Thursday, February 20, 2014
Welcome to my stop on the Something Real tour! I'm really excited to be hosting Heather for a super fun interview! (this is the week of interviews my friends!) But I seriously have way too much fun with them so it's all good. So stick around for the interview and a super duper giveaway!
by Heather Demetrios
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There’s nothing real about reality TV.
Seventeen-year-old Bonnie™ Baker has grown up on TV—she and her twelve siblings are the stars of one-time hit reality show Baker’s Dozen. Since the show’s cancellation and the scandal surrounding it, Bonnie™ has tried to live a normal life, under the radar and out of the spotlight. But it’s about to fall apart…because Baker’s Dozen is going back on the air. Bonnie™’s mom and the show’s producers won’t let her quit and soon the life she has so carefully built for herself, with real friends (and maybe even a real boyfriend), is in danger of being destroyed by the show. Bonnie™ needs to do something drastic if her life is ever going to be her own—even if it means being more exposed than ever before.
Sounds like fun right? Make sure to pick up your copy today! Now here's a bit about the author!
Heather Demetrios, originally from Los Angeles, now lives in Brooklyn and various imaginary locales. She is the recipient of a PEN New England Discovery Award for her debut YA novel about reality TV stardom, SOMETHING REAL, and is the author of the upcoming EXQUISITE CAPTIVE, also out in 2014. When she’s not hanging out with her characters, Heather is working on her MFA in writing for children and young adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts.
What kind of research went into Something Real, with the reality TV show aspect of the book?
I watched several episodes of “Jon and Kate Plus 8,” since I’d never actually seen the show before and it was the inspiration for my Baker family. I also watched a great HBO film called “Cinema Verite,” which is about the first reality family TV, the Louds, and I read Pat Loud’s fascinating autobiography. To create my tabloid columnist who makes an appearance at the end of the book, I read some of Perez Hilton’s stuff—oh my god. I went down this really weird pop culture rabbit hole and was so glad when I came back out!
I love the puns you can find in the show's name; Bakers Dozen! Was that something you know from the beginning or did you have to come up with that later?
Yeah, the Baker’s Dozen thing came to me right away, but initially “Baker” wasn’t the family’s last name. That came later, based on a suggestion from an agent. When she said it I was like, “Duh! Why didn’t I think of that?” It’s funny, the way things come together with a book. A suggestion from the most random places can inspire huge things. When you’re working on a book, you have to be so open to anything that triggers a response in your story.
What is your favorite thing about writing for a YA audience?
There are so many things I love. I have to tell you my top two things because they are of equal importance to me. The first is that a YA book can literally change the course of someone’s whole life—that is an amazing responsibility and a beautiful thing. Teens are still trying to figure out who they are and what they want to do with their lives. They’re questioning and seeking and when you’re a YA writer, you’re in a position to influence and inspire your readers. That’s not to say that adult lives can’t be changed, but you get a lot more set in your ways as you get older, right? The second thing I love about being a YA writer is being a part of the YA community of readers, writers, book bloggers, book sellers…it’s so giving and positive. Everyone is excited about what’s coming out and is really passionate about the genre. I love the conversations that are being had about the work and its evolution and I feel so supported. My fellow adults who love YA are kindred spirits—it’s like we’ve all agreed to go to Neverland together.
Bonnie, your protagonist is the oldest of 13 kids! Being from a big family I can understand but it's still crazy! There are so many different personalities and character types to portray in that kind of a setting, so how did you go about that in planning/writing the novel?
That was definitely the hardest part of the book: how to give a picture of this whole family without overwhelming the reader and without any family members getting lost in the shuffle. The list you see at the beginning of the book is basically what I kept beside my laptop while I wrote the novel. I kept forgetting the ages of the kids or what country each kid was from. It helped to categorize the kids, such as the boys who are called the “wild things” because they’re so hyper and are always wrestling. So instead of throwing a bunch of names at the reader all the time, I knew it would be easier for them to remember groupings. I had a feeling this is what MetaReel would have done anyway and it helped me develop the family dynamic. My major focus, of course, was on Bonnie™ and the two siblings her age: Benny and Lex. Of course, the parents were huge too. Bonnie™’s mom is a really important secondary character and I had to think of ways that she would try to keep her family organized, too. It was chaos, but I’m really happy with the way it came off.
Are you a day or night writer?
Both! I write for most of the morning and afternoon, then again in the late evening. I write full-time, so I’m pretty much working on one or two books a day, whenever I’m not doing the businessey stuff of writing. The night is really great for getting in a special zone. Something about the hush and darkness brings out the poet in me, so I like to save scenes that are really emotional and intimate for nighttime. Appropriate, no? Daytime is revisions, doing the hard work of the first draft, that kind of thing.
I have a board above my desk (pictured on the left). It’s full of reminders to myself (like, “Don’t write pussies!”—that was for when one of my bad boy male characters turned all lovesick and boring). There are inspirational quotes, my favorite of which is by Picasso: “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” There are images that evoke certain feelings in me, encouraging notes from people…all sorts of stuff. The main thing that inspires me to keep writing when it gets tough is that it always works out. No matter the book, I have to remind myself that because there is always a point with every story that I think, oh my God, I’m not going to pull it off this time. But serendipity always kicks in. It’s a new puzzle, but every time you find the pieces that need to fit together. All those parts do become a whole.
Are you the kind of writer to snack while she writes/reads? If so, what's your ideal "writing snack?"
Unfortunately, yes, I do like to snack while I write. My ideal snack is something that doesn’t make my hands dirty or greasy, so I can eat and write at the same time. But, really, coffee. And more coffee.
Savory or Sweet? Sweet!
Chocolate Malt balls or Sour Gummy Worms? Chocolate malt balls, all the way.
Thank you so much Heather for the fun interview! I loved chatting with you! Make sure to leave some comment love for Heather in the comments! And keep an eye out for my review of Something Real to come soon! Now onto the fun part...the giveaway!
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Thanks for stopping by! Let me know your thoughts below! XOXO!
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