Friday, April 23, 2010

Find Out Friday: Mara Purnhagen

What was the inspiration behind TAGGED? Have you had an experience with graffiti like Kate's town did?

When I wrote Tagged in 2007, I had just discovered the work of Banksy, a British graffiti artist. That was my initial inspiration. I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if someone like that came to my town?

Your next novel is about ghosts, how did you switch from realistic fiction to paranormal?

I like to think of my next book, Past Midnight, as more of a “normal paranormal.” The main character, Charlotte, has no special powers. Her parents debunk ghost stories for a living and rely on science and logical thinking. I like stories in which an average person is put into strange situations, and I think hauntings are as strange as it gets.

In what ways do you relate to Kate?

She reminds me of myself as a teenager—she’s trying to figure out where she fits in and what she’s good at, but at the same time, she already knows a big part of who she is. I only wish I’d had a guy like Eli hanging around when I was in high school!

Why young adult? Was there ever a time you felt like writing adult or middle grade?

I began writing short stories in high school, and it was a creative hobby of mine well into my twenties. After teaching high school English for six years, I developed a real fondness for YA books and wrote my first novel. It hasn’t been published. Then I wrote a middle grade novel. Tagged is actually my third book.

If you could match Kate with any guy from any other YA novel, who would it be? (Other than Eli of course)

Ooh—good question. I would choose Adam from If I Stay by Gayle Forman. I like him because he’s his own person, he’s confident and he has musical talent. I have a thing for the intense, creative types.

The characters in TAGGED have such unique occupations- have you ever, or do you know any one who's had these jobs? (Cake decorator, coffee shop worker, police officer)

My grandfather is a retired police officer, and my cousin Kristen is serving as an officer now. My grandmother always had a talent for decorating cakes, and it’s something I’ve dabbled in (but I’m nowhere near as good as she is).

What exactly does it mean to be "tagged"?

To be claimed.

If you were trapped on a deserted island, what three books would you want with you?

This is tough because I read a lot and my favorites are constantly changing. My all-time favorite novel, though, is One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, which I first read at 18 when I was stuck inside a London hotel on a rainy day. I sat on the bed for hours and read it from beginning to end. I have a special place in my heart for that book, which I’ve read over a dozen times. Sometimes a book speaks to you in an unexpected way, and for some reason, that one has stayed with me.

Thanks so much, Mara!

Click here to read my review of Tagged!

Click here to visit Mara's website!


  1. Kelsey, Mara, Enjoyed the interview! Gae

  2. Thanks for the wonderful interview! Tagged sounds like an awesome book, I'll definitely be checking it out :D

  3. Great interview! The sound of the book is very nice, i also like the cover of it. I never heard of ne Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez!!

  4. Great interview, Mara is such a sweetheart!

  5. Wow these are great interview questions and I like her answers.


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