1. Did you ever consider writing Tweet Heart in novel format?
Did I consider? No, not really. But were there times I really wished I’d gone with standard prose? Oh my gosh yes! In all seriousness though, there was never a chance for this book to be anything but what it is. I mean, the title pretty much had me boxed in from Day One and I think, in order to get the message I wanted to send across, I needed the technological element. So while it would have made my life so much easier to be able to tell a story the old-fashioned way, I am glad I was challenged to do it this way.
2. If you could befriend Claire with any other YA character, who would it be and why?
Claire is very very picky. And very very shy. :) It would be hard to see her easily opening up to anyone new as she has been at Watkins Prep since like forever and is scared of change. But if she were to emerge from her little bubble, there are two characters I could see her being friends with--Hermione Granger from Harry Potter and Gail from the book, Can I Get There by Candlelight by Jean Slaughter Doty. These are two VERY different girls but I think they both have traits that would appeal to Claire. Hermione, like Lottie, is confident and bold...yet, as we all know, she is also sensitive and a secret romantic. I can imagine her and Claire bonding over Ron and JD, talking about how boys can be such dimwits and fools. And it would be Hermione who really pushed Claire along, in much the same way that Lottie does. But at the same time, I think Hermione would also let Claire shine in her own way a bit more which I think would be good for her.
Gail is a totally different type of character and she and Claire would initially bond over horses. (The book Can I Get There by Candlelight is a childhood favorite of mine about a young girl who, when she and her horse (Candlelight, Candy for short), go through a gate, find themselves transported back in time. It is an amazing tale of friendship and a light fantasy and still, nearly 20 years after reading it for the first time, I get chills when I open to the first page!). Gail is slightly younger than Claire so I see this as more of a sisterly relationship, something I think Claire, as an only child, would really latch onto. But while Gail might be younger, I think, by looking up to Claire, she would teach Claire to trust herself. At least, in my crazy head that is how it would happen. Knowing my luck, they’d hate each other! :)
3. What was your favorite scene to write in Tweet Heart?
Oh thank god!! That is an easy one!! Without a doubt, my favorite scene was the last one in the book. For two reasons. One, it meant that I was finally done writing. (Well, I should rephrase. I THOUGHT it meant I was done writing but of course I didn’t realize that the first draft I handed in would have to be revised--five times! But the funny thing is, that is the one scene that never changed through all the drafts.) And two, I got to live vicariously through my characters. I don’t want to go into too much detail and spoil the ending so I’ll leave it at that and give my second favorite scene as a consolation answer. And that would probably be when Claire is telling Will about the date she went on with JD and how awkward it was. Everything about that made me laugh as I was writing it. Laugh, and cringe a bit too, as I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Will having to listen to her talk about the date and realize that he had set her up with his “enemy”. But it was such a definining moment in their relationship and I think a defining moment especially for Claire that it just flowed. It was one of those instances where I really love the tweeting aspect as the whole exchange has such a punchy, quick-fire feel to it. Wish I could have had similar conversations myself back in the day!!
4. Is there a specific person that inspired you to start writing?
There are a lot of people who definitely influenced me. Lots of writers whose work I greatly respect and helped me escape into the book. But if I were to pinpoint a specific person who made me not only want to write but realize that writing is a gift and a process, I would say that was my junior year English teacher, Anne Shaunessy. The funny thing is, I originally had tried to switch out of her class for the simple reason that older kids had warned me she was tough. And she was. But she was tough with reason. She didn’t want you to write just to put letters on paper, she wanted you to realize that language is deliberate. That there is beauty in the simplest of sentences and that you, as a writer, are tasked with a huge responsibility--to make your words speak. Sometimes they need to be loud, sometimes soft, but they need to say something. So she would have me write papers, stories, heck, I’m sure if we’d been texting then she’d have even made tackled texts, over and over and over again. While I would moan and groan while doing it, those papers are the ones I still have to this day because I learned to analyze and edit and feel the written word. And it was that sense of accomplishment and that instilled love of writing that I know pushed me down the path I’m now on.
5. What is one book you wished you’d written?
I have been thinking long and hard about this one and there are just so many that I wish I had written. I would have loved to write Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont. Or Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare, or the Dragons of Pern series--every single book--by Anne McCaffrey. Or the amazing Vietnam war novel, The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. Or even Lonesome Dove by McMurty. Or oh my god, Gone with the Wind. Or Twilight. Yes, I wish I had written Twilight (but I think that is more because then I would be fabulously wealthy and could maybe date Robert Pattinson). And I can’t forget Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence which I hated when I first read but now find insanely beautiful and amazing. But I guess, if I had to say there was one book above all others that I wished I’d written, it would be Horton Hears a Who. And the reason is sort of cheesy. It is my mother’s favorite book and she will take any opportunity to recite the entire thing from beginning to end. And still, even after three decades of this, it still makes her smile and still makes me laugh. So if I could write a book that brings people together like that, over the simplist of stories really, well, I’d be darn happy.
Thank you SO much, Liz!
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