way. Other, much smaller-souled people than moi, of course!

Something that has been really nice for me the past 6 months or so is hosting my reading series, Lit at Lark.   Reaching out to writers, getting to enjoy great writing in that pure-reader way that first made me want to write, connecting with other people who do this crazy thing I do too – it’s been somewhat nourishing. And it helps me to remember that when something good happens for another writer, it’s really just something good for everyone who likes books and wants them to keep existing.

4) Then of course there’s also just, like, this:

Image (via Kateoplis)

Electric Cats in the Garden: A Printable Picture Book

Electric Cats in the Garden, Illustration by Peggy Shearn

Electric Cats in the Garden, Illustration by Peggy Shearn

My grandmother was always making these charming, crazy little picture books for me and my brother, and of course I filed this away as A Thing I Will Definitely Do For My Own Children Someday. Well, right there with make every food from scratch and never say, “Wow, you are being really annoying right now” to their faces, this has mostly gotten shelved. I know, I know — I’m a writer! I should write for my children! Remember how A.A. Milne wrote all those Winnie-the-Pooh stories and poems for his own little son Christopher Robin? Let me tell you something. The real Christopher Robin? Went to boarding school from age 6. And that is how a writer/parent finds the time to document that unmissable magic of childhood. By missing it.

Still, somehow I wrote this story (I hope it’s just a chapter of a longer book, but you know, laundry), using ideas from the children. Harper really pretends to speak Polish quite frequently (also, Arabic and Spanish — Brooklyn public schools!), the kids really do play electric cats, Harper has invented all sorts of facts about said electric cats, she really did once threaten to take Ollie to play in the garden after Adam and I went to bed, Ollie told me that nocturnal creatures run Trader Joe’s at night. My talented mother, Peggy Shearn AKA Nani Peg, was gracious enough to do illustrations, and my talented husband, Adam TetzloffAKA Daddy, laid it all out and made a little book that we gave to the children on Christmas. Predictably, it was quickly buried beneath the wrapping paper of more exciting toys and dolls, but after a day or so it was rediscovered and has been pored over intently since.

So I’ll share it here, and I think you should be able to print it out, although you’ll need to have my husband explain how to make it into an actual booklet because my brain can’t handle the geometry or whatever that is. Here, it’s a PDF: Electric Cats in the Garden

I hope you like it, and that maybe even if your kids are not the actual Harper and Ollie they might like it too! Leave me an encouraging comment so I am shored up to finish the next story. Just kidding, I’m not that needy. Just kidding, of course I am.

Happy New Year!

What’s Missing, What’s Here: On The Eve of My Book’s Birth Day

I seem to be living in a spiral-shaped sea shell these days. Harper turned four on Monday. Ollie will be two in a few weeks. And this Tuesday, April 2nd, a few days after the kids’ birthday party with all its balloons and frosting, my book officially comes out. The Mermaid of Brooklyn is about a mother with two kids, two years apart, like mine, but I started writing it when Harper was just a few months old, one day after a visit to the swingset, with her asleep in the carrier on my chest. I was thinking about my great-grandmother and rusalkis and the weird culture of Brooklyn parenting more than my actual parenting experiences, although of course it all gets mixed in together. And on Tuesday, my book launch will be at Powerhouse on 8th, the new bookstore in the building I lived in when I wrote the book. 2 kids, 4 years, and a move later: the book.

Of course I’m so excited and thankful. But also: confused.

Thanks to Jenna Blum for my very own milk carton!

Thanks to Jenna Blum for my very own milk carton!

Due to ongoing contract disputes between my publishers and Barnes & Noble, it’s very unlikely anyone will be able to find my book at a B&N store. In many parts of the country, that’s the only place to go and stroll about and discover a new book. I know my suburban Chicago B&N outlet was where I went on weeknights as a teenager to drink cinnamon-plum tea and read philosophy texts and women’s magazines (yes, at the same time) with my best friend and browse around in the quiet store at 8 pm and happen upon some book on a table I never would have heard of otherwise — and I feel like B&N should remember this, and care. I guess what I’m saying is, I really love B&N. I love my indies, and always support them, but when I was growing up in the suburbs, B&N was a sanctuary of sorts for me. And I have been so happy with Simon & Schuster and everyone at my division, Touchstone, and all their support of my book, and I get that both sides have their reasons. I know. It’s not personal.

