Thursday, March 30, 2006

Girlfriends Cyber Circuit Presents Tanya Lee Stone

I have a book! It's real, and everything. This one even has my picture in it. :-) Plus, I did get the text of that review, and though they said nice things, they seem to have been confused about the plot because they got some details wrong in their summary. Still, they said nice things and gave it 4 1/2 stars, so I'm not going to quibble over details.

And now I've got a new guest on the Girlfriends Cyber Circuit. Tanya Lee Stone is the author of A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl. Why are so many women attracted to the “bad” boy? You know him—you went to high school with one, and maybe were involved with that boy yourself. He’s the golden boy, maybe a star athlete, and always in the “in” crowd. And he is BAD with a capital B. But can being involved with the wrong guy end up being good for you? In this provocative debut novel, Tanya Lee Stone explores this idea and takes an honest look at love and sex. A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl is the story of three very different girls and their relationships with one bad boy.

Now, the interview:

What inspired you to write this book?
The title. I had been experimenting with my style, branching out from the things I had been publishing, when I attended a short story workshop. George Nicholson was talking about wanting short story submissions for an anthology theme of "bad boys" and I immediately scribbled my title, A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl, in my notebook. The title invoked so many questions for me, I was on a roll.

Describe your creative process.
For nonfiction, I outline heavily. For fiction, I am a plunger. I'm driven by character, not plot, and the fun part is finding out what happens. I outlined a plot for a novel once last year, and it was the end of the novel for me. I do edit as I go, being a former editor, it's an innate thing. I can't not edit. But that's not the same as revising a draft, so it's some of each.

Do you have any writing habits or rituals?
I am known to nibble through a (large) bag of Wild Berry Skittles while I write. I often write very early in the morning, 5:30ish when the house is quiet and so is my mind. I listen to tons of music away from my computer, but music on while I'm actually writing is distracting to me.

How much, if anything, do you have in common with your heroine?
There are three heroines and, like the readers who have been emailing me, I find pieces of myself in all of them. I love hearing who sees themself in Josie, or Nicolette, or Aviva--and it's often parts of all three.

Do you really find the bad boys appealing, and if so, what is so appealing to you about them?
I found many a bad boy appealing when I was in school. I think it's less about them and more about learning about ourselves--testing our own boundaries to see where they are; see who we are.

(I guess I'm the oddball who's never been remotely interested in bad boys. I'm more likely to swoon over the boy next door who's a real Boy Scout type. In fact, telling me you're an Eagle Scout is a pretty good pickup line. Give me a clean-cut guy who's into all that duty and honor stuff. Yowza.)

Chocolate: dark or milk?
Dark. Milk. Caramel-filled. Pretzel-enrobed. If it's chocolate (unless it's covered with coconut), I'll eat it.

What are you working on now?

Biographies of Ella Fitzgerald and Ameliea Earhart--and the next novel.

(Ooh, Ella! My singing heroine! If I could make my voice do what hers does ...)

Is there anything else you'd like to say about this book or the process of writing it?
I had the time of my life writing this book! It was important to me to present strong female characters who weren't afraid to express their sexuality, and who wouldn't be punished for it. I wanted to capture that heady time of first love/first times without heading into the territory of anyone suffering for their choices--no one gets pregnant, dies, or gets sick. There are emotional consequences to the choices some of the characters make, but I wanted the emphasis to be about the characters learning more about who they were, what mattered to them, and who they wanted to be. What's interesting to me is that the title can scare off certain readers at first; until they see what the book is really about. Then they want to buy it for their girlfriends, sisters, or kids. That's incredibly gratifying to me.

For more info, visit Tanya's web site.

In other news, I found a fun web site that's good for wasting time. Those of you who watch The Office (on tonight!! -- and if you aren't watching, give it a try) will especially get a kick out of Overheard in the Office. Too bad I can't submit anything to them. I share an office with a hibiscus, and it never says anything funny. I'm not willing to go back to a regular job just to be able to send in funny office stories, though.

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