Hi guys! Today, in honor of the release of the paperback copy of Swoon, I have Nina Malkin here today for an interview! She's uber cool and fun to talk to! And of course, she wrote the totally kick-ass Swoon...which will literally make you swoon! It even won the coveted Holy Grail Award on TUBL! Check out my review over here!
PREPARE FOR ANOTHER SINFUL SUMMER! SWOON IS OUT IN PAPERBACK NOW!
The premise of SWOON is quite unique. How did the idea bloom?
The concept of a contemporary girl who gets possessed by the spirit of a boy from another time had been bobbing around for a while. Then I got burned, screwed, beat down and smacked around big-time—I had betrayal on the brain and that’s when the story gelled. As Dice, SWOON’s heroine, says when she learns how badly she’s been used: “What’s the worst possible lie? A betrayal.”
What do you personally think about revenge?
I’ve had some seriously satisfying payback fantasies, but never enacted them. I suspect that if I did I’d feel as bad as with the original betrayal. You know how your mother tells you not to stoop to someone’s level? Revenge is a pretty low stoop.
What was the message that you tried to get across to your readers with SWOON?
Oh, the usual: Hypocrisy sucks. Sacrifice hurts. Revenge is crazy. Love rules. Whatever doesn’t kill you makes your stranger…stronger, too.
Why did you choose to incorporate that feeling of being different from many of the people in SWOON? I’ve lived in 6 different countries, so I know how I can empathize with Dice =)
Whoa, six different countries? No wonder you love books so much! They’re portable friends. It’s interesting when a narrator is a “fish out of water” like Dice, since her perspective on what she witnesses and experiences is very sharp and strange and close to the bone. Personally I often feel like an outsider, even in familiar situations among people I know—which can be even weirder than new girl status—so the “being different” thing comes naturally.
Who is your favorite character from SWOON?
Sinclair Youngblood Powers—AKA Sin—is not merely my favorite character from SWOON but one of my favorite people ever. I’ve never met anyone else quite like him. He’s bad—so very, very bad—but he’s not an archetype. He’s complicated, conflicted—an evil villain but also a noble hero. The line “What do you do when the boy of your dreams is too bad to be true?” sums up why he’s so attractive and intriguing to me.
Why did you integrate the concept of Sin being some sort of paranormal being?
Good question, Reggie, but it assumes that I decided Sin should be a certain way. That’s not how it works for me. I don’t invent characters; I meet them in my mind, and they tell me their stories. They are who they are. They continually surprise me, which is so much fun!
Which character do you resonate most with in SWOON?
That would be Dice. I’ve had three novels and one novella published—and I won’t cop to how many I’ve half-written that weren’t published—but Dice is the only girl I’ve felt such a strong kinship with. We share a similar perspective on life, we find the same things funny and are both bemused by human nature.
What would you have done if you were in Dice’s place?
There’s a lot of action in SWOON, and Dice often has to think fast and go with her gut. But she’s smart and levelheaded, and she wants to do right by everyone, as opposed to the selfish thing. Her motivation is noble, so I hope I’d be able to make decisions the way she does.
How did you think of the characters’ names? Like Sin and Dice?
I had a preconceived notion that people in wealthy, preppy places called each other by their last names. The truncated nicknames—Pen, Dice, Marsh, Doll, Brie—are an extension of that. And come on, who could resist a guy named Sin?
How did the title SWOON come to be?
I love the word. It’s onomatopoetic, it sounds like what it is—swoooooon!—the state you’re in when you’re overcome by love, lust, passion, obsession.
The cover is really cool and creative! Did you have any input in it?
For all my other books, I’ve had varying degrees of input on the covers, and I wasn’t in love with any of them. So when my editor emailed me a jpeg of a cover mock-up the designer was playing with for SWOON, I as skeptical. Soon as I opened it, I was like: That is hot!!! I was so excited.
What’s the most interesting thing a reader has ever said to you?
On the SWOON page of my website, www.ninamalkin.com, you’ll find the Love Advice With Sin & Dice section, where readers come for romantic counsel from the characters—and we’ve received some incredibly intense questions. The most twisted love triangles, some real-life Romeo and Juliet scenarios, and let’s not forget the girl who’s madly in love with her cousin. Love Advice With Sin & Dice gets tons of mail, so I guess those guys know what they’re talking about! Readers are especially interested in Sin’s answers, so they can get a guy’s perspective on their conundrums.
Book you've faked reading:
Ha! Great question! I wouldn’t say I’ve faked reading; let’s just say I bought them with the best intentions only haven’t gotten around to Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina or Joyce’s Ulysses yet. But here’s a true confession: Back in the day when I was a music journo and record companies sent me CDs to review (yup, CDs — I did say “back in the day,” right?), I kept a lot of records that I really didn’t “get” but knew were considered “cool.” I’m talking seriously atonal stuff, and slow-as-molasses music we used to call valium rock. I wanted it in my collection in case any of the cool kids came by!
Book you've bought for the cover:
Anything with a cat on it.
Book you’re an evangelist for:
I beat people over the head with my copy of Flannery O’Connor’s The Complete Stories. Something always goes horribly, horribly wrong—you can taste it about halfway through, and you race to the climax even though you know it’s going to be tragic. That said, she’s also pretty hilarious—reference the novel The Violent Bear It Away—but it’s the stories that I reread regularly. She died so young, it’s so unfair to her fans, but luckily her stuff holds up to repeated reading.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Thanks so much for having me! It’s readers and bloggers like you, dear Reggie, who make writers like me. SWOON ON!
Thanks Nina! Now go out to your local bookstore and grab a paperback copy of Swoon! It's a great book for a great price!