Have you seen SOMETHING REAL around in stores with it’s oh-so-pettable cover and intriguing blurb! Well, the author–Heather–is here today doing an interview with me on this great book! Be sure to check it out below and add it to Goodreads below! Also, if you live in the US/CA, then check out this giveaway for a copy of SOMETHING REAL!
1) I love the ideas for SOMETHING REAL and EXQUISITE CAPTIVE. They both sound really interesting, fun and unique. Where did you get the ideas for these fabulous books?
I started working on both of them in the same writing class. For SOMETHING REAL, I’d seen a picture of Kate Gosselin and her kids on the cover of a People magazine and that was the inspiration to write the book. Then, in the writing class, the teacher told us to write a scene in which the stakes for a YA character are as high as you can make them. I immediately thought of a girl being filmed by a hidden camera doing something she didn’t want anyone else to see. That scene later got cut from the book, but it was the genesis. For EXQUISITE, the prompt was to write a scene in which the character realizes she has a huge problem. I have no idea why, but the first thought in my head was a jinni stuck in a bottle! And that’s how it all began. Those writing prompts really do work!
2) Do you like watching reality TV?
Not at all. It’s not that I don’t see why it’s capable of drawing people in—it’s fascinating, like The Truman Show. But it depresses me and I always feel like I’ve lost some brain cells after I watch it. Reality TV thrives on showing people at their worst. Humiliation is its currency. I’d rather read a good book, or watch a good fictional show, like Breaking Bad. Of course, “reality” TV has plenty of fiction.
3) If you could meet any one of your characters, who would it be?
Well, I’ve met all of them. We hang out on a regular basis and they tell me all their secrets and then I write them down. J Benny is the character I’d most like to run into, though. He’s the kind of guy you just want to go get coffee with-he’s easy to talk to, funny, and has a great heart.
4) How do you come up with the names or personalities of your characters?
The names just come to me and I go with that unless there’s something weird about it. Like, I always wanted to have a character named Jackson, but then my sister had a son and named him that, so I thought that would be too strange for both of us. Personalities come through sitting down and writing scenes. I don’t decide the personality of a character. They make themselves known as I put them in different situations.
5) What character are you closest to? Do you see any of them in yourself?
I think I’m actually closest to the two main characters in my next book from Macmillan, which comes out next winter. It’s called I’LL MEET YOU THERE. It’s a really intimate story about a girl stuck in her tiny town and a boy she knew in high school, who comes home from the Marines after losing a leg in Afghanistan. I love all my characters, but this book went to some really dark places and something about Skylar and Josh’s relationship and the things they’re dealing with seemed to imprint itself on me in a way nothing else has. There’s a lot of me in Bonnie™ (and Skylar from I’LL MEET YOU THERE). I think my love of travel is a big part of who Bonnie™ is, for sure. SOMETHING REAL is set in the town I went to high school in, so there’s lots of fun things from that place and time in my life.
6) If you could meet any author from any time, who would it be?
L.M. Montgomery. I absolutely loved all of her books growing up. She and Louisa May Alcott are big parts of why I wanted to be a writer in the first place. I saw so much of myself in Anne and Jo. Interesting they both have L.M. as their first initials! I’d choose L.M. Montgomery because her stories have this balance between quiet and epic and her writing style was a huge influence on me. I’d also want some advice on writing a series, as I’m in the midst of working on my trilogy for HarperCollins (EXQUISITE CAPTIVE is the first book).
7) Who inspires you most?
My husband. He’s my go to for all my story ideas and he always contributes awesome things. Half the time, I don’t know if an idea was mine or his because we get into these epic brainstorming sessions. Honestly, I don’t know how I’d write my books without him. He’s enormously creative and really gets what makes a story and its characters compelling. He went to film school and used to be an actor and playwright, so this is his bread and butter, really. Then, on top of all of that, he’s always encouraging and supporting me. He keeps me sane. I mean that quite literally.
8) Any hints as to what we can expect for SOMETHING REAL and your other upcoming novels?
You can expect several new book boyfriends – I don’t know how to write a book that doesn’t involve people falling in love. All of the books I write are so different from one another. You have SOMETHING REAL, which is about TV and the media and cameras stalking you and then EXQUSITE CAPTIVE, which is a fantasy whose first book is in LA, second book is in Morocco, and the third is in a jinni realm called Arjinna. It’s about trafficking, race, class, love, revolution, the arms trade…pretty epic. Then you have I’LL MEET YOU THERE, which has this love story that, I hope, really gets under your skin (in a good way) and stays with you.
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Thanks so much to Heather Demetrios for doing this awesome post!
Heather Demetrios, originally from Los Angeles, now lives in Brooklyn and various imaginary locales. She is the recipient of a PEN New England Discovery Award for her debut YA novel about reality TV stardom, SOMETHING REAL (Macmillan/Henry Holt), and is the author of the upcoming EXQUISITE CAPTIVE, a smoldering fantasy about jinn in Los Angeles (#1 in the DARK CARAVAN fantasy trilogy from HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray). She is currently working on her second novel for Macmillan, I’LL MEET YOU THERE, a love story about a young combat veteran and a girl trapped in their small town, both struggling to escape the war at home. When she’s not hanging out with her characters, Heather is working on her MFA in writing for children and young adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts.