Monday, December 21, 2009
Fabulous New Fiction: 2k10 Debut Author Alexandra Diaz
In the first of my interview posts with debut authors of the Class of 2k10, I'm delighted to introduce Alexandra Diaz, author of OF ALL THE STUPID THINGS. Alexandra has spent time in places that span the globe, most recently England (hence the reference to "tosser"; English slang for someone who's a jerk.) She's now back in the U.S. and we're happy she's here!
Congratulations on the publication of your novel, OF ALL THE STUPID THINGS! Can you tell us a bit about the story and what inspired it?
I started the book as part of my MA in Writing for Young People and the line "Brent Staple is such a banjo" just popped into my head. Then I had to think why he's such a banjo (which loosely means "tosser") and what are the results of his behavior; the story quickly unfolded and developed from there! The book still starts with a disturbing rumor about Brent, who is one of the protagonists' boyfriends, but the book is more about the friendship between three girls and what happens to the friendship when a new girl comes to town.
How long have you been writing for children/teens? Have you written other books or is this your first effort?
LOL, I've had many efforts, but yes this is my first publication. I've been writing stories for as long as I can remember, mostly for my own entertainment. I still prefer reading children's books over "grown-up" books, maybe because I've never properly "grown up", so it's natural for me to write for the genre I like.
Can you describe your path to the publication of OF ALL THE STUPID THINGS?
I have a great literary agent, Sarah [Davies] from Greenhouse, who really helped me whip my novel into shape. It's thanks to her that there was interest in the novel as soon as she sent it out. But before I had an agent, it was a lot of impersonal "Dear Submitter" and "Sorry, but unfortunately..."
Ah, yes. Those painful rejection letters. In that vein, do you have any advice for beginning writers?
If it's what you enjoy doing, then keep at it. People will always try to convince you otherwise, but they're usually the ones who probably gave up what they love. You're a different person and you have to be true to your own goals.
Excellent advice. Speaking of goals, can you tell us something about your personal life – inspirations, plans for the future, goals, etc.?
My personal life/future is a bit hazy at the moment with the potential of having to move back to the States after living in England for three years and not knowing what will happen next. On a broader scope, I will keep writing and keep traveling. One of my goals is to visit all seven continents by the time I'm 50. Should happen since I'm pretty determined!
And in your writing life, do you have any new writing ventures underway?
I always have something underway--sometimes too many somethings! I'm working on a fish out of water story about Bex Sloane who, only knowing how to communicate with fists, locks horns with the local community.
Do you have a website where readers can learn more about OF ALL THE STUPID THINGS?
Sure, it's www.alexandra-diaz.com.