Today I have an interview with another February 2013 Anticipated YA Debut Author! Our featured author is Amy Spalding—and her first novel, The Reece Malcolm List, is on sale today, February 5, from Entangled Teen! Read on to see how Amy answered my Q&A…
Scroll down to see who won the giveaway!
Nova: I’ll start with the dreaded question you may be hearing already from strangers on elevators, long-lost family members, and your doctor while you’re sitting on the examination table in the paper gown during your next checkup: “So what’s your book about?” Surely you don’t carry around a copy so you can recite the description off the flaps, so how do you answer this question when asked?
Amy: First of all, I absolutely WILL read my flap copy to people because I am terrible at pitching my own book. But when forced to improvise, The Reece Malcolm List is about sixteen-year-old Devan, who moves to L.A. to live with her mother, the New York Times bestselling author Reece Malcolm, who she’s never met before. She enrolls in performing arts school, meets friends, deals with boys, and has to figure out how to build a relationship with the enigmatic mother she’s never known. And I promise that even though Devan’s father has died, this isn’t a grief book!
NRS: In my experience, novels transform themselves, sometimes unrecognizably, during the course of being written. Were there any shocking transformations that occurred between rough draft and final bound book?
AS: Well. I originally got the idea for The Reece Malcolm List many, many years ago. MANY. I had the vague idea about writing a long-lost mother book, and even though fairly quickly I honed in on Devan and Reece’s characters…the rest was a mess. I had no idea how to actually write a book. I just wrote a bunch of things happening. Honestly it’s still a struggle for me to write a book. I tend to just want to write a bunch of people hanging out, people parlaying witty banter, and people making out. You may think this is enough for a book but apparently it’s not.
I also used to really think if I was going to bother writing, I should only write A Serious Novel. I didn’t even read that many serious novels, but I thought no one should set out to write anything less. So I really tried to push it in that direction for a long time, but I didn’t even like what I was writing. Luckily I realized I didn’t have to write A Serious Novel. I could just write what I wanted.
So ultimately The Reece Malcolm List isn’t that different from the initial vague idea I cooked up in my head, but it still took a long time getting there.
NRS: So you’re here with me gossiping about your main characters behind their backs. What’s something they wouldn’t want anyone to know that might make them blush?
AS: It’s definitely interesting writing a character who keeps a lot of her emotions to and even from herself.
NRS: Tell us about the place—as in the physical location: a messy office, a comfy couch, a certain corner table at the café—where you spent most of your time writing this book. Now imagine the writing spot of your fantasies where you wish you’d been able to write this book… tell us all about it.
AS: I have no one main location. I definitely spent a lot of time writing not only on my old ugly floral print couch, but the beautiful (and non-floral) new one I replaced it with. I spent some Serious Time revising at my desk, but it’s rare for me to sit so upright. And I must give props to Starbucks and Kaldi in Atwater Village, where lots and lots of this novel was churned out or revised.
Coffeeshop writing is actually my favorite, but my dream would be for there to always magically be a table with an outlet available for me, and eggnog lattes all year long.
NRS: To go along with the theme of this blog (and my life), what is the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
AS: Just one? If forced to name only one distraction when I’m an incredibly distracted person, I guess I have to say the internet. If you want more specificity, let’s blame Twitter specifically. Sorry, Twitter. You’re just so great!
NRS: Imagine you’re on the subway, or bus, or sitting in a park somewhere minding your own business… and you look up and see the most perfect person you could imagine devouring your book. This is your ideal reader. Set the scene and describe this person to us.
AS: Any person reading my book is my ideal reader!! I would have to force myself not to run over and ask how far they are and what do they think about boys with good hair.
NRS: If you could go back in time to whisper a few words of advice into your own ear before you leaped into this writing career, what would you tell your young, impressionable self?
AS: STOP FREAKING OUT, SPALDING.
NRS: Dream question: If you could go on book tour anywhere in the world, with any two authors (living or dead), and serve any item of food at your book signing… where would you go, who with, and what delicious treat would you serve your fans?
AS: I would want to book tour with some author pals who already were invested in our friendship and wouldn’t care that I get cranky without coffee and snore in hotel rooms. I don’t want to tour with literary heroes and learn their gross habits.
If magic was possible, I’d want to serve all the L.A. food referenced in the book! One of my friends called The Reece Malcolm List “food porn” which is not the kind of blurb you put on the cover, but true nonetheless. Burgers from In-N-Out and Umami, sushi from Teru, enchiladas and chile rellenos from Mexicali, and a big stack of pancakes from Dupar’s.
NRS: How do you plan to celebrate your book’s birthday today?
AS: The life of an author with a dayjob means I’ll be spending it like I spend all my weekdays: looking at Twitter whenever I have the time.
The Reece Malcolm List is on sale today, February 5, from Entangled Teen. Read on for a chance to win a signed copy of the book plus bookmarks!
Amy Spalding grew up outside of St. Louis. She now lives in Los Angeles with two cats and a dog. She works in marketing and does a lot of improv. The Reece Malcolm List is her first novel, and Merrily We Roll Along is her favorite Stephen Sondheim musical.
Visit Amy online at www.theamyspalding.com.