1. How has your writing process changed from Busted to Five Flavors of Dumb?
Hi Kelsey! Great first question, by the way. BUSTED was written in under two months, and then edited for a year. It worked out fine, but it required large-scale changes that sometimes felt awkward and difficult to pull off.
By the time I came to write DUMB, I decided that I worked better when I had a really detailed plan for the book. And by detailed, I mean 30,000 words of notes and outline. (Bear in mind that the book is around 75,000 words total.) The great thing about this process was that it gave me plenty of time to get inside Piper’s head, to see each scene through her eyes, to fully embrace what it was about every moment that delighted or depressed her. The result was that the first draft took almost a year from start to finish, but that the editing process was very straightforward.
I think that every new writer struggles to find the process that fits him or her best. What I especially like about my process now is how long I get to “hang out” with my narrator before I ever commit to writing a single word of the finished book. I felt (and still feel) like I KNOW Piper better than I knew Kevin, the narrator of BUSTED. Knowing a character like this insures that your readers will know them better, too. It’s a win-win.
2. Out of your two novels, which character have you related to the most?
Piper, hands down. In BUSTED, the narrator, Kevin, is flawed in slightly too-obvious ways. Piper is flawed, too, but in ways that I think we can all relate to. Her frustrations aren’t always justified, but we can definitely empathize with how she feels.
Also, Piper has the same indefatigable spirit that I had as a teen. I got beaten down (sometimes literally), but I truly believed I was smart and determined enough to overcome it all and triumph. I love the way that Piper discovers her own awesome power through the course of DUMB. It felt real as I was writing it, and it still feels real to me now.
3. I love finding out how authors come up with their character names. Where did the name Piper come from?
I knew the name was right from the get-go. It literally presented itself to me as I was writing the book, and I think it was my subconscious saying “This one’s a gimme. Don’t screw it up!”
For one thing, there was the whole Pied Piper association (with my Piper leading the band DUMB). Plus, there was the added layer that a “piper” is literally a player of the pipes, which is certainly a little more complicated when you’re deaf. Also—not that anyone needs to know this—I was aware that the name Piper would have been easy for her deaf grandparents to recognize, on account of the two P’s, so it would’ve been a smart choice from her parents’ perspective.
4. If Piper could befriend any other character (book or movie) who would you choose and why?
I think she would get along great with D. J. Schwenk from the DAIRY QUEEN trilogy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock. They have complementary attitudes, and I think they’d be an unstoppable team.
5. What is one place in the world you would love to travel to?
I’ve had the incredible good fortune to travel a lot in my life, and as a result I have an insatiable appetite for travel. But I’m going to be boring here and say that I’m desperate to keep exploring the States. Coming from
Thanks so much Antony!
Read my review of Five Flavors of Dumb here.
Visit Antony's website here.
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