Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Robin, Wait!

Robin Benway, California native, music junkie, and author of the new paperback Audrey, Wait! has kindly (and wittily) answered my questions in this third installment of our guest post series. (cue confetti cannons!)

For those of you (poor souls) who haven't yet enjoyed the hilarious ridiculousness that is Audrey's story, here is a little synopsis. Music-obsessed (hmm), sassy Audrey dumps her self-absorbed rocker boyfriend...who, of course, writes a break-up song. A break-up song about Audrey that becomes an instant hit, rocketing the band and Audrey to fame, for better or worse. But even all the free lip gloss and running-from-paparazzi scenes aside, what really shines here are the characters: Audrey and best friend Victoria's banter, the cute awkward co-worker James at the Scooper Dooper, and even Audrey's parents are wonderfully developed. I challenge anyone to read this book and not chuckle out loud on the bus or wish that these teens were real. For now, we'll take the closest we can get, the creator herself.
First things first! Can you make us a playlist?
With pleasure! I just made one for my friends a few weeks ago called Spring 2009, so here's the playlist (see below). You can even listen to it here if you're so inclined. :)

1. "West Coast" Coconut Records
2. "I'm On Fire" Kate Tucker
3. "Fools" The Dodos
4. "14 Forever" Stars
5. "Being Here" The Stills
6. "Freeway" Kurt Vile
7. "Rock & Roll" Eric Hutchinson
8. "Ragoo" Kings of Leon
9. "Take on Me" AC Newman
10. "Sweet Thing" Van Morrison
11. "Lion's Mane" Iron & Wine
12. "L'homme Que J'amierai" Edith Piaf
13. "Break So Easy" Johnathan Rice
14. "Use Somebody" Karima Francis

What about a reading list? What would you recommend as the next book for a fan of Audrey, Wait! (basically, how would you do our jobs for us)?
Oh, wow. Well, if someone enjoyed Audrey, Wait! I would definitely recommend Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist since it's wonderful and the authors, David Levithan and Rachel Cohn, are awesome people. I do know that a lot of people are telling me that I should read Love is a Mixtape by Rob Sheffield, so I'll go ahead & pass that recommendation along. I'm also really excited to read If I Stay, since I've been told it deals with music, as well. (And apparently I'm not the only person who's looking forward to it, either!)

Can you share anything about your new project?
Ohhhh, geez. Well, I'm super-super-superstitious when it comes to talking about new things. Even my best friend doesn't know what it's about! I can say it's about three sisters, I'm currently editing it right now, and I really really love these girls. I hope everyone else will, too.

I know this may be a difficult question, but what brought you to write, and why for teens in particular?
No, it's not difficult at all, no worries! I've always loved writing, and I had worked a bunch of different jobs in the publishing industry, but I finally hit a point where I was just unhappy and dissatisfied. I decided I would take a year and start working on a book, even though I had no idea what that book would be about. Then one day, the idea of Audrey, Wait! just slammed into my head and I started writing the first chapter almost immediately.

As for writing for teenagers, I had actually applied to MFA programs a year or so before I took a year off to write, and I wrote a short-story from the point of view of an 8-year-old girl for my submission piece. I had always written from an adult POV before, and I was surprised how much I enjoyed writing from a younger perspective. I've also been a huge fan of YA literature and I thought that it'd be a good thing for me to try, and it turned out that I loved it!

(And I ultimately got rejected from all my MFA choices ON THE SAME DAY. But everything worked out.)

Were you anything like Audrey when you were a teen? I wish I had had even half of her sass when I was 16!
Pretty much, yes. I've always been quick with a sarcastic comeback, which is both good and bad. I think Audrey has way more self-confidence than I ever did, though. She's just fearless even when she's screwing up and making bad decisions. Even to this day, I wish I was as cool as her.

A good amount of books are coming out these days with a focus on music, or characters who are obsessed with music, across a range of readers (Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity, David Levithan and Rachel Cohn’s Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, for example.) What do you think this says about our culture and the way people read? Where do you think Audrey, Wait! fits in?
I think Audrey is definitely a music-based book, and I think that the current influx of music-themed novels just goes to show how well different artistic forms can blend together. I constantly listen to music when I write and I can't imagine doing one without the other, and it's become clear that a lot of readers and writers feel the same way. There's also this intangible feeling that happens when you hear a song that you think is perfect, and if you can have that experience while reading a book that you love, it becomes magical. Music inspires me every single day and I love the idea that we can all draw so much inspiration from so many artistic sources.

What would you confess (or rant about) on MTV?
I would confess absolutely nothing on camera and instead I would demand to know why the show Parental Control exists. Have you seen it? It's this show where the most obnoxious people date each other, and then the parents step in and try to set up dates for their kids to replace the loser boyfriend/girlfriend. It's terrible, and I know this must mean that I'm getting old, but I'm okay with that. And if they hadn't pulled me off-camera yet, I would ask why Los Angeles drivers cannot understand what the green left-hand-turn arrow means. And then I would pull an Audrey and say hi to my grandma and leave.

Where would you take Curious George if the man in the yellow hat needed a babysitter?
I love this question so much! Well, first I'd make sure that George was cool with hanging out in LA for the day, and then I'd take him to meet my friend's 4-year-old son. He'd be so psyched to meet his favorite book character! Then we'd go to lunch at the Fairfax Farmer's Market, since I'm pretty sure that George would love it there. So many things to see! So much trouble to get into! I'd just make sure to keep him away from the store that sells hundreds of different kinds of hot sauce. Then we'd hang out for a while and then head towards the beach so he could see the ocean. Maybe he'd like the Santa Monica Pier. I'm pretty sure he'd be down with all the seagulls there, too. Finally, we'd go to Topanga Canyon since it's my favorite spot in Los Angeles and I think George would enjoy all the trees and grass.

And finally, at the end of our day, I would ask George very very nicely if he would please tell me the man in the yellow hat's real name.
Thanks again to Robin Benway for talking to us! For more of her total awesomeness, head over to her blog or the Audrey Wait! website (be sure to try the Tabloid Generator).

No comments: