Saturday, March 7, 2009

Enchanting Interview: Beth Fantaskey

1. What made you want to become a writer?

To me, writing seems like the ultimate way to make a living. When I work as a journalist, every day is interesting and different. And when I write fiction, I get to be completely free inside my mind. On top of that, writing fiction is like hanging out with good friends every day. I wake up in the morning eager to spend time with the characters. I love that!

2. Why young adult?

When I came up with the idea for Jessica’s Guide, I didn’t even know there was a sharp division between adult and YA fiction. It just happened that my heroine was a teenage girl. The story dictated the genre. However, I’m really glad I ended up where I did, because YA audiences are great. I think - maybe because they’re so communications savvy – they’re really comfortable contacting me to discuss the book, or writing, or whatever’s on their minds. I love that I really get a chance to know the readers.

3. What's your writing schedule like?

I usually work Tuesdays, Thursdays and weekends – days when my nutty professor husband doesn’t teach, so he can watch our kids. On those days, I go into the office in the morning, sit down and pretty much put in a full day. If I can’t fit in at least four or five solid hours, it’s almost a waste for me. I kind of need to get into the characters and the story each time I sit down, so I’m not really productive in small spurts.

4. What inspired Jessica's Guide To Dating On The Dark Side?

There are tons of little inspirations – the scene with the Fiat Panda was inspired by a near disaster on a hill in Italy – but the big one lies with my children. Both are both adopted, and we often wonder what their biological parents were like. Daydreaming over that led to questions like, “What if they are really different, somehow?” I took that to the extreme with Jessica.

5. Can you describe the story in three words?

Dark, funny, passionate

6. What's your favorite trait of Jessica's?

Her quiet sense of self worth. She’s not the prettiest girl in school, or the most popular, and while she initially wishes to be like that, she always has a strong sense of self. She doesn’t swoon just because Lucius is the hottest guy she’s ever seen, and he shows interest in her. She takes her time and decides if he’s right for her.

7. What do you like most about Lucius?

Oh, gosh, how to narrow it down… I love Lucius’s strength, passion and willingness to sacrifice his own happiness and even himself for Jess. I like his humor, too, especially when he’s funny in the face of grim circumstances. I think that’s the essence of courage.

8. What was your favorite scene to write?

The scene at the dance, where Lucius and Jess both struggle so hard with their feelings for each other, and Jess really comes into her own.

9. What would readers be surprised to know about you?

Hmmm… Maybe that I spent five years studying Mandarin Chinese for no apparent reason. I just like the language. Unfortunately, I’m a terrible speaker! I've been to China a few times, and nobody ever understands me.

10. What's next for you?

My next book, Jekel Loves Hyde, is scheduled to come out next year, and I’m working on my third novel right now - as in today, right before I did this. I also started a Ph.d. program about five years ago, and my advisor is bugging me to wrap up. I'm the only one in my class who hasn't graduated yet! I guess that should be next, since I pay a whopping tuition bill every semester until it's done!

Interview by Lisa

March 2009

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