What replaced my neighborhood Barnes & Noble.

What replaced my neighborhood Barnes & Noble.

But then, also, an unexpectedly nice thing has happened, because of all this B&N business: S&S authors, all (coincidence?) female novelists, have banded together to try to get our books on the radar.  M.J. Rose, Jenna Blum, Randy Susan Meyers — these are authors I have only known from afar, who are doing what I aspire to — writing smart books about women’s lives that readers obsessively love — and yet suddenly we’re all tweeting each other all the time. I feel this solidarity with other writers whose books are coming out into this mess, like we are all book-sisters (and not just competing for the seven spots for reviews left in the country). And there’s something really, really nice about that. I would post all their book covers here but I still have a lot of laundry to fold. So go here, and check out these wonderful books!

I once read an interview with an author whose debut novel had been largely ignored. When asked how he felt about the book’s reception he said something like, “You know, my wife and I just had our first baby, and that is a very good distraction, and puts everything else into perspective.” I loved this. I’ve found balancing writerhood and mothership to be challenging. It’s hard to find the time and focus and energy to write, even if, maybe especially if, you’re writing ABOUT motherhood. But I’ve also the combination to be a nourishing one.

Take today: I could have spent the day obsessing about my book and what will or won’t happen with it, but I was too busy having an adventure on the subway and a raucous playdate and making Charlie & Lola decorations for the birthday party. Ollie played in an afternoon sunbeam, swiping his hand at the glowing dust motes, laughing hysterically. Harper told me she was having a hard time deciding whether to be a doctor or a teacher. At bedtime, the kids cuddled up and Harper read Ollie his favorite books, and he propped his fat little cheek in his fat little hand to listen intently, and I almost cried, and that was all that really mattered about today. I’m lucky, lucky, lucky and I know it. I would of course like to be a lucky, lucky, lucky author with books in B&N but whatever, I’ll take what I can get.

And so:

If you live in New York City, please join me at one of my readings! Wine and bunny crackers, obviously, will be served.

If you don’t, please go into your local Barnes & Noble and with a very puzzled look on your face, ask where oh where is that great Mermaid of Brooklyn book you’ve been hearing so much about could be.

And finally, if you can identify the provenance of the bookstore pictured above, feel a moment of in-on-the-joke pride. Go on, really enjoy it. Then, tell me in the comments (but don’t Google it, you dirty cheater)and if you’re the first one to do so (and you are not my husband) I’ll send you a book!

The Black Apple, always awesome.

The Black Apple, always awesome.

The Handwriting on the Wall. Er, Ceiling. Well, In the Ceiling. Oh, Just Read It.

The Note in the Ceiling

The Note in the Ceiling

In honor of National Handwriting Day, I share the above note. Adam wrote it, in his adorable chicken-scratchy handwriting, after our first summer stay at a sweet little beach house in New Jersey. He tucked it into a ceiling tile (all right, it’s a humble place) and promptly forgot all about it. A few months ago, we got this email:

Hi Amy and Adam

When we started on the work to repair the inside of the house after the hurricane, your note tucked in the ceiling floated down. I want you to know that it lifted my spirits that day. To know that our little house brought you and your family a little bit of happiness helped me get through the initial shock of what has to be done.

We are so lucky that only material things are ruined. My daughters and their husbands went down with my husband the first day to help with the clean out as I watched the grandkids. Thank God for family.

I was down with my sister and daughter to finish cleaning when your note floated down. I hope your attached note brings back some good memories. We are all very emotionally attached to our beach house and are now on the road to getting it back together for next summer.

Chris

Everything about the exchange floods me with warm, happy nostalgia: remembering that lovely summer; knowing that we accidentally cheered someone’s Sandy recovery; and most viscerally, seeing Adam’s handwriting, which I very rarely see. Let’s all spend the day writing notes — by hand! on paper! — and tucking them away places, shall we?

The Next Big Thing Book Blog Meme!

Write like a motherfucker.

Write like a motherfucker.

