Guess who's visiting Dreamcatcher's Lair? The absolutely gorgeous WENDY TOLIVER!
Wendy is the author of two YA novels -The Secret Life of a Teenage Siren and Miss Match. Her third novel LIFTED will be coming out in June 2010 (Simon Pulse).
Describe Lifted for us..
Poppy Browne is none too thrilled to be the new girl in Pleasant Acres, Texas--especially after her mother enrolls her in a private Baptist school. But to her delight, Poppy is pulled into the cool clique on her first day at Calvary High, and her new friends, Mary Jane and Whitney, are as genuinely nice as they are gorgeous and rich.
The catch? Her new pals have a nasty shoplifting habit, and before long Poppy is also a theft enthusiast. But when the girls' addictions get out of hand and friendships are threatened, it's up to Poppy to set things right ....
Lifted has received early praises from some fantastic writers**
Tell us something about yourself we won't find on your homepage.
I coach basketball and soccer. I like vampire stories and Vietnamese food. I have a glass collection: wine glasses, martini glasses, champagne flutes, and cordial glasses of all shapes and colors.
How did Poppy come into existence?
With every good character, I needed someone with flaws and personality, and for this particular story, I needed someone who was smart yet vulnerable. I felt the "existence" of Poppy long before I started writing her story. She isn't based on anyone in my life, but I feel as if I know her.
Most authors I know select the name of their protagonist for a reason. I chose Poppy because the wildflower variety grows on the sides of East Texas roads, they're brightly colored, but also because of what poppies symbolize. Because of the opium aspect, poppies symbolize sleep, and if you are familiar with The Wizard of Oz, the poppy field is dangerous because those who cross it fall asleep. Also, according to Greek mythology, poppies (perhaps because of their bright red color) symbolize resurrection after death. I liked not only the beauty of poppies but their interesting meanings, from danger to hope.
Lifted sounds different from your previous books. Was it a conscious divergence?
Yes. I really wanted to challenge myself. I felt like I had a very powerful story within me and wanted to try my hand at writing it. It wasn't easy, and you wouldn't believe how many drafts I wrote to get it to the final stage. But it was worth it for me, and although it is a very different type of book from my first two, which are romantic comedies, I hope my readers come along for the ride.
A song for Lifted would be..
"Got Caught Stealing" by Jane's Addiction. haha, just kidding. How about "What I Am" by Edie Brickell
Why choose YA?
I love teens -- so full of possibilites, excitement, love of life -- and because I was a teenager (many moons ago) I like to go back to that time and explore emotions. When I reach for a book to read, I almost always reach for a YA novel.
What inspires you to keep writing?
a) my love of writing b) hearing from my readers c) my family and friends
From first draft to being published -what was it like?
Lifted was two years in the making. I started writing with 3 charaters (2 girls and a boy) who got caught shoplifting and started that story from the community service they'd been sentenced. After many drafts, evolving the story as well as myself as a writer, taking many chances that never paid off (and having to rewrite) and some that (thankfully) did, I can honestly say there were times I feared this book--which was sold on proposal-- wouldn't live up to its potential. But thankfully I had a publisher and a literary agent who are behind me, and a mom who was sweet enough to fly to Utah to take care of my family while I was sequestered in my office for 20 hours straight, and I can honestly say this is the book of my heart (and blood, sweat and tears), and I am so proud of it.
If you could choose to be any character from any of your books, who would it be and , why?
I woudn't switch my life for any other life (though I wouldn't mind getting to stay 30 for a while), but I think it would be fun to be Roxy Zimmerman from The Secret Life of a Teenage Siren. Hopefully I woudn't make as many mistakes with my newfound power as she does, though! :)
Alright, now spill a secret.
I am directionally challenged. If you tell me how to get to your house, there's a good chance I can't get there again by myself.
Thank you so much for being here, Wendy! Lifted sounds very interesting.
**“Smart, deftly written, and extremely well-observed, Wendy Toliver’s Lifted is so realistic and moving I felt like I was transported right inside Poppy’s world, watching as she struggled to navigate her way through a school where appearances are deceiving and no one is quite what they seem. A hard to put down, compelling read!” -- Alyson Noël, #1 New York Times Best Selling author of The Immortals series
"Lifted is the story of an imperfect heroine seeking her place not only in school, but in life. Its exploration of the amount of truth behind social and religious stereotypes escalates into a double-dog dare to believe them. A haunting morality tale that will leave you questioning just what it means to be "good." -- Aprilynne Pike, author of the #1 New York Times Best-Selling novel Wings.
"Lifted by Wendy Toliver is an amazing, compelling read, filled with all the realness of being in high school, from humor to love to angst. I haven't met a character so well developed as Poppy since reading Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. At times heartbreaking, at others uplifting, Lifted is a book that I absolutely loved." -- James Dashner, author of The Maze Runner and the13th Reality series