Thursday, January 29, 2009

GCC Interview with Diana Wallach

Welcome to snow day post #2. Here's the view out my back door today. Brrr!

As a reminder, if you want to win stuff, be sure to enter the DUST OF 100 DOGS countdown contest here. Only two days to go!

And if you'd like a chance to win a copy of DEATH BY BIKINI, head on over to Reviewer X's blog and be prepared to show some love.

Speaking of love, I am now taking questions on romance and relationships to be answered by our panel of experts, YA romance authors Tina Ferraro, Wendy Toliver, Simone Elkeles, Melissa Walker and Moi for a special Valentine's week of love and give-aways. If you have a question or comment for the panel, please email them to me at gerb @ lindagerber . com before February 7th.

Now I'm pleased to bring you another GCC Tour interview with the beautiful Diana Wallach.
Her newest release ADIOS TO ALL THE DRAMA is the third in her YA series. Here's the official black cover blurb:

Mariana Ruiz thought she left her summer fling in Puerto Rico, that is until she finds Alex sitting across from her at the breakfast table. Living two doors down from her visiting old flame isn’t easy, especially given the unresolved sparks still lingering for her locker buddy Bobby—and they don’t exactly go unnoticed.

Her best friends are little help as Madison deals with her IM-only “boyfriend” and Emily sinks into secret mode after her parents’ recent breakup. The only relationship that seems to be working is her estranged aunt Teresa who’s tying the knot on New Years with Mariana and her cousin Lilly as bridesmaids. But the last wedding detail left unplanned is who will Mariana kiss at midnight?

Strained friendships, stolen kisses, and secret loves create plenty of surprises to unfold before the New Year’s bells start ringing…

Sounds fun. Let's see what she has to say about it:

What inspired you to write ADIOS TO ALL THE DRAMA?
Well, Adios to All the Drama is the third book in the series. So it was inspired by the two books that came before. However, the first book in the series, Amor and Summer Secrets, was initially inspired by a conversation with my agent, Jenoyne Adams. She had mentioned seeing a recent increase in interest from editors seeking multi-cultural novels, and she asked the infamous question, “Got any ideas?” I didn’t. But by the end of our conversation, I had pitched the story for what became Amor and Summer Secrets.

Part of the inspiration was derived from my first trip to Puerto Rico after I graduated from college. I met my relatives there for the first time, and I got to see where my dad grew up. I wanted to share some of those experiences with my character while showcasing that the stereotypes about Latinas are just that—stereotypes.

Are any of your characters based on real people that you know?
Well, clearly I gave my main character, Mariana, my ethnic background. There aren’t a lot of Polish Puerto Ricans out there. So that’s a dead giveaway. And many of the experiences that Mariana faces while coming to turns with her multi-cultural identity are similar to my own.

Additionally, the town in Puerto Rico where Mariana spends the summer, Utuado, is the same town where my dad grew up. And I gave Mariana’s father, Lorenzo, some biographical tidbits from my dad’s life, including a few of his childhood anecdotes. So when my dad first read the Amor and Summer Secrets, he kept saying, “I can’t believe you were listening!” However, their personalities are completely different.

What excites you?
I love to travel. It’s one of the luxuries I’m happy to spend my money on (more than a house or a car).

I studied abroad my junior year of college in Madrid, Spain. And after that trip, I backpacked through Europe, hitting up London, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Munich, Geneva and Nice. Since then, I’ve been to Prague, Italy, Bora Bora, Bali, Greece, England and hopefully many more.

What turns you off?
This is more of a phobia, but I’m freakishly scared of bugs. Not just spiders, all bugs. It’s ridiculous, but I can’t even bring myself to get close enough to one to kill it.

What's the biggest lie you ever told, and what happened as a result of the telling?
When I was a teenager vacationing at the Jersey Shore (yes, I did that), I used to tell boys on the boardwalk that my name was Penelope. I don’t know why. I just liked giving a fake name. I don’t think I suffered any serious repercussions, but there could be some guys out there who stumble across this interview and are surprised I’m not called “Penny.”

What's the most suspenseful thing that's happened to you in real life?
Waiting to see if my book would be published! The entire road to publication is one long, suspenseful, drawn-out, heart-pounding journey. I don’t think I’ve ever been on the edge of my seat more than when I was on submission with editors.

What's one thing most people don't know about you?
I’m a horrible driver, mostly as a result of my urban existence. I’ve lived in Boston, Madrid, Manhattan and now Philly. I’ve always taken subways or buses to class or work, so consequently, most teenagers probably have more driving experience than I do. Beware if you see me on the road.

Milk Chocolate or Dark?
Dark, always dark. I especially love those dark chocolate Dove ice cream bars. I just try to mentally block out the calories.