Mary Purnhagen cannot live without a tall, caramel latte , her iPod, or a stack of books on her nightstand. She has lived in Aurora, Illinois, Kalamazoo, Michigan, Dayton, Ohio and Duncan, South Carolina. She now lives in Cleveland, Ohio with her family and two cats.
Can Kate Morgan stand up for herself—without being labeled a snitch?
Kate is just as confused as her best friend, Lan, when she arrives at Cleary High to find the building's been "tagged" with a life-size graffiti mural. Could the culprit be one of their friends or classmates? And is the kind-of-amazing creation really vandalism, or a work of art? She's tempted to stay out of it—mostly because, as the police chief's daughter, she's worried about being labeled a snitch. But when the same mysterious graffiti starts appearing throughout the state, putting more pressure on the authorities to catch the vandal, her investigative instincts kick in.
Now Eli, Kate's favorite coworker at the local coffee shop, is MIA. With Lan preoccupied with her own boy troubles, Kate needs to figure out some things on her own. Like why she can't stop thinking about Eli. And what she will do when all the clues about the graffiti point to someone she's close to…
What inspired you to write TAGGED?
Tagged is my third book (but first published). I like finding inspiration in random places, plucking things from different sources and trying to find a way to connect them. In this case, I used a reality TV show, a British graffiti artist, and my husband’s tool bench.
Are any of your characters based on real people you know?
No, but growing up my family was friends with a Vietnamese family. I haven’t seen many Vietnamese characters portrayed in YA, so it was important to me to include Lan, who is the best friend in the book.
What excites you?
Reading an unexpectedly wonderful new book, one that I hate to put down but can’t wait to get back into the next day.
What turns you off?
Gray winters. We moved from sunny South Carolina to Cleveland in 2008, and I’m still getting used to the long and dreary winters up here. It’s the end of March and we just had snow—again.
If you could invite anyone you wanted - living or dead - to hang out with you at a weekend retreat, who would you invite and why?
I’ve always been fascinated with Elizabeth I. The challenges she faced, the people she met and the way she shaped history—I would love to have a candid conversation with her (and then write a novel about it, of course).
Do you have any special writing rituals or totems to connect with your muse?
Not really, but I always listen to music as I write. It helps the creative juices flow.
What's one thing most people don't know about you?
I was trained in classical violin and played second chair in a symphony orchestra while in junior high.
What's your favorite quote?
Nothing walks with aimless feet.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on the third book of my new series, which will debut in September 2010 with Past Midnight. It’s about the daughter of ghost debunkers, and what happens when the family’s theories are tested in an unexpected way.
What is an interesting writing quirk of yours?
I chew gum when I write. A lot of gum. It’s a weird, compulsive habit of mine.
If Tagged were made into a movie, who would you like to see in the role of Kate? Eli? Lan?
I’d want to see unknown actors!
What songs would make the playlist for Tagged?
1. Secret Meeting by The National
2. 23 by Blonde Readhead
3. Mistaken for Strangers by The National
4. The Heinrich Maneuver by Interpol
5. Guest Room by The National
6. Golden Skans by the Klaxons
7. Time to Pretend by MGMT
8. Fire It Up by Modest Mouse
9. Good to Sea by Pinback
10. Reckoner by Radiohead
11. 2080 by Yeasayer
Milk chocolate or dark?
Milk—preferably, a sickeningly sweet hollow bunny with big ears.
To be entered to win a signed copy of TAGGED, leave a comment below telling us what you did (or are going to do) for spring break.