I have dropped so many balls lately, that with every step I take I’m essentially wading through one of those ball pits that children like to contract smallpox in at overachieving birthday parties. But here was a fun thing I was supposed to do that got lost in the wild week of kids, more work than usual, a freelance article, book business, playschool drama, and even a co-op building meeting: THE NEXT BIG THING MEME, yay! Thanks to the lovely Kate Hopper for tagging me!

What is the title of your book?

The Mermaid of Brooklyn

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A stressed-out Park Slope mother recovers her sense of purpose in life with the help of a mermaid.

What genre does your book fall under?

Fiction. (I almost wrote Women’s Fiction, but then I was like, nah, fuck that.)

Where did the idea come from for the book?

The inspiration was threefold: 1) a bit of family lore about how a pair of shoes saved my great-grandmother’s life, which I heard at a time when 2) I was reading about the powerful, seductive, mysterious rusalkas (aka mermaids)of Slavic folklore. The connection between these aspects marinated for a bit and then 3) I found myself becoming a stay-at-home mother to a baby, in the ever-fascinating parenting culture of Park Slope, Brooklyn. And voila: The Mermaid of Brooklyn was born.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

About two years.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

A mother at the playground had read some books pitched toward young urban mothers that she found annoying, and she said, “I just want someone to write a book for moms like me.”

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I have a literary agent who did the businessy magic of selling the book to Touchstone/Simon & Schuster (US) and Pan Macmillan (UK).

What other works would you compare this book to within your genre?

It’s possible that comparisons with Amy Sohn, the grand mistress of Park Slope parent fiction, are forthcoming, but I’ve actually never read her books so I’m not sure how alike we really are. Our names sure are similar though! But I’d say readers who liked Peter Hedges’ Brooklyn-y The Heights, Lorrie Moore’s funny-sad mediation on motherhood The Gate at the Top of the Stairs, Maria Semple’s funny-sad mediation on motherhood Where’d You Go, Bernadette?  and/or stories with a hint of the surreal in them, like The Time-Traveler’s Wife, or Alice Hoffman’s novels, will, I’d hope, like my book too.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Oh man. I hate to boss around my readers, who should cast their own MofB movie however they like. But since you asked, my main character, Jenny, I see as a 2010 Zooey Deschanel. (She’s gotten a little too glamorous lately, but you get what I mean.) And my husband will definitely give me shit for this, but I always thought of Cute Dad as being played by Paul Schneider, on whom I have an undignified crush.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Reading it will make you instantly happier, richer, ambidextrous, and able to do 20 sit-ups.

Just in case it doesn’t, an acquaintance of mine read the book and wrote me, unbidden: “Basically: your book made me forget my own troubles while simultaneously soothing them; it made me feel better about life.” Isn’t that so nice?

AND The next thing I was supposed to do was to tag five authors who have exciting projects coming out now or soon or eventually. But I just wrote them today. (Doing!) (That was a ball dropping.) (And then bouncing again.) (Like how I carried that image through? Professional writer here!) So I will repost if they are able to participate. But just know that you should be very excited about new works forthcoming from Siobhan Adcock, Julia Fierro, Leigh Newman, Shana Youngdahl, and Sara Barron!

M. Beth Bloom: My Interview with a Vampire (-YA-novelist)

M. Beth Bloom is one of those ridiculously prolific artists who makes you wonder how she does it all. I mean that in a very concrete way: how are there enough hours in the day to perform and tour with several bands, co-run an independent record label and a raw food catering company, write screenplays and novels, and have the best fashion sense on the West Coast? I like to think if I didn’t have these children of mine I would be this prolific and cool but that’s obviously not the case. I would spend way too much time reading the newspaper while wearing sweatpants. Anyway, what I do know is that if you visit L.A. and are lucky enough to see it through this lady’s eyes, it will transform from the traffic jam-and-movie-stars place you’ve heard about into a magic land of dreamy creativity.

Authoress M. Beth Bloom, just hanging out and totally not getting attacked by vampires.

