Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Chatting with Catherine Clark

Catherine Clark is one of my favorite authors - I adore her romances especially Icing on the Lake and Maine Squeeze. With her latest book, she's trying something new for tweens. Thanks for joining us!

What made you choose to write? Uh, destiny? Love of reading, probably. Love of books. Having a dad who taught high school English and filled our house with books. Living close to a library and visiting it often for all the others I wanted to read.

Same here, my house - both now and growing up was filled with books

Where do you write best? A combination of places. For each book I tend to choose a couple of spots, and return to them over and over—certain coffee shops, a studio rental, or libraries. Then afterward I have to find new places because, you know, you can’t go home again.

How do you get your ideas? Do you use real events in your novels and if so, can you describe one? Well, they come from all over the place. The inspiration for “Meanicures” came from a friend of mine who still celebrates her former BFF’s birthday, even though said BFF became a mean girl and their friendship ended. A bunch of us got together and went out for dinner and started talking about the mean girls in our lives… At the end of dinner, I noticed we were kind of making some not-so-nice comments about people, and I thought, “What if the nice girls turned mean?” That was how the idea for the book came about.

What a great idea! I love how the book came to you.

How did you come up with your titles? Some of them appear instantly as I’m dreaming up the concept for a book, and they’re tied to the book from day one. (Like “Maine Squeeze,” “Truth or Dairy,” and “Meanicures.”) Others are a bit more difficult and requite tons and tons of thought and silly lists of brainstormed ridiculous titles.

Can you tell us a little bit about Meanicures? Three best friends have a particularly bad Monday at school with their former friends, and decide enough is enough. They can’t take being pushed around by the “mean girls” one more day. They decide to have a somewhat magical ceremony to get the girls out of their lives; instead of that happening, they turn into mean girls themselves… which is NOT what they wanted. So they have to figure out how to turn things back.

I really enjoyed this book - check out my review

Was it harder to write a middle grade novel after writing teens novels? Did you find it very different? For me it was fun to write something that was purely about friendship and (to a light degree) family. I wished I could have gone into more detail on several things. I think I could have, in retrospect, but I was trying to keep things moving quickly as I flipped their situation.

What will did you do on your release day? Our daughter gets out of pre-K at noon, so we’ll have lunch, then we have to go get her hair cut because tomorrow is picture day, then maybe buy some pumpkins for the front steps. Mostly I tend to freak out a little bit, so if I can distract myself from the fact that it IS release day, that will be a good thing. It’s nerve wracking.

Update: she had the haircut, then we went bike riding and she smashed into a metal pole and now has a giant bruise on her face. More nerve wracking than pub day, so it put things in perspective. Poor girl.

What’s your favorite part about working in a bookstore? Opening the boxes of books and toys and doing receiving. I seriously love that. I’ve worked in 5 different bookstores. I love meeting people who enjoy the same books I do, and working with other people who like books is the best. I also like seeing the authors and illustrators who come to our store on tour.

Those are my favorite parts of being a librarian too! Opening boxes of books always feels like Christmas to me.

What’s up next? I just finished another MG novel tentatively titled “Clarinet Hero” about a boy who gets swept up in the presidential campaign with hilarious (and heroic) results. I’ll be rewriting it over the coming months and it should be out from Egmont in Spring 2012. Now I’m working on a more serious YA that I’m dying to get to.

Also, I should mention that my book “Maine Squeeze” is being reissued in a couple months with a new cover – and I have the sequel to “Rocky Road Trip” coming out next summer in a big trade paperback edition. It was delayed so they could redo the cover and format, so it moved from winter to summer, which is ironic because the publisher wanted me to write a winter story. Oh well!

I notice from your website that you’ve written under the name Caitlyn Davis. Do you have other pen names? What made you choose to write under a different name?

At the time I wrote that book (“What’s Hot”) I was under contract with one publisher, and writing for a different one. I couldn’t write something that would compete with myself (“Catherine”) (This sounds weird, I know). I’ve written a TON of books under various pen names, as a “writer for hire.” It can be a lot of fun, but you don’t get the feeling of satisfactionction you get when you create the entire thing yourself.

What was the last book you’ve read that you’ve been recommending to everyone? Birthmarked by Caragh O’Brien. I am not into paranormal, but I do like dystopian novels. I can somehow see those as happening. Plus they tend to be political and I enjoy that aspect in a vision of the future and as a statement regarding the present.

Are there any authors you’d love to meet? Many! But being authors we’d be too awkward to talk to each other. Maybe I could meet him/her by email. ;-)

Do you have a favorite literary quote? “In the end, they just ask you those crappy little questions.” –Robert Penn Warren, All the King’s Men

Listing of your favorites:
Candy – caramel creams
Pizza topping – black olives, pineapple, banana peppers
Genre of books – adult fiction, young adult fiction, children’s fiction
Singer and/or Song – Elvis Costello
Restaurant – Pizza Luce
TV show /Movie – The Office, Glee
Color - green
Shoe – new red Converse sneakers from TJ Maxx
Video Game – not my thing, but I have made a fool of myself on Rock Band

Anything I didn’t ask? I take my coffee with cream. ;-)

1 comment:

Jessica said...

Great interview. I'm definitely going to read "Meanicures." It sounds so good! Her books are very popular with our teens, and I'm sure that will transfer to the tweens, too!