A few weeks ago, I read Margie Gelbwasser's debut novel, INCONVENIENT. I really enjoyed it! I'm not Russian or Jewish, so I loved getting to learn more about those cultures. I also found Alyssa to be a wonderful, relatable, and real protagonist. If you like contemporary YA stories with emotional character journeys, I definitely recommend that you check out INCONVENIENT!
Here's my Magic 8 interview with Margie:
Margie Gelbwasser is the author of INCONVENIENT, a YA novel that was released by Flux on November 1, 2010.
In fifteen-year-old Alyssa Bondar’s Russian-Jewish culture, having a few drinks is as traditional as blinchiki and piroshki. So when her mom’s midday cocktails turn into an all-day happy hour, it seems like Alyssa’s the only one who notices—or cares. Her dad is steeped in the nightly news—and denial—and her best friend Lana is too busy trashing their shared Russian heritage so she can be popular.
Alyssa would rather focus on cross-country meets and her first kiss with her running partner, Keith, but someone has to clean up her mom’s mess. But who will be there to catch Alyssa when her mom’s next fall off the wagon threatens to drag her down, too?
1. At age eight, what did you want to be when you grew up? And at age eighteen? And while you’re at it, what about at age twenty-eight?
I always wanted to be a writer. That was my dream. But in my family of science people (my dad is an engineer, my mom is a chemist, my sis a doctor), I think writing wasn't thought of as a career. My parents thought I was talented in it, but I guess no one thought you could have this as a job, including me. So since I was 4 I wanted to be a doctor. By 18, I realized math and science weren't my strong suit, so I went to school to major in English and Education (so I guess Teacher is the answer to age 18). By 28, I was making the transition of leaving teaching and pursuing writing as a career.
2. Which Breakfast-Club-style label would have best fit your teenage self?
I played clarinet from 5th grade to 12th so let's go with band geek, but I really wanted to be a cheerleader.
3. What are some of your superstitions and/or phobias?
I am really scared of mice and rats, not the cute ones behind cages in pet stores that keep busy sleeping and running on their wheels. I'm talking about the ones that you see on the streets or those that sneak into your house in the winter. DO NOT LIKE THEM. I'm also scared of heights.
4. Without giving away too much from your book, which character or scene are you the most pleased about having created, and why?
One of my favorite characters in the book is Lana, Alyssa's best friend. I don't agree with how she behaves but she was so fun for me to write and I just love how she evolved from being totally mean in the first draft to more three dimensional in the final version. As for scenes, I really love the first kiss between Alyssa and Keith. I like the thoughts going through her head, how he acts, their banter. That scene just
makes me swoon. Another scene I like a lot is the barn party because you see a different side of Alyssa and her struggles.
5. Was there any certain music that inspired you while you were writing this book, or is there a song that could serve as your protagonist’s theme song?
I know I'm in the minority, but music doesn't fuel my writing. I love music. I love dancing to music, and I have favorite songs and artists. In fact, once the book is written, I often hear a song and think this would work so well in X scene in my book. But the whole playlist thing? I think the idea is terrific but I just don't think of my stories in that way as I write. Or, maybe, I'm just too lazy to create one (I tried an got up to two songs. They take A LOT of work!). I do, however, envision my books as movies and have ideas how all the scenes will play out and who would play the characters. For example, my ideal actor for Keith would be Chris Olivero (Declan McDonough from Kyle XY).
6. What’s up next for you as a writer?
I am working on a YA called THE AIR I BREATHE which I'm excited about. It's told in multiple POVs and it's dark and edgy. It will be out by Flux in November 2011. I'm also revising an MG—aimed at boys in 4th -6th grade—for my agent.
7. And, now, the most important question of all: Beatles or Elvis? Please support your answer. ;-)
Hmm...tough one, but I'm going with Beatles. Their songs were so thought-provoking and you got a choice of 4 dudes, not just one!
8. Okay, your turn. Do you have a question you’d like me to ask my Magic 8-Ball on your behalf? (I’m telling you, this thing is scarily accurate! Well, except for when it’s lying.)
Um, OK. Will INCONVENIENT become a major blockbuster with Jennifer Aniston playing the role of the mother? I love her!
Oops. I forgot to tell you that my Magic 8-Ball is also a total jerkwad that seems to enjoy CRUSHING DREAMS. Anyway, thank you so much, Margie! :-D
Thanks so much for having me, Mindi!