Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Author Uncovered: Rosalind Wiseman (Author Interview)

Hey guys! Today, I have Rosalind Wiseman with me here for Putnam Week! She's the author behind the soon-to-be-released Boys, Girls, and Other Hazardous Materials! So, let's welcome Rosalind!

Which cover of Boys, Girls, and Other Hazardous Materials do you prefer?
I prefer the original bomb cover that's on the galley, because I wanted boys to read the book and I think it's more gender-neutral. A lot of YA covers seem to be geared exclusively to teen girls. I've heard a lot of adults say "Well, boys just don't read," and I think that's a big assumption to make. I think if people said "Girls just don't read," no one would stand for it and we'd do something about it. There'd be initiatives and programs and people talking about it on television, but as a society we don't challenge the assumptions we have about boys as much, and I think that's wrong.

What do you see as your strengths and weaknesses as an author?
I think my weakness is describing how a person feels through their behavior--that has been really challenging for me. Being able to convey in a small gesture how a character feels takes brilliant nuance. And I think my strength is in capturing dialogue realistically. The situations that I put my characters in are real--they are either experiences I've had working with thousands of kids from across the country over the years. It makes for more confident writing when you know that what you're saying is based on someone's reality.

Why did you choose to write YA?
I actually didn't choose YA, it chose me. I was asked to write the book by Penguin Putnam several years ago, and didn't know at the time if I could do it. But thankfully I ended up with a really amazing editor who comforted me, pushed me, and made me a better writer in the process.

What's the most interesting thing a reader has ever said to you?
A mom actually recently told me that after reading my book, Queen Bees & Wannabes, she got divorced because her husband was not treating her with dignity. In the book I say that you have to be honest about the kinds of relationships you have in your life if you're going to ask that of your child. If you have people in your life that treat you like dirt, you won't have any credibility when you tell your kid you don't want the same thing for them. It made me feel sad for a moment that something I wrote would have changed her life so drastically, but ultimately I felt good about having been a catalyst in helping her make a decision that had resulted in her being honest with herself and ultimately being happier for taking the risk.

How does it feel to have your book turned into a movie?
It's complicated. It feels great in many ways, but Mean Girls cast such a huge shadow that I don't want to be identified as that being the only successful thing I've ever done in my life. I'm hoping that the novel will be well-received enough to give me a little breathing room from that phenomena.

How does it feel being an author?
It feels cool! All of these funny, interesting, crazy experiences one has have a place to go once you're a writer--especially with regard to fiction. But when it very first happened, I couldn't believe my name was on a book. I would sometimes go to the book store just to visit the book--it was so surreal for so long.

Book you've faked reading:
This is honestly one of the best questions I've ever been asked. War and Peace. Paradise Lost. Brideshead Revisited. Lots of Shakespeare--I've started a lot of Shakespeare and not finished.

Book you've bought for the cover:
Mists of Avalon. I actually liked it. But I loved the powerful woman sorceress.

Book you're an evangelist for:
Peace Like a River, Black Swan Green, the short story "Roman Fever" by Edith Wharton.

Anything else you'd like to add?
These are definitely some of the best questions I've ever been asked in an interview. You should send them to major journalists so that they can copy you.

Thanks Rosalind! This is one really cool interview! Don't forget to drop by here if you want to see more of Putnam authors!
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Stephanie aka The Stark Raving Bibliophile January 13, 2010 at 12:43 AM  

Excellent interview -- and I am definitely intrigued by her book title. I wholeheartedly agree about the assumptions people make about boys. If girls are being left behind, it's an "issue" -- but boys are written off by educators and "experts."

YA Vampire Books January 13, 2010 at 12:46 AM  

Great interview! Really interesting to read! :)

RKCharron January 13, 2010 at 2:07 AM  

Hi :)
Thank you for the interview with Rosalind Wiseman and thank you to Rosalind for sharing here. I enjoyed learning a bit more about her.
Congratulations to Rosalind on her Release Day!

Anonymous,  January 13, 2010 at 6:07 AM  

She's really cool. I really liked this interview and I'm looking forward to reading her book. :)

Joelle January 14, 2010 at 12:02 AM  

Great interview! And thanks for doing Putnam Week. It's very exciting!

Cleverly Inked January 14, 2010 at 8:30 AM  

I love her interview answers!

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