Sunday, December 13, 2009

2K10 Author Feature: Alexandra Diaz

The Class of 2k10 is a collective of 23 debut YA and MG authors who pool resources to cross promote their books. The Class program was founded in 2007 by Greg Fishbone. It will continue into 2011 and hopefully beyond. I'll be featuring my fellow classmates as their release dates approach. You'll learn all about these brave new authors right here on YAedge! Here we go....

When a rumor starts circulating that Tara’s boyfriend has been with one of the guy cheerleaders, the innuendo doesn’t just hurt Tara. It marks the beginning of the end for three lifelong friends.

Tara’s training for a marathon, but also running from her fear of abandonment from her father.

Whitney Blaire seems to have everything, but an empty mansion and absentee parents leave her looking for her own value in the wrong places.

And Pinkie has a compulsive need to mother everyone to make up for the mama she’s never stopped missing.
Then the new girl arrives in school and Tara starts to feel things she’s never felt for before for a girl. Can the girls’ friendship survive when all the rules have changed?

Of All the Stupid Things is a brilliant read. I just finished the ARC. Thanks for sharing it with the members of the Class of 2k10, Alexandra. ;) I was so very impressed with how you handled the story’s heavy issues and I loved how your characters’ lives bled into each other.

It will be available in stores December 22! Now for the questions.
1. Your accent is lovely – you should definitely do some podcasts on your awesome website (hint, hint!) – and your bio says you’ve travelled the world. Can you tell us a bit about your globetrotting?

I’m glad you found my accent lovely; I hate the sound of my own voice when I hear it on recordings! I guess my accent is different since Spanish is my first language (though I speak English better) and after living in England, I do have a slight British tinge. Growing up, my family moved quite a bit between Puerto Rico and the US. Once my mom settled in Santa Fe, NM, I felt the traveling bug never left me. I kept looking for different ways to explore the world which led to living in Austria for 3 months and England for 3 ½ years. One of my goals is going to 25 countries and all seven continents (including Antarctica) before I’m 50. Any excuse to travel is a good thing.

2. Scholastic recently took a lot of flack for their decision to remove a title from their book fair selection which featured a main character with same sex parents. Scholastic subsequently reversed their stance and the book will be on book fair shelves. Are you concerned that Of All the Stupid Things may be challenged for its gay/lesbian content?

Although I was very keen and excited to write the story that came to me, I was initially hesitant to tell people about the lesbian relationship because I didn’t know how that would reflect on me. Now I take my book’s content as a matter of fact and let people think what they want. I know it’s not for everyone, but it’s still the book I had to write and I’m proud of it. If it attracts enough attention to get “banned”, I’m not too worried; the only thing banning ever accomplishes is more interest!

3. Of All the Stupid Things is told through the voices of three characters. Was it difficult to decide when to shine the spotlight on a specific character? And which of the three girls was the most fun to write?

The original idea was that they would go in consecutive order throughout the book, but was quickly abandoned to help the flow better. Depending what needed to happen next, that’s who narrated it; I didn’t think about it too much, just whoever seemed right for the next scene. I did a bit of shuffling around of the scenes, but that happens anyway even with single POV novels.
Pinkie was always the easiest one to write, Tara the most intriguing, and Whitney Blaire the one who challenged me. In terms of “fun”, they each had their moments, including making fun of me.

4. Your website has the tagline “Writing: to experience life in someone else’s shoes”. If you could walk a mile in the shoes of anyone living today or an historical figure - whose shoes would you wear?

Ooh, I don’t know. I’ve always wanted to be fictional people, not real people.
And even if I had a chance to “be” someone real, I still think I’d prefer observing instead. That way, I can still image what it’s like to “be” that person without their own personal conflicts. More entertaining that way.

5. In addition to following your dream of becoming a writer and getting a fabulous education, you’ve worked as a film extra, website designer, nanny, teacher…and more. That’s quite the diverse resume. ;) If you had the opportunity to work as an extra in any movie since the dawn of silent pictures (I’m kinda fixated on the film extra job…lol…) what would it be?

Bend it Like Beckham as one of the Hounslow Harriers or a wedding guest, I’m not picky! They just seemed to have such a good time filming and I always wanted to play “football”.

6. The cover for Of All the Stupid Things is clean, cute, and colourful - and loaded with sexual connotations. I’d have snapped it off the shelves right away…lol… Is there a story to the cover? Did you have input?

The cover was done entirely at my publisher’s end. Apparently there were predecessors, but I never saw them because they weren’t “right”. When they fell in love with this one, that’s when they asked for my approval which I was happy to give.

Thanks so much for hanging with us at YAedge! Have an amazing year with the Class of 2k10 and we wish you many devoted readers. Check out Alexandra's website for more details.