So her debut novel, Drain You, which comes out in just two little days, is a delight: dark, funny, smart. The heroine Quinn effortlessly embodies that 90’s “whatever” zeitgeist; the book channels Heathers, Weetzie Bat, and the delicious spookiness of Interview With a Vampire. Drain You is a page-turner for its heart-racing plot, but also for the writing itself: in the world of this book, for example, handsome inane jerk-boys are called Spaders; Quinn is prone to hilarious, dry statements like “My taste in guys had gone from lame to dystopian,” and “Whit was surprisingly chill on the subject of ampire-vays.” (I somehow imagined the whole book narrated in Jeanine Garafolo’s voice.)

Drain You is ostensibly a YA novel (though its dark themes of death and vampire-sex definitely tilt it toward the older end of that spectrum), but I think it appeals equally to ancient readers such as myself for whom the 90’s references are less a period piece and more nostalgia for those teen years of driving around, bored, underdressed, undersupervised, and drinking way too much Diet Coke.

Miss M. Beth was kind enough to answer my questions about her book over email recently…
You’re also a musician. How do you think your love of music informs your writing, and vice versa?

Honestly, writing should absolutely come first, because I love it first and best, but it most often can’t because music is my JOB and pays my BILLS.  which is all so silly to say, that making music would be more lucrative and safe, but at this time, it actually is.  so mainly when i’m making music i’m thinking quite literally, shit, i should be writing, i want to be writing, i’d rather be writing (is that a bumper sticker already?).  band practice is usually preceded or succeeded by a long writing session.  being a writer hasn’t made me a better lyricist, but i do fantasize about writing about being an underground musician and how bizarrely straightforward and hardworking and unglamorous it is.
What made you decide to write a YA novel? Any YA authors you’re especially into or influenced by?

I didn’t really set out to write one.  I wanted to write about a teenager and then poof i had a YA book.  In my mind it was always sort of for adults and then after page 100,110,120, someone had to tell me i’d written a young adult novel.  i always think of that time of life as being really poignant and humorous (that is, conceptually, haha, in reality it’s DISTURBING and humiliating), a total wet lushland of writerly promise.  I’m actually quite proud to write for teens now – my new book is YA, and i’m sure i’ll write a few more.

as for YA authors i’m inspired by, i really love Blake Nelson’s “Girl” and Daniel Handler’s “The Basic Eight.”  both are genius – funny, sad, weird.
LA is an important character in this book, and is described in kind of rapturous terms. But my impression is that (and maybe it’s just that I live in New York) people love to be down on LA. Why do you think it gets a bad rap? How has your relationship with LA defined you as an artist? What about Southern California inspires you?

That’s interesting, i mean, i know of just the opposite.  whenever i have friends or relatives visiting here they’re freaking out over how beautiful the weather is, and the sea and the mountains, and the sunsets.  i think maybe people are down on “HOLLYWOOD” – but i have no idea why.  people are just as plastic and lunatic and rich and unhappy for no reason in other cities and states in this country.  hollywood has its charm, for sure.  i LOVE beverly hills.  and i love repping LA in my writing.  i think i’ll set every book i write here, at least in part, because i feel like the landscape and the vibe sets up a very clear mood.  other great female LA writers – Sandra Tsing Loh, Francesca Lia Block, Carolyn See – have seen it in its many facets and glories and i hope to continue that tradition.  i think the canyons are mysterious and lovely and wild and poetic – but i especially like when my teenage characters take that for granted and just see them as tree-y and boring.
How do you balance all your creative projects? I know you to be someone who seems to always be working on about a million things at once — screenplays, music, a catering company…how do you do it?

you give up a lot of personal time.  you lose a lot of what i think of as the “normal” early 30-something life-schedule – searching for houses, thinking about having and raising children, rewarding yourself with a little vacation, flying across the country to see family.  but i like the diagonal, slanted view of life at my age – it suits me.  it could all flip in a year, but right now i love to work, and suppose i love to be stressed (or else why wouldn’t i calm myself down!!?!?).  i think ambition is a serious itch, one some people can never scratch, and i didn’t realize until recently that i was one of those people.  every day is a strange goal-oriented set of hours where i’m crossing items off lists.  and then shopping online for expensive lipstick to remind myself i’m more human than drone bee.
As someone who was a teenager in the 90s, I loved that this was a kind of period piece. I feel like there was a kind of everyday nihilism that was allowed in teenage culture back then — Heathers, Nirvana — that everyone’s afraid of now, and that famous pre-September 11th apathy that make that decade the perfect setting for this story. But maybe that’s putting words into your mouth…what made you decide to set this in the 90s?

