Thursday, February 12, 2009

Crushes From Afar

I have a feeling this is going to be one of those "force myself to work" days. Not so much the writing stuff, since I'm in thinking/brainstorming mode, so that's always going on in the back of my brain. But I have lots of little business-type tasks to do and a to-do list full of stuff like sending an e-mail to someone and for some odd reason I find myself strangely reluctant to do so. I may clean my kitchen and bake cookies for something I'm going to this weekend.

I've got another Girlfriends Cyber Circuit book/author on tour this week, and the book ties in pretty well with my theme for the week of acknowledging the season of ubiquitous commercialized representations of romance. The book is Miss Match by Wendy Tolliver, and here's the plot info:

Sasha Finnegan has always had a knack for setting people up, and at sixteen, she's turned her talent into an online business, molding high school crushes into true love. But Sasha finds her toughest match yet when hottie Derek Urban asks her to set him up with Sasha's gorgeous sister, Maddie. It's not that Derek isn't a good catch. In fact, after spending so much time with him, Sasha can't help but think he's perfect -- for her, that is.

Can Sasha push her feelings aside for the sake of her business? Or has this miss finally found her match?

My life might have turned out totally different if there'd been someone like this when I was younger. Not so much in high school, since I went to high school in a very small town, where it was pretty much impossible to have a crush from afar, since there was no "afar." I knew and interacted with all the boys I may or may not have had crushes on, so the fact that nothing came of those crushes meant either that they just weren't that into me or that I was inadvertently sending out signals that were the opposite of the way I really felt so they decided it wasn't worth trying (I suspect a lot of it was my usual problem, that the ones I like aren't interested in me, and I'm not interested in the ones who are interested in me). But in junior high and college, I was the QUEEN of the crush from afar. We're talking so afar that a lot of the time, I didn't even know the guy's name. It was almost like having a celebrity crush, except that there was the tiniest tantalizing possibility that we might possibly meet (although, you know, I've had more real-life interaction with actual movie stars than I had with some of those boys, because while I didn't talk to any of the actor-type people, I did make eye contact with some of them).

So, naturally, I asked Wendy about that matchmaker thing:

Did you have a high school crush, and if so, could you have used a matchmaker to get you together? What would a matchmaker have needed to do to help you?
I had a gazillion crushes, and yes, I think I could've definitely used the help of a matchmaker. The matchmaker would've needed to amp up (or feminize) my wardrobe (which pretty much consisted of jeans and baseball shirts) and give me pep talks so I wouldn't be so embarrassed to talk to him. It wouldn't hurt if the matchmaker had cupid-like powers, either.

Hmmm, I had a pretty feminine wardrobe, and I thought I was stylish (though I do cringe at the thought of some of the things I wore). But yeah, the big problem was the fear of talking to these guys, and cupid-like powers may have been necessary. I might have even had a problem with telling the matchmaker about the crush in the first place because I wouldn't even talk to my best friends about my crushes (in junior high, there was a very high risk that all the girls would giggle furiously whenever the guy came on the scene and do things like point and say loudly, "Look! There he is! I think he's looking at you!"). In college, my "crushes" tended to be more along the lines of picking out a guy in my huge lecture hall classes to look forward to seeing each day. There was one guy who got to be my target in two classes -- in my English class my sophomore year and in a European studies class my senior year. All I know about him was that he was in ROTC and he looked very nice in that uniform.

But in light of some of the things I've been talking about for the last couple of days about fun with fictional relationships, I'm not sure that I wanted or needed to meet some of those guys. Since I knew nothing about them, they were as much a fantasy construct as any fictional character, and the fun part was the room for imagination, thinking of various ways we might meet and how that would go. Mostly, they provided a reason to look forward to going to school and an incentive to look my best that probably raised my spirits overall. Actually talking to these guys might have ruined that.

And now, more about Wendy and her book and writing process, etc.:
Do you have any particular writing habits or rituals?
I usually do all my email, blogging, promo stuff in the morning over breakfast, then my major writing in the afternoon when my toddler is napping. Typically I do not listen to music (with three little boys, peace and quiet is what I crave) and I used to do the Diet Coke thing but my New Year's resolution was to cut it out, so now I just drink tea, water, and an occasional glass of red wine while I write.

Chocolate: milk or dark?
I like milk for the taste but I also like dark and since it has some health benefits, I'll usually choose dark.

What are you working on now?
LIFTED, the story about a transplant to a parochial school who learns that not all students are as pious as they seem when she’s inducted into a shoplifting clique and soon finds herself in over her head. It comes out with Simon Pulse April 27, 2010 and I’m so excited.

Is there anything else you'd like to say about this book or the process of writing it?
I loved writing MISS MATCH. In its early days, I had some girls from Snowcrest Junior High (the high school in my book is Snow Crest) read it and give me input. It later went on to be a 2007 finalist in the YA category of the Romance Writers of America's Goden Heart contest. It used to be called "Cupid Girl," but we changed the title because there's another Simon Pulse Ro-Com called "Cupidity."

For more info on Wendy and her books, visit her web site. Or, you can buy the book from Amazon.

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