Friday, April 13, 2012

Interview with Anne Pfeffer (Loving Emily Blog Tour)

Today we have Anne Pfeffer here for an author interview! This post is part of The Teen Book Scene's blog tour for Loving Emily by Anne Pfeffer. You can find out all about the tour here. Make sure to visit all the other stops if you'd like to know more about Loving Emily!

1. Without spoiling anything, could you tell us what was your favorite scene to write in Loving Emily?
I think it was the scene where Ryan stood up to Emily's father about the necklace. I always liked that scene because it's where Ryan first becomes aware of his own power. It's the moment he starts to become a man.
2. Which of the storylines came to you first - the romance between Ryan and Emily, Michael's death and his secret, Ryan's family situation?
The story of Michael's death and his secret. When my daughter was thirteen, she attended a party at a private club where a couple of the boy guests defaced property and behaved really badly. That incident, considerably altered, was the basis for Michael and Chase's behavior at Emily's party.
As for Michael's secret, that idea had come to me separately and was one of the starting points of the book.

3. Why did you decide to write from a guy's point of view?
The character of Ryan Mills is loosely based on Lloyd Dobler, the main character of the 1989 film Say Anything. It's one of my favorite films ever and was another source of inspiration for the film.
In each story, a quirky, low-achieving guy falls for a beautiful brainy girl who's going to England, and in each, the girl's father opposes the romance. Like Lloyd, Ryan's a boy who people underestimate, but who turns out to be a gem.
In other respects, my book goes its own way and is very different from Say Anything. My story's darker and focuses less on the romance and more on Ryan's growing up and coming of age.

4. If you could pair Ryan up with any other character from any other book, who would it be and why?
I might introduce him to Josh Miller, the main character of Alternate Ending by Aaron Niz. The two guys have a lot in common: both slacker tennis players with crushes on a girl. Niz's book is really different from mine –his is a fantasy, for one thing—but I think Ryan and Josh would hit it off and become friends and tennis partners if they met.

5. Ryan's family lives in LA, his father is rich and successful, and the kids are home alone with their housekeeper a lot. Why did you want to write about that kind of family?
I wanted to write about the world of Los Angeles private school kids, partly because it's one that I know well. I liked writing a story where people of different socio-economic backgrounds were brought together, and where you found surprises. For example, well- grounded kids like Ryan and his sisters aren't necessarily what you'd expect to see coming from that kind of home. But there are fundamental differences between Ryan's family and the families of Chase and Michael, both of whom are really lost boys.

6. What's the best writing advice you've ever received?
Work to maintain dramatic tension throughout. That's what keeps people reading, and it's hard to do well—I'm still learning. The best book of writing advice I've found is Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass.

Thanks for the great interview answers, Anne!

Check out all the other stops of the tour, and keep your eye out for Loving Emily, which has already been released. You can check out my review here.

Loving Emily by Anne Pfeffer
(Amazon | Goodreads)
Ryan Mills is torn with guilt over the death of his best friend, and it's all because of Emily Weintraub. If Ryan hadn't seen those incredible gray-blue eyes, hadn't pegged her as a Potentially Amazing Woman, he would never have gone looking for her at the party that night. He would have never left his wasted friend Michael alone, when Michael needed him and asked him to stay. And if Ryan hadn't left, Michael would never have driven off, totaled his car, and taken the cosmic ride into death.
As far as Ryan's concerned, when you've done something terrible, you don't deserve to be happy. He tries not to fall for Emily, but he can't help it. Before long, he is "completely, gonzo, out-of-control in love."
Ryan then learns that Michael died with a secret. Still grieving, he feels compelled to take on his friend's unfinished business. When Emily begins to question where his commitments really lie - with her or with Michael's memory - Ryan is forced to examine his choices. What does he owe to Michael, to Emily, and to himself?


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