setting it in the 90s was one of those non-decision decisions.  i was a teenager in the 90s.  that’s the real reason. that’s what i know.  in a way, writing about teenage culture now – cell phone fads and current celebrities – was daunting and horrifying.  i thought to myself, how can i write this with any authenticity and sincerity?  how can i make it not seem like one of those bad disney shows where it feels like a boardroom of 50 year-old men and women are trying to appeal to kids with broad jokes about texting and justin bieber, and INSTEAD make it seem like one of those great disney shows where the writers are funny and timeless and remember that it’s all about being awkward and self-focused and ill-equipt to deal.  also the 90s are so rich in this way that the current times aren’t – mainly because it’s an era past.  we can study and obsess over and poke fun at it in a way we can’t really (not with much witticism anyway) of our present day.  i was encouraged though to tone the decade down and delete the name christian slater.
Why vampires?

that’s simply because vampire books are so funny and geeky, and 3 years ago when i wrote this, they were the most popular YA genre.  why not try your hand at something so mainstream and omnipresent, when that’s not really what you’re personally drawn to?  i always considered myself the outsider, the weirdo, in high school, so why not write a vampire book for a girl who’s cool in other ways?  who likes music and movies and books more than she likes other people?  who’s a mess socially, and selfish, and totally random about her affections.  and vampires, when they aren’t being buff or murderous, are actually really fun and mostly gay (thanks to anne rice).  it’s a great writing experiment – write about vampires who don’t care about being vampires, or ghosts who barely notice they’re dead, or werewolves who can’t really be bothered to be scary.  not to mention there’s great late 80s/90s vampire iconography to play with – the lost boys, near dark, buffy the vampire slayer, interview with the vampire.
Quinlan Lacy is a unique, fascinating, strong character — did you set out to create a strong female character? Were there other characters or people who influenced the creation of her?

ladies, if you’re a writer and you’re not interested in writing strong female characters, do me a favor and write under a man’s pen name.  it’s all about a personal, unique brand of feminism when you’re a woman writer – which is to say, you create that feminism and for each woman it’s different, but portraying women with originality and wit and spark is vital.  i always look to lorrie moore when i’m creating a new female character because she makes every woman seem like a brilliant, honest, melancholic, hopeful, wistful snowflake!  weetzie bat is always a great heroine to dissect – she loves sex and fashion and food and music – and the heroines of “the little friend” and “children’s hospital.”  but also the original buffy (as written by joss whedon and played by kristy swanson), who’s at first mean-spirited and stuck-up and shallow, but ultimately sweet and ass-kicking and serious.  i like all those things in a woman, ALL OF THEM!

also, quinn’s basically a version of me in high school.  definitely my attitude toward my parents and friends and school and boys.  my bedroom, my wardrobe, my messy eyeliner, my peeling off bjork poster.  moi sans vampires.

Is there going to be a sequel? PLEASE?

don’t think so.  not unless the book is wildly popular and there’s demand of some sort.  i can’t imagine myself as a vampire trilogy kind of writer.  though why not bust through that mainstream myth too!
If I were reading this with a book group I would need to engage everyone in a lengthy Team James/Team Whit/Team Morgan discussion..but not apprope here I guess.
For the record, I think that Whit seems really nice.

i love whit too.  whit’s the one you want to be with quinn and he’s the one ultimately she will be with (at least for one semester, haha), because she’s not going to BECOME a vampire.  she lives in the (sort of) real world!
Thanks so much! I really loved the book — could not put it down. Quinn’s the coolest. But she needs to drink less Diet Coke.

if someone wrote a realistic day to day account of what teenagers ate and drank, we’d all be horrified.  but yes, much less diet coke.  she’ll be the kind of 30 year-old who’ll only drink kefir and kombucha and judge anyone who even sips a soda water.  i may or may not know from personal experience.

Drain You. I am now hypnotizing you into to buying this book for all the cool teenage girls you know. You are viiiisiiiting Powells.com…you are orrrrdderrrrrinnnng the boooookkkk…
Is it working?