Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Madelyn Rosenberg and Mary Crockett – authors of upcoming YA release, DREAM BOY. The novel will be out 1 July with Sourcebooks, and it sounds fantastic!
KO: Hi Madelyn and Mary! Lovely to have you both here! First can you tell us a little about the book?
MR: The elevator pitch? DREAM BOY is about a girl and her friends growing up in a small town (not unlike the small towns Mary and I grew up in) where the population gets a bump by dreams who become real.
MC: It’s kind of a contemporary-romantic-comedy-horror mash-up. Somewhere between funny and scary. With lots of swoon-worthy moments along the way.
KO: DREAM BOY is a YA contemporary fantasy novel. It sounds really fresh and unique. What makes it stand out from other contemps with a fantasy/paranormal element?
MR: Mary has a poetry background, and my background is in kidlit and journalism. I feel like that led to a pretty perfect chemistry: half reality, half dream.
When my agent first read the manuscript, she said she loved the blend of romance and humor. I think in our initial draft, the romance was Mary and the humor was me, and it did blend. In subsequent drafts it blended to the point that now it’s hard to tell who wrote what. It was one of those one plus one makes three things.
MC: I think the voice of our narrator, Annabelle, stands out, too. She is telling her story from a distinct perspective—one that belongs only to her.
KO: The concept is really intriguing and Annabelle sounds like a great character. Which other characters in YA books could you see her making friends with?
MC: I think Annabelle would gel with Cath from Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl and America Singer from Kiera Cass’s The Selection. Annabelle has a really good heart, and she’d recognize kindred spirits there. And speaking of “kindred spirits,” of course she would love Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables… because seriously, who wouldn’t?
MR: I’d like to see her in a book club with Tris from Divergent and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
KO: Would you switch lives with Annabelle for a day? What would it be like to be her?
MR: In some ways, I suppose I am her – or was, when I was younger. (At least, the part of her that isn’t Mary and the part of her that isn’t her own self.)
MC: I’d love to be her for a day. Maybe not the day when all hell breaks loose, but I’d totally pull a Freaky Friday with Annabelle. For one thing, she can draw very well, and I’d love to know what that’s like. Also she has great friends, and it’d be fun to hang with them.
KO: I imagine you get asked this a lot, but what is it like working as a team on a novel? Do you meet up regularly, take turns writing, communicate ideas through emails and phone calls? Can you tell us a little about the process, and how you’ve both found the experience of collaborating?
MR: We are actually working on a couple of videos like this one…
…describing our process. We each sent a thousand e-mails (I saved most), and we seriously ran up the phone minutes. We often took turns picking up when the other left off, and it worked well with life schedules (deadlines, sick kids, etc.) We definitely spent time battling back and forth but by the final edit we were on the same page, literally and figuratively.
MC: The process of collaborating opened me up to so many possibilities that wouldn’t ever come from me alone. Like Madelyn said before, one plus one equals three.
KO: Who was your favourite character to write?
MR: Aside from Annabelle, probably Talon. And I really liked Billy Stubbs. A secondary character, but I adore him for his loyalty and his aim.
MC: I loved Will, too. He’s so quirky. And Dream Boy himself, Martin Zirkle. I also liked Stephanie Gonzales, Annabelle’s nemesis. She had some claws.
KO: Can you share one of your favourite scenes in the book with us?
MC: I love the chapter where Annabelle is playing with the Ouija board with her buds Talon and Serena. The interplay between the characters is really funny to me—especially the way they use the board to poke at each other, you know, the way friends do.
MR: The moment when Annabelle and Martin first meet in the real world. And when Annabelle and Will play putt-putt.
KO: I’m sure both of you had a lot of fun working on DREAM BOY, but writing a book and all that comes after it is really hard, I’m sure you’ll agree! What did you both find most challenging about the whole process? And, so we’re not being negative, what did you find most rewarding?
MR: Challenges included some of our plot disagreements. Plus, the editing process, with the two of us having to sign off on everything, was excruciating. On a more personal note, I think I kind of knew the reality of what happens with a book, expectations wise – the chances of it making it v. going out of print, the type of advance you might get, etc. For a while, I sort of felt like the Expectations Police for Mary, who wanted the moon. But strangely all of those negatives turned into positives. The fact that we both had to sign off on everything made me less worried that there were mistakes or things I’d missed, and I didn’t have that stomach-knotting dread I’ve had when I’ve let go of other books. And Mary’s optimism rubbed off on me. Instead of being Debbie Downer I feel full of possibilities – for this book and for the future. Also, I am really looking forward to being UNALONE when it comes to dealing with marketing and reviews and that sort of thing. Writing is so solitary and having a partner is just making me feel lighter; the things that I normally loathe are more fun.
MC: Madelyn said that really well. I’ll just coast on her answer. (See writing with a friend makes interviews easier too!)
KO: It’s almost time for DREAM BOY to be released into the world! What are you most looking forward to?
MR: Exactly that: Dream Boy being released into the world! This is also an extremely different audience than I’m used to writing for. I’m looking forward to seeing what that means, exactly…
MC: I want to hold it, smell it, prove to myself that it exists in the world–that kind of thing.
KO: And to wrap up, can we end with a quote from DREAM BOY?
MR: “But I was lying, too. I knew there was a bond between the two of them, not made of ink, but of dreams. And maybe that was worse.”
MC: That is a good one. Madelyn covered the more lyric base with her quote, I think I’ll just pull something that made me laugh: “It wasn’t just that Mac Z wrote bad songs—it was that he wrote bad songs about love, as if he knew anything about it. In his videos, he always has these superhot women plastered against him with their boobs popping out of black leather. I mean, no cow should have to sacrifice her life for that.”
KO: Thanks so much for stopping by and best of luck with the release!
MR: Thanks so much for having us!
MC: And best of luck with yours!
If dreams can come true…then so can nightmares
One night Annabelle dreams of the perfect boy: tall and handsome with impossible blue eyes. Then, just as suddenly as he appeared, he’s gone…until he walks into her science class the next day. Perfect and REAL. The boy of her dreams. And when he brushes past her, he whispers “Annabelle.” Suddenly, Annabelle’s got the perfect boyfriend and a date to homecoming. Her life is like a dream come true…until her dreams stop and the nightmares begin.
“Dream Boy explores the mysterious world of dreams, where we access our deepest desires…the authors expertly weave fantasy and the real world in a perfect blend.” — Erica Orloff, author of In Dreams
“Eerie, twisty, fast and funny, Dream Boy will forever change the way you see your dreams–and your nightmares. An exciting, imaginative look at what might happen when people from the corners of your mind suddenly show up in your real life.” — Lois Metzger, author of A Trick of the Light
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Mary Crockett likes turtles, licorice, and the Yankees. Madelyn Rosenberg likes cats, avocados, and the Red Sox. Luckily they both like the weirdness of dreams (and each other) enough to write novels together. The friendship has survived three moves, six kids and countless manuscript revisions. Madelyn lives just outside of Washington, D.C. Mary remains in the mountains near their hometowns in southwestern Virginia. You can find them on Twitter @marylovesbooks and @madrosenberg or their blogs at www.marycrockett.com and www.madelynrosenberg.com.