Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Interview: Courtney Summers (Author of Some Girls Are)
A Brief Biography (from Courtney's Website):
Courtney Summers lives and writes in Canada where she divides her time between a piano, a camera, and word-processing program when she’s not planning for the impending zombie apocalypse. She enjoys Archie comics, Trailer Park Boys, and other fine art. Pierre Trudeau is her hero and if you are a volcano, she would like to know you.
Give a short description of SOME GIRLS ARE, in your own words – a description that will lure in all those who are on the fence about reading SGA!
YOU WILL EXPLODE IF YOU DO NOT READ THIS BOOK ABOUT MEAN GIRLS.
I am terrible at these types of questions as you can see, but I feel I have met all of your requirements like so: it's short, I have described it ("book about mean girls") and I would like to believe I have enticed those who are sitting on the fence ("you will explode if you do not read [it]") because who wants to explode?
I found SGA almost painful to read, all the while being unable to put it down. Was it difficult to write from Regina’s point of view?
In hindsight, it was. Some Girls Are was a hard book to write for a few reasons (there was a death in my family when I drafted it), but I didn't realize just how difficult it was to write from Regina's point of view until I was well and truly finished the thing. When it was handed in and my editor had approved it, I felt totally wrung-out and tired. Too much time spent with mean girls!
While writing SGA, what was your intended message for readers?
My intention, when I write any book, is to be as honest and true to the characters and their story as I can be, which in turn (I think) is being true to and honest with the reader. Beyond that, what message the reader takes from any of my books is up to them. I think it's more fun that way.
Did you do any research while writing SGA? If yes, please explain.
When I thought the ending was going to be different, I did research some legal stuff, but I can't tell you what it is because it would manage to be a little bit of a spoiler. It was nothing too exhaustive, though.
How was the title decided?
Some Girls Are alludes to a line in the book. I took the line and asked my agent what she thought of the title SOME GIRLS ARE JUST. And then my agent came back and said, "How about just SOME GIRLS ARE?" Thank goodness for her because it sounds way better that way.
What was the most difficult aspect of writing SGA?
Writing is generally difficult for me, as much as I love it. I think one of the most difficult aspects of writing Some Girls Are (minus the intensive but very necessary revision with my amazing editor) was writing toward pages 134-137. That chapter really bothered me when I got to it. I can't give away any spoilers, but it's the turning point in the book and it's pretty dark.
Are you able to pick either Parker or Regina as your favorite lead character?
My favorite lead character is always the one I'm currently writing. :) But if I had to choose between Parker and Regina--I couldn't! I like them both for different reasons. I like Parker's meanness and her smart mouth. I liked exploring Regina's willingness to fight back and her anger. Parker will always have a special place in my heart because she was the protagonist of my debut novel.
Did you always want to be a novelist?
I always wanted to tell stories, and I spent a lot of time trying to find the medium that would best enable me to do that (I acted, I tried photography, I played the piano). It wasn't until I was eighteen that I realized writing novels was the medium that fit me best, and the one I loved the most.
What jobs did you have on your way to being a writer? Did they help you in any way as a writer?
I've never had a job that tied directly into my want to be a writer. I've worked for my parents' lapidary business growing up. I've been vice president of the local theatre guild. Now I clean--and actually, my cleaning job does help me a lot as a writer. The hours are great, really flexible, so I have time to write and it gives me time to think about what I'm writing. I look at it as a means to an end.
When and where do you usually write?
I write all night, up in my room. By candlelight. Okay, that last part is not so much the truth.
Is there something that is a must have for you to be able to write?
As long as I've got my headphones and water, coffee or coke--I'm good.
What author or book most influenced you as a writer or in general?
Robert Cormier. His work reminds me not to hold back, ever, for anyone else's sake.
Can you tell us anything about your next YA novel(s)?
I don't like to give too much away about my works-in-progress, but I feel like the YA novel I'm working on now is one of the darker ones that I'll have written. But I say that and I'm not done it yet--it could be all rainbows and sunshine by the time I'm finished. And that's why I try not to give too much away about what I'm working on. :)
The Hiding Spot is dedicated to my personal hiding spot, books. Is there a place, activity, or person that is your hiding spot?
I’ve noticed that you have a slight preoccupation with Lady Gaga, which can be proven quite easily if one looks at your Tweet history. :p What is your favorite Lady Gaga song and why?
Hee! Am I that unsubtle? ;) Oh, wow. Picking a favorite Lady Gaga song. I think every song of hers has been a favorite at one point or another. Bad Romance is genius and forever listen-able. Paparazzi holds a special place in my heart (best music video EVER!). Vanity is a great one and so is Beautiful, Dirty, Rich. Just Dance. And Teeth has FANTASTIC lyrics. I can't pick just one! C'est impossible! I love them all!
Anything else you would like to share with us?
Thank you so much for the interview, Sara!