*apologize for the colors, I can't fix it somehow...@.@
My original questions...
1. What is(are) your favorite book(s)?
Wow, I think this is the hardest question ever. There are so many good books out there. Off the top of my head, a few favorites are: Snow Crash (Neal Stephenson), Little Women (Louisa May Alcott), Uglies Series (Scott Westerfeld), 1-800-Where-R-U Series (Meg Cabot), Malory Towers Series (Enid Blyton), Shopaholic Series (Sopie Kinsella), The Magician’s Nephew (C.S. Lewis), The Hobbit (J.R.R. Tolkien), and anything by Janet Evanovich.
2. How did you feel when Poser was out in the bookstores???
I freaked out—I was so excited. It felt surreal! People were calling to say they’d seen it. My local Barnes and Noble put Poser in the window, and I pretty much texted everyone I know!!
3. Did you always want to become a writer? If not, what made you want to become one?
I didn’t always want to be a writer, but I’ve always loved reading. I had a number of literary influences as a kid—my dad used to make up stories for my sisters and I, my parents kept the house full of books, and we lived at the intersection of Shakespeare and Longfellow. As a teen, a palm-reader tried to convince me I was going to be a novelist. That just seemed way too fantastical to be true. Instead of writing, I went into the Virtual Reality computer industry. I spent years designing virtual worlds for amusement parks, but none of them seemed truly ‘immersive’. I began to get frustrated, because what I really wanted was to make something that felt real—a world with characters and sensory elements and excitement. One day it struck me that a way to create truly immersive worlds did exist; it had for a very long time. Books. That’s when I started to focus on becoming a writer.
4. What is your favorite part of writing Poser?
My favorite part had to be thinking up all the crazy situations Tallulah gets herself into, and when my writing critique partners actually laughed as we read them out loud, it was very satisfying and fun. Also the climactic scene at end, I think I wrote forty pages in two days, it was exciting.
5. What was the most difficult part to write Poser?
The copyedits. When the manuscript came back from the copyeditor, my first reaction was—wow, is it really possible to put that many red marks on a single page? But of course I was also very grateful for their incredible expertise :D
Questions from the ARCs!!!
Q: You've been surfing for a long time. What exactly is a poser, and how bad is it to be called one?
Ouch, that is a hard question! We probably all exaggerate the truth sometimes--it's only human, right? But you know you've entered poser territory when you've stretched the truth about who you are so far that you start sweating bullets and praying for divine intervention at the thought of actually proving yourself. As Tallulah can attest, definitely not a good situation to be in!
Q: I hear you spent two years traveling around the world on a surf expedition. Do you need that varied experience to call yourself a real surfer?
I feel so fortunate to have been able to surf lots of different kinds of waves; I also loved meeting so many amazing people. But I don’t believe it’s necessary to travel. Anyone who spends quality time with a board in the water is a real surfer.
Q: How much is Poser based on your own experiences starting out in surfing?
Ha, a lot! I ate more than my share of sand, got in way over my head in big surf, injured myself, and became so frustrated I swore I’d never go back in the ocean again lots of times. Somehow it kept luring me back. As for Tallulah’s other troubles, fortunately I avoided getting into the same mess--although I probably tried to pose as a much better surfer than I was.
Q: You worked on a TV Program Beyond the Break, and more recently George Clooney’s latest movie, The Descendants, with Shailene Woodley, star of The Secret Life of the American Teenager. How is the movie and TV experience different to the author experience?
Working on a TV set is exciting; it’s so full of energy. There are lots of people, we all have our own specific jobs, and we’re all working together to make the story come to life. Writing is a solitary experience, but the fun part is being in charge of all of those pieces, from ‘the set’ to ‘the actors’ and everything in between. You get to move them all around, and try to make it all work.
Q: The mean girls at school create a big problem for Tallulah. Do you think she handles herself well? What other avenues should she have taken?
They really did! Tallulah has her struggles, but what I liked most about her character was that she kept a sense of humor throughout. That's important, I think, because it helps keep things in perspective. I believe when we make mistakes, it gives us a chance to figure out how to do things better. On the other hand, I think some situations involving bullying can be helped by confiding in a school counselor or a parent. If things turn seriously bad, we need to find someone to tell, and make them listen!
Another avenue she could have taken would be to walk away from the girls completely and instead get involved in yearbook, drama, sports, or the school newspaper. Those are all great ways to make new friends.
Q: Do you see yourself in any of your characters? Were you the Katie or Tallulah growing up?
That's an interesting question. I think I was a little of both. I identify a lot with Katie--I wore thick glasses (now corrected with laser surgery, what a miraculous procedure), and I never quite fit in at school. I tended to do my own thing. On the other hand, I've always loved fashion, and I identify with Tallulah's sense of humor!
Q: Is it tough to be a young girl starting out in front of the veteran surfers? How competitive is surfing?
I'd never want to turn anyone off from surfing, because it's such a great sport! Yet surfing is competitive simply because of the nature of the ocean. There are a limited number of waves, and an unlimited number of people who want to ride them. Imagine going to a water park with three big slides and three hundred visitors--with no regulated lines, it would be a complete-free-for-all to see who would get on first. That’s what it’s like in the ocean. A hierarchy tends to form, with surfers who’ve surfed the spot most at the top, newcomers in the middle, and beginners at the very bottom. Whether male or female, any newcomer has to fight for waves.
Q: Do you think people reading Poser will finish the book desperate to learn surfing, or so terrified of Tallulah's experiences they'll never touch a board?
I don't know! I hope I've been able to show some of the wonderful things about surfing! It's true, it's a dangerous sport, but I hope some people might be inspired to get in the water. A surf lesson is a good way to start.
Q: You live in Honolulu. Is that the best place to be writing books?
It’s awesome. The people are great and I love the weather because I find some of my best thinking happens outside--either in the ocean, walking, or riding my bike. It’s definitely an inspiring place to be.