Robin Palmer, author of Cindy Ella, Geek Charming, Little Miss Red, and the Lucy B. Parker series, was kind enough to stop by The Page Sage for an interview! :D !
1. You worked in Hollywood for ten years before deciding to become a full-time writer. What was that like and what inspired you to do that?
My second favorite thing in the world after books are movies, and because I had decided at an early age that only special people could be writers (so not true BTW- if you write, then you're a writer, even if you never get published) I decided I would move out to L.A. and try and get into the movie business. I started at the William Morris Agency which was one of the oldest and most respected talented agencies and was lucky enough to end up working for the guy Lanny Noveck who is one of the nicest people in the world, let alone in Hollywood. He really took me under his wing and encouraged me to learn about the TV business (he ran the TV literary department) and because he took me seriously and cared about my opinions, it motivated me to work that much harder. After three years there, I left to go work with a TV producer and then after three years there, I ended up at Lifetime Television where I worked on the original movies. I had a terrific boss there as well named Laurette Hayden and I got to work on some great projects. After five years there, I realized that I wanted to be the writer getting notes from people versus the one giving them and in what was either a very brave (or very dumb) move, I left the business and started to write. Ironically, twenty-one years later, Lanny is now my TV agent!
2. Which of your books was the most fun to write?
That's a tough question because books are like kids- you don't really have favorites and you love them all in different ways. I guess it would have to be Geek Charming because Dylan is so different from who I am (I'm much more of a Josh) so it was fun to do the "he said/she said" of it all. But Sophie in Little Miss Red was fun as well because of the drama queen aspect of it. And, of course, Cindy was my first born. ;)
3. Cindy Ella, Geek Charming, Little Miss Red, and Wicked Jealous (coming July 2012) are all modern adaptations of fairy tales. What is it about fairy tales that appeals to you?
I have a strong interest in Jungian psychology and had been reading a lot of Marie-Lousie von Franz's work about fairy tales around the time I came up with the idea to revise them for a YA audience. I think because fairy tales are told to us at such a young age and penetrate our psyches, I wanted to put something out there that had a more... empowering message for girls about self-acceptance and not waiting to be saved by a man but instead saving yourself.
About Geek Charming:
4. Geek Charming has been made into a Disney Channel movie that is premiering in November. What can you tell us about it? (Any behind-the-scenes secrets? Were you involved in the making of it?)
I was not involved in the making of Geek. With my background, and having worked on many movies based on books, I purposely did not want to be part of it due to the fact, that for me, my books exist as books and to watch them be changed to fit a studio or network's needs would be a very hard thing to deal with. (Kind of like payback for all the books I messed up as an executive ;) So when my agent called me and asked if I wanted to read the script, I said no. And when I received a copy of the movie in the mail, I couldn't bring myself to watch it for months. I finally did... and was relieved (and happy) to find that it's actually very cute. Obviously they changed things, but overall I feel as if the spirit of the book is still there, and the message, which is the important thing. My feeling is that if a movie based on one of my books exposes my work to a larger audience and gets them to buy more of my books, that's the important thing.
5. I love the cover of Geek Charming- it's so bright and colorful! What did you think of it when you first saw it?
I have to say, I feel very lucky to have Kristin Smith at Penguin do the covers for my books. I think she's got a great vision and a great sense of design and when you look at all my books together, they really pop.
6. While in high school, would you say you identified more with Dylan or Josh?
Oh, definitely Josh. I was never popular like Dylan and I was never stuck-up. Like Josh, I kind of just couldn't wait to get out of high school so that I could find my people. ;)
7. What authors have inspired you? Favorite book(s)?
Judy Blume was my favorite when I was young. It was such a relief to come across books about kids my age who were struggling with issues. Her books made me feel more understood and less alone which was a huge gift. When I get emails from girls who express that sentiment, they make me cry.
8. What advice do you have for aspiring authors, especially teen writers?
Write, write, write... and read, read, read. The thing that cracks me up is how people-- myself, included, before I started writing myself-- think that writing is some magical process that happens when the stars align and that if you're not in some sort of ecstatic state when you're doing it, you're doing it wrong. None of that could be further from the truth. The truth is, writing is quite boring a lot of the time, and there are days when you feel like everything you're writing is awful, and a lot of times it is. But none of it is a waste because sometimes you have to write and write and write until you get to that moment where something clicks and you finally find the voice of the character or you have a revelation about the structure of the piece. Writing is like going to the gym. In the beginning it hurts and you're sore but when you do it continually and you start to see results it's exhilarating and it motivates you to keep going. And writing is all about revising. There's a great book called Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott about it where she talks about the "down draft" which is about just getting it all down on paper. And then you do the "up draft" which is where you fix it up. And, as for teens, the biggest piece of advice I could give is to just be yourself and find YOUR voice. Don't try and be Stephenie Meyer or J.K. Rowling-- just be yourself.