Continuing with our Siobhan Vivan week, here is the interview with her. Enjoy and don't forget to enter the contest to win buttons relating to A Little Friendly Advice and a Mix CD with songs relating to the book and Siobhan's favorites from Sweeden right now.
What inspired you to be a writer?
I always loved to entertain people with stories. Usually I found some inconsequential tidbit of high school gossip that I’d spin and rework into a huge story with rises and falls and that had all my friends hanging on every word. But I never made the link that this was a skill I could actually work into a talent until I took a creative writing course in high school. Before taking that class, writing = reports.
Did you base any of the events in A Little Friendly Advice from real life experiences? If so, which ones (if you don't mind sharing)?
Yes! I had two friends in high school who were in a conflict similar to Ruby and Beth—where one gave “unwanted” advice to the other, thinking she knew best. Only, their particular fight was about a boy…not a deadbeat dad.
A Little Friendly Advice is all about finding out who your real friends are. Why did you choose to write about that topic for young adults in your first book?
Honestly, finding out who your friends ARE and who they AREN’T was one of the most important lessons I ever learned in high school. I find the dynamics of girl friendships to be endlessly interesting and dramatic. In fact, it’s also a huge part of my next book, SAME DIFFERENCE.
Can we expect any books from you in the future? If so, can you tell us anything about it yet?
Of course! My next YA novel is called SAME DIFFERENCE, and it’s about a girl named Emily who finds herself torn between loyalty to her long-time best friend and an exciting new friend. Emily realizes that she’s basically two different people…depending on who she’s hanging out with…and she has to figure out which one is the real her.
I am seriously so excited about this book! It will come out next spring.
What is your favorite part of being an author?
I love love love getting emails from girls who have read ALFA and connected with the story. It makes my heart soar! I write EVERYONE back, and sometimes, I even send them presents! It’s really fun to email with readers.
What are some of your favorite young adult novels?
I love everything by Rachel Cohn and Blake Nelson. Other favorites are Boy Proof by Cecil Castellucci, Tyrell by Coe Booth, and Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.
What is a typical day in your life like?
I wake up, walk around the corner to get a cup of coffee and a croissant (or other delicious baked good), meet my best writing buddy Jenny Han (author of SHUG) and type until the late afternoon. The rest of the day I try to keep unstructured. After a long afternoon of writing, I am usually brain dead.
What is your favorite type of music to listen to?
I am a complete music junkie, and buy CDs and see bands play as often as I can. I loooooove all music coming out of Sweden right now. I love the Shout Out Louds! They are so rocking. In fact, I’m going to make the MIX CD prize a collection of my current Swedish favorites.
Which character are you most like and why?
I think I am most like Katherine, because she’s got a lot of bravado and likes to shock her friends, but she’s also got some serious self-esteem issues too. I think most people who know me are really surprised that someone as loud and crazy as I am can also be so totally insecure.
What kind of things changed in ALFA from your first draft to the final copy that we all read?
This is an awesome question. At the very beginning, ALFA was about a group of girls who all came from divorced families. And there was another girl in the mix. Her name was….Regan…I think . Anyhow, she bit the dust pretty quickly, and I just folded her into Maria.
Ruby develops an interest in photography by the end of the novel. Do you enjoy taking pictures also?
I have to be artsy and craftsy. I love taking pictures, sewing, and especially doing embroidery.
You describe the feeling that Ruby has when her father leaves her and her mom so well. Did this happen with your family?
That’s a really nice compliment…thank you! My mom and dad are still together, but I have also certainly been majorly let down by adult figures in my life. I drew from those experiences to try and make Ruby’s feelings as real as I could.
Want to contact Siobhan?
Don't forget that there's still time to enter the contest! Click here! It's over Friday at midnight eastern time. :)