Before anyone panics, I'm not planning to quit putting chapter breaks in my books. Chapters are an essential part of pacing for me, and I think I'd find writing a book without chapters as exhausting as reading one.
That said, it's Girlfriends Cyber Circuit time, and my guest is Bev Katz Rosenbaum, author of Beyond Cool, the sequel to I Was a Teenage Popsicle. Floe Ryan was frozen for ten years. She was vitrified at sixteen because of a rare disease. Now she’s been thawed back to her normal self, but absolutely everything else has changed. Her little sister’s older than her, her teachers are now holograms (but still annoying), and instead of learning to drive a car, she’s trying to master a hovercar. And just when she starts warming up to this new scene, everything falls apart…
Her boyfriend is giving her the, er, cold shoulder, and worse, Dr. Dixon at the Cryonics Center tells her that people who were frozen are more susceptible to illnesses. The one doctor who can cure this immune system weakness has gone AWOL. Now it’s up to Floe and her brainy friend Sophie to find him. But they’re not the only ones looking for him--and this time, Floe could be iced for good…
Now, the interview:
What inspired you to write this book?
Well, I started thinking about writing YA around the time the whole Ted Williams cryonics brouhaha was happening. I'd wanted a really fresh backdrop for my YA--felt I'd been seeing the same thing over and over--and when my hubby suggested a cryonically preserved, recently thawed teen heroine (talk about the ultimate outsider!), I went Yessss. That book turned out to be I Was a Teenage Popsicle, the precursor to Beyond Cool. I hadn't thought about writing a sequel; my editor suggested it. It was easy to think of a story: after a while, it would be discovered that the 'frozen zombies' had dangerous immune system deficiencies... (Can you believe this is a funny book?)
Describe your creative process.
I'm something between a plotter and a pantser. I do have to have an outline before I begin writing, but it's a minimal kind of outline--one or two points per chapter, representing what I want to accomplish in that chapter, where I want to go. I find if I outline too much, I'm sick of the book before I begin. I need to feel excited and fresh when I write that first draft. Which I write straight through, btw. I never edit as I'm going along. My goal with the first draft is just to get it down.
Do you have any writing habits or rituals?
I'm very much a creature of habit. I work best in the morning, though I usually work until about 3:30 (having started at 8:30 (once my hubby and kids are out of the house). My 'office' is at the back of the kitchen, so yes, lots of coffee is involved--and meal and snack breaks at very precise times!
How much, if anything, do you have in common with your heroine?
I'm pretty sarcastic, like her. (But I wish my comebacks could, well, come as quickly. This is the advantage of being a fictional character, I guess!)
If you were frozen for ten years, how do you think your world would have changed?
Truthfully, I'm not sure kids will have holographic teachers, or that we'll all be driving hovercars! And I certainly hope we won't be wearing unitards... I think the changes will be more subtle. I think there will be massive changes in the area of information technology, for example--think of what's gone on in the past ten years!
Chocolate: dark or milk?
Are you kidding me? Dark chocolate all the way! (More specifically, Lindt dark chocolate thins.)
What are you working on now?
I'm working on a more serious, harder-hitting book for older teens, and another fun, light one for tweens. (These are still top-secret projects!)
Is there anything else you'd like to say about this book or the process of writing it?
Writing Beyond Cool was so much fun--and so easy--because I knew the characters so well already and could just relax and let them go crazy! I hope you all enjoy it as much as I loved writing it!
For more info, visit Bev's web site. Or you can buy the book from Amazon.
I know there are a fair number of Toronto-area folks here, so I'll add that Bev is having a signing/launch party this Sunday (the 16th) at 2:30 at the Yonge-Eglinton Indigo bookstore, so go check it out and tell her Shanna sent you.