YOU GUYS. Bounce and cheer and clap with me, because I have an interview for you today that is kind of fantabulous. Seriously.
Ms. Daisy Whitney has been so awesomely nice to do an interview! Just so you know, I bounced -- a lot -- when I got her 'yes' in my inbox. Seriously, you guys, The Mockingbirds is gonna be BIG. If you can get a hold of it, read it. You won't regret it. Plus, Daisy is incredibly, totally ninja and wrote a wonderful amazing and super duper fantastic book (which you can read about and pre-order here) but also has like a jillion other awesome sounding jobs like Reporter and other fun kind of intimidating stuff. And because she's way more entertaining than I am, I'm gonna let her talk now!
Without further ado, Ms. Daisy Whitney!
The Mockingbirds deals with a subject that is close to a lot of girls. Do you have any advice to someone who's going through what Alex did -- who has experienced rape?
For starters, please know that you aren’t alone. It’s sad and alarming how prevalent date rape is among teens. According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network), 1 in 6 women will be a victim of sexual assault during her lifetime and girls ages 16-19 are 4 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault. Also, half of the reported date rapes occur among teenagers, according to the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault. Knowing that, I would tell girls that there is always someone there to listen. Please talk to your parents. Or talk to a teacher. Or talk to an adult who will listen to you and stand by you. At the very least, talk to a friend. Rape is a horrible thing to experience — you will need support and there is healing in talking about it, even with a close friend.
What was your road to publication like?
I wrote three chick lit novels that were repped but never sold. When I switched to writing for teens, I finally broke through and landed a book deal! But suffice to say, it was a long road paved with many rejections and I have the stack of rejection letters to prove it. But I am a big believer in perseverance so I kept writing and I view those first 300,000-plus unpublished words as writing school in a way.
You have awesome characters. Every one of them have so many facets, and they just kind of leap of the page. Do you have any tricks for making them so three dimensional?
Thank you! When I develop a new character I often first ask myself “What is his or her passion?” I believe that interesting characters always have some core, deep passion and by tapping into what this might be as the writer, we can better understand and build out the character. In The Mockingbirds, the characters’ passions are so tied to elements of the story and how the secret society works that it was essential to find a key passion for each character. And I think finding that also helped flesh each one out.
There's some awesome music in The Mockingbirds. Any suggestions on bands or songs?
Like Alex, I do love Beethoven! Ode to Joy from the Ninth Symphony is a pretty rocking piece of music. In fact, it was the song I walked down the aisle to at my wedding. I also adore Arcade Fire. I am in mad love with that band! I also like Coldplay, David Ford, Adam Pascal, Matt Nathanson and Pearl Jam. And I should also mention that my first musical love is and remain Broadway show tunes! I love the soundtracks to Rent, Chess, 42nd Street, Billy Elliot, Les Mis and others.
What advice do you have a teenager who wants to be writer?
Write, write and then write some more! Writing is a discipline and like exercise; it’s best when done daily.
Thank you so much Daisy!