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Monday, July 5, 2010

Author Interview: Wendy Toliver!

Today I have with me the immensely talented WENDY TOLIVER,author of fun novels like Miss Match and The Secret Life Of A Teenage Siren and the recent edgy novel Lifted !! Yay! I loved Lifted(review below this post) and her answers were absolutely great to read through!

Lifted deals with a very unique theme…that of the psychology of a girl who shoplifts. How did the idea come to you?
I was watching a show on TV about how shoplifting is a huge problem, especially with teens, and thought it would make an interesting topic for a book. Most people have either shoplifted themselves, have been tempted to try it, or know someone who has, so I think it's something we can all relate to. I knew it would be a difficult topic and require quite a bit of research, but I was up for the challenge.

What kind of research did you do for Lifted?
I read a lot about addiction and realized that the emotions are very similar whether people are addicted to gambling, alcohol, sex, drugs, or shoplifting. One of the closest comparisons is being addicted to adrenaline rushes, like firefighters sometimes become, for example, and shoplifting. I also had to research the techniques people use to shoplift,which included casual interviews with people I know as well as how-to's posted on the internet. As you can imagine, I couldn't shoplift something in the name of research! :) Other things I researched were laws (for example, what would happen legally to a minor who's caught shoplifting?), private Baptist high schools, and details of the East Texas setting. Though Pleasant Acres is fictional, I based it on a couple of East Texas towns I'm familiar with because some of my family lives there.

Poppy’s clique influences her heavily… were you ever influenced by any clique?
Not so much, but I do recall a phase in 7th grade when I thought I was a "head banger" and wore ripped, bleached jeans, long earrings, and black eyeliner, ha ha!

Did you consciously set out to write about an edgy topic?
Yes. I loved writing both of my Simon Pulse Romantic Comedies (The Secret Life of a Teenage Siren and Miss Match), which have been described as "sweet" and "fun," but I wanted to try my hand at something grittier. I wanted to challenge myself, as well as (hopefully) give my readers something to think about and talk about long after they finish reading it.

Suppose Lifted was to become a movie (Congratulations!) whom would you cast as Poppy Browne and David Hillcrest (I loved him!)?

I think AnnaSophia Robb would make a great Poppy, and as for David (I'm so glad you loved him! Me too!), how about Logan Lerman, who plays Percy Jackson in "The Lightning Thief" movie?

Does your mood affect your writing?
I definitely have creative highs, when I just can't type fast enough (and I'm a fast typer!) to get everything onto the page. And if I'm tired I tend to just stare at my computer screen. However, whether I'm happy or sad doesn't really affect my writing because once I'm into my story, I leave those moods behind me.

What are you currently working on?
I have a couple of paranormal ideas and a middle grade fairy tale idea but they're still in the very beginning stages.

Finally…what message do you want the teens to draw from Lifted?
I believe there are quite a few different messages that can be drawn from Lifted, but one that is broad and very important in my opinion is that everybody makes mistakes, and it's up to you (and no one else) to get back up, dust off your rear, and become the person you want to be.

Wendy Toliver
Author of Teen Fiction
visit me at

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